New lower price of £15 for Canon C300 or Panasonic AF101 720p video

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New lower price down from £25 to £15 for the C300 and AF101 teaching video, find the details at “shop” above.

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

Under the Skin using One-Cam

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Under the Skin, a science-fiction arthouse film that just crossed the $1 million mark at the U.S. box-office, is being sold as a spooky erotic thriller featuring Scarlett Johansson as a sexy alien invader on the loose in Scotland. That’s fair enough. Directed by English filmmaker Jonathan Glazer (BirthSexy Beast), it’s one of the more unsettling films in recent memory, combining an enigmatic story line (Johansson’s character is seducing men and then taking them prisoner for unexplained but clearly unsavory reasons) and genuinely weird imagery (her victims sink into a glassy black floor, then wake up suspended in blue fluid) with incongruously ordinary footage of the city streets where the main character picks up unsuspecting Glaswegians in a nondescript van.

It turns out that Johansson’s encounters with ordinary Scots feel realistic because they are real. Those city scenes were captured with tiny, inobtrusive cameras. Many of the people who appear on screen, including some of the men who chat up Johansson’s character, aren’t actors at all and don’t see the cameras. “Scarlett’s character was interacting with real people who were completely unaware that they were in a fictional film,” said producer James Wilson in an interview released by distributor A24Films. (Permissions were secured after the fact, of course.)


You might wonder what cameras the production used to accomplish that — tiny GoPro cameras, perhaps? Or surveillance cams from one of the big manufacturers like Sony or Panasonic? Well, the footage had to intercut seamlessly with the production’s main ARRI Alexa cameras, which were shooting ARRIRAW, so quality was paramount. It turns out Under the Skin used the One-cam, a new modular system developed by London studio One Of Us specifically for Glazer’s use on the film. “We were shooting half an hour unbroken takes of improvised dialogue with eight cameras simultaneously, which is like a feature’s worth of photography,” says VFX supervisor (and One Of Us co-founder) Tom Debenham in the video below. “We had to build a whole ecosystem that was basically all the components of a camera that could either be stuck together or separated and used in a number of different modular ways.” 

Glazer told The Dissolve that 10 of the One-cam systems were built, allowing multiple cameras to be placed in strategic locations for different scenes — embedded in a dashboard, mounted on a motorcycle, or hidden somewhere on the street. Eight cameras were hidden inside the van Johansson drives around Glasgow, allowing the production to catch spontaneous performances by non-actors in what cinematographer Daniel Landin described in an Indiewire interview as “a fairly seedy area.” They didn’t realize they were being chatted up by a movie star. “[The One-cam] is about the size of a household box of matches [and] you could fit 16mm lenses on it,” Landin told Indiewire. “The image we generated we ended up liking so much we would have shot the entire film on that camera if we could have made it rugged enough to withstand all kinds of weather.”


Glazer was impressed enough by the One-cam’s performance that he gave One Of Us a testimonial: “Digital is too sharp and illustrative. There’s no immersion, no fall-off, no rolling off into black or color bleed. No accident. No alchemy. One-cam is the opposite. It seems almost chemical in how it photographs the image. For a digital camera, it has unprecedented texture and depth. It sees how my eyes see.”

The camera head weighs just 333 grams, or about 12 ounces, and can be tethered at a distance of up to 100 feet from the recording unit, which the company says is roughly the size of a 16mm camera body. The camera is rated at 500 ASA with a dynamic range of at least 9 stops in daylight. The Super 16 (one-inch diagonal) image sensor is a global shutter CCD, and the camera’s output is uncompressed 12-bit raw at a resolution of 2336×1752, recorded to SSD mags. One Of Us developed custom dailies tools to convert to Cineon-log DPX files or DNG and the signal can be monitored over HDMI or HD-SDI.

Glazer rode around in the back of the van, where the camera data was being recorded and where monitors were set up to show the output of all eight One-cam units. According to dailies provider Mission Digital, when the eight van-mounted cameras were all shooting footage, the production generated six TB of footage in a day.


