New Rules for Small Unmanned Aircraft…From the Federal Aviation Administration, USA

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The FAA proposal offers safety rules for small UAS (under 55 pounds) conducting non-recreational operations. The rule would limit flights to daylight and visual-line-of-sight operations. It also addresses height restrictions, operator certification, optional use of a visual observer, aircraft registration and marking, and operational limits.

The proposed rule also includes extensive discussion of the possibility of an additional, more flexible framework for “micro” UAS under 4.4 pounds. The FAA is asking the public to comment on this possible classification to determine whether it should include this option as part of a final rule. The FAA is also asking for comment about how the agency can further leverage the UAS test site program and an upcoming UAS Center of Excellence to further spur innovation at “innovation zones.”

The public will be able to comment on the proposed regulation for 60 days from the date of publication in the Federal Register, which can be found at  Separate from this proposal, the FAA intends to hold public meetings to discuss innovation and opportunities at the test sites and Center of Excellence.  These meetings will be announced in a future Federal Register notice.

“Technology is advancing at an unprecedented pace and this milestone allows federal regulations and the use of our national airspace to evolve to safely accommodate innovation,” said Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.

The proposed rule would require an operator to maintain visual line of sight of a small UAS. The rule would allow, but not require, an operator to work with a visual observer who would maintain constant visual contact with the aircraft. The operator would still need to be able to see the UAS with unaided vision (except for glasses). The FAA is asking for comments on whether the rules should permit operations beyond line of sight, and if so, what the appropriate limits should be.

“We have tried to be flexible in writing these rules,” said FAA Administrator Michael Huerta. “We want to maintain today’s outstanding level of aviation safety without placing an undue regulatory burden on an emerging industry.”

Under the proposed rule, the person actually flying a small UAS would be an “operator.” An operator would have to be at least 17 years old, pass an aeronautical knowledge test and obtain an FAA UAS operator certificate. To maintain certification, the operator would have to pass the FAA knowledge tests every 24 months. A small UAS operator would not need any further private pilot certifications (i.e., a private pilot license or medical rating).

The new rule also proposes operating limitations designed to minimize risks to other aircraft and people and property on the ground:

  • A small UAS operator must always see and avoid manned aircraft. If there is a risk of collision, the UAS operator must be the first to maneuver away.
  • The operator must discontinue the flight when continuing would pose a hazard to other aircraft, people or property.
  • A small UAS operator must assess weather conditions, airspace restrictions and the location of people to lessen risks if he or she loses control of the UAS.
  • A small UAS may not fly over people, except those directly involved with the flight.
  • Flights should be limited to 500 feet altitude and no faster than 100 mph.
  • Operators must stay out of airport flight paths and restricted airspace areas, and obey any FAA Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFRs).


The proposed rule maintains the existing prohibition against operating in a careless or reckless manner. It also would bar an operator from allowing any object to be dropped from the UAS.


Operators would be responsible for ensuring an aircraft is safe before flying, but the FAA is not proposing that small UAS comply with current agency airworthiness standards or aircraft certification. For example, an operator would have to perform a preflight inspection that includes checking the communications link between the control station and the UAS. Small UAS with FAA-certificated components also could be subject to agency airworthiness directives.

The new rules would not apply to model aircraft.  However, model aircraft operators must continue to satisfy all of the criteria specified in Sec. 336 of Public Law 112-95, including the stipulation that they be operated only for hobby or recreational purposes. Generally speaking, the new rules would not apply to government aircraft operations, because we expect that these government operations will typically continue to actively operate under the Certificate of Waiver or Authorization (COA) process unless the operator opts to comply with and fly under the new small UAS regulations.

In addition to this proposal, earlier today, the White House issued a Presidential Memorandum concerning transparency, accountability, and privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties protections for the Federal Government’s use of UAS in the national airspace system which directs the initiation of a multi-stakeholder engagement process to develop a framework for privacy, accountability, and transparency issues concerning commercial and private UAS use.

The current unmanned aircraft rules remain in place until the FAA implements a final new rule. The FAA encourages new operators to visit:

You can view the FAA’s Small UAS Notice of Proposed Rulemaking later today at:

An overview of the Small UAS rule can be viewed at:

You can view the fact sheet at:

Press Conference audio is available here.

