NAB 2013 news: Sony release V1.12 firmware update for F5, F55 and R5

Anyone rocking a Sony F5 or F55 camcorder, or indeed their R5 external recorder, is being advised by Sony to download the latest firmware. V1.12 gives letter box video output and letter box SxS recording, FZ lens support, as well as a few bug fixes.

The update is available to download now from the Sony Community. Just as a quick note, if you are using the AXS-R5 external recorder, you will need to update firmware for both your recorder, and your Sony PMW-F5 or PMW-F55 camcorder to the same version. Here’s what you get in the firmware:

1. Letter Box Video Output

Regardless of 4K to HD Conv. SETTING, HD VIDEO OUTPUT aspect is always H-Fit (Letter Box) in Cine-EI Mode. In the next version, Sony will support switchable, Letter Box or Edge Crop.

2. Letter Box SxS Recording

Regardless of 4K to HD Conv. SETTING, simultaneous SxS recording aspect is always H-Fit (Letter Box) in Cine-EI Mode. In the next version, Sony will support switchable, Letter Box or Edge crop.

3. Temporary support for the SCL-Z18x140 lens

You can control now Sony FZ Zoom lens manually, with lens information such as values of iris, focus and zoom. Full support will be updated in later firmware.

4. Bug fixes

In XAVC HD S&Q mode on 51-60FPS, an occasional dropped frame problem occurred. Sony have fixed this but only on 60FPS for the time being. When you use the S&Q function, Sony ask you to avoid selecting 51-59FPS in this version. They will fix it completely in the next firmware. In XAVC HD S&Q mode and 29.97 system frequency, recording failure occurred after rebooting the power, but Sony have now fixed this.

Want to know more about the Sony PMW-F5 and F55 camcorders? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email For all the latest NAB 2013 news, follow @Jigsaw24Video on Twitter‘Like’ us on Facebook or check out our roundup post


NAB 2013 news: Sony announce the Anycast Touch

Live production has just got a lot more hands-on, with Sony announcing their new all-in-one touchscreen controller, the Anycast Touch, at NAB 2013.

Like previous Anycast solutions (including our Sony AWS-G500 Anycast Station Live Content Producer), the Touch packs in a number of different live production functions into one box – video switching, audio mixing, display, streaming, programme recording, titling and camera remote control. Where it differs from previous Anycasts is that this version has lost a lot of bulk. It’s not exactly iPad-sized, but the sleek design makes it portable enough to carry round on set. The tilting double touchscreen means you can split audio and video editing between the two panels, and switch between sources with a quick tap.

The Anycast Touch can output 1080p video with 10-bit processing, and there’s I/O support for HD, SD, SDI, composite, RGB and HDMI connectivity, as well as audio ins and outs, and USB ports. With both a 15.6″ (1920 x 1080) and 10.6″ (1280 x 768) 60Hz LCD screen size, and a fairly portable 6.5kg weight, the Anycast Touch looks like a very interesting live production proposition.

Sony haven’t actually announced pricing yet, but they did confirm a release date of September 2013. We’ll keep you up to date with more as we hear it, but in the meantime you can get its predecessor, the Sony Anycast AWS-G500 here!

Want to know more about Sony’s Anycast solutions? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email For all the latest NAB 2013 news, follow @Jigsaw24Video on Twitter‘Like’ us on Facebook or check out our roundup post


NAB 2013 news: Softron unveil new Smart Playout Engine and more

As of NAB 2013, NAVI is no more! In other words, Softron are replacing the NAVI playout engine used in OnTheAir Video and OnTheAir Node for the past ten years, with new player on the block Smart Playout Engine (SPE). They’ve also got a new version of MovieRecorder, and updated OnTheAir Manager and MovieStreamer HLS Mac broadcast solutions to show off.

Softron say they’ve really listened to their user base for these updates, and it looks like that feedback’s paid off, especially with their Smart Playout Engine. The new engine outputs any codec, including i-Frame, Long-GOP, H.264, MPEG2, in both QuickTime and MXF containers, and will also allow the overlay of animated graphics and CG over the same video output.

According to Softron’s press release: “Softron’s Smart Playout Engine will either playout on a video card or stream directly to the Internet (ideal for WebTV). It can even do both at the same time. Once this new technology is combined with Softron’s client-server applications, Softron’s users will streamline their hardware configurations and workflow – in many cases creating new users who want to bypass the “traditional” broadcasting methods.”

