Adobe launch new updates at MAX 2015

Adobe launch new updates at MAX 2015

Not content with trotting out a plethora of celebrity superusers and running a ridiculous number of workshops, Adobe have announced a raft of new updates at their Adobe MAX creativity conference in LA. The new updates affect both mobile apps (which should be updatable now) and desktop ones (which will receive the update soon). 

Adding Touch workspaces to desktop apps

Not content with bringing new apps to your phone, Adobe are adding Touch workspaces to their most popular desktop apps, so that you can work using gesture controls on devices such as Windows touch surfaces.

Adobe promise that InDesign users will be able to create layouts, while video editors will be able to scrub clips, drag and drop items on their timelines, and navigate through panels in a group, all without the need for anything as vulgar as a mouse.

Graphic designers’ holy trinity picks up updates (including a new app)

If you tend to stick with Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator, you’ll be pleased to know they’ve not been neglected, either:

– The next update to Photoshop CC will be tightly integrated with the brand new Adobe Fuse CC (Preview). Fuse lets you create realistic 3D models, easily insert the 3D model into a scene in Photoshop CC with the power of CreativeSync, apply poses and animations, and adjust camera angles and lighting. Fuse is also a fast and flexible new way to create stunning 2D image compositions with 3D-like depth.

– The new Shaper tool in Illustrator CC gives you the functionality of 12 different tools and panels in a single tool. Draw basic shapes like circles, squares, and polygons, and the Shaper tool quickly and intuitive creates perfect geometric shapes for you. Plus, these will be Live Shapes so they are nondestructive and easily editable.

– InDesign CC will update Publish Online, allowing you to embed a document directly in a website.

There’s also been a particular focus on photo editing, with Adobe adding the ability to apply Dehaze more precisely to Lightroom CC, so you can control in the image exactly where you want to decrease or increase atmospheric haze.

The new Import tool automatically identifies photos from your camera card, hard drive, Photoshop Elements, Aperture and other sources, and easily imports them into Lightroom. Plus with this release of Lightroom Mobile you can take photos and apply Dehaze and other Photoshop magic as you capture the moment. These are just a few of the new features – read all about them on the Lightroom blog.

Photoshop CC has several Adobe Camera Raw updates, including the addition of Dehaze as a local adjustment. They’ve also updated the way Zoom works so it is now easier and more intuitive to move around your image when zoomed in.

Updates for UX and web designers

More flexibility in Muse, 64-bit architecture in Dreamweaver and the vaguely defined but excitingly-named Project Comet lead the updates to Adobe’s web-focused apps…

– Artboards improvements in Photoshop CC include guides for precise placement of elements, easier visualization of layers and the ability to customise the look and feel of your documents. The Photoshop CC release will also deliver the first version of Design Space, a modern design experience, inside Photoshop CC, streamlined for the requirements of web, UX and mobile app designers.

– Project Comet is a brand new Creative Cloud app currently under development, aimed at designing and prototyping web and mobile user experiences. We welcome you to be a part of the development process – sign up for the technology preview now.

– Web designers will love the new 64-bit version of Dreamweaver CC. We’ve added responsive design capabilities using new visual aids and the latest Bootstrap framework.

– Muse CC adds free-form responsive design to easily create custom websites that dynamically scale to any size screen, browser or device, without having to code or use restrictive templates.

– Flash Pro CC has been adding support for HTML5 and today we announced the ability to publish animations to multiple platforms including HTML5 Canvas, WebGL or even custom platforms – and with this release we are adding support for 4K video formats.

New video features fly in from IBC

After a successful launch at IBC 2015 in Amsterdam, Adobe brought out their latest video tools for their first American airing. Updates include…

– Premiere Pro CC ushers in the new era of UltraHD via comprehensive native format support for editing beautiful 4K-to-8k footage, and advances colour, with support for High Dynamic Range (HDR) workflows in Premiere Pro CC.

– After Effects CC now has the powerful and accessible colour tools and colour workspace that Premiere Pro has.

– Audition CC introduces Remix, a new audio feature that automatically rearranges music to any duration while maintaining the aural integrity and structure of the piece.