One Of Us handled VFX for the film, which was then finished at color-grading studio Dirty Looks, which is located in the same building. Custom color science was developed to bring the footage from the One-cam and the Alexa together in the editing room and to match look and feel in the Filmlight Baselight color-grading system. VFX were conformed as they progressed and integrated into the 2K grading environment. “Combining technical resources allowed a quick turnaround between creative departments and helped us deliver what this film needed,” said Dirty Looks’ Tom Balkwill in a prepared statement.

Colorist John Claude noted that Glazer wanted a very naturalistic look for the street scenes, but the film veered toward stylization in less conventional segments. “The blue ‘swimmer’ sequences, when one of Scarlett’s victims is under the pit, were quite challenging but made easier with Baselight’s matte-layer stack management,” he said in a statement. 

Balkwill described another scene, a golden-colored montage that incorporated 93 blended 2K layers as Johansson’s face becomes visible in the middle of the screen, and gave the Baselight a shout-out for its ability to handle that kind of complexity. “This sequence could only be finished with Baselight,” he said, “because each individual layer needed its own tweaks in stabilizing and grading.”

The resulting film is challenging and unusual, employing considerable technical innovation to support a formidable visual imagination. It’s in limited release in the U.S. and rolls out to more theaters this weekend.

Written by Bryant Frazer

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

Breaking News over on GH4 CREW

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Why not head over to GH4 CREW to read the full story…

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

The best Drone video I have seen in a long time

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Drone photography does not come any better than this, whoever shot this footage should be given an award, the video is slowed down but remember the drone pilot had milliseconds to react in real time…fantastic award winning footage.

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

Filming with the Glidetrack Carbon Crane

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I am almost at the end of my documentary with Alastair of Glidetrack, I needed some shots of their new Carbon Crane so I gave Graham the crane for a couple of weeks to film him using it.


The great thing about the Carbon crane is its sheer mobility, I told Graham to use a smaller camcorder on the crane, fortunately he had a Panasonic 920 camcorder perfect for the job.

Glidetrack (1)

Note Graham is using his 7″ portable LCD monitor attached onto the tripod head with a Manfrotto mini arm, this is the preferred way to monitor your footage.

Glidetrack (6)

Best practice is to start the camera rolling before you extend the crane.

Glidetrack (5)

This crane gives Graham that extra shot needed to start his documentary on the 50th Anniversary of the church he is filming.

Glidetrack (4)

The shot will bring the camera in line with the cross in the middle of the church entrance.

Glidetrack (3)

I was using the Panasonic PX270 the only 10bit 422 hand held camera to record onto class 10 SDHC cards.


Remember crane shots are time consuming and like any extra special shot should be used sparingly for full effect. The Glidetrack Carbon Crane is lightweight and easy to set up, you still need a tripod to support it but without the aid of a quad copter which you would not be allowed to use in a built up area its the only way of achieving this type of shot.

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

A new resource for Panasonic GH4 owners

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It was inevitable that after 101CREW and C300 USER that I would come out with GH4CREW a snappy title for the new blog dedicated to Panasonic GH4 owners…like myself…when they arrive !

I am still setting things up but have a wee look the big button at the right hand side of the page will whizz you there…let me know what you think and any ideas you might have.

Some stories may be repeated or revamped for GH4CREW but on the whole you will as usual get a ton of information on both blogs.

This won’t affect the quality of blogging on HD Warrior but GH4 filming and photography will mainly be blogged about on GH4CREW.

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

Jan C Livingston retires from Panasonic USA

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If there was ever a lady who was more passionate about Panasonic video kit it was Jan, she knew her products inside out and was always a pleasure to interview.

Our last outing together was at IBC 2011, Jan was unique in the world of Broadcast Video Sales you point a camera in her face and there is nothing she did not know about her subject.

I will personally miss Jan at future video shows she was a lady and a half, the smile says it all…have a great retirement Jan from all at HD Warrior and here is a personal tribute I put together especially for you.

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

The Panasonic PX270 Video Review explained (Updated with video stills)

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I keep getting asked to explain my conclusions within the Panasonic PX270 Video Review and why I reject AVC I Frame over AVC Long GOP.

If you read the specs about I Frame over Long GOP you will convince yourself that I Frame is the clear winner but although I had downloaded Panasonic’s white paper about AVC ULTRA it was a bit heavy going, I am a practical person I prefer to go on what I see rather than make my mind up with what other people think in theory.

