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APRIL 2012

Vol 179

Kata Bags on Diets One of my joys of interviewing at NAB is the time I spend at the Kata stand with Bellina Israel. Sadly for me, but happily for her, Bellina does not have to do battle in the halls of Mammon anymore, she has attained freedom at last. On a flying visit to our shores, I spoke with Bellina and Marc Jamieson from Focal Holdings during a recent dealer meeting at A2Z. Ed: Bellina, you’ve now gone from being a suitcase model to a higher position with Kata, is that right? Bellina: I’ve become the brand manager from the marketing manager, so a move sideways. Ed: And upwards, I’m sure. The Kata video product is now represented in New Zealand by Focal Holdings but now there is more? Bellina: Kata have gone from completely broadcast oriented into the photo market and I can say that, after this visit, I think we’ve established a very strong hold in the New Zealand photo market, as well as being leaders in the video market. Our new lightweight protection concept has caught on very, very well here – it looks like the market has really embraced the new Kata designs and understands the attributes that these bags provide. Ed: Obviously it’s not only the product, but you’ve also got to have the support in the country, don’t you? Bellina: Absolutely and I think lots of sheep out there are happy to have a Kata bag these days! Ed: ( Aside: We’re not going to put that bit in Bellina – you’re not taking this interview seriously. I’m going to have to be firmer with you from now on. ) So, in terms of support it’s great to have a good product, but Marc, it’s also good to have the stock and actually to be proactive in the market? Marc: Sure and I think also when you talk about support, it’s important to talk about the dealers who are giving us that support and, in turn, putting it forward to our customers. They’re really behind it; these guys have

Bellina with Marc from Focal Holdings showing the Kata stand at A2Z — it’s yellow!

been doing it for a reasonable amount of time and that’s crucial to our success in distributing. Ed: Certainly I’m impressed by the stands that you’ve provided. You walk into the nice big showroom here at A2Z and the Kata one immediately catches your eye? Marc: That was something that was developed overseas, but we’re really happy to have the stands. As

NZVN on the web. Go to <> for more news. P12 A great cast from AVerMedia. P16 WARNING for LED panel users. P20 PIX show report. P26 The Beat Goes On.


you see, they stand out and the product looks great on the stands. With the new larger showroom at A2Z it certainly shows off the Kata range very well. Ed: Now, for Kata, it’s not that you have to get your product in from Australia, or anywhere silly like that; you’ve actually got a decent sized warehouse and you do keep stock? Marc: Yes we get our Kata bags and Manfrotto apparel straight from the factory. We have stock of all core items and occasionally if there is a product that we don’t have in the warehouse, we may look overseas and get it in as a special order. Bellina: The great thing now is, I think in the last year, all dealers have not been afraid to go “yellow” and what Mark has done is really come in and put our Kata yellow splash on the walls with the displays. It’s made our product really “in your face” – stand out, yes. I think in New Zealand, you’re not chicken and you go yellow. Ed: There’s another expression about dogs, but we won’t go there. But in terms of the range, it’s actually got smaller Bellina? Bellina: In video, yes, we’re streamlining all our range and we’re really focusing on what sells through. For cameras, we have the basic package which is a great shoulder bag that everybody has known for the last 12 years through A2Z, the rain covers and the backpack option. Now obviously, the most popular cameras are a lot smaller than they used to be, but the

around for the last 15 years, so we have that backpack, that shoulder case and that rain cover proposition also for the very high end cameras; but we have completely phased out our gloves and guards. Ed: Also, I guess in terms of the range of bags that you have, with cameras these days being fairly similar in their size and shape, you don’t have the variations that you used to have – the big cameras with a big lens on them, where you had to have that support right across the length of the camera … the bag had to support the lens as well as the body of the camera, so you didn’t get any damage if you dropped it? Bellina: Yes, that’s true. We haven’t actually reduced our protection level – we’ve increased it. We’ve made the bags lighter these days, so you’re getting the same level of protection you’re used to … Ed:

But the cameras are smaller?

Bellina: Yes. But even the smaller cameras, we know the lens is always the delicate part. You’ll find that we have nice little pillows in our bags, to cushion that lens and make sure that the connection is never over-stressed. The little details in every bag are still exactly what you were used to getting from Kata when it was protecting much higher end equipment. So we’ve downsized as the cameras have, but the attention to detail has remained in all our products. Ed: Because all these bags are tested by the Israeli military aren’t they? Bellina: Well, the Israeli military, the US military – if you go on our Facebook page, you’ll see fantastic images now coming in from all over the world, where the newer bags have really been put to the test and abused in harsh conditions and they’ve stood up. Ed: Now this isn’t your first visit to New Zealand, so obviously you’re building up a better picture of the market here – what struck you about the New Zealand market specifically for the Kata product? Bellina: Well I’d say that New Zealanders, at least looking through the retail sales, are not afraid to try new things. They probably know the brand from our video history in this market, so perhaps that opened up a few doors in photo as well for us, and I think they’re challengers – they’re not set in their ways, they’re willing to go out and try something new, appreciate the value set, appreciate something that’s a bit different and not what everybody else is doing.

The “parachute” zipper toggles.

other downside is that, you never know exactly how many accessories you’re going to be carrying with your camera. So it could be that you need a small compact bag for just the camera out of the box with the basic accessories, but if you’re kitting up with a matte box, microphones, external whatever, you need to have that step-up or step-down. So our range is really like the Russian dolls, we have five bags with a gradual build up; you walk in – bang – you’ve got the camera and that’s the compact option; you’ve got your camera set up with all the extras, you go one size up. Same thing with the rain covers, we’ve got that build up which covers the whole range of cameras out there and with just the basic package of three, we can offer almost every camera out there a suitable cover. We still have our very high end selection that, again, have been

Ed: Over the years at NAB, we’ve covered various new product releases, and we’re going to hold the pages about new product releases until the NAB issue, but in the meantime, there have been some pretty major changes in the bag concept and, as you say, there’s a whole range of bags very similar in their structure. Bellina, can you just take us through the structure of a Kata bag which makes it stand out from “the rest”? Bellina: Well Kata have always been known for their protection; we’ve always made the most protective bags in the industry. What we realised is that it’s not enough to be protective, it also has to be super-light, because you’re carrying very, very heavy gear and these days everybody who flies knows how much that costs them. But we’re not talking about just the cost of air freight and overweight, but the cost of wear and tear on our user’s body, which is, in our mind’s eye, much more important.