Pooling in Adobe Stock and the introduction of Adobe Portfolio

Adobe are also deepening Adobe Stock integration with CC desktop apps so you can easily search for and browse assets directly from Creative Cloud Libraries. For customers who have an Adobe Stock subscription, stock content can also be directly licensed from within the CC apps for use in projects, saving time and effort. They also plan to add video to Adobe Stock, which can be used for corporate videos or commercial use in advertising, television shows, websites, and more. Additionally, Adobe Stock has new features just for businesses, offering pooled licences at no extra cost to Creative Cloud for teams customers, as well as Extended Licences for usage of stock content in large print runs.

Finally, the team introduced Adobe Portfolio, a new service that lets you create a fully customised, responsive portfolio of work on your own domain – without having to write a line of code. Available soon, Portfolio will be included as part of all Adobe Creative Cloud plans. Portfolio is built on Behance, which means you can sync your Adobe Portfolio to your Behance Projects pages with a click, giving you even more opportunities to get your work discovered in the world’s largest creative social network.

Introducing new mobile apps: Photoshop Fix and Adobe Capture CC

Photoshop Fix lets you retouch and restore images right on your phone or tablet. Popular Photoshop desktop app features, like the Healing Brush and Liquify, are easy to use with the touch interface, so you can now do real retouching work right on your iPad and iPhone.

Adobe Capture CC makes it even easier for you to use your mobile devices to capture what inspires you and quickly create a brush, shape, or colour theme for professional work. The new Adobe Capture CC brings Adobe Brush, Adobe Shape, Adobe Color and Adobe Hue into a single, powerful, simple-to-use app.

There have also been tweaks to a number of existing apps, including Mix, Stretch, Draw, Comp and Clip, so there should be something useful for you whatever discipline you’re working in.

Want to know more? Give us a call on 03332 409 251 or email adobe@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news and reviews, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook

What’s new in iOS 9?

What’s new in iOS 9?

iOS 9, one of the highlights of Apple’s ‘Hey Siri’ event, will be available as a free download as of 16th  September, and aims to “make iOS devices more intelligent and proactive with powerful search and improved Siri features, all while protecting users’ privacy.”

Multitasking

One of the most exciting things from our workaholic/game addicted point of view is the new string of multitasking modes, including Picture-in-Picture, which lets you play video or conduct FaceTime calls while browsing the web, composing email etc in the background. iPad users will also get to experience Slide Over, which lets you simultaneously work in a second app without leaving the one you’re in (it appears in a sidebar that takes up about a third of your screen) and Split View, which allows you to view and interact with two apps at the same time, side by side, and resize your view to prioritise one or another of the apps.

The core apps get an update

Updates to iOS’s built-in apps include a redesigned Notes app that adds the ability to sketch designs, add photos, sync with iCloud and create wunderlist-style checklists; a Flipboard-style News app that presents you with a clean interface for reading Siri-curated content (it’s based on your interests and browsing, but you can always edit what you’re shown) and the addition of public transport routes to key cities in Maps, should you be about to head to IBC and unfamiliar with Dutch transit.

“iOS 9 is packed with intelligence that makes every experience with iPhone and iPad even more powerful — Siri can do more than ever and new proactive assistance helps you get more done before you ask, all while protecting users’ privacy,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering. “With iOS 9 we focused on strengthening the foundation of iOS with a deep focus on quality, and with the help of more than one million users who participated in our first ever public beta program, we’re excited to release the best version of iOS yet.”

Proactive assistance

The addition you’re most likely to notice day to day is proactive assistance, which helps Siri present the most relevant information at a given time of day and suggests actions at that particular moment based on the apps you use frequently and the time of day you use them. So for example, if you always stream music during your morning run, Siri will open Apple Music at the right time each morning, without you having to set a reminder. You can also add more context-reliant reminders, such as “remind me to call Dave when I get home”, and your phone will use location data to identify when you’ve arrived home and pull up the appropriate contact.

Apple Pay

Although we tend to get Apple Pay features slightly behind the US, we see no reason not to be excited about the fact that Apple Pay has added support for Discover, store loyalty programmes and “participating store-issued credit and debit cards”, which doesn’t sound like something that happens this side of the pond, but still. Shoppers will be able to manage their cards in the new Wallet app, which replaces Passbook.

