NAB 2017: Ki Pro Ultra, Pak Dock and Kistor Dock price reductions, and new Ki Pro firmware

NAB 2017: Ki Pro Ultra, Pak Dock and Kistor Dock price reductions, and new Ki Pro firmware

Some early AJA news via Digi-Box: you can now save over £1000 on an Aja Ki Pro Ultra and £90 on Pak Dock and Kistor Dock – plus new firmware v2.2 for Ki Pro Ultra with Avid MXF support. 

Now more affordable than ever, Ki Pro Ultra is the premiere file-based 4K/UltraHD and 2K/HD video recorder and player. Ki Pro Ultra v2.2 firmware offers Avid MXF support for HD workflows and is available as a free download here. The release adds recording and playback of DNxHD files with an OP1a profile within an MXF container for DNxHD HQX (220x), DNxHD SQ (145) and DNxHD LB (36) codecs. This provides a native MXF workflow for Avid pipelines free of transcoding.

Ki Pro Ultra features a built-in HD LCD monitor and supports edit-ready Apple ProRes files in a range of video formats and frame rates up to 4K 60p, or Avid DNxHD files at HD resolutions. Flexible input and output connectivity, including 3G-SDI, HDMI, and fibre, provides support for powerful, efficient large raster and high-frame-rate workflows.

Record 4K/UHD and 2K/HD sources to reliable and affordable AJA Pak SSD media, available in capacities up to 1TB. A twin-media bay drive enables extremely fast media changes and rollover recording. The Ki Pro Ultra has a wide range of connectivity with 3G-SDI, fibre and HDMI inputs and outputs, AES and analogue XLR balanced audio, LTC, RS232 and LAN.

The Pak Dock and KiStor docking stations provide both Thunderbolt and USB 3.0 connections for ultra-fast file transfers between either PC or Mac host computer and Pak modules. Works with all Pak media and Pak adapters – now with a £90 reduction in cost!

Ki Pro Ultra, Pak Dock, and KiStor are available from specialist AJA resellers (ourselves included).

If you want to know more on the biggest and best NAB Show releases, take a look at our roundup post, give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

NAB 2017: Canon launch new upgrade service for EOS 5D Mk IV

NAB 2017: Canon launch new upgrade service for EOS 5D Mk IV

Canon have announced a new paid upgrade for EOS 5D Mk IV users, available exclusively from Canon-authorised service centres. 

The upgrade brings Canon Log (C-Log) capability to the EOS 5D. A staple feature in Canon’s Cinema EOS range, C-Log will provide EOS 5D users with enhanced dynamic range and easier colour grading.
 
The key things to remember when debating whether this upgrade is for you include: 

– This chargeable service and must be performed by Elstree.

– The charge will be “approx £85″ (this is the most exact figure we have, sorry) as Canon have to pay a licence fee in order to furnish you with the upgrade.

– The fees do not include postage for your camera.

– After the upgrade, the normal firmware upgrades can be applied without needing to return to the RCC (as was required for the 1D C).

The C-Log upgrade for EOS 5D Mk IV will be available in June.

If you want to know more on the biggest and best NAB Show releases, give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

NAB 2017: Canon unveil new pro lens

NAB 2017: Canon unveil new pro lens

Canon are out of the gate early this year, releasing news of a new lens just as our team set off for NAB. 

The CN-E70-200mm T4.4 L IS KAS S, which we look forward to watching our product managers attempt to spell, is designed for professional and advanced amateur videographers who use large-format, single-sensor cameras.

Canon’s official statement says that it ensures that movies, documentaries, weddings and corporate videos can be captured with the utmost precision and quality. Offering an impressive focal length of 70-200mm in the Super 35 image circle, the versatile lens joins the CN-E18-80mm launched in 2016 and completes Canon’s compact cine-servo lens lineup.

canon_cne_blog

Here are the highlights from the press release:

Ideal for sports shoots The new CN-E70-200 is a parfocal lens with three modes of image stabilisation. By combining with the CN-E18-80 lens, videographers can enjoy a versatile focal range of 18-400mm, perfect for when filming must take place from a safe distance such as in sport.

Dual Pixel CMOS AF Designed to function with Canon EF mount DSLRs and compatible detachable lens video cameras, the CN-E70-200 leverages a wide range of mount functions and super-fast autofocusing (AF). Powerful Dual Pixel CMOS AF enables a quick and accurate focus via a single button push (one-shot AF), while continuous AF allows for a subject to be tracked with no loss of focus, ideal for capturing wildlife footage.

