NAB is coming, so it’s new camera announcement time! Sony PMW100 XDCAM

April 3, 2012 · Posted in Uncategorized · Comments Off on NAB is coming, so it’s new camera announcement time! Sony PMW100 XDCAM 

The camera announcements are starting to spread like wildfire as the NAB convention in Las Vegas approaches.  Yesterday we heard about Sony’s new FS700 camera which improves on their already-popular FS100 indie film camera.

Late last night, news from Sony on their new mini XDCAM PMW100 hit their Facebook page.  This is a really exciting journalist’s camera.

UPDATE:  Got to see this camera at the Sony booth at NAB.  It’s much larger than it looks in the handout photos and is quite wide, so even though its smaller than an EX1, the packed for travel size is going to be about the same.  Quite a bit bigger than a Canon XF100.  However, it is lighter than an EX1 and easier to hand-hold.

It’s tiny, has a 10x zoom, full broadcast codec with HDSDI, genlock and timecode, uses SXS or SD cards, manual controls, xlr’s, and there’s even a firewire port on the back (and it will shoot in DVCAM, so maybe it’s even possible to livestream off it, but details are scant at the moment.)

This is a direct competitor to the JVC HM150 and Canon XF105 cameras.  Supposed to be available in May at a list price of $4500.




Sony XDCAM PMW100 rear view

Sony XDCAM PMW100 rear view




Here’s the press release:

PARK RIDGE, N.J., April 3, 2012 — Sony is introducing the full-featured yet light and compact PMW-100 handheld camcorder. The new PMW-100 joins Sony’s XDCAM HD422 line-up as the smallest and lightest camera in the XDCAM family.

“Advancements in digital imaging technology have enabled journalists and professional videographers to cover stories by using portable devices such as cell phones, DSLRs, and consumer camcorders,” said Tatsuro Kurachi, senior manager, Professional Solutions of America, Sony Electronics. “However, when compared to traditional shoulder-mount camcorders, there is still a significant gap in image quality, ease of editing, and data management. The PMW-100 achieves the best of both worlds, by recording full broadcast quality MPEG HD422 video within a hand-held form factor.”

Equipped with a newly developed 1/2.9-inch “Exmor” CMOS sensor, the camcorder delivers excellent picture performance and also achieves minimum illumination of 0.08lx. Featuring a 5.4-54mm (40-400mm in 35mm equivalent) zoom lens, the versatile PMW-100 allows users to work in virtually any production environment where mobility and flexibility is critical.

The PMW-100 combines exceptional picture fidelity with portability and outstanding manoeuvrability based on the proven XDCAM workflow, giving professional users a new level of productivity. The development of the PMW-100 is a natural step in the progression of the XDCAM line, and its development is in direct response to customer feedback for a light and compact camera that will not only perform well on its own, but also alongside other XDCAM cameras such as Sony’s PMW-500.

The PMW-100 supports full HD video at 1080i, 1080p and 720p up to 50 Mbps MXF record and playback based on the MPEG HD422 codec using the standard MPEG HD422 Long GOP compression technology. It is also switchable to MPEG HD420 35/25Mbps or even DVCAM 25Mbps recording, which similar options in the market do not offer. The PMW-100 can also record high quality 24-bit four-channel audio at uncompressed 48kHz, ideal for pairing with the new optional ECM-MS2 stereo microphone.

The camcorder offers a high level of flexibility using a variety of recording media including high speed SxS PRO memory card as well as Memory Stick, SD cards and XQD cards as an “emergency” secondary media. The new application software “SxS Memory Card Management Utility”* will provide additional operational convenience with SxS memory cards, such as data back-up functions and the life time indication of the card in use.

Focusing on a subject and reviewing recorded footage is simplified with the camcorder’s full color 3.5-inch WVGA (852×480) LCD, a much higher resolution than those found in other small handheld camcorders.  The Slow & Quick Motion function lets users create artistic fast and slow-motion footage from 1 fps to 60 fps in 720p mode and from 1 fps to 30 fps in 1080p mode.

The camera also incorporates HD/SD-SDI output, Composite Out, Genlock input, time code in/out, i.LINK (HDV/DV) in/out, and A/V Out.

The PMW-100 XDCAM camcorder is planned to be available in May, with a suggested list price of $4,500.


