ICE light deal from Production Gear via HD Warrior

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Just heard from Simon at Production Gear that he is coming up with a special deal for HD Warrior readers on the ICE light more details to follow…

Send Simon an email stating that you would like an ICE light mentioning HD Warrior and he will email you back with a deal…

Remember the ICE Light is £399 incl vat plus carriage.


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

Sony HXR-NX3 User Review with Allen McLaughlin

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Filming the interview with broadcast cameraman Allen McLaughlin for the Sony HXR-NX3 User Review. This is the first camcorder to date that Sony have not provided a battery or charger keeping costs down to a minimum. The NX3 takes Sony’s “L” type InfoLithium batteries (NP-F979) £114 incl vat and you will also need to order the AC adapter/charger kit (ACC-L1BP) £252 incl vat if you don’t already have these items.

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

More bad news for BlackMagic…”Internal battery explodes in camera” UPDATE

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It has been reported that an internal battery in a BlackMagic Cinema Camera has exploded fortunately no one was hurt in the incident. This has brought into sharp focus how we all take L-ion batteries so much for granted and in my opinion is no bad thing if it stops people buying cheaper alternatives.


Back in the 1980s Ni Cad battery belts like the one shown above were the norm as camera batteries did not hold their charge and lasted about 20mins. Ni Cads are actually safer than L-ion and if charged correctly do not hold any memory as this was a myth banded around by jealous lead acid manufacturers during the 1980s.

I recently swapped out my son’s L-ion battery from his MacBook Pro as it had swollen so much the battery lid would not close.


What do Apple, Sony, Dell, Acer, Lenovo and HP have in common? They all make laptops, sure, but each has been forced to recall their laptop batteries because of the risk of fire. In fact, since 2002, there have been more than 40 recalls due to explosion or fire risk from lithium ion batteries in laptops, phones and other electronic devices.

And when lithium ion batteries fail, they can do so in spectacular fashion. As the video below from computer support company PC Pitstop shows, lithium ion battery fires not only burn extremely hot (up to 1000 degrees fahrenheit), but can explode, sending chunks of burning metal across the room.

Lithium ion batteries have circuitry inside to prevent overcharging and short circuits, but if this circuitry is damaged, the battery could become overheated, resulting in a process known as “thermal runaway.” Thermal runaway is a chemical process where the battery generates heat, causing additional reactions that generate more heat, and so on until the entire thing finally erupts in flame. Manufacturing defects can also result in thermal runaway.

How much heat it takes to get a battery to go into thermal runaway may vary based on the type of battery. According to Tony Olson, CEO of D2 Worldwide, which conducted the lithium ion battery test for PC Pitstop, thermal runaway can occur if the battery is heated to anywhere from 140 degrees fahrenheit up to 350 degree fahrenheit. Not standard household temperatures, obviously, but possible if the battery experiences a failure.

While the likelihood of lithium ion battery fires is still very low, two factors are increasing the risks. First is the simple fact that it’s becoming far more common for us to own devices containing lithium ion batteries, including laptops, tablets, smartphones, Kindles, etc. Secondly, as manufacturers are pushing to put more and more power into these devices, the results of a failure become more pronounced.

To help avoid issues with your batteries, the Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends the following safety tips:

  1. Only purchase batteries and chargers directly from the manufacturer or from a manufacturer-recommended source. Buying counterfeit or poorly manufactured batteries increases the chance of having an issue.
  2. Do not let a loose battery come in contact with metal objects, such as coins, keys, or jewelry. Metal objects can cross the electrical connections and cause an incident if the internal protection circuitry isn’t functioning correctly.
  3. Do not crush, puncture or put a high degree of pressure on the battery, as this can cause an internal short-circuit, resulting in overheating.
  4. Do not place the phone or batteries in areas that may get very hot, such as on or near a cooking surface, cooking appliance, iron, radiator or the dashboard of your car in the summer.
  5. If you drop your phone or laptop on a hard surface, it can potentially cause damage the battery. If you suspect damage to the battery, take it to a service center for inspection.
  6. If your phone gets wet, even if the device dries and operates normally, the battery contacts or circuitry could slowly corrode and pose a safety hazard.

And if you see any bulging, leakage or other abnormality from your battery, stop using it immediately.


Lastly here is whats left of the SSD drive in the BlackMagic camera, unusable.

