Bruce A Johnson – ProVideo Coalition https://www.provideocoalition.com A Moviola Company Sat, 27 May 2017 01:56:57 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.5 https://cdn.provideocoalition.com/app/uploads/cropped-Moviola-Favicon-2016-32x32.png Bruce A Johnson – ProVideo Coalition https://www.provideocoalition.com 32 32 REVIEW: Sony MCX500 Portable Video Switcher and RM-30BP Remote Commander https://www.provideocoalition.com/review-sony-mcx500-portable-video-switcher-rm-30bp-remote-commander/ https://www.provideocoalition.com/review-sony-mcx500-portable-video-switcher-rm-30bp-remote-commander/#respond Wed, 24 May 2017 04:05:43 +0000 https://www.provideocoalition.com/?p=53551 It has been interesting to watch the recent upswing in multi-camera remote micro-production.  For quite a while, video cameras kept getting more capable and less expensive, but the price and complexity of gear to do multi-cam switching and recording stayed stubbornly high.  I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the Newtek Tricaster here, which

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It has been interesting to watch the recent upswing in multi-camera remote micro-production.  For quite a while, video cameras kept getting more capable and less expensive, but the price and complexity of gear to do multi-cam switching and recording stayed stubbornly high.  I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the Newtek Tricaster here, which was the true pioneer in this space, but Newtek was soon followed by other manufacturers. The name that comes to mind next for me is Sony, since from 2008 to early this year I used their Anycast Station and Anycast Touch switchers to record almost 1,300 programs for Wisconsin Public Television.  While hardly as full-featured as a true studio switcher, both Anycasts included the most important parts to make small remote production do-able, if not exactly deluxe.

 

Sony MCX500 Switcher

Moore’s Law seems to have caught up to video switchers as it has on all other electronics.  Good capability doesn’t need a large package anymore, and Exhibit #1 on this score is the Sony MCX500 Multi-Camera Live Producer.  Measuring a scant 15”x 9”x 2” thick, the MCX500 is a piece of gear that can sit on just about any tiny desk – or even a lap if necessary (although not recommended.)

 

 

 

Sony MCX500 Back PanelSony MCX500 Right RearSony MCX500 Left Rear

 

 

 

 

 

The MCX500 features four inputs, which can take a mix of HD-SDI (all four inputs), HDMI (two inputs) and composite video (two inputs.) A VGA connector allows you to feed graphics into the MCX500 from a separate computer. The five-channel audio mixer is fed by two combo XLR/TRS jacks or from embedded audio in the digital video streams.  Outputs are available as HD-SDI or HDMI, with another HDMI jack feeding a monitor as a multi-viewer.  There is even a composite video out (if you can find a way to use that signal anymore) and analog audio outputs via RCA jacks.

SDXC card slot Onboard recording is provided via a SDXC card slot on the front-right corner of the switcher, using AVCHD as the codec.  A small LED touchscreen sits in the middle of the switcher, to assist in effects selection, audio metering and setup tasks, among others.  However, Sony recommends an operator connect a laptop via Ethernet to make setup simpler, and to give access to several new, powerful functions. The majority of the laptop functions duplicate the switcher; in fact, you can operate the switcher quite well from a laptop.

 

 

RM-30BP Remote CommanderWhen the MCX500 is connected to the RM-30BP Remote Commander and up to three Sony FS5 or NX5R cameras with LANC cables, the RM-30BP panel becomes a mini camera control unit.  Remote functions include iris, white balance, shutter speed, focus and zoom, and also – taa-daa! – both preview (green) and on-air (red) tally indication in the LCD viewfinder. Folks without “big” multi-cam remote experience often underestimate the importance of tally lights, but a few errant swish-pans resulting in a screaming director will teach that harsh lesson quickly.  If you don’t trust your directing skills, and want isolated recordings of all your cameras for a later edit, the MCX500/RM-30BP combo will start recording both in the switcher and in all cameras simultaneously. And since this is the late 2010’s, with Internet video all the rage, the MCX500 ships ready to stream at the touch of a button – although strangely, it can only stream to the UStream service.  In a world of Facebook Live and YouTube Live and dozens of others, this seems to be a strange and major omission.