* “SxS Memory Card Management Utility” will also be available via download in May.”




Inspiration: “Sunshine” by Doug Nichol

March 25, 2012 · Posted in Uncategorized · 5 Comments 

Sunshine from American Buffalo on Vimeo.

UPDATE:  OOPS, they’ve taken it down.  Note in comments suggests agency wasn’t happy about it.

Every once in a while I come across something on Vimeo that blows me away.  This short doc by Doug Nichol is one of them.  “Sunshine” looks at the conflicted life of an American advertising producer who is filming fast food ads in China to sell to the Chinese.   Watch it.  Every shot is great and the timing and pace of the dialog is well done.

According to Wikipedia and IMDb entries, Nichol is a Grammy-winning music video producer and an experienced commercial cinematographer.

Craft helps tell stories.  Take a look at this for some serious inspiration.



March 20, 2012 · Posted in A-Roll · Comments Off on Work 

Recent work by Chuck Fadely from Chuck Fadely on Vimeo.

Here’s what my life looks like.  Not too shabby.  If only newspapers paid like they used to…..

Innocence Praised – World Press Multimedia Awards

March 15, 2012 · Posted in A-Roll · Comments Off on Innocence Praised – World Press Multimedia Awards 


World Press multimedia winner 2012

World Press Photo multimedia winning story "Afrikaner Blood"

The World Press Photo Multimedia Contest awards were announced today, judged from 300 entries by a panel of respectable folk, including Vincent Laforet, (ex of the New York Times,) Claudine Boeglin, (of the Thompson Reuters Foundation,) Jessica Dimmock, (winner of Magnum’s Inge Morath Award,) Keith Jenkins, (ex of the Washington Post and now senior multimedia guy at NPR,) Wing Jingchun, ( head of visual center for the Southern Metropolis Daily, one of China’s leading newspapers,) as well as Iatã Cannabrava, Poul Madsen, and Anna Zekria.  This is not like the Pulitzer Prizes, where the judges may not have any expertise in the category they’re judging.  These guys actually have some cred.

Here’s the World Press press release:


“DUTCH PRODUCTION ‘AFRIKANER BLOOD’ WINS FIRST PRIZE IN MULTIMEDIA CONTEST  – The international jury of the 2nd World Press Photo Multimedia Contest has given the First Prize to the production ‘Afrikaner Blood’ by Elles van Gelderen and Ilvy Njiokiktjien from the Netherlands. The multimedia production follows young white Afrikaner teenagers in South Africa who attend a holiday camp set up to teach them self-defense and how to combat a perceived black enemy.

The jury chair Vincent Laforet called ‘Afrikaner Blood’ “an incredibly well crafted and nuanced piece with a very cohesive structure and refined execution.” He added: “We as the jury appreciated the restraint that the authors demonstrated in the telling of this story. All of the multimedia elements and careful attention to detail served to push the narrative forward, as opposed to distracting from it.”

The judging was conducted at the World Press Photo office, where the jury viewed all the entries and discussed their merits over a period of four days. A total of 287 multimedia productions from 48 countries were entered in the contest, organized for the second time this year.

Managing director Michiel Munneke said: “This year, participation was open for photographers and producers and we are glad to have had such a broad field of entries from around the world. It is clear from the discussions with the jury that multimedia is continuously moving and developing and there are no set definitions yet. We are delighted that World Press Photo, through this contest, can contribute to the development of the medium and of the visual journalism profession.””


Although they’re working hard to change the perception, World Press awards have always been about the story – the biggest stories worldwide. Not necessarily about the storytelling. And when they started the multimedia category last year, they didn’t stray far from their still photo comfort zone. They took the “multimedia” term literally, requiring in the rules that still photography be combined with other media. “Each multimedia entry must include professional still photography in combination with (but not limited to) audio and visual elements such as video, animation, graphics, illustrations, sound and text.” So no video-only entries. Hey, it’s their sandbox, they make the rules. If one were to include video only, where do you draw the lines? There are lots of other TV and film contests out there.

But that requirement for still photos can make for some awkward moments in stories. Like this year’s winner, which is a mishmash of stills and video, but is none the less a compelling story. ‘Afrikaner Blood’ by Elles van Gelderen and Ilvy Njiokiktjien from the Netherlands was chosen as the best multimedia piece worldwide after days of judging by some of the best in the business.

