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Canon CPS Roadshow at CVP HQ Studley

On Tuesday 22nd September the Canon CPS Roadshow officially started with the first stop being CVP HQ in Studley!

Firstly however I feel the need to mention the enormous amount of time spent setting up for the event, when I arrived on the Monday at 8.30am (slightly late for work I must confess, I should be in for 8am oops!) there was an enormous amount of people running in and out of the building carrying numerous strangely shaped objects.. This continued right until 8pm, at this point we had received every single delivery lorry in the west-midlands, I am sure of this!

So what did the Canon CPS Roadshow have to offer?

Five different speakers were at the Roadshow, and conveniently were each offering their knowledge on different topics, with the aim of helping you improve your photography, lighting and editing skills. Two different area’s had been set up within CVP for these talks, one was a studio area, and another a seminar area. The itinerary for the two days was the same, meaning that no one missed out.

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Canon products were not the only thing on offer over the two days, Lowepro were all set up with a designated area selling their bags and accessories. I know yellow is not a colour for everyone but I can’t deny the Lowepro DryZone Duffle 20L bag really stood out on their stand in my opinion. If anything, this was the bag to suit the weather that we experienced over the two days the Roadshow took place!

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In another room there was an area dedicated to finance where the company Azule were, had a great deal on offer, 0% when spending over £2,000. Within the same area we had the range of Gekko lighting on display.

The flow of activity continued into another area where the official Canon stand was situated, acting somewhat as the hub of the Roadshow. From this area you could borrow and try out any of the canon lenses, see a selection of Canon cameras on offer, or if you were looking for technical help they were happy to assist with anything!

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A favourite area of mine was opposite this stand.. With a selection of different printers on offer Canon were happy to print any photo of yours out for you for free! Whether it was a photo you had previously taken, an edited image or one taken on the day you could have a print out done, something of a souvenir for the day. With the professionals on hand they were able to talk to you about the benefits of Canon printers. I took advantage of this area and had an image I had taken just half an hour before printed out.

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You may be wondering how I was able to take a photo earlier that day of a Bateleur named Dave, a species which originated in Africa, within the confines of CVP in Studley.. Well hold onto your chair, not only did Canon bring themselves and sandwiches each day, but they’d also arranged for the company The Falconry Centre based in Hagley, West Midlands, to bring along a variety of birds to be photographed.

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This is where you could grab some great images using your own camera and lens, or try out one of the one’s Canon had to offer. The birds were shown in multiple ways, perched on their stand, on arms, in flight or even on the Canon stand that had been set up outside, there was the perfect shot for every type of camera and lens.

I shall mention one aspect that was perhaps not taken into consideration fully; the fact it is October, and as we are in England, sometimes it rains. Fortunately we did not let this dampen our spirits, or rain on our Parade…

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Whilst the Roadshow was taking place at CVP we were offering a competition to win a Canon Powershot G16, all you had to do to be in with a chance was complete a short questionnaire. The winner was Ian Joseph, who came into our office on Friday 25th October to receive his prize, presented by the Chairwoman of CVP, Alison Baxter.

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Phil Baxter 1967 – 2013

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philbaxter

 

It is with deepest sadness that we share the news today that Phil Baxter, the owner (alongside his wife Alison) and CEO of CVP passed away suddenly on Wednesday 4thSeptember. 

Phil leaves behind a company that has gone from strength to strength since he started it in 1986. In recent years the company has grown to over 90 staff in six locations with a turnover of £55m.  Phil’s desire for CVP to be the leading supplier of broadcast products and solutions, resulted in him creating the industries most comprehensive and informative website, a highly skilled service orientated workforce and most recently Iris the only industry magazine that is written by technology users. 

As Phil would have wished, it is business as usual and everyone at CVP is committed to the continuation of his vision.  

Our thoughts are with Alison and their daughters Hannah and Chloe at this difficult time. If you would like to send a message of condolence and/or be informed of the funeral details please click here

 

 

Pocket Cinema & 4K Production Camera delivery update from Blackmagic

Blackmagic Design are reporting “Significant progress in production of the new Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera and Blackmagic Production Camera 4K.

Full production manufacturing is underway on the Pocket Cinema Camera with first production units in final test.

This is in line with expectations of the end of July and this will start to ship in quantity during August. There are several weeks of work to do on Production Camera 4K before this will enter full production manufacturing, however we hope to ship the first quantities of this model before the end of August.”

So what does this mean?