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You mean, as we age?

Bellina: So, at the end of the day, we want you to be out there shooting for as long as you can. We don’t want to ruin your back; we don’t want your knees to buckle under hip problems and things like that, so weight is extremely important. We want you to carry the weight correctly and we want you to carry as little extra weight as necessary, because your gear is so heavy. So what we did is we put all our bags on a diet to make them as light as possible. We actually promise to be the lightest, most protective bags in the market … that’s a brand promise, and if you find anything lighter that’s as strong, we’ll give you your money back.

– for the straps, we’ve gone and created very strong nylon weaves that obviously can be thinner, narrower, but as durable and strong as the heavy duty thick straps. Zipper heads … every metal zipper head – well one doesn’t weigh much, but if you look at most of our bags you’ll see just how many zipper heads we have on a bag. It can be up to 20 sometimes. If you remove all those metal zipper heads and weigh that, it’s considerable weight that we’re reducing; and we’ve got these big parachute zippers that are easy to operate even if your hands are a bit cold, or if you’re wearing gloves, and it’s always on the main compartment – secondary compartments will have little button zipper pullers. Without looking, you know if you’re opening your main compartment or a pocket on the side of the bag. Basically, everything that could be removed because it’s surplus, was removed.

The first thing in every bag is the fabric; where we used to use very heavy duty and heavy fabrics like cordura or ballistic nylon, we’ve changed to fabrics that come from the parachute world which is very light, thin fabrics but obviously they have to be very durable. They are called “ripstop nylons” and they actually stop – they won’t rip because of the hatch in them. Another thing that every bag is constructed with is obviously foam. We couldn’t find foam that was lighter, because foam, in its essence, is light and then we came up with a great idea to just perforate the foam, remove 40% of the surface of the foam and make it 40% lighter. So that was a “eureka” moment for all of us; and then everything else

Then we took the bags, sent them to the gym, and had to make them strong again. So, if you look at our bags, we drew our inspiration from the human body … simple skeletal structures can create strength, give you excellent fortification without adding a lot of weight. So in our bags we have aluminium skeletons to give you that extra build durability; we have something that runs down the front that’s called a “spine guard” and that, when you take it out (and you will be able to take it out) looks like nothing, it feels very flimsy, but it’s a spring. The moment I lock that spring in an arc, it becomes very strong and durable, so I’m given a very sturdy protection down the front of the bag, with a spine guard that weighs practically nothing.

Bellina: you! Ed:

That’s down the line for all of us, even for

Oh thank you.

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So all this thought went into the bag, to really be able to walk into the market and say “we are giving you the best protection – the protection that you know you always got from Kata, but in the lightest possible package.” Ed:

But, as you say, it’s still strong and durable?

Bellina: Absolutely. We are the most protective, not just the lightest anymore. Ed: And at this moment I’m picking it up … and, yes, I can easily pick it up with one hand, even though it’s quite a big bag. Bellina: Well there isn’t a bag in Kata that I can’t pick up with my little pinkie, including our huge lighting bags. Ed: And even the little buttons, they’re sort of a very strong plastic, but the pull cords certainly are light and easy to see, because they’re a nice red against the black. But tell me, these little bits of material at the side here, what’s the purpose of those? Bellina: Well this is a backpack for a video DSLR set up and, quite often, you do actually carry a lot more than just your gear with you, so we give extra straps and these allow you to connect, on the outside, all your extra bits and bobs.

reaction to the style, some people actually preferred the older style of the Kata bags? Bellina: It all depends … we have our diehard grey fans, but I think a lot of them realise the change is in their interests and have adapted to it. We used to get a lot of the opposite, which was that those bags look too bulky, too heavy, they look like military, so it all depends on the users. Basically, I think the huge advantage of going lighter is especially when you travel and you’re paying for every single gram overweight, everybody appreciates this big change and we’re trying to change the mind-set of the whole market to go lighter, because at the end of the day it’s in our interest to raise the bar of expectations. We want cameramen to walk in and say “we want the lightest bag out there” and to understand that weight costs you; it costs you when you fly, it costs you every day in the wear and tear on your body. Ed: So either it means not paying extra for overweight or just putting a little bit of extra gear in the bag, so you’re still within your limit? Bellina: Absolutely. Another nice thing, I think, with the overall look of Kata – it doesn’t look like a more on page 9

Ed: So they’re for hanging things off, if you want to add something to the bag later? Bellina: It’s always very versatile; we give you a lot of modularity. Ed: So even though the Kata colour is yellow, there’s no yellow on this bag? Bellina: No yellow on the outside; always yellow on the inside – always. Ed:

Have you got a light in this one?

Bellina: No, you don’t need a light when your interior is yellow. Ed: Okay, so this particular Kata bag we’re looking at here which is the Source -261PL – the maximum bag weight is 2.9 kg and that’s with all the accessories inside – all the dividers and straps, etc. So this is 1-1½ kg less than the previous version of this bag. But Bellina, I understand there’s been a little bit of

Rex Milton and David Epstein from A2Z.

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camera bag anymore, or it doesn’t look as “in your face” a camera bag, which means that when you’re flying, you’re not “clocked” as a cameraman. Cameramen are always clocked because they’re obviously a great cash cow for overweight, and if you don’t get targeted as a cameraman, then you can get away with a lot more weight, without being noticed. Ed: Now before we go, a special product that is under the Manfrotto badge, but it’s still looked after by the larger Vitec Group, and this is something that you represent? Bellina: Yes, we’re in charge of all soft textile products and it’s a brand new concept of apparel for photographers who don’t want to look like fishermen … Ed:

... or videographers?