Longer battery life, more storage and better graphics

Glory be and hallelujah. This latest release gives you an additional hour of battery life, and a power saver mode that sources say should give you an extra three hours per charge. In iOS 9, software updates will require less space to install and the Install Later feature can perform updates to your device when it’s not in use. Enhanced security features in iOS 9 keep your devices and Apple ID secure by strengthening the passcode that protects your devices and improving two-factor authentication by building it directly into iOS, making it harder for others to gain unauthorized access to your Apple ID. iOS 9 apps and the user interface now take advantage of Metal to deliver faster scrolling, smoother animation and better overall performance.

iOS 9 will be available beginning Wednesday, September 16 as a free software update for iPhone 4s and later, iPod touch 5th generation and later, iPad 2 and later and iPad mini and later. Some features may not be available in all regions or all languages. For more information visit the Apple site.

Want to know more? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email business@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news and reviews, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook

Introducing our interactive retail app

Introducing our interactive retail app

Looking to improve customer experience, arm staff against over-informed consumers and increase sales? Our app development team have got you covered. Meet our retail app…

We’re currently using this app in our Soho service and customer experience centre (drop in if you want to see it in action) but it can be adapted and reskinned to fit your environment and branding.

Why an app? Well, for a start, it helps convert sales by giving a more personal touch to customers’ shopping experience, but it also helps you engage customers with dynamic content and deliver product information to help reduce time at till and dropped baskets.

Social media and CRM integration

Customers can log into the app using their existing social media accounts, making it easier for them to bookmark and share your content on social platforms. But because the app also integrates with your CRM systems, you can collect customer information and begin to understand their demographic.

Using this information, you can then select which content and notifications that customer gets from there on in, meaning each customer gets a properly personalised experience.

Enticing customers with special offer notifications

When paired with iBeacon transmitters, the app allows you to push offers directly to the devices of customers in your store.

When a customer enters your store or walks near a beacon, links can be pushed out containing product information, a limited time offer or a simple ‘welcome back’ message. This is a great way to entice people into the store by sending them the content that’s most relevant directly to them.

Engaging customers with dynamic digital content

The other great thing about iBeacon is that it allows you to trigger dynamic digital content, such as promotional videos or specific special offer messaging.

For example, say your customer browses your product catalogue via the app at home. The next time they pass the store and come within range of one of your beacons, details of the items they were looking at can be triggered to display on signage in the shop window, offering a discount or information about availability.

And your store doesn’t even need to be open – if a customer walks past a mannequin or display after hours, iBeacon can still trigger content or push itemised products to the customer’s device, which they can then add to their online basket or buy.

Providing detailed product information

Our app features built-in QR and barcode scanners, which means you can set up codes for key products and have customers scan for more information, to see a demonstration video or to go through to your eCommerce site.

Want to know more? Get in touch with the team at retail@Jigsaw24.com or on 03332 409 306. For all the latest news and updates, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook

How Apple and Acronis are making Mac integration easier

How Apple and Acronis are making Mac integration easier

There have been times in history when Mac computers and PC servers were less than friendly, but with iOS devices overrunning offices and people outside the design department asking for Macs, those days are long gone. OS X offers you tools to make integration easier than ever, and there are some great third party tools available, too.

Let’s start with the basics

It’s a myth that you can’t integrate Mac computers into a Windows environment. The latest version of OS X, Yosemite, even supports SMB 3.0, so everyone’s on the same file sharing protocol and integration is even easier.

However, to deliver the best user experience, your servers still need a little help…

While huge strides have been made, SMB 3.0 is only supported by Windows Server 2012 and OS X Yosemite, and Mac users in a Windows environment can still experience issues like seeing certain files as ‘greyed out’ and inaccessible, or be denied certain permissions that their PC counterparts have. There are also Mac-only features, such as Spotlight search, that aren’t supported if you’re just using Apple’s built-in integration tools, but which contribute a considerable amount to your Mac users’ productivity and the hassle-free user experience they expect from their Apple kit.

Acronis Access Connect (formerly known as ExtremeZ-IP) is a tried and tested solution for solving these issues. By allowing Mac computers to connect to Windows servers over AFP, it re-enables instant search and indexing, and allows Mac users to integrate their files with volumes and file structures on your Windows network. It also returns support for Time Machine, Apple’s built-in backup technology, to the Mac.

Part of Access Connect’s appeal is that it installs quickly, and automatically integrates with Active Directory accounts and NTFS permissions. It then allows end users running any version of OS X to connect using AFP. This results in better performance from their core apps (which are all optimised for AFP) and gives parity of functionality between users.