Clearly neither camera will reach a paying customer in July – As a dealer we haven’t even received a solitary demo unit yet!

IF the Pocket Cinema Camera starts to ship from the factory in a few weeks then it will probably be mid-August at the earliest before we receive any stock.  There is no mention of quantities that are likely to ship, so we suspect that even when shipping commences stock will trickle through to us and back-orders are likely to take months to fulfil. (This is what happened with the current 2.5K Cinema Camera EF which has only become readily available in the last few weeks!)

As for the 4K Production Camera it’s clear that the delays will be even longer and whilst we’d love to be able to predict otherwise our best guess is that it could be more towards the end of the year for deliveries to be in full swing…

Sorry it’s not better news but thank you for your patience…

When will I get my Blackmagic camera?

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The word “Blackmagic” instantly implies that there might be something of a mystique surrounding either the company, their products or even both, so we probably shouldn’t be offended or even surprised to learn that despite constantly badgering Blackmagic for more and clearer information on behalf of our customers we are currently completely in the dark with respect to the true date on which the new Pocket Cinema Camera and 4K Cinema Camera will actually ship, let alone the volume of stock we are likely to receive when that day arrives.

What we can do is tell you what we do know, and that is that for their first camera (The EF mount version of the Blackmagic Cinema Camera) customer deliveries started approximately 6 months after the pre-declared shipping date, and it has taken a year to fulfil back-orders…

Even today there is a lead time for the mFT (micro four thirds) mount version, and the EF version is in limited supply.

We are told that the issues that caused delivery delays for the first models have been solved with the introduction of a new image sensor supplier that can apparently cope with higher component volumes combined with improved quality control.  This should be good news.

Of course it’s now mid-July and we haven’t even seen our own demo unit of either camera yet.

Therefore, to err on the side of caution we think that it’s highly unlikely we’ll receive significant numbers of cameras this month, even if shipping does start. We do live in hope that past lessons have encouraged Blackmagic to stock-pile cameras to rapidly satisfy pent-up demand rather than dribbling product into the marketplace, however we live in the real world and believe that based on past experience that’s probably not the case and we suspect that it’s likely to take many months for back-orders to be fulfilled once deliveries commence.  In a nutshell no-one actually knows when you’ll get your new Blackmagic Cinema Camera!

What you can be assured of is that when we do have any further information it will be relayed to you immediately and as stock does start to flow we will without exception deal with our back-orders in strict chronological order.

We therefore share and apologise for your frustration, and of course we thank you for your custom and patience.

Sony PMW-400 Shoulder-Mount XAVC Camcorder Announced

One of Sony’s main product announcements of NAB 2013 is the new PMW-400K / PMW-400L camcorder.  (PMW-400K is supplied with lens, 400L as body only)

The PMW-400 is an affordable 3 x 2/3-inch shoulder-mount broadcast camcorder that supports all SD / HD 422 broadcast workflows using .MXF files, and XDCAM EX workflows using .MP4 and .AVI files.

It is also future-proofed to support XAVC 10-bit HD422 recordings.

With the new CBK-WA100 wireless adapter, content can be wirelessly uploaded to the customer’s server or cloud service via the 3G/4G mobile phone network.

Pricing and availability to be confirmed.

New Solo Rapid Lock tripods from Miller

The popular range of Miller SOLO tripods have now become even quicker to deploy.

Incorporating a new multi thread locking/unlocking system, the SOLO Rapid lock tripod can lock and release with only 1/4 of a turn.

Like the original SOLO twist lock system, the new RAPID LOCK system is also self-adjusting negating the need for servicing to keep your payload safe and the legs in reliable working order.

Miller’s range of SOLO tripods have become the camera support of choice for many leading DOPs and camera operators. The Solo tripod can be used in many situations where conventional multi-tube tripods just get in the way when trying to capture that difficult shot.

The sturdy 3 position leg angle lock system allows for various heights and footprints, and eliminates the need for a spreader. The Solo system also allows the operator to set the legs at different heights for shooting on uneven or sloping terrain.

The Solo “Rapid Lock” systems will be available before Summer 2013 and the price will remain the same as the current SOLO range!

Blackmagic announce 4K s35 Cinema Camera

Hot off the press from NAB 2013 is that Blackmagic Design have announced the expansion of their cinema camera range with new 4K models equipped with Super-35mm sensors and internal uncompressed RAW recording capability…

The BMCC 4K is anticipated to be available with EF mount and have a UK price of £2,699+VAT.

