Making a point on Friday the 13th

Categories: Miscellaneous 2 Comments


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.

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

Shape FS7RH “A solution for the Sony Remote arm on the PXW-FS7″ £165 plus vat

Categories: Miscellaneous 2 Comments


Speaking to Octica the distributers this seems a perfect solution for the FS7’s remote arm as it makes it tool-less. At the moment if you want to extend the arm on your FS7 you need to carry a flat headed screwdriver, which is far from practical.


This is a neat solution and I recon many FS7 owners will be heading to H Preston Media or Production Gear  who are main dealers for Octica.


Please note : This item is not in stock yet so if you want to see the new arm you need to head to BVE in London on the 24th of February at Octica’s stand H26.


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

Sony PXW-FS7 User Review coming soon

Categories: Miscellaneous 1 Comment


I will soon be filming a user review of the Sony PXW-FS7, the codecs are fantastic if you want top quality stick to XAVC I (32G card 16m) or if you need space choose XAVC L  (32G card 70m). You will be astounded by the XAVC L footage this is the same as XAVC HD on my PXW-X70 camcorder running at 50 Mbps.

Please note as I did not buy this camera to increase my workflow I won’t be delving too deeply into CINE EI mode, if you wish to increase your knowledge of CINE EI mode then why not rent Doug Jensen’s Master Class on the PXW-FS7 chapters 14-17 will give an in-depth tutorial on MLUTS, Look Profiles etc.

Note : XAVC I is FCPX friendly while XAVC L needs Sony’s Catalyst Prepare software before you can take it into FCPX.


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

Sony PXW-X70…When are we getting 4K ? Update …”Sony reply”

Categories: Miscellaneous 14 Comments


When we bought the Sony PXW-X70 back in October 2014 part of the deal was an firmware upgrade to 4K, four months later and no sign of the promised software ! Yet the exact same model in its domestic guise the FDR-AX100 came out before the X70 with 4K as part of the deal.


Almost every 4K Sony professional camera to date is unfinished, awaiting software, the PXW-Z100 just got AVCHD last week after a year, PXW-FS7 awaiting FW for the back unit (Pro Res etc) and the PXW-X70 awaiting its 4K upgrade !


This is becoming the norm rather than the exception for Sony. I do think if you are going to sell sequential cameras like “buy part one and get part two free” you need to be as honest as possible with your “part two” dates.

Sonys web site still bangs on about a 4K upgrade “The PXW-X70 is also 4K ready and can handle 4K recordings with a future upgrade.”

Sony Reply…” Hi Philip, we will be confirming the 4K upgrade details by the end of this month. The plan was for the upgrade to be available ‘early 2015′ and the exact detail we will confirm in due course. Apologies if this was not clear in the communications! “

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

Doug Jensen’s Vimeo Master Class Sony…PXW-FS7 $85 (£56) Vimeo on-demand

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If you own a Sony PXW-FS7 you can’t afford not to buy this Vimeo purchase on demand on-line instruction video. With over 26 chapters, 6 hours of content this is a must for anyone who wants to master their Sony PXW-FS7.

Video on-demand (VOD) allows you to watch this video for 6 months, I would prefer a longer period plus if Doug releases this on DVD I do hope VOD users will get a good discount off the DVD.

This master class is a completely independent production with no sponsorship, input, or approval from Sony. It delivers unbiased information and professional advice that can’t be found from any other source.

UPDATE : Doug is a great teacher and after buying my own copy I have already gleamed about 5 tips that now make a lot more sense to me and have changed settings that I would have otherwise ignored…brilliant.

Doug Jensen’s Sony PXW-FS7 Master Class – Trailer from Doug Jensen on Vimeo.

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

First samples from the new Canon 5Ds…stunning

Categories: Miscellaneous 1 Comment


As I suspected Canon are moving back to a more photographic spec. camera, as this camera has less video features which in my opinion is a good thing.

Shooting Mode : Manual exposure
Tv (Shutter Speed): 1/125 sec
Av (Aperture Value): f/8.0
ISO Speed: ISO100
Lens: EF70-200mm F2.8L IS II USM
White Balance: Color temp.(5200K)
Picture Style: Fine Detail

ISO speed is based on recommended exposure index.


The quality of this picture is simply stunning and the detail at 100%, interesting to see how the medium format cameras respond to this 50 mega pixel upgrade.

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

Some great technical info over at on the Sony PXW-FS7

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Alister is one of the top Sony ICE (Independent Certified Experts) on anything XDCAM, this includes the new PXW-FS7 camcorder. Click on the image above to see his technical papers on the FS7.

