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Camera Confidential by Christian Parkinson

Camera confidential is the book I wish somebody had handed to me as a fresh faced twenty five year old jumping on a plane for my first foreign assignment. In twelve years working across the globe I’ve made a lot of mistakes and have been forced to learn the hard way.

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Sections covered in Camera confidential include: Breaking into the industry, how to pack your kit, fill out customs paperwork, what to carry in a warzone, how to operate in extreme weather, how to shoot interviews and pieces to camera and advice on writing scripts and story-telling. It’s the accumulated knowledge of my years on the road as well as the product of numerous interviews with the likes of four times Royal Television Society cameraman of the year Darren “DC” Conway, well known filmmaker Phillip Bloom, numerous freelance cameramen from around the world, experienced reporters and security advisors.


All proceeds from sales of Camera confidential will be going to the Rory Peck Trust.I am currently full time staff for a large broadcaster and often see freelancers producing amazing work, but also taking massive risks. Therefore I think it is more important than ever for the Rory Peck Trust to be able to continue to help freelancers with training bursaries and grants to support  freelancers in crisis or who have been injured.

Filming greek forest fires

If you don’t know me I am editor of the popular camera blog My work in the Democratic Republic of Congo has won the David Bloom award presented by President Barrack Obama and was shortlisted for an International Emmy. I’ve covered conflict in Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Ivory Coast, Gaza, Kenya and Libya and spent four years based in Johannesburg, South Africa.  I currently live in Leicester and work out of London. If you have any questions then feel free to drop me a line at


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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.


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!


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!


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.


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.


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…


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.


Phil Baxter 1967 – 2013

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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?


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…


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.


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.