Mr Forrest Gibson…”After getting footage for the Kickstarter video for my new game, my Black Magic Camera’s battery exploded, spewing smoke violently.
We ran out of there for safety reasons. However, knowing we had to get some footage of it, we put damp rags over our mouths and ran back in to grab some footage.
I’ve contacted Black Magic Design regarding issues with Batteries, but have yet to hear back from them. Has anyone else had their Black Magic Camera explode?”

UPDATE : Response from Black Magic:

“There have been a small number of isolated incidents where it has been reported the battery had exploded. This is not a common occurrence, and we would like to gather as much information about the situation as possible to ensure that it does not become common. We do apologize for the issue you’ve encountered and would like to assist in getting an RMA set up to sort this out. Do let me know if you have any additional questions.”

Mr Forrest Gibson “As many people asked, and was an important detail I forgot to include in the original video:

I was running a “Switronix PB70-BMCC PowerBase-70 Battery Pack for Blackmagic Cinema Cameras” connected to the camera while filming. Right as the camera start spewing smoke, I ripped the battery off in fear of it catching on fire too.

The room was cool, the camera was not close to any hot lights or in direct sun, the camera and battery were 7 months old, I had been shooting for about 20 mins and had just stopped recording when this happened.

Will send out more updates when I send the camera off to BM.”

HDW : I know myself that from time to time you can drop your batteries on the floor, I have two such batteries, tomorrow they will be disposed of…safely.

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

The ICE Light in conjunction with Production Gear (£399 incl vat)

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I was a bit sceptical at first using the ICE light, one hour of battery light and would it power up once the battery was dead.


This is a picture of Rachael without the light, not bad but I would prefer some fill from the right side of her face.


The ICE light does the trick because its diffused you get a lovely soft light…the same as the daylight coming in on the left.


I took time to show Rachael the pictures as she was keen to do her best.


Strangely you hold the “ON” button to power up and press the off button briefly to switch it off.


Once again this picture is more than acceptable and this time I have a 2700K light coming from behind Rachael.


The ICE light brings the same picture alive along with the 2700K back light, I was also using my GH3 with my Leica 42.5mm f1.2 lens…stunning.


This was taken with the Panasonic GM1 just to show you the setup but note how little space the ICE light takes compared to an LED panel.


I used the ICE light to film my interview with Allen who has just taken charge of a Sony HXR-NX3.


The ICE light is great for video work and has a dimmer, I did a test this morning and to my surprise the light stayed on at full power for one hour, thirty minutes, you get a colour change on the unit from green, orange to red when the light is almost empty. I also have a third light to the left of frame giving me a 2700K wash behind him. After the battery died I tried it on the mains and yes it lights with no battery power a major bonus.


This is the final screen grab from the GH3 of Allen’s Sony HXR-NX3 user review. Allen is a broadcast cameraman and is off his work with a serious foot complaint but was delighted to take part as it kept his mind off his foot. The interview was filmed using the Panasonic GH3 with a 42.5mm f1.2 Leica lens (35mm equvelent = 85mm). Sound was via the Tascam DR60 and a Rode lapel mic.

The ICE light is a major bonus for both photography and video work due to its diffusion and its ability to have a very low foot print…the ICE light is distributed by one of my site sponsors Production Gear. Just for the record I bought my ICE light just in case you think I got one for nothing.


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

Filming for Channel 4 News in Perth

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Got a call about one o’clock Friday afternoon to ask if I could get myself to Perth to film an interview with Chuka Umunna MP for Channel 4 news.


First problem we encountered after arriving at Perth at 2.50pm was that we needed accreditation to enter the conference hall so we dashed over to a hotel about a quarter of a mile away through Perth town centre. Two lovely ladies dealt with our request very efficiently.


The yellow badge round my neck was our media pass to the conference but as luck would have it I decided to interview the MP outside the satellite truck. This was to avoid complications of doing any further cabling as after a certain time you were not allowed to run cable into the building, fortunately it wasn’t raining.


This is one of Scottish Televisions SAT trucks sending a constant feed back to STV in Glasgow, our pictures were routed to London.