Sony MCX500 SwitcherThe switcher panel is made of brushed aluminum, with large, pliable rubber buttons.  A single physical fader controls master audio levels. I was pleasantly surprised to find picture-in-picture and chromakey capability on the MCX500, but a little disappointed to find no onboard graphics storage, which was one of the most useful features on the Anycast series of switchers.  Another disappointment is the switcher’s support of HDCP copy protection, which effectively forecloses using any Mac computers or BluRay players as HDMI sources.  As Sony is both a hardware vendor and a content producer, I can understand the logic, but from a field producer’s perspective this is just one of those little details that can really bog down a production.

 

The field multi-camera switcher space is becoming crowded, and while the MCX500 offers a lot of functionality at a fairly low price ($2200 street), other competitors are showing up at a rapid pace.  Still, the combination of compact size, reliable operation and the potential for remote camera control should find a niche for Sony’s new small switcher.

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NAB 2017: Musings on Miracles https://www.provideocoalition.com/nab-2017-musings-miracles/ https://www.provideocoalition.com/nab-2017-musings-miracles/#comments Thu, 27 Apr 2017 12:37:13 +0000 https://www.provideocoalition.com/?p=51594 Behold: a miracle. This is my well-worn Sony EA50-U camera.  It’s a APS-C chip with an Alpha/E-mount, and I have used and tortured it horribly.   That picture was shot in the NAB press room, at the end of my three days of shooting for PVC.  Let’s have a look into the viewfinder, shall we?

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Behold: a miracle. This is my well-worn Sony EA50-U camera.  It’s a APS-C chip with an Alpha/E-mount, and I have used and tortured it horribly.

 

That picture was shot in the NAB press room, at the end of my three days of shooting for PVC.  Let’s have a look into the viewfinder, shall we?

In the upper-left corner you’ll notice the battery indicator at 100%.  In the upper-right corner you’ll notice that I have 266 minutes of recording left on my 64Gb chip.  Again, this picture was taken *after* three days of shooting for the dozen or so videos I have just posted (and thanks for watching, by the way.)

 

 

 

Call me easily amused, but this blows my mind.  I NEVER charged the battery in three days, and I never cleaned off the chip.  To be fair, I wasn’t shooting hour-long takes of anything (at least, not on purpose – hey, it happens) but still, to come from a world of tape decks and 20-minute 3/4″ Umatic tapes and BP-90 nicad deck batteries that might last 30 rolling minutes to where we are now in 35 years is very, very cool.  And if anything the pace of progress just keeps on growing.

Nothing is perfect, though.  The lens that came with the EA50-U is slow, not easily focused and can’t do a creep zoom to save its life (plus it gets longer and shorter like a trombone if you zoom in on something.)  Luckily, it appears Sony might be doing something about that.

Meet the alpha-mount Sony 18-110mm lens.  Sure, at f4 it’s pretty slow, but the gain-up on the EA50-U is fairly clean, it wouldn’t kill me to put up a light once in a while.  Finally there is an alpha-mount lens out that actually feels right for broadcast work.  So…my birthday is in August.  <hint hint>  (Thanks to Alan Lugo at the B&H booth for letting me mount the lens on my camera for a quick look-see.)

 

 

 

Here’s the last photo, of the camera at the Science March on Washington the previous Saturday.

It rained almost all day, and despite the valiant use of plastic shopping bags, the camera got totally soaked.  Didn’t slow the machine down one bit.  Amazing.

We work with miracles each and every day.  Let’s take some time to appreciate that.

 

 

 

 

 

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NAB 2017: Contour Design Rollermouse Red plus https://www.provideocoalition.com/nab-2017-contour-design-rollermouse-red-plus/ https://www.provideocoalition.com/nab-2017-contour-design-rollermouse-red-plus/#respond Thu, 27 Apr 2017 11:47:09 +0000 https://www.provideocoalition.com/?p=51588 For as long as I have been editing non-linearly, I have been searching for usable alternate input devices to replace my mouse.  I’ve used the Contour Design ShuttlePro for almost 15 years now, but hadn’t heard of the Rollermouse until I stumbled over it at NAB 2017.  

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For as long as I have been editing non-linearly, I have been searching for usable alternate input devices to replace my mouse.  I’ve used the Contour Design ShuttlePro for almost 15 years now, but hadn’t heard of the Rollermouse until I stumbled over it at NAB 2017.

 

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NAB 2017: Unity Intercom https://www.provideocoalition.com/nab-2017-unity-intercom/ https://www.provideocoalition.com/nab-2017-unity-intercom/#respond Thu, 27 Apr 2017 05:58:47 +0000 https://www.provideocoalition.com/?p=51567 For all of the emphasis on portable multi-cam field production at NAB 2017, it’s astounding how many people just never think about two of the most important pieces of the equation – intercom and tally lights.  Unity Intercom has a refreshing new take on this essential task.  

