Bruce A Johnson

Bruce's Blog | Bruce A Johnson rss

A 1981 graduate of the Boston University College of Communication, Bruce A. Johnson got his first job in broadcast television at WFTV, an ABC affiliate in Orlando, FL. While there, he rose through the ranks from teleprompter operator to videographer, editor, producer and director of many different types of programming. It was in the early 1980's that he bought his first computer - a Timex/Sinclair 1000 - a device he hated so much, he promptly exchanged it for an Atari 400. But the bug had bitten hard. In 1987, Johnson joined Wisconsin Public Television in Madison as a videographer/editor, and still works there to the present day. His responsibilities have grown, however, and now include research and presentations on the issues surrounding the digital television transition, new consumer technology and the use of public television spectrum in homeland security. He freelances through his company Painted Post MultiMedia, and has written extensively for magazines including DV and Studio Monthly.


From The National Drone Show: Deep Trekker

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  December 5, 2015

It's easy to fall into the trap of believing that an RPV has to be some sort of aircraft.  The folks at Deep Trekker would like to gently correct you.

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From the National Drone Show: Christina Engh, COO, UASolutions Group

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  December 5, 2015

US Army helicopter pilot-turned-consultant Christina Engh lays down the law on what you need to legally operate a commercial drone in the United States.


From the National Drone Show: Unmanned Vehicle University

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  December 5, 2015

You just can't throw a quadcopter up in the air and start making money.  It's inperative that you learn and follow the rules, and the folks at Unmanned Vehicle University would like to help you achieve that objective.


From the National Drone Show: What I Learned On The Floor

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  December 5, 2015

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The Government Video Expo and the National Drone Show complement each other well, but there were plenty of surprises among the RPVs.


From the National Drone Show: X PlusOne Hybrid Drone

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  December 5, 2015

Quadcopters (and hexcopters and larger) are useful devices, but they aren't necessarily very fast.  The X PlusOne melds the hovering power of a quadcopter with the remarkable speed of a fixed-wing aircraft into an interesting hybrid - with lots of other tricks up its sleeve.


Highlights From The National Drone Show

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  December 3, 2015

Drone Video from the National Drone Show



REVIEW: Fotodiox Flapjack Edge-lit LED Lights

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  August 19, 2015

Edge-lighting is just what it sounds like – instead of an array of front-facing LEDs, the LEDs are arranged around the edge of the fixture, facing into a large, milky-white diffuser.  The smoothness and intensity of the Flapjacks is quite remarkable; while they won’t out-punch an HMI sungun, they are amazingly effective for their size, heat and energy consumption.


Review: Fotodiox LED100WA-56 Video Light

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  August 4, 2015

You probably know Fotodiox mainly from their very clever line of lens adapters and their ever-affable spokesman Bohus Blahut. They aren’t as well known for their lighting products, but that is changing.


NAB 2015: Blackmagic Design

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 20, 2015
It wouldn't be NAB without a look at the new stuff at the Blackmagic Design booth.  Here's a quick peek at what's new.    
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NAB 2015: ATTO Technology

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 20, 2015
Sometimes the laptop you are editing on and the storage you want to use don't speak the same language, interface-wise.  Luckily for all of us ATTO is here with tools to translate.    
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NAB 2015: Promise Technology

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 20, 2015
Promise Technology has always been out front in the storage arena, and this year is no exception.    

NAB 2015: Newtek

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 20, 2015
After releasing the astounding Tricaster Mini just a few months back, you might think that Newtek was out of fresh ideas to surprise us with at NAB 2015.  You would be wrong.    

NAB 2015: Rohde & Schwarz Clipster

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 18, 2015
In all my years of watching content on Netflix, it never occured to me that there might be specific requirements for delivery to different streaming services.  Luckily for content creators, Rohde & Schwarz was more aware than I, and have a device designed for just such a task.  
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NAB 2015: CamDolly

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 18, 2015
You may know him as the voice of Fotodiox, but Bohus Blahut has another product these days - a nicely laid-out dolly system called the CamDolly.     ...

NAB 2015: Marshall Electronics

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 18, 2015
Well-known for high-quality monitors, the folks at Marshall Electronics have something else up their sleeves - point-of-view cameras.    
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NAB 2015: Switronix

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 17, 2015
Video production devices can be hungry beasts, and Switronix has a solution to keep you up and running for hours at a time.    

NAB 2015: Video Devices Pix-E5

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 17, 2015
You know them as Sound Devices, but everyones favorite mixer makers are branching out.  Here's a new product from their Video Devices division.  BONUS:  PVC readers might recognize the presenter!    
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NAB 2015: FileCatalyst

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 17, 2015
Tired of waiting for your huge files to be sent over the Net? FileCatalyst claims to be able to speed up that process - by many orders of magnitude.      
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NAB 2015: Facilis Technology

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 17, 2015
There was no lack of storage companies at NAB 2015.  Facilis Technology showcased some powerful and affordable solutions, including hybrid SSD and spinning-disk units.    

NAB 2015: Cinedeck

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 17, 2015
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NAB 2015 Preview: Aputure

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 14, 2015
Want to use a Canon lens on a Sony or Panasonic DSLR but don't know how you will control it? The folks at Aputure have you covered, at a remarkably small cost.   ...
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NAB 2015 Preview: DJI Technologies Has Two Announcements

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 13, 2015
As if announcing the new DJI Phantom 3 quadcopter wasn't enough, a new camera stabilizer is coming as well.    
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NAB 2015 Preview: G-Tech G-Drive EV ATC

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 13, 2015
It's not every day you see someone drop a hard drive on purpose, but watch this video and cringe. BTW, he had to drop it four times to hit...
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NAB 2015 Preview: HP Z Turbo Drive G2

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 13, 2015
I don't know anyone that wouldn't like more speed from their storage.  HP is here to help.  
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NAB 2015 Preview: Rosco

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 13, 2015
Rosco is in the LED light space with a compelling offering:      

REVIEW: proDAD Mercalli V4 SAL+

Let's clean up some video, shall we?
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  December 12, 2014
Whether attached to a car, a bicycle, a motorcycle,  a quadcopter, a rocket or a pair of skis, we have all become addicted to the unusual perspectives the GoPro family and all their action-cam brethren can give us.  However, it doesn’t take too much experimentation with these cameras to learn an immutable fact: By and large,...

ProDAD Respeedr

Software to speed you up or slow you down...
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  November 5, 2014
ProDAD is a company that really, really aims to please.  Over the last few years they have come out with software that addressed the realms of transitions (Vitascene), video stabilization (Mercalli) and action-video optimization (ProDRENALIN) in clever, albeit unique, ways.  Respeedr is a program that tries to add slow- and...

Press Release: "Disney Demos Automated Multicamera Editing"

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  August 14, 2014
So I'm reading one of the various trade publications that comes through my email on a daily basis, and I see this: "Disney Demos Automated Multicamera Editing" Seeing as I do multicamera editing for a living on a daily basis, you could say this caught my eye.  There was a link to a...

Premiere Pro World Conference: Robbie Carman

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  July 13, 2014
Robbie Carman is an editor who operates Amigo Media. Here's his favorite 60-second Premiere Pro tip.    

Premiere Pro World Conference: Luisa Winters

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  July 13, 2014
Luisa Winters is an editor and clinician from the East Coast of the USA.  Here is her favorite 60-second Premiere Pro tip.    

Premiere Pro World Conference: Eran Stern

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  July 13, 2014
Eran Stern is a special effects artist from Israel.  Here's his favorite quick Premiere Pro tip.    

Premiere Pro World Conference: Jeff Greenberg

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  July 13, 2014
Jeff Greenberg is a well-known author and Adobe clinician.  Here's his favorite quick Premiere Pro tip. After you watch this one, click here to find TWENTY more.  Thanks Jeff!  

Premiere Pro World Conference: Gary Adcock

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  July 13, 2014
Gary Adcock is a director, editor and DIT operating out of his company Studio 37 in Chicago.  Here is one of the things he loves about Adobe Premiere Pro.  

Premiere Pro World Conference: Jarle Leirpoll

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  July 12, 2014
Jarle Lierpoll is an extremely successful shooter and editor from Norway.  Here are his best quick tips on managing audio in Adobe Premiere Pro.    

Premiere Pro World Conference: Rich Harrington

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  July 12, 2014
Rich Harrington is one of the best-known clinicians on Adobe products.  Here is his best one-minute tip on using Premiere Pro to it's fullest.    

Premiere Pro World Conference: Adam Epstein

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  July 12, 2014
Adam Epstein of the Saturday Night Live Film Unit just gave a informative and hilarious keynote speech to the 120+ participants at Premiere Pro World Conference.  I grabbed him after the show to ask him: Why Premiere Pro?  

Premiere Pro World Conference: Gone Girl

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  July 12, 2014
One of the announcements made at the Adobe headquarters included several fimmakers that have switched to Adobe tools, including the Coen brothers and David Fincher.  The entirety of his latest film, Gone Girl, was created with Adobe tools.  And the trailer looks really, well, creepy:  

Premiere Pro World Conference: The History of Premiere Pro

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  July 12, 2014
If you have ever edited on Premiere Pro or its predecessors, these pictures will take you back! 1991: This is the editing interface of Premiere 1.0, which was originally only a Mac program.  Three video tracks, three audio tracks, 160x120 resolution...who could ask for more? 1992: Versions 2.0 and...

Premiere Pro World Conference: Rob Ing

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  July 12, 2014
Visiting from our northern neighbor, Rob Ing tells us about how he came to edit on Adobe Premiere Pro.      