Using the JVC GY-HM650 I set the AV out via the HDSDI socket to 576i (SD) as STV can’t send HD via a SAT feed. As belt and braces I also fed two SDHC cards with two separate feeds…HD and SD just in case the feed via the BNC cable was faulty. This is one of the great features of the JVC 650 allowing you to feed HD or SD via the SDI socket. I wasn’t taking any chances so the Miller tripod came on this job, you can’t get any better plus the extra weight helped the camera from being buffeted by the wind.


This was for an insert at 7pm about how the Metropolitan police has for the first time publicly apologised for the shooting of Cherry Groce, which sparked the 1985 Brixton riots. Chuka was a true professional and so Scott my son could get these photographs I got Mr Umunna to hold the Sennheiser gun mic. The Rycote softy was a real bonus today as it was very windy.


As a comparison I took a still from my 720p SDHC card (Right) and a screen grab from Channels 4s output on SD (left), as you would expect the 720p footage is a lot more detailed.


I bumped into my old pal Bernard Ponsonby a Scottish broadcast journalist working on regional news and current affairs programming for STV. Bernard and I had some good laughs many moons ago when I was a freelancer for STV news.


Once again further proof that the JVC GY-HM650 is a great camcorder for ENG work but very versatile allowing various outputs and separate formats HD+SD, HD+WEB to be recorded at the same time.

Further info on todays Channel 4 new item can be seen here…


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

Panasonic GH4 “First Look” Zacuto

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A great interview with Panasonic representative, Matt Frazer.

First Look at the Panasonic Lumix GH4 with Zacuto from Zacuto on Vimeo.

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

Lots of Video Reviews to come on HD Warrior

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A busy old time coming up with some exiting video reviews, firstly Allen McLaughlin TV Cameraman has bought himself a Sony HXR-NX3 and is putting it through its paces for HD Warrior.

Part TWO of the JVC-GY-HM850 Camcorder Review showing you network connectivity and WiFi, how to use the back focus on the new Fujinon AF lens and low light footage.

The new Panasonic AJ-PX270 with its 10bit, 422, 1080 50p pictures onto both SDXC and micro P2 card, the quality using various ULTRA codecs and lots more.

Finally the long awaited Panasonic GH4 user review with SDI adapter for video use, this will be a more in-depth review.

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

Hungary writes off a massive part of their economy with a very stupid law…No candid photography ?

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Those planning a weekend break in Budapest take note. From 15 March anyone taking photographs in Hungary is technically breaking the law if someone wanders into shot, under a new civil code that outlaws taking pictures without the permission of everyone in the photograph. According to the justice ministry, people taking pictures should look out for those “who are not waving, or who are trying to hide or running out of shot”.

Officials say expanding the law on consent to include the taking of photographs, in addition to their publication, merely codifies existing court practice. However, Hungary’s photographers call the law vague and obstructive, saying it has left the country of Joseph Pulitzer and photography legend Robert Capa out of step with Europe.


Ákos Stiller, a photojournalist at the weekly HVG, the New York Times and Bloomberg, says the new regulation is another unwanted complication for his profession in Hungary. “Can we take photos of strangers: say people looking at a shop window? Do we shoot first and ask permission later?” he asked.

Márton Magócsi, senior photo editor at news website Origo, said “having to ask for permission beforehand is quite unrealistic in any reportage situation”. Meanwhile, some judges who have overseen hundreds of such cases are privately saying they have no idea how to rule on cases under the new code. “This [regulation] is a nonsense and in my opinion impossible,” lawyer Eszter Bognár said. “I don’t think this is going to change the practice of photographing ‘normal’ people, because they don’t have the possibility to ID the person taking the photo, but it’s going to be more difficult to take pictures of policemen.” Stiller agrees, noting that the code also misses an opportunity to specify normal police officers as ‘public actors’ and thereby scrap a much-maligned law that Hungary’s media outlets must pixelate their faces. This legal requirement is unparalleled in Europe, although it applies for special forces in countries including France, Spain and Belgium.

Stiller says: “The majority of police officers are doing great work, but they chose to have a public identity and this law puts a huge distance between the state and the citizen. I find it visually disgusting, and as a citizen I find it absurd,” he adds.

Even László Székely – who co-ordinated the eight-volume Civil Code and has since become ombudsman for fundamental rights – has publicly endorsed scrapping the need to pixelate police officers’ faces in photographs.