There’s also a Pocket Cinema Camera in the pipeline, equipped with a Super 16mm Full HD sensor and active mFT lens mount along with an anticipated price of around £699+VAT!

CVP’s award winning stand at BVE 2013

For 2013 we decided to make our biggest ever splash at BVE (Broadcast Video Expo) which relocated this year from Earl’s Court 2 to ExCeL in Docklands.

Despite our reservations about the new location, ExCeL proved to be a great venue with excellent transport links thanks to the DLR and nearby London City Airport.  ExCeL is basically a massive square building with a large central atrium which joins all the halls –  It sounds boring and looks boring from the outside BUT it is really easy to navigate and perhaps best of all there’s a massive range of good quality food and drink vendors therein, along with adequate seating and tables.  It all works very well!

The amount of work that our team have put into devising, delivering and manning this year’s stand is quite simply huge, everyone pulling together and giving up their weekends in the final stages to deliver what we hoped would be a great success.  And fortunately all the effort paid off, our stand being virtually mobbed for the duration and being awarded the “Best of Show” award!

Here’s a few images of what we created, displayed and a few shots of our team at work…

 

The centrepiece of our stand was a large “trilite” dome surrounded by the latest cameras from Blackmagic Design, Canon, JVC, Panasonic and Sony, all images displayed on the latest Sony OLED monitors…

Mark Forth, CVP Group MD arranged a full compliment of Canon EF lenses in one of our many display cabinets…

Dominic Smye-Rumsby our superstar Technical Services Manager came to the rescue by single-handedly modifying all of the light box cabinet tops which had for some inexplicable reason turned up incorrectly sized…

Jon Fry, CVP Sales Director looking worryingly happy whilst wielding a very sharp knife…

Steffan Hewitt, Inventor of the Polecam delivered a PSP-1 system to the stand whilst pulling an extraordinary face!

2 solid days of relentless work from the entire team resulted in this:

Which soon became this:

Darren Simpson (Right) advises one of our customers interested in the new Sony PMW-F55…

Even visiting bloggers & press featured our stand in their output, this French reporter introducing her audience to the Polecam…

Meanwhile something unusual was occurring in the middle of the stand:

There was understandably a lot of interest in Sony’s new PMW-F5 and F55 cameras, shown in “fully pimped” form by CVP:

Interest in the JVC GY-HM650 was so strong that even Tony Badger ended up doing a demo or two whilst using one to film at the show for CVPtv!

There was a Sony PMW-150 on display too:

And just in case you were wondering what was going on with that radio controlled camper van earlier here is Ian Cook (PopBangColour) the super-talented artist with the stunning painting of a McLaren MP4-12C that he created live in the epicentre our stand during Day 1…

Thanks for Looking, Thanks for Visiting us at BVE, in fact thanks to all our customers, suppliers and staff for your valued support!

Here’s to the next year!

Another Update from Grant at Blackmagic Design

Blackmagic Design Cinema Camera fitted with a Zeiss CP.2 Compact Prime Lens, Matte Box & Follow Focus

Just as you’re probably (like us) beginning to fear that your eagerly awaited Blackmagic Design Cinema Camera will pehaps never materialise, Blackmagic Design’s CEO Grant Petty gives us hope that volume production may be about to start in earnest at long last…

“Hi,

Ok good news everyone as the test run of sensors have just been built into cameras and they look good. Very good. So we have just given the sensor supplier the go ahead to commence volume production of the sensors and we hope to start getting them within the next week to start building cameras. How many cameras? I am not sure, as we have all stopped production and so we all need to restart production and see how many they can produce. However we will be working hard to build as many cameras as possible over the next few weeks.

I hope people start to see more cameras shipping, but it might be a good idea if I post another update early January to update everyone on how production is progressing.

As for the micro four thirds model, it’s ready to go, however the problem is I feel until we are shipping a whole bunch of EF model cameras, there is little point building any of the MFT model. So we will ship as many as we can and then perhaps see where we are mid Jan and do a few MFT models then.

It is sure a relief seeing this problem coming to a close. I cannot believe this happened and it’s been an incredibly frustrating delay. However I am feeling really positive now.

Regards,

Grant
Blackmagic Design”

So, based on this our fingers are crossed that we’ll at long last start to see some meaningful deliveries by the middle of January 2013, only 6 month after the promised date!

Thank you to everyone who has ordered their BMCC from CVP, we truly appreciate your custom and amazing patience.