I want to talk about why such a technically flawed piece can still win a contest like this. Of course, it’s the story. But it’s more than that. It goes beyond the wow factor in finding a good story. It’s about looking at a story with fresh eyes.

All three of these are different looks at things we’ve seen before. These pieces all have an innocence to the way the stories were done – none of them are slick nor particularly well-produced. But in all three of these stories you can see the glint of obsession in the author’s eyes. Innocent obsession, focusing on the story with the eyes of a newborn above all else, is an amazing and powerful thing to come across in a story.

The winning entry, about racist whites in South Africa, makes your skin crawl with disgust at the subjects, so it succeeds on the first and most important level: engagement.  But the actual storytelling has glaring problems with the way still photos are dropped into the video seemingly at random, breaking the flow and bringing it to a halt.  And it has perhaps the worst beginning of any prize-winning piece I’ve seen, though it gets better after 1:15 into it.  It finally gets compelling three minutes into it.   Vincent Laforet, the jury chair, praises the piece in a British Journal of Photography story, noting the “squirm factor,” and calling it not only powerful but nuanced.  I don’t think I’d have given it top prize but that “squirm factor,” seeing through the eyes of an innocent for the first time, is an amazingly powerful way to tell a story.

The second-place piece by Maisie Crow,  Half-Lives: The Chernobyl Workers Now is much better at basic storytelling and successfully combines killer still images (that are prize-winning quality by themselves) with video.  It’s a great piece.  Technically well done and it’s obvious the photographer dived deep into the story and worked it hard.  But the plodding string notes used to set the mood are a little like the overall impact of the piece: monotone and drab.  In almost any story, you need peaks and troughs, comic relief along with tragedy.  While there are some great moments in here, such as when the wife  is shocked at her husband’s revelations, the story doesn’t build and it doesn’t  crescendo – which, I suppose, is entirely appropriate for a story about the lingering effects of radiation.  Like the subjects, this story leaves us with an uncertain future.   I like this story very much but I would agree that it’s not a world-beating piece.  It’s too quiet and introspective.  But again, with the innocence of a child struggling to understand, it leaves one feeling like a first-time visitor might feel to these radiation-soaked towns, meeting people who know they will die but who are unwilling to flee.

The third-place piece by Jim Lo Scalzo, America’s Dead Sea, is a Kodachrome-colored look at a drying lake in California, complete with dead fish, dead trees, and dead trailers.  The pretty pictures make you forget to wrinkle your nose at the fish.  It’s a well-done piece, sort of in the style of California is a Place,  but without the nuanced storytelling and story arc that Zackary Canepari & Drea Cooper bring to the California is a Place stories.  But again, it’s a prize-winner because it looks at the subject with fresh eyes.

So the lesson to take away from this multimedia contest is this:  don’t get bored with your story.  Don’t lose your innocence.  Always look at your story with the wonder and delight of a child seeing something for the first time.

1st Prize

‘Afrikaner Blood’

By Elles van Gelder (videographer) and Ilvy Njiokiktjien (photographer), the Netherlands

2nd Prize

‘Half-Lives: The Chernobyl Workers Now’

By Maisie Crow, USA, photographer and videographer

Half-Lives: The Chernobyl Workers Now from VQR on Vimeo.

3rd Prize

‘America’s Dead Sea’

By James Lo Scalzo, USA, photographer

America’s Dead Sea from Jim Lo Scalzo on Vimeo.

Out of Hibernation

March 15, 2012 · Posted in A-Roll · Comments Off on Out of Hibernation 

Panasonic AF100 with AJA Ki Pro Mini

Its time to bring this blog out of hibernation. It’s been a tough year in newspaper land and I’ve been putting my efforts toward my career and limiting my social media to Twitter.

I’m going to try to balance high-end subjects appropriate for freelancers with mobile and small-footprint techniques suitable for MMJ’s.

I’m posting this from mobile and will see how it works.

(by the way, I’ve invested in broadcast-quality gear if anyone needs work done.)

Newspaper documentaries

January 10, 2011 · Posted in A-Roll · 1 Comment 

Tuesday night, January 11, on the eve of the one-year anniversary of the earthquake in Haiti, a documentary by the staff of the Miami Herald will air nationwide on PBS. “Nou Bouke,” which means “we’re tired” in Creole, is a look at the earthquake and its aftermath, along with the tumultuous history of Haiti.

The hour-long documentary was produced in-house at the Miami Herald by videographer Jose Iglesias and independent film producer Joe Cardona, hired for this project, along with Herald journalist Nancy San Martin, who served as executive producer. It was done with the assistance of local PBS affiliate WPBT, but was independently produced and delivered as a finished product.

This took a year full-time for Iglesias to produce. He landed in Port au Prince shortly after the quake and spent days sleeping on the ground as it shook from aftershocks, listening to the wails and prayers of the shocked survivors. He went back time and again, at first producing daily stories, then, as the idea for the film took root, looking for more in-depth pieces.

I’m really proud of our commitment at the Miami Herald to produce this film and I hope it is a trend-setter for talented journalists to break the boundaries of the printed page and parochial web sites. It’s a powerful piece.

Other newspapers are also starting to explore the documentary format.

Newsday produced “Campaign Season: the 2010 Race for Governor,” a documentary produced out of daily coverage of the New York governor’s race, which aired on News 12 in Long Island. From the documentary page: “Newsday reporter Thomas Maier and video journalist John Paraskevas produced this documentary in seven chapters, shown at different points during the course of the campaign, with finishing touches provided by News12’s production team. Then after Election Day, they pulled together a complete hour-long presentation looking at the winners, losers and what this campaign meant for New York’s future.”

Thomas Maier sent me this note:
“I thought you might be interested in this new documentary where the
New York race for governor is the story itself. You can find it here:

Unlike most documentaries of this size, “Campaign Season” wasn’t a set
play, so to speak, but rather a documentary on the fly, assembled over
time in chapter form, with no clear idea of the final election outcome
until it happened. We’re publishing the completed documentary today. In
the world of newspaper videos, I think this Newsday project pushes the
marriage of print and video farther than anything we’ve done before at
our paper.
In this final version, there is an overall narrative arc propelled by
the characters’ ambition and, more interestingly, betrayal. In a year
when the GOP did well around the nation, the NY Republicans
self-destructed – and this documentary explains why. The very first
image in chapter one is of former NY Sen. Al D’Amato, at a dinner last
spring for GOP gubernatorial candidate Rick Lazio. But despite what
D’Amato told the crowd that night, we learn in a later chapter that he’s
really for Democrat Andrew Cuomo and actually hates Lazio.
The documentary was on the cutting-edge of the news. In our
installment on Oct. 14, *Campaign Season* told Newsday’s audience about
Democratic candidate Andrew Cuomo*s $2.5 million income from his chief
fundraiser when they were in private business together in Dubai — the
same day The New York Times featured that finding in a front-page story
about his fundraiser Andrew Farkas.
Perhaps more significantly, this narrative catches the drama of being
inside a political convention and the backstabbing among politicians
vying for the nomination. The video also supplies profiles of all the
major characters, warts and all, and let’s our audience see why events
happened as they did.

However, a BIG supporter of this whole effort is Pat Dolan, director of News12 and whose family owns Cablevision. Pat has always wanted to do just this type of thing, and the sale of Newsday to Cablevision is allowing us to do it. Pat was simply wonderful, a guardian angel, who opened many of the doors that traditionally block such projects. The reporting, filming, narration, writing and editing was done by myself and John at Newsday. But Pat opened up his shop, and I worked with his graphics people and two of his video editors in putting together the final touches.”

More on the Miami Herald production:

How to assign video

December 2, 2010 · Posted in A-Roll · Comments Off on How to assign video 

3D! We were having a discussion of how to assign video over on the NewspaperVideo email list, and I posted this:

We’ve been doing video for the past five years at the Miami Herald. I’ve learned a few things about video assignments.

First, if your paper is anything like mine, none of your reporters, editors, or photo assignment people will have a clue what makes good video when you’re starting out. So don’t put video assignments in the same pipeline as your photo assignments. If you have a dedicated video producer, let them make the call on what to cover. Choose one thing a day to produce a video from and make sure the person doing it has all day to work on it… they’ll need the time. If your big bosses are making a fuss about video, all your reporters and editors will be requesting video on their stories – don’t automatically assign it. Pick and choose what to do. The person picking and choosing needs to know both video production and your web stats – video on the web ain’t the same as ink on paper.

Second, if you’re after web traffic, realize that there are only a few things that will get hits in video on a newspaper site – primarily hard news and sports. Most of your traffic will come from the story level pages as people arrive there from search engines, so make embedding video with the story a top priority. Because of that, try to do video from the top web stories of the day – which are seldom the same as the lede print story. If you’re compelled to cover feel-good features and cultural events, go into it knowing they won’t get much traffic.

Third, as you’re picking what to cover, make sure your videos are compelling and emotional… facts and figures have no place in video. Show, don’t tell. Make ’em short and make sure the opening shot is amazing and action-packed – most people click off videos in the first ten seconds, and you have to grab them fast. Videos need a story arc – a beginning, middle and end – so long after your still shooter has gone home, your video guy might be waiting to get that ending shot – it takes much much longer to shoot a video than it does to shoot stills.

And finally and most importantly, always keep in mind that crappy video has absolutely no value to your newspaper. Advertisers hate it; viewers click off it immediately; and your staff will hate doing it. Pick stuff that’s worth doing and give people the time to do it well. Don’t do predictable and newspaper-story-style video – the point of video is to tell a story a different way.

Video is a bottomless rabbit hole that will take huge amounts of time to do. Do not expect your photogs to be able to cover their normal assignment load while also producing video. On the other hand, video is the most amazing story tool ever. No other medium can bring people to tears or make them laugh with joy the way that video can.

Although I forget sometimes that there are newspapers who still don’t do video as part of their daily work, it seems like most do. Video is a part of almost every metro photo department these days. Since every metro photo department is a faint shadow of what they used to be, you have to be really smart about doing video. The time investment every time you press the record button is enormous.

If there’s one message I feel compelled to share after going through a few years of the learning process, it’s that video traffic is a good thing but won’t pay the bills. No advertiser wants to be associated with crappy news clips and amateur quality features – even if they get a lot of hits. All of us need to put our efforts into producing high-quality work and look for things that can be turned into series and channels. At the moment sports coverage seems to be the most fertile for this and advertisers are willing to sponsor ongoing and predictable sports shows. That predictable part is really important – sponsors want consistent quality and consistent frequency.

Which isn’t to say we should spend all our time trying to pay the bills. Use the skills you learn producing consistent high quality stuff to tackle your own stories and make your videos really compelling. I can’t say enough about the power of video to move people. Use it wisely and well. There are many outlets for quality news video stories and more and more of us are doing documentaries and work for broadcast in partnership with other outlets. It’s a big world out there and newspapers are becoming an ever-smaller part of it. Spread your wings, everyone… Never have the tools to produce cinema-quality video been available to us so easily, even on pitiful newspaper salaries. Learn to use them!

In the end, It’s all about the story. Photojournalists are well equipped to tell stories.

Canon’s baby cam: the XF100

October 5, 2010 · Posted in B-Roll · Comments Off on Canon’s baby cam: the XF100 

Canon’s new XF100 and XF105 look like they’ll be great photojournalist’s cameras. Too bad about the 10x lens, though.

Using separate audio recorder with DSLR video

August 5, 2010 · Posted in B-Roll · Comments Off on Using separate audio recorder with DSLR video 

How-to: Shooting ENG style with Dual System Audio on a Canon EOS 5D Mark II from Createasphere on Vimeo.

Daniel Plym shows how he uses a separate audio recorder with Plural Eyes software to synch up separate audio while shooting video with a DSLR.

2010 NFL rules and restrictions for online video

August 1, 2010 · Posted in A-Roll · Comments Off on 2010 NFL rules and restrictions for online video 

Training camp has started for NFL football and it’s the season for rabid football fans to find out as much as they can about their favorite teams. But they won’t find much video on news sites – the NFL won’t allow it. I couldn’t find this posted anywhere, so thought I’d pass this along:

The 2010 NFL rules for non-game video are unchanged from 2009. If you shoot video during credentialed access, you can post up to 90 seconds of video and can have it up on your site for only 24 hours. You cannot archive it for on-demand viewing. You must post links to nfl(dot)com and your local club site. Of course, no game action at all. The restrictions apply to training camp, coach pressers, locker room, etc. as well as the season. You can do as much talking head video of your reporter standups as you want, however.

Still photogs can’t post more than 10 pictures during a game. No sequences that give the impression of video, either.

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