Categories
CES gear video

CES 2011: Vimeo Coverage

Vimeo at CES 2011! from Sam Morrill on Vimeo.

Vimeo does their usual great coverage of tech events like CES and Photoplus the only way they know how. I really love Vimeo and the great creative community there, the 59 dollars for plus membership is some of the easiest money for me to part with.

Categories
gear Video Cameras

Now What Cisco, What the iPhone 4G Means For The Flip

So if you live under a rock or are unfortunate to not be able to surf the Internet while at work than you might have not heard about the new iPhone 4G that was revealed during the Steve Jobs keynote speech at the World Wide Developers Conference. The device revealed was almost exactly what we saw when Gizmodo got their hands on a prototype earlier in the year. I will leave all the drooling over the details to the big gadget blogs and focus my attention to the camera and iMovie for the iPhone.

One of my first thoughts when Jobs began talking about the new iPhone being able to record, edit, and upload HD 720p video, was that this was really bad news for the Flip. I haven’t heard any recent rumbling of a new Flip camera that is going to be able to compete with the new iPhone. Their newest model the Slide mainly just added a sliding touchscreen. Last year I heard about the possibility of a Wi-Fi flip and have really, really wanted an external audio input much like that of the Kodak Zi8 to be added to the Flips.

The reason the so many people bought the Flip was because of it’s ease of use and price. It was the camera that you wouldn’t mind letting the kids play wit, and is the one that people carry around in their bags when when they need to shoot something real simple. Newer models need to stay true to their roots while adding features to keep the product line competitive with the new iPhone coming soon and other small HD video cameras like the Kodak Zi8 that are out in the market. I have to say that it doesn’t look good for the Flip, and I haven’t seen the kind of commitment from Cisco that I would like to keep improving the Flip.

What I want out of the next flip

  1. External Audio Input (w/ ability to turn of automatic gain control)
  2. Flip Ultra Form Factor: for the ability to switch out batteries, and use with other flip ultra accessories
  3. Wi-Fi w/ auto upload similar to Eye-Fi cards
  4. Live HDMI out while recording
Categories
Audio Equipment gear Video Production

The Classic Interview Mic

The Electro-Voice 635 has been the go to microphone for generations of news reporters. It was designed to survive and thrive in the various conditions that news reporters find themselves in. It has a 4 stage pop filter that helps block out wind and the long handeled body is a perfect size to fit a mic flag on and still have enought handle to hold.

More and more I see reporters and producers moving to the 635’s younger cousin, the RE50. The RE50 adds some upgrades to the 635 and is the next evoultion in the product line. Both mics are in a similar price range from about 100 dollars to around 150 dollars.

If you’re looking for a good mic to do interviews and what someting with the professional touch then either of these mics are great choices.

Categories
gear Video Production

Cheap LED Camera Lights

Good lighting is key in helping improve the production value of your videos, but getting pro level equipment is very pricey. Litepanels are the drool worthy LED lights that caught the eyes of ENG photographers and new media focused content producers like TWIT and Mahalo that turned to litepanels for low power consumption and low heat producing lighting.

Litepanels LP Micro Pro

Litepanels are the original and the the lights that the pros use, but they come at a price.

Sima SL-20LX Ultra Bright Video Light

These Sima lights are one of the most affordable options and what I personally recomend. I’ve seen several people use them and for under 30 bucks it worth a shot.

Switronix TL-50 30w Dimmerable DC Powered LED Light Fixture 5600k

The Switronix is a competetor to the Litepanels and is priced and aimed to pros. It’s a little pricey like the Litepanels, but has really good battery life and puts out a lot of light.

Flashpoint Shoe Mountable LED 70 Video Light with 4 Leaf Barndoor.

This is a larger LED light with adjustable barn doors for focusing the beam of light. Seems like a good bargin at 70 bucks, but I haven’t heard much from people that have used the light.

Categories
gear Video Cameras

Leak: New Sliding Flip Cam with 16GB of Storage

Some photos of suspected new Flip cam have leaked and showed up on Engadget last night.The photos came from someone at Best Buy.

I can’t completely read the sticker on the box, but I’m guessing it says something like it goes on sale on the 14th or on sale in 14 days.

Photos: via Engadget.com

This new picture shows some of the specs of the new camera. Looks like it will have 16Gb of storage, giving is up to 4 hours of record time, double what the latest Flip Mino HD have, and it still is recording at 720p. The photo doesn’t give any idea as to what type of connections the camera will have, I’m guessing it will have at least mini HDMI out. I like many people are hoping that they will be adding external audio input, and maybe this will be the Flip that does it. There also have been some rumors that they are going to have a camera with built in Wi-fi for automatic uploading, but there is now way to tell from the pictures here. So far, if all this new camera does is have a sliding screen, then it will be a pass for me.

Cisco really needs to make some leaps with the Flip product line to a cert it’s dominance in the small HD camera market against makers like Kodak that are biting at their heels.

(Engadget.com)

Categories
gear Live Streaming SXSW Video Production Web Video Technology

How a Toaster is Changing Online Video

Since I was a kid, I can remember flipping through the pages of video production magazines like Videography and drooling over all the new cameras and gear that I wished I had.  One ad that would always stop me in my tracks was the ads for something called a video toaster. At first glance, it brought thoughts of the flying toaster screen-saver that was so very much the thing to have on your computer at work, but the Video Toaster was something far more cooler and powerful. The Video Toaster ran on the Amiga computer and consisted of a fairly cheap hardware and software combination to bring a powerful live switching / linear editing solution that was affordable. Later generations of the video toaster added more and more features and has become the Newtek Tricaster that we know today.

