Filming at Holdan

Categories: Miscellaneous 1 Comment

Holdan title v3

I can’t say too much about this at the moment but we had a great time down at Holdan in Glossop during the week.


This is a GoPro still from one of 3 cameras filming Tony and me.


Holdan’s have their very own production studio along with a DMX lighting gallery, a Cambo Jib to die for where I placed our GoPro and a Cambo tracking dolly.


The GH4 with YAGH worked a dream alongside the Sony A7s and the Sony PXW-X70 mounted on the tracking dolly.


Using the Datavideo TP-500 DSLR iPad mini prompter with the Datavideo WR-450 Bluetooth remote control.


Nigel with my prompt and Tony using the new Panasonic HC-X1000 4K camcorder. I must thank Nigel and Tony for their help over the last 3 days and for everyone at Holdan who were very accommodating and friendly.


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

Panasonic HC-X1000 In-depth Review later this month

Categories: Miscellaneous 5 Comments


The new Panasonic 4K HC-X1000 is just arriving on our shores and HD Warrior will receive one of the first production models to review.

The HC-X1000 is a 4K camcorder supporting various recording formats, like 4K/Cinema 4K/Full-HD, frame rates including 60p/50p/24p and a host of professional functions.

4K 50p is a spectacular achievement for a camcorder running onto SDXC cards. (Class 10 speed 3). It will be interesting to see how much time you get onto a 64G card.

UPDATE : The camera records 4K at 150MB/s therefore a 64G card will record 40 minutes.


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

Sony PXW-FS7 with or without lens

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This is the lens most associated with the new Sony PXW-FS7 its the Sony “G” 28-135mm f4 G lens, I will assume the 28-135 is a full frame figure so taking into account the 1.39x crop factor on the Super 35mm sensor the FS7 will have an angle of view of 39-187mm (35mm equivalent).



The ability to zoom is built into the FS7 with this interesting servo zoom control, personally Sony have hit the right sweet spot by finally delivering a 4K camera that has a servo zoom facility. Far to many cameramen and women have avoided the large sensor market because the cameras take them well out of their comfort zone, having a servo zoom not only enhances the FS7 but allow it to be used in run and gun situations…a major bonus.


The no lens option is cheaper but is it value for money…

If you buy the camera with the lens it works out at £1550 more but buy the camera without a lens and purchase it at WEX it will cost you £2300 thats a whopping £750 more for the same lens.

Because of the Super 35mm sensor you have a far wider range of lenses and lens mounts for the FS7 lets look at some non servo alternatives.


The first thing you need to consider is the crop factor (1.39)…if you buy a full frame (FF) lens like the Sony FE 24-70mm you will need to multiply the focal length by 1.39x for a 35mm equivalent…the FF 24-70mm will have a 35mm equivalent of 33-97mm.

The Sony E 16-70mm although made for an APS-C sensor still has a crop factor of 1.39.


This comparison chart from CVP explains how each sensor size has a different crop factor.

Multiply a lens’ focal length by a camera’s factor to get the focal length of a lens which, when used on a full-frame or 35mm film camera, gives the same angle of view as that lens does on that digital camera.

A 100mm lens on a 1.39x factor camera shows the same area of view that a 139mm lens would show on a 35mm film or full-frame camera.

Sony have completely confused the “E” marketplace with FF and APS-C lenses…why did Sony not make the A7 range of cameras “A” mount, this would have made far more sense and given A7 owners a far greater range of FF lenses.


The Zeiss 35mm PL lens is still 35mm no matter what camera you mount it onto but the sensor size dictates the crop so on the FS7 (Crop 1.39 for a Super 35mm sensor) the 35mm prime lens will have a 35mm equivalent of 48mm.

The Sony PXW-FS7 will tick a lot of boxes including the servo zoom 28-135mm f4 lens, I am not so sure why Sony are insisting on bringing out so many constant aperture (CA) f4 lenses when they have a range of good CA f2.8 “A” mount lenses on offer though you will have to factor in a lens adapter and a 1.39x crop.

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

Sony PXW-X180 Video Review

Categories: Miscellaneous 9 Comments


The Sony PXW-X180 has both Intra and LongGOP as part of the XAVC codec. I have become a big fan of LongGOP with its 1080 50p 50MB/s stunning picture quality.

I decided to go down to the Kelpies at Grangemouth to film the enormous steel statues, this would give the camera a good run-through.


I love the ability to hook up the new hybrid radio mic system powering the receiver directly from the camera hot shoe.


Switching the input to MI SHOE gives you full control of the radio mics input making this camera very useful for press conference work.

The quality of the XAVC codec cannot be denied its one of the cleanest 1/3″ sensor camera’s on the market though at 9dBs you are starting to see noise but this has to be expected.


The ability to use SD adapters in this camera is a bold but welcome move for Sony although no one can deny the robustness of the SxS card its a step too far for some production companies who have a lot of long haul footage and want a cheaper alternative to the expensive SxS media.

Here is my 9m video review of the Sony PXW-X180…

Sony PXW-X180 Video Review from Philip Johnston on Vimeo.

