Foxvideo Productions

Media Production

September 2012

Vinten tripod?....sorry, it's obsolete!

I've always believed if you want quality, buy the best, but recently that's left a bad taste when I tried to get a Vinten tripod head serviced.

OK, it's an old Vision 5 (not even an LF), it's seen much better days, it's scratched, battered and only just locks without tipping the camera forward but it cost a great deal of money new and with a good service would last me many more years, but that's not to be - When I asked recently, Vinten replied it was "obsolete" and couldn't be serviced.

I guess this is a case of "If we make it serviceable for ever, they'll never buy a new one", which is no good to me, I like my tripod, it suits me, I'm very used to it and it does the job it was bought for. I'd have thought that with only a pan and tilt function, a couple of drags and 3 locks - how hard can that be to service?

There's no capacitors to leak, no tubes, CCD's or CMOS chips to replace, it would have been a far better testament to a quality product if they'd been able to service it, instead I've now got to lay out up to a £1000 to buy a new head, I don't need sticks - they still work fine, they're heavy and beaten up but they extend and lock, they're not the latest carbon fibre but they do the job they were designed to do - why should I replace them?

I've been in video long enough to be asked for recommendations from others, with cameras there's a choice depending on what users want them to do, with edit software and hardware there's a choice, with tripods I've always said Vinten………not so anymore!

Postscript. I was given the name of Vinten's Product Manager, despite his involvement it appears there are no spare parts available for the 5, after a few emails back and forth, Vinten offered me an ex-demo 5 AS at a reasonable price which I went for, so we are all happy again, thanks Vinten.

JVC HM700

gyhm700_ab_leftfront

New (slightly used) camera arrived. Shot some stuff at 1280x720 50p and dropped it into Final Cut 7, viewed via HDMI out on a Blackmagic Intensity Pro to an HD monitor and was blown away by the quality. Looking forward to using this now on projects. Check out this small clip - be sure to change the YT quality setting to 720 HD.

JVC GY-HD201?

Looks like my FX1 has decided it doesn't want to play anymore.....so I'm now on the lookout for a replacement camera for HD stuff.

HD cameras are now appearing almost on a daily basis and with IBC this week I'd expect a few more but, IMO although they produce stunning pictures, these brick shaped black boxes are not what I'm looking for.

Viewfinder placement is all wrong, a viewfinder needs to be out to the left for usable shoulder / handheld work unless you want to spend a further arm and a leg on some sort of camera rig with all sorts of bits hanging off it and looking like something from a Meccano set. Another consideration is that I need glasses to view a swing out screen 18 to 24 inches away from me but not for normal vision, a standard viewfinder on a shoulder mount camera is a much better option with it's diopter adjustments. None of the current cameras appeal to me except the JVC HD750 which is out of my price range, along with a second user HD700, now no longer current.

After a sit down with a cup of coffee to consider my options, I came to the conclusion an older JVC GY-HD201 would suit. It shoots 1280x720p, ideal for web stuff where much of my stuff ends up, it still makes no sense to me to shoot 1920x1080i to then have to down convert to 1280x720p for the web.

The HD201 shoots to tape and hard drive at the same time (with the added hard drive option), has direct 1080i output if needed, has a "proper" lens that can use a professional zoom control or focus remote for conference type work, has a viewfinder in the right place and, I already have a JVC BR-HD50 deck for tape play out / ingest if needed, so now I just have to find a suitable camera......!

UPDATE: Just bought a JVC HM700, now the fun begins!

Carbon Copy Cloner no longer free

Of all the software I use, CCCloner was probably the most used second to Final Cut, I did a clone of my FCP drive monthly, if I'd installed something that messed up my system it took less than 20 minutes to restore it back with CCC. For years CCC has been free although lately, ad supported, and it's one of the most recommended programs for serious Mac users, just recently it became paid for - £25.95.

I'm not against buying software, the App Store has had it's fair share of dosh from me, I also appreciate developers have to eat, but to go from free to £25.95 after so long seems a bit excessive considering some of the prices for Apps now available in the App Store....so I downloaded
SuperDuper, this is free for the basic version (simple cloning) and slightly cheaper at £19.33 for the paid version which adds Scheduling and Smart Update (both not that important IMO), so now you pays your money (or not!) and takes your choice......

Roxio Toast - FAIL!

I've used Toast for CD/DVD burning for as long as I can remember, I originally paid over $300 for it with a 2x external SCSI burner to use with Media 100 in around 1996/7. Recently I bought a bundle which included Toast 11 Pro, using it yesterday I got an advisory there was an update available. I downloaded the update and installed, it got to the point where you enter your registration number and then a screen appears with a greyed out button and a message saying I need to be logged in as an Administrator to proceed…..I AM LOGGED IN AS AN ADMINISTRATOR!

Try again same result, so I go to the Roxio website to see if this problem has been reported and for any answers - check the FAQ's, nothing there. I then have to register with Coral to be able to send an email to Toast Support explaining the problem, email sent - no acknowledgement (yet!)

Back to the Roxio site to login to their forums - try the Coral login / pass - doesn't work - I need to register with Roxio to access the forums! Another registration, login / pass and I finally get to the Toast user forums - First item in the list is "Install problems" - reading through I find many others having the same problem as me - about half way down a Roxio person answers giving 2 possible solutions, the second one (with a minor modification) works for me - 4 hours and 3 installs later and I now have a working copy of Toast on my system!

With the cost and testing that goes into developing software from a major player, I find it incredible that a version gets released that causes so many users to have problems, Toast is famous for it - I recall several versions where major issues have been reported within hours of release, a simple message on the Roxio site explaining the problem would have saved me many hours of digging around and registering on different sites to solve this latest issue.

(For anyone reading this having the same problem - Close the installer, delete 'com.roxio.Toast.plist' from your Library folder then re-install Toast.)

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