TomTom for iPhone v1.2 – user beware!

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I find having a satnav is essential for what I do, having to drive all over europe for various shoots is made a lot less stressful by using a satnav which politely calls out directions leaving me to concentrate on the driving.

I used to use a stand alone TomTom Go, but a month or so ago I purchased TomToms app for my iPhone which I have to say has been great. I just put my phone on the dash, punch in a postcode and it does a pretty good job of getting me to where I need to be.

Another thing I’ve found useful is that when clients arrange transport or the location for the shoot wasn’t at a definable location I can just save my current location on my iPhone and know that I can get directions back to that spot at any point in the future, these are stored as favourites.

As anyone who has an iPhone or iPod Touch know, apps are usually quite cheap, but this one is an exception, I paid £79 for the Western Europe app.

As is quite common with iPhone apps, updates often get released that are free to install, yesterday TomTom announced an update which adds some new functionality (v1.2) so I decided to allow my iPhone to update (actually done in iTunes).

After the update process was complete I thought I’d check out the new features but when trying to start the app it kept crashing back to the iPhone’s home screen. After a couple of reboots I contacted TomTom support.

To cut a long story short, I was told that I would need to uninstall the app and reinstall it, which sounds okay until you realise that doing so will wipe out all of your favourites, meaning that your data is lost forever!

The support person I spoke to at TomTom told me this happens every time an app is updated, which is total rubbish, the last update from TomTom (v1.1) didn’t cause me to lose my data, and neither has any other app I’ve updated.

TomTom should make it possible for users to backup their data on a computer, or at least be careful not to wipe it out with their updates!

BBC Voices – Ten Town Tour

I was really pleased to be invited by the BBC to produce a 3 minute video as part of their Ten Town Tour project. The video had to be filmed, edited, written and narrated by the film maker so it was quite a challenge for me as I’ve not written a script before, let alone recorded my own voiceover!

Click here to find out more

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Hello 5D mkII – Goodbye brevis!

I’ve been watching with great interest the development of DSLR video over the last year or so and have recently decided to jump onboard myself. For nearly a year now the has Canon 5D mkII has been producing some awesome examples, but the biggest limitation with that camera has been that it’s fixed to 30 frames per second. That’s not the 29.97 flavour of 30p that’s common amongst video cameras but an exact 30 fps. Living in a PAL region where pretty much all video is 25 fps that makes it a bit of a nightmare to cut with footage from other cameras.

A few days ago I took the plunge and invested in a Canon 7D which addresses this problem by including multiple frame rates. The 7D doesn’t have as large a sensor as the 5D2 though but it still produces pretty nice video.

I also splashed out on a lovely set of L series lenses, a 35mm 1.4, a 50mm 1.2 and a 70-200 2.8 IS. You can’t beat good glass!

Once I started playing with the 7D I was immediately struck by the noise it produces in the image with an ISO rating over 200, it’s by no means terrible but it always seemed to grab my attention for some reason. I started to question whether I should have gone for the 5D2 which is reported to be less noisy. Then by sheer luck Canon announced that they are going to introduce multiple frame rates for the 5D2 next year. That was it, I had to change to the 5D!

The shop where I got the 7D were pretty good about allowing me to swap the camera, I obviously had to pay the difference of £288 and I’m pretty sure they palmed me off with an ex demo model but I walked out with a 5D2 earlier today.

My first shots with the 5D2 today have shocked me to be honest, they are so much better than anything I’ve managed with the Brevis adapter on my EX1. I think I’d even go as far as to say the images almost look similar to those from the EX1 but with a much narrower depth of field. There’s obviously a lot more going for the EX1 than it’s image though, and the 5D would never replace it as my main camera, but it’s certainly looking like it will mean the end of the Brevis adapter as my shallow DOF tool.

European Bike Week 2009 – Austria

The third event that I ‘ve filmed for Harley Davidson this year is the European Bike Week which takes place in the small village of Faak in Austria.

Although this event is likely to be that last this year, it ‘s by no means the smallest, in fact it is by far the biggest event in the HD Europe calendar. The event is reported to have attracted over 100,000 visitors, most of whom are bikers.

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New SxS drivers

Sony have released a new SxS driver for the mac which supports OS 10.6 (Snow Leopard). The driver can be downloaded from here. There are still issues with the Sony XDCAM Transfer app on 10.6 but I use the ‘Log & Transfer’ app in Final Cut instead which works fine.