The new ZOOM H8 audio recorder $400

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Whether you’re capturing audio on location, recording music, or producing a podcast, the H8 color touchscreen adapts to your project’s needs with three App-driven interface options. All with the touch of your finger.

I have bought various audio devices in the past from a Tascam DR-44WL to a Zoom R16 and found them menacingly complicated to use. One of my more useful purchases was the Tascam DR-60D which was used with my GH4 at IBC 2013.

With the addition of the Zoom BTA-1 Bluetooth module you can see your audio levels on your iPhone.

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

ZOOM…The “New Normal” in live football

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Picture courtesy: AGF 

Zoom has been the way forward during the pandemic for many platforms from live TV to live football.

Many of us were not aware of zoom till we met COVID-19 and a worldwide lockdown became the normal. We needed a new way to meet each other and along came a ready made platform called zoom.

During a football game (see pic above) the screens requires no less than 23 men behind the scenes to make it happen.

Needless to say this will only be avaliable in the more affluent football grounds and my question is what happens if a stray ball hits the screen ?

I think this is a great way forward if you cant allow fans in the stadium.


Erik Yuan CEO of ZOOM, picture courtesy of TechCrunch.com

Needless to say Erik Yuan has made nearly $4 billion in 3 months as usage of his video conferencing software goes through the roof during the pandemic.

Zoom is a cloud-based video conferencing service you can use to virtually meet with others – either by video or audio-only or both, all while conducting live chats – and it lets you record those sessions to view later.

When people are talking about Zoom, you’ll usually hear the following phrases: Zoom Meeting and Zoom Room. A Zoom Meeting refers to a video conferencing meeting that’s hosted using Zoom. You can join these meetings via a webcam or phone. Meanwhile, a Zoom Room is the physical hardware setup that lets companies schedule and launch Zoom Meetings from their conference rooms.

Zoom Rooms require an additional subscription on top of a Zoom subscription and are an ideal solution for larger companies.

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

Panasonic G100 Vlogging camera…again with no headphone socket !

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The rage from Japan seems to be dedicated Vlogging cameras. Only someone has decided Vlogging is for people who live in Toytown.

Once again, sadly, Panasonic have decided that we are not getting a headphone socket. After the GH4, GH5, S1 and finally on the FZ2000… all with headphone sockets this camera returns to the dark ages.

Not only does it not have a headphone socket but we are back to a mini HDMI socket and to top it off you get 10 minutes record time in 4K25p or 20 minutes in full HD.

Sound has not only taken a back seat with this camera but the lack of recording time is crippling.

We are in the middle of a Worldwide Pandemic and Panasonic decides to make a camera with features that will cut out 50% of their buying market.

I looked at this as I liked the size of it “nice and compact” but as soon as I heard the words “NO HEADPHONE SOCKET” I switched off.

Who are Panasonic talking to when they make such stupid design decisions. Yet they proudly show off the external mic socket…only one problem chaps…if the sound going into the camera is duff no amount of post production is going to fix this. I will leave you with a video review from Gordon Laing from Camera Labs.

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

Using crews during a pandemic

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I read an article from Alister Chapman on Facebook about the problem with crews during a pandemic.

Alister Chapman “The challenges of a very simple Covid shoot. So – you think – lets shoot outside, the safest place to work. That’s fine as long as the weather stays dry. Then you find that you have crew members that can only use public transport and your exterior location isn’t close to any public transport routes – move to a different location closer to a railway station. Trains are much less frequent and social distance means seats may not be available, so need much more start time flexibility.Ask your crew to bring their own lunch and drinks. But then once they have drunk those drinks where do they go for a bathroom break? Public toilets are mostly closed, cafe’s and bars are closed. This would normally be such a simple shoot to organise.”

David “So why not get another crew”

Alister ” I’d rather stick with the crew I know, a crew that’s always worked hard to deliver before this. I know some of them have been hit hard by this, so I want to do my bit to help them earn a living.”