Premiere Pro World Conference: Kirk Johnson

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  July 12, 2014
Next up is Kirk Johnson, who edits promos for ABC-TV in Los Angeles.          

Premiere Pro World Conference: Al Mooney

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  July 12, 2014
I took some time out of the (TOTALLY AWESOME) sessions at the Adobe headquarters on Friday to grab quick interviews with several folks.  First up is Al Mooney, the Premiere Pro product manager.  

Greetings from the Premiere Pro World Conference!

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  July 11, 2014
Howdy from San Jose!  I've traveled from the great Midwest out to California to attend the inaugural Premiere Pro World Conference.  The three-and-a-half day event actually started this afternoon with warmup sessions by luminaties including Eran Stern, Jeff Greenberg, Rich Harrington and Luisa Winters, whose "Adobe Certified...

PVC NAB 2014: Amimon

The power behind the aerials
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 14, 2014
You may not recognize the name, but Amimon is a company pushing remote video to new heights - and distances.  Zero-latency video from 2000 meters away?  Sign me up.  

PVC NAB 2014: Matrox

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 14, 2014
Here's a quick booth tour with Scott Simmons.  Editing 4K and streaming appliances were the subject matter of the day.  

PVC NAB 2014: Blackmagic Design

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 14, 2014
Blackmagic Design has really turned heads over the last few years with their fairly unusual camera designs - and they aren't slowing down now.  

PVC NAB 2014: Zylight F8 LED Fresnel

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 13, 2014
LED lighting keeps expanding in the pro lighting space, and the Zylight L8 fresnel fixture is one of the best I've ever seen.  

PVC NAB 2014: WhisperRoom

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 13, 2014
The floor of the NAB Convention is loud...except in a certain, calming area.   PVC NAB 2014...

PVC NAB 2014: Vectormount

Give your GoPro the ability to pan with the wind
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 13, 2014
Sure, it's nice to look straight ahead, but sometimes it's even better to be able to look around.  Vectormount gives your GoPro the ability to do just that.  

PVC NAB 2014: Telemetrics

You see their work every day and don't even know it!
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 13, 2014
Telemetrics makes the world standard in robotic camera support. They showcased several new products at NAB 2014.  

PVC NAB 2014: Soloshot 2

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 12, 2014
Here's a pretty cool virtual "cameraman" to chase you around - and very reasonably priced to boot.  

PVC NAB 2014: Rigwheels

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 12, 2014
If you are looking for a slider system, be sure to give Rigwheels a chance.   PVC NAB 2014...

PVC NAB 2014: LaCie

Medium drives, HUGE drives, and fast to boot.
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 11, 2014
The folks at LaCie are leading the charge into Thunderbolt 2 technology, and creating some enormously huge drive arrays with wicked transfer speeds.  Have a look.    

PVC NAB 2014: Miller Camera Support

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 11, 2014
Miller Camera Support may be 60 years old, but they certainly aren't resting on their laurels.  Have a look at their new Cineline 70.  

PVC at NAB 2014: Dougmon Camera Stabilizer

A new look at an old problem...
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 11, 2014
Have a look at the Dougmon, a fresh take on a vexing problem.   PVC Dougmon from

PVC NAB 2014: Marshall Electronics

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 11, 2014
Have a look at two of Marshall Electronics newest monitors, including a 4K beauty.   PVC...

PVC at NAB 2014: Create the Most Stable Video Around

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 11, 2014
Larry Reich from Big Balance took the time to tell us about the various camera gimbals they showcased at NAB 2014. He focuses on the capabilities of their Gorilla product, which has a rugged handle and cradle that can balance cameras from 400-800 grams.

PVC NAB 2014: The LTO Program

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 11, 2014
The LTO Program is a consortium of three big companies with a huge, noble goal - keep your data safe for a long time to come at a truly reasonable price.  

PVC at NAB 2014: BBS Lighting Area 48 LED Softlight

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 10, 2014
Meet the Area 48 Softlight - a new take on LED softlights.     PVC BBS...

PVC at NAB 2014 - A Lightbulb You Can Reuse

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 10, 2014
Learn about an LED replacement tube for fluorescent lights that's reusable from William Meurer at GoGreen. PVC...

PVC at NAB 2014 - New Dreamcolor Monitors from HP

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 10, 2014
Larry Mahoney talks to us about the new Dreamcolor monitors that HP launched during NAB 2014. PVC HP Monitors from

REVIEW: ProDAD ProDrenalin

A one-stop shop for your action-cam footage needs
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  October 2, 2013
A few months back, I wrote a review of fish-eye management software from ProDAD called DeFishr.  Never ones to rest, ProDAD has followed up in record time with DeFishr on steroids – this time called ProDrenalin.  In addition to fish-eye reduction,...
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NAB 2013: Digital Bolex

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 12, 2013
Just the thing for all those Super16 lenses that are collecting dust in your closet - here comes the Digital Bolex!  
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NAB 2013: Steve Hullfish On Color Correction And Hardware Scopes

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 11, 2013
Steve Hullfish gives us the lowdown on why you should always use a hardware scope for color correction.    
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NAB 2013: Kessler Pocket Jib Traveler

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 11, 2013
Need a small jib?  Here ya go - and it packs down really, really small.    
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NAB 2013: DJI Phantom Quadcopter

Fun *and* useful.
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 10, 2013
There were more radio-controlled helicopters at NAB 2013 than at a hobby tradeshow.  The DJI Phantom was among the least expensive and the most accessible.  
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NAB 2013: Blackmagic Design Part 2 - 4K Switchers and Resolve Color Correction

There's more to production than just cameras...
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 10, 2013
Pat 2 of the Blackmagic booth tour shows off 4K live production capability and the improvements made to the DaVinci Resolve color correction tools.  
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NAB 2013: Blackmagic Design Part 1 - Cameras

Yeah, they have a couple...
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 10, 2013
You might have heard some gossip about Blackmagic Designs new cameras.  Here are the details.    
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NAB 2013: Tascam DR-60D DSLR Audio Recorder

Much better than recording on the camera...
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 10, 2013
Most DSLRs have dismal audio sections.  Tascam has a cost-effective solution to this issue.    
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NAB 2013: Sound Devices

Some clever new enhancements for NAB 2013
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 10, 2013
Sound Devices President Matt Anderson shows off two clever additions to the product line.    
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NAB 2013: Hoodman Part 2 - Custom Finder Kit

Another glare fighter!
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 10, 2013
Yet another clever way to cut the glare, this time for your DSLR.    
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NAB 2013: Hoodman Part 1 - BMCC Hood

Cut the glare!
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 10, 2013
The big screen on the back of the Blackmagic Cinema Camera is a glare magnet.  Control it with this product from Hoodman.  
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NAB 2013: Mole-Richardson Part 2: LED Bars

A lot of light in a small space.
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 10, 2013
Finally, both compact brightness and easy remote control in one light fixture. See if you can spot Ron Burgundy in this video.  
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NAB 2013: Mole-Richardson Part 1: LED Retrofits

Retrofits for Baby Lights
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 10, 2013
Love your old Baby Lights?  Refurbish them for many more years of service as LED Fresnels.    
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NAB 2013: Mole-Richardson LED Retrofits

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 9, 2013
If you have a bunch of older Mole-Richardson lights hanging from your grid, here is a way to extend their life and make them more energy-efficient at the same time.  
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NAB 2013: Dactylcam

Everyone needs a cable cam once in a while...
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 9, 2013
I first saw a cable-cam at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.  Now we can all own one!  
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NAB 2013: Joker Boxes

A place to stash your stuff and make your actors taller.
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 9, 2013
The traditional apple box has been done one better.  
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NAB 2013: Freefly Systems Movi M10

Pretty forward-thinking design...
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 9, 2013
Their demo video took the world by storm last week, and now here is the Movi M10 live and in person.  
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NAB 2013: What's New From Porta-Brace?

New bags, both soft and hard...
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 9, 2013
It's always fun to check in with our friends from Vermont.  
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NAB 2013: Zacuto Z-Light

It's plasma, baby!
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 9, 2013
There are literally hundreds of LED lighting elements on the floor at NAB 2013, but so far I've only seen one plasma light - the Zacuto Z-Light.  
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NAB 2013: Sony Alpha NEX E-mount Lenses

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 9, 2013
As a new owner of a Sony NEX-EA50U camera, I found this display full of E-mount lenses absolutely irresistable.  
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NAB 2013: Steadicam Curve

Miniaturization run amok?
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 9, 2013
30+ years ago, I trained as a full-sized Steadicam operator, and have the bad back to prove it.  Now one of the smallest cameras you can buy has a flyweight Steadicam to go with it.  

REVIEW: Blackmagic Designs Hyperdeck Shuttle 2

A lot of potential in a slab of aluminum
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  March 12, 2013
(Music cue:  Also Sprach Zarathustra) (Lights come up on a monolith, perfectly rectangular and black as death) OK, maybe I’m being a bit melodramatic.   However, it is hard to have a first look at the Blackmagic Design Hyperdeck Shuttle and not instantly think of the Kubrick masterpiece...


Straighten out some of those curves!
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  February 24, 2013
It wasn't that long ago that getting a point-of-view shot was a major undertaking.  About a decade ago, a producer I work with wanted to do a story on the last of the bicycle newspaper delivery boys.  We acquired a bike with a front basket and a rear rack.  Gaffer-taped to the basket was an "ice-cube" surveilliance camera,...

The Cure for the Slippery HDMI?