It also makes life easier for IT admins – not just because they don’t have to deal with incompatibility-based help desk queries, but because Access Connect supports key features like single sign on through Kerberos,  DFS/network reshare, home directories, clustering, quotas, file name policies and advanced logging.

And don’t forget to back up…

If you need to back up your servers (hint: you do) but don’t have the money, capacity or desire to store all your backups locally (perhaps your office is a flood risk, or the office dog likes to gnaw through wires, or you’re just incredibly professional and thorough), then we can help there too.

Our Backup24 managed backup service allows you to back all your data up to our tier 2+ data centre. It’s based in the UK, so you know exactly where your data is, and we physically check that all backups have been successful every day. And if you’re feeling particularly worried about any particular day’s save, our team are only a phone call away. You can find out more here.

Want to know more? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email business@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news and reviews, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook

Using JAMF Software to tame iOS and OS X devices in the workplace

Using JAMF Software to tame iOS and OS X devices in the workplace

With the rise of OS X and iOS devices in business, finding a way to manage these devices and ensure they’re in line with company policies is more important than ever – especially if you need your Mac users to work in harmony with a PC-based workforce.  Here, we talk through some of the techniques and tools you can use to make sure all your Mac and iOS devices are managed and visible, without overburdening IT admin.

While the rise of Apple devices and BYOD/mixed platform environments can be great for productivity and end user satisfaction, it can be a cause for concern among IT admins, particularly as Apple have retired their server hardware, prompting a widespread move to managing Mac computers using Windows servers.  And as the Mac user base grows, viruses are becoming increasingly targeted at the platform, making policy compliance and disk encryption incredibly important for mobile devices and desktops alike. Happily, Apple and a range of third parties are working together to make the situation manageable.

Device Enrolment Programme (DEP)

One of Apple’s latest initiatives, the DEP is designed to make it easier for you to enrol new devices on your company’s MDM system, and reduce the chance of any user accessing the network on an unsecured device. It is not an MDM solution in and of itself, but it does make a ‘zero touch’ MDM deployment possible for all new devices, drastically reducing the time and effort involved in setting up new users.

Put broadly, your create MDM profiles for different types of device and user, then share them with Apple’s servers. Apple will assign your MDM server a unique token, and when a device connects to it for the first time, DEP will push the correct MDM profile to the device as part of the initial startup process, so your end users can’t use their new devices without enrolling them in your MDM service, and no one from IT has to be on hand to oversee registration – it’s all done automatically.

You can enrol your company in DEP at deploy.apple.com.

Preparing for MDM

Before rolling out an MDM solution for Apple devices, you’ll need to make a decision about your Apple ID policy. Many apps and services, both free and paid for, rely on your end user having an Apple ID to authenticate their identity in the App Store and other areas. For this reason, we recommend you allow users to create individual Apple IDs (however, your admin team should use a shared Apple ID to access services like DEP and VPP).

Every Apple ID requires an associated email address – the degree of freedom you wish to allow users and whom ownership of the device sits with will determine whether you allow end users to use their personal emails and existing Apple IDs, or insist they create a separate Apple ID associated with their work email address.

MDM solutions: JAMF Software’s Casper Suite

JAMF Software are one of the most experienced Mac and iOS management experts out there, and their Casper Suite management solution is even used by Apple themselves. At the core of the suite is the JAMF Software Server, which acts just like a web server. It can be hosted on any existing Windows, Linux or OS X server at your premises, hosted remotely via JAMF Cloud or provided as a managed service by our accredited team.

Key features include:

Recon, an app included in the suite which scans your existing estate for Apple devices not currently enrolled in Casper Suite. Recon can then be used to enrol multiple OS X computers remotely. It will also scan IP ranges and enrol any computer it can connect to via SSH (Remote Login).

A range of imaging options, including monolithic imaging (IT builds a standard image including apps and settings, which is then deployed locally or over the network to all computers), thin imaging (IT builds a smaller, more modular image which is installed on top of a standard OS X installation, and other restrictions and apps are deployed using profiles and policies) and zero touch imaging (enrolment through DEP).

Self Service, an app which acts like an internal App Store for your organisation. It can contain apps linked to VPP, packaged apps, eBooks, printer settings, configuration profiles and custom profiles, all of which users can install on or apply to their own device without IT intervention.

JAMF software can be run completely on windows server hardware if required.

