Meet the experts: David Skeggs

Meet the experts: David Skeggs

A former editor, support engineer and technical manager, David Skeggs has been our Project and Pre-Sales Specialist for over ten years, helping customers on multiple continents get a handle on the latest advances in production workflows. 

I’m an engineer, get me out of here

“When I first started in the industry, I was an editor. I worked at ITV’s London studios, where they did all the post for their mainstream entertainment shows. I worked on the first ever series of I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here, and V Graham Norton, back when he went out five nights a week on Channel 4. It was at ITV that I got more involved in the technical side of things, eventually becoming a support engineer at their main Avid facility. After that, I worked at the MTV facility in Camden as a post-production engineer before coming to root6 and now Jigsaw24.”

Mr Fixit

“In the early days at root6, we did a lot of work on best of breed facilities in the Middle East, so I spent a lot of time on the ground there as the primary contact for those builds. I also do a fair amount of travelling round the world helping our production customers with their live capture workflows at sports events, particularly whenever there’s a big format shift, like the transition to tapeless or the current move to UHD. We’re used to working with 4K because we’ve spent years enabling DI workflows for our film post customers, so we’ve got a bit of a head start there.”

The pacemaker

“Nowadays I’m more involved in workflow design, and helping customers bolt the right products together. We’re seeing fewer and fewer ‘one size fits all’ solutions these days, and it’s important to know which products from which manufacturers are best of breed. We use that knowledge to help our customers find the best solution for them, even if it has to be at a certain price point. With the pace of change being so fast now, it’s important that facilities have someone to talk to who can speculate on where the industry’s going, and the growth and expansion they’ll get out of certain products.”

Head in the cloud

“Jigsaw24 have been helping customers in other industries migrate to datacentres for years, but for our customers in the media industry it’s very new, and poses a different set of challenges. The size of UHD and 4K media means you need to have a high bandwidth connection to high availability storage if you want to play back media instantly – people don’t mind waiting a couple of seconds for a spreadsheet to load, but you can’t edit like that. We’ve been working to help people who want to get out of Soho – where it’s cramped and expensive and the power’s bad – to move their machine room to a datacentre which they can then remote into.”

Jigsaw24’s Dark Side

“We’ve been working with a few different networking companies over the past couple of years to deliver Dark Fibre networks circuits. We’ve got a link-up of our own between our datacentre, our Wardour Mews office and our demo facility in Soho, because we want to be able to show people we practise what we preach, and because having actually done it and learned certain lessons the hard way, we can give customers much more practical advice than if we were speaking speculatively.”

Want to know more about how we can help production and post facilities? 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.

 

When does production become post?

When does production become post?

The increasingly common combination of high shoot ratios and tight deadlines puts pressure on facilities to increase efficiencies across production and post. In an effort to reduce turnaround times and cut down the amount of time spent on non-billable activities, production and post teams are now working together from far earlier into the production schedule, with post houses sending staff to set to ensure footage is logged as soon after the shoot as possible, and DITs performing post-critical functions.

Manufacturers are keen to facilitate this collaboration – AJA seem to have kicked off the scramble to unite the two when they released the first Ki Pro back in 2009, and noone seems to have paused for breath since. But there are dozens of factors to consider when planning your workflow, from whether you’ll be handling HDR footage, to IP integration, to the impact of the incoming 5G connectivity standard. With that in mind, we’re taking a look at a few different points of contact, and how you can make sure your workflow there is mutually beneficial for production and post.

Shooting and monitoring

Accurate metadata can speed up post-production immensely, by making it far easier for artists to match the original scene conditions when compositing, compensate for issues with specific cameras or lenses when correcting footage, and more.

Zeiss are currently setting the standard for incredibly detailed metadata with the new eXtended Data lens, the CP.3 XD. As well as giving your DoP precision, quality and all the other benefits of working with Zeiss glass, XD lenses create a huge amount of metadata about each shot, containing details not just of features like focal length and exposure, but details about the lens itself. In post, tweaking this metadata becomes a quicker, easier way to compensate for lens shading, or to correct for the different distortions of individual lenses used in production. When compositing, the metadata drastically cuts down the amount of trial and error (and therefore time) needed for artists to match on-set lighting conditions. This ultimately drives down the time and money needed for post, and so could even help buy you more time on set.