OK, we have half the solution…
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  December 5, 2012
A few weeks back, I took a look at the Sony NEX-EA50H NXCam camcorder.  Alongside all of its many charms was a “feature” that several of my colleagues pointed out as a big minus:  The fragility and instability of the HDMI plug.  It’s true that in it’s native state HDMI connections don’t...

REVIEW: Vinten Vision Blue5 Fluid Head and Tripod Legs

A Nice Set Of Legs For A Reasonable Price
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  November 20, 2012
Tripods tend to fall into that broad category of items that we never notice when they work, yet can't live without when they don't. And there aren't too many things that can ruin a great shoot faster than a tripod that slips, catches, or doesn't stay put when you want it to. I've used or tested a lot of tripods in my career, and in my...

First Look & Semi Review: Sony NEX-EA50H NXCam Camcorder

The big chips are coming in better packages.
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  October 20, 2012
I'm a TV guy. I've been shooting and editing in broadcast television for over thirty years now, and along with you have seen astounding changes in image acquisition and editing. One thing that caught me way off guard, though, was the sudden ascendance of digital single lens reflex cameras (DSLRs) as a preferred way to capture video. ...
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Sensor Size Described... best I've ever seen it.
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  October 20, 2012
On the left, a 2/3" Sony HDW-750 HDCam camcorder...on the right, a Sony NEX-EA50H APS-C camcorder.In the process of writing the First Look on the large-sensor Sony NEX-EA50H camera, I went fishing around the Web for good charts defining actual imaging chip sizes. And this is the best one I found:...
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NAB 2012: Trucolor Ohm Space Light

400 watts of LED replaces a 6K? Sounds good to me.
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 21, 2012
Next time you need to flood a room with soft light - in whatever color temperature - you should give the Ohm a look.
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NAB 2012: EZ-Jib

EZ to use, EZ on your wallet
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 21, 2012
I've always been intrigued by jib arms, and usually put off by their high prices. EZ-FX might have a solution to that problem.
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NAB 2012: Profoto Reflector Umbrellas

The big one in the picture is TEN FEET TALL!
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 19, 2012
When I walked past these the first time, I thought they might be antennas left on the Moon to shoot signals back to earth. But a little research proved to me that these are great lighting devices. NOTE: a big...
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NAB 2012: Eizo 4K Monitor

You are going to have to look at your 4K footage on *something.*
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 19, 2012
At NAB 2012, when you see a crowd of people clotted around a small booth, it's a sign you should pay attention. The Eizo full 4K monitor I found there was easily one of the most beautiful I saw all week, with a price...
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NAB 2012: T3 Motion Camera Transporter

Kind of an unholy marriage between Ben-Hur and Blade Runner, and super-cool to boot.
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 18, 2012
Steadicams have great uses, and some downsides - like severe back strain. Here's a great product that can help you get fantastic shots and keep you out of traction.
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NAB 2012: Epic HD1080 Danger Cam

Another David looking for Goliath?
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 18, 2012
Another new-kid-on-the-block aims at the entrenched leader, this time in dangercams.
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NAB 2012: Swedish Chameleon DSLR Shoulder Mount

No, it isn't a lizard.
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 18, 2012
There are a lot of DSLR mounts out there, but this one lets you say: "Look Mom, no hands."
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NAB 2012: PhotoHigher Hexacopter

...can lift a lot of cameras.
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 18, 2012
I'm always looking for the next great aerial platform. This looks like a good candidate.
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NAB 2012: Art Lebedev Optimus Popularus Keyboard

Not only is the Maximus keyboard *not* has spawned a Version 2.
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 18, 2012
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NAB 2012: Mini Dolly Slider

For those REALLY low-angle shots.
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 18, 2012
Skateboard wheels are in a lot of booths here at NAB 2012, but none go lower than the ones on the Mini Dolly Slider.
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NAB 2012: Plasticase Nanuk

You gotta love competition.
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 18, 2012
Here is the first of a series of videos on products in the "back corners" of the NAB 2012 exibition floor. Hope you enjoy them! In this video, Plasticase takes on an un-named giant.

NAB 2012: Maybe this means nothing.

Maybe it does.
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 17, 2012
Anyone that has attended NAB in the past decade knows that major booth positions change very rarely, either in position or in size. For example, it was a big deal when Sony moved a few years back from dominating the Upper South Hall entrance area to a space near the rear of the Central Hall. And for as long as I can remember,...

NAB 2012: Sony Press Conference

Memories of things past.......
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 16, 2012
Alec Shapiro hosting the 2012 Sony Press event. Sorry about the poor picture, but that's a cellphone for ya.The annual Sony NAB press conference was held at Las Vegas' Hard Rock Hotel, with a setting that seemed to be a bit less grandiose than previous years. Perhaps this is fitting considering that Sony...

REVIEW: Blackmagic ATEM 1 M/E Video Switcher

Dollars To Donuts: Through The Roof
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  March 18, 2012
I've been working in TV stations for over 30 years now. I can trace one of the primary reasons I made this career choice back to a basic fact of my DNA:I love buttons.I wanted to switch video on a video switcher from the day I saw my first one, and eventually I managed to get to that point. ...
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Want To Fly In First Class On Your Next Gig? Here's How!

...and it is actually CHEAPER than coach!
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  December 9, 2011
I just got back from a whirlwind cross-country trip for a freelance gig I'm working on. Between me, my field producer and my audio operator, we managed to boil down our equipment complement to six checked bags and three carry-ons. Now prices vary on different airlines, but the way it worked for me was this:We flew USAirways from...

REVIEW: Fast Forward Video Sidekick HD Recorder/Monitor

Two for the price of one?
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  December 9, 2011
PREFACE: The ProRes DilemmaLet's start this review off by dispelling a long-held rumor. I'm a PC guy, just always have been, and after reviewing just about every PC NLE at least once, I have settled on Adobe Premiere Pro (and the CS 5.5 suite) as my editor of choice. Not too long ago, I had a freelance...

Is TV Broken?

or: if It Ain't Broke, Does it Need To Be Fixed?
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  December 7, 2011
I don't generally re-post links to articles, but this one from CNN's Business Insider Matt Rosoff caught my eye. Give it a read, but the thumbnail...

Canon Cinema EOS C300: A Dissenting View

Disappointed is a weak word...
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  November 7, 2011
I know, there have been a million opinions shot over the Internet over the last three days regarding canon's new Cinema EOS C300 camera. About half point out it's great feature set, and about half seem to point out every flaw it has in comparison to RED Epic. Whatever, all that's fine. Me, I'm dissapointed for an entirely different...

The One Collaboration I Need Adobe To Make

I don't think I'm really asking I?
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  September 7, 2011
Hey folks, been gone a while, but it's fall and time to get back in the swing of things. One of the interesting side-effects of writing for PVC is that I am on just about every PR person's mail list. Usually these missives are easy to toss to the side, but the other day I got one from Adobe, talking up their presence at IBC 2011 in...

REVIEW: Litepanels Sola ENG LED Fresnel Light

Bright, Light And Oh So Cool...
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  July 20, 2011
I've gone on record in the past as not being a big fan of camera-top lights. The last thing an interview subject needs is a glaring "sungun" to impart that "deer-in-the-headlights" look. Of course, sunguns of the past were crude tools, usually a low-to-medium wattage tungsten lightbulb that - if you were lucky - might be hiding behind...

The Phantom Hum

(and I'm not talking about phantom power)
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  June 21, 2011
I do a certain amount of freelance work, mostly for friends that have businesses. Last weekend I started work on an instructional video for Exerstrider, makers of poles you use while walking that really ramps up the exercise value. We were plowing through the script at a...

Today The GoPro Let Me Down

(sad face)
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  June 3, 2011
Regular readers of my mind-spillings might remember the Color-Correction Conundrum of a year ago, where I used the decidedly outdoor-color-balanced GoPro Hero HD as an accent camera for a choral concert in...
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Blackmagic Design at NAB 2011 Part 2

Have A Look At Hyperdeck
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  May 4, 2011
Blackmagicdesign Hyperdeck Products from ProVideo Coalition on Vimeo. The extended death of tape continues....

Blackmagic Design at NAB2011 Part 1

A quick look at Davinci Resolve 8
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  May 4, 2011
Blackmagicdesign from ProVideo Coalition on Vimeo.Here's a quick look at Blackmagic Davinci Resolve 8, including...
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PVC NAB 2011: Rotor Concepts

Is It A Toy...Or Something More?
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 17, 2011
PVC NAB 2011: Rotor Concepts from ProVideo Coalition on Vimeo.   The runaway popularity of the...
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PVC NAB 2011: Topaz Labs

A Pretty Incredible Demo
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 17, 2011
PVC NAB 2011: Topaz Labs from ProVideo Coalition on Vimeo.You know how hard you laughed when you watched "CSI" or...
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PVC NAB 2011: Camlight Focusing LED Studio Lamp

A Clever Design Gives Some Focus To A Flat-Front LED Lamp
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 17, 2011
PVC NAB 2011: Camlight Focusing LED Studio Lamp from ProVideo Coalition on Vimeo.You find some of the most...
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PVC NAB 2011: Arri L7T LED Fresnel Light

Big, Bright And Cool To The Touch
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 17, 2011
PVC Arri L7 LED light v2 from ProVideo Coalition on Vimeo. Arri has been a leading name in production gear...
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PVC NAB 2011: Mushroom Networks Teleporter

Live Shots Keep Getting Easier
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 17, 2011
PVC Mushroom Networks Teleporter from ProVideo Coalition on Vimeo.Mushroom Networks offers live HD from anywhere...
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PVC NAB 2011: TVUPack

