User Review NEEWER Follow Focus £39 plus an extra £12 for alternative gears.

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Can you get quality for less than £40 in the film industry, well it seems so with this NEEWER Follow Focus unit, very impressive, apart from the lens gear ring.

My JVC LS300 is heading over to Arran to film a pilot comedy film in 4K 25p and I thought a follow focus unit would make it easier to use.


I am using a older Nikon 24-85mm zoom lens which will give an equivalent field of view on the Super 35mm sensor of 36-127mm (1.5x).

Back to the gear ring that comes with the Neewer Follow Focus unit, shocking design. As you can see it has not got the ability to adjust to fit the diameter of the lens and sits proud of the lens.

Fortunately scanning Amazon I found this properly adjustable gear ring from Movo, you get a set of 3 for just over £12 a 67mm, 75mm and an 85mm. I like the way the plastic grips and cushions the lens barrel.

As you can see the Neewer follow focus works well with the MOVO gear ring.

You even get adjustable end stops allowing you precise pull focus positions.

Having had a loan of a £600 Cambo follow focus in the past I was very reluctant to buy the Neewer as I was not expecting much for my money. To my surprise it was a lot better than I had anticipated.

I did try it on my Panasonic GH5 but with the fly by wire focusing you don’t get the same definitive end stops of a manual lens although it did work I prefer to use it with the JVC LS300.

Marks out of 10…I will give the Neewer Follow Focus a 9 out of 10 losing one point for the badly thought out gear ring.

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


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One of my all time favourite lenses is my Sigma 18-35 f1.8 ART lens with my Metabones adapter on my GH5. Although this is an older story its worth another look as the line up of cinema lenses is fantastic.

SIGMA timed the announcement of its new line of cinema lenses, the ‘SIGMA CINE LENS’, in conjunction with the broadcasting general trade show; ‘IBC’ ( International Broadcasting Convention) held in Amsterdam, the Netherlands on the 7th September 2016. We had heard of stories for some time that SIGMA lenses had become a favorite among many users who customized their interchangeable photographic lens (‘still lens’), alternatively using them in film production shoots. We gained a reputation for our ‘motion picture lenses’ from professional users around the world, particularity through the outstanding optical performance of the Art line. Its innovative image quality that SIGMA pioneered shone through in a world of remarkable high-resolution digital photography and performance-centered lenses.

When the 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM | Art, the world’s first F1.8 zoom lens, was announced in 2013, it was only in the United States that indicated very high sales. After investigating as to the reason why, it was the feedback of the people working in motion pictures who told us the lens was “amazing” and had used it regularly for their work. We had not originally intended for this lens to be used for the purpose of motion pictures and we remember being taken back by this revelation at the time. CEO of SIGMA Kazuto Yamaki, who took the lead in this project, recalls to us about what prompted bringing SIGMA to “cinema”

“The mere mention of movie-making equipment from the past would bring to mind equipment made according to enormous Hollywood budgets, a very special world beyond our reach. As well as there being a small number of manufacturers and choice available, they were incredibly expensive. It was with the advent of shared video content services like Youtube thriving over the past 10 years that the game has greatly changed. Content like web promotion and video clips for music and videos have become the norm. And at the same time, there has been an increase in individual and small-scale productions, that is to say the stage of the so-called independent producers has become bigger”. “One of the factors that has lead this change is the evolution of filming functions on SLR cameras, and the rise of small yet high-performing digital cinema cameras. The price of one camera in Hollywood was on a par with a high-end imported car. In other words, in a world where it was common knowledge that movie cameras would cost more than $100,000, it could be said that a rather drastic change in price has occurred.

It was the introduction of innovative cameras, with outstanding high-quality imaging, that has changed the situation. The cameras are also at a much more reasonable price than what is expected from a camera with a seamless balance of data handling and compactness. In the movie making industry, equipment is judged on the basic premise that “price of equipment equates to performance”. Without an ample budget, there was the problem of not being able to get hold of good quality equipment. With these digital cinema cameras becoming more prevalent, the doors have opened where even with a small scale budget, a movie with high-performance equipment and high-production values can be made.

CEO of SIGMA Kazuto Yamaki

“This technological innovation in cameras designed for cinema would bring a positive influence on both the market and overall artistic expression. We felt that with the rapid progress made on the one hand, the lenses were not keeping up with the evolution of cameras. Around the same time, we were asked by those in the industry around the world as to why SIGMA did not make interchangeable lenses for cinema (‘CINE LENS’). In a world where a single lens can cost anywhere between a few thousand dollars to a few ten thousand dollars, performance dictates price where even renting something for only the occasions it was needed would multiply and pile up the costs. We sensed the load being borne on the financial side of video production was a pressing issue to address.”

