Professional Video Sponsors Vincent Laforet’s “Directing Motion” Tour

Vincent Laforet, Pulitzer Prize-winner and DGA Director, will be launching his Spring and Summer Directing Motion Tour across 30 cities. He will be in Portland on June 3rd and Seattle on June 1st. Motion is one of Laforet’s main obsessions but Laforet believes that there must be motivated and purposeful camera movements that not only captures a director’s vision but also elicits an emotional response from viewers.

Laforet’s Directing Motion Tour was created with the aspiring filmmaker in mind. For weeks Laforet studied 100 of the best films, analyzing extensively, the motion magic created by directors such Hitchcock, Spielberg, Scorsese, Welles, and many others. After 300 hours of research, with over 400 examples to share, Laforet designed a six theme daytime workshop followed by an applied theory evening seminar catering to filmmakers of all levels.

Laforet stresses that participating students will be able to put what they are learning into practice with some of the most advanced cinema technology. The techniques taught by Laforet can be applied with minimal equipment to any film project such as interview setups, promo shoots, live-event coverage, short films, and documentaries.

As always Professional Video will be on hand showing off the latest in digital cinema technology. We’ll also be doing some kind of customer prize give away. Register for the tour here. Post by Eric C. Petrie

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CMVS ’14 Savings Expires at the End of May

When you walked in the front door of the Cascade Mt. Video Show we handed you a piece of paper. On that was a schedule of the days events, a few product highlights, and a significant discount coupon. The coupon was for 5% off of any order up to $10,000. That means you can save up to $500 on any purchase with us. It’s INSTANT SAVINGS, and it’s easy. The coupon expires at the end of May. You must use it before that. But what if you lost your coupon? That’s OK. We have the master list of who actually attended the show. Just give us a call at 503-598-9142 and say “hey, i lost my coupon but i would like to buy something”. We’ll double check the list and get you your discount. Save money now. Post by Eric C. Petrie

500 off w logo


Blackmagic Design Production 4K Camera In-Stock

We have the Blackmagic Design Production 4K camera in-stock and ready to ship. This is the camera you’ve been waiting for. 4K, ProRes, 10-bit, RAW, all below $3K. This camera is a DIY type of rig. When you purchas one of these you need to ask yourself a few question. What is your solution for audio? for handles to pick it up? for monitoring with a focus-level resolution monitor? for battery systems? We have all of these solutions. We’ve built up dozens of these camera systems. We know where you can save a little money on accessories and how to get the most bang for your buck. Post by Eric C. Petrie

03 Production 4K

Canon Announced Dual-Pixel Upgrade for EOS C300

After the very successful launch of the Dual-Pixel autofocus system for the C100 Canon has announced plans to roll this feature out for the EOS C300. They will begin offering this feature to existing C300 owners in May. The cost will be $500, same as for the C100. There is no word yet if they will also begin shipping C300s with the Dual-Pixel feature pre-installed as they have with the C100. If you purchased your C300 from us and you would like this feature installed please let us take care of the shipping and coordination with the Canon service center for you. It’s our small way of saying “thank you” for buying your camera from us. Post by Eric C. Petrie

C300 Dual Pixel

Pre-Order Your BMD URSA or Other New Cameras Now & Get Rewarded

We are now taking pre-orders for an unnamed manufacturers camera, and for Blackmagic Design’s new camera, URSA. The Blackmagic camera is currently selling for $5,995 (EF-mount). The unnamed manufacturer’s camera is selling for $8,995. We ask that you pay a 10% deposit to hold your spot on our pre-order list. The deposit is fully refundable should you wish to cancel. If there is a price drop between the time you put in your order and when the camera ships (like what happened to the BMD Production 4K camera) you will only be charged for the lowest price. As a thank you for pre-ordering with us we have a special offer for you. Unfortunately we can’t say what that offer is here. Call us to find out, 503-598-9142.