4K optical quality Canon’s heritage in optical design and performance means the CN-E70-200 has super accurate resolving power; maintaining quality from the middle of the lens to the edge. The modulation transfer function has been specifically enhanced for the requirements of 4K cameras and with colour balance matched to other Canon cinema EOS lenses, the CN-E70-200 delivers exceptional image quality – whether filming in 4K or HD.

Enhanced operability Thanks to its compact size and lightweight, the CN-E70-200 can be used in a range of challenging shooting scenarios such as on spider cameras or drones. This, combined with its ergonomic design and optional Canon ZSG-C10 zoom grip, means the lens is able to unlock a broad range of new shooting styles. Attached to the body of the lens with a 20-pin cable, the ZSG-C10 allows for smooth remote activation of the zoom servo and one-shot AF. It can be operated while mounted on the lens barrel for comfortable shoulder-mounted shooting, or removed from the lens and operated by hand. The ZSG-C10 comprises an easy-to-use rocker switch, start/stop record button, one-shot AF button and an adjustable grip angle for optimum comfort.

If these are the features you need, you’ll have to wait until October to get your hands on a CN-E70-200mm T4.4 L IS KAS S, but you can pre-order now for £5045 ex VAT (£6054 inc VAT).

If you want to know more on the biggest and best NAB Show releases, give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter‘Like’ us on Facebook or take a look at our roundup post.

 

Tips for tackling ecommerce in 2017

Tips for tackling ecommerce in 2017

Over the course of last year, ecommerce was worth £133 billion to the UK economy – a 16% year-on-year rise that was due in part to a 47% jump in the number of transactions carried out via smartphone.

With experts predicting ecommerce sales will jump by another 14% this year, failure to make the most of your online and mobile sales channels soon could see you missing out on a hefty slice of potential profit. With that in mind, we asked Jigsaw24’s ecommerce manager, Craig, to share some of his top tips.

Optimise your website for mobile use

“Last December saw a 47% year-on-year increase in the number of people doing their Christmas shopping on their smartphone, so having a responsive website that can recognise when a user is on their phone and present them with a mobile-friendly view is important. Nobody wants to have to click on extra links to be taken to the right version of the site, or be prompted to click out of their browser to download your app, which won’t have their browsing history in. Similarly, you need to make sure that any email comms you send out are optimised for mobile viewing in order to ensure maximum engagement.”

A/B test your checkout pages

“People are quick to A/B test subject lines, landing pages and content on their outbound comms, but often overlook their checkout pages. If you’re seeing a lot of dropped baskets (ie customers who start the purchasing process, but leave your site without confirming a purchase), try A/B testing the pages they encounter along the way to see which one is tripping people up.”

Get your logistics team on board

“The key to getting good word of mouth online, as in life, is to consistently deliver what you’ve promised. Yes, it feels good to write ‘free next day delivery’ in large letters on your checkout page, but if you can’t actually do it, all you’re going to do is disappoint people and lose repeat custom. Before launching a new offer or pushing a particular capability, put your heads together with your logistics crew and work out what’s feasible. By a similar token, you’ll need to brief your salespeople when you launch online or social-only offers, so that they don’t muddy the water or offer conflicting pricing.”

Know when to automate and when to personalise

“People are talking a lot about personalisation at the moment because, as we’ve previously reported, it can lead to increases in sales of up to 31%. Emails, welcome screens and offers that are directed at a single user can all increase engagement and promote brand loyalty, but while creating that content is worthwhile, it does take a little longer than producing your standard issue content.

“Happily, though, not everything has to be personalised, and you can automate or pre-schedule run rate tasks to save time. One area where this can be particularly effective is in social media. Obviously you need to have a real person keeping an eye on your accounts to respond to queries, follow up complaints and jump in with reactive marketing where appropriate, but a good scheduling tool will let you pre-plan updates ahead of time and automate their delivery and cross-channel sharing. Try scheduling posts for similar audiences at a range of times and measuring the response you get, so you can gauge when in the day it’s best to target those customers.”

 Use the right tools for the job

“The market leader in ecommerce analytics monitoring is obviously Google Analytics, and I recommend anyone looking at their ecommerce performance use it. However, in order to check that your traffic is being monitored correctly, it’s always best to take a look at your site through a second system, too – we like Clicky for this.