Volume Purchasing Program and Managed Distribution

Apple’s Volume Purchasing Program (VPP) is a purchasing scheme designed to save time and money for organisations who want to buy apps and books in bulk. It allows your IT admin to purchase several licences for a particular app, then centrally assign them to end users.

Traditionally, you had to buy your licences, download a spreadsheet of redeemable codes, provide a code to each user so that they can download the app without paying again, and then transfer ownership of the app or book to that user’s Apple ID permanently. Obviously, this is quite time consuming and messy, and involves you losing ownership of the app or book.

Now, if you’re using DEP, you can use Managed Distribution to license content to your end users, meaning they can use the app or book on a temporary basis but you can revoke access at any time. All you need to do is use Casper Suite to generate an invitation email for the end users who need access, and then they’ll be guided through the installation and licensing process without the need for IT admin’s involvement.

Casper Suite as a managed service

If you don’t have the resource to handle MDM in-house, or if your IT team are all PC-based and aren’t comfortable administrating Macs or iOS devices, we can provide Casper Suite as a managed service. You tell us what needs doing; our JAMF-certified team can set up and maintain your deployment. We can even help you optimise your infrastructure for Casper Suite, so you’re getting the best possible performance out of your software.

Want to know more? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email business@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news and reviews, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook

Thanks for swinging by our 4K shootout

Thanks for swinging by our 4K shootout

We’ve released the models, sent our demo units back on the road and written John Harrison a long and embarrassing fan letter, but there is one thing left to do: thank you, the people, for bearing witness to our epic 4K Shootout last week. 

As well as cameras from JVC, Sony, Canon, Panasonic, AJA and Blackmagic, we managed to round up some of the best peripherals available (Zeiss, Samyang and Tokina glass, Atomos DTEs, Dedolite and Kinoflo lights, Libec tripods, IDX charge kits, Shape rigs, Konova sliders and – last but not least – HPRC cases) so that visitors could try out the cameras fully rigged, and in a fully lit environment.

ant_contemplates

Broadcast Consultant Anthony contemplates the universe

Award-winning cinematographer John Harrison was there to deliver two oversubscribed seminars on lighting for 4K. Sorry to everyone we had to turn away from the first session, but even our warren-like office can only hold so many people. Those who were lucky enough to make it in were treated to a lighting masterclass on how to make the best use of your Dedolight and Kinoflow kit when you’re shooting at high res, complete with some fascinating questions from a really engaged crowd. For those who like to keep track of these things, John was shooting on a Sony F55.

4K_lighting

John Harrison summons light from our boardroom floor, a feat only true DoPs can perform.

Downstairs in Wonderland, we had the shootout proper, with a Sony FS7, AJA Cion, Blackmagic Design URSA (hint, we have £1000 off these at the moment), Sony A7-S, Panasonic GH4 and JVC LS-300 all available for shooting. We’d rigged the cameras as far as possible, with a DTE on pretty much anything (thanks to Atomos for showing up in force with more toys than we knew what to do with).

We also had the incredible JVC GW-S100e 4K remote control camera system, which allows you to capture 4K footage remotely from what is possible the smallest MFT camera we’ve ever seen.

We can't tell if those guys in the back are crowding round an FS7 or queueing for free beer.

We can’t tell if those guys in the back are crowding round an FS7 or queueing for free beer.

Thanks for everyone who was involved, from the vendors who bought their kit to those who showed up last minute for the beer and networking. If you didn’t see anything that was right for you, try our Small is the New Big event on 20th August, where we’ll be pitting pro handheld cameras like the Panasonic GH4, Canon C100 and Sony X70 against each other to find the tiniest and mightiest of the current handheld crop, as well as giving you the chance to try out Optica’s latest sliders and gimbals.

You can register for our pro handheld event here.

Need 4K kit? Take a look at our best video deals here. Want to know more? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @Jigsaw24Video on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

A Day in the Life of: Scene Photography

A Day in the Life of: Scene Photography

In the first of a new ‘Day in the Life’ series on creatives and creative agencies from around the UK, we go behind the scenes at Nottingham-based studio Scene Photography. Check out the video below for an insight into Rob and Karen Smalley’s creative workflow, and the tools they’re using to help boost productivity.

Throughout our Day in the Life series, we’ll be calling round at other creatives, including graphic design and web design agencies, and more, so you can see some of the great work others in the industry are getting up to, and how they’re making the most of the latest creative tools.