Why pre-order with Professional Video? When these camera manufacturers start shipping these cameras they disperse them fairly evenly across the country. We are a relatively small dealer. That means we don’t get hundreds, or even dozens or customers pre-ordering from us. Simply put, our wait line is shorter. With the last few Blackmagic camera launches we filled our back orders with in a few weeks. That means whether you’re in the front of our line or the back of our line we’re going to get you your camera quickly. Post by Eric C. Petrie

Blackmagic URSA 4KSCION

Above picture may or may not represent unnamed manufacturers actual camera.


UPDATE: AJA has requested that we remove specific mention of the CION camera from this post.

Quick Sensor Size Recap, Universal Measurement

With all the talk of new cameras i thought it might be beneficial to go over sensor sizes again. This time i’ll make it really down and dirty and try to use as close to a universal measurement standard as i can. This is NOT scientific. When it comes to truly measuring image sensor you have to be far more precise and take into account variables such as aspect ratio and active pixel areas. This is the “quick guide” if you will, purely for the sake of giving some kind of universal language to work off of.

1/3”- Measurement diagonally is 0.22 of an inch. This is the standard found in most under $10k traditional ENG video cameras, hand held or shoulder mount.

2/3”- Measurement diagonally is 0.45 of an inch. This is the standard found in most full size shoulder mount broadcast ENG cameras. Typically these cameras start at least $15,000.

Super16mm- Measurement diagonally is 0.55 of an inch. This is classic film standard that is used less commonly these days. Interestingly enough there has been a bit of a “digital resurgence” of late. The BMD Pocket and the Digital Bolex are both natively this size and the Sony F5 & F55 can underscan and offer Super16 lens compatibility.

Micro Four Thirds- Measurement diagonally is .85 of an inch. This format was first created by Panasonic and Olympus for the still photo world. It has made inroads in cinema cameras both as a sensor size and as a lens mount style.

Super35mm- Measurement diagonally is 1.15 inches. This format has been and continues to be the most commonly used format for motion picture creation for the past 70 years. It is an industry standard with a high degree of lens compatibility. It is very similar to APS-C, a still photo standard that measures about 1.04 inches.

Still Photo Full Frame- Measurement diagonally is 1.7 inches. This format has been a universal format for still photography for over 70 years. It is till held up as the “gold standard” for still photo digital SLRs. It is also the standard by which most people think of when the envision lens focal length to angle of view ratios. It as little application for motion picture, the depth of field is considered to be almost too shallow for common use. But people continue to have success using cameras such as the 5D and the new Sony A7s for Full Frame video acquisition.

Anomaly Format: BMD 2.5K- Measurement diagonally is 0.7 of an inch. Some formats are really only used in 1 or 2 applications. So far the original BMD 2.5K sensor size has not seen any forward momentum and most likely will fade away. Post by Eric C. Petrie


NAB ’14 Camera Recap: What Did We Really Get

The annual NAB show has come and gone. It was a good year for cameras and it also saw the spreading of some interesting trends:

Dockable Cameras: What’s old is new again. The two piece camera concept, something big up through the late 90’s, is back. We saw two piece, head-dock combo cameras from Blackmagic Design with the URSA and from Panasonic with the new VariCam system. We’ll see if these dock systems catch on with more manufacturers and more models and if these docks actually pay off with the flexibility the makers claim 

High Speed: We’re starting to get to a point where 60p is just expected in a professional camera. But we’re also introducing the concept that to make a “high speed” camera you don’t have to be Phantom creating thousands of frames per second. Most users are very excited about 120 or 240. For a lot of camera makers frame rates in this range are now becoming very tangible specifications. AJA, Panasonic, Sony, and even JVC all showed cameras that could reach the 120 threshold.

ProRes & Other Beefy 10-Bit Codecs: ProRes is starting to become the closest thing the video industry has ever had to a high end “universal standard” codec. Blackmagic, AJA, and even Sony and Panasonic all showed ProRes recording cameras. And we have more options for ProRes external records then ever, thanks to AJA and Atomos. Beyond ProRes the theme was 10-bit. XAVC and AVC-Ultra where shown off on many new models, all recording in 10-bit. In some cases the compression schemes have become so good we can get a 10-bit signal out of a 25mbps package. RAW recording is starting to become more readily available, though i wouldn’t quite call it a “common” feature yet.