Avid Media Composer 6.5

IBC saw Avid’s first major public showing of Media Composer v6.5 (together with the associated releases of Symphony v6.5 and Newscutter v10.5 ).  So, what’s new?

Well, in line with most of the recent releases, a lot of what’s new is only of benefit to certain users, or is an ‘enabling’ feature that introduces or improves interoperability with other Avid or third party products. As I’ve observed in previous editions, this is the reality for Avid when their product already fills the needs of the majority of users. That said, there are things in there that make life easier, so let’s take a look…..

The first is an ‘enabler’ – support for Interplay Sphere. This enables remote users to upload media to, and edit from, centralised storage over Wi-Fi or 4G. Media is streamed in real time for viewing in the field but is retained on the central storage. Clips are sent in real time as sequences are edited. This is only available on PC based systems and even then, only when working in an Interplay environment. I started with this, because it gives us a bit of a glimpse into the future. Several companies have been working on producing a viable ‘Remote Editing’ solution for years and now both Avid and Adobe have made announcements (see my other article which follows for an overview of ‘Adobe Anywhere’). Also check out Forbidden Technologies, they’ve had a workable cloud based system up and running for some time. ‘Remote’ and ‘Cloud based’ editing will one day become ‘the next big thing’. However, I digress.

Next, let’s take a look at something a bit more mainstream. Avid have made numerous improvements to Audio Keyframing. First there’s a new keyboard shortcut to create them, then there’s now the ability to cut and paste keyframes and their attributes, singly or en-masse, from track to track or up and down the timeline. You can ‘nudge’ the specified audio level of keyframe(s) up or down in 1db increments or move it up and down the timeline frame by frame. You can also lasso a range of keyframes and move these up and down the timeline or adjust their associated audio levels in unison. When audio tracks are trimmed or edited, you can end up with ‘hidden’ keyframes in the unseen handles of the clip. There’s now a facility to selectively remove ‘hidden’ keyframes.

The icon for the Audio Tool has changed, it now looks like this:

Still on audio related changes, there’s now the capability to monitor 64 ‘voices’ an increase from the previous 16. You’re still limited to 24 audio tracks, but a track can contain several ‘voices’ for example, a stereo track contains 2 voices, a 5.1 surround track contains 6 voices – you get the idea.

Finally on audio, Avid have enabled Audio Punch-in with both 3rd party hardware and also with the host computers own audio hardware. Note that the 3rd party element of this is dependent on those manufacturers incorporating this feature into their own drivers so if you’re using i/o hardware from AJA, Blackmagic, Matrox et al then the timescale for the introduction of this feature is now in their hands.

One new feature that is really useful is the ability to disable and re-enable your i/o hardware from a button on the timeline without having to quit and relaunch Avid. This means that you can for example ‘release’ the hardware to After Effects or some other application without quitting Avid, or utilise Full Screen playback on the computers monitor, a feature only available when running in software only mode. Again note however, that you are reliant on the 3rd party manufacturer supporting this feature in their driver software. For those of you with Avid i/o hardware, it works ‘out of the box’.

If you need to edit a title in the Timeline, you can now open the Title tool or Marquee with the title preloaded by right clicking the title in the Timeline and selecting ‘Edit Title’. It’s a simple addition, but it saves a few mouse clicks / keystrokes. Other Timeline changes include the ability to drag non-adjacent segments – the system would just beep at you if you ever tried this previously!

Next there’s a few AMA related improvements. Firstly, Avid have ‘enabled’ AMA write back which allows Media Composer to export sequences back to an AMA format. Previously, AMA was one way, you could create a sequence from AMA material, but you then had to transcode your finished program and/or output it through hardware. I say Avid have ‘enabled’ this, in reality you will only be able to perform these exports when the camera manufacturers complete their part of the task and provide update versions of their individual AMA plug-ins. Sony have already released such an updated AMA plug-in for HDCAM SR.

This is the first, expect others to follow soon.

With the introduction of v6.5, AMA Volume Management is now ‘always on’, but for those using pre AMA legacy workflows for P2 and XDCAM media, that is to say you import those media types, there is now an “Enable Legacy P2 and XDCAM” option in AMA settings.

The next AMA change relates to the auto creation of bins whenever a storage device containing media is connected to the system. Previously if you plugged a USB stick into the system while Avid was running to say transfer a Word file, or your Expenses claim or whatever, then Avid would automatically scan the USB stick for Media and make any it found available through AMA in a Bin – not the required outcome!

There is now an option to disable this Auto Linking.