1994 Promo Video for the Video Toaster 4000

Live streaming video has come along way from the postage stamp sized video of NASA TV that I remember watching using real player on my 56K modem more than ten years ago. Watching high quality video is common place now and made possible by the increase in the availability in broadband and fast, cheap, computers. Streaming services like, Ustream, Justin.tv and Bit Gravity have made getting your video content out even easier. I remember days spent trying to get several servers to work together to feed a rtsp stream to a couple of computers across a LAN, and now anyone with a webcam can be easily streaming to an audience of thousands without the hassle of working out the back-end technnology.

The Tricaster isn’t a brand new product, but has seen huge growth in sales with the rise of people creating live video content for the web. The Tricaster has a lot of bang for the buck, replacing hugely expensive satellite trucks with a small box that can be easily shipped and it price ranges from just under $5,000 for the basic tricaster to $15,000 for the new drool worthy HD Tricaster TCXD300. The new HD Tricaster is an extremely attractive alternative to other HD switchers in the market that generally start in the $100,000 range and the Tricaster has more features. The Tricaster has made online TV networks possible and affordable like TWIT.tv and ThisWeekIn.com.  When a normal TV studio would normally need a crew of a dozen or more, the TWIT live stream is controlled solely by Leo Laporte that switches cameras while hosting and all of the rest of the duties of head TWIT all while on air.

Photo: © Newtek Inc.

Newtek had a big presence this year at SXSW with the Tricaster equipped Mini Cooper showing up all across Austin as Newtek made it possible for companies such as SiliconAngle.com, TWIT.tv, and This Week in Startups, and Revision 3 to bring the SXSW experience into people’s homes.

And its not just online video producers that are increasing using the Tricaster, more and more “old media” producers are integrating Tricaster into their productions for web content or video played in sports venues. I think this trend will only continue to increase as more people start creating live web video and old media looks for more ways to reduce costs and attract a larger audience.

Categories
gear Live Streaming SXSW

SXSW 2010: What Technologies Will Blow Up This Year?

Each year nerds from all the world flock to Austin for five days and nights of panels, parties and puking also known a South by Southwest Interactive.  It seems each year there is at least one application or technology thing that everyone is using at SXSW. Last year the big thing was geolocation apps mainly Foursquare that had a big swell in users at SXSW last year as all the cool people were trying to find out where all the rest of the cool people are at and which party is the one to be at for the night.  In previous years twitter really started to take off and gained size-able adoption and proof of that is in the almost constant chatter about SXSW which is especially annoying to people like me who aren’t lucky enough to be going this year.

So what will be the “it” things at this year’s SXSW? I have two things that come to mind, QR Codes and Live streaming. I think we are going to see QR codes all over the place as people are trying to network and QR codes are a great way to exchange the information that would normally be on your business cards.  If you don’t know anything about QR Codes click here for the wikipedia article.  I think the band, movie posters and leaflets that are plastered all over the convention center will have the new addition of a QR Code that sends the user to a site with more information about their show or movie. Be prepared to see a throng of nerds in shirts with huge QR Codes silk-screened on them, hawking their blog or whatever.

In the year since the last SXSW, Apple released the iPhone 3GS, the version of the iPhone yet that best suited for live streaming video, and apps like Ustream broadcaster and Qik that allowing people to do live streaming video over Wi-Fi or 3G has become possible. I think live streaming services like Ustream are going to see a lot of use from people at SXSW streaming events going on in Austin.  One man who will be doing this for sure is Leo Laporte. Ustream has lent Leo one of their streaming backpacks from LiveU a company that builds this portable computer designed for streaming.  The backpack has enough juice for about 6 hours of use. The secret sauce that makes this all work is 8 separate 3G modems, 2 each from the 4 major players, that work in concert to provide a solid connection and sufficient upload bandwidth that produces some pretty good looking video. I think we’re going to see a lot of live streams coming from Austin next week as many of the big podcasts like TWIT, TWiST, Buzz out Loud, NSFW, Diggnation all converge in Austin. At&t epically failed last year, greatly underestimating the strain that the more than 13,000 attendees would put on their network and they say they have been working since then to make sure that this year isn’t a repeat. They beefed up the cell towers downtown with more fiber, installed hardware in the Austin convention center and are bringing a convoy’s worth of cell tower trucks to cover Austin in a rich and creamy layer of 3G. We’ll see if this will be enough to handle the demands of bandwidth heavy apps and thousands of people constantly refreshing twitter every minute.

Categories
gear Video Cameras Video Production

Canon HF200 On Sale

If you’re looking for a good starter HD camera and want something with a little more features than something like a Flip Mino HD or Kodak Zi8 than the Canon HF200 might be a good choice for you. It records on SDHC memory cards and records in the MPEG-IV AVC H.264 codec that makes is easy to take the footage into your non-linear editor of choice.  Click here to check out the specs. Amazon has it on sale for $200 off until the end of the month.

Memory capacity MXP
(app. 24 Mbps)
FXP
(app. 17 Mbps)
XP+
(app. 12 Mbps)
SP
(app. 7 Mbps)
LP
(app. 5 Mbps)
2GB 10 min. 15 min. 20 min. 35 min. 45 min.
4GB 20 min. 30 min. 40 min. 1 hour
10 min.
1 hour
30 min.
8GB 40 min. 1 hour 1 hour
25 min.
2 hours
20 min.
3 hours
16GB 1 hour
25 min.
2 hours
5 min.
2 hours
50 min.
4 hours
45 min.
6 hours
5 min.
32GB* 2 hours
55 min.
4 hours
10 min.
5 hours
45 min.
9 hours
35 min.
12 hours
15 min.