Monitor and recorder manufacturers Atomos have attempted to bring a similar spirit of cooperation to monitoring with their newly announced SUMO 19 HDR production/grading monitor, which can record dailies, proxies or 4Kp60 masters as needed.  This means camera crews can see what they’ve captured in HDR, as it will appear to post teams, and be sure they’re happy with the shot as it appears, rather than having to guess based off a Rec.709 image. The recording feature also means that dailies (or a low res proxy, if you have limited bandwidth/storage) can be send to a post facility immediately, and assembly can begin far earlier than usual.

Solutions like this are making it easier for production and post crews to maintain a common vision of the project throughout, and reduce the time taken to create the final product without limiting either party’s options in that way that, say, Sony baking HLG into footage from some of its lower-end cameras does.

Logging and metadata

Loggers and ingest technicians are increasingly venturing out to log footage as close to set as possible. While data and asset management has been an intrinsic part of post for a long time, it’s now widely acknowledged that by focusing more on this on set, crews can increase the overall efficiency of the project, and drastically reduce the time needed to put everything together in post.

Asset management systems like axle Video are excellent – axle is particularly good if you’re new to this, as you can just point it at your file system and it will automatically index all media files, then update its database automatically in realtime as you add new footage. You can then share low res proxies through a web browser so that people can reject, trim and comment on clips; it’ll even integrate with NLEs so that editors can search new footage without leaving their editing application. It ships with a standard metadata schema, but you can customise this to the requirements of your shoot.

Avid’s MediaCentral | Asset Management option (formerly Avid Interplay MAM) performs a similar function, indexing media in a range of formats and allowing you to add custom metadata in order to make it easier to find. It even allows you to remotely access assets from multiple locations, so if crews at different locations both log footage, all of it will be available for review at the same time. Avid’s MediaCentral system also allows for a high degree of automation when it comes to things like ingest, logging, archiving and sharing footage, meaning you can achieve more in less time, and with a smaller team.

Cloud delivery

Once footage has been logged, it can be sent back to the post facility, or to a staging post if you’re in a remote location. As the available networks have become faster, cloud delivery has gained popularity, whether that’s ENG crews using in-camera FTP capabilities to send footage back to the newsroom, or crews on location leveraging file sharing services to deliver footage to post as quickly as possible. And with 5G set to make 100Mbps over the air file sharing a reality over the next few years, this option is only set to get more popular.

If you’re collecting or monitoring footage from drones, car-mounted cams and other inaccessible recorders, Soliton’s on-camera encoders and receivers are a great investment – they use a mixture of H.265 compression and proprietary RASCOW technology to ensure you see an HD live stream of your footage even in areas where 3G and 4G coverage is patchy, with delays as low as 240 ms.

For reliable file transfer, we’d recommend IBM’s Aspera service. While it’s pricier than WeTransfer, it uses end to end encryption to to keep your footage secure and, unlike consumer services, doesn’t get slower the larger your files are. Another feature we’re particularly keen on is that it calculates the precise time a transfer will take on your current connection before it begins, so if it says a transfer will take seven hours, you can ring ahead and let your colleagues know when to expect the file with a fairly high degree of certainty.

How does this all fit together?

We can help you develop workflows to maximise efficiency in production and post, and advise on ways to prepare your existing infrastructure for the future, or fold new releases into your existing workflow. As well as providing consultancy, workflow design and specialist hardware, we can provide ongoing support and maintenance for your core kit. To find out more, get in touch with the team on the details below.

If you want to know more, 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.

Jigsaw24 are now an official Tektronix reseller!

Jigsaw24 are now an official Tektronix reseller!

We’re proud to announce that we’re now an official reseller of Tektronix, a leading supplier of test instrumentation for engineers, focused on electronic design, manufacturing and advanced technology development.