When relinking to QuickTime AMA files, you can now relink a group of clips in a single operation rather than having to relink each one separately as was the case previously.

Finally, while we’re discussing AMA, although not a feature of v6.5, Sony have now introduced an AMA plug in for the F65 – the SRPA-10. It supports Lite and SQ bit rates for 4:2:2 files and SQ bit rates for 4:4:4 files and enables direct access to, and full native support of, Sony HDCAM SR Lite media and metadata and eliminates the need to transcode before starting to edit. It works with MC v5.5.3 or later – PC or Mac.

This rather conveniently brings us to the other improvements made to the relinking process. You can now relink media by any column in a bin, the Relink dialogue box having been redesigned to accommodate this.

So you could for example relink a master clip’s “Tape Name” to a media file’s “Reel Number”

Media Composer v6.5 and the rest of the family sees the introduction of and support for, some new codecs. First, there’s JPEG2000 support. Avid see this as a ‘Mezzanine’ codec, it’s a Variable Bit Rate ( VBR ) codec and it operates at 50Mb/s for SD and between 60Mb/s and 150Mb/s depending upon Frame size, Frame rate and Bit depth for HD. Also introduced is a new ‘family’ of DNxHD codecs that fill the previous gap between DNxHD 36 and DNxHD120. The new codecs include DNxHD100 and DNxHD85 which as you might expect operate at 85Mb/s or 100Mb/s, again dependant on Frame size, Frame rate and Bit depth.

AMWA the Advanced Media Workflow Association of whom Avid are Founder Members and count many industry ‘heavyweights’ amongst their number are an organisation that “strives for compatibility between AAF, BXF, MXF (AMWA is a co-creator) and XML” and look to give “Worldwide leadership in developing and advancing the use of media standards and technology that enable more effective networked media workflows”. One of their many ongoing projects has been the development of the AS-02 specification concerning “MXF program components stored in a way that allows different versions & inventories, for use in a multi-version, multi-lingual, multi-delivery media environment”. MC v6.5 supports the AS-02 specification and allows multiple versions of a program to be ‘intelligently’ exported as a bundle. The example Avid cite is say you have two sequences that contain the same video, but two different audio variants, say two different languages, then the AS-02 Export creates a bundle that contains one video element bundled with each of the two audio elements – it saves export time and disk space. It’s early days for the Associations work, but anything they achieve in harmonising the interchange of material between systems has to be commended.

The versions of 3rd Party software that now ship are:-

Avid FX v6.2
Sorenson Squeeze v8.1
Avid DVD v6.4.4 ( Windows only )
Boris Continuum Complete v8.1 ( Symphony only )

Upgrades and Crossgrades contain the 3rd Party elements as appropriate.
For those of you who use Phrase Find, you can now set the location to which the index files are written. This improves performance in shared storage environments. There’s also an option to stop indexing if it’s underway, it restarts only when you deselect the option.

Sequences can now be tagged with an Active Format Description, this inserts standard SMPTE codes into the sequence that indicates to other Applications and Devices the correct aspect ratio for the piece.

The Windows Installer has been modified so it can now be used to selectively uninstall related package elements.

Finally, a few words about what you don’t get with the v6.5 release – software! Avid have now stopped shipping physical media – you are required to download it. All you now get is a small Activation Card which contains a download code. You then register and log in at www.avid.com/activationcard this login will then allow you to download the software and keep track of all your licences, serial numbers and activation codes both for Avid products and also the third party plug-ins to which you are entitled. The advantage for Avid is that they don’t have to press and ship disks, the advantage for the end user is that you’ll always get the latest point release, which is not the case if you’re relying on a DVD that’s had to go through a manufacturing process and the distribution channel. As the end user, you also have your Avid login giving you access to all your licences etc – no more disk labels and stickers to keep in a safe place. Just make sure you don’t forget your login details and password! However, if you really must have ‘hard copies’ of the installers, they can be purchased as an option. They come on a USB stick and cost an extra £69.
To end, I’ll just mention that Baselight – colour correction and grading, is now available as an AVX plug in, bringing the power of Baselight into the Avid UI. Currently only for Mac, but the PC version is supposed to be out by the end of the year. It’s not just for v6.5 – it also works with v6.0. List price is £636.33

Media Composer v6.5 is available now for £1,799 list. Upgrades are £359 for those with v6.0, £429 for those with v5.5 or earlier or Avid Xpress and free for those with Advantage (THE formal Avid Support contract )