CALUMET UK are still up and running unlike their website-No GH4’s in stock !

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I started getting phone calls yesterday about Calumet UK going out of business as their web site had disappeared, called the Glasgow store to find Tommy at the end of the phone “everything is fine the web site has a maintenance problem”.

So until they resolve the website you can phone Calumet Glasgow on 0141 353 0875…To save any extra phone calls they do not have any Panasonic GH4’s in stock.


For all your video production needs in Scotland, get in touch with Small Video Productions

Scottish Television invest in 25 Sony PMW-400L camcorders

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Scottish broadcaster, Scottish TV, has today announced its investment in Sony PMW-400L cameras as the company future-proofs the newsgathering tools that support its comprehensive local news service. Scottish TV invested in 25 Sony PMW-400L cameras as well as wireless adapters and accompanying field production equipment to support the news workflow across its five sites, all supplied by Sony Professional Solutions Specialist Dealer CVP. The new XDCAM cameras and tools will be used across all of Scottish TV’s newsgathering operations, allowing for workflow continuity and a seamless transition from acquisition through short-term storage and data transfer.

The initial move will see Scottish TV continuing to shoot its local news coverage in SD IMX50, using the new kit within Scottish TV’s Avid Interplay production environment. However, in the future Scottish TV will be able to transition smoothly to HD, thanks to the PMW-400’s compatibility with both the IMX50 and HD422 standards, meaning the tools will support current needs as well as helping Scottish TV prepare for a high definition future.


As part of its investment, Scottish TV also purchased 25 of Sony’s CBK-WA101 wireless adapters, which accelerate the newsgathering workflow by enabling easy transmission of content over a wireless network from any of the company’s new PMW-400Ls. Connecting directly to the PMW-400L, the CBK-WA101 adapter enables the transmission of both proxy files and high-resolution content to a broadcast station, on premise server or cloud environment via 3G/4G/LTE/Wi-Fi

Sam Dornan, Channels Operations Manager at Scottish TV, said: “With five dedicated production sites across Scotland, and a wide geographical area to cover, easily integrating footage into the news production workflow is both challenging and vital to us. Sony’s wireless adapters will be instrumental in achieving this, but the proven XDCAM codec was one of the main reasons we decided to invest in Sony’s technology. The strength of the workflow that the codec enables means that our teams will be able to easily ingest, edit, and export their content as video files, crucial as we look to the future for our newsgathering teams.”


As part of this workflow, Scottish TV invested in eight PMW-1000 memory recording decks and four PMW-50 SxS Field Gear units. Both the PMW-1000 and PMW-50 support SD and HD, with the memory deck providing recording and playback, and the rugged Field Gear unit supporting a variety of outputs. These include analogue composite, HD/SD-SDI, HDMI, analogue audio, headphone, iLink and USB.


Colin Mendham, the sales manager at CVP who managed the deal, commented: “We’ve worked closely with Scottish TV as it transitions to Sony’s XDCAM tools, ensuring we deliver the best support we can. Having initially worked with Scottish TV to identify its needs in newsgathering technology, we then conducted exhaustive technical and operational tests, field trials and head-to-head comparisons, and Sony’s equipment came out on top. The PMW-400L delivers the high quality needed for HD broadcast within an efficient, established workflow, making it one of the best newsgathering tools on the market. This investment will ensure that Scottish TV is fully equipped to deliver the best possible news footage to its viewers for years to come.”

Scottish TV is the latest news organisation to invest in Sony’s XDCAM tools, following the recent announcement that ITV has invested in over 190 PMW-200 and PMW-400L cameras for its regional newsgathering operations.

For all your video production needs in Scotland, get in touch with Small Video Productions

3rd Party loupes are not needed with Panasonic GH4…thank you !

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Why would you spend £250 on a Zacuto Z finder when you have a EVF fit for purpose on the new Panasonic GH4 ? The only reason I can demonstrate this is that I have a Zacuto EVF that I needed for my Panasonic AF101 and Sony NEX-FS100 and comes in useful for various high tripod shots  and JIB shots.


For £15 on EBAY you can buy yourself an eyecup that fits like a glove, in fact this was a Sony extra large eyecup I had in my drawer.


If you add an expensive loupe to the GH4 you loose the ability to perform tasks by touch screen which I find very useful. You need to get away from thinking Canon or Nikon with the Lumix GH4, this is a mirrorless camera with a fantastic crisp EVF with no problems focusing.

The need for a loupe senario has chased the DSLR for years with cameras that are photographic…first…who think they are also video cameras…second, coming from strong photographic pedigrees like Canon and Nikon.


The Panasonic GH4 has changed the rules…Everything about the GH4 is geared towards video including the EVF which is better than you get with a Canon C300, the YAGH with SDI, XLR and 4 pin power, VU metering and sound controls and thats just a handful of video features.

It makes my blood boil when people show you expensive items that are a waist of time and money…I repeat you do not need a 3rd party loupe on your GH4 so don’t waste your hard earned money buying one.

NOTE : If you already own a loupe like the Zacuto Z finder you have nothing to lose by trying it.


For all your video production needs in Scotland, get in touch with Small Video Productions

Sigma 24-70 f2.8 Full Frame (Canon Fit) for sale (UK ONLY) £350 as new

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Now I have sold my Canon C300 I have no further use for the last of my Canon Fit lenses both as good as new. The Sigma 24-70 is Full Frame.


Once again if you are interested send me an email to small and I will send you a PayPal request both lenses include 1st class next day Special Delivery to the UK only.

For all your video production needs in Scotland, get in touch with Small Video Productions

No interest in local talent…it all stems from London !

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Grouse Beater “The head of drama kept me waiting over twenty minutes, an open area in the deathly mausoleum they call Pacific Quay headquarters. I’d come a long way, from Los Angeles, my second home and place of work, my first still in Edinburgh.

Looking around me in that vast, wide, high empty interior space, office levels stacked around its four walls, I couldn’t help but think how bereft it was of anything that gave a clue to the creativity that is supposed to happen inside. Not a pot plant, sculptural bust, or artwork in sight. Nothing but generality, cold steel, concrete and glass, and an echo.

The place needs a woman’s touch!

Entrance to the atrium, the inner sanctum, is by security gates, reminiscent of an airport. You are given a tag, expected to wear it until you leave. Whoever goes in, must come out. It’s a wonder I wasn’t asked to take my belt and shoes off.

Security? What secrets do they keep there? They hardly make a thing bar some low comedy shows and local news. Everything, but everything is passed to London … if an independent producer is lucky. There it stops, Buffers – London Central.

I wait. As time passes I know from experience it is not a good sign.

Out she comes. Preoccupied. A bad phone conversation?

Blast, she’s younger than me; won’t see me as of her generation, neither cool nor topical. Doesn’t matter I have a bevy of international awards, I’m an unknown to her. Unless, that is, she has my name in a wee black book. Wait, she was told to meet me by my old colleague now Controller of BBC Scotland. Be confident. You arrive recommended, a VIP.

Maybe. Maybe some other advice was given. “Placate this guy but offer no commissions.”

Must stay positive. Freelancer’s livelihoods depend on me achieving. People like me are continually pushed into a corner where we are left arguing for indigenous talent, but against faceless money men in London.

Calm down. Smile.

She sits in front of me, no apology for the lateness. The silence between us has me expect a lump of tumbleweed to blow by. She waits. Does she expect me to break into song, to entertain her? Okay. Me first.

I open with the usual small talk, see her glance this way and that, (bored?) listen to her harden up her answers to let me know she carries authority, for she senses I am not convinced by her. She was not educated in Scotland.

One by one she dismisses well researched proposals, all Scottish sourced material, some with funding attached, all with serious actors. Whatever way I pitch, with enthusiasm, prepared to fine tune, alter main character, offer compromise, back comes the negative. “No, London is doing something similar. No we have a project about women. No, I wouldn’t get that passed HQ London. She hesitates on one novel for which I have the rights. “I’ll read this and let you know.”


I boost my pitch. “I have one of his Glasgow-set novels filmed to good acclaim, “Best Screenplay” from the American Guild of Film Critics, so please give him sound consideration.

“I will, but nothing else you offer is of interest.”

Six mature projects, and only a book held back. Is she patronising me?

As a last-ditch at solid Scottish material I blurt, “I have a project on the Highland Clearances, female led-”

She cuts me short. “I’m not interested in historical costume drama.”

Jeezus. The Scots invented the bloody historical novel. There’s an entire national library of fine novelists specialising in the genre. Has she not seen “Braveheart,” “Rob Roy“? Where was she when Hollywood dramatised the novels of R. L. Stevenson? Now what? Will she tell me BBC has committed all its drama budget to another obscure Trollope novel,“Barchester Chronicles“? Is that the excuse?

Maybe it’s “Pride and Prejudice XV”.

I pause. “If I offered you an action man, fantasy series, how about that, you know, like a Scots Batman?” Her eyes light up. “Yes, I’d like that.” She moves into a spiel about how that sort of series is all the rage in the USA. I pause again, timing my riposte to hold her gaze. “Batman is a costume drama.”

Damn! That bit of impudence will alienate her.

What is a non-Scot doing running a major cultural department for BBC Scotland? Does she have any knowledge of Scottish literature? Did she study at a Scottish university, decided Scotland was the place to live and work? What is her criteria for selecting work? What are her standards?

I decide to test her.

“Tell me, what’s your favourite Scottish drama?”

I promise you, I knew her answer before she spoke it. She hardly hesitates and says, “Monarch of the Glen.”

“Ah” says I, “I can see why, light comedy, prat falls, stereotypes, very popular.” I take a deep sigh and throw caution to the wind. “I’d call that series sub-Compton Mackenzie.”

Back comes the shock reply confirming my worst fears.

“Who is Compton Mackenzie?”

We never met again.

(Epilogue: The novel, a series of short comedic stories set in World War II army days, was rejected, but a BBC comedy series about the army has been produced – by BBC London.)

HDW : I have cried from the top of my voice that…As for commissioning editors…they should not be in the same post for any longer that 3 years as a turnover of such staff would introduce freshness and extinguish any favouritism that may exist. Budgets for external programming should be allocated 4 times a year rather than this ludicrous “We have already used our budget for 2010″ and that’s during 2009 !!!”

As an aside Noel Edmonds went head to head with Jeremy Paxman talking about buying the BBC.

For all your video production needs in Scotland, get in touch with Small Video Productions

GH4 Arrives today

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NOTE : Click on the picture above to get a 72dpi 1843 x 1037 size.

Taken with my brand new Panasonic GH4 tonight down at the river Clyde in Glasgow City Centre. With a 12-35mm f2.8 Lumix G lens at 25mm set at 200ISO on a tripod, why not go over to GH4 CREW and have a look.



For all your video production needs in Scotland, get in touch with Small Video Productions

AVID Everywhere…almost for $49 a month !

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Avid President and CEO Louis Hernandez, Jr. took the stage at Avid Connect 2014 to present the most profound, sweeping, and strategic product announcements since our inception.

His landmark presentation shows how the Avid Everywhere strategic vision can help everyone—from the largest media organizations to independent facilities, professionals, and artists—create and distribute the greatest, most inspired content in the world.

  • Streamline workflows and enhance collaboration using the MediaCentral Platform
  • Create, manage, distribute, and monetize content using cutting-edge applications
  • Deploy solutions with total flexibility, choice, and security

The first Avid Everywhere-inspired product offerings are available today—with much more coming soon. Now is the time to get on the platform.

HDW ” Adobe reached this point well over a year ago charging $45 a month for the whole suite, as far as I am aware you only get Composer for $49 a month but all will become clear on the 14th of May.

I am no great fan of the “subscription” way of buying software, Adobe tell us its a better way to keep the software from being pirated but as usual the pirates are 2 steps ahead and you can openly get CC on a pirate platform if you know where to look.

This is the last chance saloon for Avid but personally Apple’s FCPX has gained a lot more fans over the last 6 months with many Premiere hopefuls reversing their decision back to FCPX.

I will be interested to see where AVID go with this on the 14th but I personally think they have missed the boat…we shall see.


For all your video production needs in Scotland, get in touch with Small Video Productions

An insiders view of VJ’s

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Q. “Where do you stand on Video Journalists..?”

Many years ago I would have given a negative response. As a broadcast TV news cameraman and therefore part of a team, I feared for the future as a standalone news cameraman. As a freelancer with my own (very expensive) kit, I figured that the broadcasters would give all the journalists a small camera the size of a baked potato and turn them loose with little training in the finer arts of news photography and filming.

And they did.

For a few years, freelance work took a dip and my worst fears were slowly being realised by the use of wobbly, out of focus, poorly lit shots filmed by journalists who suddenly found themselves on their own with no cameraman. Mistakes were made on a steep learning curve.

Journalists were setting up, filming and editing their own films in a team of one. Some of them took to it like a duck to water, but having spoken to many journalists at that time I found that many were not keen on being VJ’s. They had trained to be TV Journalists, and many didn’t want to film and edit on top of that. Many felt coerced into being something that they didn’t want to be.

Fast forward to today and VJ’s are very much a force in the broadcast news industry. However, so am I. So are a lot of the cameramen and women who were there before the so called VJ revolution. Those that are good at being a VJ and cope well with what that entails get on with it. They have become good at what they do, but those that can do it well are very few and far between in TV news broadcasting.

Those that didn’t get on so well with being a VJ still do it, but only when really necessary or the news producers freelance budget is running low. Even the good VJ’s tell me that they still prefer on most occasions, to be working with a cameraman. They tell me on a regular basis that it frees them up to concentrate on being a good journalist and to get the story right without the hang ups of trying to concentrate on filming, sound and other tv news logistics.

Without doubt, the VJ is here to stay and even grow a bit more as broadcasters and publications struggle in an era of budget austerity. I do however think that the TV news cameraman will not go away, despite the protestations of the likes of Micheal Rosenblum, who believes that we are dead in the water, along with big newsrooms. He’s been saying it for years that everything can be done on an iphone, but we are still here. Not just me, but most of the cameramen and women I knew when I started in this industry in 1997 are still working… Regularly.

We are still here because working as a team still works. A journalist and a camera operator is still the best way of news gathering for the TV news. Not the cheapest, but the best. Cheap shouldn’t mean change.

But i have learned over the last 6 or 7 years that the VJ is also a good and necessary tool in the industry. In cost terms alone, and efficiency of purpose. Small, cheap high quality cameras and laptop based edit software are everywhere. Hell, you CAN even film the news on an iPhone if you’re good enough to do it, but the situation must be amenable to filming with one. I no longer have a problem with it.

But here’s my warning: Make a film i want to watch. And… Do it with style.

Most people who work in the TV news industry will tell you that most newsgathering situations are not amenable to filming with an iphone. Good sound must be a consideration for a start. But enough of the iphone bollocks…

The kit isn’t the problem. The idea of VJ’s aren’t a problem. I will use the best piece of filming gear I have to get the job done. I will work and gather the news on my own. I have done it before and i will do it again. The problem I have with the VJ concept is the fact that 1 person is doing the job of 2 or 3 people, but that’s down to new technology and the ease of its use. It’s sharper, quicker, cheaper and is inevitable that one person can do it easily, but that doesn’t mean that they should.

Here is my gripe… I worked in a mid level newsroom for two weeks solid a while back. The journalists were all VJ’s and the newsroom was run on a VJ model. (And still is.) Most of them I observed over that period were constantly knackered. Always on the go during long hours of producing, researching, writing, filming, travelling and editing. Every day. They didn’t have time to talk or be sociable and ate their lunch at the edit suite or in the car. They looked stressed. They looked tired. They had to do it again the next day and the next. I knew from asking them that family life was erratic.

I wouldn’t want to see most of them in 5 or 10 years time. Burnout. Lack of enthusiasm creeping in for a job that gives them no enjoyment, time to be creative or the time to produce something outstanding by concentrating on one aspect of work. They crank out the news, day after day. Many of them I know only wanted to be a journalist, not a cameraman or editor. I know many who feel that having to VJ stands in the way of being able to grow into a damn fine TV journalist.

New technology, its ease of use and cheap production methods doesn’t mean that this is the way TV news should be done. Newsrooms however, are run on ever diminishing budgets.

In my opinion, the biggest and most noticeable change in our industry is not how, or by whom the news was gathered, that is now a side issue. It is the speed with which the information gets out. The desire to be first and the quickest.

You only have to look at the last big international story (Boston bombings) to see the outpouring of crap on the Internet via Twitter, forums and other online outlets. The internet and social media is the way a great many people now get their daily news fix.

True journalism gets buried in a pile of shite based around the desire to be the first to tweet the latest supposition or snippet of YouTube User Generated Content. (UGC) Newspapers can be the worst offenders, but TV news is rapidly catching up in the spreading of bullshit, misinformation, rumour and get it out there quick journalism. Worse still, news outlets with a political bias or agenda.

TV news and the process of making it are now technology driven. I believe though that it is the speed of breaking and sharing news, not the VJ concept, that is to the detriment of good TV journalism and newsgathering standards.

Paul Martin is @ukcameraman on Twitter.


For all your video production needs in Scotland, get in touch with Small Video Productions


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The Australians put us all to shame if you are going to run a production company doing both video and photography this is how to do it.

Behind the Scenes: Pix On Location Mōvi One Take Shoot from Muy Lang Linda Ung on Vimeo.

For all your video production needs in Scotland, get in touch with Small Video Productions

Scott Neeson “The man with the biggest heart in the world”

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Scott Neeson, former head of 20th Century Fox International left Hollywood to save children rotting in Cambodia’s garbage dumps. He sold his mansion, Porsche, and yacht to set off for Cambodia to provide food, shelter and education to destitute children. Scott now cares for more than 1,000 Cambodian children and their families. You sir are awesome!

A true saint by every meaning of the word, to give up such a wealthy background and live in the heart of poverty is humbling to say the least.


When families helped by the Cambodian Children’s Fund receive a new home, it’s a life-changing experience. Most of these families have dealt with years of poverty, unsafe housing and constant struggles.

For our experienced team of builders, a new home takes two and a half days of work. These well-built homes are safe and comfortable, with access to a bathroom. For many of the benefitting families, this is the first time they’ve lived in such a place.

“Truthfully, they say they never thought they could live in a home like that,” said Alan, the construction manager for the home building project.

Through a partnership with World Housing, new homes are provided to benefit CCF families for every home the company sells in western countries. The plan is to amp production up to 30 homes a month for a total of 300 homes in 2014. All of this comes together in the factory around the corner from CCF’s headquarters in the Steung Meanchey area of Phnom Penh.

If you think you can help why not donate…

For all your video production needs in Scotland, get in touch with Small Video Productions

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