This Month in My Life

Melvin and me at MTV

I hadn’t seen my good friend Dave Lee in a while and thought I’d connect with him via email today. When I was finished typing, I realised that it would make an excellent update on this site as well – so let’s have a look at “What’s happening in Jay’s Life” 🙂

With many of my friends, colleagues and Internet acquaintances getting into blogging, I find it hard to keep track of who’s writing an update and when. With Twitter and Facebook it’s so convenient to scan through the headlines if and when I have the time – hence I’m currently looking for a system that lets me check out my friends blogs from a single interface.

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Tutorial: Getting “The Grunge Look” in your photos

Blackbird, Fly!

This is an article in response to a comment I received on my Golden Half camera review, in which a poster asked me “How do you get THAT picture quality?”

Henceforth known as “The Grunge Look”, featuring harsh grain, strong contrasts and vivid colours (where available), I’ll give you a rundown of what you need to achieve it. This article is aimed at advanced beginners, plastic camera fanatics, film shooters and everyone else interested in going “beyond the clean holiday snap”. I may cover more than you want to know, but please bear with me.

So grab a coffee, sit back and let’s get started 😉

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What’s the difference between HDCAM and HDCAM SR?

Let’s take a look under the hood of two broadcast VT formats: both are called HDCAM, both do some form of HD, but apart from the operational differences, the funky coloured flap and two extra letters, what is the real difference between them?

Let’s find out.


HDCAM (non-SR)

HDCAM was introduced by Sony ages ago in 1997. No other tape based HD broadcast format was around at the time, and it quickly became clear that one was needed for HDTV to succeed.

The HDW-M2000 machines are based on the DVW-2000 series of VTRs and record with a datarate of 144 Mbps (that’s a 50% increase compared to Digital Betacam’s datarate of 96 Mbps).

HDCAM features 4 audio channels and can handle all common framerates between 24 and 30Fps.

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Making Television History in 32APSK with NFL Football

This is how nPSK works...

We made some television history the other night: in a test for the NFL International Distribution, Adrian from TV2Go and us folks at IMG Mediahouse have successfully brought a 32APSK encoded signal across the Atlantic, with a datarate of 30Mbps using a 9MHz carrier!

Since the start of the current NFL season in 2009, part of my job is to bring in feeds that originate in the US for an uplink stateside to NSS7. Our clients then downlink these feeds in Europe. In North America, DirectTV offers the NFL (and nearly 200 other channels) to domestic customers via their fleet of ten satellites. Using MPEG2 and H264 encoding, QPSK and 8PSK modulation are commonplace in satellite transmissions.

Ray was looking after this year's NFL season (I was behind the camera of my mobile phone)

However satellite bandwidth is expensive, and we’re dealing with demands of ever increasing datarates. Compression alone will only get us so far, so the only other way to increase throughput would be to increase phase modulation on the TX path. Lucky for us, the DVB-S2 spec has another trick or two up its sleeve.

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Behind the Scenes of Inter vs Milan for ESPN

My own notes, invaluable in times of severe panic

Sometimes a feed comes in, gets an English voiceover and is put straight to air on ESPN UK. But on Sunday, we pulled various aces from our sleeves to bring the Serie A “Milan Derby” to an expecting UK audience.

The feed comes in from Eutelsat W3 in HD, the studio for pre match presentation is SD, the commentators are on site in Milan and come in via ISDN. Question is: How do we synchronise comms with pictures, and how do we create HD graphics during the match?

We use pretty much EVERY piece of kit IMG Mediahouse has to offer, that’s how.

In this article, I’ll explain some of the challenges my dayjob in MCR has to offer. My colleagues and I feel like rockstars when a feat like this can successfully be pulled off, and I’m happy to say we did it once again.

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The scary truth about Google’s Chrome Propaganda

If you’ve recently passed through Oxford Circus Station, you will have noticed only ONE advert on all billboards at the platform: Google Chrome, and how you desperately need it in your life. In fact, this ad is currently plastered all over the UK, and one must ask the all too obvious question:

Why advertise for a FREE product that won’t make any money?

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Bad Toast at Oxford Service Station on the M40

Particularly rubbish for a shocking rip-off price: £7.99 for “The Big One”. Includes disgusting scrambled egg, terrible sausages and squidgy bacon. Hash browns and beans were OK, but then what can go wrong when all you’re doing is heat up the contents of a can. “Overpriced Shit” sounds way too positive. Verdict: no matter how …

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Treeworshippers (Etch A Sketch)

I was going to call it “Sunworshippers” in hommage to the song by Mylo – but then I discovered that the “sun” didn’t actually look like a sun… so I turned it into a tree. Works much better.

It’s my first Etch-A-Sketch Masterpiece in Decades!

We were passing through a service station in Beaconsfield very late yesterday and spent a spontaneous night at the Etap Hotel. It’s connected via a walkway to a 24hr neon world of McDonald’s, Starbuck’s and an Arcade featurung Outrun 2. It felt just like Vegas! We discovered a Pocket Etch-A-Sketch at WH Smith, and I …

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