Will Cell Phones Replace Satellite Trucks?
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 17, 2011
PVC TVU Networks from ProVideo Coalition on Vimeo.HD over 4G was definitely one of the growth categories at NAB...
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PVC NAB 2011: Minicaster

Backhaul Thru The Cloud
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 17, 2011
PVC NAB 2011: Minicaster from ProVideo Coalition on Vimeo.If you have access to the Internet, you can broadcast...
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PVC NAB 2011: Steadiseg

Want. One. Now.
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 17, 2011
PVC NAB 2011: SteadiSeg from ProVideo Coalition on Vimeo.What happens when you cross a Steadicam with a Segway? ...
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PVC NAB 2011: Petrol Cambio Suitcase

Very Clever, And Very Necessary
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 17, 2011
PVC NAB 2011: Petrol Cambio Suitcase from ProVideo Coalition on Vimeo.We all drag out rollaboards with us on...
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PVC NAB 2011: Hoodman Photo Frames

Something Really Useful!
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 17, 2011
PVC NAB 2011: Hoodman Photo Frames from ProVideo Coalition on Vimeo.I've worn glasses since I was six years old. ...
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PVC NAB 2011: PortaBrace Audio Organizer Flex

Lots Of Flexibility For Your Audio Gear
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 16, 2011
PVC NAB 2011: PortaBrace Audio Organizer Flex from ProVideo Coalition on Vimeo.PortaBrace has been there for...
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PVC NAB 2011: Markertek VPTR1 Production Trailer

When You Need Remote Production But Don't Have Millions To Spare
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 16, 2011
PVC: Markertek VPTR1 Production Trailer from ProVideo Coalition on Vimeo.Often there is no substitute for remote...
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PVC NAB 2011: Litepanels Sola ENG Light

A Lotta Light for 30 Watts
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 16, 2011
PVC: Litepanels Sola ENG Light from ProVideo Coalition on Vimeo.Sunguns have come a long way in the last five...
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PVC NAB 2011: Ikan Monitors at NAB 2011

A Quick Tour
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 16, 2011
PVC: Ikan Monitors at NAB 2011 from ProVideo Coalition on Vimeo.Small monitors have come so far, so fast that today...

First Impressions From NAB 2011

...As I Get Ready To Leave
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 14, 2011
It's amazing how much I both look forward to - and simultaneously dread - coming to NAB. On the plus side, it is a great opportunity to see the newest gear, see folks I rarely see anywhere else (shout-out to Adam Wilt and Art Adams!) and to rather re-calibrate my mind as to where the industry is going. On the...

A DSLR Resurrection

Maybe call it the Canon TK-76?
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 14, 2011
On the top: A Canon D5 mark II "digital cinema" rig, enclosed in an Erector-set worth of expensive armor. Included are a battery (on top in back,) a monitor, audio management, and other doo-dads. When I saw the operator shouldering it, I could only think of the first ENG video camera I ever used, which is on the bottom: The...

A Modest Proposal Regarding Editing Software

...with apologies to Jonathan Swift
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 14, 2011
In the beginning, there was Avid...and it was OK. There was also Adobe Premiere, and that was OK too, but very few "professional" editors were using it. Eventually Sony bought a small company in Wisconsin and took over their nascent editing program, which was called Vegas.Then Apple decided that...

Tantalizing News From Telestream

Apple ProRez Encoding On The PC?
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  March 31, 2011
It's no secret that I am a PC user. I'm very happy with the performance of Adobe Premiere Pro CS5 (and all the other programs in the Adobe suite) on my HP Z800 machine. However, some of my client's end-users are Mac people, and have at different times demanded output in the Apple ProRez codec...,,,which, of course, PCs...

Has Shakycam Finally Run Its Course?

Let's all hope so...
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  March 18, 2011
GREAT review of the new movie "Battle: Los Angeles" by Matt Zoller Seitz at, taking the filmmakers to task...
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Something To Check Out At NAB 2011

Crane? Dolly? The FloatCam Is Both!
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  March 8, 2011
DollyCrane Demo from Andrzej Dybowski on Vimeo.It's just about time to start making a list of what I really want to...

A Day In The Life: Madison WI, 2/18/11

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  February 19, 2011
If you have been paying attention to the news at all, you might have noticed that some news is...

Maybe Facebook Is Good For Something After All

SmartSound is giving away free music tracks!
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  February 9, 2011
I'm not really a huge Facebook fan, but I can recognize a bargain when I see one. If you are on Facebook and you "like" Smartsound, they'll send you a free music track on February 15th. Hey, what can it hurt? It's not like...

And Then The Camera Spun Around And Bit Me On The Ass.

An embarrassing admission from a seasoned shooter
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  February 7, 2011
Meet the Sony HDW-790, a 2/3" high-def ENG/EFP camera that records to HDCam (read: Beta-shell) cassettes. This camera - and its two brothers - are the day-to-day field-shooting workhorses for Wisconsin Public Television, where I have worked for the last 23 years. Lately (as in the last 9 years or so) my career path has taken me a bit...
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So You Think You Have An Original Idea?

Think Again.
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  February 3, 2011
Everything is a Remix from Kirby Ferguson on Vimeo.

What $300 Buys These Days

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  January 22, 2011
OK, folks, have a look at "Lazy Teenage Superheroes," a funny, really watchable (and slightly NSFW for language) 13-minute riff on science fiction:
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Film-Office Tax Credits Scandal!

Wow, this would make a GREAT screenplay!
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  January 21, 2011
The Los Angeles Times has an interesting article about Iowa's "alleged abuses of its film tax...

The LED Camera Light Shootout...

...that I wish I had gotten to first!
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  January 5, 2011
A guy named Frank Glencairn, whom I think is in England somewhere, has gone and done what we've all thought about: A shootout between five inexpensive LED sunguns.

REVIEW: Hulu Plus

If this is the future...give me the past, thanks.
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  December 14, 2010
It's kind of hard to believe I started gushing over the Roku box over two years ago... and again...

REVIEW: Canon XF305 Camera

50 Mpbs = Pretty Pictures
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  November 16, 2010
Photo by Adam Wilt, NAB 2010It's hard to believe that twelve years have passed since I bought my first DV camcorder. My 1998 purchase? A Canon XL-1. At the time it was just about the closest thing you could buy to a professional camcorder for under $20,000. I remember my engineer-friends sniffing at the...
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Let's Clean Up That Shot - Beforehand!

...Without Actually Moving Anything
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  November 10, 2010
We've all gotten our footage back to the edit bay and found something we didn't want in the frame. Light stand, audio cable, water bottle, you name it. What if we could remove irritants from the picture BEFORE the fact - without actually moving anything? Check the next page for an amazing demo.My buddy Tom Hutchins...
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My Adobe (Non-)Switch Story

Premiere Pro Works For Me
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  November 9, 2010
I can clearly remember my first experience with Adobe Premiere. It was in the early 1990's, and I was working full-time in the News Department at Wisconsin Public Television. I had managed to talk the news director into buying me a really new-fangled device - a desktop computer. I believe it was a first-generation Pentium, maybe 90Mhz. I...

REVIEW: ProDAD Mercalli

Image Stabilization Software
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  November 3, 2010
If you have been paying attention to PVC lately, you may have read my recent article "An Aerial Adventure." If you haven't,
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How To Pick The Perfect Font

One Chart To Rule Them All
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  October 27, 2010
My buddy Mark Suszko sent along this link to a great flowchart which takes the mystery out of choosing the right typeface for you project. Me, I want a copy in poster-size! Thanks to Gizmodo, too.

An Aerial Adventure

Shooting From A... Flying Canoe?
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  October 25, 2010
The phone rings,about a month ago. It's Paul, the scheduler at Wisconsin Public TV (my "day job.")"Hey Bruce, whatcha doing on Friday October 8?""Looks like I'm available. What's up?""These folks doing a documentary on Aldo Leopold need some aerials out near LaCrosse. You want to do it?"

Roku Gets An Update

The Little Box That Gould Goes Gen 2
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  September 23, 2010
It seems inconceivable that I first recommended the Roku box over two years ago, but it is true. This is one of the times when being an early adopter has been a great experience - with...

ivi Goes For The Throat

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  September 22, 2010
Got an interesting email last week from a company called ivi. (yes, that's a lower-case "i".) Maybe you got it too. It contained a link to an application for Windows computers which allows them to receive the over-the-air broadcast signals of stations around the US. The initial list is pretty comprehensive, including network...

If Broadcast TV Is Dead, Why Do Live Shots Keep Getting Easier?

The miniCASTER Is A Cool Piece Of Kit
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  September 11, 2010
Ive been to the NAB about 13 times (including as a wide-eyed college senior in 1980) but I've never made it to the European version, the IBC in Amsterdam. It is going on right now, and as a result my Email box is stuffed full of press releases. Most of them are pretty "meh," but as a broadcaster who is used to microwave and satellite...

Somebody Hit David Byrne With The Obvious Stick.

You'd think he'd have known this by now...
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  September 8, 2010
Here's the old-guy rant:Way back in 1977 I went to a concert at Salem State College in Massachusetts (I was a sophomore at Boston University at the time) to see a pretty hot regional group called the Pousette-Dart Band. They were great,...
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AdobeCS5 and nVidia: First Impressions Part 3

It Ain't All Skittles And Beer...
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  August 22, 2010
Well, I've been editing with Adobe Premiere Pro CS5 and the nVidia Quadro CUDA video card for about six months now, and it has been an interesting ride. You can check out my starting impressions in blog posts

A Big Bargain On A Great Tool!