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

BVE 2015 next week in the Excel, London 24-26 February

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BVE is nearly upon us, why not take some time off work and see all the latest video equipment from Sony, Panasonic, JVC, BlackMagic ARRI, Ikegami, Canon to mention a few.

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

My new Shape FS7RH arrives just in time for BVE

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Sony designers excelled themselves with this remote arm, they decided every cameraman/woman carries a screw driver so in order to extend this remote arm you need to unscrew two screws.


A Canadian company called Shape saw this design flaw and produced their version with an easy to release tool-less version, now all I have to do is release the red knob and extend the remote handle.



Better still Shape took the re-design a stage further and added a quick release knob (Red button) which makes it easy to go from shoulder mount to tripod use.



Well done Shape for making a tool-less version of this arm, now all we need them to do is make a better design of the viewfinder bracket and we are ready for action.


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

Putting the Sony 28-135mm f4 lens through its paces for ENG use.

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This is an honest assessment of the Sony 28-135mm f4 lens for ENG use. Firstly can I start by saying its a cracking piece of glass, its actually a lot bigger than I had perceived on the web.

There are no perceivable chromatic aberrations, no reds or blue ghosting hiding in the corner of frame or tree branches. Its not the longest zoom on the camera planet with a zoom ratio of just under 5x nor is it as wide as most of us would have expected. Canon’s 17-120mm is a 7x zoom ratio far more useful for 4K “Run & Gun” but ten times the price of the Sony and sadly not a constant aperture lens.


Although sitting at f4 the Sony is a constant aperture lens which in my opinion produces a very nice shallow depth of field between f4 and f5.6, the servo zoom is very smooth from creep to “Sony fast”. The timings are as follows…Slow = 18s from W to T and Fast = 4s.

This is where we start to lose momentum, the zoom is not fast enough in my opinion its almost as if its been set to accommodate the auto focus. You do have the option to switch over to manual zoom but unfortunately unlike a true ENG lens you don’t get a fast crash, its dampened to a set speed. I will ask Sony next week at BVE if there is anything that can be done to improve the speed of the zoom.


It is a par focal lens so zooming in to get focus will stay the same when zoomed out, very useful. You also have the option to de click the aperture ring via a switch on the other side of the lens.

On the downside Sony decided not to produce a lens cap for the £2300 4K lens…you get what can only be described as a plastic cup lid, not what I expect from the likes of Sony, poor show. I have just ordered a 95mm front lens cap for a Hasselblad for £8 from WEX.


Back to the original question, how useful would this lens be for ENG work, the answer depends on what kit you have with you…If you solely depend on this lens it will be a struggle depending on the type of job you are filming. General shots, interviews and tight shots are the order of the day with this lens, wide shots…you will need to cross the road or have a second lens in the bag. I have the 10-18mm f4 Sony lens for this very purpose and it takes a matter of seconds to swap over.

This Sony PXW-FS7 is a two lens camera in my opinion till Sony update the lens to a 12-120 f2.8, I think most of us would stretch our pockets to afford such a lens as long as its not ten times the price !

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

Lens day…Our new Sony 28-135mm f4 lens arrives

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Today is Lens day, finally after weeks of anticipation our new Sony 28-135mm f4 servo lens arrives, look at the size of the box ! With no time to play I took the Sony PXW-FS7 outside to show you how the servo lens performs. With a crop factor of 1.6 the shots have an effective field of view of 44-216mm.




Who says you can’t have a shallow depth of field with an f4 lens.


As a comparison I put the 10-18mm f4 wide angle lens on the FS7, this will be great for landscapes and interiors.




As a final test I put the 28-135mm lens onto my Sony A7s as you would expect it now acts as a full frame lens.




My thanks to John Preston of H Preston Media for getting this lens to me in time for BVE. I will get back to you tomorrow with my initial thoughts on the lens, especially in “Manual” mode.

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

Ikegami’s HC-HD300 camera

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On show at CABSAT 2015 will be Ikegami’s HC-HD300 3-CMOS studio camera system which makes its MEA market debut. The HC-HD300 is a compact docking-style camera for studio or field operation. An aggressively-priced addition to Ikegami’s broadcast-ready Unicam HD product line, it meets the same high standard of imagery and has the same rugged construction.