Bellina: ... or videographers, absolutely. Where there used to be, let’s say, a video photo vest from Domke, and that’s more or less the only piece of apparel that we had in the market, we’re trying to come out with a stylish new apparel range that gives you, as a working professional in the field, solutions for what you need. If it’s protection against abrasion, somewhere to secure the camera straps so that they don’t slip off, make sure if you’re carrying an SLR that the camera doesn’t tilt back and forth. It can be a great everyday jacket, but it has all these extra features when you’re out in the field working – so the pockets can be completely flat or unzip, open up, add a padded insert and then pop in either your audio gear or your extra lenses or whatever – cables, etc.

Ed: And these are real good solid pockets that are designed to hold heavy things, unlike a standard jacket where you’d get a little sag and possibly ripping? Bellina: Yes. All the pressure isn’t on the pocket; it’s a suspension system throughout the jacket. That makes sure that the whole body is carrying the weight and not just the seams of the pocket. And everywhere you look, there are lots of pockets, but they are concealed. It doesn’t look overdone; you’re not a patchwork of pockets, but there’s a lot of room to store things. We have a media card holder for all your memory cards; and my favourite is the “granny pleaser” … up your sleeve, it’s not a hanky, but a lens cleaner. Ed: And it’s a lens cleaner on a cord, so you don’t lose it? Bellina: The “granny pleaser”

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The card pocket.

is definitely a good thing to have in a jacket and if you get stuck without your hanky there’s also a solution there. Ed: And I guess the whole jacket is waterproof? Bellina: Absolutely, using the best outdoor materials, giving you ventilation where necessary, rubberised zippers so you don’t damage any of your gear … every little detail here is thought through and we believe that we’re really entering with a new product into a new market, so that we can be the trendsetters. Ed: And it doesn’t have a big “M” or “Manfrotto” anywhere on it, just a pretty cool little logo? Bellina: No, we’re very, very low key in branding. We know that you guys are out there and you don’t want to show up with a big logo, you don’t want to be advertising anybody else, so our logo is not in your face; you don’t have to take out the black masking tape to hide a big logo on your back. Ed:

Rex models the Manfrotto jacket. “I feel like an Italian” he was heard to say. Any interested Italians out there?

And it comes in one colour?

Bellina: options!

Black, black and black – so three colour

Ed: And Rex, you’re seeing this as a big seller for you? Rex: It’s a new line and a new direction but, yes, we’re totally involved with it because, as Bellina said, jackets

in the past have been monster jackets and you’re loaded up and bulging pockets, whereas this is stylish, it’s Italian design and it looks good. Ed:

Would you wear one outside?

Rex: Yes – it doesn’t have to be a photographer’s jacket or a videographer’s jacket, because it’s a stylish jacket that you can use. It’s good for travel because there’s lots of little pockets to put your passport and things in and they’re secure. It’s ideal. Ed:

And it’s available from A2Z?

Rex: Exactly, yes, we’ve got a few sizes here at the moment, but more sizes are coming in as they become available … and the vests, of course, we’ve got the vests. There’s three models in the line – there’s the jacket, there’s the soft shell and there’s the vest. Ed:

So what’s a “soft shell”?

Bellina: A “soft shell” is exactly that. It’s a cool, warm jacket that you can wear under your jacket or under your vest when you want that extra layer of warmth. Ed:

But it doesn’t have any special pockets?

Bellina: It has a lot of pockets, none that will actually pad out. It gives you the little extra hand warming function and that’s it. There’s no “granny pleaser”. It can be worn just as an everyday jacket. Ed: And it’s got those padded shoulders for putting heavy things on? Bellina:

Padded Kevlar anti-abrasion.

Ed: And basically the vest is the jacket without the sleeves … all the features are the same? Bellina: You get the ventilation on the vest, so it’s not as warm and probably more adapted to your climate here. It doesn’t really get that cold does it? Ed:

No – never cold or rain in Auckland.

Bellina: snow.

Well then you have to travel to find the

Travel to A2Z to get your Manfrotto clothing or to any one of a number of dealers throughout New Zealand for NZVN Kata bags. Page 10







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A Great Cast I went with Chon Chai from Imaging Technology to see Rick Haywood from Pro Video Systems. Rick was trialling the new AVerCaster from AVerMedia. Ed: Rick – you’re Mr Panasonic Broadcast in New Zealand, but you also need some other products I guess, to provide a full service to potential clients. You’ve found this AVerCaster and it fits a niche for you? Rick: Yes, I had an enquiry from one customer. They supply a lot of AV equipment into schools and they were looking at using the Panasonic vision mixers, cameras and so on, to provide TV studios for schools. They do a lot with radio stations at the moment, and were asking is Rick and Chon holding the AVerCaster. there a device out there that would allow them to where, if people are overseas and want to watch the then just stream that content out over their network, so service, they can log in and watch the service “live” over the school LAN? With a little bit of shopping effectively, over a stream. So I think the demand for around, we came across the AVerMedia product and this type of equipment is going to increase as people Chon brought one in for us. We tested it; it was “plug want to use the Internet or use their LANs to provide and play”, dead simple. It’s got composite video input that content. and component video in, but it’s also got DVB-T for Freeview … Ed: And once you see it in action then the brain starts Ed: Or, I guess, if you make your own DVB-T stream? working and you think “oh I could do something else with it”? Rick: Well yes but, I’m not sure how easy that is. I had a bit of a look at that as an option, and creating a DVBRick: Yes, absolutely. I mean one of the other areas T stream and encoding it to an RF signal is not that we’re doing at Pro Video Systems is digital signage. something that schools are going to be able to do. But We recently did an installation – we didn’t physically certainly, yes, just plugged it in, hooked it up and away install it, but sold some to Scott Base in Antarctica. it went. It was very simple. One of the things they wanted to be able to do was, as Ed: I guess there are some other more expensive part of the digital signage solution, take an off-air feed, options out there? convert it to an IP stream and then put it in as a Rick: There are, but schools don’t have a lot of money window as part of the digital signage. This type of … and it’s not just schools too, you know. We recently device would achieve that easily. did quite a large installation at a funeral home, with hiEd: Because you are intending to supply this as part def pan / tilt / zoom cameras, HMX100 vision mixer, the of a larger solution, you don’t want it to be the “weak whole thing running in HD, and they often want to be link” – is the quality there? able to stream that, so there are services provided

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Ed: I guess though, for option, people wanting to have to use bandwidth to stream this at home and quite a few gig to watch example?