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  August 17, 2010
Ever heard of Pogoplug? It's a really cool tool that, once you plug some USB storage and the Internet into it, instantly becomes a secure FTP solution. And it requires little setup beyond what I described in the previous sentence. You can go to this link to...
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Sony PVM-740 OLED Monitor

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  July 9, 2010
Think of all the technological advances that are perpetually "just around the corner." Nuclear fusion energy comes to mind, as do flying cars and Cool-Whip that tastes like the real thing. I guess that list has just gotten shorter, though; I have a real, functioning Organic Light Emitting Diode video monitor in my hands! The Sony...

Color Correction Conundrum SOLVED!

Thanks to our PVC Readers!
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  June 23, 2010
Many thanks to all the PVC readers that responded to my anguished plea for color correction help! You can see the before and after results above. Not perfect, but good enough for my...

Wow, My Father's Day Present Got Here Early!

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  June 17, 2010
A Sony SRW-9000 for only $95,000? You shouldn't have! Especially since (as far as I can tell) it doesn't even come with a lens! How many of these things can Sony sell anyway?Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there, but if you really want to buy me something, a Sony EX3 would do fine, thanks. ;-)

A Color Correction Conundrum

Hey you smart guys - help a guy out? Please?
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  June 8, 2010
Hey folks, remember I mentioned that one of my first big projects with the CS5/nVidia Mercury/CUDA combo is a choral concert? Well, it is time to cut that puppy. I recorded the concert with 3 Canon HDV cameras, which look great, and my brand-spankin'-new GoPro Hero HD camera. Problem is, I didn't have time to white balance the GoPro...
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Nature Photography Gone Wild!

Hummingbirds you can reach out and touch, almost.
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  June 8, 2010
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AdobeCS5 and nVidia: First Impressions Part 2.1

One Mystery SOLVED!
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  June 3, 2010
If you have been following my ongoing Adobe CS5/nVidia shakedown cruise (here's Part 1, and
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Adobe CS5 and nVidia: First Impressions Part 2

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  June 1, 2010
Sorry about dropping from sight for the last couple of weeks, but when the day-job calls, it calls with a vengeance. I also apologize for the lack of photos, but I just didn't think to do screengrabs at all the right times. Bad editor! No doughnut!As I was saying...Once I got the nVidia Quadro 4800...

Adobe CS5 and nVidia: First Impressions

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  May 19, 2010
I guess once you break the big rules, you get used to it. You may remember my mini-series from last January, when I replaced a several-year-old Dell...
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Citidisk CFR Flash Recorder

They Are On The Flash Memory Bandwagon...and More
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 14, 2010
I've reviewed a lot of non-tape recording "solutions" in the past - some good, some lame. It's good to see Citidisk moving ahead in this space. The Citidisk CFR is a 6-ounce flash memory recorder. Using UDMA flash memory, it can record in the DV, DV50, HDV and DV100 codecs for five hours on...
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Is It Too Dark Inside Your Gear Case?

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 14, 2010
Yeah, I know - any professional in this business never goes anywhere without a flashlight. Sometimes I slip. So shoot me. But luckily, Porta-Brace has come up with a solution. Those are electro-luminescent strips in that bag, each powered by a single AA battery. For it's size (and being in a garishly-lit...
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A Fresnel Lens On An LED Light?

You Want To Know What Litepanels Is Thinking
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 14, 2010
You can't swing a dead cat here at NAB without hitting LED lighting. What was an emerging trend last year is a full-fledged phenomenon this year. But 99% of the lights have one thing in common: They are open-faced - unless you are visiting the Litepanels booth. What you are looking at is the prototype of...
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How Fast Do You Want To Drive your Camera?

Filmotechnic Suggests You Keep It Under 60 MPH
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 14, 2010
I've seen car camera mounts before, but this one is a whole new breed of cat.At the day job we have an ancient car camera mount. It's three big, suction cups with bars that connect them, and a bowl in the middle to hold a tripod head. While it looks pretty beefy, I've never felt very comfortable going more than 20 MPH...

NAB2010: The CEO Of the NAB Speaks

Gordon Smith Lays Down The Law
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 13, 2010
As a broadcaster, I'm always interested in what the NAB has up it's sleeve. And when someone throws a big party for you, it's just common courtesy to liosten to what they have to say.New NAB president Gordon Smith gave his first keynote address this morning, and he came out swinging against the forces that would diminish...
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NAB2010: GoPro Goes Nuts

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 13, 2010
The picture up there is the GoPro Hero: a waterproof, dustproof, armored full-HD video camera. That one is mounted on the nose of a surfboard, and let me tell you, the footage they showed of surfing, dirtbiking, auto racing, skiing and more is beautiful. And pretty effective, too -
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NAB2010: The Edit Monitor Of My Dreams

Bigger IS better...right?
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 13, 2010
If you are like me, you can never have too much desktop to edit on. My problem is that I just can't stand the bezels interrupting the free flow of image from one monitor to the next in multi-monitor setups. I found a solution to this problem while I browsed through the B&H Photo/Video stand at NAB2010 - the Ostendo CDM43. It's a...
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Look What I Found In The MGM Grand Monorail Station

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 13, 2010
I hear vending machines like this are everywhere in Japan, but are really rare here in the States. So if you find yourself in Las Vegas with a sudden need for an iPod, some headphones or a USB memory key and all the other stores are closed, Best Buy Express to the rescue! Amazing.
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NAB2010: The Story Of The Number "3" And The Letter "D"

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 12, 2010
I would have posted this last night, before NAB2010 actually started, but I refuse to pay the extortionate $13/day that hotels here think is their God-given right to collect for the same (or worse) Internet access that is free virtually anywhere else.In making the rounds of the Panasonic and Sony press conferences on Sunday, I was...

Canon Rips It Wide Open Again...

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 7, 2010
Got a press release from Canon USA this morning announcing what seem to be the replacements for the XH-G1 cameras. Two new camcorders, named the XF305 and XF300, will be shown at the NAB convention.Boasting list prices in the sub-$7000 8000 (ooops) range, the XF305 and XF300 push technology forward. First...

Rolling Shutter: The Shutter Of The DAMNED!

These shots might make you look at your DSLR a little differently...
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 6, 2010
I don't (yet) own a DSLR or a CMOS-based video camera, so to me rolling shutter controversy has been an abstraction at best. I was aware that many people (Anthony Burokas, particularly) often pointed out the

What Do You Love More...

Your TV Or Your Smartphone?
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  March 24, 2010
It isn't much of a secret that I work in broadcast television. I think I'm unique among the writers at PVC in that. So I pay a lot of attention to the Federal Communications Commission and whatever they are up to at any particular time.You have probably heard a bit about the FCC's new idea to expand broadband Internet...

Canon EOS 5D Mark II Software Update Announcement!

Look what landed in my inbox.
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  March 2, 2010
While I haven't made the leap to SLR-video shooting, I know a lot of you have, and the Canon EOS 5D Mark II is the tool of choice for many. However, I have read of complaints of 30FPS instead of 29.97and no 24P modes, among others. Well, it looks like your wishes will be granted, with a FREE firmware upgrade (did I mention it's FREE?)

Panasonic Toughbook for $349???

If you need a truly TOUGH notebook, here it is!
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  February 20, 2010
Yeah, it ain't the latest and greatest, and will need a RAM upgrade right out of the box, but if you need a really TOUGH laptop (and I'm looking at YOU, field teleprompter operators)

Are You A Wireless Outlaw?

Here's Where You Find Out
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  February 18, 2010
A side-effect of the Digital Television Transition (remember that?) comes home to roost on June 12, 2010. That's the day that wireless microphone systems you own might be ILLEGAL to operate, as decreed by the FCC. They insist it is time to scrap any wireless that operates in the 700 megahertz band."But Bruce," I hear you...
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Intriguing Mac Rumor...

Apple Lays Off 40 From FCP Group?
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  February 18, 2010
I'm no Mac guy, but I have admired Final Cut Pro from a distance for many years now. I was always under the impression that ProApps was a main leg of the Mac stool, but as others have pointed out, there's been no DVD Studio Pro update in a long while.
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Breaking The First Rule Of Non-Linear Editing, Part Two

It just gets weirder and weirder.
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  January 30, 2010
Our story so far: Our intrepid editor and geek just spent about $7000 on a new editing computer. To try and save money, he bought the HP Z800 without a DVD drive or video card. When he finally tries to install the BluRay burner...)"bump."Whaaaat? The drive can't...
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Breaking The First Rule Of Non-Linear Editing, Part One

Update? Are you nuts?
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  January 28, 2010
When last we spoke, I had announced my intention to break The First Rule Of Editing - to actually upgrade my editor in the middle of several ongoing productions. My reasons were threefold:* Against all odds, I had the money;* My 4-year-old dual-Pentium Dell XPS600, which had been rock-steady, had suddenly become...
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Happy New Year, or...

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  January 4, 2010
We all love "first rule" stories, don't we? While only slightly less cliche' than "Top Ten" lists, there is usually a seed of truth to be learned in the "first rule>"To wit, here is my "First Rule Of Non-Linear Editing:"Never, NEVER, NEVER update your editor in the middle of a project!Of course, the...
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Time Just Slipped Ahead A Bit

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  November 25, 2009
It was over a year ago when I reviewed the Roku Netflix player. A few months later, Roku added access to the Amazon streaming-rental service, and in the middle of last summer Major League Baseball showed up...

"Paranormal Activity" - The Little Indie That Did

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  November 4, 2009
This week's paper edition of Entertainment Weekly has a cover story on the production of Paranormal Activity (the article doesn't seem to be available online yet.) This is the $11,000 indie horror film that has, at last count, grossed over $84,000,000 - Eighty-four MILLION dollars. Talk about catching lightning in a bottle. ...