Then we come to Softron’s other updates. The MovieRecorder ingest app gets an upgrade, there are new features in OnTheAir Manager and also their latest release, MovieStreamer HLS – an AV Foundation ingest application that streams adaptive HTTP Live Streams to Intranets, FTP sites and Amazon S3 destinations, as well as iOS devices such as iPad and iPhone – which was originally announced at last year’s NAB. Here are details of what’s new:

MovieRecorder version 2.5

– Autostart on TC so each MovieRecorder will automatically sense incoming Time Code and begin recording immediately

– XDCAM HD422 support

– Remote client-server deck control so that any deck attached to any ingest station can be controlled from any other network-enabled Mac

OnTheAir Manager

– Trigger AppleScripts automatically with certain clips, events or playlists in order to control external applications

– A logo file using the same name as the clip file will automatically be overlaid on output, thus enabling the automatic association of thousands of logo files and clips without manual intervention

– XML schedule import opens up broad support for integration with third party scheduling and traffic systems

– copy/paste events

MovieStreamer HLS

– High-resolution QuickTime capture so that not only will the live stream go out to its intended destination, but a high-resolution archive of the live stream that can be used later for VOD or to edit will be saved on the system

Full details of all Softron’s news can be found in their NAB 2013 press release here.

Want to know more about Softron? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email For all the latest NAB 2013 news, follow @Jigsaw24Video on Twitter‘Like’ us on Facebook or check out our roundup post

NAB 2013 news: FSI monitors add Blackmagic Design Cinema Camera monitoring

NAB 2013 news: FSI monitors add Blackmagic Design Cinema Camera monitoring

Anyone anxiously waiting for their Blackmagic Design Cinema Camera will be interested to know that all Flanders Scientific Inc (FSI) monitors now have realtime viewing available from the camera. For anyone else, it’s another bullet point to add to your ‘Reasons I deserve a BMCC’ list.

The two selectable Log Modes – BMD-Log Standard and BMD-Log Full – allow normalised realtime viewing of the Film Mode output from the Blackmagic Design Cinema Camera, making it a great option for on-set monitoring. Any FSI monitor will now come with this function as standard, but all current users are also able to get it with a simple free firmware update.

Both the BMD Log modes can be assigned to function keys for one-click access between the native viewing mode and one or both of the monitor’s normalised viewing modes. All you have to do is toggle  to the BMD Log mode settings so you and anyone on set can get an idea of what to expect in post.

Naturally, FSI will be wooing attendees at NAB with their fancy-pants camera and monitor setup. If you find yourself in Vegas of an evening, head to Booth SL11127 and let us know what you think. If you’re just after the camera, you can pre-order your Blackmagic Cinema Camera here.

Want to know more about on-set monitoring and the Blackmagic Design Cinema Camera? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email To keep up with all the latest releases, follow @Jigsaw24Video on Twitter‘Like’ us on Facebook or take a look at our roundup post

Dr Brian Jones and the Last Hurdle (part 4)

Dr Brian Jones and the Last Hurdle (part 4)

All good things must come to an end, and that includes time travelling quests for Apple Mac minis involving moustachioed adventurers. In the final part of Dr Brian Jones’s quest, he finally returns home after a revelation, but finds someone familiar waiting for him…

Think you might have missed a part of the story? Catch up on part 3, and all the previous episodes, here.

Alternatively, have your own quest for a Mac mini, and all our best Apple offers and deals, by clicking the link below!



Content creation without the ICT headache

Content creation without the ICT headache

Looking for ways to meet those targets for cross-curricular ICT? It’s all very well adding new software to create content and make learning more engaging for students, but the danger is, where do you find time to train staff on how to get the most out of it, and how do you stop the time teaching students how to use the software cutting in to their actual learning time? The solution: simpler software.

Apple’s and Adobe’s entry-level applications are ideal for education, giving staff and students the basic video, audio and photo editing tools and skills to create exciting multimedia projects like posters, slideshows and podcasts without the fuss. Both are easy to pick up and affordable too, with just a couple of differences – but mainly the choice comes down to what your teachers are used to using.

Apple iLife comes pre-loaded on all Mac hardware and is designed to work on that operating system, so this is the option to go for if you’re already using Mac, while Adobe Photoshop Elements and Premiere Elements are better suited to PCs and staff who have more experience using PCs. Their interface is also a bit more advanced than iLife as it’s based on their professional Creative Suite applications, so this is a great option for teachers who need to create engaging course materials, especially if they have used any of Adobe’s software and tools before. Here’s a bit more info about iLife and Adobe.

Create terrific teaching materials with Adobe

If staff are more used to working with the familiar tools of Photoshop and Premiere, Adobe Elements will be more up their street. Based on industry-standard Creative Suite software, but stripped back to just the essentials, you get all the tools you need to create great video, imagery and printed material, without all the complex tools you don’t.