Plenty of “ins” and “outs”.

Rick: Yes, particularly as I say, on the DVB-T inputs, the hi-def inputs, the quality was really impressive. Ed: So you see yourself buying quite a few of these? Rick: Well hopefully some customers buying quite a few of them. I mean it’s all about trying to provide solutions isn’t it and I guess that’s what we try and do is pull all the pieces of the puzzle together, to provide something that’s cost-effective. Ed: Great. Now the man himself, Chon – tell me, this product, this AVerMedia AVerCaster, I mean it’s a tiny little box, what’s it actually got inside there? Chon: The unit has a CPU inside for encoding analogue signal into MPEG-2 for streaming, and you may adjust the Bitrate as you prefer. With the DVB-T signal input, the unit has a bypass and streams the transport stream ( H264/MPEG-2 ) directly onto the IP address. Ed: So really then it just acts as a multicaster – you say that you can have up to 16 DVB-T channels through this? Chon: Yes, the professional model of the AVerCaster series, called AVerCaster Pro, which comes with two DBV-T inputs going through the bypass, the unit can multicast 16 channels. In the service side computer you can assign an IP address to each of the channels. Ed: So even though there’s no buttons actually on this little box, where do you do all the changes and modification to how you split your signal, etc? Chon: Only at the first time when you run this device, you need to be connected to a display monitor and run the AVerCaster Web Manager software to identify its IP address. From the Manager software, you assign and configure the channels.

a broadcast watch would receive this, it would be a movie for

Rick: Can I respond to that … for example, if you installed this at home and said “we’ve got a wide network around our house and multiple computers or devices or WiFi devices, you’re not downloading anything. You plug it into your aerial and it takes the incoming RF signal off Freeview and then just sends it out over your network. So you’re not using up gigabytes of data; it’s purely streaming it over your network. What you are doing is using some of your network capacity, but it’s very low bitrate. Ed: But that’s if you’re taking a Freeview signal in there, but if you wanted to have your own television channel and you wanted to broadcast? Chon: Over the Internet? My estimate for high definition H264 bandwidth is about 2 mb/s. Ed: That’s too much money to give Telecom. Now this isn’t the end of the roadmap is it – there’s more product development possible with the AVerCaster? Chon: For sure. AVerMedia is growing its product range very quickly. They started by making TV tuner cards and then they moved into games capture. This has now progressed into the video capture and video streaming market. Ed: And they’ve already been successful with their DarkCrystal product for the video industry? Chon: Yes, version one is very successful for the games market and, in the second generation, for video capture. The boys have just hooked it up to Freeview onto a large plasma and it’s stunning – both picture and sound. It really is like home TV with just a very, very slight jitter with fast movement. Even the “ticker” is clearly readable and I’m sitting very close to it so “top NZVN marks” to this particular product I say.

Ed: So that’s why it’s such a little box, it’s all software driven from the PC? Chon: This device can be seen as a standalone unit. As long as you have a display monitor, all the setting can be done without a PC. Ed: Rick can see a number of users of this particular product in the narrowcasting area, but I imagine also you could have a TV station with this? Chon: In theory, yes, it should be all right for a station to use and we are looking at targeting this to churches, schools and universities. Page 14

WARNING Will Robinson! Cheap LED light panels and CMOS sensor cameras don’t mix. Have you had rolling bands of light and dark in your footage recently? I have. I recently recorded a show in a dark studio using a small, battery powered, no-brand, LED light panel that I got in a barter deal. I was using it as a soft light just on the presenter. It was dimmed to a level that the presenter was comfortable with but that still showed him clearly. His light level was competing with a slide projector at times so a balance was needed. The image in my CMOS sensored television camera’s view screen was lighter than the background room light, indicating that quite a bit of gain was being added in the “auto” mode. There was no picture disturbance visible It’s not so clear in a still photo, so I put white rectangles so I recorded continuously on the left of the picture, to show where the light bands are. for an hour moving between And another one full wide and just the presenter head to tail. I monitored the picture in the camera’s screen the whole LEDs don't have to be dimmed in order to exhibit the banding time. issue. Some have it on the midway setting and others on the When I later looked at the footage captured off the HDV tape onto my Adobe CS4 timeline, there were rolling bands of light and dark on the area illuminated by the LED panel. On searching the internet, I found these explanations.

That banding effect is caused by the way the driver controls the brightness (dimming) of the LED(s) in the lamp. LEDs are fed a constant current through them as not to go overboard on the maximum allowed current. The dimming on the problem LEDs ( the ones that have the banding issues ) is being controlled by the driver that is the PWM type or Pulse Width Modulation. The PWM driver really is the problem as it "pulses the LED's on-off cycle duration to achieve the dimming effect.” The longer the on cycle, the brighter the LED(s) get. Problem is that most, if not all, LED lamp makers, do not specify the type ( PWM or non-PWM ) of the controller driver used in their design. The issue of banding really is not apparent on 30 fps ( frames per second ) shutter speed capture, but at specific higher speeds, notably 60 and higher. LED lamp makers did not take that into consideration but I am sure that they are all aware of that and most likely will change the configuration to fix the problem on their next production run. I have seen many complaints about that with cheap and sometimes expensive LED units. The driver necessary is the constant DC current type that varies the current flow and not the cycling of it. I have also seen the flickering effect when the battery voltage level is at a specific low point ( minimum threshold ) of the lamp. This can be accomplished by putting in a dead battery with the others in order to lower the voltage. Banding is a serious issue and cannot be fixed ( or is almost impossible to fix ) in post.

