Probably the best Aurora footage you will see this year

Categories: Miscellaneous 3 Comments

I am a big fan of the Nothern Lights, this has to one of the best collection of stop motion footage seen this year…fantastic !

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

Shocking development from ADOBE with CS6

Categories: Miscellaneous 13 Comments

After 2 weeks of turmoil and Adobe accidentally erasing my order for Premiere Pro CS6 I get a further more serious shock…

When you load up Encore CS6 from the dock you do not have any buttons or templates rendering the program useless, this is shocking from such a so called professional company hard on the heals of Apple’s FCPX.

Was this a mistake or a case of getting the product onto the market at any cost, as a video professional I find this totally unaceptable to produce almost half a product, especially Encore which relies on the missing templates to function properly.

To add insult to injury we are supposed to believe it takes 7 days and counting to transfer and upload this content to their server, I am very angry but as was clearly demonstrated today by Adobe “NO ONE KNOWS WHATS GOING ON” as I was passed over to 4 separate departments with still no outcome…very poor indeed !

Here is the link

I was very hard on FCPX when it first came out and I also find after some investigation that Premiere Pro CS6, as yet…does not output the video to an external monitor if you are using a Matrox MX02.

Considering how long we have waited for CS6 this seems a sheer shambles, half-backed software with no thought given to editors like myself, eager to try it with the possibility of adopting it for professional use !!!

Do not install Premiere Pro CS6 or Encore CS6 because it will also wipe your CS5.5 content as well taking away all the buttons and functionality of BOTH CS5.5 and CS6.

I decided it was no great shakes as I would revert to Encore CS5.5 meantime to discover the stupid CS6 installer had wiped my CS5.5 buttons as well !!!


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

Nvidia QUADRO FX 4800

Categories: Miscellaneous 5 Comments


Gripe number two is with Nvidia who sold me a Quadro FX4800 graphics card £1200 over a year ago for a Mac that will not accept it, if your Mac is 1.1 to 3.1 then this card will not work and hey presto no where in the NVIDIA bumf that ships with this graphics card tells you this, nor does the on line shop who sold me this card.

To put you in the picture I have a second Intel MacPro that was bought January 2008 but built late 2007 that I hoped to install the graphics card into to setup Premiere Pro CS6 giving me a second edit system utilising the Mercury engine.

The Quadro FX4800 for Mac was available May 2009 and there is no mention of this card not being compatible with MacPros pre 2008 other than small print on the Nvidia web site that I have not been able to locate yet !

This has been superseded by the FX4000 at £700 but I think its still relevant information.

I did a bit of swapping cards this morning and installed the latest Lion drivers for the 4800 on my main MacPro ver 5.1 and for the first time in over a year I now get a fully functional FX4800 graphics card working with Premiere Pro CS5.5 and it certainly makes for a snappier Premiere.

I look forward to receiving my copy of Premiere Pro CS6 on Friday and finally giving you all my account of what has been hailed FCP-8 !


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

The Canon EOS 1Dc “Where does it fit in”

Categories: Miscellaneous 7 Comments

Have Canon bitten off more than they can chew with this camera ?

For all the hype over the last two years with the DSLR being used on various programs from corporate to broadcast it’s become very apparent as I predicted a year ago that the video DSLR would take a nosedive in favour of the large sensor video cameras being produced by Sony, Canon, Panasonic, JVC and BlackMagic.

This was very apparent last month when I was able to glance in a glass cabinet in my local Calumet to see a Canon 5D Mk111 for sale, not something I was expecting to see with the recent introduction of this camera.

With seven cameras to choose from sporting 2k to 4K the video manufacturers have not let us down…why are we still getting hybrid photographic/video cameras such as the Nikon D4, D800 and Canon 5DMk111.

Simple…Dual purpose = more money… professional photographers are seeing this explosion of the dual purpose camera and as they are upgrading to a D4 or D800 they are expanding their opportunities delivering TWO for the price of one and a half.

Let me explain, professional photographers are snapping up various corporate jobs like photographing a new complex being built from start to finnish, why not offer the client HD footage for a little bit extra giving the photographer two bites of the cherry after all the camera is capable of both so why involve the expense of a video company if you can do it yourself.

The same principal is now seen regularly on newspaper web sites they have the ticket to get into a press conference why not get an interview while your getting the snaps at the same time, makes complete sense for web content and keeps costs to a minimum.

So to conclude the market has now changed from everyone being able to afford a hybrid DSLR to almost fit for purpose expensive cameras being produced affordable by the upgrading pros yet Canon decide to produce the EOS 1Dc 4K camera for $15,000 against the 4K Scarlet-X AL Canon mount collection at $16,165.