Photoshop and Premiere Elements will run on pretty much any PC or Mac, and are incredibly affordable, so you can easily buy just one or two licences for your existing hardware without denting the budget too much. All Adobe applications link up really well together too – if you create a printed poster in Photoshop, for example, you can then easily share it as an interactive PDF using Adobe Acrobat and view them on computers and mobile devices using Adobe Reader.

Make your Macs multimedia

Whether you’re new to Mac, or have used the OS X operating system before, you’ll find Apple’s iLife creative software incredibly easy to use. The intuitive interface and tools let students get editing with just a few pointers, rather than a whole lesson’s explanation. We’ve picked out our top tools for easily creating multimedia projects like videos, podcasts and photo albums below, and shown an example of how they can be used.

GarageBand – Apple’s music-making app lets you record and mix audio with students, create soundtracks for video and record podcasts (see below for how!).

iMovie – Import footage directly from the class camera into iMovie, then simply drag and drop on to the timeline to edit and add effects. No video experience necessary!

iPhoto – Upload, edit and share photos all within iPhoto. You can even tag photos by location, and who appears in them, so it’s incredibly easy to sort them by events and student groups.

HOW TO engage students with a slideshow podcast

Rob’s step by step guide to creating a podcast in the classroom using just a laptop and the Mac version of GarageBand.

  1. PREPARE A SCRIPT – Get students to use literacy skills to research around the subject, think about tone, and practise reading it aloud. Also think about what slides you will use, if any, to back up the audio.
  2. RECORD – Open a new project and choose the ‘Podcast’ layout. The four audio tracks on the left hand side are used for the spoken track (Voice), music, effects, and slides or video. Click Record on the Voice track, and use your Mac’s built-in mic or any USB mic to record students talking.
  3. EDIT – To chop out any unwanted bits from your finished tracks, click on the timeline and choose the Split tool to move and remove sections.
  4. ENHANCE – If you’re using slides or video, drag them on to the ‘Podcast Track’ at the top to support the audio. If you want to add background music (a ‘bed’) and sound effects like creaking doors and explosions, have a browse in GarageBand’s Loop Browser on the right hand side, then drag them on to the ‘Jingles’ track underneath your audio. You can use the ‘Ducker’ switch (next to where it says ‘Jingles’) to make these quiet when someone’s talking.
  5. SHARE – You can now share the finished podcast to computers or mobile devices by clicking Share, choosing what format and quality you need, then exporting for use in an iBook, on your school’s VLE, in Dropbox and more. QuickTime Player on your Mac is probably the best way to view your podcast with slides intact.

Want to know more about Adobe Photoshop and Premiere Elements or Apple iLife? Get in touch with the team on 03332 409 333 or email You can also keep up with all our latest education news and reviews by following @Jigsaw24Edu on Twitter or ‘Like’-ing our Jigsaw24 Education Facebook page.


Dr Brian Jones and the Old Flame (Part 3)

Dr Brian Jones and the Old Flame (Part 3)

For the third part of his Moroccan adventure, Dr Brian Jones is transported to the not-too-distant future, where he catches up with a familiar (albeit more wrinkled) face…

Missed the previous parts of the story? You can see Part 1 here or catch up with Part 2 here.

If all this time travelling is making your head spin, you can always head over to for our best Mac offers. Just click the image below.

Apple Mac Offers



Avid Media Composer now qualified on new Apple iMacs

Avid Media Composer now qualified on new Apple iMacs

Any editors wanting to justify adding the super-slim new iMac to their studio now have a cast-iron excuse – Avid have announced both the 21.5″ and 27″ models are qualified to work with Media Composer. As long as you’re using v6.5.2 or higher, you’re golden.

This continues Avid’s long and glorious relationship with Apple, and makes the iMac a very viable, and affordable, alternative to a beefy Mac or PC workstation for deploying multiple seats of Media Composer and Symphony in ISIS/Interplay environments. It’s also worth noting that we carry huge stock of new iMacs, so if you need to add an editor or workstation to the studio in a hurry, we have specific configs, and can get them out to you super-quick. Check out some of our Apple iMacs here.

Why the new iMac for Avid?

The new Apple iMac has slimmed down physically, but it’s no lightweight when it comes to processing power and memory. With up to a 3.4GHz Quad-Core Intel i7 processor (Turbo Boost-able to 3.9GHz), 8GB RAM and graphics card options including a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 675MX with 1GB GDDR5, it’ll happily handle editing in Avid Media Composer 6.5. Then there’s the new hybrid Fusion drive. Leveraging both the speed of flash with the capacity of your traditional HDD, Fusion means generally faster booting and a quicker workflow.

