Lucas Gilman talks Thunderbolt storage, Mac Pro and the G-Technology ev

Lucas Gilman talks Thunderbolt storage, Mac Pro and the G-Technology ev

Photographer and videographer Lucas Gilman has built a reputation on getting fantastic action shots in some of the most trying conditions imaginable, so he’s perfect if you’re looking for someone to stress test your latest kit. Recently, he’s been putting both G-Technology’s Evolution Series and Apple’s new Mac Pro through its paces, so we caught up with him to find out how they fared…

We hear you’ve been taking the new G-Technology ev series out on shoots recently. How does it fit into your workflow?

I shoot a lot of stuff on location around the world, and originally I was using the G-Technology G-RAID minis in the field. However, with the advent of the ev series, it’s made things a lot smoother in terms of going out and capturing both stills and motion. A lot of organisation needs to be done in the field to jump-start the editing process when I’m back in the studio.

I primarily capture in the field, so the first order of business after a day of shooting is to download everything to a backup drive instantaneously. I use a G-DOCK ev with Thunderbolt via a 15” MacBook Pro with Retina display. So I’m harnessing the speed of Thunderbolt, and I’m able to duplicate that data using Shotput Pro for the video things or Photo Mechanic on stills.

That means that right away I’ve got two backup copies. With video, we go to four drafts simultaneously using two G-DOCKs with two G-DRIVE evs in each. On top of that, I’ve got my master copy, which is on the CF or SD card. Those are then geographically separated, and it’s not until then that I’ll begin to go through and start organising data.

The great thing is that once I get back to the studio office, or the mothership, I can plug these G-DRIVE evs right into the G-DOCK that I’ve got on my desk and start ingesting all of that data.

Is that the storage you’d work off for the rest of the project?

Basically, G-SPEEDs are my backup drives, and then for any video work I’m typically using G-RAIDs. Any live work is going on G-RAIDs for video, live work and / or archive is going onto G-SPEEDs.

Basically every day of a shoot I have a set of G-DRIVE ev’s for that given day. So if it’s a ten-day shoot, that means I have twenty G-DRIVE ev’s. If I’m shooting video, I’d have forty G-DRIVE ev’s. And when we get back, all those drives get plugged into G-DOCKs next to my Mac Pro, and all that data starts getting downloaded into the various G-SPEEDs or G-RAIDs. For instance, my photo workflow for my live work, the images that I’m actually working on, and my archive, I use

G-SPEED Q USB 3.0 drives, because that’s totally sufficient for my photo needs. The backup and archive of all the video projects is done via a Thunderbolt RAID Expansion adapter with two G-SPEED eS PROs, which are really fast, and for the daily work I’m using the G-RAIDs. They’re tough, they’re fast, they’re Thunderbolt, they’re all that great stuff.

Why did you gravitate to that particular setup?

It’s easier to be doing all this data backup in the field with the G-DOCK because now I don’t have to manually do it drive-to-drive, or have a bunch of drives plugged in, which is near impossible when you’re on location. I can use G-DRIVEs and the G-DOCK in a JBOD [‘just a bunch of disks’, ie non-RAID] configuration so that they all just show up as independent drives [and only have to do the transfer once]. It makes it so there’s no human error. Because there’s only one copy. It’s easy to stay organised because there’s less to track.

And how are the drives holding up so far?

As far as the speed goes, the G-DRIVE ev’s are definitely sufficient to get the workflow done. I know that there will be speed improvements in the pipeline, because with G-Technology, everything gets faster and bigger every year, so I’m definitely looking forward to that as well as some incorporation of SSD in there at some point.

How important is storage to your workflow?

For me personally, a lot of the things I shoot will never happen again. For instance, I shoot a lot of big water drops and big wave surfing – things that you can’t recreate. So if you screw up and lose a card from that day’s shoot or it falls out of your pocket or whatever, it’s gone forever. So it’s really important for me to have a backup strategy.

Why should people be investing in the best storage they can?

I basically use and trust G-Technology because in my opinion they make the most well built and – consistently – the fastest drives that cater to creative professionals. On top of that, they’re using enterprise class drives in a lot of their products.  For me it all comes down to trust, reliability and speed. Think about it – if I go to Iceland for Land Rover, that’s thousands of dollars we’re spending onsite, the campaign took years to come together, so I spend a little extra on hard drives that I can trust with my creative vision.”

I’ve seen some shots you took of people surfing in pretty glacial waters. I imagine it’s hard to find tech that’ll keep working consistently in arctic conditions.

Exactly. The reason I gravitated to the G-Technology products was that they were built to a higher standard. And that allows me, as a creative professional; to focus on the task at hand and not be worrying about if a drive’s ready to go. That’s just wasted time and energy, when I could be focusing on the project and producing good, relevant content for my clients.