Super35mm: Large sensor “cinema” cameras have been the growing trend for the last 3-4 NAB shows. This year the ratio of cameras that specifically use the Super35mm standard compared to smaller sensors was the biggest it’s ever been. Panasonic, AJA, Blackmagic Design, JVC, and Sony all showed new cameras that make use of this format. There were very few cameras shown with smaller traditional broadcast 1/3” or 2/3” sensors.

Shoulder Mount/ Improved Ergonomics: Generally speaking there weren’t too many cameras that required kitting out shown this year. There was a very pleasant uptake in ready to go cameras. The Blackmagic URSA, The AJA CION, the new VariCams, and the new JVC all use shoulder mount designs. Sony’s even gone to the lengths of improving the F5 & F55 shoulder mount. Those cameras are already shoulder-mountable, and always have been. But now they’ve gone totally ENG with a new control layout and new features via a docking sled. JVC even showed an economically designed hand-held camera with a large Super35mm sensor. For some reason that’s a concept that hasn’t really been that prevalent before.

Post by Eric C. Petrie


JVC Enters Cinema Market

JVC has long been known for making quality and affordable ENG cameras. They have long been a solid alternative to Panasonic or Sony in broadcast situations. JVC is gearing up to become the affordable alternative in the cinema world. JVC has shown 3 prototype cameras, all 4K, all using a Super35mm sensor. JVC Kenwood company recently acquired a semi-conductor firm that now allows them to build their own imaging sensors. Two of the cameras are traditional single-piece cameras, the third is a camera head that can be used in remote situations such as in a fly rig (think NFL zip-line camera). Even though all the models are being deemed “prototypes” and thus not guaranteed to come to market, they do all have official model numbers.

The first camera is a very small hand held ENG camera body that is a very similar to the JVC HM150. This is the first time we’ve seen a “cinema” camera take a form factor that is much more similar to a compact ENG camera. JVC is clearly, and admittedly, aiming this camera at broadcast news and live coverage. JVC claims that the ENG market is very interested in the “cinema look” that is generated by the current crop of cinema cameras but does not want to depart from the familiar form factor and body style that ENG users have grown accustom to. Thus the GY-LSX2 lets operators use the camera essentially as they would an HM150, but with interchangeable lenses and a Super35 sensor. The rest of the camera runs down like this. The lens mount is an active Micro Four Thirds. This is an interesting choice because most hot Micro Four Thirds lenses don’t have an imaging area large enough to cover Super35mm. Some Olympus lenses apparently do. As do some from third party Micro Four Thirds companies like Zeiss and Sigma. Another benefit of using the Micro Four Thirds mount is that it is very easily adapted to other systems. It can be adapted to F mount or PL mount with a simple metal tube adapter. The camera also does support Micro Four Thirds under scanned cropping of the sensor if you should want to use standard MFT lenses that don’t cover Super35mm. The camera records to AVC-4K h.264 codec. This could be a 100mbps 4:2:0 8-bit Long-GOP format, JVC said final specs haven’t been locked in. If so this would be a highly compressed 4K format, which would have it’s own pros and cons. JVC also mentioned 240 frame per second recording in H.D. resolution. They said there target price point for this piece will be under $6K

The second camera, the GY-LSX1, is a shoulder mount ENG style camera body that has a PL mount. They mention using converters for 2/3” B4 mount ENG lenses but whether they intend on building these themselves or rely on 3rd parties was unclear. Such converters do exist though typically there is loss of both light and optical resolution due to taking a lens designed with a 2/3” image circle and blowing it up to a 1.7” image circle. This camera would record in the same codec as the handheld camera, 100mbps, 4:2:0, 8-bit, Long-GOP (subject to possible change).The camera would also feature the same 240 frame per second H.D. recording but would offer 60p 4K recording as oppose to being limited to 30p like the hand held camera. JVC says the target price is under $20K but i would have to believe that it would be much lower due to cameras with similar specs being announced at this NAB for below $10k. JVC claims they will have 4K Super35mm cinema cameras on the market before the end of the year. Post by Eric C. Petrie


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JVC Slid

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Sony Enhances F5 & F55 Cameras

Although Sony hasn’t debuted a new cinema camera at this yeas NAB Show the have announced several new firmware and hardware upgrades for their existing F5 & F55 cameras. In many ways this strategy of continuing to offer a wide array of enhancements to existing products is a welcome breath of fresh air. Many companies have promised us “modular” cameras, “future proof” cameras, “upgradeable” cameras, yet year after year NAB is still crowded with new models driving people to feel as if investing in new gear is futile because of the compulsive need to not be “out of date”. Sony has continued to demonstrate a real interest in developing and fleshing out the F55 & F5 to meet the needs of any possible shooter.