If you still need a reason after that, checking out our iMac review might help.

Want to know more about Avid Media Composer and the new batch of Apple iMacs? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email For all the latest news, follow @Jigsaw24Video on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

Top design tips: Insider Adobe InDesign and Photoshop CS6 knowledge

Top design tips: Insider Adobe InDesign and Photoshop CS6 knowledge

Our design team couldn’t live without Adobe InDesign and Photoshop CS6. They’re more integral to their daily design workflow than the designers’ biscuit tin (well, let’s not go too far). And the great thing about the Creative Suite apps is that they’re constantly evolving, with new little tweaks and updates every year that just add to the toolkit.

Here’s why designers Paul and Liana love the everyday workflow of InDesign and Photoshop CS6, both available in the new Adobe Creative Cloud for teams cloud-based service, and a few of their secret (or less well known, at least) designer tips for getting the most out of Adobe…

Paul’s top tips for InDesign CS6

Why InDesign CS6 over other apps? “The best thing about InDesign is how it integrates seamlessly with all the other Creative Suite apps we use. Quark has caught up and still integrates nicely with CS but InDesign was there first and generally seems to be ahead of the game. I started using ID from version 1 and I still remember the feeling of me controlling the software rather than working with the limitations of the software.

How long did it take you to learn? “I’m still learning it! When I did first use it, however, I picked up the basics fairly quickly because the interface and icons are similar to other CS apps. The Help menu is also very good for finding where each tool is when you’re just starting out. What I would like to learn more about is the digital publishing side of the software and how to more easily convert print into digital.”

How could InDesign be improved? “With digital publishing in mind, I’d like to see more HTML/HTML5 integration or export options to help move more seamlessly onto mobile devices, which is something that is hopefully going to be covered with Creative Cloud for teams.”

What else do you use to enhance how you work? “I don’t currently use any plugins but I do like pairing InDesign up with a Wacom tablet and a second screen. The Save Workspace options are great for switching between one or two screens, so I don’t need to manually reorganise my palettes.”

What advice would you give anyone using InDesign? “InDesign is a great tool for creating artwork but bear in mind that creating graphics within InDesign may not always be the most productive way of working. Use the other CS apps and import graphics which will be used again and again. Also learn the shortcuts and set up print and document presets – they are a massive time saver! And, don’t forget about the less well-known features like Datamerge, Print Booklet and Layer View options.”

Liana’s top tips for Photoshop CS6

Why Photoshop CS6 over other apps? “I use Photoshop for pretty much all my print and web work, especially importing and cleaning up imagery. Making sure imagery is at the correct resolution and quality is essential for print, and for web I use it for resizing images for our product listings and mocking up whole webpages that can then be sliced. The great thing is Photoshop has advanced so much in recent years, with Content Aware technology and non-destructive adjustments, the opportunities are pretty much endless.”

How long did it take you to learn? “I first used Photoshop CS2 during my Graphic Design A-level at college. I had never used any other computer editing software before, but we were taught to just experiment and find things out for ourselves. Layers were pretty hard to get used to, but after a few accidental merges you soon learn! I’ve been using it ever since and, while I’m no master, I think the great thing about Photoshop is that everyone has their own way of doing things, and there isn’t a ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way. It’s great to pick up tips and tricks from the other designers in the office – there’s no fun in not having to ask the question ‘what does that button do…?’.”

How could Photoshop be improved? “One thing I’d like to see is lighting and shadow on the Content Aware Move tool. If you could specify the light source on the image then it’d help with the depth and perspective. The clarity tool in RAW is also useful if used sparingly, so it would be good to see that in the adjustment panel.”

What else do you use to enhance how you work? “There are countless plugins out there, from scripts that enhance images, reduce noise or remove tricky objects, to downloadable brushes, textures and filters. A better designer will be the one that finds out how to achieve their desired effect themselves though; there are so many tutorial videos and forums to help in times of need!”

What advice would you give anyone using Photoshop“Experiment, embrace and, most of all, enjoy.”


– For more information on how you can stay up to date and manage your Adobe licences, visit our Adobe Creative Cloud for teams page.

Want to know more about Adobe Photoshop, InDesign and Creative Suite CS6? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

Dr Brian Jones and the Time Thief (Part 2)

Dr Brian Jones and the Time Thief (Part 2)

In part two of Dr Brian Jones’s search for a Mac mini, our hero comes across a devious temptress…

Fast forward to part three in Dr Brian Jones’s journey, or check out the first part here.

In the meantime, click the banner below to find out you can get your hands on a Mac deal without travelling through time.