JVC Fields Video/Still Hybrid GC-PX10

The JVC GC-PX10 offers powerful hybrid functionality - by JVC

It’s hard to tell if the JVC GC-PX10 is a video camera with more convenient still image capability, or a still camera with video on steroids.

Either way JVC has loaded an interesting blend of features at a camera apparently aimed at the advanced consumer segment of the market.

The GC-PX10 features a 12.75-megapixel 1/2.3 BSI-CMOS sensor behind a Konica Minolta HD 19x dynamic zoom lens with optical image stabilization. The advanced chip technology gives it a stated ISO rating of 6,400.

The video features are impressive. Full 1080 HD at 24/30/60p backed up by JVC’s K2 sound system that allows for manual control. On the back it features a 3 inch touch panel tilt monitor.

Linked to the imaging hardware is JVC’s FALCONBIRD high speed imaging engine which is also found on their full HD 3D camcorder, the GS-TD1. The high-end electronics let the GC-PX10 do a lot of neat tricks like record full HD video while simultaneously shooting 12-megapixel stills without interrupting the video.

The most compelling features of the GC-PX10 may be the hybrid shooting capabilities. It can pump out 8.3-megapixel still at a rate of 60 shots per second in 130 shot bursts or 12-megapixel still at 30 shots per second. Impressive.

In VGA mode the GC-PX10 can shoot 300 frames per second for up to two hours. You could record your kid’s entire soccer game in super slow motion.

Prices at $799 the JVC GC-PX10 is an interesting hybrid video camera.

Polaroid Fields New Dua External Flash

Polaroid PN 160D
Polaroid new dual lighting system for flash and video - by Polaroid

Polaroid announced the availability of a new type of light that can be used as a flash for stills or constant light for video.

Aimed squarely at DSLR shooters, the Polaroid Dua packs two different types of light sources into a TTL compatible strobe with a power zoom head that tracks with the lens zoom and a separate LED pack for video lighting.

In addition to the power zoom, the flash offers the usual 270 degree pan and tilt capability. On the software side it’s got power save and built-in internal red eye reduction features. It works as the primary flash with TTL support for Canon, Nikon, and Pentax, but also has a slave mode to function as a fill.

The LED video light can provide up to an hour on a full charge. Button controls and a back lit LCD screen on the back, along with a built in diffuser and bounce card.

Produced in two versions the PL 150 and PL 160 the Dua is already on store shelves at B&H and Amazon and currently retails for $199.00.

There have been many times this type of flash unit would come in handy. Any time you’re switching from stills to video in a tricky lighting situation, it will be great to have. At a price point under $200, Polaroid looks like it might have a winner.

Funny Canon never came up with anything like that in their own strobes.

Canon Announces Powerhouse EOS 1D X

The Canon 1D X
The Canon 1D X is jammed with new features - by Canon

For Canon a big X marks the spot for the new king of the EOS line, the Canon EOS 1D X, which merges the 1D and 1Ds lines into one model. Offering a new combination of speed, resolution and image quality, Canon claims the 1D X is the most advanced EOS model it has ever produced and, from the specs, it’s hard to argue with that assessment.

The 1D X features a newly-developed 18.1-megapixel full frame sensor with 16-channel read-out and a sensitivity rating of ISO 100-51200, expandable to an eye-popping ISO 204,800. With ISO numbers like that you have to be approaching the ability to take pictures in the dark.

Backing up new sensor will be not one, but two Digic 5+ image processors. Canon claims speeds up to three times faster than the standard Digic 5 processor. The dual processors allow for full-resolution continuous shooting at up to 12 fps with 14-bit A/D conversion, which can be pushed to 14 fps in JPEG only mode.

It’s clear that Canon is aiming the 1D X at filmmakers, who have been generally opting for the Canon 5D MKII instead of the 1D or 1Ds. Canon claims the new Digic 5+ will reduce artifacts from moire and provide longer continuous shooting times by automatically creating a new file once it reaches the 4 GB file limit. Canon claims the continuous shooting time can be extended to nearly 30 minutes, up from 12 minutes in the 5D and 7D.

The 1D X also features twin CF cards which can be set to either write from one card to the next or duplicate photos on both cards.

In another nod to professionals using their Canon cameras primarily for video, the 1D X includes the ability to manually adjust the sound levels which are displayed on the LCD screen. You can almost hear millions of video shooters saying, “Finally!” at the same time.

Integrated into the camera is a gigabit ethernet port, but no word yet on whether video shooters will be able to get a raw data feed out of the data port. Right now that seems unlikely, but stay tuned.

The 1D X has added a second joystick on the back for controlling camera functions along with a 3.2 inch Clear View II LCD screen with 1040k dot resolution and anti-reflective coating. If you’ve ever noticed your pictures seem to look better in the LCD screen than on your computer, expect that to be even more noticeable with the 1D X.

back of Canon 1D X
On the back the 1D X sports another joystick controller - by Canon

As you would expect from any top of the line camera, the 1D X sports a high-grade magnesium alloy, advanced weather seals, and a new sensor cleaning system that uses wave-based vibrations to shake dust and dirt from the sensor.

Canon has some add-on features available that include the GP-E1 GPS receiver and the new WFT-E6 wifi transmitter.

In an unusual move Canon has announced the availability of the 1D X in March 2012, apparently trying to get some of their customers to postpone holiday purchases. U.S. pricing is expected to be in the range of $6,800 for the body only.

Video from Canon:

Tips For Recording Better DSLR Video – Part 2

DSLR rigged for video
A simple DSLR video rig - photo by Bill Pryor

In Part I we covered the basics of shutter speed and frame rates.  Today we’ll delve into some of the more technical aspects of video production with DSLRs and you’ll understand better why you can’t just run out and shoot amazing video with your camera without some education.

Turn Auto-Everything Off

It’s hard to turn off all the automatic settings on the average DSLR, there are quite a few you might not even think about.

The easy ones are turning off auto exposure, automatic white balance and auto focus.  Less obvious are turning off auto ISO, Peripheral Illumination correction and Long Exposure Noise Reduction.

Anything that automatically adjusts the picture quality in the middle of a shot has to go.  The reason for that is when doing color correction in post, if auto anything is enabled, your color settings will be changing in the middle of shots.  Nothing will get a video colorist on to a new career path faster than color settings jumping around in the middle of a shot.

Shane Hurlbut recommends the further step of changing the color space from sRBG to Adobe RGB, but that’s the where I draw the line.  I’ve tried them both and never run into a situation where the color curves where that far off.  Be aware that if you change your color space, the camera will change the file naming format.  I’ve had panic moments because my file browser didn’t recognize files with a “_” at the beginning .


When it comes to getting good audio out of the camera, you can pretty much forget that.  Occasionally the camera audio will be adequate, which is only proof that even a blind sow gets an acorn once in a while.  Most of the time you’ll need to record second sound.

Luckily there are many good options for portable recorders.  The Marantz PMD661 and H4N Zoom are popular among DSLR shooters, matched up with mics like the Rode NTG-2 shotgun.

For syncing up video and external audio, it’s a lot easier if you make a loud noise at the beginning and end of a shot, or use a clicker.  If you don’t want to do that then invest in software like PluralEyes which will save your sanity.

Aliasing and Moire

Aliasing and its French cousin moire are two challenges that have been with DSLRs from the first day they were fielded.  Aliasing can be seen in any tight pattern shot at a higher f-stop.  Strong side lighting can make the effect even worse.  Brick walls, composite roofs, and herringbone fabrics are famous for producing the kind of alias strobing that makes it looks like the background is alive with crawling ants and patterns.

To reduce moire you’re going to need to use your ND filters to stop down to a wider f-stop and pull the focus just enough to soften the background as described in this article.  For herringbone clothing, your talent is going to need change or you’re going to need to go really tight on their face.  No way around it.

Or you can buy a $400 anti-aliasing filter.  It really depends on how much video you plan on shooting.

Color Presets

I could write a book on custom presets for DSLR video and there are several good articles on the internet that go into great detail on creating custom presets for DSLR video.

Simple interview setup
A simple interview setup for a DSLR

Luckily there is one custom profile, developed by people who really know what they’re doing at Technicolor.  It’s called the CineStyle preset and it’s the one I use for all my video work.Use the Technicolor CineStyle custom preset, turn off all the automatic functions of your camera, shoot at 24p and watch tight patterns and the video people you work with will be both pleased and impressed.