In a world that places demands on the quality of a single frame, SIGMA had gone ahead and delivered the high-performance Art line series of lenses for high-resolution photography. So for SIGMA, who had established the developmental know-how and mass-production technology to achieve this, there was no technological hurdle to overcome to develop the CINE LENS. As Yamaki explains, “Of course, we could develop a dedicated cinema lens, but the market was so small that to start from zero would not be effective for mass-production. However in regard to the development of the optics, the most important and difficult component with the biggest impact on cost, we copied the existing high-performance Art lens we had available. By configuring the mechanical structure toward cinema, we were confident we could make a landmark lens that combined the high standard of Art with compactness at the minimum of cost.

Sigma now have a full compliment of lenses from a 14mm T2, 20mm T1.5, 24mm T1.5, 35mm T1.5, 50mm T1.5, 85mm T1.5, 135mm T2 and three zoom lenses 18-35mm T2, 50-100mm T2 and finally the 24-35mm T2.2

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

GH5 Faults “Playback button live during a recording”

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Can you believe this major fault found only by accident by a colleague of mine during a live theatre show.

He was filming the show as a 3rd camera and accidentally pressed the green playback button when the GH5 stopped recording and went into playback mode.

This has be be one of the worst mistakes I have found with the GH5 so far and Panasonic need to urgently address this with a firmware update.

As it was a 3rd camera there will be no consequences to his recording but had it been a single camera it would have been a disaster.

The same happens with the GH5S as well !!!

It has been pointed out to me this problem has existed over a few incarnations of the GH line from the 3,4 and now 5. This is no excuse for sloppy engineering, if Panasonic want the GH5 to be taken seriously within the video world then a simple menu addition needs to be added allowing users to deactivate the playback function during recording.

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

NEW at BSC Expo the Arri Alexa LF €76,434 excl.vat

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Meanwhile back to a new expensive camera from Arri the Alexa LF, not sure if it should have been LP (Large Pockets). At a whooping €76,434 excl. vat you need to be producing something special to afford this camera.

Arri introduced the new system today at London’s BSC Expo, and claims the new system is smaller and lighter than current full frame models. The camera’s sensor measures 36.70 x 25.54mm and uses 4448 x 3096 pixels – all of which users will be able to utilize in open gate mode. When used in 16:9 mode a 31.68 x 17.82 mm area is exposed with a full 4K resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels. This is a 36.3mm diagonal, so is fully compatible with lenses such as Zeiss’s Compact Prime and Cinema Zoom series of lenses.

A 2.39:1 ratio mode uses 4448 x 1865 pixels and a 39.8mm diagonal.

In all of these modes the camera can shoot at up to 90fps in Arriraw, but it can manage 150fps when used in 2.39:1. Arri says the sensor has an exposure latitude of ‘14+ stops’.

A new lens mount has been introduced with the system that uses a wider throat and a shallower flange so that lenses can be made with large maximum apertures that would not be possible with the narrow throat of the PL mount. It should also allow lenses to be slightly smaller and lighter. The LPL (‘Large PL’) mount is 62mm in diameter and has a depth of 44mm, so existing PL lenses can also be mounted via an adapter. Arri says it is making the LPL available under licence to other camera manufacturers and third party lens makers.

Its own collection of Arri Signature Prime lens system will comprise 16 lenses of between 12mm and 280mm. All will have a maximum aperture of T1.8 and will be compatible with the new LDS-2 lens data protocol, which Arri says it will also license. The mount will be able to read data from LDS-1 and /i lenses.

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

BlackMagic Designs new URSA Broadcast (4K & HD) £3306

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Introducing URSA Broadcast, the world’s most affordable and most flexible professional broadcast camera. URSA Broadcast is two cameras in one, an incredible field camera for ENG and programming work, as well as a professional studio camera! URSA Broadcast is perfect for traditional broadcasters because it uses the lenses and batteries you already own, and it also eliminates weird media cards and file formats found on traditional cameras. It records onto regular SD cards and uses the same common file formats found on broadcast media management systems and most NLE software.Plus URSA Broadcast is perfect for web broadcasters because it works with both older after marketHD lenses and inexpensive photo lenses.No other broadcast camera is more flexible and more affordable!

Effective Sensor Size

2/3 inch sensor size when using 4K B4 mount (Actual sensor size 13.056mm x 7.344mm)

Lens Mount

B4 2/3 inch

Lens Control

Electronic control via 12-pin broadcast connector. Control also possible via EF mount pins when using optional URSA Mini Pro EF Mount.

Dynamic Range

12 Stops+

Shooting Resolutions

3840×2160, 1920×1080

Frame Rates

Project frame rates of 23.98, 24, 25, 29.97, 30, 50, 59.94 and 60 fps supported. Off-speed frame rates up to 60p.