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

My Digital Addiction

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Hi there,

I’ve had a very busy summer shooting a television documentary for Aljazeera English.
I can now reveal that it is called My Digital Addiction and it is part of their new autumn Correspondent series. The channel gives each correspondent an opportunity to pitch a story for development into a feature documentary. The Correspondent Series is in it’s third season and this year, Aljazeera are premiering my documentary at the first in the series.
It’s about our addiction to our phones and the internet and features the correspondent, Phil Lavelle, as he explores the topic and undergoes a very unusual digital detox in a camp in California.
It was quite an extraordinary ride shooting it and making a compelling story fit into 48mins.
If you would like to watch it, then tune into Aljazeera English on Sky or Freeview 133 on:
Thursday 6th November 8:00pm GMT
After the show has been broadcast, you can catch it again on their catch-up service
It’s been a huge amount of work and I’ve really enjoyed shooting and editing the film and seeing it come into shape over the last few months.
Many thanks for taking a look and please forward this email onto people you think would benefit from understanding about the modern day addiction we all seem to be suffering from.
Did you know, it’s a chemical addiction? Find out more on Thursday!
Regards  Jonathan

Aljazeera English – My Digital Addiction Trailer from Jonathan Richards on Vimeo.

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

BlackMagic comes to Glasgow

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This morning at the HUB in Glasgow’s Media Centre, Holdan alongside CVP were showing off some new Blackmagic Design kit.

Inside-van-1 switcher mixer

The Blackmagic Van was very impressive, this is where BM excel is the ability to fit quality switching gear and sell it at amazing prices.



URSA-better Colin

Colin form CVP was looking at the URSA with it’s 35mm Prime lens. HDW ” This is my first look at URSA and the large LCD is not only impressive but sharper than I was expecting.”


Gill and Sam were up from Holdan’s  and reported a steady stream of traffic coming to view the Blackmagic gear.


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

Sony’s new Catalyst Prepare £124.95

Categories: Miscellaneous 15 Comments


Just in the nick of time Sony’s Catalyst Prepare arrives allowing you to batch capture all your XAVC LongGOP 1920 x 1080 50p footage to Apple ProRes 422 HQ. Got to be honest I like this programme and it gets all my LongG footage into FCPX…NOW…not when Apple decide to include it !


Firstly you import your footage at this stage you can set in and out points, very useful, and rename your clip in my case SVC01X180…a far better way of keeping tabs on your footage.


Next before batch export you set…ProRes, 422 HQ and Rec.709 and all your clips arrive as the same, way beyond Catalyst Browse.


In my experience the importer had problems importing all my 52 clips and got stuck at clip 28…good news is that it did not fold, I simply stopped the import left clip 28 out and brought in 10 clips at a time which seemed to do the trick, after importing the rest of the clips I went back to clip 28 and it came in fine !

If you open the destination folder while importing you can watch the clips being rendered thats how I noticed it had stuck at clip 28.

Catalyst Prepare has a lot more to offer like transcoding to 422 HQ 2048 x 1080 50p but for now I am very happy with the program and slightly less happy parting with £124.95 but it does the job and more.

Heres a link to the UK download

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

Sony PXW-X180 “Now in post”

Categories: Miscellaneous 1 Comment


Photo : Taken with the Sony A7s with a 24-70 f4 lens in 2 exposures for HDR rendering in Photoshop.

I decided to take the Sony PXW-X180 up to the world famous Kelpies to give it a run through, all went well apart from the SD card adapter which seems to be faulty so everything had to be recorded onto a 32G SxS card.


My thanks to Graeme and his son Gavin for assisting me today.


We had great weather for November and it was only when I decided to return that same evening to get some low light footage that the rain appeared. The footage is now in post awaiting me to edit it, I hope to have the review posted some time this week.

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

New XQD media version “G”

Categories: Miscellaneous 3 Comments


The new G Series is compliant to XQD Format Version 2, both PCI Express Gen.2 and USB3.0 interface are supported on a newly-developed controller for high performance.
The G Series delivers increased read 400MB/s*1 and write 350MB/s*1 speeds, which is three times the speed of the previous N Series cards.

Sony’s unique media technology enables these G Series cards to provide efficient data writing, dependable recording of 4K video while avoiding speed degradation.
The larger capacity 128GB model expands the line-up allowing up to 40 minutes of 4K XAVC Intra 422 60p (600Mbps) recording with Sony’s 4K video cameras.




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

Sony PXW-FS7 things you should know…”Adapters”

Categories: Miscellaneous 6 Comments


For those of us contemplating the arrival of the Sony PXW-FS7 here are a few tips when it comes to adapters…Some of you may be contemplating buying adapters for the FS7 but beware…read the small print first.


Firstly I was reminded that the FS& is not full frame and is in fact Super 35mm so the Metabones Speedboster will indeed be fine.


Metabones EF to NEX Speed Booster ULTRA

  1. This Speed Booster ULTRA is designed to cover an APS-C (23.6 x 15.7) image circle which is not big enough to cover a full-size 36mm x 24mm sensor. (Remember the FS7 is 23.6 x 13.3)
  2. Dan Chung “Also beware the EF Speedbooster Ultra can be buggy with FS7 – sometimes not recognised”.


Metabones Canon EF Lens to Sony NEX Smart Adapter (Mark IV)

1. A7S (Mark IV supports auto “APS-C Size Capture” with EF-S lens)


Just when you think you can upgrade to the Sony “A” lens system you read the small print to learn this adapter won’t allow any lens to open any greater than f3.5 making those f2.8 “A” lenses redundant ?

1. Aperture setting for video capture is fixed at the maximum aperture of the lens or F3.5, whichever is lower (AF-C).


Strangely enough the Sony adapter at £159 almost half the price of the one above seems to have no such restrictions.

From what I gather the FS7s are due to arrive at the end of October in limited quantities…watch this space.

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

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