I think the days are now numbered for the ergonomics of the DSLR, it was a test bed when we had no large sensor video cameras and was the catalyst for Sony and Panasonic to produce video versions, that we can be eternally grateful for the DSLR.

With less than professional grade connectors the Canon 1Dc at $15,000 affords you ONE 3.5 mini jack for audio which is NOT a professional sound connector, a mini HDMI output and no swivel LCD.

I can’t see where the EOS-1Dc fits into all these new cameras as everyone seems to be catered for and are professional cameramen/women really going to choose a 1Dc over a C500 if 4K is your goal…I don’t think so.

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

Canon C300 HD download now available £25

Categories: Miscellaneous 1 Comment

I have found that our USA and European readers would prefer “You and your Canon C300” tutorial video as a download which is now available for £25.

The HD download file is 1.52 GB in size and will play on iTunes or your iPad. If you are interested please send me an email to and I will send you a PayPal request and a link to the file itself.

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

AUDIO AD 071 “First Look” £765 ex vat

Categories: Miscellaneous No Comments

I was not aware this kit existed till it arrived this afternoon, it’s a three channel professional audio mixer with three XLR inputs and two XLR outputs.

This mixer from Audio Developments has been designed for a variety of applications. However, its small size (13.5×9.5×4.0cm) and low weight (400gm), lends itself to being mounted on a camera or attached to a belt. It has 3 inputs and two outputs with limiters on microphone inputs and the main outputs. There are two configurations; a one microphone plus two line inputs or three microphone inputs. It is capable of being set and left to process the audio.

MIC INPUTS – One or three electronically balanced type with XLR connector, 48V phantom power, high-pass filter, gain control and mic or line input selection.

LINE INPUT – Instrumentation grade electronically balanced with gain/level control.

ROUTING – Each input is routed to left, right or left and right by two toggle switches.

OUTPUTS – Electronically balanced with XLR type connectors and stereo rotary level control.

Can be unbalanced without loss of level or degradation of quality. A push-button switch selects line or microphone output levels to the XLR connectors. A 3.5mm jack socket carries output signals at microphone level.

LIMITERS – Incorporated in the microphone inputs and the two main outputs. The microphone input limiter is permanently in circuit. A push-button switch introduces the output limiters into circuit and two LEDs indicate the onset of limiting.

LINE-UP OSCILLATOR – 1kHz tone injected into outputs.

MONITORING – Headphone output on 3.5mm jack socket with a push-button switch selecting the direct or return signals. The return signals are brought in on a 3.5mm stereo jack.

METERING – Two LED ladders indicate output level

POWERING – Either external power, via a 4 pin Hirose connector, or a separate PP3 9V battery pack can be used to power the mixer. An LED indicates power present and flashes when the voltage is too low.

HDW : The AD 071 is a very hi-spec British made audio mixer capable of producing high quality sound mixes with toggle switches for line/mic inputs on all three channels, this would be a good mixer for ENG work and would make a hi end mixer for the DSLR market.

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

Green Screen work

Categories: Miscellaneous 7 Comments

Recently I was filming a green screen with the Canon C300 set to 720 50p and 50Mbps, the results on FCP 7 were the best I have seen for a long time. I put this down to the 50Mbps CBR 4:2:2 which is a far cleaner image than 4:2:0. What about that shallow depth of field, how does it affect green screen, I must admit the last time I filmed green screen with a large sensor camera was with the Panasonic AF101 and the results were
less than spectacular.

Looking back at the AF101 I think it suffered in two accounts, lack of resolution (800 lines max) and 4:2:0 shot with AVCHD set to 28Mbps.

Shallow depth of field actually enhances green screen work as it gives a better overall diffusion to the screen itself taking out the odd wrinkle here and there.

Lighting is also critical when it comes to using green screen, six tips for less hassle are as follows…

1. Light the green screen (GS) as evenly as possible using as much diffused light as possible, the last thing you want with GS is hotspots.

2. Use the cameras ZEBRA to check for hotspots.

3. Bring the subject as far forward from the screen to avoid green spill.

4. Expose for the green screen first then adjust the lighting for the presenter, the last thing you want is an under or over exposed background.

5. Make sure you tell the presenter NOT to wear anything green and check how green his/her pupils are, if they are too green use a blue screen instead.

6. Film the presenter straight to camera as the best resolution of your lens is to the centre, move him/her to the left of frame later in post.

Green screen can be tricky to say the least, I have found that sticking to a medium close shot gives you the best results while a wide shot can give varying results from acceptable to unusable. One of the major bonuses of LED lighting is HEAT FREE lighting, I used eight LED lights for this chroma key set-up and the room temperature stayed constant throughout the 2 hour shoot.

CN600 seen above with 3200K filter in place.

Lighting is the key to a good green screen and I now use LED lighting to light my screen and presenter. Most LED lights are about 5200K to 5600K daylight balanced which does not affect the “greenness” of the screen itself though you do need to use at least one LED light at 3200K to give your presenter a nice back light.

I was recently sent one of these new CN-600SA LED lights to test, one of the new generation LED lights using moulded plastic and has a far smaller footprint than previous metal constructed LED lights.

I love the “V” lock mount that now comes standard on most LED lights allowing cable free lighting a God send for anyone using lights in public places. LED lights are a must for wedding videographers who use lights to film the speeches as long as you also use “shot bags” to weigh down the lighting stands.

The CN600 LED light costs £300 new and the UV160 “V”lock DSM battery both from H Preston Media.

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

One 18MP digital camera kit…yours for only $50,000

Categories: Miscellaneous 4 Comments


How much are you willing to pay for a limited edition digital camera, Leica has combined with luxury fashion house Hermès to create the M9-P Edition Hermès. The camera is coated in ocre-colored calfskin leather and features a matching shoulder strap. The camera also features a redesigned, smoother top-plate and control points, designed by the automotive designer, Walter de’Silva, previously responsible for the M9 Titanium. Only 300 of the cameras will be made. A yet more exclusive series of 100 ‘Edition Hermès – Série Limitée Jean-Louis Dumas’ kits will also be sold, in honor of the former president of Hermès. These kits will include a 28mm f/2, 50mm f/0.95 and 90mm f/2 lens, and a exclusive Hermès camera bag. The limited editions will cost $25,000 and $50,000 respectively.

I personally think with a global recession it’s maybe not the right time for Leica to introduce such an exclusive, expensive product and lets be honest are you even at £25,000 for the camera willing to hang such an obvious limited edition expensive camera round your neck !

You can save a few bob by buying the Leica M9-P (body only) which is the same camera for a mere $6,720


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

Alister Chapman gets to play with a Sony F65

Categories: Miscellaneous 1 Comment

As you can guess news is a bit thin on the ground at the moment but this picture tickled me when I saw it, a full frame grab from a Sony F65 posted by Alister Chapman over at XDCAM-USER.

The detail in the picture is truly stunning and all I can add is God help any actress with a bad skin condition when being filmed with this camera !

The F65 is a top-end motion picture camera. It features a true step-change in sensor technology, using a 20 Mega pixel 8K CMOS sensor. The F65 runs up to 120Fps, creates HD/2K or genuine 4K resolution images with a huge colour gamut, outstanding dynamic range, and high sensitivity.

The dockable SR-R4 SRMemory unit records 16bit linear SRRAW directly on to an SRMemory card at up to 5 Gbps. This can be developed with industry-standard NLEs from companies such as Adobe, Avid, Apple, Film light, Quantel, Sony and many others. For maximum operational flexibility, the SR-R4 can also support SStP (same as HDCAM SR) recording which can be used natively on the same NLEs.

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

FCPX update 10.0.4…MXF and 1080 50p

Categories: Miscellaneous 1 Comment

Apple have sneaked two additions to FCPX with the latest update version 10.0.4 and I was unaware of it till I accidentally inserted a Canon C300 CF card into my MacPro and FCPX was minimised. The card was out of my Canon C300 and I was shocked when the thumbnails of the previous shoot suddenly came up on screen…FCPX to my understanding did not accept MXF files.

To prove a point I inserted a further CF card out of the Canon XF100 filmed at 50 Mbps, 720 50p and once again as you can see…thumbnails and the ability to import into FCPX.

The plot thickens as this only works on my MacPro and not my 27″ iMac, both have the same Canon V3 plugin and both have V10.0.4 FCPX update.

After further investigation I also decided to re visit 1080 50p and inserted footage shot with my FS100, NX70 and my Sony A77 DSLR, all 3 cameras footage is now recognised…fantastic.

The downside to all this positive information is that I still find FCPX unreliable as it has on occasions crashed and NOT come back to the same part of the edit as is supposed to happen, its still far to buggy for my liking but what I have seen recently gives me great hope that FCPX will mature gracefully and you can’t fault the phenomenal amount of 3rd party plugins being produced for FCPX.

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

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