Want to know more? Call 03332 409 306, email design@Jigsaw24.com, head on over to our Design & Publishing home page and don’t forget to check out our Adobe Creative Cloud page for resources, and updates on all your favourite Adobe apps. For all the latest news and tips follow us on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

4K Shootout: Your guide to the current 4K camera crop

4K Shootout: Your guide to the current 4K camera crop

With our 4K shootout due to mosey into town any day now (well, on 23rd July), we thought it was time to take a closer look at four of the cameras you’ll be able to get hands-on with on the day. Take notes, prepare questions, mentally pick out lenses: anything to ensure you’re not overwhelmed when you get the chance to shoot with all four of them side by side. 

Sony PXW-FS7

First up, the Sony PXW-FS7. As we’ve said before, this Super 35mm 4K handheld takes everything we loved about the FS700, ratchets it up to 11 and then marries it to one of the most ergonomic designs we’ve seen in a long time.

The FS7 is the most flexible workhorse of the bunch, well built enough to function as an excellent ENG and documentary camera. The built-in hand grip serves the dual function of making the camera lighter and easier to balance during long shoots, and means that you don’t have to rig the camera to the extent that you expect in order to get the shots that you want – both big pluses for run and gun shooting.

However, that’s not to discount the quality of images you can get from this camera – it’s capable of shooting beautiful footage, and its support for S-Log3 effectively gives you 1.5 extra stops of dynamic range compared to its predecessor, the FS700, and, as S-Log3 is pretty close to Cineon log, the footage you get is easier to grade and you’ve got more chance of achieving a classic ‘filmic’ look.

Sensor-wise, the PXW-FS7 boasts a Super 35mm CMOS image sensor with 11.6 million pixels in a 4352 x 2662 configuration, including 8.9 million effective pixels. The sensor’s high readout speed means the FS7 can support super slow motion 4K shooting, and its full pixel readout capability and lack of pixel binning mean that jaggies and noir are minimised.

While it’s natively E-mount, an A-mount adaptor is available if you want access to a wider pool of lenses. Plus, Sony are so confident about the quality of their hardware that they’re offering an extended warranty on it, which is always reassuring.

AJA CION

AJA are known for their sturdy, unfussy designs, and the CION follows that pattern exactly: its traditional form factor and lightweight body make it an ergonomic choice for longer shoots. There’s also the usual (but highly practical) fact that it can be stored away while fully rigged, so if you need to shoot with no notice, you can just take it out of its case and go.

Design considerations aside, the CION is able to output 4K raw data at up to 120fps via 4x 3G-SDI outputs (you can shoot directly to edit-ready Apple ProRes 4444 at up to 4K 30fps over Thunderbolt, ProRes 422 at up to 4K 60fps, or output AJA Raw at up to 4K 120fps), and records directly to AJA Pak SSD media at up to 60 frames per second. Its APS-C sized CMOS sensor is backed by great internal processing, meaning your end image is noise-free under most conditions, and it packs in an electronic global shutter and 12 stops of dynamic range.

Given the range of codecs and lens options available to you, the CION is a great choice for anyone who’s looking to achieve a cinematic look under a range of circumstances and workflows. AJA’s hardware is typically built like a tank and rarely goes EOL, so we’re willing to bet the CION will be kept current for a good few years – it’s already had some interesting firmware upgrades – making it a safe investment for anyone who needs their camera to last far longer than it should at its price point.

Blackmagic Design URSA

As we’ve said before, of all this group, the URSA is most suited to multiple operators; you can even split the on-camera controls so that one side of the camera controls audio while the other handles image settings, and can check separate scopes on all three of the URSA’s on-board monitors.

The corollary to this is that the URSA really needs to be rigged on a tripod, being, as it is, one of the heaviest cameras we’ve ever encountered. You’ll also need a good stock of V-lock batteries, as the URSA’s massive internal processing power translates to a constant thirst for power, so grab some batteries and a VTC plate along with the camera body if you’re thinking of buying.

However, it can shoot incredibly flexibly, supports high frame rate and delivers what are team our calling “pretty hardcore” image quality, so if you want 180fps ProRes now, no questions asked, this is the camera to set your sights on.