How does this generation of models compare to the ones you were using previously?

As far as the speed, they’re obviously faster, but the form factor is the beauty of it. The fact that I can plug a G-DRIVE ev into my Mac via USB 3 if I want, independently, or I can use them in the G-DOCK and leverage its Thunderbolt speed. In the field I use them via USB, then plug them right into the G-DOCK once I get home. The nice thing is that I don’t have to have a bunch of cords hanging off my desk and a bunch of drives – I don’t have to worry and think ‘oh, did I do that drive yet or not?’ It’s really simple and makes everything really fluid.

Is desktop storage key to your workflow, or do you find yourself working with SAN/nearline/archive setups too? If so, how does your G-Technology storage integrate with that?

I look at the G-DOCK as an ingest mechanism. So you’ve got the data already organised on these cartridges (G-DRIVE evs), and then just ingesting it into your nearline system, like G-RAID or my SAN’s G-SPEED eS PROs, it’s really very simple – basically plug and play. It’s just another method of getting the data from point A to point B, and it’s really fast.

And how have you found using it with Mac Pro?

The benefit of integrating the Mac Pro and the G-Technology system is that the Mac Pro, having six Thunderbolt 2 ports, allows me to attach a lot of peripherals and gives me a lot of flexibility.

But I think the benefit of the Mac Pro is that it is pretty much the fastest computer on the planet. It’s super reliable. It’s very expandable from a peripheral standpoint, and that’s great because G-Technology have made a very concerted effort to move forward with Thunderbolt.

Having that really fast Mac Pro, having Thunderbolt-ready drives, or being able to use Thunderbolt devices such as an ATTO Thunderstream so that I can run SANs, really allows me to configure the system how I want.

I think that’s going to be the big key point for creative professionals, especially in the motion and video market. They’re not pigeonholed into a particular workflow. If they want to run SANs, they can. If they want to run eSATA they can. If you want to use third party cards that will attach via Thunderbolt, you can do that too.  You’re really able to keep that system growing and future-proof it, in a sense.

How have you found working on Mac Pro? Does it live up to the hype?

For me it’s the fastest computer I’ve ever used. Previously, because I do like Thunderbolt, I was using the fastest possible iMac – everything was completely maxed out – and the Mac Pro is way, way faster than that. It allows me to render a lot of data very quickly, and seamlessly scrub through a lot of HD footage. I’m doing my edits a lot quicker. And the fact that I’ve got dual 6GB graphics cards as well as eight core processors – it’s kind of amazing.

Is this going to let you tackle bigger and better projects?

Totally. As of recently, I’ve been shooting pretty much 1080p, but I would definitely think about shooting 4K now, because I could actually do something with it as opposed to it just being a massive chore. That’ll really allow me a lot more flexibility in post whether I’m cropping or moving within the frames or even just shooting super-slow motion stuff. Being able to crunch through all that data now will open up the opportunities for me to be more creative.

What applications have you been using on the new Mac Pro?

I like FCP X. Aperture is my main photo editing app with a little Photoshop thrown in – a sprinkling of Photoshop, I guess you’d say. Typically I feel like the Apple applications are really optimised for this machine, so it’s able to give a much higher level of performance than anybody else can offer.

What performance gains have you seen on the new Mac Pro vs the previous generation?

I had an older generation Mac Pro and then I upgraded everything to iMac because I wanted Thunderbolt. So I had the most current iMac with the fastest processors, maxed out with RAM as well as dual graphics cards and an internal SSD, so it was the fastest you could purchase. I’d say this is eight to ten times faster than my iMac was. Graphics-intensive things like rendering video and such, you just don’t register those things having to render anymore.

What kind of transfer speeds have you seen through Thunderbolt 2?

I have not clocked anything recently. I’m not a speeds and feeds guy. I don’t get too deeply into the tech. But what I do notice is when I’m on a job and I’m not waiting for anything to happen, whether it’s transferring data or rendering – when I’m able to do that really quickly and it feels like wow, that took no time. I don’t even notice it happening because there’s no slowdown, that’s what makes or breaks it for me.

We hear you’ve also been using a Sharp 4K display – can you tell us a little about how you’ve found that?

It’s been great. The only issue I had was that I had to reconfigure all my mouse settings because there’s so much real estate. You literally move your mouse across your desk and it would move a quarter each on my screen. I thought, ‘what is this? Is this a glitch? Oh no, there are a lot more pixels here, and there’s a lot more real estate!’

It’s really taking photo editing to the next level because you just notice more things, it’s just that much more apparent. As far as the video editing goes, having that amount of real estate is great, but it’s also really being able to dig into that footage and notice the nuances and being able to colour grade things on a much higher level really makes things a lot more pleasant. The Sharp display is absolutely amazing.

