Video: Unboxing the Blackmagic Design Cinema Camera

Video: Unboxing the Blackmagic Design Cinema Camera

While the M&E team were busy getting ready for IBC, the Jigsaw24 marketeers took responsibility for unboxing the Blackmagic Design Cinema Camera. The results aren’t particularly technical – there’s a lot of “oooh”ing and someone points out that the record button is a “useful feature” – but what we lack in expertise we make up for in enthusiasm.

If you’d like something that provides slightly more insight into the Cinema Camera, take a look at our interview with James Tonkin and Den Lennie.

For more info on the Blackmagic Design Cinema Camera, call 03332 409 306 or email You can keep up with all our IBC adventures by following @Jigsaw24Video on Twitter or hitting ‘Like’ on our Facebook page.

Sony reveal NEX-EA50EH ahead of IBC 2012

Sony reveal NEX-EA50EH ahead of IBC 2012

Sony EA50EHSony have been busy lately – the PMW-200 has only been out five minutes, and already they have another new model on the way. The NEX-EA50EH is a very different beast, though. Where the PMW-200 was designed as a successor to the EX1, the NEX-EA50EH has more modest ambitions, with Sony initially pitching it as replacement for yout 5D MkII, or a B or C roll camera to sit under an FS100 or FS700. That said, it’s no slouch in the specs department, and Sony reckon it can take on Blackmagic Design’s Cinema Camera when it comes to depth of field…

Built similarly to the FS100, the NEX-EA50EH has a large APS HD CMOS sensor, giving it excellent shallow depth of field and low light sensitivity. Because of the APS-C size sensor, it’s easier to achieve shallow depth of field with a spec-for-spec lens than its more expensive rival, Panasonic’s AF101, so if you’re after the ‘film look’ on a budget, it’s well worth checking out.

The specs

The NEX-EA50EH is part of the NXCAM professional range, and like its brethren comes with HDMI (with embedded timecode) and XLR as standard. It’s picked up the motorised zoom lens that some users were requesting for the FS100 and 700 (more on that later), is 50/60p switchable, and features a wealth of time saving ease-of-use features like one touch autofocus and iris control, touchscreen focus tracking controls, and a photo mode that lets you capture 16 megapixel images to JPEG or RAW format, just in case you find yourself missing your DSLR after all.

Sony tell us that there are two kinds of APS-C sensor, and theirs is bigger that Canon’s – almost the size you’d get on a Super 35mm camera. They’re currently tweaking the parameters of the sensor to reduce aliasing, and word is it’ll be less of an issue than you’d expect with an ASP-C but not as good as if you shot on a Super 35. You can, however, use that HDMI link to capture to an 8-bit 4:2:2 recorder like the Atomos Ninja.

Interestingly, Sony chose the briefing we attended to put the boot in about the Blackmagic Cinema Camera, which they claim uses a very small sensor and doesn’t allow shallow DOF or wide angles, even if you use a 20mm lens, but that could just be them getting competitive. Having had a go with the camera, we’ve seen that you can get the DOF you want with the Cinema Camera, you just have to acclimatise to the way lenses work with it, as you would any new kit. A 20mm lens looks more like you’d expect a 50mm one to; a 7mm one will give you perfectly usable shallow DOF no problem.

The more careful among you will be pleased to hear that Sony’s HXR-FMU128 flash memory unit can dock directly to the camcorder for recording an immediate backup, or use the camera with Sony’s new Mirroring Memory Stick, which automatically dual records any footage you store on it.

There’s linear PCM for audio – you can use the built-in mic or an external one via XLR, but can’t mix them. Elsewhere, it’s all a bit FS100. The LCD is the same, complete with on-screen viewfinder, and the picture adjustments, knee and gamma are the same, too. The big difference is that motorised zoom…

The lens

The NEX-EA50EH uses E-mount lenses, and a new motorised zoom model is included in that box – all we know is that it’s 18 – 200mm and includes a square lens hood. While it’ll initially be exclusive to the EA50EH, a firmware upgrade is planned for the FS700 and possibly the FS100 too, so it should eventually work across the range. Sony’s press release says it “features autofocus, continuous variable iris and Optical Steady Shot image stabilisation with Active Mode, making it ideal for shooting moving images.” There’s also a mechanical shutter designed to reduce shutter-induced blurs during longer exposures.

Sony have included a new function that allows you to specify two focus points and automatically shift between them, making focus pulling far easier. The focus pulling trick will only work with native E-mount lenses, but anyone who opts for a third party adaptor will still be able to use the built-in zoom rocker, which allows you to change the aperture of a Canon lens via an adaptor and have the f-stop on the screen while you do it.