The first big announcement was firmware 4.0 for these cameras. The heavy hitting features in version 4.0 are big enhancements to interval recording, the addition of cache pre-roll recording, and the addition of ProRes and DNxHD codecs. The importance of the addition of ProRes cannot be understated. Its significant on several levels. It marks the first time Sony has enlisted a 3rd party codec on one of their industrial level cameras. It furthers the concept that ProRes has really become the worlds first high end “universals standard” video format. It also shows that Sony is truly listening to user feedback, to the extent that they are doing what was previously considered impossible for them. 2 years ago when these cameras where introduced and the XAVC codec was introduced with them i knew Sony would never go to the extent of licensing a 3rd party format like ProRes. And now 2 years later here they are enabling ProRes on their cameras.

In the hardware department there were two notable announcements. Sony has introduced an interesting “sled” concept. The sled mounts to the bottom of the F5 & F55. It adds a shoulder pad and a new control layout. This layout essentially converts the bottom quarter of the camera into a layout that would be identical to what someone would find on an XDCam ENG camera. It also adds a slot-in wireless audio dock. The native control layout of the F5/F55 is similar to an Arri Alexa, it’s driven off of a screen/button combo thats on the side of the body. While this works well for cinema users it’s a very unfamiliar, unintuitive, and slow layout for news-style shooters who need critical function access with the flick of a switch. The second big hardware announcement is the ability to upgrade your F5 to an F55. It involves replacing a few components including the image sensor. Having that upgrade path available is an extremely nice option to allow customers to get into a camera today with a path set for the future

When you combine all of these exciting new features with some of the options that Sony already has for these cameras it becomes clear that Sony want to find a way to use these cameras in every possible scenario. Keep in mind Sony already has their own B4 mount adapter for these cameras to allow of ENG lenses to be used. And they already have a studio dock so that they can be used in live environments (think 4K sports). Post by Eric C. Petrie

F5 ENG back side

F5 ENG back]

F5 ENG sled front

F5 ENG sled side

Panasonic Announced The New VariCam HS

Panasonic has announced the latest in it’s legendary VariCam series, the VariCam HS. What was old is new again as Panasonic brings back the dockable camera solution. The camera is made out of two components; the head, with the lens mount and the sensor, and the back with the dockable recorder. The head features a 2/3” 1080p sensor that is capable of generating 240 frames per second. The camera can record 4:4:4 12-bit AVC-Intra or, in a surprise move, 4:4:4 12-bit Intra-Frame ProRes. Another surprising specification, Panasonic claims that their newly designed 2/3” sensor block is capable of delivering 14 stops of dynamic range. This would make it one of the only small-sensor cameras capable of doing this. Although it’s not that far removed from Blackmagics Super16mm Pocket cam which delivers 13 stops with a single 1” sensor.

Where does this camera fit on the market? With a standard B4 ENG mount you’ll be able to use high quality versatile servo zoom lenses. You’ll still be able to get “cinematic” looking images thanks to the 14 stops of dynamic range. Internal 240 frames per second at 4:2:2, 10-bit, Intra-Frame is very impressive. And 1080p30/24 at 4:4:4 12-bit Intra-Frame is a ton of data to work with. Right now Panasonic has the list price of the camera at $55,000. That puts it (in Panasonic’s eyes) in competition with Alexa and Epic. Thats far beyond the price range of Canon C500 or Sony F55. Is the cinema world of Epic and Alexa ready to embrace this Panasonic camera? I guess we’ll find out this fall. Post by Eric C. Petrie

Panasonic VaricamHS