And you thought YOU had your hands full...

...check THIS guy out.
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  August 30, 2009

Focus Enhancements FSH-200 Solid State DTE Recorder

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  August 12, 2009
Isn't tape dead yet? The tenacity of the recording medium that first recorded video in the mid-1950's is pretty impressive, especially lately. Almost a dozen hard-drive and solid-state recording devices have come to life since the turn of the century. The assets these formats bring to the table are formidable - most have no or many...

Monsterpod: Stick Your (small) Camera Almost Anywhere

...and get it back in one piece
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  August 8, 2009
I love gadgets, especially useful ones. That love is doubled when the device is reasonably priced. And gadgets that are useful, reasonably priced and related to video put me over the top. So you can imagine my interest when a fellow member of a video discussion list turned me on to the MonsterPod, which fills all three categories...
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Runaway Production and California: More Tax Incentives

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  July 29, 2009
This interesting blog post by Debra Kaufman over at StudioDaily dovetails nicely into what we were discussing here just a few weeks ago: How much is it worth to have film and television production in your...
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A Little More Space On The Shoe

Actually, a LOT more space.
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  July 9, 2009
Whenever I review hard-disk video recorders (and I do a LOT of those reviews) my first two questions always are:How do you power it?andHow do you mount it?I remember one review of a unit that was essentially functionally useless, but had a new feature: A shoe-mount, so it could ride on...
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Film Tax Credits: Worth The Money?

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  July 8, 2009
As a state employee (my day job is with Wisconsin Public Television) I pay fairly close attention to the biennial Wisconsin state budget. Aside from the parts that directly affect me (I'm getting 16 unpaid furlough days in the next 2 years, as are all state employees), there are usually other items of interest. Two years ago Wisconsin...

Avid: Editor or Database?

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  June 19, 2009
I'll admit it, as I have before: I'm not an Avid guy. Of course, that doesn't stop my employer from being an Avid house. We are currently installing an Interplay system, which centralizes...
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Tomorrow Is The Day

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  June 11, 2009
I'm sure all the PVC faithful have gotten pretty tired of my rants about digital TV and how it will warp your mind, curve your spine and lost the war for the Allies. Well, good for you folks, because tomorrow - June 12 - is the day.Of course, there are a lot of people still worried about the end of analog TV.
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Hey Editors! Did You Know You Are Making Six Figures?

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  June 2, 2009
This article from Forbes offers up the surprising (to me, at least) fact that film and video editors are part of that rare strata of American workers that makes........drum roll,...

Solid State Recording For The Masses!

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  June 2, 2009
Y'know, I'm getting very quickly sold on using flash memory for a recording medium. My experiences testing the Sony EX-1 and EX-3 cameras have really made me a believer. Problem is, I already have a raft of cameras (Canon XL-series, mostly) that I still love and still make great pictures. And in the current economy, pouring over $12K...

Live From NAB: The SkyDolly

Aerial Coverage With A Human Scale
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 23, 2009
Another aerial-themed post: As Jim Feeley and I walked past the Silicon Imaging booth, I couldn't miss the 3-foot fan mounted to the back of what looked like a race car seat. Upon further inspection, it turns out that this is the cockpit for a powered parachute operated by Norm Bercerra, founder of SkyDolly. Basically,...
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Live From NAB: A Video Helicopter For $300?

No, That Isn't A Misprint
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 23, 2009

Live from NAB: The Numbers Are In

And They Are Down
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 23, 2009
According to an NAB mailing entitled "Organizers deem NAB Show a success despite tough economy"....FTA: "Attendance for this year's NAB Show in Las Vegas is 83,842 compared the roughly roughly 104,000 for the 2008 edition. But organizers called the event a "phenomenal success" given the down state of the...

Live From NAB: I Get To See The Inflatable Camera Bag!

...Or At Least The Prototype
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 22, 2009
The Bag The ValveRegular readers might remember this post a few weeks back about Kata announcing an inflatable camera bag, to protect your...

If You Are In the Las Vegas Convention Center And Hungry...

...Eat Here!
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 22, 2009
If you eat in the LVCC, you are going to pay thru the nose. That's just the way it is. Better to spend your dough on some decent, Kosher deli, right? Uncle Joel and Darryl's New York Deli is located near the back end of the Central Hall. I paid about $14 for a enormous Reuben, potato salad, a pickle and a drink. Not free, to be...

Live From NAB: The EX3 Gets A Shoulder Mount...

...And It's About Time!
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 22, 2009
Closed... Open!For all of the nice things that can be said about Sony's PMW-EX3 camcorder, one of the primary gripes I hear is about is the form factor. Shooters that are used to a camera that sits on their shoulder can have a very hard time adapting to the Canon XL-esque...

Live From NAB: Get A Handle On Your Camera

Ugrip Customizes Your Camera To You
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 22, 2009
There aren't too many cameras out there that make everyone happy right out of the box. Sometimes you have to adjust things to make the camera feel like it is "your own." A Danish company called Ugrip has come up with a very cool system of plates and handles for just about every camera in use today. Once installed, the systems allow...

Live from NAB: Get That Car Shot...

...Without Losing The Camera
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 22, 2009
There are few contemporary movies where at least some of the action doesn't take place in a car. Of course, when Hollywood does it, they do it big, by mounting the car on a trailer and allowing cameramen, gaffers and such to rig the cameras, lights and such to hardpoints on the trailer. Unfortunately, most of us aren't in that...

Live From NAB: More EX3 Alternative Media Choices!

Hoodman Gets On Board
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 21, 2009
Previously best known for those fabric hoods that NFL instant-replay referees stick their heads into (or shelter LCD monitors in bright light,) the folks at HoodmanUSA have jumped into the SxS-alternative-media business with both feet. Their "RAW" SDHC memory cards and "SxSxSDHC" adapter card feature something a roll-your-own solution...

Live From NAB: When Is A Monitor More Than A Monitor?

When It Has Zoom, Focus And Roll Controls On It
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 21, 2009
While it is fun to gawk at all the "big iron" at an NAB show, I usually find the coolest stuff at the smaller booths. Accessory maker Ikan is showing a wide range of gear, and the thing that caught my eye first was an LCD monitor that, in addition to providing great pictures and audio, will work with the LANC connector on Sony and...

Live From NAB: EX3 Wide Angle Lens, And More!

You Meet The Nicest People In Las Vegas
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 21, 2009
If you have been following my ramblings of late, you have likely come to the belief that I like the Sony PMW-EX3 camera. And you'd be right - I like it a lot. It's reasonably compact, it takes great pictures, the 1/2" imagers give back a large part of the depth-of-field that 1/3" chips took away, and to put the cherry on the sundae,...

Live From NAB: The Xtender!

I TOLD you to get that sungun off that camera!
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 21, 2009
Here's a hint: NAB 2009 is The Year Of The LED Light. There are over a dozen different manufacturers here (and in the next few days I'll tell you a bit about a whole bunch of them.) But the problem with almost all of them is that they either screw to the top of your camera or slide into the shoe - and both of those places are...

Live From NAB: The Oddest Trend This Year

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 21, 2009
You can't swing a dead audio guy here at NAB 2009 without hitting a camera with a matte box. Doesn't matter how big or small it is - Red, Sony, Ikegami, Canon, Panasonic, JVC - everyone has GOT to have a matte box. Funny thing is - almost to a one - they are all empty.I bet they would work better with filters in...

Live From NAB: An LCD Monitor You Can Actually See Outdoors

Yeah, I Couldn't Believe It Either
Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 21, 2009
Anyone that has tried to view an LCD monitor in direct sunlight knows that just can't be done, right? Well, get ready to change your tune. While wandering in a sun-blinded haze, I almost tripped over the C-stand holding the Nebtek NEB100HDS LCD Onboard Camera Monitor. Once my eyes adjusted, I could barely believe what I was looking...

An Inflatable Camera Bag? It's About Time.

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 7, 2009
I was doing a shoot at an airport last week when I was swept with waves of nostalgia. I remember way back in the 1990's, when I was traveling by airplane on assignments frequently. Of course, it would have been suicide to bag-check a Betacam in anything less sturdy than an ATA-approved plastic cube, so to save all that bulk on the far...
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Maybe There's Some Life In The Old Girl Yet

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  March 27, 2009
I never thought I'd write this sentence, but there is an interesting article in USA Today. It describes a Neilsen-funded study to determine how Americans consume media. We all know that TV is dead and Web...
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Throw Out Your HDTVs, v2: Attack Of The 3-D Content!

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  March 25, 2009
HDTV penetration in the US hasn't even got close to the 50% point yet, and already the consumer electronics manufacturers are trying to replace your TV set - AGAIN.This article from Broadcast Engineering Magazine is entitled:

Are You A Trackball Editor?

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  March 20, 2009
It used to be that trackballs were everywhere, but now Kensington seems to be alone in producing them. I'd much rather use a trackball than a mouse in editing. If you would as well, Amazon is having a big sale on Kensington trackballs. Go here:
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Does Reality Belong In A Script?

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  March 16, 2009
Several months back, I reviewed the Roku Netflix Player here on PVC. Well, the name needs to be changed, because just last week the entire contents of the Amazon Video-On-Demand...

GM Pulls The Plug On Ken Burns

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  March 11, 2009
With the tanking of the US auto industry, pullbacks on advertising and charitable giving had to be in the works. First it was Tiger Woods and Buick parting ways; now we have the announcement that GM, the primary sponsor of Ken...
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And You ThinkYOU Are An After Effects Hotshot...