Who are Tektronix?

Tektronix have been around for more than 65 years, helping engineers improve productivity and dramatically reduce time to market. With offices in 21 countries, they are committed to the scientists, engineers and technicians around the world working across health, communication, mobility and even space.

In partnering with Tektronix, we’ll be able to increase our range of leading video and audio solutions for analysis, quality control, service assurance and regulatory compliance. They will also help us in supporting 4K/UHD, HD, and IP applications in content creation and delivery for our customers.

What we can offer

From consultancy and implementation to repairs and support, our media and entertainment team have a range of services and solutions to keep you up to date with the latest broadcast technology.

We can assist with:

– Video production and post-production.

– PC over IP.

– Grading and finishing.

– Audio.

– Storage and infrastructure.

– Encoding.

– Cables and routing.

“We’re very excited to be working with Jigsaw24,” says Lee Ballinger, Director EMEA and India Video Sales at Tektronix. “We’re looking forward to contributing to the their comprehensive products and services portfolio, and working together to provide our customers with the best tech in the broadcast industry.”

For more information on our new status as a Tektronix reseller, 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.

 

 

How can root6 and Jigsaw24 help you?

How can root6 and Jigsaw24 help you?

Jigsaw24 and root6 have joined together to create the largest and most experienced audio and video technology services and solutions provider in Europe.

Combined, we have more than 40 years’ experience, working alongside leading creative companies and growing a small army of highly qualified consultants and engineers, so we’re now better positioned than ever to deliver the very best solutions and services for audio and video.

Together, we cover your entire workflow from ingest, editing and finishing to tiered storage and delivery. We also provide root6’s range of industry-standard creative products from top brands, including handy local drives and cables, complete suites and entire network infrastructures.

So how can we help?

The combination of root6’s technical expertise with Jigsaw24’s datacentre, managed service and logistical capabilities means that we can now offer the fastest, most innovative and reliable audio and video solutions on the market, helping you incorporate new technologies ahead of your competitors.

We can provide the full range of the latest products, services and solutions for production, post and broadcasters, allowing you to consolidate existing purchasing and support contracts into a single agreement with one supplier, and drastically reducing the amount of admin your IT and purchasing teams have to slog through.

Our solutions include ROOT6 Technology’s industry-leading ContentAgent solution for media ingest and file workflow management, which makes it easier for non-technical staff to tackle complex ingest, conversion and delivery workflows, including work in the AS-11 standard.

If you want to get hands-on with the latest technology (including DaVinci Resolve, Avid Pro Tools and more), head to our demo facility at 8 Golden Square in Soho to get to grips with the kit and meet our Apple engineers.

If you want to know more, 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.

Video: Our design team on… Adobe Creative Cloud for video

Video: Our design team on… Adobe Creative Cloud for video

For anyone looking to bring video production in-house, Adobe Premiere Pro in Creative Cloud is the first port of call. Here, graphic designer Simon runs us through his basic shooting and editing workflow with Premiere Pro, while the rest of the marketing team show off their (frankly shocking) pool skills…

– Want to get the most out of Adobe Creative Cloud? For tutorials, tips and other resources, check out our Adobe Creative Cloud Hub

Want to know more about Adobe Creative Cloud for teams? Give us a call on 03332 409 251, email sales@Jigsaw24.com or pop your details in the form below. For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

 

What went down at our Expand Your Brand with Video event

What went down at our Expand Your Brand with Video event

If you want to engage new customers and strengthen your brand, video production is a great way to go. To that end, we held our Expand Your Brand with Video event down in Soho on 6th July to show companies how to get started and bring video in-house. Thanks to everyone who came down and enjoyed a drink or two over some video chat – for everyone else, here’s what went down…

Laurie Castelli on video

First up, we had Laurie Castelli (former Creative Producer at Facebook, acclaimed director/producer and brand communications expert) giving a great presentation on why video is so important, why you should be making it and what factors you should be thinking about before you take the plunge.

He also stressed the critical thinking behind video – why you shouldn’t just be producing it for the sake of it, but really thinking about why you’re doing it to make sure you’re constantly producing the best content with the best finish quality, and achieving your objectives.