The body

The new NEX-EA50EH is built in the same semi shoulder mount form factor as the EX3, but smaller – you don’t need any extras to use it as a shoulder mount camera. In fact, there’s a built-in shoulder support and it’s designed so that most of the weight is at the front, meaning you can attach an external recorder or other accessories to the back without unbalancing it.

Who’s it for?

Designed for education, corporates, event videographers and anyone with a 7D or 5D that wants to step up from DSLRs, the NEX-EA50EH is designed to be an ideal first pro camera, or to play a supporting part in more advanced setups. With a rough price of €3550 (£2744) to be confirmed at IBC, it’s an interesting prospect for anyone who needs to get over the audio issues and 30 minute cut off point you encounter in DSLRs, but doesn’t want to break the bank.

Do I want this or the Cinema Camera?

It depends what kind of work you’re doing. Both cameras represent part of a wave of new cameras that are looking to challenge the likes of the 5D and 7D for a place in the market.  Whilst offering the same creative flexibility of large sensor DSLRs, they address a number of drawbacks that arise from using a device designed for photography as a video camera – namely your DSLR’s tendency to overheat (if it’s old) or cut off after 30 minutes recording (if it’s new).

The range of Canon DSLRs that has fundamentally created this market sector have suffered from recording to H.264, which is a very compressed codec designed for delivery. This is far from ideal when you bring the content in to the edit, as there is not a huge amount of data to work with in terms of colour fidelity, chroma and luminance, so trying to manipulate it or even edit it has been not been an enjoyable process.

Both Sony and Blackmagic’s cameras have tried to fix this, and the grade is one place where the Cinema Camera is going to come into its own, but as the name suggests it’s not aimed at the same market as the NEX-EA50EH, which is a not designed to act as a lead camera. Instead, it tries to address the problem with introducing a codec that is lightweight in terms of data storage but user friendly in the edit – a great addition for anyone looking to step up from DSLR.

There’s also the fact that the thread mount on the shoulder pad will let you attach something like the Atomos Ninja, and record to NLE-friendly formats like ProRes and DNxHD, with the Ninja itself acting as a counter balance and confidence monitor.

Then there’s audio. Despite new firmware upgrades for the 7D, it still doesn’t have the physical I/O requirements to achieve good results with audio. External audio recorders have become the standard way to address this, but these add additional complications to your setup. With its two jack inputs, the Cinema Camera presents itself as part of a modular audio system, and assumes you have time, a crew and the opportunity to carry out post – it’s really a camera for people who are recording audio separately, or even using ADR.

On the other hand, the NEX-EA50EH has 2x XLR and manual controls, meaning the camera operator has full control and can get it right there and then, because it’s a camera designed for high speed, reactive shooting where the most you’ll be able to do is give your audio a quick polish in Audition.

If you’re thinking of investing in either, take time to really consider your end goal. Is it reactive or proactive videography? The NEX-EA50EH is a very reactive camera for when you want the large sensor look but also want the security that when it all kicks off, you have the footage in the bag. The Cinema Camera is pro-active; you use it to create moments, to view drama and craft a unique viewer experience using time, dedication to perfection and patience (hence the ‘Cinema Camera’ rather than ‘three-minute-corporate-video-for-irritating-client-camera’). The EA50 gives you the confidence to know that you can go out, shoot whatever happens on location and it will look stunning, with minimal issues and post. They’re very different beasts – confuse one for the other and you will end up riding your cow to fight a dragon and milking your horse.

Want to know more? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email To keep up with all the latest news, follow @Jigsaw24Video on Twitter or Like’ our Facebook page.


Why do I need Vectorworks Service Select?

Why do I need Vectorworks Service Select?

Happy news! Anyone who upgrades to the latest version of Nemetschek’s Vectorworks and adds a Vectorworks Service Select subscription (VSS) will get a third off the cost of their upgrade. That’s a pretty immense saving by anyone’s measure, especially when you consider that it means you’ll receive the next version completely free when it lands.

Nemetschek Vectorworks 2012

Prices are on the up across the CAD sector, so any chance to get every copy of your software up to date on the cheap is alright by us! While adding VSS to your setup may seem like an extra expense at a time when things are tight already, if you look at the overall ROI it’s probably going to save you money, and definitely make managing all your software far easier…

Why would I want a VSS?

We ran down our top five reasons to opt for VSS here and they still hold true now. Opting for a VSS gives you free access to any upgrades that come out during your subscription – even full new versions of the software – and includes a premium support package, meaning you can jump the tech support queue should anything go wrong.

You also get access to free online training, making it far easier (and cheaper) to keep your team up to date with the latest Vectorworks improvements free of charge, and be given access to exclusive subscriber-only content libraries so exclusive we don’t even know what’s in them.

What’s the catch? Well, you have to pay a yearly subscription fee, but it’s still about 25% less than upgrading your software each year, so if your team needs to be working on the latest version of Vectorworks at all times, it’ll save you a fair bit. Plus, you’ll get 33% off your upgrade if you bundle the subscription with it, making this the perfect time to make the switch.

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


NVIDIA’s Tesla K20 and Quadro K5000 to power Maximus 2.0

NVIDIA’s Tesla K20 and Quadro K5000 to power Maximus 2.0

NVIDIA have announced that the second generation of their innovative Maximus platform will be up and running in December. Powered by NVIDIA’s new Kepler-based GPUs, the Quadro K5000 and the Tesla K20, Maximus promises faster, better graphics performance for anyone from mograph artists to prospective oil barons.

How does Maximus work?

Maximus technology allows a Tesla and Quadro card to work in parallel to crunch numbers and simulate or render graphics at the same time, reducing the workload of both the cards and your CPU and resulting in faster graphics performance.

The new GPUs

Over to Jigsaw24 3D consultant and resident Maximus expert, Ben Kitching, to explain why we should be getting excited about the Tesla K20 and the Quadro K5000. “The new Kepler-based cards have up  to 3000+ CUDA cores – that’s six times as many as the previous high-end cards like the Quadro 6000 and Tesla C2075. The new cards also have SMX and dynamic parallelism, two new technologies that allow them to make more efficient use of those cores,” he explains.

“On top of this, there is the pioneering  GPU virtualisation, which brings the long awaited dream of remote working to those needing to use high performace apps like Autodesk Maya or the Adobe suites. Imagine being able to remote into your high performance workstation from a MacBook Air and access your production data at full speed and quality as if you were sat in front of it.”

Other key features of the Quadro K5000 include:

  • ‪Bindless Textures that give users the ability to reference over 1 million textures directly in memory while reducing CPU overhead.
  • ‪FXAA/TXAA film-style anti-aliasing technologies for outstanding image quality.
  • ‪Increased frame buffer capacity of 4GB, plus a next-generation PCIe-3 bus interconnect that accelerates data movement by 2x compared with PCIe-2.
  • ‪An all-new display engine capable of driving up to four displays simultaneously with a single K5000.
  • ‪Display Port 1.2 support for resolutions up to 3840×2160 at 60Hz.

The Tesla K20 is no slouch either, adding SMX streaming technology that promises to deliver up to three times as much performance per watt, dynamic parallelism and Hyper-Q technology (we should probably point out that all these stats came from NVIDIA, and we haven’t been able to verify them independently).

When can I have one?

The Quadro K5000 will be available as a standalone desktop GPU from October (we’re trying to wrangle a demo unit before then, so keep your eyes peeled for benchmarks). The Tesla K20 and qualified Maximus-capable workstations are set to follow in December.

Want to know more? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email For the latest news, follow @Jigsaw24VIdeo on Twitter or Like’ our Facebook page. Visit our website at

Video: Autodesk 3ds Max & Adobe – the easiest 3D workflow around

Video: Autodesk 3ds Max & Adobe – the easiest 3D workflow around

Our M&E team’s Autodesk/Adobe enthusiast Anthony Corcoran teamed up with Autodesk’s own Jamie Gwilliam to deliver this webinar on how the dynamic link between Autodesk 3ds Max and Adobe After Effects can be used to speed up 3D and VFX workflows. 

3ds Max can create a bi-directional link between itself and After Effects, allowing the transfer of relevant data such as solids, nulls and more between the two. There’s even the option to export still images to Photoshop while keeping blend modes, layer information and opacity intact, then output everything as layered PSD files or After Effects comps. The result: more realistic 3D graphics all round, without having to spend three hours swearing creatively at the progress bar.

If we didn’t answer your question (or if we’ve convinced you that you need 3ds Max now), get in touch on 03332 409 306 or email You can keep up with all the latest news and ensure you never miss a webinar again by following @Jigsaw24Video on Twitter or ‘Like’-ing our Facebook page

Blackmagic Cinema Camera shipping in two weeks

Blackmagic Cinema Camera shipping in two weeks

Blackmagic Design have announced that their hotly anticipated 2.5K Cinema Camera has entered the final stages of Thunderbolt testing and will be shipping in two weeks’ time.

The first orders of the camera should be filled by the third week in August, and we’re getting the first stock in the UK, so if you’ve placed an order with us it’s time to start crossing off the days on your calendar and working out what you’re going to shoot first.

In the meantime, we thought we’d round up some of the web’s choicest Cinema Camera news to whet your appetite:

– First look: Blackmagic Design Cinema Camera – After attending Blackmagic Design’s summer sales boot camp, our video consultant James Graham rounds up everything you need to know about working with the BMCC.

– A little tease… – DOP John Brawley shot some test footage on the Cinema Camera and posted some gorgeous stills to his blog. Anyone who doubts the dynamic range claims around this camera should take a look.

– Hands on with the 2.5K Blackmagic Design Cinema Camera – The guys over at nofilmschool talk to Blackmagic Design’s Simon Westland about the camera (and get some lovely closeups of the unit itself).

– Is Blackmagic’s Cinema Camera the HDSLR killer? – Post-NAB, Creative Cow’s Marco Solorio laid out the benefits of the Cinema Camera for DSLR users.

You can pre-order the camera at our site (no deposit needed!), by calling 03332 409 306 or by emailing To keep up with the latest news, follow @Jigsaw24Video on Twitter or ‘Like’ our Facebook page.

Adobe, Avid and Xsan

Adobe, Avid and Xsan

If you’re a former Final Cut devotee thinking of making the move to Media Composer or Premiere Pro, the prospect of giving up your Xsan and losing all that lovely shared storage might seem a bit daunting. However, all is not lost: there are some surprisingly simple ways to work around this, and keep the functionality of your Xsan intact.

The surprisingly simple bit

Premiere Pro works with Xsan. No, really. Granted, you may have to make some tweaks to your workflow – some users find it works better if you ensure that your project lives on the SAN, with your working media caches being set to ‘same as project’ so that you can carry the same preferences between workstations and editors, but generally speaking, you can keep your Xsan setup as is, especially if you’re using Premiere Pro on Macs, too.

The Avid option

Sadly, working things out with Media Composer is less easy. If you’re feeling flush, one option is to rip out your Xsan and replace it with one of the Avid equivalents – ISIS 5000 will stand in just fine for a standard SAN setup, or you can upgrade to Unity MediaNetwork hardware if you need truly simultaneous sharing of assets between users and platforms. There are plenty of advantages to moving to ISIS or Unity – the combination of AVID hardware and software should ensure reliability and they’re both certified by AVID, so you can be sure of a certain level of support.

The third way…

However, there is another way. Earlier this year, Tiger Technology and FilmPartners teamed up to offer a new, universal SAN management system for FCP, Premiere Pro and Media Composer.

MXFServer has been around for a while as a project management tool. It lets you store metadata and media in universal MXF containers that are then accessed through different ‘abstraction layers’ based on which editing application you’re using. This allows multiple users to access footage in QuickTime or any native MXF file format instantly, and use MXFServer’s bin-locking options to work collaboratively or individually on the project without needing to transcode anything.

Tiger Technology have now made everything that bit easier by developing an API that will allow MXFServer to interact directly with metaSAN. The result is a flexible system that allows for high speed, scalable shared storage to be managed effectively, with metaSAN handing the fine detail at file level while MXFServer takes care of your edit-in-place demands.

The flexibility of this system is fantastic, and makes it a great choice for anyone who needs to collaborate with third parties who may use different system, but it’s not certified by Avid or Adobe.

Wondering which is right for you? Give our consultants a call on 03332 409 306, email or head over to to see our full broadcast range.

Choosing the right external recorder

Choosing the right external recorder

Not sure whether you need a Ninja or a nanoFlash? With a bit of info from the shadowy and mysterious (but ultimately very helpful) Sony tech team, we’ve put together this handy PDF containing all the details of the most recent crop of external recorders.

To compare specs, check your codec of choice is supported and take a gander at the price of various models in this PDF, Portable Recorders . Clicking on the images should take you straight to and a more detailed description. Enjoy!

Got a question? Give us a call on 03332 409 306, email or let us know in the comments below and we’ll get back to you shortly.

Connecting to AutoCAD WS with Buzzsaw

Connecting to AutoCAD WS with Buzzsaw

With the release of version 1.2 in February, AutoCAD WS showed it had matured into an important tool for business, offering instant model updates for collaborative working. One of the best features to emerge was ‘Connect To Service’, which allows businesses to access all of the great features of AutoCAD WS (such as live markup and viewing of DWG documents on iPads and iPhones) without having to upload their data to Autodesk servers.

Instead, you can use file sharing applications such as Buzzsaw, Sharepoint and Dropbox and maintain more control over your work. Connecting to these applications is very straightforward; below we’ve provided a guide to connecting to Buzzsaw.

You can find more tutorials on how to connect with other services (including Dropbox,, Egnyte and Sharepoint) on Autodesk’s dedicated AutoCAD WS website.

Connect To Service
Connect To Service is a new feature that has been added to the AutoCAD WS web app that allows you to store the contents of your AutoCAD WS online account anywhere you choose. It takes advantage of the WebDAV protocol to read and write content from and to a wide variety of online or privately hosted storage solutions including Buzzsaw,, Dropbox, MobileMe, Egnyte and any file server or SharePoint portal.

The Connect To Service feature was designed to be as transparent as possible. This means that regardless of where your content is held, you will be able to reach it from the following apps:

•    AutoCAD WS web app through your PC or Mac’s web browser
•    AutoCAD WS mobile app available on all iOS and Android phones and tablets

Making a Connection
To connect to your Buzzsaw account, you need to log in to the AutoCAD WS web app. A new Connect button has been added to the Drawings ribbon in the web app.
Auto CAD WS - Connecting To Buzzsaw 1

When you click on the Connect button, the following dialogue box will open:

Auto CAD WS - Connecting To Buzzsaw 2

In order to connect AutoCAD WS to your Buzzsaw account, you must define the URL and enter your Buzzsaw username and password. Clicking on the star dropdown button offers a list of the most popular services.

Auto CAD WS - Connecting To Buzzsaw 3

Connect to Buzzsaw
When you select Buzzsaw from the list, the URL will be partially completed for you. Enter the name of your Buzzsaw site in place of the <Site Name> prompt and fill in your username and password. You can overwrite the New Folder Name or leave it and click Connect.

Successful Connection
This folder will also be visible and accessible under the same name from the AutoCAD WS mobile app for iOS and Android. The contents of your Buzzsaw folder will sync with your mobile device when it is connected to the internet and be available offline just like your other work. You will now see a new folder with a globe icon indicating that it points to your Buzzsaw account.

Any changes you make to the files stored in your Buzzsaw account will be applied in that account, so be aware that if you delete a file using AutoCAD WS it will also be deleted from your Buzzsaw account. DWG files that you upload to this account will not be stored on AutoCAD WS servers.

Auto CAD WS - Connecting To Buzzsaw 4
Rules and Permissions
Any rules or file permissions that were in effect for your Buzzsaw account will continue to be applied when you access it through AutoCAD WS. You cannot share either a folder or the contents of a folder that was linked to using the Connect To Service feature.

To disconnect from a storage destination, you can simply delete the folder from the AutoCAD WS web app. This will close the connection without affecting the contents of your Buzzsaw account.

Our CAD consultants can offer advice on integrating AutoCAD WS with your Buzzsaw and provide all the advice and hardware to set up a Buzzsaw environment. If you’d like to learn more give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email

Video: Five minutes with the Sony FS700

Video: Five minutes with the Sony FS700

Ever since seeing Sony’s super slow motion FS700 at NAB, we’ve wanted a go. Today, video consultant James Graham finally got his chance, managing to give Sony’s product specialists the slip and make off with their pre-production model for five glorious minutes.

The result? A “contemplative” study of moving water at 200, 400 and 800 frames per second. It’s not a full demo in that we didn’t have time to try out all the features and really put the camera through its paces, but if you’ve been hankering for a look at the headline feature, hanker no longer.

“It’s clear from this footage that no matter what speed you want to shoot at, if you work hard, you can make the frame rate work for you,” said James afterward. “Granted, you take a hit in quality when you get up to 400 fps and then more so when you hit 800 fps, but if you play to the camera’s strengths and stylise your work, you can make even the top end work for you. Where the camera really lights up is at 200 fps, and I think that’s the sweet spot we’ll see a lot of slow motion shots coming in at in the coming year.

“I think where the FS700 excels over some of the other 35mm digital cameras around its price point is the fact that it lets you use all your imagination to achieve your goals; it doesn’t hem you in at all. You can use almost any lens, almost any modern external recorder and now, shoot at a much wider range of frame rates.”

Those of you who’ve pre-ordered an FS700 will be happy to hear it’ll be with you in a couple of weeks, and on our shelves from mid-July. You can order yours here on our website.

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