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  March 11, 2009
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Information IS Power...

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  March 5, 2009
I know this is a fairly off-topic post, but it is an amazing story nonetheless, and a stunning example of how having information-on-demand can level a playing field.Last week my family and I spent several days skiing in Steamboat Springs, Colorado (believe me, this was booked and paid for long before the current economic collapse. ...
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9 Hours On The Front Line Of The DTV Transition

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  February 25, 2009
Will you remember where you were on February 19, 2009? I will - although the final event was watered-down and has yet to actually happen, that is the day that analog TV broadcasting was to cease in the United States. In an attempt to lessen the impact on Wisconsinites, Wisconsin Public Television (my day-job) set up a phone bank for viewers...

More Storage Goodness From Vantec!

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  February 25, 2009
Way back when in October 2008, I gushed about the Vantec external eSATA/USB2 drive dock. Well, if one bay in the dock is good, I suppose two bays are,...

So Analog TV Has Gone Away...

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  February 18, 2009
Today is February 18, 2009, the day after roughly half of the US analog TV transmitters were shut off for the last time. While I didn't see any of it happen with my own two eyes, all of the Madison stations that pulled the plug (The Fox affiliate and Wisconsin Public TV are staying on in analog for now) did it with some fanfare, with...

Muzak Files For Bankruptcy

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  February 11, 2009
I'm sure none of us root for people to lose their jobs, but in this case, I'm conflicted:Muzak has filed for bankruptcy.FTA:Closely held Muzak supplies more than 2...

Who's Watching Hulu?

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  February 11, 2009
Interesting news from the Wall Street Journal, via the NAB Newsbrief:Confounding experts that predicted floods of young adults would abandon TV for websites like, it appears that... (FTA)When the...
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DTV Transition: It Couldn't Get Worse Than This!

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  February 6, 2009
Hoo doggies, not even I could have predicted this one! I have been preaching doom for the digital TV transition since 2001 (Hey!! Wanna put your archives back online? A grateful nation would thank you...) but although a delay in the February 17, 2009 deadline was a pretty easy call, I totally...
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Get Your Finger Off That Dissolve Button!

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  February 2, 2009
I can barely watch television anymore. Seriously. It seems that no one knows how to edit anymore, and the culprit in this demise is the non-linear editor. Allow me to explain.About 20 years ago, I went to Los Angeles to visit a friend that had landed a producing job at KNBC. During my tour of the station, my friend towed me...

Build A Lumberyard Lighting Kit

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  February 1, 2009
It's my belief that the most under-rated skill in video production is lighting. If you know what you are doing, even an inexpensive camera can make impressive pictures (and of course, the reverse is also true - if you don't know what you are up to, even a great camera can look terrible.) If you snoop around at sites like B&H Photo and...
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Oooh, I Got Trouble. Drive Trouble.

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  January 20, 2009
I love a bargain. That's one of the reasons I take emails from TigerDirect. Not everything Carl Fiorentino and his troops come up with is great, but often you can find real gems. And so I thought when I saw a Seagate Barracuda 1.5Tb hard drive on sale for $140. In the...

Take A Deep Breath

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  January 14, 2009
President-Elect Barack Obama has nominated an old Harvard classmate to be the new chairman of the FCC. Julius Genachowski has a pretty deep background in the Internet, as this biography on Wikipedia points out. He is...

Sony EX1 Alternative Recording Media UPDATE!

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  January 3, 2009
If you have been following the saga of alternative recording media for the Sony EX1 and EX3 XDCam EX cameras, you'll recall that the main problem with using the Kensington ExpressCard 34 adapter is that when loaded into the EX1, the media door can not close. (The EX3 has no door problem with the Kensington card.) Well,

Who Wants To Own A TV Station?

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  January 3, 2009
How many mail-lists are you on? I receive about a dozen, some daily, some less so. One I read everyday is published by the National Association of Broadcasters (that's the "NAB" in "NAB Show," every video geek's must-visit toystore. It's in Las Vegas in April....

I Interviewed Santa Today!

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  December 19, 2008
I'm kind of a "utility infielder" at Wisconsin Public Television. I've been there 21 years now, and for the first 14 I was a full-time videographer and editor. About seven years ago I was tapped to join what is called the Digital Innovations Unit, mostly because I know about computers and such, but I still shoot and edit fairly often....
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Cognitive Dissonance and the One-Man Band

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  December 14, 2008
You ever have one of those weeks where the front part just doesn't match up with the back part? I did, just last week.For months in advance, Monday December 8 had been block-booked for all shooters, audio people, producers and production types at Wisconsin Public Television, to make it possible for them to attend a seminar...

An EX-3 Review In Process, Part 2

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  December 11, 2008
In the previous post of this series, I was introducing the Sony EX-3 to the Wisconsin Public Television community, and pointing out some of the potential advantages the SxS-media-driven workflow...

Did Jay Leno Just Take Your Job?

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  December 9, 2008
You may have heard the news that Jay Leno will not be leaving NBC once his contract runs out in 2009. Instead, he will essentially lift up "The Tonight Show" and move it from the 11:30P Eastern and Pacific/10:30PM Central time slot and drop anchor at 10PM E/P - 9P Central. That's right, a five-night-a-week entertainment talk show...

An EX-3 Review In Process

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  December 6, 2008
I've already made it clear that I am a Sony EX1/EX3 fan. I think Sony may have hit the sweet spot that makes solid-state recording a usable technology for broadcasters, in conjunction with XDCam disc recording for archive and backups.However, steering an entire broadcast station to a conclusion like that is a much harder...
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The Golden Triangle Of video Production

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  November 29, 2008
I love short, pithy sayings. I love them even more if they happen to be true. I learned this one early on in my career, and it is iron-clad, inviolate and forever correct. And it goes a little something like this:"Good, Fast Or Cheap - Pick Any Two."There is a ton of truth there. Think about it - if a client...
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The Greatest Business Advice I Ever Ignored

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  November 23, 2008
While it is true that I am not a full-time freelancer - that is to say, I have a day job, and I use freelance work to augment my salary - it is still true that the cratering economy affects me, and even more all my friends that ARE full-time freelancers. And while my day-job is at a statewide public television network, I actually got my start...

Confession: I Don't Get The RED.

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  November 16, 2008
OK, so here is where I shoot myself in the head, but I just don't get the clamor around the RED cameras. Yes, I can appreciate their fabulously advanced technology. Yes, I admire their clever naming schema (whoever came up with the "Mysterium" sensor should get a big raise.) And the accountant that invented "$17K to start...$50k to...
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The 5 S's Of Scinematography

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  November 12, 2008
Anyone that has gone to school for film or video production should be aware of a book entitled "The 5 C's Of Cinematography," by Joseph V. Mascelli . It is a timeless classic, jammed full of essential knowledge for anyone that wants to be a shooter, editor or director. It also has one of the catchiest titles ever bestowed on a textbook, which...
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Any News on November 4th?

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  November 5, 2008
Wow, that Kevin Martin never ceases to amaze. First he becomes the first Republican populist. Now he has stood up to the National Association of Broadcasters - along with the...
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REVIEW: Adventures In Anycasting

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  November 2, 2008
It really wasn't all that long ago that multicamera field production required a 50-foot truck, a dozen people, and lots of electricity, patience and aspirin. I've worked on field productions for over 25 years now, and it's always amazed me that while the gear gets smaller, lighter and better, the truck gear seems...
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Everybody Got Your HDTVs? Good. Now Throw Them Out.

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  October 22, 2008
This article from TV Technology mentions (in the lower grafs) research done by Samsung on creating salable quad-definition - that is, 2160p - sets for home users. Sweet Mother Of Mercy, can't we just settle? Apparently not, at least not when there...

This Makes the Sony EX1 and EX3 No-Brainers

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  October 16, 2008
If you have read Adam Wilt's review of the Sony EX-3 camera, you know how impressed he is with it. I have had a similar opportunity to review...

REVIEW: Vantec NST-D100SU NexStar Hard Drive Dock

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  October 10, 2008
It used to be that segregating project assets was a real pain. Sure, some of us (and you know who you are!) would install removable hard drive cases, but confess: Most of us never went to the trouble. As a result, one hard drive (or several) would become a morass of media, project files, graphics, and all the assorted detritus that...

LIVE from Iowa!!

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  October 6, 2008
I'll be spending the week in lovely Des Moines, Iowa, presenting at and participating in the Iowa Digital Television Symposium, put on by my great friends at Iowa Public Television. You can see the schedule of presentations...
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Have You Got Your Analog Nightlight Yet?

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  October 5, 2008
Here's an article from Broadcasting & Cable Magazine on the newest accessory in the world of digital television: the "analog nightlight."OK, it's not really a little light you plug into the wall. It is...

The (Considerable) Downside To "Citizen Journalism"

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  October 3, 2008
This article from Advertising Age describes a slight downside to the trend of "citizen journalism." (And if you follow the link, there is a picture that, if you click on it, is pretty NSFW.) It seems that since the release of the...

4-Pin Firewire: What Were They Thinking?

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  October 3, 2008
I'm a calm man. I really am, ask anybody. I never get worked up about anything. But once in a while, annoyances mount to the point where even Mr. Frosty can get a little miffed.I saw my first Firewire connectors about ten years ago, when I bought a Canon XL1. The tiny size of the 4-pin connector amazed me - how could...

It Had To Happen

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  September 23, 2008
I've made a bit of a cottage industry out of criticizing the Digital TV transition over the last eight years. I still hold my core beliefs - that the transition was unnecessary, poorly engineered, and largely a welfare program for equipment companies and TV set sellers. But the biggest problem in my eyes is that the ATSC standard is...