Expand your brand 1

Lewis Brown talks video kit

We also welcomed Lewis Brown from Atomos, who presented on a more technical aspect of taking video in-house. He spoke about the basic kit you need to get started, the spectrum of kit available and other considerations, from back-end storage through to the actual production kit. He also touched upon the role of brands as the new broadcasters.

Expand your brand 2

Pizza and Euro 2016

Of course it wouldn’t be a Jigsaw24 event without a few drinks and a bite to eat while ‘networking’. We also stuck Euro 2016 on our big screen to see Wales unfortunately crash out in the semis and end their heroic run to eventual tournament winners CR7 and co. Sad times.

– If you’d like to know more about expanding your brand with in-house video, check out our Infographic: The Power of Producing Video Content here. Or if you’re ready to start creating your own content in-house, take a look at our full range of video production solutions, or speak to one of our experts on 03332 400 888 or broadcast@Jigsaw24.com

Jigsaw24 Events

Want to know more? Get in touch with the team on 03332 409 306 or email broadcast@Jigsaw24.comFor all the latest news and tips, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

Infographic: The power of producing video content

Infographic: The power of producing video content

Not quite sure that video content is right for you? This infographic might just change your mind, exploring just how valuable in-house video production is in expanding your brand. Speed up your production time, lower your costs, be more flexible and take out the middle man by taking video in-house.

video_prod_infographic

We’re holding a free event all about the benefits of taking video production in-house on Wednesday 6th July in Soho. If it sounds like something you’d like to attend, get in touch with the events team on events@Jigsaw24.com, call 03332 409 284 or pop your details in the form below to register your interest and we’ll keep you updated.

For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

Interview: Neil Rostance, Managing Director, Fat Free Media

Interview: Neil Rostance, Managing Director, Fat Free Media

Having to tailor content for multiple platforms and screen sizes, the demand for new formats and resolutions such as 4K – there’s always some new challenge digital creatives have to contend with. To find out more, we chatted to Neil Rostance, who’s Managing Director at Fat Free Media, a Nottingham-based video production company specialising in content for the web…

Who are Fat Free Media, and what kind of services do you currently offer clients?

We’re a video production company sitting firmly on content marketing for the web, doing video and animation – 2D and 3D – 99% of the time for online brands. We’ve specialised in that for about eight years now, but obviously in that time the landscape has changed massively for online digital content. We now try to make as exciting and authentic video content as possible, in whatever shape or form. Our team covers everything from live action and production through to 2D animation, and then the more specialist 3D visualisation and animation side.

Does that set you apart from other companies in the region, having all those different services and content available in-house?

It’s a little bit unusual for a regional company, having it all in-house, and it’s something we’re proud of. It’s really cool to be able to say to clients when they ring up that you’ve got someone who’s able to answer any questions. A lot of other companies outsource, or there’s a network they rely on, but from the start we were never interested in that. I wanted to have a team that works all at once on projects and make that the offering, and clients have really responded to that. That does set us apart both technically and also just with the rapport with clients – if they’ve got a team on their site and not working remotely in a city they don’t know, they can get answers quickly.

Neil Rostance interview

What kind of brands have you worked with before? Do you have any favourites, or any that stick out as being particularly challenging?

We do a lot of work with larger, well-established brands, so at the moment, we’re doing some cool projects with Center Parcs and Genting Casinos, as well as the industrial wing of Toyota. They’ve come to us specifically for something that is either outside their comfort zone or a new way of speaking to their clients – video. Even though these brands are household names, we get the exciting challenge of starting from scratch on how their brand talks and feels on video. You’re really going into uncharted territories when a brand that everybody recognises hasn’t done video before or maybe has but it hasn’t been as strategic as their print or direct marketing. That’s equally challenging as it is exciting.

So you can really tailor your offering to clients’ needs?

