BT or Virgin…Who do you choose for your fast fibre broadband ?

Categories: Miscellaneous 4 Comments

Just passing on my findings after giving up BT Superfast Fibre 2 and was horrified to discover all is not so rosey at Virgin Media.

Virgin Fibre…Great download speed of 200 Mbps but a poor upload of 12 Mbps, its only when you get the 350Mbps fast fibre that you get 20Mbps upload speed, but not many places can get 350 Mbps at the moment.

When I was with BT Superfast fibre my download speeds were 67 Mbps and upload speeds of 18.7 Mbps.

I contacted Virgin to ask why my upload speed was capped at 12 Mbps and was told I should have 20 Mbps, not true.

Looking at their web site its 12 Mbps for the 200 Mbps package.

You get the advert on the telly that its fibre to your front door, bollocks, its fibre to the box at the end of your street called the cabinet, followed by a bog standard RG59 cable with a copper core the front of your house and round your property into the living room.

The sales team tell you that BT is only copper so it can’t reach fast speeds of 200 Mbps which is true but its a major kick in the balls when you discover that BT without boasting about it is in fact faster at uploading without paying a hefty premium for it.

The facts…

BT has faster upload speeds 18.7 Mbps on Superfast Fibre 2 but on an 18 months contract.

Virgin has a faster download speeds of 200 Mbps with a 12 months contract.

Strangely Virgins most popular package is the 100 Mbps with an upload speed of 6 Mbps and I think Virgin should at least keep up with the competition and boost upload speeds to equal BT.

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

New firmware for the GH5, GH5S and G9 (End of October 2018)

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Panasonic has announced that they will release a major firmware update for its GH5, GH5s and G9 Micro Four Thirds cameras. The release date of the firmware updates scheduled  for October 2018.

All three cameras will benefit from the first improvement which is about the AF performance. This is about the cameras tracking performance in continuous AF and it will be improved by optimising the tracking algorithm.

Improvement of AF performance: GH5S, GH5, G9

  1. There were cases where focus point was shifted to the background while tracking the subject in AFC mode. The new firmware minimises this problem.
  2. Tracking performance in continuous AF has been improved by optimising the tracking algorithm.
  3. The subject is tracked even if it moves actively, such as in sports scenes where the focus previously shifted to the background.
  4. There were cases where focus point was shifted to the background while tracking the subject in video recording. The new firmware minimises this problem.
  5. The accuracy of detecting the subject has been improved by optimising the focus area settings and tracking speed. The point of focus remains on the subject instead of shifting to the background.

Improvement of stability during HDMI output: GH5S

  1. Operating stability during VFR (Variable Frame Rate) recording through HDMI output has been improved.

Improvement of video recording performance: GH5S, GH5

  1. [One Push AE] failed to operate when [SS/Gain Operation] is set to [ANGLE/ISO] while shooting in Creative Video M mode. This bug has been fixed.
  2. The image quality when using [V-LogL] for VFR recording in Creative Video mode has been improved.
  3. The image quality when set to [i.Dynamic (Intelligent Dynamic Range Control)] has been improved.

Improvement of operation under specific lighting conditions (fluorescent lights, etc) GH5S, G9

  1. There were cases where the camera did not catch up to the brightness change smoothly under specific lighting conditions such as fluorescent lights. The new firmware minimises this problem.

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

NEW…Panasonic S1R Full Frame mirrorless camera

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There are 2 models to choose from the S1R and the S1.

Panasonic has announced the development of two Mirrorless camera models with a 35 mm full-frame image sensor: the S1R and the S1. Equipped with the world’s first*1 4K 60p/50p video recording function and a Dual I.S. image stabilisation system, these cameras form the new LUMIX S Series due for global release in early 2019.

Panasonic will also expand its line-up of LUMIX S Series compatible lenses, developing more than ten by 2020, including a 50mm/F1.4 prime lens, 24-105mm standard zoom lens, and 70-200mm telephoto zoom lens.

The key features of the newly developed S1R and S1 cameras are as follows:

1. Newly-developed 35 mm full-frame image sensor and image processing engine (Effective pixels: approximately 47M for the S1R and 24M for the S1)

2. World’s first*1 support for 4K 60p/50p video recording in a full-frame Digital Single Lens Mirrorless camera

3. World’s first*1 full- frame camera equipped with Dual I.S. image stabilisation enabling handheld shots for dark or distant scenes that would previously have required additional equipment

4. A double slot for XQD memory cards and SD memory cards: a first for Panasonic

5. A rugged triaxial tilt LCD: emphasising ease of use and supporting professional photography and videography

6. Utilising Leica Camera’s L-Mount, making it possible to use alternative lenses that meet the L-Mount specifications of partners*4 Leica Camera and Sigma, increasing options for alternative lenses

Designed to incorporate an entire array of Panasonic technology refined over a century in the consumer electronics business and ten years developing Mirrorless cameras, the new S1R and S1 models will retain essential user-friendliness and robustness as tools for photography or videography by professionals.

For the existing LUMIX G series of Micro Four Thirds Mirrorless cameras, Panasonic will begin developing a Leica DG VARIO-SUMMILUX 10-25mm F1.7 lens that will achieve the world’s first*5 zoom with a constant aperture value of F1.7. In addition, support services for professional photographers and videographers will be available in selected European markets and the United States this year.

The GH5, G9, and GH5s high-end Mirrorless cameras that Panasonic has released since 2017 have already gained a solid reputation among professionals and high-level amateurs across the world for the quality of their pictures and ability to capture the vitality and beauty of life. This success is thanks to Panasonic’s world’s-first*6 support for 4K 60p/50p video recording, and the world’s fastest autofocus*7 function using the company’s proprietary DFD technology.

Panasonic will continue to reach the professional market through the introduction of the full-frame LUMIX S series and the greater reach of its support system, as well as continuing to support the Lumix G Micro Four Thirds System.

The products in development in this release will be exhibited at Photokina 2018*8.

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

Part Three…Using a SmallRig L-Bracket

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In the last part of how to mount your accessories we take a look at the neatest L-Bracket from SmallRig.

Firstly I am not into cages nor lots of metalwork hindering the usability of a great small camera system.

Adding the cold shoe to the slide out (28mm) arm (Only useful for LED lights with a ball socket as shown below).

This is probably the best of both worlds allowing the RODE receiver to be anchored onto the GH5 hot shoe and the APUTURE AL-MX LED light onto the slide out arm. Note the Aputure L-Bracket does not allow the LCD to swivel 90 degrees on its axis.

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

FOR SALE…Miller Compas 25 with Solo Eng 3 Stage Carbon Fibre Tripod + Bag £800 plus postage (UK ONLY) ono

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This tripod system was over £2,500 new 7 years ago and I am selling it for £800, it was mainly used with  my Sony FS7. Anyone buying this will be treating themselves to a bargain, it is as good as new. Please bear in mind this weighs in at 10KG including bag.

Contact me at stating Miller tripod deal. Usual payment via PayPal the price is £800 plus postage.

  • The Compass 25 fluid head with 4-14kg payload range enables a diverse choice of cameras and camera configurations to be used.
  • From HDV / DVCAM to XDCAM and ENG cameras the Compass 25 fluid head is one of the most versatile pan/tilt heads available.
  • The Compass 25 incorporates the best pan and tilt fluid drag range in its class combined with a selectable counterbalance system and 100mm ball levelling.
  • A quick release camera mounting system utilising the standard Euro camera plate allows it to integrate easily into existing camera support inventories.
  • Five selectable positions of high performance drag plus a zero position.

Note: Only to show the accessory bloc not these legs.

One of the features with the head is the accessory bloc which takes a magic arm for adding accessories like external recorders/monitors as seen below in a recent production on Arran.

Note. Using different legs.

Head Features:

  • Selectable counterbalance system for payloads between 4-14kg / 8.8-30.9 lbs
  • Five selectable positions of pan/tilt drag plus a zero position
  • Quick release, 70mm sliding camera platform with standard Euro camera plate
  • Pan/tilt locks utilising floating caliper disc brakes
  • Replaceable handle carrier rosettes
  • Functional, accessible controls with illuminated bubble level

The legs are for giants as their maximum height is over six feet five inches, you would need a set of steps to use the legs at this height. They go all the way down to nine inches off the ground when you have them in spread-eagle mode.

Leg Features:

  • Head Fitting: 100mm
  • Leg Section: 3 Section
  • Material: Carbon Fibre
  • Max Height Group: 6′ 5″
  • Max Payload: 19kg
  • All legs down 25″ (Spread-eagle 9″ off the ground)

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

Card manufacturers need to be more consistent !

Categories: Miscellaneous 2 Comments

Just had a call from one on my site sponsors asking me to highlight Sonys recording media chart for the Sony PXW-Z190 as customers are finding problems with certain media not filming 4K footage. The main problem with this is the card manufacturer themselves giving customers inconsistency in their card information.


Here are a few examples..

They are all SDXC cards, class 10 but in the case of Transend what does the 200x refer to !!! The only card suitable for 4K filming is the Lexar at U3.

Using the new V90 SD card association protocol (90Mbps). 4K up till now required a card to have a U3 rating with a 64G card. I do find this all very confusing as only the most recent Panasonic cards have the V rating on them.

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

NEW …Sony HXR-NX200

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The Sony HXR-NX200 is a 20MP 1.0 Exmor R CMOS camcorder, capable of shooting 100Mbps 4k in XAVC S at 25p, or 1080p at 50p onto SD cards. The stabilised lens is 29mm to 348mm equivalent 12x optical servo zoom, opening up from F2.8 to F11. The lens has three rings to control focus, aperture and zoom, all of which can also be controlled automatically. Sony’s Clear Image zoom extends the zoom range to 18x in 4k and 24x in 1080p. It features a 1.56M dots LCD and viewfinder, built-in ND filters (2-6 stops), microphone and two phantom powered XLR-ports and uses Sony’s NP-F style batteries. Sony is also using a new natural color science. Here’s an overview:

  • 20MP 1.0 Exmor R CMOS sensor
  • 4k 25p (100Mbps), 1080p 50p (60Mbps) XAVC S
  • 29mm – 348mm equiv. stabilised lens (12x optical, 18x Clear Image 4k, 24x Clear Image HD), F2.8 – 11
  • Three control rings on lens
  • Built-in ND filters and microphone
  • New picture profiles

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

Part Two…Mounting a cold shoe onto your tripod without screws

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Having spent the best part of a day producing my RODE filmmaker upgrade it finally occurred to me there might be a better way of producing the same thing with less weight on the GH5 hot shoe, hence the Sugru option. It works out at about £1.62 a pack.

If you have not come across it before Sugru sticks permanently to lots of stuff like ceramics, glass, metal, wood, rubber, and most plastics and fabrics.

Sugru Mouldable Glues are designed to feel soft and malleable. Roll the material in your fingers, press it where you need it, and mould it by hand into any shape. You have 30 minutes to shape it, smooth it, and reposition it as required, then it takes 24 hours to cure.

This option takes any cold shoe accessory off the camera onto the tripod itself and the beauty of Sugru is its ability to mould to its surroundings. A tip from me is to use disposable rubber gloves when handling Sugru especially the black version.

Fortunately RODE supply the curly cable, as this is mainly for interview situations you won’t be panning the tripod. I usually get the 8 pack of Sugru, 3 black, 3 white and 2 grey for £13 from Amazon.

As a word of warning make sure you check the date on the back of the Sugru as it has a use by date and in some places like B&Q it can lie for a while as I got a packet that was 1 year out of date. PS. If it is out of date it won’t work nearly as good a fresh Sugru, the freshest is usually sold by Amazon.

In Part Three I will look at probably one of the neatest alternative brackets that will do the same job.

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

Manfrotto tripod not suitable for sports work

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I produced a review of this tripod back in December 2016 not knowing how appalling this tripod was in a sports environment.

The culprit lies in the ball joint (055LC) as seen above if you put the least amount of pressure on the camera for example following a game of football this ball joint slides out of alignment rendering the shot useless. Did I try tightening the handle, yes, but there is only a certain amount of pressure you can add to this before it breaks.

If all you are producing is talking heads this tripod is great but sadly I was hoping to finally have a one tripod suits all situations to keep the quick release plates the same and a system thats a bit less cumbersome than a set of Vinten 3819 Pozi-Loc legs.

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

Part One…How to UPGRADE your RODE filmmaker kit

Categories: Miscellaneous 2 Comments

My son was recently filming an interview and soon became aware that the RODE receiver is far from accessory friendly. One of my readers made a very good point about the weight of the camera light, the LED camera light above is an APUTURE AL-MX (with shoe mount) weighing in at 345g with a 55 minute internal L-ion battery. The concern was for the stress put on the GH5 hot shoe, which is why you will need to wait till Part Two to see a good alternative.

I decided to re-engineer the receiver with a cold shoe I bought on Amazon for a fiver.

Unfortunately the M2.5 screws that come with the cold shoe ar too short for this process by luck I had a 180 piece set from Maplin in my drawer. The screws/bolts needed are M2.5 x 12mm cut down to suit).

Firstly you need to remove this circular nut from the audio output connector.

Annoyingly you need a very fine pair of circlip pliers or jewellers very fine chain pliers.

Next, remove the rubber flanges to reveal two torx screws and using a T10 torx driver remove the two screws.

You are now left with this be careful not to pull the wires coming out of the battery compartment.

WARNING…As you gently pull this board out you must be wary of the ribbon cable holding the motherboard onto the LCD.

The LCD board slides upwards and is not locked in position by glue, thankfully.

This is what it all looks like once you have taken it apart.


Position the cold shoe in the centre of the top section of the transmitter.

Drill the holes for the M2.5 screws

You are now left with two screws that are too long so you have to grind them down to size

This is to avoid the screws impinging onto the metal screening on the motherboard.

The cost of the upgrade is £5.90 for the cold shoe plus the two M2.5 screws and nuts which I had in stock, thanks to a wee kit I bought in Maplin. Its not easy so and remember it will null and void your guarantee from RODE. Quite a few times I use two RODE transmitters side by side so this upgrade will certainly help that problem of where to put the second transmitter.

Two things for RODE to take from this for version 2 of this product…

  1. Next time make sure you add the cold shoe to the receiver.
  2. Please reduce the size of the body pack (transmitter) in version 2.

If you think this is beyond your technical capabilities there is a simpler way to add a cold shoe for holding your radio mic transmitter…In Part Two I look at a far simpler way to accessorise your equipment with a cold shoe .

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

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