high and anywhere in between. It depends on the driver circuitry design which varies from manufacturer to manufacturer and at the specific shutter speed (fps) of the camera settings. The el-cheapo LED units that have dimmers on them are the ones to watch out for. I am not saying that they all have that problem but it seems that even the more expensive ones ( and I am not going to name any brand ) have the bug. I know that Comer is a very good and popular one, powerful and versatile, and I have never seen or heard of any issues with that one. I don't think you can get far with any manufacturer circuitry schematics/specs/type as that is not relevant information necessary to the end user and also very confidential info. Electronic jargon is a language in itself. At this time we can only go by other users’ experiences with various LED units out there. I would make sure that the store/ source of my purchase has a return policy or exchange after I try the lamp at various settings with different camera shutter speeds to verify. It’s also worth mentioning that not all PWM designs will have banding. Some have a dual circuitry ( hybrid ) that is designed just for that. Please don't ask me where to get them or which lights have them. I don't know. I just read up on them in the past during my research era; they were not mentioned in use for video applications. Read reviews, check out YouTube for strobing/banding/horizontal lines etc. As to a non-LED light to recommend ... there are plenty out there – Lowell, Bescor, Frezzi, Anton Bauer to name a few. Why would you want to go to the non-LED route ? Comer is the one I recommend; Taky in L.A Color has excellent service and will answer all your questions.

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and on the local scene, Paul Richards from Nutshell

/ ŶŽǁ  ĂĐƟǀ ĞůLJ Ăǀ ŽŝĚ >  ůŝŐŚƟŶŐ͕  especially cheap stuff. We nearly lost a shoot in Hamilton for Rock Quest due to ƚŚĞs ĞŶƵĞƉƌŽǀ ŝĚŝŶŐƚŚĞůŝŐŚƟŶŐĨŽƌƚŚĞ gig, which … like you say, did not show as ĂƉƌŽďůĞŵĂƚƚŚĞƟŵĞ͘ /ƚǁ ĂƐĂŵĂũŽƌ ŝƐƐƵĞĨŽƌƚŚĞƉƌŽĚƵĐƟŽŶĂŶĚŵƵĐŚŚĞĂĚ ƐĐƌĂƚĐŚŝŶŐĂŌĞƌǁ ĂƌĚ͘ ZĞƐĞĂƌĐŚŚĂƐŶŽǁ  revealed that CCD and CMOS sensors react differently to LED. ^ŚŽŽƟŶŐĂƚĞƐƚŝƐǀ ŝƚĂůĂŶĚĞŵƉůŽLJŝŶŐ, LJƉĞƌ-gamma or a ƐŚƵƩ ĞƌŽƌďŽƚŚƐĞĞŵƐƚŽďĞƚŚĞďĞƐƚƐŽůƵƟŽŶ͘ and from Clive Cannon, Technical Product Specialist, Sony ANZ

Firstly this is a completely different issue to the one that I am aware of with LED lights – especially blue, and that relates to CCD not CMOS. The issue described appears to be much the same as the issue one would expect to get with fluorescent lights, but more severe. CMOS sensors acquire differently to CCD ƐĞŶƐŽƌƐ͖ ŝŶƐŝŵƉůŝƐƟĐƚĞƌŵƐ ƐĞŶƐŽƌƐ ƚĂŬĞ Ă ƐŶĂƉ ŽĨ ƚŚĞ ĞŶƟƌĞ Į ĞůĚͬ ĨƌĂŵĞ ǁ ŚĞƌĞĂƐ D K ^ ƐĞŶƐŽƌƐƐĐĂŶĨƌŽŵƚŽƉƚŽďŽƩ ŽŵŽĨƚŚĞĨƌĂŵĞ͘ dŚĞƌĞĨŽƌĞ ǁ ŝƚŚD K ^͕ ŝĨƚŚĞŝŵĂŐĞͬ ůŝŐŚƟŶŐĐŚĂŶŐĞƐĚƵƌŝŶŐƚŚĞƉĞƌŝŽĚ ŽĨƟŵĞƚŚĂƚƚŚĞƐĞŶƐŽƌŝƐƐĐĂŶŶŝŶŐ͕ ƚŚĞŶŝƚǁ ŝůůďĞƌĞƉůŝĐĂƚĞĚ on the recorded picture. In the case of an LED light switching on/off/on /off fast ( i.e PWM ), then of course this is going to be captured by the sensor and seen as horizontal banding. Fluorescent lamps do a similar thing but with much less severe results due to ƚŚĞŚLJƐƚĞƌĞƐŝƐŽĨƚŚĞƉŚŽƐƉŚŽƌĞŵŝƫ ŶŐƚŚĞůŝŐŚƚ͕ ŚŽǁ Ğǀ Ğƌ ƚŚĞƉŝĐƚƵƌĞŵĂLJƐƟůůďĞƐĞĞŶƚŽŚĂǀ ĞŵŝůĚŚŽƌŝnjŽŶƚĂůďĂƌƐ ƌƵŶŶŝŶŐƚŚƌŽƵŐŚĚĞƉĞŶĚĞŶƚƵƉŽŶƐŚƵƩ ĞƌƐƉĞĞĚĞƚĐ͘ ^ŚƵƩ Ğƌ ƐŚŽƵůĚ Ăůǁ ĂLJƐ ďĞ K && ǁ ŚĞŶ ƐŚŽŽƟŶŐ ƵŶĚĞƌ fluorescent lights. Many professional camcorders with CMOS sensors have a flicker reduce feature for use with fluorescents.