JVC GY-LS300

Not often mentioned in the same breath as the other three, but we think the LS300 has a lot more to offer than most people assume. First off, this is a Super 35mm 4K camera for under £3K ex VAT, which is extremely good value. And the fact that it supports a wide range of interchangeable lenses means that you can probably save again by reusing your existing still camera lenses to shoot video. Then of course there’s the fact that it shoots 4K Ultra HD, full HD with 4:2:2 sampling, SD and web-friendly proxy files, so you’re not going to need to replace or add to it for some time, meaning you’ll get great ROI.

It also has some very nifty hidden features and, because it has a full frame sensor and lets you scale down the crop factor by percentage, offers you ultimate lens flexibility. If you want to capture a micro 4/3″ or 2/3″ size image, you simply need to scale to the correct size, then carry on shooting as if you were on a smaller sensor camera. And even if you’re attaching the smallest lenses in your collection, you’ll still be able to pull HD images off the camera – in some cases, even 4K.

It also has XLR inputs, so you have plenty of high quality micing options, and will support auto-focus and zoom rocker use on any lenses that have those features enabled, meaning that with the right accessories the LS300 can become a really interesting run and gun camera, perfect for live events and ENG-style shooting – especially given its live streaming and FTP capabilities.

Register for our 4K Shootout

Drop by our Soho office on 23rd July to get hands on with these guys and put your questions to the team – we’ll also have Varicam, DSLRs like the A7S and GH4, the URSA Mini and the XC-10, as well as Zeiss glass, a 4K lighting setup from Cirrolight (and a tutorial on lighting for 4K with cinematographer John Harrison).

Want to know more? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @Jigsaw24Video on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

iPad for ePOS: the key kit

iPad for ePOS: the key kit

Point of sale is changing. As new software and systems allow you to move away from expensive custom ePOS hardware and toward a more slimline, iPad-driven approach, we look at the available kit. 

Now, until everyone and everything supports Apple Pay, you’re going to need to add a few accessories to your iPad to turn it into a fully functioning till. Here’s a quick guide to the best barcode scanners, most reliable receipt printers and cash drawers our product management team couldn’t jimmy open with a screwdriver.

Barcode scanners

Kicking things off is the Opticon OPN-2001 barcode scanner. This pocket laser scanner is as straightforward as it gets: scan the barcode to store it, press the clear button on the front of the device and re-scan the same barcode to forget it, charge via USB every 1000 scans or so. It can hold up to 10,000 codes with time stamps and weighs just 28 grams, so is great if you’re building a temporary POS and need to keep the weight of your setup down.

 

If you want something a bit more ergonomic, then try the very sleek Socket Mobile CHS 7Ci barcode scanner, which has the added advantage of being certified by Apple for use with iOS devices. It can read printed barcodes and those on screens, so if you’re emailing out offer codes to your customers on a regular basis, this is probably the one for you, especially given its 10 hour/10,000 scan battery life and impressive 508mm scan range.

 

Printers

Star Micronics are our go-to receipt printers, and we’re particularly fond of the SM-S220i and TSP143.

The SM-S220i is a great choice if you need something mobile. A lightweight Bluetooth receipt printer, it’s designed for queue busters and wait staff to take payment wherever the customer happens to be. Compatible with both iOS and Android, it’s the ideal partner for a mobile ePOS solution, and despite being tiny it can crank out an impressive 8cm of 230 dpi receipt per second.

If you’re looking for a fixed printer, try the TSP143. It’s a LAN thermal printer, meaning you get fast long-distance communication over Cat5 LAN cabling (nice and cheap), and includes a ‘print on disconnection’ feature that’ll print you an alert should you have any network issues.

An auto-cutter and all the accessories and software you need to get set up are included in the price (including a wall mount, in case you like your receipt printers vertical). The only thing that might set you back extra is a splash-proof cover that we imagine would be a sound investment if you’re a restaurateur or a particularly clumsy goldfish-seller.

Cash drawers

And now to the most important bit: making sure no-one can run off with your hard-earned dosh. APG’s Vasario series of cash drawers are a popular choice: they rely on the popular MultiPRO interface, so will work with most ePOS systems, and the four-function lock offers you the security of locked closed, locked open, online and manual settings.

The Vasario 1616 offers great bang for your buck, giving you the security of that multifunction lock at a lower price point than usual, plus drawer status reporting and a two year warranty.

If you’re using a Star or Epson printer, a good call is the Star Micronics CB-2002, which is designed specifically to work with these printers and comes in eight note/eight coin and four note/eight coin variations.