We’ve been surprised how niche we can get. Someone will come to us with a brief that sounds really specific but we’ve been lucky enough to be able to say ‘Yes, we’ve done that three or four times in different ways’, and we can show our track record. It doesn’t matter what industry it is, they get a feeling for video, and then can apply that to their own brand.

What do you think are the biggest challenges facing digital creatives like you these days?

I still think there’s a lot of education to be done both as content creatives and brand holders in defining what the purpose of video content is and how people consume it. There’s still a bit of a hangover from the corporate video days and practices that do not sit well in highly interactive short form content. Big brands still seem to be thinking in old ways, and one of the biggest challenges is trying to reflect how people today consume video, and work backwards from that, rather than start by saying ‘Let’s make a ten minute video’. It’s trying to get what the viewer wants and work back from there, rather than applying content onto them.

Have you found there’s a big demand from clients for newer formats like 4K, and has that challenged your workflow?

We’ve only just tested the water with a 4K workflow, and although we want to incorporate it, we’ve only had a handful of clients even mention it, let alone require it yet. If you look at the delivery outputs we’re going through, which is web, there’s an even smaller portion of our viewers that can even access on 4K. So our output is not particularly screaming for it, but that doesn’t stop us wanting to explore it. We shoot in 4K, we sometimes edit in 4K, but to us it’s more of a testing ground rather than ready to go.

So it’s more about being ready for what clients may demand in the future?

I’m not saying there’s no future for it – it could be that we are suddenly working 100% in 4K from next month – but we don’t want to be behind the times. It does exist on the web, it’s just that we don’t get requests for it. Again, it’s a case of telling our customers that it does exist and that we can work with it, which is all part of our package.

As you’ve been going since 2007, you’ve probably seen formats and resolutions evolve quite a bit since then?

When we started, it was just at the tail end of DV tape. I started my studies shooting on reel to reel. So I have experience of analogue all the way to digital, and even though it moves very fast, 4K just means clients have more choices. Why not go with the best possible quality and work back from there? It gives more flexible options for the viewer, really.

Does it mean you’re having to update your infrastructure to cope?

The only issue that we’ve found is processing times. We’ve not had to change our infrastructure too much – luckily we’ve been given a good infrastructure from Jigsaw24 that can already handle it quite well. 4K just extends projects and takes longer to do anything, which is purely down to computer processing. So we can do it, there’s no extra special magic we’ve had to add to the workflow, we’ve just had to be a bit more patient with it. That will change and we will get used to it.

Are there any other challenges you can see on the horizon?

I’ve been seeing that our content is getting shorter and shorter, and spread across many more platforms, and many more outlets and channels. So the creative challenge has changed from creating one video for one set of viewers, in one channel, and building it from the start, to having to consider all different forms of content and how it’s consumed. That’s the biggest challenge at the moment – having to think ‘What would it be like if someone watched this on a train?’, ‘What would it be like if someone watched this on a 4K monitor?’, and having to be prepared to adapt for that full range, from a smartphone to a 4K monitor and beyond.

So you want to come up with a concept that can cover all platforms…

It’s the chicken and egg scenario when we’re brainstorming – do we create an idea and fit it to the technology, or do we bear in mind the technology and come up with an idea that forms around that? Do we let it always sit on technology that’s relevant to that idea, or do we look at all the available channels and really build the idea around the technology? I’m not fond of that, because it’s undermining the potential of the content. That’s the biggest consideration and challenge that we have creatively and technologically in our business at the moment.

Want to know more about our solutions for digital creatives? Get in touch with the team on 03332 409 306 or email solutions@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

 

The evolution of digital creativity (and how you can keep up)

The evolution of digital creativity (and how you can keep up)
The creative industries are in a state of flux at the moment. There’s now demand for digital assets like 4K video and CGI, meaning a range of new formats and digital media to create with (not to mention deliver, store and back up). And with new platforms including mobile devices, agencies are having to change the way they work, and really having to think about how to stay ahead of the competition technologically in order to win new clients and take advantage of the additional business opportunities this exciting change brings.