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For all of the emphasis on portable multi-cam field production at NAB 2017, it’s astounding how many people just never think about two of the most important pieces of the equation – intercom and tally lights.  Unity Intercom has a refreshing new take on this essential task.

 

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NAB 2017: Sound Devices MixPre 3 and MixPre 6 https://www.provideocoalition.com/nab-2017-sound-devices-mixpre-3-mixpre-6/ https://www.provideocoalition.com/nab-2017-sound-devices-mixpre-3-mixpre-6/#respond Thu, 27 Apr 2017 05:32:52 +0000 https://www.provideocoalition.com/?p=51564 Sound Devices is announcing not one, but two new members in it’s MixPre family, and not only will they mix your shoot for you – they will simultaneously record your show to an SD card.  

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Sound Devices is announcing not one, but two new members in it’s MixPre family, and not only will they mix your shoot for you – they will simultaneously record your show to an SD card.

 

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NAB 2017: Three Blackmagic Design Announcements https://www.provideocoalition.com/nab-2017-three-blackmagic-design-announcements/ https://www.provideocoalition.com/nab-2017-three-blackmagic-design-announcements/#respond Thu, 27 Apr 2017 04:44:57 +0000 https://www.provideocoalition.com/?p=51557 Continuing the “NAB Of Portable Multi-Camera Field Production” theme, Blackmagic Design offers up two new switchers and an incredibly easy way to get your show on the Web.  

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Continuing the “NAB Of Portable Multi-Camera Field Production” theme, Blackmagic Design offers up two new switchers and an incredibly easy way to get your show on the Web.

 

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NAB 2017: Atomos Sumo https://www.provideocoalition.com/nab-2017-atomos-sumo/ https://www.provideocoalition.com/nab-2017-atomos-sumo/#respond Wed, 26 Apr 2017 13:54:22 +0000 https://www.provideocoalition.com/?p=51468 It’s been inspiring to watch the emergence of Atomos over the last few years as a leader in monitor/recorders.  At NAB 2017 they announced their biggest product yet – literally.  

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It’s been inspiring to watch the emergence of Atomos over the last few years as a leader in monitor/recorders.  At NAB 2017 they announced their biggest product yet – literally.

 

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NAB 2017: Google Video Intelligence API https://www.provideocoalition.com/nab-2017-google-video-intelligence-api/ https://www.provideocoalition.com/nab-2017-google-video-intelligence-api/#respond Wed, 26 Apr 2017 04:50:34 +0000 https://www.provideocoalition.com/?p=51448 About 15 years ago I was involved in an experiment at work, trying to involve computers in logging, cataloging and sorting video content.  Due in large part to the weak computers of the early 2000’s, the project was a total meltdown.  Fast-forward to today, where Google is doing *in the cloud* what desktop computers couldn’t

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About 15 years ago I was involved in an experiment at work, trying to involve computers in logging, cataloging and sorting video content.  Due in large part to the weak computers of the early 2000’s, the project was a total meltdown.  Fast-forward to today, where Google is doing *in the cloud* what desktop computers couldn’t even touch not that long ago.

 

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NAB 2017: Fotodiox Pro Factor LED Lights https://www.provideocoalition.com/nab-2017-fotodiox-pro-factor-led-lights/ https://www.provideocoalition.com/nab-2017-fotodiox-pro-factor-led-lights/#respond Wed, 26 Apr 2017 01:41:02 +0000 https://www.provideocoalition.com/?p=51426 Our old friend Bohus Blahut is back at NAB with some LED softlights that have impressive output and a full feature set.  Check out the Factor lights.    

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Our old friend Bohus Blahut is back at NAB with some LED softlights that have impressive output and a full feature set.  Check out the Factor lights.

 

 

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NAB 2017: Sling Studio https://www.provideocoalition.com/nab-2017-sling-studio/ https://www.provideocoalition.com/nab-2017-sling-studio/#respond Tue, 25 Apr 2017 16:47:21 +0000 https://www.provideocoalition.com/?p=51365 The onslaught of portable multi-cam field production continues at NAB 2017.  This time it’s Sling Media, fathers of the SlingBox, with a self-contained, wireless product that will send your show directly to social media.  

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The onslaught of portable multi-cam field production continues at NAB 2017.  This time it’s Sling Media, fathers of the SlingBox, with a self-contained, wireless product that will send your show directly to social media.

 

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