Magócsi rues the lack of genuine consultation over these regulations: “There was dialogue after the drafting stage that seemed constructive, but not a single suggestion of ours was added to the code,” he says, referring to a letter signed by nearly all of Hungary’s senior photo editors two years ago.

Another section of the code equates privacy infringements with grievances. “We are afraid that it could start a landslide of lawsuits,” Magócsi says. “If people on the street start citing this legislation, it will make it even harder for photojournalists to work.

“The real danger is that private security companies or the police will try to keep reporters and photojournalists out of certain areas, or prevent them and members of the public from taking photographs of their actions,” he adds.

Bognár says: “As with so many times in the last few years, nobody has any idea how exactly this law will be implemented, because nobody knows what the goal behind it was.”

Stiller adds: “There is a great tradition of Hungarian photography, and we plan to continue it, but this law is not making our job easier. Capa would be ashamed, or would do what he did: leave for somewhere the policemen have a face.”

danielnolanDaniel Nolan is a Budapest-based journalist and author who writes on politics, social issues, the arts and innovation

HDW : What are they thinking of if this law gets passed Hungary will become the last destination anyone will visit, photography and video are part of the holiday fun.

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

JVC GY-HM850 Video Review Part ONE

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The JVC GY-HM850 Video Review Part ONE runs 10.32mins and goes through basic menus like card formatting and choosing the best quality 1080 50p. We follow the Ayr United media crew and a sequence cut to music to show you the cameras capabilities and the fantastic crisp noiseless pictures.

In Part TWO I will cover Network… streaming and WiFi, how to perform a back focus adjustment using the new AF lens and low light footage along with some other codec choices like AVCHD.


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

American Judge throws out $10,000 law suit against photographer

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In a court case bound to have far-reaching implications for U.S.-based photographers looking to use drones or other model aircraft for commercial shoots, National Transportation Safety Board Judge Patrick G. Geraghty has stuck down an FAA suit against a photographer for his ‘reckless’ use of a drone.

In the case before the NTSB, the FAA claimed that photographer Raphael Pirker was flying his ‘Ritewing Zephyr powered glider aircraft’ near the University of Virginia’s Charlottesville campus and that the ‘flight…was for compensation, in that payment was received for video and photographs taken during that flight.’ The FAA contended that he violated FAA regulations by flying the aircraft in a reckless manor and sought a $10,000 civil penalty.

If the NTSB had found in favor of the FAA complaint, there would have been a dark cloud cast over drone flights for commercial purposes because any commercial drone flight would then have been subject to possible FAA regulation.

Historically, FAA policy has been based on the use of the unmanned aircraft, which they define in this document, stating that ‘The Federal Aviation Administration’s current policy is based on whether the unmanned aircraft is used as a public aircraft, civil aircraft or as a model aircraft.’

As a generalization the FAA doesn’t interfere with or regulate model aircraft flight and asks that operates use ‘good judgement’ to prevent harm, but can regulate any commercial use. Drone use for a commercial photo shoot seems to fall within their commercial guidelines though until recently the FAA has not tried to regulate their use.


Judge Geraghty first pointed out that the FAA clearly states that unmanned devices of a certain size and power are ‘model’ aircraft and by using the word ‘model’ to describe these devices removes the FAA’s ability to oversee them as they are not aircraft.

He then slammed the FAA for bringing a suit based on a policy memo as ‘policy statements of an agency are not — aside from the fact that the guidance policy therein expressed is stated for internal FAA use — binding upon the general public.’

Model aircraft aficionados and photographers alike have reason to celebrate this ruling, though naturally the FAA has announced a decision to appeal. The full NTSB panel will next hear this case, though a date for that hearing has not been set as of press time.

HDW : This is indeed a good judgement, certainly for video and photographers in the USA. I do think its all getting out of hand, there should be a 2 week course in order to fly these “drones” up to a certain size like the Phantom with an understanding that you take out insurance and act responsibly.

I do not under any circumstances think you should have to fork out £1500 to the CAA and take a mini pilots course lasting 15 months in order to be able to fly a Phantom.

A Phantom without a camera is a simple model aircraft…its only the attachment of a GoPro that seems to change the rules and hey presto the CAA gets involved …WHY ?


Model aircraft enthusiasts have been sticking GoPro’s on their aircraft for a few years now and I don’t see any of the witch hunt that precedes the Phantom…its a joke !


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

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