Tech blog


So I learned something new today.


Avid is a funny old beast. I have just moved over from FCP and was trying to make the OMFI to send off to the dubb, but I could not for the life of me find a way to export an OMFI. Now this is something I have been doing forever so not to be able to find the option was strange.  It turns out you still can make an OMFI just not from an HD timeline. So changing the Format of the Avid to 720i enabled the option export an OMFI. Who would have thought  it could be that.


So my trusty old G5 power mac is obsolete and outdated. FCP was having trouble with HD video so it had to go. The dilemma was do I get a new Mac Pro? these have not been updated for ages and are behind the times and slow compared to a PC or do I get a Hackintosh. In the end  I got the fastest PC I could lay my hands on a Chillblast Photo OC IV Hex core overclocked to 4.7ghz a core, put 160gb of fast ram in it and loaded up Avid 5.5. It works like a dream.

Cant wait to upgrade to MC6 and have an HD SDI breakout box and maybe a control panel……..

Digirostrum now comes for the mac. Its a great piece of software, much better than the Avid pan and scan or using the motion tab in FCP.

It is intuitive to use and outputs in the codec of your choice and is reasonably priced. A totally fab bit of software from Paul Harter.

It is released by Cleverplugs.

Sadly it has gone up in price its £336 now rather than the £50 it used to be.


I just tried Eyeheight’s ComplianceSuite FC. Its a legaliser for FCP that does everything the built in ones dont. It stops overshoots and gives a gentle correction keeping all your levels just where you want them. It is pricey though but if you are onlineing for broadcast its a must.


I got hold of a Zoom H4n to record my sound onto. It sure beats using the camera, also come in handy for recording scatch vo in the cutting room. The mics are nice, and don’t pick up to much background noise, and you can record a pair of radio mics and the on board stereo pair at the same time.

I got a sennheiser radio mic too, the capsule is big and clunky it will soon have to be replaced, as it is too visible and prone to rustling.

Plural eyes is a godsend for this. effortlessly synching up the camera rushes to the sound files on the timeline.


Another ebay find it the Fancier 717 tripod, it has a fluid head 60mm bowl and 3 stage legs, it may not be able to cope with a heavy camera in the wind but for the 550d even with the huge russian 300mm lens it is great. The action is smooth and it cost a tenth of  the price of a cheap Vinten.


Gota cheap chinese shoulder mount, it has a chest pad – bad idea as it rises and fall with each breath, a belt cup and flexible pole would be better, but it was under £30 and means if you only take shallow breaths you can  take both hand off the camera and still have a steady shot.


Ok I have an ebay habit. I just took delivery of an old Zenit photosiper. I was looking for a shoulder mount and remembered lusting after on of these in the early 80s, So for £70 i got a gun mount (not too good for walking around London) a rather lovely Helios 58mm f2 lens and an f4 300mm monster. it seems so much brighter than f4 and is so agricultural i just had to take it to bits and remove the hard iris stops. I love things like this. Optically it is not a canon L lens but it is filmic and has great bokeh.


Ebay has been kind to me.

So far I have got a nice fast pentax super takumar f1.2 50m lens

a 300mm lens not so fast at f5.6 but it only cost a fiver.

lens adapters from hong kong have all been pretty good.

I had some problems sourcing the Hassleblad adapter though. One supplier Much Mall failed to deliver and I had to get  the adapter from another  in main land China – weakpotoman great name and fast service- cheap too.

The Hasslleblad adapter is fab, allowing me to use my lovely Zeiss 135mm macro and 80mm  lenses.


I was excited by the arrival of a log and transfer plugin for FCP to allow importing footage from the Eos cameras. Annoyingly the 550D is not on its list. The internet though is a useful place and so I managed to find a useful hack. you are meant to add the key and string for the 550D to the cameras.plist file. and works after a brief shutdown. I don’t know why it wouldn’t without?!

So now clips get time of day tc and a roll number yehay.


The pictures from the 550D are astounding, for something of its size and price. My Nikon and M42 adapters have turned up and using fast old lenses  The iris ring is a boon for shooting video, but my Hasslebald adapter has not turned up so not makro for me yet.


Ok my 550d arrived and its tiny. The SD cards took longer to arrive than expected so the camera at on my desk for a few days.

Having done some tests, I love the ability to shoot at 50fps, and i is not too painful to use but the LCD is very difficult to use . It needs a sunshade at the least, or a dedicated viewfinder like the Zfinder.

Given that Zacuto want nearly £300 for a zfinder I am going to try and make one out of an old wide angle adapter and the eyepiece from an old DSR camera.


I just ordered a Canon eos 550D hybris stills/video camera. I also ordered some lens adapters and some old zeiss lenses. I cant wait to have a play.

Interestingly I can even use old Hasselblad lenses and bellows for some close up macro work. Should be very interesting.


Usb 3.0 where is it? It should be everywhere by now.

Is it a fibre channel killer? with huge data rates and a backwards compatibility with any old usb connector you can run uncompressed HD from a raid array or plug in your old scanner.

Western Digital have launched a usb 3.0 1TB drive for £127 at Amazon

Asus have a Pci card  for £30.95 also on Amazon

so for £160ish you get blistering 5 gbps speeds.

So bang goes my  £2000 E sata array- to be replaced by some WD my book drives for a couple of  hundred quid.