HDW “Very commendable”

Colin “Rent a motor home as a home base”

Alaister “No budget for that, this is a simple small crew shoot where normally we would go to a local cafe or bar for breaks. A motor home is to small for a crew to all sit down inside together and you would also need someone to sanitise it between each user. It also assumes there is somewhere big enough to park it on site.”

HDW : The problem is you never know what underlying health problems others have until you arrange a shoot.
In my own case I have chrohn’s disease and my cameraman has type one diabetes so both of us are reliant on the ability to need public toilets as a minimum.
Type one’s tend to run their blood sugars a bit higher to give themselves leeway thus causing them to need the toilet more frequently.

I thought I would throw this picture in for good measure hairdressing during a shoot in Edradour, you just can’t socially distance yourself from people while cutting their hair.

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

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This collision happened in Feburary and is only being reported now.

Getting down to the nitty gritty the Canadian police helicopter was on a mission and the police drone was on the same mission, there was a collision but not enough damage to the helicopter that it could not land safely.

Here is a chap I follow on YouTube “Droning On” to explain what happened

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

A fascinating look at recreating an early colour outside broadcast (OB)

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Photograph supplied with kind permission from Ron Seeth (Seen above operating the camera for Scottish Television)

A look at the early days in colour broadcasting in the UK this should appeal to my broadcast buddies.

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

DPA Micro Shotgun Kit for interviews £435

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Hands up I do know who DPA are but I do remember seeing them at IBC a few years ago. DPA have come up with a genius interview kit for keeping the stress off the interviewers hand with a micro shotgun mic and boom kit best if you watch the video. It sounds very clear on the video.

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

Sony Z-V1 “Vlogging camera ?”

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Sony have decided that there is no need to monitor your sound any more as they insist in bringing out mirrorless cameras with no headphone socket.

I would love to speak to the so called designer who keeps missing the point. Its totally reckless of any company to provide a video tool that does not allow you to monitor your sound.

Whats the point of vlogging if you get back to base to discover you sound is crap.

I will leave you with my good friend Johnnie Behiri who has produced a review of this camera for Cinema 5D

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

Updating Camberwell Studios beyond a Pandemic

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 The one good bit of news during this Pandemic is the ability of companies like Camberwell Studios in London to upgrade their studios to accommodate social distancing and many other new regulations brought about by the Pandemic.

Like you, we are keen to re-open our green screen studios and get on with the business of filming. We have thought through the issues as we understand them and have conducted a full review of our procedures and facilities to enable this.

We believe we can take in bookings provided we exercise caution, practise common sense and follow the guidelines.

We will not risk being a place of virus transmission. With that in mind, we have written this guide on how t film safely at Camberwell Studios during the coronavirus pandemic,

Our objective is to provide a clean and safe space for our clients to film. To do that we will work with each client individually to mitigate risks for their shoot and create a specific Covid-19 Risk Assessment for them. 

The client is responsible for the safe running of their production within the hired studio spaces. This includes ensuring that all production crew follow guidelines within the common areas. 

  • The key to managing risk is the management of people in the studios and keeping the studios deep cleaned before, during and after each shoot, for which we are instigating a new and rigorous regime.
  • Within our entire facility, we can accommodate shoots of up to 15-20 people, depending on what is being filmed and how you go about it. (In normal times we have coped with up to 45 people).
  • Everyone must wear facemasks in common areas at all time.
  • We have the space to separate out different functions and the flexibility to provide more time for the shoot to set up and operate throughout the day.
  • We do have some ‘pinch points’ within the facility where care must be taken not to bump into each other: notably the entrance, the door into Studio 1, five metres of the corridor and the restrooms. We will manage this with signage, yellow tape and common sense (“anyone there?”).

Although we have two green screen studios, we will only take one exclusive booking per day.

When the situation allows and we can take two shoots, we will continue to implement strict safety procedures and make sure both productions know and are satisfied their safety requirements can be met. Staggered start times are one obvious way to mitigate this.

The following site plan shows the studio layout and will be the basis for the Risk Assessment. Teams will be assigned areas. The production schedule will manage their entry into and around the studio.

Our process starts with the Production Lead arriving first, to be briefed on how the studios have been set up, how people should be managed within the space and how to liaise with us throughout the day. We will require the PL to sign-off that the studios meet the requirement.

Before entering Camberwell Studios all production crew, clients and talent must:

  • Wait for the PL and Camberwell Studios staff to register and check them into the building
  • Be signed off against the production supplied crew list
  • Hand sanitise
  • Get temperature taken on entry and again at 2 pm. If someone has a high temperature they cannot enter the building (the PL should arrange for their safe passage home).
  • Wear a coloured sticker in common view showing they have been through this process.
  • All members of the client team, including talent, must not leave and return to the premises during the shoot. It will be its own lockdown area and the PL must make arrangements to ensure that this is understood and adhered to.
  • We have a private outside space at the rear where people can take phone calls, have a cigarette, relax.
  • Should anyone need to leave and return, the PL will inform Camberwell Studios and the entry process will be repeated.

PPE – All Production crew and clients must wear facemasks in the common areas on site. We also recommend that facemasks are worn all the time, including on set where practicably possible.

Hand Washing and Sanitising – Paper Towels, sanitizing soap and gel will be provided for the use of all.

Restrooms – Everyone using the toilet facilities MUST follow the hygiene procedures shown on posters. When they use the toilet they must put the seat down – then flush – wait 1 min and lift the lid and spray the toilet bowl with Dettol spray. Put the lid down. We have separated the toilets for Men and Women.

Equipment – if you hire equipment from a third party we will require a statement from the third party, in advance of delivery, stating that the kit has been hygienically cleaned before entering the studio. If you are using owner/operators we need to know but wouldn’t require the same statement. (You might depending on whether others will handle their equipment). If you hire lights from us we will provide this statement.

Shoot Rubbish must be gathered and placed in the provided bin. At the end of the day, the rubbish must be tied up and placed outside – we will show you where.

Catering – Deliveroo/Uber Eats etc seems the way forward.  The PL must liaise with Camberwell Studios to confirm catering requirements and timings.  Designated areas will be allocated for all catering and refreshment use.  Disposable cutlery and crockery only.

Drinking-Water and Refreshments All drinking vessels must be labelled for individual use.  Please ensure your team understands this and you make appropriate arrangements to provide appropriate disposable/reusable cups, mugs, cans, bottles.

Deliveries – often clients arrange for Amazon type deliveries (not kit and grip) to come directly to the studious ahead of the shoot. This is still OK with the following conditions:

  • Let the Delivery driver know they must not enter the building beyond the signs we have put in place
  • The package must be clearly marked with the Shoot Name. Make sure you use a consistent name that we know.
  • You must let us know when and how many parcels to expect.
  • We will place parcel(s) in a black bin bag awaiting your arrival. We will not open or inspect them

Finally – if anyone on your shoot subsequently reports they have Covid-19 symptoms in the three days after, we ask and would expect you to tell us immediately. If and when a government app for smartphones is made available we would consider making it mandatory for shoots here. It isn’t our favourite idea but for the sake of all filmmakers (and everyone else) concerned it seems common sense. What do you think?   

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

GFW QRTOP for £11.66 plus vat

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Always the same just as you mention a quick release for boom poles another one gets flagged up. The Gator Frameworks Quick Release Microphone Attachment is all of £11.66 plus vat a lot better value for money in these hard times.

The link is here https://www.soundtech.co.uk/professional-audio/frameworks/microphone-stands/mic-stand-accessories/gfw-mic-qrtop?fbclid=IwAR1XbdDE89oDVNKtiFpyEwFByTBhFZPJVjGaJplnsHnRlbz1DDwuzpH_LqI

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

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