The Ikegami HC-HD300 is equipped with a 1/3 inch bayonet lens mount and employs three 1/3-inch CMOS progressive-scan 1920 x 1080 native sensors in RGB prism formation. The camera delivers high quality pictures in all commonly used video formats: 1920 x 1080/50i, 1920 x 1080/59.94i, 1280 x 720/50p, 1280 x 720/59.94p, 720 x 576/50i (PAL) and 720 x 480/59.94i (NTSC).

Typical performance characteristics of the HC-HD300 in 1080/59.94i output mode are 1,000 television lines horizontal resolution, 58 dB signal-to-noise ratio and 2,000 lux sensitivity (89.9 per cent white reflection) at F10 aperture. Equivalent aperture in 1080/50i mode for this light level is F11.

Camera gain can be attenuated from mid level to -3 or -6 dB, or increased by +3, +6, +9, +12 or + 18 dB. Integral neutral density filters (100 per cent, 25 per cent, 6.2 per cent and 1.6 per cent) can be switched in as required, plus operator-selectable 3,200, 4,300, 6,300 and 8,000 kelvin electronic colour conversion. An electric shutter can be set to 1/100, 1/120, 1/250, 1/500, 1/1,000 or 1/2,000 second speed.

Supporting features include the focus assist and lens aberration correction functions employed in Ikegami’s established UnicamHD range of cameras.

The HC-HD300 can be operated under local control or in conjunction with a newly developed control system. This consists of an FA-300 fibre adapter and BSF-300 base station. Light in weight and compact in size (1.5RU), the BSF-300 base station is easily integrated into any studio, mobile truck, or portable flypack. When using a hybrid fibre camera cable, the base station provides power to the fibre adapter and the camera itself.

OpticalCON Duo connectors allow use of SMPTE hybrid camera cables at up to 350 metres with a 2 inch viewfinder or 250 metres with a 7 inch viewfinder. For longer links of up to 10 kilometres between camera and based station, duplex single-mode fibre with common optical LC connectors for can be deployed.

The HC-HD300 weighs 4.5 kg including FA-300 fibre adapter and measures 139 x 270 x 337 mm (width x depth x height). Operating voltage range is 11 to 16 volts and power consumption (excluding FA-300) is 19 watts. The camera is designed for use within an ambient temperature range of -20 to +45 Celsius and 30 per cent to 90 per cent non-condensing operating humidity.

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

WARNING for Sony PXW-FS7 owners using FCPX v10.1.4 and XQD cards.

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FCPX has not recognised XAVC L for a while now, this has been documented by HDW with the problem ingesting from the PXW-X70 camcorder using XAVC HD, but this XQD problem is a lot more sinister.

This is an Apple problem, FCPX does not recognise XAVC L from the FS7 and will not eject your QXD card from the computer, your only option is to pull the card causing a problem with the Table of Contents (TOC). This is not an issue with XAVC I footage as it is recognised in FCPX.



Once you replace the XQD card into the FS7 you get the following message…



1. IMPORTANT : You must not have FCPX open at any time before ingest or after while the XQD card is in the card reader !

2. Making sure FCPX is not running, open Catalyst Prepare/Browse and import as normal.

3. Once you are finished importing eject your XQD card via Catalyst.

4. Now you can open FCPX.

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

Getting ready for BVE 2015

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BVE is almost upon us, this is the configuration I will be filming next week at BVE, the remote handle towards the back giving me full control of the lens, on/off and menu system.


Sony’s new hybrid digital radio mic has sadly taken a back seat, literally, as the Ledgo video light needs to sit on the front shoe. This configuration does not allow you to use the front hot shoe on the FS7 giving you control of the radio mics power and audio which is a shame.


I got two 128G “G” XQD cards on Friday, the lens being the last part of the jigsaw, Sony told me that the FS7 has been a fantastic success story which is why we are still getting dribs and drabs via Japan. The Sony 28-135 f4 lenses are like hens teeth but are hoping for the first delivery next week. I have the lens on order from H Preston Media so lets hope I will be fully kitted out before BVE next week.


