Shoot it Yourself “Weddings videos with little to no production values”

Categories: Miscellaneous 11 Comments

Dragons Den a BBC series in which budding entrepreneurs get three minutes to pitch their business ideas to five multi-millionaires willing to invest their own cash. Two weeks ago two ladies from Clapham came on the show to introduce their idea of handing out a video camcorder to a budding punter to film at their friends wedding and the girls would charge £849.

For the £849 you get a dated Sony camcorder for a day to film whatever you wish at your friends wedding, returning the camera and tapes to the girls, they spend 3 days editing some kind of video together ending up with a DVD.

At first I was horrified at this concept but that depends what side of the fence you are coming at this…

Pro cameraman/editor’s hat…Very unprofessional footage to work with and as we all know you can’t make a silk purse out of a sows ear. This idea turns years of instilling into punters heads that they must get a professional to film the wedding…upside down.

Businessman’s hat…Great if you can get away with charging £849 and doing half the work.

There must be hundreds of wedding videographers cringing at this idea but if you think about it it’s not such a bad idea, who in their right mind wants to spend one more second at a strangers wedding if you can possibly avoid it.

The worst part of the wedding is when the £1500 a day wedding photographer skips off after the mock cutting of the cake and you still have at least 3 hours ahead of you.

The point is if you don’t enjoy being there then it makes sense to let someone else do your job…in fact I will bet the two girls are charging a lot more than many so called professional wedding videographers and they are only doing half the work.

It goes against all professional ethics but times are changing…no one thought 10 years ago that people would be filming weddings with photographic cameras, it’s all changing though I may add not for the better.

Anyone in their right mind will always choose a professional videographer over a DIY Video Bob or Bettie but financially if people in Clapham are affording this DIY filming service with editing and DVD services then you should all be charging £1500 minimum per professional wedding video and I bet thats way off the Clapham average cost of a wedding video…£650 at a guess.

Latterly when I was in the wedding scene I would on occasions hand out a smaller camcorder to see what footage the best man could produce or in one occasion I gave the flower girl a camera, so as you can see this idea is not new but the “extra” footage shot by amateurs was clearly identified and the client got the best of both worlds a cracking wedding video with some extra family input. The important point being 98% was professional and the extra raw footage was cherry picked and even the flower girl was given some tuition on using a video camera.

Good luck to the girls, they should be updating and handing out Sony MC50s, simple solid state camcorders with very little to tweak and cracking HD or SD pictures.

They prove one thing people are willing to spend money on little to no production values and are happy with a few copyright music tracks and an edit on iMovie…how much lower are production values in this world going to drop.

Conclusion : Over the past two days I have spoken to many people involved in and around this topic and it seems this has been good for the wedding video scene in general.

1. It has raised the profile.

2. Given many cheap skates a lot to think about.

3. Given the professional a benchmark for the first time “If you want to film it yourself it will only cost £849”

There is nothing to stop you as a working wedding videographer offering this very same “DIY” service as a starter package or doing what I did and giving various members of the wedding party a shot at filming some footage with a smaller easy to use camcorder.

The best news is the new benchmark starting price is £849 if you are charging less than this you are too cheap !

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

Steve Jobs dies aged 56 “The Genius who brought colour into many lives”

Categories: Miscellaneous 2 Comments

It’s like loosing one of your family, the daddy of Apple computers has sadly passed away today and I for one will forever be indebted to him. This Genius and visionary was my only saviour from the PC and a fantastic editing package Final Cut Pro.

My business is run on Apple computers from the 23″ iMac that I am typing this tribute on to the MacPro that day in, day out edits many happy clients video footage to the three iPhones and two iPad 2s we are steeped in Apple fantasticness and it’s all due to one man…Mr Steve Jobs.

I thank you Steve from all my heart and am glad you are now free from any pain and distress you may have suffered and my best wishes to your family and all Apple employees who will also be feeling very sad today.

Only yesterday were we treated to a further advancement to the iPhone 4 the 4s with many fantastic new features and people are now calling for the launch date of October 14th to be called Steve Jobs day…I would prefer the Apple stores to close for a day in respect of Steve who with his vision and commitment has brought not only a lot of pleasure to many people’s lives but a lot of employment worldwide.

In the words of the great man himself “You can’t just ask customers what they want and then try to give that to them,” he once said. “By the time you get it built, they’ll want something new.”

A lovely tribute to Steve on Apples own web site from the people who knew Steve best…

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

GenusTech Rig with WA Matte Box

Categories: Miscellaneous 5 Comments


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

GenusTech Rig Review coming soon

Categories: Miscellaneous No Comments

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

New Panasonic AG-AC160 arrives in Glasgow

Categories: Miscellaneous 7 Comments

Just out of the box the Panasonic AG-AC160…I look forward to producing a full in-depth review of this fantastic AVCCAM camcorder, the first of a new breed of solid state cameras from Panasonic.

I have had very little time to play with the AC160 today but here are a couple of frames from me messing about this evening. Firstly the camera copes very well in mixed lighting, the shot above has 5000K LED down lighters giving an almost daylight light, the fridge light on my wifes face is as good as 3200K.

I caught the coloured fridge door magnets and was pleased to see how natural the colours were especially is such mixed lighting. I have done some preliminary low light tests but nothing very scientific so I will refrain from comment till I have done further testing.

I hope to give the camera a thourough run-through over the next few days and produce a video review by the end of the week. We hope to have a bit of a coo by interviewing an old Celtic Lisbon Lion player as part of the review.

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

redrock… “first on the market with a Canon EF solution”

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The Redrock Micro LiveLens MFT™ is the first active lens adapter that enables Canon EF lenses to be used with any micro four-thirds (mft) camera, such as the Panasonic AG-AF100, Panasonic GH1/2, and Olympus Pen cameras.

Canon EF lenses require power and electronic controls in order to adjust the lens’ aperture. Without power and control electronics, The aperture of the EF lenses are stuck wide open, severely limiting the usefulness of the lens. The Redrock LiveLens mft active lens adapter solves this problem by providing power to the EF lens and a control pad to adjust the lens aperture. With LiveLens mft you can set the EF lens’ aperture to any stop in increments as small as 1/3 stop. It works with just about every lens available today, including variable aperture zoom lenses, prime lenses, consumer-level lenses, and professional L-series lenses. It also works with most third party EF-compatible lenses. There are some limitations to please make sure to read Technical Details.

The Redrock Micro LiveLens mft is the solution for using sharp EF-mount lenses on Micro Four Third bodies without sacrifice. Where standard “dummy adapters” just physically mount EF lenses to the Micro Four Third body, the Redrock micro LiveLens MFT talks to the lens, giving you the ability to adjust your aperture without the need to use time consuming workarounds on set. Don’t work around the ability of your lenses; make your lenses work for you, starting today.

How does LiveLens mft work? 

The LiveLens mft is a lens adapter that fits onto any micro four-thirds camera body, and provides a Canon EF lens mount on the other side for attaching any EF-compatible lens. an on board computer and electronics power a small control panel that allow you to adjust the aperture of the lens, open or closed, in 1/3 stop increments.

Does LiveLens do what I need it to do? 

Absolutely. LiveLens technology has been used by many professional productions for over three years, demonstrating the reliability and capability of LiveLens. With a few exceptions it works with most EF-compatible lenses.LiveLens mft uses true active EF lens control technology, not fake extra iris, mechanical-only lens mount, or other non-performing poor quality “solutions” found on the Internet today.

How is it powered?

The LiveLens mft is powered by an external 9v battery, which can be switched on and off.

How long does the 9v battery last?

The 9V battery can power the unit for about 20 hours depending on how frequently aperture is adjusted .

Will this adapter work on all of my lenses?

The Redrock Micro LiveLens MFT will work on most Canon EF Lenses. However, there are a few exceptions. LiveLens mft does not power focus by wire lenses like the 85mm f/1.2 and 300mm f/2.8. It also does not work with Canon or third party teleconverters, extenders, or macro tubes.

How would I support long or heavy lenses?

If you plan on using long or heavy glass, we’d suggest a microLensSupport to ensure the lens is secure and properly supported.

Can I use the camera to control aperture?

Currently the lens aperture is controlled only through the LiveLens control pad, not the camera.

Will this power the image stabilizer of my IS enabled lenses?

Currently the LiveLens MFT powers only the aperture control of the lens, and does not provide power for image stabilization.

How does this differ from the LiveLens for the M3?

The underlying control technology of the LiveLens MFT and LiveLens for M3 is identical. Where the LiveLens MFT differs is it’s custom-built flange that attaches the unit to the Micro Four Thirds lens mount. LiveLens for the M3 has been proven to work for over three years in production environments and gives LiveLens mft this proven reliability.


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

Great Manfrotto deal

Categories: Miscellaneous 3 Comments


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

Kevin is stepping down after 17 years with the IOV

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IOV seeks new Administration

Having successfully provided the administrative backbone to the IOV for the past 17-years, IOV Focus Ltd has announced that it will not be tendering to renew its contract when it expires in October 2012.

Having fulfilled the role of Executive Administrator since 1995, Kevin Cook, Managing Director of IOV Focus Ltd, feels that his place in the IOV has come to a natural conclusion. Kevin said, “Whilst there is a big part of me that is very sad about this change, I wholeheartedly agree that this is the right thing for both the IOV and for me at this point in time. We both have extremely bright futures and exciting times ahead of us.”

IOV Chairman, Ron Lee, added, “Whilst the management of the IOV has always been a collaborative effort, no one could deny the enormous impact that the team at IOV Focus has had on our association. Virtually every positive development has been a result of their vision, determination and enthusiasm in building the IOV into a truly worthwhile and well-respected trade association. Having quadrupled in size since 1995, the IOV has become a substantial and influential part of the industry.

Whilst the current agreement does not expire until October next year, both parties want to move on and implement changes without delay. The IOV has therefore taken ownership of the entire shares of IOV Focus Ltd and from now on will gradually route its business activities through the IOV. For the immediate future Kevin will continue to act as Executive Administrator as an employee of the IOV until a suitable alternative is found. It is also hoped that Kevin will continue to be involved in the IOV at Executive level so that the organisation can continue to benefit from his extensive experience.

Ariane Nombro, the IOV Membership Secretary, will also continue in her role as an employee of the IOV until the new administration is in place.

Kevin added, “I am extremely proud of what we achieved with the IOV over the years and really appreciate the help, encouragement and support offered by the membership over this time. Many of you have become, and I hope will continue to be, very close friends. It has been an honour to serve you all and, in particular, the IOV’s past and present Executive Committee for the best part of my working career. I’m sure the next administration will enjoy the same support and encouragement that I have.”

Going forward the IOV is now actively seeking interest from a replacement company or individual/s that can take the IOV forward and spearhead the further development of the association and build on its many successes. The IOV Executive has a description of the tasks involved and the expectations, qualities and requirements of those who will be fulfilling these important roles. They are willing to consider either entering into a new arrangement with an external contractor or employing a person or persons to deliver these tasks.

In the first instance, applicants should email to express their interest and request the job/role descriptions. All correspondence will be treated in the strictest of confidence.

Issued on behalf of the
IOV Executive Committee

HDW…Having known Kevin over the majority of his service with the IOV I am surprised it’s taken so long for him take his creative skills else ware, he has given a good part of his career to the IOV and they are the better for having had Kevin for so long. I was a Fellow/committee member a few years ago but my own work had to come first and started to clash with my IOV duties so I resigned.

On the whole no one makes any money working for the IOV in fact Kevin because of the full time commitment to their “Focus magazine” was one of the few full time paid members.

It will be interesting to see how the magazine progresses, time will tell. 

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

P2 v SxS v SDHC “The price of this media is affecting sales”

Categories: Miscellaneous 4 Comments


As we await the new Panasonic AG-HPX250 P2 camcorder I thought it would be a good time to compare the two dominant solid state professional formats.

As you can see there is nothing in it these days price wise between P2 and SxS but if Panasonic wanted to seriously dent the sales of Sony’s XDCAM they need to get the price of their media down again.

For all it’s reliability both cards are excessively priced compared to SDHC or SDXC cards which are a fraction of the cost and are pushing many price conscious professionals away from both P2 and SxS.

We are living in hard times and clients are cutting budgets back all the time, cameramen/women are less likely to upgrade to a system that comes with the burden of having to buy £1000 upwards of media when the alternative SDHC is not a million miles away in quality.

There are a growing number of SSD recorders coming onto the market like the Ninja using relatively cheaper solid state memory e.g. 128GB SSD is only £135 that’s four times the capacity of your P2/SxS 32G card and at 4:2:2.

Panasonic and Sony have to re-think the cost of this media, Sony have already bowed to the cheaper SxS adapter by bringing their own version out so I think Panasonic should consider doing the same or slash the price of P2 to a more affordable price.

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

Panasonic AG-AC160 due this week

Categories: Miscellaneous 4 Comments

I have been informed that the Panasonic AG-AC160 is due to arrive next week and I should get a camera to review soon, the one thing that struck me about the 160 during IBC was the quality of the picture.

Since the AF101 Panasonic have been listening to their end users and producing a cracking range of non shoulder mount camcorders from the 10bit 4:2:2 250 down to the AVCCAM AC-130. We are now being treated to camcorders that are fit for purpose rather than those teetering on the edge of even being semi professional.

The AC160 sits plumb in the middle and is the most sought after at it’s price point of £3000 plus 20% vat and the major fact that it by passes the expensive P2 card system that the 250 uses.

With the 160 you get a lot of camera for your money here are just a few of it’s highlights…

1. AVCHD in PH mode 21 Mbps (VBR)

2. 22x optical zoom lens f1.6-3.2 (35mm conversion = 28mm – 616mm)

3. Synchro scan

4. SDHC (4-32GB) and SDXC cards (48-2TB)

5. Dual system 50 or 59.94 Hz

6. Interval recording

7. Variable frame rate plus over and under cranking

8. Linear PCM 2ch sound or Dolby Digital

9. SDI and HDMI out

10. 2 XLR 3 pin connectors for sound I/P

11. 2 card slots allow simultaneous recording

The 160 is packed with features from the manual aperture 22x lens to the ability to record dual memory cards at the same time all for the sum of £3000 plus vat.

I hope to get one next week and put it through it’s paces including a look at the camcorders low light capabilities.


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

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