My first footage shot on the PX270 was 1080 50p AVC I100, clearly the best Panasonic had to offer…but looking at it back on my 50″ Panasonic plasma via the camera itself gave me a different picture a rather noisey look, not what I was expecting. (PS. I also looked at AVC LongG 50 footage on the same TV and looked stunning in comparison).

i-frame-300x LG-at-300x-copy-v2

It may be down to a level of sharpening that I am seeing in one picture against another as these 300% pictures show but the LongG 50 codec does produce cleaner pictures.

I remembered my conversation with Rob Tarrant at BVE who told me that 1080 50p LongG 25 was cracking but LongG had not been initiated at that time so I was stuck with 1080 50i and recorded footage onto an SDHC card at the show.

The footage looked very good in my edit suite (FCPX 10.1.1) but I was actually watching proxy footage as it turned out. Apple’s FCPX is way behind Adobe on the LongG front as Premiere CC can playback AVC LongG footage. I do realise I had the option to import into Premiere then export over to FCPX but decided not to do that.

I had one option to get LongG footage via the cameras HDSDI socket into FCPX, Ultra Studio Express from BlackMagic Design comes with a smashing app called Media Express but once again limited to 1080 25p, 1080 50i or 720 50p as I am no fan of 25p or interlace I chose 720 50p.

As an aside it was 720 50p AVC Intra 100 footage that put me off buying the Panasonic HPX250 camcorder at the time.

After ingesting the footage the old fashioned way via the SDI socket I was armed with 720 50p AVC LongG 50 footage converted to ProRes 422 I fired it into FCPX and was amazed at the quality far less noisy than AVC I100…why ?


I started to question everything even my green screen footage but good old Adobe gives you a detailed properties window and there it was 10bit 422 AVC LongG. What I don’t understand

I phoned Panasonic to tell them my findings and was told that other people had reported the same results, this certified my findings so the review was filmed and edited mainly at 720 50p AVC LongG 50.

The other major news was you had a P2 camcorder that gives its best results onto SDHC cards saving you a fortune on micro P2 cards what a winner for both Panasonic and the end user, the only camera to date producing 10bit 422 footage onto SDHC cards…fantastic.

Why was this a winner for Panasonic…simple, they will sell many more PX270′s on the back of this information, Alastair who you saw on the review has bought two PX270s to mix and match with his Sony EX-3s.

As per the video Panasonic would prefer you to use at least one micro P2 card for belt and braces just in case you have a power failure or a corrupt SD card.


Since my review  I have passed on 2 requests to Panasonic…

Firstly if they could re design the VF to enable the cameraperson to lock it in position or make it more ridged while filming as it has a tendency to move easily.

Secondly like the AC160 the 2x digital zoom is quite usable but you have to toggle through 5x and 10x to get it off, could we have a limiter in the menu so you can choose to only have 2x and off rather than toggle through the other two useless magnifications.


Just before you all send further emails I also have a JVC DT-V21G11 reference monitor to view my footage on.

When I got the Panasonic PX270 I was looking for Panasonic’s newest codec the AVC ULTRA codec not realising that AVC ULTRA is the overall name that encapsulates AVC Intra, LongG, DVCPRO HD, DVCPRO 50 and DV.

I hope this makes a wee bit more sense as to my findings with the Panasonic AJ-PX270.

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

New weekly electronic paper for everything XDCAM

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The paper is an adjunct to the website. Dedicated to all things XDCAM. The paper also includes the latest digital offerings from Sony, including the FS700.

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

Here is the long awaited Video Review of the Panasonic AJ-PX270 (Updated 18th April 2014)

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It took 2 weeks but its a far better and more informative review for the extra time spent researching such a complex new camcorder. The Panasonic AJ-PX270 is a joy to film with and having 10bit 422 really makes the pictures stand out.

Watching the review which is a massive 19mins long you will learn the camcorders most inner secret which I will talk about later on this week but till then watch the review and be amazed.

Note : FCPX was due to be updated around NAB 2014 because it won’t recognise AVC LongG as yet which means filming in 1280 x 720p till Apple get their act together. The video has been updated to show the difference between AVC i and AVC LongG it looks like AVC I has more sharpening going on.

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

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