The importance of the creative industries

To understand where the UK creative industries are heading, let’s first take a look at the current economic climate. By ‘creative industries’, we’re talking about the nine sectors HM Government Department for Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) recognises as making up the UK’s creative industries: advertising and marketing; architecture; crafts; design; film, TV, video and photography; IT software and computer services; publishing; museums, galleries and libraries; and music performing and visual arts.

The UK creative economy is defined as total UK employment within three distinct categories: 1. Support jobs (eg finance) within the creative industries mentioned; 2. Creative jobs (eg design) within the creative industries mentioned; 3. Creative jobs outside of the creative industries, such as a PR manager for a bank. DCMS measures three contributions of the creative industries to the UK economy – jobs, output and exports:

Jobs: In 2013, on a combined basis, the three categories of creative job mentioned above accounted for 8.5% of total UK employment (890,000 jobs), and from 1997 to 2013, they increased by an average of 6.4% each year compared to just 0.6% per year in the UK economy as a whole.

Output: The total Gross Value Added (GVA) output in 2013 of those within category 1 and 2 above accounted for £76.9 billion or 5% of the UK economy – up from 4% in 1997 and higher than ever recorded before. Between 1997-2013, the GVA of the creative industries grew by 5.8% each year, compared to 4.2% for the UK economy as a whole. While it is hard to precisely calculate the economic output of the nearly 1 million creative jobs outside the creative industries (category 3), it is safe to assume that this will take the output of the entire creative economy up from 5% to be over 7.5% of the total UK economy.

Exports: Total exports measured within the nine creative industries mentioned above equalled £17.3 billion in 2012, or 8.8% of the total UK service exports – up from 7.9% of UK total GVA in 2004. From 2004 to 2012, creative industry GVA grew by 8.5% each year, compared to 6.9% for the UK economy as a whole.At this rate, by 2020 the creative economy could represent up to 10% of the total UK economy.

Keeping your tech ahead of the game

Creative output is changing though, and these days there are no longer such things as ‘traditional’ design and publishing houses who simply focus on print. Design companies these days have had to adapt to become digital agencies, with print being just one element. It’s now expected that agencies will be dabbling in video and CGI, as well as creating content for mobile platforms and digital signage (rolling 24/7 advertising and such). You want to be embracing all this new media so you can offer a wider portfolio to your customers.

Just as in the 90s we saw Apple come in to change the face of typesetting with Mac, we can see the same thing now with digital content creation on Mac. This does mean you may need to update your technology though, and think about new apps, new powerful computers and new media. Displays, Wacom tablets, printers and specialist software (such as font management) are the bread and butter of digital design workflows, but one of the biggest changes of recent years has been the move from Adobe Creative Suite to Creative Cloud. Adobe CC now gives teams access to the full roster of essential Adobe applications, rather than being limited to the Design Premium or Production Premium bundles, meaning they have all the tools they need to create content for multiple different platforms in one place.

The increased adoption of 4K

Over the next couple of years we also predict there will be an ever-increasing demand for high resolution video production across all content creation markets. We’ve seen the broadcast and film markets make this move in the last few years, and with the decreasing cost in cameras to capture in 4K and beyond, we’re seeing more and more digital marketing being produced in these formats. If you’re already working with demanding video content, you’ve probably seen the increased requirement for high speed storage, faster workstations and introducing new software packages into your workflows. Platforms such as DaVinci Resolve for high resolution editing and colour grading, Nuke from the Foundry for compositing, and 3D applications such as Autodesk’s Maya are quickly making their names known as the go-to tools to give your work the edge.

But even if your portfolio centres around traditional graphic design, it’s very likely that 4K and Ultra HD will figure into your day to day work in the future. With the adoption of higher resolution displays across all devices – from mobiles and tablets to 4K home televisions becoming the norm – HD content simply won’t deliver the same level of wow factor that something delivered in 4K will. We’ve also seen web platforms such as YouTube, Vimeo, Netflix and Amazon adopt 4K standards for delivery, and more advanced compression formats enabling people to easily stream higher resolution content to whichever screen they get their content on.