“If you want an at a glance overview of how different page elements are performing, heat maps are always good (and go down well in meetings, where no one wants to look at graphs). Hotjar and Crazy Egg are both popular here. I also like Screaming Frog for content audits.”

Not sure what you’re measuring?

If you want to see whether ecommerce platforms are helping your business grow, the KPI you want to be measuring is your cost per customer acquisition (CAC, for all you acronym collectors). This is the total spend on these channels over time, divided by the number of new customers you gain over the same period – ad spend divided by customers is a common shortcut to get to this number, but to get a truly accurate picture you need to factor in time, effort and internal systems costs as well.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that this is a distinct measurement from cost per action (ie how much you have to spend to close a deal), which is your total spend on ecommerce over time divided by the total number of transactions in that period from new and returning customers.

Where does Matrix come into this?

A valid question, given that it’s not a social media engine, or an analytics tool or any of the other things Craig mentioned. What it is, however, is a great way to speed up your core marketing activities so that you’re free to pay closer attention to new channels. As well as speeding up catalogue production for customers like Next, Boden, Christie’s Auction House and Bauer, MatrixCMS also allows you to automate the updating and management of your ecommerce platform, and can even be used to customise channels for different market segments, distributors and suppliers.

You can use it to convert print-ready images and assets into web-ready ones, and to enter data once and use it across all channels in a consistent and efficient way. This will not only enable you to get your products to market faster, but also improve the efficiency of your processes and ultimately reduce costs or increase capacity.

To find out more about MatrixCMS at an online demo, pop your details in the form here.

Want to know more? Call 0161 804 1850 or email info@matrixcms.com. To keep up with all the latest news and blogs, follow us on Twitter @matrixtweets or ‘like’ us on Facebook.

What’s the difference between a hosted and managed Jamf Pro deployment?

What’s the difference between a hosted and managed Jamf Pro deployment?

We’ve been helping our customers work with Jamf Pro since 2009, and have deployed more licences than any other UK provider, so there are no safer hands for your Jamf deployment. We offer Jamf Pro as a hosted service, a managed service, and a hosted, managed service – read on to find out which option is right for you. 

A hosted, managed Jamf Pro deployment (we host your server and manage all the devices)

In this scenario, you don’t have to do anything. You tell us how many devices you need managing and which permissions your various user groups will need, then we host the licences at our UK datacentre and manage the deployment and maintenance of them. If you ever want to add new licences or change settings, all you have to do is give our team a call, and we’ll arrange everything from this end.

Why choose a hosted, managed deployment? 

Predictable per device pricing. Let’s get this out of the way early. Our managed, hosted solution is billed on a per device basis, so you’re only paying for the licences you use and you don’t incur any hardware, power or cooling costs.

Focus on core skills. Maintaining another skill base in your company is a financial and logistical challenge. It takes staff away from their core tasks, which can impact the smooth running of your organisation. However, a managed solution means that our team take responsibility for the management of your licences, and your team can focus on their core capabilities.

Time savings. Don’t tie up your team managing another platform. All you have to do is tell us how you want your devices to behave. We’ll then build profiles, register devices, apply settings, monitor usage, troubleshoot and generate reports for you – just let us know your requirements and sit back while we run around on your behalf.

Secure access to a UK-based datacentre. Your licences will be hosted at our UK-based datacentre, and you’ll be given private, secure access.

A hosted Jamf Pro deployment (we host the server but you manage the devices)

All hosted Jamf Pro deployments are held in our UK datacentre, and you are given secure VPN access to the servers holding your licences. In this scenario, your team would manage the devices themselves (you can still ask us for tech support, though).

Why choose a hosted deployment? 

No onsite costs. Hosting licences in our datacentre costs you a flat, predictable fee per licence, and lets you sidestep internal hosting costs. It also means you don’t have to buy any hardware as part of your initial outlay.

You maintain ultimate control over your licences. If you’ve already got the know-how in-house, have a very delicate mixed environment that you don’t trust outsiders with, or have users whose needs and permissions will have to change frequently, you might prefer to manage your devices in-house. A hosted deployment lets you do this without having to assume responsibility for the maintenance of any new hardware.

Develop in-house expertise. Who are we to stand in the way of professional development? You may want to get members of your team trained up on Apple and Jamf Pro workflows, in which case getting the right training on managing your devices yourself is essential. Find out how we can help below.