Want to know more about G-Technology’s latest and the new Mac Pro? Give our team a call on 03332 409 306 or email MacPro@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

 

Meet Sony’s new A team: PVM-A170 and PVM-A250

Meet Sony’s new A team: PVM-A170 and PVM-A250

 

It’s official – Sony have replaced their PVM-2541A and PVM-1741A monitors with the new PVM-A170 and PVM-A250. 

As well as being easier to spell, the A170 and A250 are 40% thinner and lighter than previous generations of PVM monitor, and boast the industry’s best viewing angle – a whopping 89 degrees.
The Sony PVM-A170

Sony's PVM-A170

The smaller of the two monitors, the 17″ PVM-A170 weighs just 4.2 kilos and is far slimmer than its predecessor, so while we don’t recommend that you carry it about, you could do if you needed to. Sony have been quick to point out that their new slimline design is perfect for on-set setups where space is at a premium, or for large ‘monitor wall’ configurations. If you’re worried about carrying it round, you can buy a protection kit that includes AR-coated protection glass and corner bumpers.

It’s got two 3G-SDI I/O ports, one HDMI port and a composite connection, and waveforms, vector scopes and audio level metres are all present and correct – you can even zoom from 0 to 20 IRE – all which supports Sony’s point that this is ideal for on-set monitoring. There are plenty of other useful features too, with colour edges to help camera focus operation, time code display, safety area markers, serial and parallel remote and an eight channel level meter display.

Sony's PVM-A170
The Sony PVM-A250

Sony's PVM-A250

The larger of the two monitors, the Sony PVM-A250 still manages to be 40% lighter and slimmer than its predecessor, weighing in at just 6.1 kilos. As with its counterpart, there is the option to add AR toughened glass and corner protection to keep your PVM-A250 in one piece. Those charming feet you see in the picture fold if you want to mount your PAM-V250, and there’s also a handle if you want to move it between locations, or use it for some impromptu weightlifting.

The PVM-A250 boasts all the scopes, waveform monitors, focus features and meters that the smaller model does, and continues to use Sony’s OLED and TrimasterEL technology to deliver high colour accuracy and consistency at a far lower price point than its competitors. There’s support for multiple input formats, including 480i, 720p, 1080i, and 1080p at frame rates between 23.98 and 60 fps.

Want to know more about Sony’s new PVM-A range? Give us a call on 03332 400 306 or email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news and reviews, follow @Jigsaw24Video on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook

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Four excellent replacements for your EX3

Four excellent replacements for your EX3

We started spring cleaning early this year and, while doing anything remotely difficult in December felt incredibly strange, we have to say that getting rid of our old kit actually felt pretty good. We’re up to date now! We’re flexible! We can shoot videos that don’t look five years out of date! It’s all pretty exciting. 

One of the hardest parts of the entire exercise was getting rid of our trusty EX1/EX3 combo. Having gotten us through more case study shoots, product demos and terrifying windows into our collective subconscious than we care to remember, these cameras have earned themselves a special place in our hearts and besides, they’re good, dependable cameras.

But we had to face facts. They’re old cameras. The images they produce aren’t as high quality as those produced by some of their latest rivals, and they don’t make it easy to get fashionable effects like shallow DOF. They had to go. And, if you’re being honest, your EX3 is closing in on the end of its shelf life, too.

In order to help you get through the switch with maximum dignity and minimal angst, we’ve put together this roundup of resources for our four favourite replacements: the PMW-200, PMW-300, NEX-FS700 and PXW-Z100, all of which are perfect for different reasons. And if you don’t see what you need here, you can always put a question to our team by calling 03332 409 306 or emailing broadcast@Jigsaw24.com.

 PMW-200: The new EX1

Sony PMW-200, available now from Jigsaw24

Sony’s PMW-200 is designed to be the direct successor to the EX1, incorporating familiar controls and features but giving the overall image quality a bump thanks to a new image sensor. This sensor was developed to help combat rolling shutter issues, so you can kiss those goodbye, and will also support high frame rate recording, should you feel the need to recreate select scenes from The Hobbit at full speed in your back garden (we have absolutely not done this).

The reviews

The always dependable No Film School have some key specs and a pretty comprehensive video review here (the presenter is really quite keen on Fujinon lenses) and, although they’re big EX1 fans, they do find time to wax lyrical about our favourite feature: the PMW-200’s 15 second cache recording capability. If you’re going to be doing events work or ENG, having all that extra time is going to make it a lot easier for you to capture key moments, and we don’t know anyone who’d turn that down.

For a more comprehensive overview, head over to XDCAM User and take a look at their review, in which an EX1-loving videographer takes the PMW-200 out on shoots in Singapore and the UK. It’s the closest you’re going to get to touching the PMW-200 without pawing it in a showroom.

The essential info

One thing that confused a few PMW-200 users in the early days was the fact that you had to choose whether to format your memory cards as UDF or FAT, seemingly for no reason. Luckily, UrbanFox have worked it out: you want UDF for higher 50Mbps recording, and FAT for your lower nitrates.  And once you’ve got your cards formatted and your footage shot, here’s how to make sure your XDCAM MXF footage will work properly in Adobe Premiere Pro.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that if you’re delivering XDCAM clips to clients, they might not be able to play the footage directly on their Macs. Try this handy workaround to get your footage working with QuickTime Player.

PMW-300: The new EX3

Sony PMW-300, available now from Jigsaw24

If interchangeable lenses are an absolute necessity for you and you’ve always been an EX3 user, the PMW-200’s ample charms may not quite be enough for you. You’ll want the PMW-300, which offers a broadcast quality, EBU-approved 50Mbps codec and interchangeable lens on top of everything you’d expect from an EX3. Like the PMW-200, it features an updated sensor that’ll really help with rolling shutter issues and enable you to shoot HFR.

The reviews 

Let’s start official. You can take a look at the key specs in this Sony brochure, and see Sony Professional’s Ulrich Mors chronicle leaving the EX1 for the PMW-300 in this official video, during which he also feels the need to dunk a SxS card into a glass of water. We do not condone this. There’s also this promotional video, which both showcases what the PMW-300 can do and proves that violins are cool.

There isn’t a wealth of material out there about the PMW-300, probably because it arrived not long after everyone had gotten extremely excited by the PMW-200. Once again, XDCAM User’s Alister Chapman saves the day, producing an epic review comparing the PMW-300 and PXW-100. You should read the whole thing for a practical, thoughtful overview, but for those with limited time, here’s a spoiler:

“I like both of these cameras and would be pleased to own either. But of the two cameras, I think the PMW-300 is the better all round camera. I really like the 300, I think that Sony have really got this one right (with perhaps the exception of the release catch for the shoulder pad). The picture quality is once again best in class and rivals many much more expensive and larger cameras. It’s going to be a good all round camera that will find a home on corporate shoots, news and documentary shoots as well as in low budget studios. The new viewfinder is really delightful and is a big part of what makes this camera so good.”

NEX-FS700: The perfect corporate camera

As well as inspiring us to make a frankly embarrassingly over the top test video in a frantic ten minute filming session, the FS700 got a lot of early love for its super slow motion capabilities and ability to shoot shallow depth of field, which has become popular in corporate videography circles, shorts and, well, everywhere else.

Sony NEX-FS700, available now from Jigsaw24

Another thing we love, though, is that you can pair it with Convergent Design’s Odyssey 7Q to scale up to 4K. This is a 7.7″ OLED monitor-slash-recorder that lets you record DNxHD 8 or 10-­bit  YCC to 1080p, 60/60i,  720p, 60 (.mov, .mxf). How does that get you 4K? Well Convergent Design have set up a new system that allows you to either buy firmware updates for 2K, 4K, HFR and various shades of RAW outright, or rent them on a day-by-day basis.

If you’re typically shooting HD but need 4K for a specific project, you can just hire that firmware for the duration of your shoot and stop paying for it when you don’t need it anymore, making this a really cost-effective way to kick start your 4K workflow. (This is actually why Original Concept TV chose to use the FS700.)

The reviews

Philip Bloom was an FS700 fan, and you can see his test video here. If you’re a 4k skeptic, you might appreciate this review from Studio Daily, in which Barry Braverman is slowly won over by the FS700’s ‘all natural’ charms. This typically thorough effort from the ever-useful XDCAM User is worth a read, as are this review/video overview from our friends at F Stop Academy and this effort from The Film Bakery.

Over on News Shooter, Sam Price-Waldman has undertaken an epic quest to find out if the FS700 is the perfect documentary tool, and his write up is simultaneously very useful and aesthetically pleasing thanks to some lovely screengrabs.

If you want a slightly more long-term view, take a look at this retrospective of one year with an FS700 from Get Deluxe.

The essential info

If you’re here for the super slo-mo, you’ll want to watch this 90 second guide to setting it up for slow motion, and check out No Film School’s guide to dealing with Flicker before you start shooting (there are also some nice sample shoots there, if you want to take a look at some existing shots before you buy). Finally, if you’re wondering which peripherals to buy, we obviously recommend you call our team, but a close second option is this FS700 kit walkthrough from Next Wave DV, which is a nice guide for anyone trying to work out what they’d like to include in a starter kit.

Buy now
PXW-Z100: For videographers with ambition

Sony PXw-Z100, available now from Jigsaw24

Widely hailed as the camera that’s going to do for 4K what the Z1 did for HD, the Z100 is a compact, affordable 4K camcorder that’s proven popular in the corporate and videography circuit, not least because the ROI trimming lets you shoot a single angle of 4K and then trim it to give the impression that you’ve shot an interview from different distances.

Your 4K footage is captured to 10-bit 4:2:2 intraframe XAVC, which is the same codec used in the F5 and F55. It records to the brand new XQD card, and its dual slots allow for mirror or relay recording.

The reviews

Let’s kick off with this Sony-sponsored roundup from filmmaker Matt Davis, who shares his first impressions in a pleasingly sleek and dramatically soundtracked video (he’s also done an unboxing video, if you want to go right from the start). Filmmaker magazine claims this isn’t a review but it does read suspiciously like one…

The essential info

Start off by getting your fill of specs from Sony’s official PWX-Z100 brochure, then listen to Alister Chapman run through the differences between this and its prosumer sibling, the AX1, at IBC. Florian Friedrich has ventured slightly further afield, shooting some test footage in his studio and outdoors so that you can see what the camera is capable of. We refuse to hear a word against his peerless choice of soundtrack.

There are also a few slightly sketchy looking tutorials online explaining how you can convert your Z100 footage to ProRes so you can edit it in FCP, but we should warn you that we’re yet to try these out.

Buy Now

Want to know more about replacing your EXCAM? Get in touch with the team on 03332 409 306 or email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, reviews and tips, follow @Jigsaw24Video on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook

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e7 explained: iPad 1:1 pilot

e7 explained: iPad 1:1 pilot

If you’re certain that a 1:1 device scheme would help your students and staff, but need to run a proof of concept trial to show teachers, parents and governors that you’re right, you want to get in on the ground floor of e7 with our 1:1 pilot scheme…

For a whole term, we provide you with everything you need for a 1:1 ‘proof of concept’ to explore how you will use iPad, and to show the full benefits to the whole school, governors, parents and key stakeholders. You get access to:

•  40 iPad (in cases) preloaded with chosen learning apps and resources, and pre-configured to your school’s network so that they work as soon as you turn them on.

•  Full support from our e7 team and experienced tech support engineers.

•  Teaching and learning guidance so you get the maximum benefit from the devices.

•  Technical advice on iPad management.

•  Apple TV.

To take part in the trial, you must…

•  Have a headteacher and SLT committed to rolling out iPad on a 1:1 basis to all pupils.

•  Have a dedicated e7 champion (or group of champions) who will promote the benefits of the scheme to pupils, teachers, parents and governors.

•  Understand that a significant amount of time will be needed to ensure the pilot is a success.

•  Acknowledge Jigsaw24 as your partner of choice.

Extra services: Ask us about…

•  Essential teacher training, including Vision & Plan for SLT and basics for staff, from Apple Professional Development accredited trainers and former teaching staff.

•  Technical consultation on app licensing, Apple IDs and VPP to ensure your school is legally compliant.

•  Technical handover training to make sure your IT team are fully up to scratch on equipment.

•  iPad configuration with network settings and learning resources, and pre-enrolment into a trial MDM solution.

Want to know more about deploying iPad in your school? Give us a call on 03332 409 333 or email learning@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, how-tos and recommended resources, follow @Jigsaw24Edu on Twitter or Like’ us on Facebook

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Our 6 best headphones for the classroom

Our 6 best headphones for the classroom

Are headphones the unsung heroes of the audio classroom? Not only do they keep your neighbours happy, protect you from your students’ more ‘experimental’ compositions and make things like our old favourite the JamHub possible, they’re pretty much constantly being battered, beaten and dropped. 

So, if you’re taking advantage of the Christmas break to give your audio equipment a bit of a spruce, we’d recommend starting with your headphones. And we have a few suggestions as to which might be best for you…

For student workstations: AKG K44. Great for where you need lots of pairs for student workstations, the AKG K44 has a straight single-sided cable, which means it’s less prone to getting caught or snagged and snapping than your typical, double-cabled headphone.

For media students: Sony MDR-7506. Sony’s MDR-5706 provides your media students with excellent sound quality, while combining a closed back design and single-sided coiled cable to ensure they can stand up to the rigours of outdoor shooting (it also minimises the amount of cable around to get tangled up in).

For the recording studio: Beyerdynamic DT100. If you’re trying to replicate an industry standard workflow, try using the DT100, which is the industry’s standard closed back headphone. It offers you minimal sound leakage and a tough-as-nails industrial design, with all parts being individually replaceable if they sustain damage.

Beyerdynamic DT100

For critical listening: AKG K240. These high quality monitoring headphones give your students an excellent frequency range and open backed design, making them ideal for exercises where students need to listen critically, such as when they’re listening to recorded performances or monitoring instruments.

For use in noisy environments: Sennheiser HD-25-1 II. With its pro quality sound reproduction, closed back design, excellent background noise attenuation and rotatable ear cups, this Sennheiser model is great for anyone trying to hear clearly in noisy environments. It’s proved very popular with professional cameramen and DJs, which we’re taking as a sterling recommendation of its noise reduction abilities.

For monitoring on a budget: Sennheiser HD205-II. The 205-II’s single-sided cable and closed back design make it a sturdy choice for anyone who needs headphones for monitoring, recording or general listening that don’t break the bank.

Want to know more about headphones for your music students? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email audio@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, reviews and recommendations, follow @Jigsaw24Edu on Twitter or Like’ us on Facebook


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How our designers made the move to Creative Cloud for teams

How our designers made the move to Creative Cloud for teams

When Adobe announced that their key apps were moving to Creative Cloud and that a new teams option would be available, we decided to sign our in-house design team up straight away. While they were initially nervous, we now have a team of designers who can work remotely, collaborate easily and have developed an unhealthy fascination with InCopy…

Choosing to move to Creative Cloud for teams

As the UK’s largest Adobe reseller, we’re always keen to get our hands on the latest updates so that we know what our customers are dealing with. However, when the design team found our that their beloved copies of Creative Suite were going to be confiscated, they were a little worried.

“At first, I was apprehensive, because it was really an unknown,” explains our design manager Loui Goldsworthy. “Because of the name, I thought it might change how our team works. Would it pull from a server continuously and be slow?” (These worries turned out to be unfounded – our team just needed to download the apps once, then worked locally as they had before, without the need to connect to Adobe’s servers or maintain a constant internet access.)

But the possibility of accessing new features quickly overcame any nerves. “We thought it was the right thing to do – we were excited to move and see the new features we’d get to explore, and we always want to make sure we’re utilising the latest features and using the most efficient workflow,” Loui.

As for the designers themselves, their reactions ranged from excited to nervous to worried that they’d have to pay for their own software – a worry quickly put paid to by the arrival of Creative Cloud for teams, which allowed everything to be managed centrally rather than forcing each designer to take out an individual licence.

Getting set up with Creative Cloud for teams

When it came to getting set up with Creative Cloud for teams, “It was really easy,” said Loui. “We just had to assign the email addresses of the individual designers to the licence. They then got an invitation to the main Creative Cloud portal.”

From there, the designers can download whichever apps they need. If their requirements change or they want to explore a new app, they simply head back to the portal. On the flipside of that, our design managers can also choose to lock down apps if they wish. “We’ve stayed away from that as just because some of our apps aren’t part of our workflow now, doesn’t mean they won’t be in the future. If we don’t explore them we don’t know what we could be missing. The expanded range of apps available as standard in Creative Cloud for teams is great to give us opportunities to be able to cater more widely to our clients’ needs.”

Finding new features and tools

One of the main benefits of moving to Creative Cloud for teams was that our designers got access to a host of new tools. “I love the idea of Edge Animate and the possibilities it opens up when you’re creating HTML5 animations for websites and iBooks,” said Paul, while our graphic designer Liana is a big fan of Kuler: “You can download it to your iPhone, which is great if you get inspiration on the go or need to kill time on the bus.”

Across the department, there’s also been a lot of interest in InCopy. “I looked at it years ago but made the decision that the extra cost wasn’t justified then – now it’s free it might be a really useful addition to our workflow,” said Loui.

So would we recommend it?

“Yes,” said Loui. “Firstly because the range of apps that come as standard within Creative Cloud and the seamless integration between them. And secondly because of the admin side of things – I’m very pleased not to have to mess about with loading installer CDs, it’s much better to have a central area where I can download the apps I need when I need them. Plus it’s great that the licence allows me to load Creative Cloud on my home computer so I can continue with some bits at home if I need to, or any of the team can pick up work out of office – it helps us stay productive without being tied down.”

“I’ve changed my mind about the cost after working with it,” Paul added. “Yes, on the face of it, moving to a subscription rather than owning your software is strange, but you do get access to all the applications. This opens a lot of doors creatively and also challenges you and makes you want to learn more and do more.”

Want to know more about how Adobe Creative Cloud for teams could help you? Get in touch with our team on 03332 409 306 or email Adobe@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news and tips follow us on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.
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Red Giant add Smart Start to PluralEyes 3.3

Red Giant add Smart Start to PluralEyes 3.3

One for PluralEyes and Shooter Suite users: Red Giant’s new update (which takes the software to versions 12.2 and 3.3 respectively) is available for free now, and gives you access to the new Smart Start feature. 

As Red Giant explain it, “whether adding a small set of files or importing multiple folders of multi cam files, the new Smart Start feature in PluralEyes 3.3 intelligently organises your media, so you can start synchronising sooner.” They tell us you can drag and drop entire folders without losing structures or names, which is always a plus as far as we’re concerned.

Other changes in the update include a new look and feel to the GUI, which is designed to streamline it and ensure your focus is drawn to where it’s needed, and support for the Canon C100 and Canon XF range, including spanned clips. The update is free for existing PluralEyes and Shooter Suite users.

You can download the update here or watch Red Giant’s Smart Start tutorial here:

Getting Started with Red Giant PluralEyes 3: SmartStart from Red Giant on Vimeo.

Want to know more about PluralEyes? 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.

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Canon warn there’ll be no cashback deal or warranty support for ‘grey imports’

Canon warn there’ll be no cashback deal or warranty support for ‘grey imports’


Canon are warning customers that they’re seeing a rise in the number of ‘grey imports’ hitting the UK since they launched their winter offers, and would like to remind you that these imports aren’t eligible for cash back deals, warranty support or any of the other extras you’d expect when dropping several grand on a camera – even if they’re DOA. 

What is a grey import?

Grey imports are goods which were intended for sale in another territory, but have been bought up by unscrupulous resellers and sold into the European market. While they are real Canon cameras, they often don’t have serial numbers (which you need to register your product for support, to claim cash back offers, and to activate certain features and updates on some models) and may contain pirated or incorrect copies of the software that is supposed to come with the camera. They’re also not eligible for any support from Canon, so even if the camera is broken when it arrives on your doorstep, there’s no way for you to get a replacement, refund or repair.

How do I know if my camera’s a grey import?

If a price looks too good to be true, it probably is. There are a few honest to goodness Canon deals going on at the moment, but if someone’s selling off cameras for a price that you can’t believe, tread carefully.

If you’ve already got your camera, common signs of a grey import include: no UK power adaptor in the box, or a third party adaptor instead of a Canon one; photocopied manuals or manuals not in English; copied, incorrect or non-functioning software; missing warranty card, non-Canon warranty card or a non-European Canon warranty card. The camera might also fail to display a valid serial number.

Read the official warning from Canon.

 Do Jigsaw24 import grey goods?

No we do not, and we’re offended that you had to ask. Stick to us – well, to the authorised resellers listed on Canon’s site, of which we are clearly the most excellent – and you’ll be fine. You can see our 100% legit Canon range 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.

Prism Sound unleash Titan audio interface

Prism Sound unleash Titan audio interface


Given that Prism Sound make what are arguably the best audio converters in existence, we tend to get a little giddy whenever they release a new device. This time round, though, we feel it’s completely justified. 

Prism Sound Titan audio interface

Titan is a USB multi-channel recording interface with MDIO expansion. While it’s a USB 2.0 interface at heart, that expansion slot means you can slot in either a Thunderbolt card or a Pro Tools HDX connection, attach the Titan directly to an HDX or HD Native card and use it instead of your Avid OMNI or 8x8x8.

Titan’s key specs

According to Prism Sound themselves, Titan users will be able to enjoy:

  • No-compromise, full Prism Sound audio quality.
  • Dedicated USB interface.
  • Multi-channel digital I/O (MDIO) expansion port.
  • ASIO drivers provided for Windows VISTA, 7 and 8 (32 and 64bit).
  • Direct compatibility with CORE AUDIO on Mac OS X 10.4+.
  • Eight ‘Prism Sound’ premium-quality AD and DA channels.
  • Concurrent operation of ADAT and switchable S/PDIF or AES3 ports.
  • Four high-end integrated mic preamps (typ.-130dBu EIN).
  • Mic pres with individually switchable phantom power and 20dB pads.
  • MS Matrix processing on mic inputs.
  • Two instrument inputs.
  • RIAA equalisation on inputs one and two.
  • Prism Sound ‘Overkillers’ on every analogue channel to control transient overloads.
  • Fully-floating (isolated) balanced architecture for optimum noise rejection.
  • Mono or stereo input configurations.
  • Outputs selectable between workstation bus or Titan mixer.
  • Low-latency ‘console-quality’ digital mixer for foldback monitoring.
  • Fader, pan, cut, solo on every mixer channel.
  • Dual headphone outputs, each with its own front-panel volume control.
  • Front-panel master volume control and mute, assignable to selected channels.
  • Configurable for stereo, 5.1 or 7.1 or surround monitoring.
  • Built-in sample rate conversion (SRC) on S/PDIF inputs and outputs.
  • Prism Sound 4-curve SNS noise shaping on digital outputs.
  • State-of-the-art clock generation with proprietary hybrid 2-stage DPLL.

The Titan clocks in at a fairly reasonable £2495 (£2994 inc VAT) and the units should be with us in late December/early next year, so if any of you fancy buying us a Christmas present…

Want to know more about the Prism Titan? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email audio@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @Jigsaw24Audio on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

How iPad is making it easier for DFS customers to find their perfect sofa

How iPad is making it easier for DFS customers to find their perfect sofa


As the UK’s leading furniture and upholstery brand, DFS are always looking for ways to move their business forward and deliver a better customer experience. They built a 3D augmented reality app that would help customers find their perfect sofa, either in store or at home, and then used a group of staff champions to ensure it was a success on the shop floor.

“The main thing we wanted to try to achieve was making the experience of buying a sofa easier for our customers,” explained Russell Harte, DFS’s head of multichannel development and delivery. “We developed our app to do that, and we focused that primarily on Apple devices because iPad is something our customers are very aware of from a brand recognition point of view.”

The decision to keep the app on iOS was also due to the second half of DFS’s app campaign: at the same time that the app appeared on the App Store, it would be rolled out as a sales tool to 100 of their branches across the UK. Salespeople could then use the app with the customers to help them make a more informed purchase. “Our store guys all intuitively knew how to use iPad, whether they’d got their own or not,” said Russell. “There is something about iPad which means that people can use it without any significant training.”

DFS' room planner iPad app

Finding staff champions for the new app

The DFS app allows customers to create a 3D model of their room, complete with windows, doors and stairs, then position DFS’s sofas and chairs in the space to see which is the best fit.

“DFS’s app is a great example of how mobile devices can make decision-making fun,” says Martin Wright, Jigsaw24’s iOS developer. “It brilliantly combines 3D models with your camera, letting you turn your living room into a showroom and inviting you to explore more options before buying, so customers get a better idea of everything DFS has to offer.”

In order to prepare for the rollout (and check that the app was suitable for use in store), DFS’s senior team chose nine stores around the country to receive in-depth training on the app. Managers from those stores would then go to other branches in their region and act as champions, explaining how the app worked.

“We visited those store managers individually, and then over a period of weeks they got to understand when was best to use it with a customer, at what point in the conversation to use it, [how to gauge] whether it really helped or whether it just made the choice too much,” explained Russell. “They passed on that expertise to other store colleagues in their regions, and that’s how we rolled iPad and the app out.”

Having champions on the sales floor also helped to reduce internal resistance to this new idea, and iron out any kinks in the app before it hit the App Store. “They fed back a lot of things to change, so we took that on board before we launched it to customers and the rest of the estate,” said Russell. “In the room planner aspect, we got a lot of requests for doors that showed the opening arc, because a lot of furniture ends up having to fit behind a door. And then there were bits of feedback about usability – about moving the furniture around and how we displayed information and prices.”

DFS' room planner app

Preparing for an Apple rollout

Although they are primarily PC-based, DFS already had a management system in place for staff iPhones and their small contingent of Mac users, so “in terms of infrastructure we were ready for iPad, but process-wise we still had a bit to learn.” Russell’s main concerns have been around ensuring that updates to the app appear seamless to end users, and that the size of the updates doesn’t overtax the company network. However, the update process is so smooth that the company are now rolling out extra iPad devices in some stores and recently they’ve been given to senior managers to make working easier when they’re on the road.

Gauging the customer response

DFS’s app has been doing incredibly well on the App Store, with over 120,000 download and a 3.5 star rating. It’s faring well in store, too. “From a purely anecdotal point of view, when you sit in a store and watch a customer interaction, the app leads to really, really good conversations,” said Russell. “This is a purchase that is reasonably expensive for most people, and it’s a fairly infrequent purchase as well, so trying to make sure you get absolutely the right one is very important. If you ask the store staff, particularly the ones who use iPad a lot, they will say that it allows them to have better customer conversations around the products.”

DFS' room planner app

Choosing an Apple partner to move forward

“We already had an existing relationship with Jigsaw24, so we originally approached them to see whether we could get hold of iPad and other Apple devices [for the rollout],” Russell explained.

“Working with them was all very straightforward, pricing was competitive, and delivery was on time and in full, so it was all very easy for us, and that’s all you can hope for when you’re trying to get hardware out there quickly. Jigsaw24 do what they say they’re going to do, they’re very straightforward, and they allow you to get on with running your business and moving it forward, which is what you really want to be focusing on.”

The company’s next project? Building Mac-powered kiosks that will let customers interact with a larger touchscreen, and other digital signage to access marketing content that’s created at head office and distributed and scheduled in the cloud. “Everybody’s keen that, as the market leader in the UK upholstery market, we continue to develop things that keep us in that position and move the market forward. If you want a device that’s intuitive to use, has got high brand awareness and needs minimal training, iPad works really well.”

Want to know more about how iPad can support your sales team? Get in touch on 03332 409 305 or email B2B@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news and recommendations, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook