Drone’s for Transplants

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I just love stories like these, the proper use of drone technology.

Getting away from expensive helicopter rides to transport an organ from one hospital to another within a 3 mile radius.

This is certainly a far better use of a drone than delivery of parcels, Amazon wants to pursue.

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

New firmware for the Panasonic S1 v1.1

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A new firmware has been sent out for the Panasonic S1

Improvements include

  • Improvement of accuracy in exposure during burst shooting.
  • Improvement of accuracy in flash sync performance.

Dont fall into the trap of including all the folders in the SD card or you will not be able to start the update.

You can get the FW here…https://av.jpn.support.panasonic.com/support/global/cs/dsc/download/index4.html

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

The Panasonic S1 so far (FW v1.0) with response from Panasonic

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The first niggle is the way Panasonic have “redesigned” the way this camera opens the card door with a new lock lever. Its very unintuitive in its action and can be a pain to get your cards in and out compared to a GH5.

Panasonic “Regarding your point around the lock lever on the card door, this was redesigned further to feedback received on the G Series that over time the card door opened too easily and therefore could be opened by accident, exposing the cards. So, it was part of the improvements incorporated into S Series to ensure the camera was as durable as possible for the professional audience.”

I am using FW version 1.0 so far I am vey unhappy with the autofocus in a so called professional flagship camera. There were times during my photo shoot with Grace that I had to switch to manual to get focus as the lens 24-105 f4 S lens would not focus on my subject.

This is very serious in my opinion as it took many firmwares to get the GH5 to autofocus with more accuracy. You would think Panasonic would get this right out of the box as so much is riding on it.

Panasonic “The autofocus should certainly not have the issues you describe where it is unable to focus on a subject – especially portraiture style photography which is one of the strong focuses for the S Series cameras.

Once again Panasonic screw up with useless information when I look online at their “REGISTER NOW” to allow me to register the camera the link comes to an abrupt end, the very same thing happened with the GH5 initially.

I never understand how companies never check this information. PS I have since discovered its www.panasonic.co.uk/register

Thanks for bringing the broken link to my attention. I personally wasn’t aware of this and agree with you that it is disappointing that it wasn’t checked before going live – most likely issues coordinating sites globally unfortunately! I’ve raised this as a priority internally and have been assured it has been picked up with our developers.

Video record file formats are also restricting in the S1 with a choice of AVCHD giving you full frame recording at 28Mbps HD only or MP4 restricting you to APS-C in 4K 50p or full frame at 4K 25p. In APS-C you don’t get a full frame 24mm picture as it punches in on the frame.

Richard Payne “It’s processing power I am afraid, you have to spend mega bucks on an Alexa or a Venice to get full frame 4K 50p at the moment.

Using the DMW-XLR1unit allows you to have various qualities like 96kHz/24bit, 48kHz/24bit or 48kHz/16bit on the GH5 but sadly on the S1 its on or off. (The Panasonic manual has it set at 48kHz/16bit).

Panasonic “The S1 is limited in terms of audio recording with the XLR1 at this time, but I will keep you updated if I am informed that this will be improved in the future.”

With some added softness from Luminar

As a photographic tool the Panasonic S1 produces great pictures out of the camera as for a video tool I am still assessing.

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

Finally a good news Drone Story

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After the Gatwick fiasco we get a good news drone story about the help DJI drones helped to contain the fire in the Notre Dame Cathedral fire in Paris recently.

The firefighters are using a large screen monitor to view the footage.The DJI Matrice 210 Professional Drone is a rugged, durable quadcopter ideal for a multitude of applications, in an array of sectors. For example: Firefighting: detecting fires and sources of fire

A DJI Mavic Pro and a Matrice M210 were used to track the movement of the flames and inform firefighters on where they should aim the fire hoses. “The drones allowed us to correctly use what we had at our disposal,” said fire brigade spokesman Gabriel Plus.

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All about the Panasonic S1

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I had the pleasure to interview Richard Payne head of technology at Holdan about Panasonics new full frame S1

I decided to take some pictures at my friends house of wee 2.5 year old Grace with my new Panasonic S1.

Grace was a lovely subject to photograph and at 2000 ISO these pictures are very clean.

Not everything went smoothly so I will give you my honest assessments of the Panasonic S1 during this week. I will leave you with my 12m interview with Richard Payne.

Richard Payne S1 interview from Philip Johnston on Vimeo.

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

The 1960’s Turret lens makes a comeback

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Growing up in the 1960s all the broadcast TV cameras had a turret lens system on them because zoom lens were not good enough yet.

For a more in-depth look at this lens system have a look at www.cinema5d.com

Over at NAB 2019 the chaps at Cinema 5D caught up with Ian Kerr who has literally re-invented the wheel for some of todays modern cameras like the Sony FS7.

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

Wireless GO from RODE £179

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No surprises that RODE has produced this little wireless package as the filmmaker kit was far too big. I just wish the word RODE was not on the clip itself.

Dont panic as I did on first reading of this product “with built in microphone” you still have the ability to plug in a  lavalier microphone and use it the good old fashioned way.


  • Operates as a clip-on microphone or beltpack transmitter for a lavalier/headset microphone
  • Built-in omnidirectional condenser microphone delivers broadcast-quality sound
  • All-new Series III 2.4GHz digital wireless transmission with 128-bit encryption designed to deliver crystal clear audio under any conditions, even in locations with dense Wi-Fi and Bluetooth activity like shopping malls, conventions, hotels etc
  • Up to 70m range (line-of-sight), but optimised for shorter-range operation in congested radio-frequency environments
  • TX and RX have built-in rechargeable batteries, charged via USB-C 
  • Up to 7 hours on a full charge, including a battery-saver mode
  • Super-lightweight and ultra-compact: TX is 31g and RX only 31g
  • The transmitter and receiver pair in just 3 seconds
  • 3-stage output pad: 0, -6dB and -12dB
  • RØDE’s market-leading smartLav+ (with an SC3 adaptor), Lavalier microphone and HS2 headset microphone are perfect companions for the Wireless GO when used as a beltpack (and sold separately)
  • Use up to 8 systems in one location.

Sennheiser brought out the AVX-MKE2 system but at over £750 is a lot of money to justify. Rode’s new compact system comes in at £179 less a smartlav mic at £50 extra.

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

A tribute to the best dad in the world 1931-2019

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Sadly this morning I lost the best friend a boy could have, my father. He was a great man, a very good father and a much loved grandfather and great grandfather. Everyone liked George as he was very friendly and very generous.

Many people did not know he was a bookmaker and as I was growing up I travelled to many horse racing and dog racing establishments. He was such a good mentor and encouraged my love of film making buying me a Super 8mm Kodak XL camera back in 1972 for my Christmas when I was 12.

He even bought my first video camera a Sony Betamax  HVC-2000 with a SL-F1 portable video recorder.

He also mentored all his grandchildren with my son Paul taking up the love of golf. My dad was a keen golfer himself and a 44 year lifetime member at Cathkin Braes Golf Club. Paul would regularly keep gramps up to speed with the golf results and the horse racing.

George McLean (Rangers), Willie Henderson (Rangers) and my dad

Even back in the 1960s my dad knew how a good photograph could be good for business. My other son Scott has a love of football and dad loved talking about the good old football days with Scott.

Me and dad about a year ago
Willie, my sister Martine, me, mum, dad and my wife Susan at my 50th birthday party
George and Rita 1956

A lasting memory of my mum and dad at their wedding, sadly my dad was blighted with health issues in his later years going almost blind 5 years ago but he had a great life with his loving family and will never be forgotten.

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