Built in ND Filters

Four position ND filter wheel with clear, 2-stop, 4-stop and 6-stop ND filters.


Focus button turns on peaking, auto focus available using compatible lenses with focus servo.

Iris Control

Iris wheel and touchscreen slider for manual iris adjustment on electronically controllable lenses, iris button for instant auto iris settings on compatible lenses so no pixel is clipped in film mode. Scene average auto exposure in video and extended video mode.

Screen Dimensions

4 inch.

Screen Type

LCD capacitive touchscreen.

Metadata Support

Automatically populated lens data from electronic B4 lenses. Automatic recording of camera settings and slate data such as project, scene number, take and special notes.


Touchscreen menus on 4 inch screen. Push buttons for other controls. 2 assignable shortcut keys.

Timecode Clock

Highly accurate timecode clock. Less than 1 frame drift every 8 hours.


Wow is all I can add to this post, BlackMagic have done it again, a broadcast spec camcorder that takes B4 2/3″ lenses for just over £3000 is breathtaking. Sony, Panasonic and JVC will need to up their game to compete with this announcement.

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

XEffects 3D Sports Graphics $39 discounted till 6th February ($49)

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Our first Sports Plugin for Final Cut Pro X has proved to be pretty successful since its launch in 2015. It’s been used on productions from broadcast news reports to sports day videos at schools & colleges and possibly everything in-between!  So after quite a bit of research, development and to be honest, numerous late nights and lots of strong coffee hunched over laptops, we’ve proudly just released XEffects 3D Sports Graphics.

The latest 3D Sports graphics from industrial revolution, from Football to Speedway.

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

ADVERT…Panasonic GH5S Now in Stock at H Preston

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Telephone 01684-575486 and ask for John or Andy.

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

ADVERT…Monday 29th January at Production Gear

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Join us at Production Gear HQ in Barnet, North London as we welcome professionals from Zeiss who will be talking about and demonstrating their fabulous CP3 prime and LWZ Zoom lenses.

Zeiss lens open day…Monday 29 January 2018 from 12:00 – 16:00 GMT at Production Gear Ltd, Unit 13, Wrotham Business Park, Potters Bar, EN5 4SZ

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

The findings of my Low Light experiment on the Panasonic GH5S

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I came to this knowing the GH5S was better in low light but its the little extras that this camera brings to the table that set it apart from the GH5.

The refresh rate of the Live Viewfinder (LVF) has been set at 120fps (Switchable to 60fps) twice that of the GH5, that would be a welcome FW update I would like to see on the GH5.

The MIC socket on the camera can now be switched from MIC with power to MIC with no power to LINE. The XLR settings remain the same from 48kHz/16bit, 48kHz/24bit to 96kHz/24bit.

In ISO Auto mode if using the older dB scale like I do there is one extra stop of minus gain from -12 to -14 and on the positive scale you get to 30dB (GH5 cut off point) to 33, 36, 39, 42, H45, H48, H51 and H54dBs.

The GH5S also has Dual ISO settings from Auto, Low (400) and High (2500). Dual native ISO means exactly that: there are two optimal settings for the camera. The native ISO of a camera is the sensitivity that gives the best images. Any other setting means applying gain, which amplifies the noise floor. Ideally, you should always use a camera at its native ISO.

Note : The cameras were set to 4K 25p 10bit 422 running at 400Mbps to get the best out of them using a 25mm Leica f1.4 lens set to f3.2, Dual ISO set to High.

I have to say the noise level at 6400 ISO on the GH5S is stunning especially when you consider 3200 ISO being the last usable ISO on the GH5.

I was not aware how noisy 6400 ISO was on the GH5 as I never use high ISO speeds.

The killer for me was the GH5S at ISO 12800 ISO on the GH5 it turns to a noisy mush while the GH5S is more than usable.

What about the killer blow that many commentators are banging on about, the lack of on board image stabilisation.

Simple, use a tripod or a Panasonic lens with power OIS. There is a cracking Panasonic lens the 12-60 f3.5-5.6 which is brought into light with the GH5S by utilising the higher ISO speeds this power OIS lens is a great standard zoom lens for the GH5S.

If Panasonic can do anything via firmware please allow us to lock the GH5/GH5S at a speed of a 50th. 

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

The Panasonic GH5S arrives in Glasgow

Categories: Miscellaneous 2 Comments

We have seen various snippets of low light capability with the Panasonic GH5S on the internet but none in my opinion done the good old fashioned way with a Colour Rendition Chart.

The GH5S has two native ISO settings HIGH and LOW or 400 ISO and 2500 ISO I will be comparing these beside a GH5.

Still love the Red REC button but sadly rarely use it as Panasonic have the sense to add the same functionality to the button at the front of the camera unlike the annoying Sony a7S cameras.

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

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