It isn’t as simple hooking up your old workstations to brand new 4K monitors though – higher resolution formats requiring faster processors, high RAM counts and beefy GPU acceleration and most applications are designed for a specific balance of these to achieve real-time work. So investing in appropriate upgrades or, even better, new workstations is a must to get the most from a 4K setup.

Acquiring 4K content also requires a new breed of camera and recording format, with Sony’s FS5 being one of the most popular models capable of true 4K recordings in the mid-range professional market. Utilising advanced recording formats which are simple to manage as well as true 4K pixel-count sensors are the cornerstones to getting beautiful and versatile images to fit into your existing workflow. We’ve worked closely with manufacturers such as Sony to ensure we are experts in the entire creative workflow, understanding their cameras, formats and future display technologies such as High Dynamic Range.

More challenges for creatives

Of course, bringing 4K in-house means you will also need to think about how your current infrastructure will be able to cope with this new format. Is your internet speed and bandwidth up to scratch to deal with transferring large media? Do you have reliable backup and server solutions in place? Bringing your infrastructure in line with the needs of 4K work might sound like it’ll cost a bomb, but we can help you solve your pain points without costs spiralling out of control.

Free event: Creativity in the digital world

If you’d like to hear more about the latest demands from the digital media industry such as 4K, and how agencies are responding to them, save the date for an exclusive free event at our place in Soho on the 21st January.

We’ll hear from Georgina Drew, Head of Marketing at Jaeger, about moving from a traditional agency to a smaller ‘boutique’ agency. Also speaking will be Iain Seers, from Watershed Consulting, a renowned name in advertising and brands, having previously been Operations Director EMEA for Redworks WPP and Creative Systems Director for Ogilvy & Mather Group, working with huge global clients such as Ford and American Express.

We will also be hearing from Neil Rostance, Managing Director at Fat Free Media, a video production company, on the challenges he is facing, we’ll be talking all things 4K, CGI and video with our tech partners, and will have pre-sales consultants on-hand to dispense any workflow advice. To book your place, head to the event registration page, or get in touch with the events team on events@Jigsaw24.com, call 03332 409 284.

How Jigsaw24 can help

Our team of pre-sales consultants have a wealth of experience within the creative industries and marketplace themselves, so we understand how businesses are changing. If you need to update any aspect of your tech, infrastructure or network, or you want to understand the options available to you, we’re the people to partner with. Just some of the solutions we can offer include:- Installations. If you are thinking of updating your tech, we are the people to come to. Our team are able to set you up with video production, CGI editing and full rendering workflow solutions.

Training. Bringing staff up to speed with new Adobe video and effects applications, and specialist software such as Cinema 4D, with our tailored training packages.

Infrastructure. Working with video means new file formats, and large file sizes such as 4K, so we can make sure you’re able to cope with our storage, backup and infrastructure solutions.

Advice. Of course, you may know exactly what you need from your workflow already, or may have already installed new technology, in which case we can provide advice on any aspect of your journey.

Want to know more about our solutions for digital creatives? Get in touch with the team on 03332 409 306 or email solutions@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

 

Sony FS5: Smart, cunning and divisive over media…

Sony FS5: Smart, cunning and divisive over media…

I recently got a sneak preview of Sony’s new PXW-FS5. The IBC noise sounded a bit like this was an FS100 replacement (it isn’t). It’s actually much closer to the FS7.

It doesn’t quite have the same 4K clout as the FS7, but it’s got a couple of really smart, discreet upgrades in tech and design, all in a much smaller form factor, allowing shooting from any angle. Sony have produced an amazing small form factor, large sensor 4K camera. Now you’re going to want one of each.

So the sexy specs – 14 stops, QFHD 4K, over-cranking, WiFi/near field communication, choice of two codecs (including XAVC).

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The body

As you can see from the pics, the FS7 closely resembles the FS7. From the tech specs, you can see this thing is half the size. Also, it’s designed to be modular, so you strip it down to just a functioning body (weighing just 830g!) and a lens. What Sony have done with the XLRs on the FS5 is my first favourite ‘smartness’ – they’ve put them in completely different places. One is in the handle where you’d always expect it, the other is in the body. This enables recording XLR audio without anything else attached.