Professional fluoro units ( Kinoflo, Lowel, etc ) all use high frequency ballasts which drive the lamps at a rate well ĂďŽǀ ĞŐĞŶĞƌĂůĐĂŵĞƌĂƐĐĂŶĂŶĚƐŚƵƩ ĞƌƌĂƚĞƐ͘ dŚĞďĂŶĚŝŶŐ and flicker issues that you see are the same as have always occurred with any light source driven by an AC waveform. ĂƩ ĞƌLJŽƌŵĂŝŶƐƐŚŽƵůĚŶΖƚŵĂƩ Ğƌ͘ /ĨƚŚĞLJĂƌĞĚƌŝǀ ĞŶŽī  mains they will generally use a DC power supply to run the unit. As all the notes state, the strobing issue is about the frequency of the PWM dimming that most cheap units use to control intensity. t ŝƚŚƌĞŐĂƌĚƚŽƚŚĞ> ƵŶŝƚƐ͕ ĂůůŽĨƚŚĞŝŶĨŽƌŵĂƟŽŶLJŽƵ have provided is accurate. Paul's problem is one that is ŐŽŝŶŐƚŽďƵŝůĚƵƉĨŽƌĞǀ ĞƌLJŽŶĞƐŚŽŽƟŶŐŝŶůŝƚĞŶǀ ŝƌŽŶŵĞŶƚƐ which are not under their direct control. There is a vast drive to use LED colour changing fixtures to light everything and most of these are the cheapest units available. There are a large number of very good and pricey LED colour changers on the market, but not a lot of them end up in places we are going to shoot. If you need to shoot in a suspect environment, as Paul says, shoot a test. It may result in you having to tell your client ƚŚĂƚƚŚĞůŝŐŚƟŶŐŝƐŶŽƚƵƉƚŽƐƉĞĐĂŶĚLJŽƵĐĂŶΖƚƐŚŽŽƚƚŚĞŝƌ Ğǀ ĞŶƚ͘ WĞƌŚĂƉƐƐŚŽŽƚĞƌƐĂŶĚƉƌŽĚƵĐƟŽŶĐŽŵƉĂŶŝĞƐŶĞĞĚƚŽ ƉƵƚĂĐĂǀ ĞĂƚĂďŽƵƚƐŚŽŽƟŶŐŝŶƉƌĞ-ůŝƚƐĞƫ ŶŐƐŽŶƋƵŽƚĞƐ and proposals. dŚĞŬĞLJƉŽŝŶƚ/ĨĞĞůŝƐƚŽƵƐĞĂƌĞƉƵƚĂďůĞůŝŐŚƟŶŐƐƵƉƉůŝĞƌ͖  Trade Me is not one!! Any supplier worth their salt will be aware of the PWM strobing issues. Buy fixtures with brands that you recognise on them.

and Chris McKenzie, Professional Lighting Services, NZ

Firstly I agree with Clive. The key point with all of these fixtures is the level of ΗƉƌŽĨĞƐƐŝŽŶĂůΗƋƵĂůŝƚLJǁ ĞĂƌĞĞdžƉĞĐƟŶŐ from "prosumer" level product in the marketplace. New Zealand users are all ǀ ĞƌLJƉƌŝĐĞĚƌŝǀ ĞŶĂŶĚĂƌĞŵŽƟǀ ĂƚĞĚƚŽ shop around for the "best" deal. ^ŽŵĞƟŵĞƐƚŚĂƚďĞƐƚĚĞĂůŝƐŶŽƚ͘ t ŝƚŚ ƌĞŐĂƌĚƚŽƚŚĞŇƵŽƌŽŝƐƐƵĞƐŵĞŶƟŽŶĞĚďLJ ůŝǀ Ğ͕ ƚŚĞƐĞǁ ŝůůŐĞŶĞƌĂůůLJƐŚŽǁ ƵƉǁ ŝƚŚŵĂŐŶĞƟĐďĂůůĂƐƚ Ěƌŝǀ ĞŶŇƵŽƌŽƐŝŶŝŶƐƚĂůůĂƟŽŶƐ͕ ŽƌŝŶĐŚĞĂƉŽĮ ƫ ŶŐƐ͘

So, what should you do? If you already have an LED or Fluoro panel and you are using CMOS or CCD cameras, you need to do tests at different dimmed levels. If you are planning to buy a new light or two, be well aware of the issues. Ed. NZVN

Page 18

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PIX Recorders on Show Stephen Buckland from Sound Techniques was just back from Wellington where he was showing off the two new PIX solid state video recorders from Sound Devices. Ed: The Wellingtonians treated you well Stephen? Stephen: Yes, the Wellingtonians treated me very well, always do. I saw quite a few people and most of them are busy. I didn’t get my invite to go on the set of The Hobbit – they have a “no visitor” rule, so I can’t tell you anything about what’s going on there. It was good to catch up with people and show them the PIX recorders. Though they might have read something about them, they didn’t really have any idea what the recorders did, and how it might be of use to them. Ed: I think that really, to me, if I had to make a comment, it’s seeing it, touching it, that makes a huge difference, because it’s just so ergonomic? Stephen: That’s right, and also I talked to some people who have used the other devices and they could immediately see how well built it was. Ed: So did you make any sales? Stephen: No. Sound Techniques are not that sort of sales organisation really. We’re just breaking the ice with the picture market as far as the PIX goes and getting people a bit more familiar with it, I suppose. Ed: And having a few conversations about other products that you’ve got?

Stephen shows the PIX to an interested guest.

Stephen: Not really, to be honest … we were mainly just showing the PIX off. Obviously we’ve got quite a

few clients in Wellington that we go and talk to about general business but this was a special trip.

Page 20

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And they all wanted to take you out for dinner?

Stephen: Well I have to say, in Wellington, you need a bit of local knowledge, because there’s so many restaurants. To an outsider, you’re at their behest really, you go where they tell you to. I can recommend the Hop Garden if anyone’s heading down that way, boutique beers and good food, if you’re looking for a place to hang out. Ed: I remember well you taking me to some Mexican place in Vegas a number of years ago, but I think the highlight of that was actually the After Show – Bikini Mud Wrestling – wasn’t it Stephen? Stephen: I’ve forgotten about that Grant. Ed: Really … you don’t remember “Sindy”? Stephen: Oh! No, no – you must be confused with someone else. If only we knew what happened to the Rodeo, the Bucking Bronco Show and the Mexican Cantina – all vanished.

which was shot using the PIX. We don’t mind people using it for a day or so to see how it goes. Ed: And then you come and buy one? Stephen: Well yes, hopefully. As I say it’s new to me, but I’m amazed when people look and say “well how much is it?” I say that, to buy a kit that works, about $5,000 for the fully featured PIX240 and they say “oh that’s reasonable, that’s what I thought” so I think Sound Devices have obviously realised that as well and made a device that not only has all these features, but NZVN it fits the price that people think is reasonable.

Ed: They’re all in a landfill somewhere in Vegas. But we’re here in Auckland and it’s starting to hot up, there’s people coming in and there’s something I haven’t seen before, you’ve actually got a hood for the PIX. This is a genuine hood? Stephen: This is the genuine hood … magnetic, so it just clips on. As everyone in New Zealand knows, it’s bright outside, and the hood helps a little bit. It’s still not perfect but relatively inexpensive. Ed: But you can adjust the brightness of the screen can’t you? Stephen: Yes you can. Ed:

Now where did I put it?

And all the buttons are nicely lit up?

Stephen: You can adjust the backlight and adjust the buttons as well. Ed: Now Stephen, you had a few curly questions from your Auckland audience tonight – how do you feel about that? Stephen: Oh I don’t mind at all … they’re all good. I don’t think there’s anything that fazes me or that is unusual. The thing I’m still unsure of is what’s the quality of the various compression algorithms? That’s what I would expect camera people to cast their discerning eye across. Everything I can see works and works well. Ed: And that’s what they seem to be doing tonight – you’ve got some pretty serious camera people here having a look and finding out what they think, and they seem to be happy so far? Stephen: They are, and what’s even better is we’re actually setting up a camera at the moment, just to really prove the point, because the thing is that the PIX will not work without a feed from a camera. You know, it’s not a stand alone audio recorder. You can play back your video recording, but you can’t do much else unless you’ve got a camera providing a video feed to it. Ed: Very good, and if you missed the event tonight, come along to the Sound Techniques showroom and talk to Stephen. Stephen: That’s right, we’ve got demo models, we’re pretty liberal about people borrowing them, in fact you would have seen tonight the guts of a whole commercial Page 23


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The Beat Goes On Don’t talk to me about our government performance managing education, removing adult education subsidies and not funding community television, because it makes me angry. NZ on Air can find millions for talent quests but nothing for TVNZ7. Someone deeply affected by the dollar politics of community television funding ( eg. Stratos ) is the producer of “The Beat Goes On”, Gerard Smith. I’ve known Gerard for many years and, true to form, like a rubber ball, Gerard has bounced back from this knock too. Ed: Gerard, you’ve had a few enterprises over the years, can you tell us, in order, what the company names were, so people from the old days could perhaps remember you? Gerard S: Well we’ve really only had Video Archives and that’s when I met you Grant. The good ol’ days. Video Archives went for years and then the first version of our television show about 2001 was called The Phoenix Hour and then it became Auckland at Nine and the third incarnation was The Beat Goes On in 2008. Ed: And that’s where you are now? Gerard S: Yes, The Beat Goes On is a one hour television chat show aimed at the “baby boomer” or 50plus. Ed: But way, way back you were well known for being lead singer of a particular pop group weren’t you? Gerard S: Yes, The Rumour. This was a Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young type group and we had great success in New Zealand. Our best year was 1971 when we had L'Amour Est L'Enfant De La Liberte and that went on to be No 1 on the New Zealand charts for six whole weeks. That was wonderful; we were young lads of 23 years and we thought we were bulletproof! It didn’t turn out that way at all. Then, of course, I’ve had experience as a radio announcer at 2ZA in Palmerston North, 1ZB in Auckland ( before it became Newstalk ZB ) and 1ZM, and subsequently I did two years as a continuity announcer. John Hayden and I were the last two announcers to appear as continuity announcers on

Gerard Murphy and Gerard Smith.

camera for TV2 in Auckland. After that it reverted back to booth announcing. Ed:

So you’ve been around a bit?

Gerard S: I’ve been around. Ed: And you’ve come from those early days of television production with tube cameras and tape? Gerard S: I’ve seen it all. I used to look with great envy at people who had a one inch recorder or a two inch ( which was very few people ) and then, of course, we were able to get into it; you were with us then, when they brought out U-matic. Three quarter inch – that was the start of a career for many people. Ed:

That was a great leap forward wasn’t it?

Gerard S: Yes, it was a marvellous leap forward. Ed: And that’s it … together we’ve seen all these changes through the industry in terms of tape formats, camera formats and you’re still going, you’ve kept up with product, but at the level at which you’ve been working. That’s true to say isn’t it, because you can go one way or the other, but you’ve chosen formats that suit the jobs that you’re doing?

Page 26

can be filming in high definition, but then you have to knock it down to standard definition for the television stations, but it looks beautiful when it’s recorded first time through. Ed: Now, excuse me saying this, but you’re not actually after quality – you’re after quality for the budget for which you’re producing this show, and therefore you do have to make compromises? Gerard S: Oh we do. As you only ever make a living out of what we’re doing; it’s a labour of love, there’s not a great deal of money to be made out of it … we’re a television niche market. The industry does provide us with the tools at this level – they’re good; they can never compete with the Television New Zealand’s of The studio for “The Beat Goes On”. the world, but we’re there. Ed: But if you spent more money on expensive Gerard S: The new cameras I have are Panasonic equipment …? AVCHDs – three of them – they’re wonderful. I thought the MiniDV was great when we got those, but these are Gerard S: Would it matter, yeah. It’s like unbelievably clear at 1080. But of course we do all overcapitalising your house in a bad neighbourhood you that, everybody talks about it in the industry, that you know. Do we need that quality? Probably not.

Page 28


Has going solid state been a winner for you?

Gerard S: Well, the one great thing that I love about the new solid state is that when we record our TV show, we record the host, we do a wide shot and we do it with a guest and in the old days you might record for 20 minutes, so there’s 60 minutes you have to capture. That’s all done away with now; it can be captured into your computer in about 7 or 8 minutes, nearly an hour saved so there’s a huge saving. We might do that seven times a week, so you can imagine how it all mounts up. Ed: I also notice your lighting, you haven’t gone for fancy lighting … shall we say it’s “industrial”? Gerard S: It’s industrial ( he replies amidst laughter ) Ed: But you’re providing light and it works?


Gerard S: It works doesn’t it – I mean the average consumer would never know that it was just an

Everything is in those cards plugged in to the top of the PC.

industrial light. The same amount of light, if you go into a professional lighting store, they could charge you $4,000 per light for that easily you know; they wouldn’t even blink an eye would they, but we can’t afford it at that level. I won’t actually tell you what it did cost, it’s too embarrassing. Ed: But that’s it, you’ve got the lights in a fixed position, you’ve got a standard studio arrangement, you’ve got your interview desk and your seats in the same position … your cameras are all in the same positions – it’s a fixed format show? Gerard S: Yes, exactly. As long as it looks good, the best we can get it looking, that’s all it needs. I take a moment aside here to talk with one of The Beat Goes On’s regular clients, another Gerard, Gerard Murphy from Bon Voyage Travel. Ed: Now Gerard, you’ve been with The Beat Goes On for a number of years now I understand? Gerard M: I certainly have – I think it’s over three already. Initially, it was an experimental thing for us and our suppliers, cruise companies and airlines and such. It was going out to a small audience at the start but, gradually, we began to hear back from friends, family and, more importantly, clients that they were seeing it. Certainly it was a format that the “baby boomer” market enjoyed and gradually people started

noticing us and ringing about what we were talking about. Over the three years it’s paid good dividends and we’ve got good travel and cruise bookings from it. Ed: And you feel comfortable appearing on camera for the length of time you do? Gerard M: Well it’s not a Hollywood production … my initial fears were dress and makeup and hair … Ed: Well you haven’t got much competition in the hair department? Gerard M: Well I’m very jealous I haven’t got the bald look. But once we settled into it, that wasn’t an issue. Luckily in the interview type format that we do, it’s basically two Gerards having a chat, so that makes it easy. We’re not sitting there wondering and trying to talk necessarily to the audience, so it’s a little bit simpler. Ed: Do you come up a new topic every week? Gerard M: Yes, certainly. In terms of marketing, we explain firstly to our suppliers that, in one programme, we will introduce the concept, the product, the cruise line or whatever and talk about a special. We won’t do it with the suppliers unless they are prepared to go for more than one programme. Then in the next programme, we can talk a bit more about it and back it up and go through the product again, so it’s giving that reinforcement. Certainly the suppliers and cruise lines that have worked with us when we’ve done 3 or 4 or more over time have noticed better results. Ed: Can you actually measure that to a specific bunch of programmes … I mean are the specials that you advertise on The Beat Goes On only on The Beat Goes On, or are they available elsewhere? Gerard M: Not necessarily – generally this is part of our marketing package, so we’ll backup what we’re doing on The Beat Goes On with very similar advertising in The New Zealand Herald and sometimes The Herald on Sunday, Sunday Star Times – but we know it’s working because, when the clients do come in and see us, most of them will comment that they’ve seen me or they’ve seen the programme. Certainly we have examples where one little snippet we’ve used in a programme has piqued the people’s interest – for example, on Cunard Cruises we were talking about how you can have a High Tea every afternoon and, with that one sentence, clients pointed out to us that that was the reason they really looked into it. It was one little thing, they thought that was nice and then they decided to enquire, and all the other things that Cunard did hooked them. But one little sentence was what really got their interest. Ed: Where can you see it going from here? Can you ever see this developing into more mainstream television? Gerard M: Absolutely … Ed:

So when Gerard Smith gets his satellite?

Gerard M: Yes, beamed worldwide and into outer space; that’d be interesting for Martians to see what’s going on. No, The Beat Goes On format, with some fine tuning, I see certainly being in the Sky Digital sort of channels and I think there would be a lot of interest … well certainly for travel, there’d be a lot of interest to the Living Channel type format. So we’ve just got to work with Gerard and we’ll refine it and … Gerard Smith: It’s an evolving process. Gerard M: Evolving, absolutely. Ed: It holds its own? Gerard M: Absolutely. There’s an audience there. Ed:

Page 30

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Adult Learning Alive in Auckland There is a big range of evening classes available at Onehunga High School at very reasonable prices. I’m doing a welding course which costs $48 for 8 classes of 2 hours each. All you need to provide is the metal ( free from any number of metal fabricators’ scrap bins around Auckland ) and you can learn braising, arc, MIG and, what I’m going to be doing in Term 2 starting on Tuesday May 15, wrought iron work. I’ve all ready braised some candle holders for my bach and feel confident with a MIG welder and I’ve only done 6 classes so far. At last I have a hobby that I always wanted to do and it’s not television! So, take your pick from a great range found at or just join me welding. Ed. PS they didn’t ask me to put this in – I just think it’s such a great opportunity the classes should be full all the time.

Gerard S: I would imagine there’s a lot of support from the Council … Ed: So for community television in Auckland, there should be an outlet? Gerard S: There definitely should. I can’t believe that this has been allowed to happen. Look at the Auckland Council, look at the size of it; you know they should have looked at Stratos as an Auckland channel. I mean they’ve proved themselves, they’ve been there for 15 years before with Triangle, they’re good operators. Other people should have seen the value in an Auckland channel and come to their support. They’ve been hung out to dry. Ed: Along with TVNZ7? Gerard S: Yes. So you read a lot of Blogs and comments. There are a lot of very annoyed people out there that TVNZ7 is going and Stratos has gone, because it was a form of public service television and lot of that in New Zealand have we?

Gerard showing that he’s a happy reader.

Ed: So if we don’t have Cue we don’t have anything? Gerard S: That’s right, if we didn’t have Q where would we go? And the other funder of course is,you know, New Zealand On Air should have helped them out shouldn’t they? Why they didn’t, we will never know. Ed: Now I asked Gerard Murphy this question, where he wants to go … where do you want to go Gerard? Gerard S: Well I’m constantly thinking of how we could make the programme better from the point of view of the lighting; I think the sound on the new cameras is great, so we’ve got that solved now; and of course there’s the set design and the graphics in the programme. We’ve been going for 3½ years now and

the target I had was 100%; I think I’m up to about 86% at the moment, of how I want to see the programme, so it’s not far to go. The next area we’re going to tackle, of course, is the lighting, we’ve left that till last, but we’ve changed everything else. You know the set now looks great, the cameras are great, the sound’s good, so just one more to go and that’s lighting. Lighting is what we will actually spend some money on. I don’t think we will ever get up to that Television New Zealand level, but they’ll be so close that the average person will never notice the difference. You and I might Grant. NZVN Ed: I hope so.


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NZ Video News April 2012  

New Zealand television industry news