It has a three-position lock with drawer release, includes a compulsion switch and RJ12 connection.

Want to know more? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email business@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news and reviews, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook

Jigsaw24 recommends: iPad kiosks

Jigsaw24 recommends: iPad kiosks

If you want to set up iPad kiosks in-store there are a number of factors to consider, including physical security, how you’ll charge them and whether you’ll need to sync them remotely. Here are some ideas… 

So you know you want a snazzy interactive kiosk where your customers can find out more about products, staff can present rich content and – gasp – contactless payments may even take place. What you don’t know is how to stop customers running off with your devices and how to make sure they’re always fully charged. Never fear – our retail team have found three ace kiosk-makers with solutions that will sort all of this for you. Here’s the rundown…

Maclocks

There are two solutions we really like from Maclocks – the Space Desk Enclosure and the BrandMe Floorstand (both compatible with iPad 2, iPad 3, iPad 4 and iPad Air).

The Space Desk Enclosure is a padded aluminium enclosure that stops anyone tampering with your iPad’s home, volume and lock buttons, but still allows data, radio and WiFi signals to filter through, so you can enjoy full access to whichever app you lock the iPad into.

If you fancy keeping your iPad on a tabletop, the Space Desk Enclosure can accommodate a cable lock to hold it down, or you can mount the whole thing flush against your showroom wall (you won’t be able to rotate iPad once it’s mounted, though, so pay careful attention to whether your app works best in portrait or landscape mode).

If you want a freestanding kiosk, the BrandMe Floorstand is, as its name suggests, brandable, with dedicated space on the column for your logo. As well as being able to show iPad in portrait and landscape mode, it allows you to hide the charging cable in the base of the stand, so you can charge your iPad discreetly and securely at any time.

Your iPad can attach to the BrandMe stand using a Space enclosure or an ‘Executive Enclosure’ made of tamperproof aluminium screws, which has the advantage of being chic and incredibly thief-resistant.

Bouncepad

If Maclocks’ offering isn’t doing it for you, try Bouncepad. They have a slightly swooshier design (that’s a technical term) and their tabletop option, Bouncepad Desk, has a short ‘stalk’, so that you can display your iPad devices at a conveniently tiled viewing angle without taking up too much space or giving customers the chance to yank the screen around too much.

Bouncepad Desk is available in black or white as standard, though you can add a custom finish if you want a more branded feel, and can be mounted from above or below a surface depend on said surface’s depth. You can also choose from a variety of faceplates that cover different combinations of buttons, depending on how much you want customers to be able to do.

There are a range of extras available that allow you to rotate, tilt and even add headphones to the stand, so that you can customise each Bouncepad Desk to the activity you want it locked to.

In terms of uprights, we like the Bouncepad Floorstanding. Nice and simple and the perfect height at 114cm, its weighted base and lack of complicated setup mean that it’s an ideal solution for exhibitions, event spaces and other temporary displays. (Don’t worry, you can secure it to the floor so that no-one runs off with it.)

A charger cable can be concealed in the base, so you’re able to enjoy continuous power, and the stand will work with the same tilt and rotate add-ons that you can get for the Desk, if you still want that functionality.

Griffin

Look, we’re just really big fans of Griffin gear, OK? And their Kiosk Desktop range is as sturdy as their mobile one, offering you a sleek, stable enclosure that you can mount on any flat surface without having to look at any unsightly mounting screws.

The Kiosk Desktop gives you a shock resistant iPad enclosure and high-strength steel arm, which can also house the cabling and power supply for your iPad. The Kiosk Desktop comes with three faceplates, so you can choose whether to allow customers access to the iPad home button, camera or neither. And as all the faceplates are part of your initial purchase rather than extras, you can swap out plates if you want to repurpose the iPad in a location where users are given more freedom.

There’s also a 119cm Kiosk Floor available, for anyone who wants a freestanding iPad solution. Both can run the Kiosk App (£2.99 from the App Store) that you can use to manage and sync multiple devices, set home pages and iPad behaviour while idle, and even make sure staff are alerted if a device is damaged, unplugged or otherwise brought low by a heavy-handed customer. So useful!

The only downside is that the Kiosk range currently only supports iPad, iPad 2 and iPad 3, but hopefully and iPad Air-friendly version is in the offing.

Want to know more? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email business@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news and reviews, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook