Customer stories: Gifford Hooper and HoverCam

Customer stories: Gifford Hooper and HoverCam

Aged 13, Gifford Hooper built his first model helicopter in order to get aerial shots of his school for a geography project. Fast forward a few years (and models) and he’s an Oscar-winner and one of the world’s leading aerial filming camera operators.

Back in 1979, Gifford Hooper’s school geography department wanted aerial photos of the school, prompting him to build and operate a model plane with a 35mm clockwork camera so that he could get the necessary shots.

35 years and a few generations of technology later, Gifford is now the proud owner of an Academy Award™, having pushed the aerial shooting envelope with Hawkeye and HoverCam. His work can be seen in 24 Hour Party People, Bridget Jones’ Diary, Finding Neverland and 28 Weeks Later.

Hovercam Showreel 2010 from Gifford Hooper on Vimeo.

Can you still remember your first big break?

It was in 1990, when a riot broke out at Strangeways. I got in touch with ITV news and explained I could get them shots they’d never seen before, so they were very excited and ended up commissioning us to film the rooftop protest live – the first time a live  TV broadcast relay had been achieved from a civilian drone. That was also the first time I worked with Philip George, with whom I went on to found HoverCam. I’ve moved on since then am now working with a different set up and crew.

How has your kit changed since then?

When we started working together as HoverCam, we had a 16mm Beaulieu, a S16mm ARRI SR and an ARRI IIC with Cinematography Electronics’ crystal motor base. The first big change was when turbine engines became reliable, because the extra power let us carry bigger payloads and better guidance systems. With the advent of digital cinematography we’ve been able to move to smaller RED cameras, which make life a lot easier.

What drives your changes? Are you always looking to improve, or do you look at the setup on a job-by-job basis?

We’re always trying to improve, although if the client wants something exotic then a flying machine will have to be built for that project. Technology, reliability and safety are the main driving forces behind our changes.

What drives your choice of camera when it’s your choice?

Image quality, size and weight are the biggest issues. When it comes to image quality we have to test different cameras for rolling shutter issues and well we can electronically communicate/integrate with the camera to control its functions remotely. If we have to use a bigger camera, we look at what can be stripped off it without it losing functionality – in some cases we’ve physically cut parts off the camera.

Which camera has generated the most issues when it comes to aerial shooting?

All cameras have different issues to get over, but I guess when we used to shoot full frame 35mm motion film, we had to modify the camera gates, machine different lens adapters and install our own video assist cameras and remote controls. Nowadays all this involves is programming different protocols to talk to the camera’s electronics.

Are you working on the rig at the moment?

The most recent development is a new GPS autopilot system that I’ve implemented, dual autopilot controls for redundancy, new integration of camera controls with the GPS systems. It’ll allow for safer flying and new motion control possibilities.

What’s the most challenging shoot you’ve undertaken?

Well they all have their ups and downs – in aerial filming, all shots are challenging, that’s why they’re the icing on the cake. The hardest things are action sequences in feature films, when you have lots of cast and crew who have to be in the right place at the right time. This isn’t a crane that you can just leave in one place while adjustments are made to the set or actors, so you have to rehearse everything without flying first.

Is there a shot that you’re most proud of?

Working on feature films is the best work to have, but I guess working on commercials with huge budgets means you get to go to some amazing places. We filmed a soft drinks commercial in the Maldives, I think it was for Japanese TV. The shot called for a small beach island with one palm tree and a couple drinking the soft drink, they are on sun loungers and have a kite flying above them giving them shade. Our shot was an aerial view of the complete island surrounded by sea, the couple on the sun loungers with a kite flying close to the aerial camera in the foreground.

To achieve this we had to assume there would be no wind to fly the kite, so that was tethered to the ground and lifted up by a smaller model helicopter. Then we positioned the aerial filming helicopter above the kite. Because the complete island and the sea surrounding it was in view, we couldn’t operate the helicopters from the island and had to build scaffold towers in the sea instead.

Are there any moments where things have gone drastically wrong?

In the early days, mechanical faults where our biggest challenge. The machines had to be completely stripped down and rebuilt overnight while the film crew slept, so we could have a fresh working machine for the morning. We got very little sleep on film shoots! The biggest technical problem we ever had was filming a hotel commercial in Thailand – we lost power and ditched the helicopter in the empty pool. This was back when we were shooting film, so could pull the camera out, strip it, dry it, clean it, grease it, reassemble and test it, then carry on with the shoot with our second machine.

You’ve just won an Academy Award™, which must have felt amazing…

It was awesome, and a complete shock. It’s very nice to have fellow filmmakers acknowledge your many years of hard work.

But looking forward from that, where do you see aerial filming going next?

The market for drones for aerial filming is booming. This is a fantastic time for the market, with lots of computer controlled drones and high quality small cameras. Our systems are all electronic now, so we have fewer mechanical problems to deal with. Usability and reliability are up 100 fold compared to 25 years ago.

Do you see any downsides?

Unfortunately, this leads to some rogue use of technology. A lot of people doing this for the first time are unskilled in aerial filmmaking and flying, and I think a lot more training needs to be done. For example, a lot of people are unaware that it’s illegal to fly without a CAA licence for commercial filming. Even if you’re only doing it as a hobby, you have to abide by the CAA air navigation order.

So your advice to young aerial cameramen is to know the law?

Well your first starting point is to learn how to fly a model RC plane and helicopter to give you a good understanding of flying, start asking for help from people who have being doing it for 30 years. Then obtain the licence for commercial aerial filming work from the CAA.

Looking to get started? We can’t issue pilot’s licences, but if you’re wondering which cameras to invest in, give the team a call.

To find out more call 03332 409 306 or email For all the latest news and reviews, follow @Jigsaw24Video on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

Blackmagic’s Pocket Cinema Camera gets a price drop and ProRes support

Blackmagic’s Pocket Cinema Camera gets a price drop and ProRes support

You’ve probably already heard that Blackmagic Design have cut the price of their Pocket Cinema Camera until August 31st (we’re offering it at £325 ex VAT with a free battery chucked in) [EDIT, 11/08/14: Due to massive demand, this deal is now sold out. Sorry], but less well publicised is the v1.8.2 firmware upgrade, which adds support for ProRes LT. 

Blackmagic Camera Utility v1.8.2

Blackmagic Camera Utility v1.8.2 adds ProRes 422, ProRes 422 LT and ProRes 422 Proxy recording support to the Blackmagic Production Camera 4K and Blackmagic Cinema Camera as well as the Pocket Cinema Camera. It’ll work on OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion or later, though you’ll need a computer with a USB 2.0 port and a Thunderbolt port if you plan to use UltraScope and MediaExpress with either of the larger cameras.

The addition of ProRes LT support is big news for anyone who wants to lower their storage overheads, as its increased compression more than triples the capacity of your typical 32GB card while significantly increasing how long you can shoot for. In real money, it breaks down something like this:

ProRes 422 HQ (the original)



20 mins per 32GB card

ProRes 422



32 min per 32GB Card

ProRes 422 LT

Roughly around 101Mb/s (70% of 422)


43 mins per 32GB card

ProRes 422 Proxy

Roughly around 43.5Mb/s (30% of 422)


94 mins per 32GB card

Download Blackmagic Camera Utility v1.8.2 here.

Pocket Cinema Camera kits

But today isn’t all about firmware. Today is about is us having 75 cut price Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Cameras in stock, plus all the accessories you need to start shooting [EDIT, 11/08/14: Due to massive demand, the half price deal is now sold out. Sorry]. Here are some of our top recommendations:

The starter kit For the usual RRP of a Pocket Cinema Camera, we can now offer you the camera, a 32GB card and a 14-42mm Lumix power lens. Buy it here.

The battery kit That spare cash you have left over because of the price drop is perfect for our £50 battery kit, which will get you two spare batteries and a Nikon charger, so you’re not caught out by your Pocket Cinema Camera’s new, longer recording time. Buy it here.

The cage Now that you’re taking your Pocket Cinema Camera out on longer shoots, it’s time to invest in a cage. Our recommendation? This excellent offering from SHAPE. Buy it here.

The lens adaptor Want to use your existing lenses with the Pocket Cinema Camera? Grab yourself one of these EF to micro 4/3″ lens adaptors from Canon to increase your shooting options. Buy it here.

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

Adobe Illustrator CC gets GPU-acceleration for the first time

Adobe Illustrator CC gets GPU-acceleration for the first time

For creatives relying on the magic of Illustrator CC’s vector graphics, you’re about to find the creative workflow a far smoother experience. Thanks to graphics processing giants NVIDIA, Illustrator is able to take advantage of GPU-acceleration for the first time. The technology to applaud for getting your GPU out of it’s armchair is NV Path.

NV Path is an extension of OpenGL, and the result of work between NVIDIA and Adobe. NV Path offloads path rendering onto the GPU, leading to increased fluidity when zooming and panning around your resolution-independent creations.

Previously, Illustrator performance was served up entirely by the CPU, often leading to stuttering, spluttering and an interrupted creative process. Unlike their 3D cousins, 2D artists haven’t had access to the GPU until now. When Illustrator CC is able to perform 10 times faster, you’ll wonder how you got by.

While all this sounds like a technical marvel (and it is!), Illustrator CC’s central mission is to get your imagination onto the screen and beyond with the least resistance. News of this stutter-killing advancement will delight 2D artists, whose creative impulses won’t be held back by an overworked CPU.

For users with the winning combination of Creative Cloud and an NVIDIA GPU, NV Path enabled Illustrator CC is available now.

For more information, call 03332 409 306 or email on at For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook

PreSonus launch cascading mixers and extend StudioLive trade-in offer!

PreSonus launch cascading mixers and extend StudioLive trade-in offer!

PreSonus are launching a new firmware update that makes it possible to cascade multiple StudioLive AI digital mixers, and to celebrate they’ve extended their recent trade-in offer so that those of you still on analogue mixers can cash in too. 

PreSonus AI-series firmware upgrade

PreSonus are planning a free firmware upgrade for all their StudioLive AI-series mixers, and the headline feature is the addition of cascading. As PreSonus explain, this means you can “start with 16, 24, or 32 channels, then cascade a second mixer of any frame size to create custom-sized mixing consoles with all the hardware and software advantages of StudioLive Active Integration systems.”

“Cascading mixers functionally creates a single large-format console with full recording and remote-control capability by simply connecting a FireWire 800 cable between the two mixers. For example, combine two StudioLive 32.4.2AI to get a 64-channel system with 32 mix buses that can record 80 simultaneous streams and play back 66 on any FireWire 800- or Thunderbolt-equipped computer.

“Cascading mixers of different frame sizes is great for special events that require a few extra recording channels that don’t need to be in every monitor mix. For example, a StudioLive 16.4.2AI can be cascaded to a 32.4.2AI and form a single 48-channel console with 6 global aux buses, as well as 8 local aux sends that are available to the channels on the 32.4.2AI.”

We don’t have a drop date for this update beyond “later this summer”, but if you’ve registered your StudioLive AI mixer  then it’ll show up as a free download in your My PreSonus account. The update does not change the computer system requirements for StudioLive AI mixers or software, and is fully compatible with the current versions of Capture 2.1, SL Remote-AI, QMix-AI, and VSL-AI.

Save up £800 when you trade your existing mixer for the StudioLive AI-series.

PreSonus have been offering you up to £800 off a StudioLive AI-series mixer if you trade in your existing one for some time now, but they’ve just opened up the offer to include analogue mixers. This means you can save yourself a chunk of cash by trading in pretty much any mixer you can get your hands on.

What’s on offer?

You can opt for any of the PreSonus StudioLive AI Series digital mixers, including the 16.4.2AI, 24.4.2AI and 32.4.2A. The mixers are ideal for either live sound or studio recording, being both fully-featured and flexible. They’re really intuitive and easy to use in a live environment too, with fewer menus and more hands-on controls than other digital desks.

– Save £800 on the PreSonus StudioLive 32.4.2AI when you trade in your old mixer.

– Save £600 on the PreSonus StudioLive 24.4.2AI when you trade in your old mixer.