The front mic is an older smaller Panasonic camera mic and the cut to size Rycote wind jammer is no longer made, sadly. I hope to meet some of you at BVE so look out for us buzzing around Excell a week on Tuesday.

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

Are Canon trying to tell us something ?

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This is the future of something…60x the resolution of HD ! This 120MP sensor is being shown by Canon as a future sensor for video implementation, the details are as follows…size 29.2mm x 20.2mm, pixel count 13,280 x 9,184, frame rate 9.5fps.

Its all about how many pixels you can cram onto a sensor, this certainly slams 8K in the face but to what end, how much processing power would you need to make sense of a resolution 60 times HD. I can see this used in spy satellites but a 120MP camera…the CX60.

The Phase One has an 80MP back…only 40MP less than the 120MP…mind blowing !


As if by magic we get a video produced by a photographer Joe Capra in Rio De Janiero on a Phase One IQ180 digital back at 10K resolution. If this is what you can do zooming to 100% with 10K think of the possibilities cutting in on 120MP…!

10328×7760 – A 10K Timelapse Demo from SCIENTIFANTASTIC on Vimeo.

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

Making a point on Friday the 13th

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David Dore “Spare a few minutes to look at this lovely piece of cinema. Well… it was shot on 16mm Fuji negative.  Not 35mm, but 16mm… on an Arri 16SR!

If there is a lesson to be learned from this, it is that, in an industry that has become obsessed with resolution and technology, we have forgotten what the real power of the moving image is made of.  So… maybe the message is stop obsessing about the technology at the behest of the manufacturers and get back to the business of telling the story!  Remember, your audience doesn’t give a monkey’s what it was shot on… they just want to be drawn into your narrative.
Perhaps, instead of the latest 4K marvel, I should go and buy a nice old Arri 16BL!”
HDW : David all very nice but I will stick with my 4K Sony PXW-FS7 thank you, cameras are tools and if you want to make a true cinematic film then 16mm film may be a way forward but I just want fantastic video footage so your argument is not with me.

This short film was shot on only 800ft of 16mm FujiFilm (Eterna 500T) to achieve the distinct and unique aesthetic audiences associate with the classic ghost films of the past.

It’s probably fairly clear from the credits listed that this project was undertaken by a small number of people; five to be precise.

It’s safe to say it was a (very) low budget production. We called on favours, borrowed equipment and covered the minimal costs that were involved from our own pockets.

It all started with two rolls of 16mm FujiFilm sitting in our fridge, bought with the intention of shooting some film camera tests. But not content with “wasting” the film on lighting tests, given the ever increasing scarcity of the format, we decided to come up with a short, entertaining story that fit the criteria – we had 2x 400ft loadings of 16mm, which equates to roughly 22mins (24fps), so it was clear that we would have to keep things relatively simple.


We immediately wrote off the idea of any dialogue or sound recording, partly as it opened the door to potential retakes due to dialogue fumbles but mainly because the Arri 16SR we were going to shoot on wasn’t particularly quiet!

We used what was available to us and decided to create a Twilight Zone-esque short story that would hopefully have some charm to it. We did a quick storyboard and calculated that we could just about squeeze a 9.5min short out of the two rolls (with enough room for retakes and rolling on/checking the gate after each shot).

The whole experience was one that we will never forget and hopefully repeat in the future. The small five person crew worked quickly and efficiently; knowing that there was “more at stake” when the camera rolled pushed all our standards to a new level.

Battling stubborn keys on string that just wouldn’t stay where we wanted them (yes… very old school), a box that wasn’t really big enough for our actor to get inside and a homemade double-wicked candle that seemed to have a vendetta against him (hot wax!), we pushed to get everything we needed on the minimal amount of film stock we had available – A 2:1 shooting ratio is something we were very proud of, and still are, in fact we over shot slightly and ended up leaving two shots on the cutting room floor!

From start to finish, the project was thoroughly enjoyable. It pushed our understanding and standards, and challenged us to try just that bit harder to hopefully make the final film that bit better.

The Mysterious Disappearance of M.M. Bayliss – 16mm Short Film – Fuji Eterna 8673 500T from Elliander Pictures on Vimeo.

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