Our expert support and training. Our accredited team offer support contracts that can include remote and onsite support, regular system health checks, access to our help desk for your end users and more, all backed up by our 25 years’ experience in mixed platform environments. We’ll even include a JSS health check as part of your service level agreement. We can also provide four levels of official Jamf Pro support, and offer training courses of our own for technical teams and end users.

A managed onsite Jamf Pro deployment (you host the server, we manage the devices)

If you want to host your own licences but don’t have the time to take on device admin or the funds to take the training that enables you to do it, choose a managed onsite deployment. Your hardware stays in your server room where you can monitor and control it, and no one has to VPN into our datacentre, but we still take care of all the behind the scenes stuff.

Why choose a managed onsite deployment? 

You can choose and check your own hardware. We’re very protective of our server room and security practices too, so we understand some people want to keep their servers where they can see them.

Obey strict storage policies without having to take on management tasks. If you don’t want to deal with Jamf Pro admin, but want or need to keep your data onsite to comply with contractual or legal obligations, a managed solution allows you to do this without taking on any additional admin tasks.

No support or training costs. Support comes under the umbrella of us managing your deployment, so there’s no extra cost for that. And with our team handling things, there’s no need to retrain your in-house team.

Already got Jamf Pro? Ask us about…

Transitioning your existing Jamf Pro deployment to the cloud. If you already have Jamf Pro onsite but would like to move to a hosted or hosted and managed setup, we can help make the move quick, seamless and cost effective.

JSS Healthchecks. If you want to keep your deployment onsite but don’t think it’s running as efficiently as it could, we also offer JSS Healthchecks. These are designed to ensure your Jamf Pro deployment and associated networking are optimised for each other, so you can improve performance without the need for costly upgrades. Find out more here

Legacy JSS If you’ve previously installed Jamf Pro (perhaps in its previous incarnation as Casper Suite) but it’s fallen into disuse or the expertise has left your organisation, call on us to give your setup the kiss of life. We’ll revitalise your hardware and policies to make sure you’re getting the most out of your investment.

Jamf Jumpstart training. This is mandatory training that Jamf insist you have if you’re going to manage your own devices (if we’re managing your devices for you, you can skip it). Depending on the size and complexity of your deployment, you could need to undertake anything between four hours of remote training and a three day onsite course that costs £3500. Ask our experts what you’ll need.

Additional training. We offer training for tech teams and end users on Apple devices, their operating systems and the solutions you can use to manage them. Get in touch with the team to arrange Jamf Pro training that’s tailored to your needs. Book your training here.

Official tech support. We offer five tiers of support for Jamf Pro deployments, all at fixed, predictable annual costs. They range from general remote support and troubleshooting packages to our Gold package, which includes eight days with an engineer onsite, six half days of dedicated remote support for ongoing issues, ongoing end user support, annual health checks of your hardware and networks, roadmaps for future system development and the packaging and deployment of up to 12 business apps.

Why choose Jigsaw24?

Scale We’ve deployed more licences of Jamf Pro and carried out more Jumpstart training than any other company in the UK.

Longevity We’ve been working with Jamf since 2009, and were one of the first companies in the UK to work with them, meaning we have the most experienced team of engineers available to you.

Apple expertise But it’s not all about Jamf. We’ve been providing Apple devices, solutions and services for 25 years. Our support team really understand your devices, their underlying architecture and how they’ll interact with Jamf Pro and your wider IT ecosystem, whether that be Windows or OS X-based.

Security As well as providing secure access to your licences, our Tier UK datacentre offers redundant power and disaster recovery in case of emergency.

Our satisfied customers include SuperGroup, Lincoln University, King’s College London, News UK, Pret-A-Manger, MTV, The AA, Jamie Oliver, Williams Lea, The Guardian, Pentland Brands and Burberry. If you’re ready to get started with Jamf Pro, or unhappy with your current provision, our team can migrate you from an onsite deployment to a hosted or hosted and managed one in order to reduce your running costs. Email our engineers to find out how.

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

 

Inferno or Flame? What you need to know before choosing a Ninja

Inferno or Flame? What you need to know before choosing a Ninja

There have been some big changes to the Atomos Ninja family recently, with Ninja 2 and Ninja Star going end of life (we have the last stock of the Star over on our official eBay page) and the price of the Ninja Blade getting slashed. So which of the surviving models, the Ninja Flame and the Ninja Inferno, is right for you? 

Ninja Flame: basic vs bling versions

A 4K 30p-capable monitor and recorder, the Flame comes in two flavours: the original kit, complete with accessories that include an HPRC case, cables, batteries and charger, a docking station, five Master Caddy IIs, two AC adaptors and HDR sun hood, which will set you back £970 ex VAT; and a no frills Basic Kit for £695 which just includes a Master Caddy, power supply and travel case.

If you’re new to the Ninja range, or the Atomos lineup generally, it’s a good idea to go for the full kit, as the interchangeable cables, storage etc will serve you well as your Atomos lineup inevitably grows (we’re yet to meet anyone who’s managed to stop at one Atomos device). If you’ve already got a full complement of accessories, obviously feel free to save yourself a few quid and opt for the Basic Kit.

Ninja Flame vs Ninja Inferno

The Ninja Flame and Inferno share many similar specs: they’re both HDMI-only, they both sport HDR-ready monitors supported by Atomos’s AtomHDR technology, they can both be linked to larger HDR-ready monitors, both have 10-bit processing and 1500 nits of brightness, and both support ProRes and DNxHR.

They also boast all the features that made us fall hard for the original Ninja monitor, such as start/stop trigger recording, metadata tagging and the ability to record to spacious SSDs rather than SDXC cards.

So what’s the difference between a Flame and a full-blown Inferno? Well, while the Ninja Flame tops out at 4K 30p, the £875 Inferno can keep going all the way up to 4K 60p. Because of this, it’s done particularly well as a partner to the Panasonic DC-GH5, the first compact camera to ever hit the 4K 60p milestone, but we also like it with the Sony FS7 (on which you can now get £346 cashback) or the Panasonic DVX200.

The Inferno is also the only model that’s able to record 4K DCI – aka ‘cinema 4K’ rather than the kind used for television, so if you’re shooting for the big screen, opt for an Inferno over a Flame.

And let’s not forget G-Tech

atomos_master_caddy

Whether you opt for the Flame or the Inferno, we’d recommend investing in a G-Tech Atomos Master Caddy, too. It may sound like a piece of futuristic golfing equipment, but it’s actually an Atomos-endorsed line of storage made of G-Technology SSDs (which can achieve transfer rates of 500 MBps +). The Atomos Master Caddy (pictured above) inserts directly into any Atomos recorder. The caddy then slides into the ev Series Reader Atomos Master Caddy Edition, which slips into any G-DOCK ev or ev Series Bay Adapter, so footage is part of your established G-Technology storage workflow as soon as you’ve finished shooting.

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.

Media Composer v8.8 is here!

Media Composer v8.8 is here!

Media Composer v8.8 is here and ready for download! Head to the Download Centre in your Avid account to get the update now, or keep reading to see what’s been updated.

New features

Version 8.8 has seen a raft of tweaks and new features to make your editing workflow even smoother. Here are the highlights – a more detailed breakdown is available in the Avid documentation:

– Timeline Clip Notes You can add notes to clips in the Timeline and view all the notes in the Timeline Clip Notes Window. (Used to be Adding Comments.)

– Frame Cache for Effects Editing enabling frame cache when performing colour correction.

– ScriptSync ScriptSync uses phonetic-indexing technology to analyse the audio portion of a clip and match it to lines of the script text.

– Bin sharing on non-Avid storage The editing application will notify you if your third party storage is emulating Avid NEXIS or Avid ISIS storage.

– Change to Find Window A few changes have been made to the Find Window.

– Change to the Script Window A few changes have been made to the Script Window.

Bug fixes

As well as new features, v8.8 also brings with it a range of welcome bug fixes, including:

– Not being able to open a project if the project was named Clip.

– Not being able to successfully drag and drop audio clips above or below the TC track.

–  Custom Colours not staying in the colour palette when using clip colour.

–  Disabling the ‘Auto-create new tracks’ setting was ignored when using Edit While Capture clips.

–  The Cutlist EndHdl timecode was short one frame.

–  (List Tool) The marker values were empty in an Optical List.

–  (List Tool) Markers did not display on Opticals in an Assemble List.

–  When performing an Export to Device with an XDCAM device attached, you might have received a ‘Please connect XDCAM device or insert disk’ message.

–  In some instances, exporting a graphic from linked XAVC Long GOP media failed with an assertion error.

–  In some instances, rendering a sequence with muted clips resulted in clips being partially rendered.

–  The Project Window summary might have been empty on a Mac system, or contained garbled text on a Windows system.

–  When importing some .wav files, the name of the files include a / which is an illegal character that is not supported in Interplay. This is because Media Composer uses the values of Scene/Take for the file name when importing Broadcast Wave files. An additional Import Setting has been added to the Import Settings dialogue. The ‘Use Broadcast Wave Scene and Take for Clip Names’ is defaulted on. If you are importing Broadcast Wave files and you do not want them named using Scene/Take, you must deselect this option in the Import Settings:Audio dialogue box.
Limitations:  There are 5 limitations and workarounds outlined in the ReadMe for Media Composer v8.8.
New Nvidia Driver: Nvidia Driver v375.86 is supported with this release.

Availability

Media Composer v8.8 is available now. If you have already installed the latest version of Media Composer, you will be notified of the availability of the v8.8 upgrade via the Application Manager v17.2. The Apps tab will also provide a link to download and install the update.

If you bought Media Composer on or after 16th February, 2017 you will receive this v8.8 update in your Avid Master Account.

If you are on a current Upgrade & Support plan you can download the Media Composer v8.8 update either from your Avid Master Account or the Avid Download Centre (login and password required). However, if you are not on a current Upgrade & Support contract, you must purchase either a new Media Composer Subscription or Perpetual licence to receive this update.

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.

The view from the front: Post with the Pros tackles virtual reality

The view from the front: Post with the Pros tackles virtual reality

Post with the Pros pulled together its most impressive roster yet for our virtual reality showcase. Demos from manufacturers HTC, NVIDIA, HP, Imagineer, Dolby and EditShare were followed by an expert panel led by our very own Jamie Allan, featuring Mike Davis (Creative Director at Alchemy VR), Oliver Kibblewhite (Head of Special Projects at Rewind), The Mill’s Creative Technologist Kevin Young and Halo’s Head of Audio Operations, Richard Addis. 

Highlights of the night included workflow tips from EditShare (above and beyond “use EditShare”, they recommend an Adobe editing workflow aided by Mettle’s SkyBox Studio 2 plugin), previews of of NVIDIA’s upcoming offerings (a VR WORKS 360 Video SDK that enables realtime stitching of 4K; Pascal architecture that’s up to 95% faster than the previous generation and capable of rendering out both ‘eyes’ of content for a head mounted display simultaneously), and the chance to try out immersive content from a range of our customers, as well as sampling content from the manufacturers themselves.

Story telling vs story living

While the VR market is growing massively, it’s still a relatively new medium, and our panel were keen to pin down how it should and shouldn’t be employed. Our experts were cautious of projects that treated VR like a new version of 3D TV rather than a unique medium, insisting that it needs to be applied to projects where “you think ‘there’s no way this could be any better in any other technology’.”

Rewind’s in-house philosophy makes a clear delineation between story telling – linear narrative, often delivered via 360 video – and story living – immersive experiences delivered via devices like Oculus Rift and HTC VIVE, where the user chooses their own path through the world and the creator’s job is to make sure that a) there’s somewhere for them to go and b) it can be rendered quickly enough when they get there.

Know your technology

Another challenge posed by VR, and often not realised by clients, was the cost of post-production. Not only is there a lot more footage to process, as rigs can run up to dozens of cameras, but as Mike pointed out, “A lot of people don’t think about the cost of painting things out of shot [when shooting 360]”. In Richard’s experience, “VR is rarely longer than 20 to 30 minutes, but the time you spend in post is far in excess of what you’d spend on a 60 minute TV show.”

The challenges aren’t limited to post-production, however. Different cameras will have fractionally different start times and colour differences that need to be compensated for; different brands have different strengths and weaknesses when it comes to stitching several shots together to make a single VR space, and lengthy testing is needed to find out whether, for example, your actors can walk across one of these stitch lines without their face warping, or if you need to set up very specific marks and limits.

There’s also the fact that stitching the individual camera outputs together to make the final shot can take several days, so a director used to seeing instant playback will have to deal with long delays before they know whether they have the shot they want. (This can be sidestepped by strapping a handful of secondary cameras on top of your rig to give them a very rough onset stitch, according to Oliver.)

Devices and delivery

Richard predicts that over the next few generations, the hardware market for VR – which is currently very segmented – will coalesce, allowing for content to be delivered to multiple devices, or be optimised for one platform “so it’ll be like delivering for PlayStation or Xbox” rather than the current system, in which you need to know your target device and its limitations before you begin pre-production.

Oliver’s hopes for the future include “a target baseline level of controls – your HMD should include some sort of haptic feedback, it should have positional tracking, and you should make sure that you can meet a minimum level of experience, especially for interactive content.”

Is it worth it?

While Mike and the rest of the panel were aware that we hadn’t found “the ‘must-have’ content for home VR, like the Queen’s coronation was for television”, they were adamant that tackling the challenges of VR was worthwhile, and that rather than “3D, which got in the way of TV, which people were already comfortable with”, it offered a unique experience for the viewer that was distinct from any other media they have access to. “People are moved by VR in a way that they’re not by TV,” Kevin told us. “It’s something quite special.”

Here’s the full panel, for anyone interested:

Want to know more about how we can help you incorporate VR? 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.

Sony introduce new options for Prime and Elite Support

Sony introduce new options for Prime and Elite Support

Most of Sony’s entry level professional camcorders come with two years’ Sony Prime Support Pro, but you can now extend that for up to five years, or swap it for the even better Elite Support. 

Your professional Sony cameras come with two years of Prime Support Pro, entitling you to a multilingual helpdesk from 9am-6pm, an average 14 day turnaround on repairs, and help with all the logistics of your returns and repairs.

Now, you can extend your Prime Support Pro for up to five years total. There is one simple way to do this: give us a call and let us figure it out for you. But your three options are basically:

– Buy an extended warranty of one to three years at the same time as you buy your camera, and this time will be added on to the two years’ support you receive for free.

– At the end of your two free years, you can buy three years’ additional support all at once.

– At the end of your two free years, you can extend your warranty one year at a time for up to five years total.

Prime Support Elite

If you want extended support hours, guaranteed fast-track repairs, loan units, advance swaps and help with any setup that needs to be done, you can upgrade to Prime Support Elite. When you buy your camera, simply let us know that you’d like to upgrade your support, and we’ll exchange your two years’ free Prime Support Pro for two years’ paid Prime Support Elite.

After your initial two years, your Elite support can be extended in one or three year increments for up to five years total, the same as Prime Support Pro.

Pricing and availability

Prime Support Pro and Prime Support Elite are available on all professional Sony camcorders. The price varies depending on which model of camera you’ve bought; our full list of prices is available here. Both options are available now, so get in touch with our team on the deals below.

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.

It’s time to get HDR-ready

It’s time to get HDR-ready

Remember 2010, when we were all very excited about shooting in native 3D? Well, I think we can all agree that that trend is now dying a death, and ceding its Cool Trend crown to High Dynamic Range (HDR) imagery. However, HDR is different. Rather than a hyped up flash in the pan, it’s actually offering something that filmmakers have been clamouring for – a return to filmic production values, without losing the agility of digital shooting. 

So what exactly do you need to know before you wade into the world of HDR content production? Can you shoot it with your current kit? And what does it really mean for your images? We asked our production team to give us the lay of the land.

First, for the newcomers: what is HDR?

So, the human eye has a functional range of roughly 100,000 nit from the darkest to brightest light it can perceive detail in, and the lens of a camera has a similar range. Until now, however, image processing, transmission and display technologies have reduced this range, meaning bright and dark objects that were perfectly visible to the naked eye appeared clipped or burned in a captured image. You could expose for the highlights and lose detail in the shadows, or expose for shadow but lose detail in the highlights, but there was no way to capture detail in both.

An HDR workflow preserves this full range from capture through transmission, all the way to final display, so your final image has the full dynamic range of the human eye, and therefore appears much more realistic and immersive, as shown in our illustration (alas, this will only work if you’re viewing this on an HDR-ready display). You’ll see more vivid colours, and more detail in shadows.

HDR

 

Screen Shot 2017-02-08 at 11.29.08

But to give some sense of the scale of this change, the brightest possible pixel on an HDR display is about 40 times what it used to be on an SD display, and when you’re working with an HDR image in post, you can tweak brightness levels pixel by pixel.

However, to get the full effect of HDR, you need more than a camera with a lot of latitude. For example, without support for a wide colour gamut, you won’t see as much colour variation in the newly visible section of your image. Support for high frame rates is also recommended, and you’ll need support for 10- or 12-bit capture too, depending on which version of HDR you’re working with.

There are competing versions of HDR?

Yep. The current frontrunner is HDR10, as it’s been picked up by various gaming platforms. Also popular is the more detailed Dolby Vision. The image displayed by Dolby Vision is ‘scene referred’, which means it varies from scene to scene, working with your display to adjust each image. By contrast, HDR10 is static.

Most consumer displays rely on Hybrid Log Gamma, an electronic-optical transfer function protocol  that combines standard gamma with log to create (wait for it) a hybrid that extends traditional gamma beyond the standard curve. Any TV can display HLG, as it displays the standard gamma. TVs brighter than 100 nits (i.e. most LCDs) will then display more highlight information until it reaches its point of maximum brightness, when it’ll clip.

Which of these is the one my smartphone camera can do?

Neither. The ‘HDR’ advertised on smartphones is actually HDR-I, which uses tone mapping to give the impression that you’re seeing images with a higher dynamic range than you are. This is not the same as the true HDR you’ll be capturing on a pro camera for a production workflow.

So what qualifies a camera as being capable of shooting real HDR?

There are several features that your camera needs to qualify as HDR-capable, but the main ones are:

– 10-bit capture to Log or RAW. As a minimum, your camera needs to support ProRes or DNX 10-bit 4.2.2., but don’t feel like you have to stop there. The more bits the better, really.

– Plenty of latitude. Canon’s C300 MkII is being touted as having 15 stops, which is ideal, but the Sony FS7 and FS5 both have 14, and if you have a C500 in your arsenal, that still has a perfectly respectable 12 stops of dynamic range.

– S-Log3/C-LOG 3 capture capability; if you are shooting RAW and recording to Log over SDI, this needs to be 10-bit. 12-bit CinemaDNG capture is also good.

– Rec2020 gamut support.

Your existing camera may already be able to record S-Log3 with the help of an external recorder. (The Atomos Flame and Inferno series are a good bet for this, as they incorporate high quality HDR-ready monitors so you can see your footage accurately on set.)

Which cameras are HDR-ready?

Several such cameras are on, or at least making their way to, the market, but as we mentioned earlier, our favourites among the current crop are Canon’s C500 and C300 MK II, Sony’s FS7 and FS5, and the Panasonic GH4 and GH5. All of these cameras output a RAW signal that can be recorded as ProRes or DNX with the help of external recorder, and all have LOG gamma encoding.

Apart from a camera and maybe an external recorder, what else will I need?

In order to see what you’re doing with your HDR images in post, you will need a monitor that can support HDR. Currently, the simplest and most affordable are the Atomos Flame and Inferno ranges, which offer on-camera HDR monitoring combined with the ability to play back and edit your footage at full res, making a collaborative HDR workflow possible for everyone on set. If you’ve already invested in a Atomos Ninja Assassin, Blade HD, Flame, Shogun or Shogun Inferno, HDR support is available as a free upgrade, but as their screens only hit 500 nit, you won’t be able to see more than seven or eight stops of dynamic range; the newer monitors are 1500 nit and showcase 10 stops.

When it comes to post-production, we can’t in good conscience recommend grading on anything less than DaVinci Resolve. Its ability to power through high resolution and frame rate files without slowing down or falling over is going to be extremely necessary if you’re going to be tackling HDR, and it features the industry’s most advanced and sensitive HDR toolkit. The ability to grade a project for multiple colourspaces at the same time is going to come in handy until you’re delivering HDR 4K all the time, too.

Will my current infrastructure be OK?

To be honest, that depends how much 4K work you’ve done so far, and how many changes you’ve made to accommodate it. That 10-bit workflow with its attendant file sizes and frame rates means you’re going to want to be working on a 10Gb Ethernet network, rather than the standard 1GbE.

You’ll also want to make sure you have plenty of high capacity storage both at your facility and on set. One of the reasons we’re so keen on Atomos devices is that they’ve teamed up with G-Technology to develop the Master Caddy range. These high capacity SSDs can slot into any compatible Atomos recorder to capture your footage, then be removed and inserted in to an adaptor that makes them compatible with G-DOCK and ev series storage from G-Technology, so there’s no need for you to invest in proprietary recording media that’ll only work with one of your cameras (you’ll get better speeds and capacities this way, too).

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.