– Save £400 on the PreSonus StudioLive 16.4.2AI when you trade in your old mixer.

How does it work?

You bring your old digital mixer to us to trade in. The traded-in mixer can be either an original PreSonus StudioLive, or any other brand of digital mixer, but should be in good working order and in reasonable cosmetic condition. We then give you the saving off the new PreSonus StudioLive AI digital mixer of your choice.

The offer runs until 31st July.

Want to know more about PreSonus’ StudioLive range? Get in touch with the team on 03332 409 306 or at For all the latest info, follow us on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook

OS X 10.9.4 and Resolve 11: What the new releases mean for you

OS X 10.9.4 and Resolve 11: What the new releases mean for you

The good news: the public beta of DaVinci Resolve 11 has landed, bringing with it over 70 new editing tools. The better news: Apple’s OS X 10.9.4 has also just been released, delivering support for NVIDIA’s top-performing NVIDIA Titan Black and 780 ranges as processing GPUs in Resolve.

However, 10.9.4 does bring a small drawback: OS X is now only stable with two additional GPUs, meaning those of you running with three processing GPUs at the moment should not update to 10.9.4 unless you want to remove a GPU. Running one GUI GPU and two processing GPUs is still supported.

Why should you upgrade?

Well, two GTX Titan Black GPUs would out perform three GTX 680 cards or three Quadro 4000s, as they give you far more CUDA cores and RAM. Moving to a pair of Titan Black GPUs would also leave you space in your expansion chassis for additions like a RED Rocket card, Fusion-io or storage connection cards.

If you don’t want to switch GPUs…

Blackmagic Design have advised that OS X 10.8.5 is the most stable OS if you want to run Resolve on a Mac with multiple processing GPUs, so if you plan to keep your existing GPU configuration we’d recommend getting back to that version. Multiple GPUs are also supported in 10.9.2 and earlier, but Blackmagic’s official advice is to use OS X 10.9.4 with DaVinci Resolve 11 and OS X 10.8.5 for earlier versions where possible.

As for Resolve 11 itself, the test users we’ve spoken to down in Soho have found it very stable for a beta, but we’re standing by our usual beta blanket warning and saying you should back up all your v10 database projects before downloading Resolve 11, and warn against using it for live work.

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

Customer stories: Sport on Wheels

Customer stories: Sport on Wheels

Andy Zadora-Chrzastowski set up Sport on Wheels in 1998 in order to provide images and results for wheelchair tennis tournaments across the UK, Europe and the USA. Six years ago he moved to Mac, and hasn’t looked back since…

Tell us a bit about why you started Sport on Wheels.
Well, at the time there was no coverage for wheelchair tennis tournaments, so I started Sport on Wheels to cover wheelchair tennis as a disability sport, but I’ve also started to cover para-badminton and power chair football. It operates on a charitable basis and is non-profit, so it relies heavily on sponsorship and donations.

Why did you decide to move to Mac?
Well I’d been using Adobe Creative Suite for a number of years and experienced a lot of problems with my laptop hanging and crashing, but I was quite unaware that Adobe was never really designed to work on a PC, it was designed to work on a Mac. So I spoke to a lot of people, and they all told me that going to a Mac was the obvious progression.

What was your first Mac?
About six years ago I got a second hand MacBook Pro and I was using that until quite recently. And touch wood, in that time I’ve not had any issues on a Mac with programs running together or crashing or anything. It’s absolutely phenomenal.

Did you find making the switch difficult?
I actually didn’t find the transition too difficult, to be honest. I’d heard all sorts of horror stories about how horrible [OS X] was to get to grips with, but to be honest I found things so easy. And I suppose the big difference is with a PC there was so much hanging and crashing, the whole thing was totally laborious. But since I’ve changed to Mac it’s just faultless.

What’s your workflow like when you’re at an event?
Normally I spend three to four hours shooting the event. I can take upwards of 600 images a day, which does make things difficult when it comes to culling the ones I don’t want. Once I’ve got the ones I want to keep, I adjust them for colour, resize them and then get them straight to the organisers so they can update their websites at the end of each day.

And you’re using Adobe for that?
Yeah, I use Photoshop CS6 and Aperture 3. I was on CS3 for a long time and CS6 was a bit of a steep learning curve, but I only use the basics. As long as I can adjust colours easily, adjust the curves if the lighting’s not brilliant, crop them and add text overlays, I’m okay.

Do you ever think about expanding your coverage?
I’ve been asked so many times to do video or expand into other disability sports, but to be honest, the expense means it’s not a road I would be able to go down. I did have a caravan that I used to cover longer events up and down the UK, but it’s very old and has started to let water in, so it’s not usable any more!

How did you find out about Jigsaw24?
Well I contacted a few Apple resellers. Two I never even got a reply from, and one I bought software from, but couldn’t get a discounted rate even though they knew I worked for a charitable organisation. I thought there must be an alternative, so I had a look around and lo and behold, I found Jigsaw24.

And we’ve been alright?
You’ve been outstanding in the help and support you’ve given me, and this is going back quite a few years now. I’ve had superb service every time I’ve brought something in to your place.

How do people get in touch with you if they want to know more about Sport on Wheels or lend you their caravan?
The best way is to email or visit the website, There’s a contact form there.

For more on Apple solutions from Jigsaw24, give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.


Blackmagic Design release Resolve 11 beta and Cinema Camera v1.8 update

Blackmagic Design release Resolve 11 beta and Cinema Camera v1.8 update

Blackmagic have released a double whammy of updates, with good news for production crews and post types alike. The Resolve 11 beta is here, complete with bug fixes, and the Blackmagic Design Cinema Camera has new firmware. 

Resolve 11 beta

The latest Resolve beta boasts more than 100 new editing and grading features, including 70 new editing tweaks based on feedback from users so far. Headlines include context sensitive trimming, on-set file cloning, ‘photography style’ grading tools and the ability for multiple users to work simultaneously on the same timeline.

Now, before we get into the meaty bits of the press release, we’d like to remind you that, as always, we advise that you should use this for testing but don’t go straight into live work without backing up your databases! Now that that’s out of the way…

“The new DaVinci Resolve 11 has over 70 new editing features based on feedback from professional editors. With DaVinci Resolve 11, editors now have dual monitor support and familiar professional tools like dynamic JKL trimming, audio crossfades and fully customizable keyboard shortcuts for faster editing. Trimming tools are context sensitive, which means DaVinci Resolve automatically knows whether editors want to ripple, roll, slip, slide, extend or shorten edits, based on the position of the mouse. This makes editing super fast because time is not wasted switching tools and clips can be trimmed on multiple tracks simultaneously in the same direction, or asymmetrically.

“DaVinci Resolve 11 features a new spline curve keyframe editor integrated into the edit timeline that positions keyframes directly under each clip and in context with the clip. Editors can now also add and animate open FX plugins directly in the timeline as well as use plug-ins for transitions.

“The new collaborative workflow tools in DaVinci Resolve 11 allows an editor and multiple colourists to work on different workstations, sharing the same timeline and working in tandem as they complete shots. An example is a colourist could be colour grading or tracking windows while another colourist fine tunes grades that are all immediately updated as the editor edits. Each user can see the timeline update so they are all working on the same job at the same time. Sharing the same timeline makes it much easier for creative teams to stay in sync and work faster on large complex jobs such as feature films and television programming.

“One of the most exciting advantages of the enhanced editing features in DaVinci Resolve 11 is the dramatically better round trip collaboration with Apple Final Cut Pro X. This is possible because more of the features in each application are compatible so projects can be moved back and forward easily. A powerful example of this integration is when a Final Cut Pro X customer might be shooting an independent film but then wants to move their edit to a large Hollywood post production facility for colour grading and finishing. This  is an exciting workflow that makes it possible to allow independent filmmakers to integrate with the largest post production facilities

“Colour correction features have also been upgraded in DaVinci Resolve 11, including all new RAW image and colour grading controls that are designed for photographers who are moving into cinematography. The new camera RAW palette features highlight and shadow recovery, mid tone detail, color boost, saturation, lift, gain and contrast. DaVinci Resolve 11 solves the single frame limitations of photo enhancement systems and gives photographers advanced control over RAW images so they can pull the maximum detail from high dynamic range footage in real time.

“Adding to DaVinci Resolve’s powerful on-set tools, DaVinci Resolve 11 can now securely back up and save digital camera files. The new DaVinci Resolve clone tool copies media drives, memory cards and camera packs to multiple destinations simultaneously. All copies are checksum verified, that means users get exact bit for bit digital copies of their source media. The new clone tool is included in the free DaVinci Resolve Lite and can be installed on a laptop for on-set use.

“DaVinci Resolve 11 also features a unique and powerful automatic colour chart colour balancing tool that works on all types of footage including video, RAW and even film. The new colour match tool automatically gives a primary base grade by analysing shots containing standard colour chip charts even if they were shot in different lighting conditions with different exposure and colour temperatures.

“DaVinci Resolve 11 also adds optimisations to OpenCL image processing which allows improved rendering speeds on the new Apple Mac Pro systems. The Mac Pro features dual GPUs so is the ideal solution for customers looking for an ‘off the shelf’ solution that easily handles the high processing speeds when working on Ultra HD work in the deepest YRGB 32 bit float processing quality.

“This is a massive update and we are really excited about DaVinci Resolve 11”, said Grant Petty, CEO, Blackmagic Design, “Since we added the new editing tools into DaVinci Resolve we have had some great feedback from editors working on high end feature film and television programming jobs. We have rolled this great advice into DaVinci Resolve and now it’s a fantastic, full featured online editor. Of course we continue to add wonderful colour correction and on-set tools into this release as well. This is the best version of DaVinci Resolve we have ever released and we are going to provide this update to all DaVinci Resolve customers free of charge. This means the cost of switching to the world’s most exciting online editor will be zero!”

Blackmagic Design Cinema Camera v1.8
Next on the slate is a free firmware update for Blackmagic cameras, v1.8.
“The new Blackmagic Camera update 1.8 software features a completely new code base for all Blackmagic digital film cameras so provides a foundation for new features. This update supports the original wide dynamic range 2.5K Blackmagic Cinema Camera, Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera and the Blackmagic Production Camera 4K.

“This all-new code base also improves performance and includes a new modern user interface, similar in design to the new URSA camera announced at NAB. This new user interface is included in all models of cameras available from Blackmagic Design, allowing a nice clean fresh look.

“Blackmagic Camera 1.8 adds compressed RAW DNG support for the Blackmagic Production Camera 4K model, and this allows RAW recording in real time so all sensor data can be captured, allowing more range and much higher image quality when doing post production and colour grading. DaVinci Resolve 11, also available today, fully supports RAW grading and rendering to final output direct from the RAW camera original files. This means customers get incredible first generation masters, with a solution that edits RAW files as easily and as responsively as a normal video file.

“New features in this update include enhanced lens control support for EF lens mount cameras such as the original Blackmagic Cinema Camera EF and the Blackmagic Production Camera 4K models. This means customers can now get autofocus when pushing the focus button on active EF based lenses and the cameras will mathematically analyse the center of the image and optimise the focus for maximum sharpness.

“This is important with high resolution 4K cameras where images are so sharp that accurate focus is critical for the best results. Because this update uses the focus button for autofocus, the focus peaking feature is now enabled by double pressing the focus button.

“This release also improves the focus peaking display allowing incredibly accurate and super sharp manual focus, critical when using cine lenses. The focus peaking is now green in color so it’s much easer to see, and the filters generating the edge peaking have been optimised allowing for better detection and display for maximum sharpness. In addition, the iris control has been changed, due to customer request, to hold its setting between record and playback.

“This new Blackmagic Camera 1.8 also includes major improvements for the original Blackmagic Cinema Camera models including improved audio performance and a completely rewritten new higher quality debayer processor. This new debayer means when customers record to normal video files such as ProRes or DNxHD they will get sharper and cleaner looking images. This new debayer processing features algorithms that have been incorporated from DaVinci Resolve, which means that Blackmagic camera customers get the benefit of DaVinci Resolve’s research and development in image processing and its partnership with major Hollywood studios.

“Other benefits for the original Blackmagic Cinema Camera includes enhancements to the cameras dynamic range when sooting at 1600 ISO. This means, with this new software update, customers will get even more dynamic range and image quality, free of charge, even if they purchased their camera 2 years ago.

“Improvements for the Pocket Cinema Camera are also included in this update, including the modern updated interface, new focus peaking and improved de-bayer quality, plus additional active MFT lens support for lenses including Sigma and Lumix.

“We have been working very hard to incorporate camera feature requests that customers have been sending us,” said Grant Petty, CEO, Blackmagic Design “There are major changes and improvements in this update and we are very excited to see the wonderful creative work done with the benefit of this software. Of course, we are working very hard on more features we want to add into our cameras and you will see more and more of what we have been working on in updates that will be release over the upcoming months.”

For more on Blackmagic Design’s latest, get in touch with our team on 03332 409 306 0r email For all the latest news and reviews, follow @Jigsaw24Video on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook

Matrox confirm cross-platform support for Creative Cloud and MC8

Matrox confirm cross-platform support for Creative Cloud and MC8

Matrox have announced support for Adobe Creative Cloud and Avid Media Composer 8 on Mac and PC. 

The latest versions of Adobe and Avid’s leading software are both fully compatible with the latest Matrox firmware for MXO2 and Mojito MAX (that’s Matrox 4.2 for Mac and Matrox 7.6 for PC).

Download Matrox 4.2 for Mac here.

Download Matrox 7.6 for PC here.

As always, we recommend backing up your work before you install anything, reading any readme files (the clue is in the name) and generally being a sensible sort of person when it comes to IT updates.

You can find our full Matrox range here. For more information, give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email For all the latest news, follow @Jigsaw24Video on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook

Free firmware upgrade for JVC GY-HM600 and GY-HM650

Free firmware upgrade for JVC GY-HM600 and GY-HM650

JVC have announced version 3.0 of the firmware for their popular GY-HM600 and GY-HM650, and they’ve even had the good grace to make it free. 

The firmware, which is available to download from JVC’s support site, is said to significantly improve the performance of the GY-HM600 and GY-HM650. Headline features include:

1080p 50Mbps recording in XHQ (extreme high quality) mode, which gives you “virtually lossless H.264 recordings with high bit rates of 50Mbps.”

An enhanced autofocus system, which includes selection of the focus area.

Advanced streaming functions for the GY-HM650, including ZIXI data transfer technology and support for new bit rates and resolutions.

JVC GY-HM650 on Jigsaw24

1080p 50Mbps recording in XHQ

Why the addition? Well, as JVC explain, “highly efficient H.264 video encoding provides consistently better recording results compared with MPEG formats, and you can continue to use your SDHC/SDXC cards rather than more expensive media,” which is pretty hard to argue with. Those cards will need to be class 6 or 10, by the way.

Enhanced autofocus

Designed to improve usability, the new autofocus system allows you to choose from three focus response time settings in order to get the best speed for whatever type of project you’re working on. JVC have also added an ‘area’ option to their Focus Assist function – something that was previously only available in manual focus mode. All you have to do is turn the focus ring slightly to the right or left to access this mode, then decide whether you want focusing to be centred on the middle of your image, or to the left or right based on the ‘golden ratio’.

Streaming enhancements for the GY-HM650

The GY-HM650 has been the recipient of IP-based updates, expanding the range of supported bit rates to 200kbps – 8Mbps and adding new resolutions. You can also transfer data streams using a satellite phone, and RTSP and ZIXI streaming portals are now supported.

ZIXI fans will be pleased to hear that its new Advanced Streaming Technology is included in the JVC update, providing you with a content aware error correction tool that’ll handle up to 30% packet loss, as well as efficient bandwidth shaping. JVC’s own contributions include a ‘Stream Confidence’ feature that gives you realtime feedback on your signal quality and streaming status.

Download the update at JVC’s support page.

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

Introducing Apple curriculum training (and our 5 top courses)

Introducing Apple curriculum training (and our 5 top courses)

Bringing new technology into the classroom is great, but how do you make sure your staff are ready for it? We recommend Apple curriculum training courses delivered by our own Apple accredited trainers (who are ex-teachers themselves).

Courses can be tailored to your school’s specific requirements, and range from iOS and Mac basics to subject-specific training, preparing for rollout and even device management. They’re all designed to give your staff a solid grounding on how to use iPad, iOS and Mac generally, and then within each subject area, so they have the competency and confidence needed to lead a lesson.

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What do we offer?

We offer a huge range of courses from foundation iOS and OS X training to curriculum-based sessions and even vision and planning for your Apple deployment. We also offer Apple’s Professional Development (APD) courses, as well as our own. We’ve picked out our top five below, but get in touch to find out about the full range available.

Introduction to iOS

This hands-on course helps staff get to grips with the core apps for the iPad and how they can introduce the technology effectively into their learning environment. We look at gestures and personalisation of the devices, along with use of the Camera, Notes, Safari, iTunes U and iBooks apps, as well as accessibility tools like text-to-speech and guided access.

iPad built-in apps can be utilised to support students and teachers in the classroom, and it’s important that staff realise the potential of these before moving onto third party applications.

Vision and planning for iPad

Within this session, we’ll discuss current plans and pedagogies and examine how we can use the iPad to support staff, students and parents within the school and beyond. It’s also important to think about the impact that this will have on existing plans.

Finally, we ensure that at the end of the session a clear plan is formed. This includes how we can communicate all of our ideas, strategies and implementations to staff, pupils and parents clearly as the institution moves forward.

iOS and productivity

This course is the ultimate boot camp for teachers who want to squeeze the most out of the incredible functionality that comes with each iWork app – Pages, Keynote and Numbers. Throughout the workshop, you’ll be getting hands-on with these apps to create documents, presentations and spreadsheets so that you can develop an in-depth understanding of what each app can do.

iTunes U Course Manager

In this session, you’ll use the iTunes Course Manager and your existing teaching resources to create an iTunes U course based around your curriculum area. We will explore best practices and view existing courses to gain ideas on implementation of courses within our own classrooms.

We will look for other resources that already exist within iTunes U, a huge catalogue of educational content that is constantly being updated by educators around the globe.

iBooks Author

This in-depth course looks at how to easily create your own digital textbooks for free using iBooks Author (a cinch if you’ve ever created a Word document or produced a presentation), exploring everything from accessibility features in iBooks to multimedia copyright issues so that you can be sure that you’re accessing the right resources and have the legal right to distribute (and even edit) them within your iBook.

At the end of the session, you will create an iBook that supports your own curriculum to ensure you have the skills to continue producing materials for your own cohort of students.

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Who’s delivering this training?

Our fully-accredited Apple Distinguished Educators (ADEs) are former teachers who can come and deliver APD training onsite at your school at a time that best suits you. There’s no need to go anywhere or call anyone else in – just get in touch with the team!

Paul Ford 

Paul’s got eight years’ experience teaching students, teachers and local authority staff of all technical abilities. His roles have included Lead professional in Music Technology at The East Manchester Academy and Multimedia/Network Manager at South Manchester City Learning Centre.

Mike Watkinson

Mike’s been working with Apple technology in the classroom since the mid-90s, in a variety of subjects and across different age groups. He’s an Apple Distinguished Educator, Apple Certified Trainer and Avid Certified Trainer, supporting schools and colleges for the last ten years.

What are other schools saying?

“Fantastic and engaging speaker… everything was explained in a way where even the most inexperienced user could understand.” West Grove Primary School.

“Paul was brilliant! He is knowledgeable, completely understanding teaching and learning issues. He always passes on any new information he comes across, which has really helped in the past, he is always willing to provide really helpful advice and follows up any promises of finding out about something – this is why we intend to ask Paul in for further training in the future.” Levenshulme High School, Manchester.

Budget check

Full day sessions cost £650, half days are £325, and we also offer twilight sessions, with discounts available for shorter sessions and bulk bookings. Get in touch and we can probably accommodate you!

Download our Apple curriculum training catalogue

Want to know more? View the full training catalogue here, or get in touch with the team on 03332 409 333 or email For all the latest news and FAQs, follow @Jigsaw24Edu on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook