The “Minority Report” a lesson for us all !

Categories: Miscellaneous 2 Comments


A little known TV station has been projected world wide thanks to Twitter for their excellent so called “live coverage” of the riots in Birmingham.

Sangat TV is a registered charity, backed by gurdwaras from the UK and from other individuals. The channel is an open platform for the Sikh sangat to express their views independently. Programming includes educational material on the Sikh gurus and Guru Granth Sahib.

Wiki “Sangat TV came into prominence during the Birmingham Riots of August 2011. The station broadcast live from the streets of Birmingham on the second day of rioting in the city, Tuesday 9 August 2011, to provide accurate, live information and broadcasts. The channel’s coverage was used by Sky News and other national and international stations to show what was happening in the city”

It’s a rare picture indeed when in the middle of a live riot situation you get a British police riot officer shaking hands with the driver ( Mr Singh), this shows the respect Sangat and their crew are held within the Birmingham community.

People like the honesty and less polished production of Sangat against the two giants, Sky and the BBC, there is possably a lesson to be learned by the two major broadcasters.

Quote from Asian Image “What the Sangat TV team did prove however that maybe the traditional Indian method of getting a good story is most likely the best. To put it simply…get a camera…get your friend to drive and think about the consequences later.”

This ability to broadcast these events might not have happened had Sangat TV—normally a Sikh religious channel—not leased the LiveU units from Garland Partners. The station had intended to use the units to provide live coverage of a visit of a famous Sikh preacher. However, Sangat TV was contacted by a local councillor in the Handsworth area of Birmingham who wanted to warn the local community and help them work with the police.

Rather than having the councillor come to the studio, reporter Randher Singh took an LU60 unit with camera attached, and broadcast the councillor live using 3G connectivity from outside a local temple. From that point on, the station brought live pictures of the riots to Sky viewers that others simply could not, all due to their use of the LiveU technology.

 The LU60 is the industry’s first bonded 3G/4G LTE video-over-cellular uplink backpack with proprietary RF technology for superior resiliency, with up to 1080 HD video. The units—provided in the UK through LiveU’s partnership with Garland Partners—have been used to broadcast numerous high-profile events as they happen, including the royal wedding, sporting events, political uprisings, and large-scale entertainment events.

You can catch their excellent live coverage on SKY CHANNEL 847


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

Is the DSLR finally showing it’s limitations ?

Categories: Miscellaneous 7 Comments

I have had a few emails recently all with the same message…DSLR stopped working ! Are we now seeing the major limitations of this cheaper video technology.

No one ever thought for one minute that we would see video work being produced by a stills camera especially at weddings, but quite a number of you have been putting the DSLR through it’s paces at least twice a week throughout the wedding season.

We are now on year 2-3 with the DSLR being used as a video tool, people like the “look”, “Shallow depth of field”, “”Compactness” but all this form factor is at a cost, not one DSLR manufacturer to date will compromise the photographic side of these cameras so for at least 90% of you that means moire and aliasing.

Sound is poor and in most cases uncontrollable so you are having to use an external sound source like a zoom etc.

Up until a week ago the only DSLR giving hassle free video was the Panasonic GH1 but one of my readers had the following…

” The GH1s not a whole lot better. I shot a wedding with 2 of them and a HMC151 recently. The 2 GH1s crashed during the ceremony. One was restarted by the operator, the other was locked off to the rear of the church so we didn’t know about it til after the ceremony.

DSLRs are fabulous filmmaking tools but not really sorted for live video work, yet.”

This chap was lucky he was also using a Panasonic HMC-151 camcorder so the instant 2 camera failure was a bad blow but the video camcorder saved his bacon.

This also happened to a company I blogged about recently using two Canon 60Ds and a Sony FS100 once again a two camera failure during the speeches and the Sony FS100 saving the day.

It seems obvious to me there is a short longevity with the DSLR using it in video mode, the overheating is never a good sign in any electrical equipment and I think it’s also causing irrepariable dammage, in other words temperature = camera problems.

If I take my straw pole of unsatisfied DSLR users to date it equals 70% not happy having had a major let down at a live event and out of that 70% only 30% had a video camcorder to fall back on.

My advice is obvious either take a video camcorder or a spare DSLR body to all your weddings and keep them at arms length…just in case !

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

DSLR controller

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This will not suit everyone as in my opinion it is far to specific using Android phones and tablet when the marketplace is dominated with iPhones and iPads.

Just in case its something you may be able to use here is a short video…

Here is the website

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

Sony HXR-NX70 Firmware Upgrade coming early 2012

Categories: Miscellaneous 8 Comments

Sony are listening to us…there are two things missing from the NX70 and both are being addressed early 2012 with a firmware upgrade (FW).

1. 720p is a very useful setting but is missing from the NX70…this will be enabled with a FW upgrade.

2. The second FW upgrade is music to my and many NX70 users…the ability to to record onto card and internal memory at the same time, once again this will be enabled early next year.

There may be other enhancements nearer the time but this is indeed fantastic news for all NX70 owners, it just goes to prove that Sony take our comments seriously. Firmware upgrading is a great advancement in todays new technology allowing companies like Sony to enhance features that may only become apparent after the camera hits the marketplace…top marks to Sony.

As a further update I have just finished an 8 minute major corporate shoot for a large drinks manufacturer, two years ago I did a similar shoot using a Sony EX-1, this time it was all shot on the Sony NX70 and the shots were better than my EX-1 could produce and a lot less noisy.

I am about to embark on a major documentary about type 1 diabetes and it will be a mixture of NX70 and FS100 footage, shot at 1080 50p. The cameras are well matched and having the new FW enhancements at the turn of the year will give the NX70 a further professional enhancement.

I hope Sony are also addressing the zoom rocker switch to make it more variable please and a PAL/NTSC switch in the menu would also be appreciated.

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

Two Canon 60Ds and a Sony FS100…”A ticking time bomb”

Categories: Miscellaneous 11 Comments


Someone once told me that the DSLR is simply another tool in your box, especially if you are filming weddings with them. Over the last two years I have developed a comfort zone with the Video DSLR though I do not use one outside the studio other than the odd pack shots and close up work of new camcorders etc.

This true story starts about 8 weeks ago the only change to the truth is the boys names to save their professional blushes. I was working at my desk when George came on the phone with an offer of a second hand Sony EX-3 a week later we shook hands and Prestons had their EX-3 and George was very happy with his four figure sum.

The boys, George and Scott were looking to beef up their DSLR kit as they use two Canon 60Ds for all their top end wedding work. About a week before the Glasgow open day I got a further call from George asking if we would be interested in their second EX-3, no problem and John Preston took the EX-3 at the Glasgow show and the boys now had a fair sum of money to spend.

I demonstrated the Sony FS100 to them and they were blown away by it’s exceptional noise free 21dB gain, so much so they put their name down for a new FS100. The Nikon to E mount adapters from MTF were just on their second production so it would be about a week till we took delivery of the boys adapter, I gave them my Sony 18-200 “E” lens to tide them over.

Last week I visited the boys in their plush offices in Glasgow city centre to hand over the MTF adapter. “How did you get on with the new FS100 boys” “It saved our bacon last weekend” was the sheepish reply.


The Report…”Last weekend the boys were filming a two camera wedding using the FS100 as a third camera for syncing sound and cutaways, the day went well till it came to the speeches, fortunately they were using the FS100 for sound so decided to record the speeches using all three cameras. The speeches were longer than anticipated, the day was one of Glasgow’s hottest and half way through both Canon 60Ds brought up a thermometer indication, indicators flashing and both cameras switched off within a minute of each other leaving both boys shocked to the core.

Over the last year they had gradually gone from using two Sony EX-3s switching over to two Canon DSLRs and till this moment in time with much success…this was a monumental disaster but for the luck of buying the Sony FS100 one week before that very wedding, they composed themselves, finished the speeches with the one camera that was preventing a major law suite and the demise of their wedding film business.

I don’t need to tell any of you how serious this could have been but I do think all of you filming weddings with DSLRs should take stalk and rethink your workflow.

Far to many of you poo poo the video camcorder these days in preference for the DSLR when it’s clear that you have a temperature time bomb waiting to happen…sometime in the future !

There is a place for both technologies, especially now we have cameras like the AF101 and the FS100, George and Scott still have a wedding video business thanks to having the Sony FS100 … but you may not be so lucky !

In my opinion the DSLRs are good for openers, musical montages and anything that does not require sound other than that you should be using a video camera like the Canon XF300, Sony NX70/NX5, Panasonic AF101 or the Sony FS100.

If you are being payed to produce a wedding video you are legally bound to make sure you have taken all precautions possible to make sure you produce the package the bride and groom have asked you to film for them, there is no excuse in law for ignorance or using equipment that is not fit for purpose. You take someones money off them…most of you get payed before the wedding you are entering a legal contract of work, if your DSLR shuts down because its too hot you better have a back up of some kind at the ready otherwise it becomes very expensive and you may loose you business.

My thanks to Bertoli for pointing out my D60 should read 60D.


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

Thanks to FCP.CO for this…Brilliant !

Categories: Miscellaneous 1 Comment

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

The Sony A77 DSLR with 1080 50p Full HD

Categories: Miscellaneous 3 Comments

This is an interesting move by Sony as this DSLR is clearly directed at the video marketplace even although Sony have all angles covered with their VG10, FS100 and the F3.

The A77 DSLR sports a brand new sensor as yet we don’t know if it’s full frame or APS. A 3 million dot OLED LCD that has a swivel function…very useful. FULL HD recording in 60p, 50p, 25p and 24p. Conforms to AVCHD Two, this is a 28mbps rate rather than 24. Thats all the technical info we have at the moment.

UPDATE : According to rumors the A77 is supposed to feature dual BIONZ image processors, a 24MP image sensor, HIGH ISO performance (really high), a quick AutoFocus system with 11 AF points, an electronic OLED viewfinder with a whopping 3 million dot resolution, capabilities for recording full HD (1920 x 1080) video are expected, GPS functionality, and finally built-in USB 3.0 support (USB 3.0 offers up to 10x the performance of USB 2.0, and USB 3.0 is faster than FireWire 800).

Info from

Before you run out and order the A77, have a read at my next blog (Friday) which involves two Canon D60s and a Sony FS100…this sobering story may save your bacon one day.


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

Plot Device from Red Giant TV

Categories: Miscellaneous 1 Comment

A young filmmaker obtains a mysterious device that unleashes the full force of cinema on his front lawn.

Created using Magic Bullet Suite 11. Learn more at

Watch the “Behind the Scenes” documentary at:

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New Vari ND filter from Japan…unconfirmed price 77mm €500 (Euros)

Categories: Miscellaneous 4 Comments


Kenko-Tokina has announced a variable neutral density (ND) filter that can be adjusted fro ND2.5 to ND1000. The Kenko NDX filter can darken the scene by anywhere from 1.3 to 10 EV. The filter allows the use of wide apertures while keeping the correct exposure within the shutter speed range of your camera, or of very long shutter times to emphasise motion. The company suggests its use for shooting video with shallow depth-of-field, for instance. Its variable nature allows the amount of filtration to be reduced for focusing, then increased to the desired amount, without having to remove the filter. The filters can vignette when used with lenses wider than 28mm equivalent and are available in 77mm and 82mm filter thread sizes.

One other important bit of information is the fact that the NDX filter does not change colour when you dial in the ND this will make this ND filter a very useful tool in your DSLR/large sensor video camera kit.

One of my contributors has told me that we are looking at €500 Euros for the 77mm version which works out at around £435, I really find it so insulting that manufacturers of filters charge the same price as a Nikon 70-200 VR lens, in my opinion they are cashing in on the DSLR craze, they will also find a reluctance of retail outlets willing to stock what is effectively two bits of polarised glass stuck together. In photographic terms we have had polarised filters for years and the technology is not a million miles away…SO WHY THE PRICE HIKE !

Not to worry Tiffen are also bringing out a variable ND filter at the more reasonable price of £199, and Tiffen have a far better reputation in the movie industry for their excellent glass.

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

Final Cut Pro 10 “Worse than I first feared”

Categories: Miscellaneous 8 Comments


Final Cut Pro 10 is a disgrace to editing in fact it’s now positively dangerous, I decided after leaving it for a week or so to watch some more of my Ripple Training video and have a positive look at FCP-10.

It did not take long to shake me to the core, this software is a joke, I have used non linear edit suites for about 15 years starting with an Apple Turbo Cube, Digisuite with Speed Razor then Premiere 6.5 onto Premiere Pro. I joined FCP at version 5 and still use version 7.03.

The first major flaw is this mini cine reel, I accidentally clicked on it and it brought up a new project, wiping away my 2 hours of editing I had been working on…this is unreal I searched for an hour to retrieve my edit to no avail…to all intent purposes it was gone, then came the second more serious part of this joke software.

The second clanger came when I was playing about with a duff take and I erased it from the timeline to discover that you also erase it from the bin as well…this defeats the concept of non destructive editing.

Now I know this software is not FCP-7 with bells added but my experiment proved one thing that Apple have lost the plot when it comes to non destructive editing.

I decided to use this software as I would FCP7 or Premiere Pro 5.5 and it not only failed badly but is NOT FIT FOR PURPOSE and is POSITIVELY DANGEROUS in its present state. I also had to buy a program called CLIP WRAP which is excellent I may add in order to get my 1080 50p NX70 footage into FCP-10 (PS. It also gets the 1080 50p footage into Final Cut Express).

It’s a shame that Apple have got this so wrong in fact what we now have is a direct response to the DSLR mass marketplace, solid state editing at the cost of professionalism. (PS. This is not a cheap knock at the DSLR rather Apple trying to worm their way into an ever-increasing marketplace).

I do realise that I have “NOT” understood the concept of this software and it works lightyears away from what I have been used to but even after reading your comments I do feel Apple have re-invented the wheel for the sake of it and added a lot of unnecessary confusion and bad feeling that could so easily have been avoided.

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

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