Any White Wall - A Movie Palace!

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  September 16, 2008
Here's a link to a Popular Science blurb on the debut of the 3M Mpro110 Pocket Projector. I saw this demonstrated at CES 2008, and it's undeniably cool, if a little light in the...

REVIEW: Roku Netflix Player

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  September 13, 2008
It's a pretty rare mailbox that never sees those iconic red Netflix envelopes. The little mail-order that could reshaped the face of video rentals seemingly overnight. But slick as it is, you still have to do something that is anathema to many people these days - you have to wait. Now there seems to be a bit of an answer to that, and...

A Salute To America's History Teacher

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  September 1, 2008
I'm using this holiday weekend to do some movie-watching catch-up (even with astoundingly nice weather). Last night it was time to load up "Charlie Wilson's War," produced by and starring the man I've come to call America's History Teacher: Tom Hanks.Just go to
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Isn't Photography A First Amendment Right?

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  August 28, 2008
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Maybe They Should Have Called The Cops First

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  August 25, 2008
It's said that the best lessons are the hardest learned, and this lesson is a doozy.It seems that some indie filmmakers were shooting a robbery scene in a convenience store in North Andover, Massachusetts, when they...

Will The Real Kevin Martin Please Stand Up?

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  August 21, 2008
Does it seem strange that the same guy that let XM and Sirius Satellite Radio merge - creating a de facto monopoly - is now trying to single-handedly create nationwide wireless broadband? Rings strange to me.USA Today...
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If the NY Times Says So, It Must Be Official...

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  August 21, 2008
Pardon me if I channel Dan Rather at his worst, but: put the cat out, Martha, roll up the streets and poke the fire.
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Broadcasting Dead? Yeah. Right.

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  August 19, 2008
Every time I hear people saying "broadcast television is dead!", I like to think of weeks like this. Weeks when tens of millions of viewers all tune in to one event at the same time.

The Job I Want At The Olympics

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  August 13, 2008
In case you haven't heard, there is this little event going on over in China right's called the Olympics.

REVIEW: Petrol PMLCB-2 Production Backpack

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  July 23, 2008
Flying with equipment in the 1980's was a piece of cake. We used to pull up to the curb at the airport with eleven cases of gear, and when the skycaps came running we'd give $50 to the man in charge and say, "Make sure it gets on the plane." And it always did.I'm sure you are aware that several things have...
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"John Adams" and the Power of Words

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  July 10, 2008
Forgive me for more jabberings about the excellent HBO series "John Adams," but I recently bought the 3-DVD set. And what a set it is!I remember back about 10 years when the hottest thing in PC gaming was the first-person shooter "Doom." For it's time, it was the most immersive experience you could have on a computer. ...

REVIEW: proDad Vitascene

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  June 29, 2008
While I tend to be a pretty conservative editor, the time comes for all of us when we need some flashy effects to grab a viewer. Light blasts, aggressive color effects, blur transitions and the like can be powerful tools when used in the right places. Problem is, few editing applications come with these effects pre-programmed, and the...
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What Does Your Future Hold?

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  June 21, 2008
I really like reading Chris & Trish Meyer's stuff. I certainly wish I had a list of credits as long as theirs. And they are nice folks to boot. But in my humble opinion, Chris' post on this page, entitled "A Retro View Of The...
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Now I Know The RED Is For Real!

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  June 17, 2008
Skeptics begone! Naysayers away! The RED ONE has been adopted by a major studio! And that studio is...Digital Playground."Digital Who?", you ask?
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The Best Headline I've Seen All Day

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  June 13, 2008
OK, what do you imagine when you read this headline?LifeSize HD video systems turns any room into a telepresence roomFirst thing in my head: The Holodeck from Star Trek; The Next Generation, right? The truth is a tad less grandiose - it's video conferencing, in what the news release calls "HD"....
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Just Another Day...

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  June 11, 2008
It started out as just another day. I was at my desk, fixing some broken links on a DVD I'm authoring. Then, the phone rang.The voice on the other end was one of our reporters, asking if I was available to do a shoot that afternoon sometime. Really, I wasn't - it's been pretty busy lately. "Haven't you...
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How Do You Watch Your TV?

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  May 28, 2008
An interesting article from shows that in the US, LCD flat-screens are selling at a rate that buries the competition by an eight-to-one ratio.But the really interesting info is near...
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Your NLE: The most personal choice you can make?

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  May 11, 2008
I confess: I'm a freak. An outcast. A hard case. Why? Because I use the wrong NLE. What's the wrong NLE, you ask? Well, obviously, it is the one all the other guys aren't using. Or, in a worst-case situation, the one your employer is using.Full confession: I just can't cut on an Avid. The...

NAB: The Most Intriguing Rumor

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 29, 2008
Archiving - now that's cocktail-party conversation! But something may be on the horizon that could make it sexy.In one of those little conversations you have on the floor at NAB, a knowledgeable person (who, of course, must remain anonymous) opined that 32 gigabyte SD cards will not only be available in...
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NAB: Other Stuff

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 29, 2008
I've spent the last week digesting everything I saw at this year's NAB show, from products great, like full-tilt video production trailers, to small, like AVCHD camcorders that record to SD flash memory. But one of the truly remarkable products I saw isn't even specifically a video product - it's a utility lifesaver. At...
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NAB: The Most Amazing Demo

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 18, 2008
If you have HBO, you should be watching the amazing miniseries "John Adams." It's wonderful to see important American history re-created in such a dynamic manner. And, as with so much in life, what you see is only about 10% of the story.It was Monday, the first day the NAB floor was open, and I had only covered the...
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NAB: Some Things You Just Have To Wait For

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 18, 2008
Last year at NAB there were two products that I felt could really change the biz - but sadly, neither actually came out last year. Apparently, that's changed.One device is quite expensive and one is really inexpensive, but both have the potential to change their respective niches.On the spendy side, I...
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Things to know about NAB

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 16, 2008
First thing to know about NAB: Las Vegas is probably one of the last cities in the world where you can routinely expect to pay exorbitant money for Internet service in your hotel room. However, at McCarran Airport, wifi is free. That probably explains why I'm posting this now, as I wait to board my flight home.Next...
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Holy $***!

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  April 2, 2008
Swearing: It's something we all do. OK, not all of us, but a hell of a lot of us (oops, I apologize if the "hell" in the last sentence offends. I'll try to do better, dammit.)The Federal Communications Commission decided over 30 years ago that we are not allowed to swear on the broadcast airwaves, in the "Seven Dirty...
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Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  March 28, 2008
Word today from Broadcasting & Cable magazine that Microtune, a manufacturer of digital TV tuner components, has been sampling the competitor's wares and finding them lacking.From the article:
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Science is EVIL!

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  March 25, 2008
It was only about ten years ago when a stunning announcement came from the west end of the campus of the University of Wisconsin: In the wake of the cloning of Dolly the Sheep, UW scientists had successfully created a cloned cow egg. Well, it was a no-brainer that we at Wisconsin Public Television would go all the way across campus to cover...

In Michiana, The Future Arrived Today.

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  March 21, 2008
It's funny how after a vacation, all kinds of things seem to happen at once. I was taking a short week of skiing with my family in the north end of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan (where they still have great snow, BTW) and was trapped in a condo at night...with only dialup Net access. What is this, Siberia? In any event, I let a lot...
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The Passing Of A Local Legend

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  March 3, 2008
I'm not a very sentimental guy, usually. The trajectory of people's lives is fairly common - we get born, we live, we pass away. It's what we fill the middle part up with that matters.This won't be a very long post, just a few links to the obituary of Walter Windsor, the general manager of WFTV at the time I got my...
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The Best Five Bucks You'll Ever Spend

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  March 2, 2008
Greetings from sunny Florida. The family has run away from the 90+" of snow in Madison for a mini-family reunion this weekend. Of course, it can't be a family reunion without some kind of weapon of mass distraction......and this time it's marshmallow guns. How to make them isn't important (although if you email me I'll...
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Funny, It Wasn't Just Me.

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  February 27, 2008
So I'm sitting around the house Sunday night after a nice day of skiing with the family, and the Oscars are on. I'm kinda listening with one ear, peek in once in a while, but after about twenty minutes I just turned the set off. Didn't miss it much, either, and for me that's odd, because I used to go to Oscar parties pretty regularly with my...
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Of Mad Monks And High School Rock Bands

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  February 23, 2008
It's really easy to fall into the mindset that "TV production is TV production." Hey, I've been doing this for 25 years now, and I make that mistake all the time. But it really couldn't be farther from the truth.After college, I got my start at an ABC affiliate in Orlando, FL, as the lowest-of-the-low: a studio crew...
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Is PBS Still Necessary?

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  February 18, 2008
It is a ritual almost as clockwork as Jimmy The Groundhog or George W. Bush trying to de-fund PBS - questions as to whether PBS itself is still necessary. The latest one comes in this article from this week's...
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HD-DVD: Hang The Crepe

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  February 14, 2008
I went to CES 2008 last month in part to get a sense of what was happening in the BluRay-vs-HD-DVD war. Of course, I wasn't even in Vegas by the time Warner Brothers announced that they were joining the BluRay camp, leaving only two out of seven studios - Paramount and Universal - exclusively HD-DVD. Well, it might be time for those two to...
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6 Million US Citizens With No TV. Is This A Big Thing?

Written by Bruce A Johnson  |  February 11, 2008
According to a study cited in the Boston Globe, around six million Americans stand to lose all access to television next February. These people are what I like to call "antenna people,"...