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The LCD will rotate into any position on its axis, then there are loads of mounting screws, so it can be mounted in almost any position.

Another smartness – the handgrip. I love the physics-defying design of the rotating arm on the FS7. On the 5, it looks like they’ve taken the handgrip from the 7 and attached it direct – it will rotate 180 degrees and also lock into nine specific places within that arc It’s so good in terms of weight, balance and ergonomics.

The battery

The FS5 ships with a BPU-30 battery, but the camera has a really deep battery-bay –its designed so a BPU-60 will fit flush with the body and a BPU-90 will extrude just a bit. Incidentally a BPU-60 will run it for approx. 4.5 hours, so a great choice on the FS5.

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The best bit

Time for another smartness – and my favourite bit – the ND filter. I kid you not. Firstly, as you can see from my pics, the silver ND dial looks the same, and is in the same position as on the FS7. But it’s brand new technology. It’s not mechanical (or not entirely); it’s digitally controlled. So as you switch the ND filter on, a clear piece of glass is mechanically dropped over the sensor (see pic), but the amount that the glass is tinted (ND-ed) is done digitally. Anywhere from 1/4 ND through to 1/28. To make it simple, that silver dial (which is normally three positions of ND) is still that, but what you want each position to be is set in the Menus – so the silver dial is like three ‘assignable’ buttons for ND.

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The controversial bit

The next bit you’re either going to love or hate.

For choice of media, Sony have gone for good ol’ non-proprietary SDXC cards. Awesome – you’ll save a fortune on media. And I’m still impressed at the engineering that makes 4K acquisition onto an SDXC card possible. However, there’s a trade-off – bottom line is you can only get 100MB/s as a consistent write speed from most fast SDXC cards, so the FS5 can only shoot UHD 4K up to 100MB/s.

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The footage I saw looked stunning (funny, demo reels always do…), but the trade-off is it can only shoot 4K to SDXC as a Long GOP profile – no Intraframe, which is reserved for the FS7 with its fancy, faster (and much more expensive) XQD cards. If you’re a shooter who moans about the cost of the newer, faster media (whether XQD, C-Fast, AJA PAK…), be careful what you wish for.

Over-cranking

Which brings me onto over-cranking. Yep, the FS5 can shoot up to 240fps at full HD. I know, I know, you’re doing the maths and shouting ‘but that’s impossible if the capture media can only do a reliable 100MB/s!’ Yep. Which is why it can only do it in eight second bursts (like the FS700).

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The FS5 captures it to an internal buffer first, then adds it to media. Another trade-off for cheaper media. Furthermore, there’s no over-cranking at QFHD 4K (unhappy face). However, drop it to 120 fps at 1080, and this buffer becomes a sixteen second burst. And if you’re a real slo-mo freak, it will continue to shoot lower, for every drop in resolution you’re prepared to go –as far as up to 960fps at 260p (260 lines, or ¼ vertical HD resolution), or so I believe.

The boring bit

Resolution – the FS5 will shoot full HD at 4:2:2, 10-bit, at 50p at 50Mb/s or 10-bit 4:2:2 at 25p at 35Mb/s. And if you really want, you can even shoot AVCHD at 24Mb/s and lower. It will even shoot DCI 2K at this 10-bit 4:2:2 profile. Sony’s final trade-off with the SDXC choice – the FS5 will only shoot UHD 4K internally at 8-bit 4:2:0. It will do it in S-Log 2 and 3, but take into account the fact that it’s only 8-bit.

The verdict

A good time to take a good look at yourself and ask – do you prefer affordable media with limitations on shooting, or insanely expensive media (XQD, C-FAST, AJA-PAKs etc) that allows you to do everything? Luckily for Sony, they now have two answers to cover themselves: FS5 or FS7.

Another cunning trick, this surprise announcement really lays down the gauntlet on the (announced a while back) eagerly awaited URSA Mini. Now, wouldn’t it be really cunning if they released a firmware update for RAW…

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