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

Ikegami HDK-97ARRI cameras used to capture PUR & Friends Mega Concert

Categories: Miscellaneous 2 Comments


Ikegami are still going strong I am glad to report, the ARRI influence is obvious and I think it looks cool, love the blue highlights, but ARRI have also developed the Super 35mm front end which must give this camera some wonderful footage.

Ikegami HDK-97ARRI cameras capture the action at PUR & Friends Mega Concert

Neuss, Germany, February 5, 2015:  TV Skyline, one of Europe’s largest and most successful mobile television production companies, chose Ikegami HDK-97ARRI cameras to broadcast the recent PUR & Friends 2014 annual concert from the massive Veltins Arena in Gelsenkirchen. Working in partnership with Neoxfilm, TV Skyline captured the performance for transmission by executive producer, Sky Germany.

David Kirk “The HDK-97ARRI is based on the Ikegami HDK-97A docking camera head and incorporates extra features developed for digital film-making. These include a larger Super 35 sensor which delivers cinematic depth of field, clean highlights, extremely low noise and very natural skin tones. The HDK-97ARRI is fully compatible with our HDK-97A infrastructure, using the same base station, CCU and cable interfaces, so everything connected together very easily.

“Intercutting between the HDK-97A and HDK-97ARRI cameras in our coverage of the PUR & Friends concert allowed us to combine the realism and immediacy of a high quality outside broadcast with the extra impact associated with digital cinematography.

“Particularly impressive was the HDK-97ARRI’s dynamic and low-noise rendering of the performers’s high-contrast clothing, from dark areas of clothing through to very vibrant highlights. The client producer was also delighted so we have high hopes of winning the contract to televise PUR’s 30th anniversary concert this year.”

“Selecting Ikegami’s HDK-97ARRI Super 35 cameras was a key element of the creative realisation,” adds Neoxfilm’s Creative Director Marc Schütrumpf. “We relied on early planning and arrangements, choosing the right lenses and optimal camera positions. By maintaining a constant lens aperture, the depth of field could be permanently kept shallow. By using the optimum focal lengths, we were able to generate a cinematic look that brought the PUR concert at its most impressive into every viewer’s home.”

Jointly developed by Ikegami and ARRI, the HDK-97ARRI is a broadcast-style production camera with digital cinema characteristics enabling a large format sensor to be deployed in multiple camera operation. Centered around ARRI’s Super 35 CMOS sensor and its associated support circuitry, the system provides cinematic qualities including natural colour rendering, exceptional dynamic range and progressive frame rates such as 23.98p. Broadcast-grade distribution can be performed using the latest Ikegami technology, via fibre transmission using up to 2 kilometres of SMPTE hybrid fibre and cable.

The ARRI large-format front end is famed for its film-like organic look, characterised by extended, clean highlights, an extremely low noise floor, natural skin tones, excellent colour separation and a cinematic depth-of-field. Employing large pixels and a custom-designed read-out architecture, it delivers exceptionally wide dynamic range. ARRI’s stainless steel lens mount system ensures super stable flange focal depth between lens and sensor.

The HDK-97ARRI is housed in a docking style camera head from Ikegami’s successful Unicam HD camera series. Powered by Ikegami’s latest 3G FPGA-based DSP, the camera provides complete real time control of all grey-scale, colour, and detail functions. A new 3G transmission system transports video from camera head to CCU, as well as 3G transmission from CCU to camera head. The camera head supports return video in HD, two channels of prompter video in SD, and (when using the CCU-970M) one channel of prompter video in HD. Other signals transported via the camera cable include two channels of intercom, two channels of programme audio, two channels of microphone audio, genlock phase control, camera control, and external auxiliary data. Ikegami’s powerful 200-series remote control system enables video operators to manage multiple cameras using OCP, MCP, and network hubs.


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

Nebula 4000 3 Axis Digital Gyroscope Stabiliser…£495 plus vat Production Gear

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What a fantastic tool, I have seen some amazing footage taken with this hand held stabiliser but a word of caution…its not an out of the box and it starts working tool. There is a lot of setting up in my opinion but once you hit that sweet spot of balance, you can create some special looking footage.


I have got the Nebula 4000 for a couple of weeks from Production Gear and it takes some getting used to, so don’t expect to see my review any time soon.

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

A re-think on my earlier post – Sony FS7 remote arm reversal.

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It takes a manufacturer to charge £56 plus vat for what I thought was a bolt to re-think my earlier design, as it turned out the £56 included the pan handle star bush which I didn’t need.

Here is the re-devised design which is altogether a lot more simple and does not involve any drilling.


Firstly you must move the tripod balancing plate tightening screw out of the way, (fig 1) this can be done with a smaller Philips screw driver as shown above.

Secondly reverse the pan handle (fig 2) as shown.

Lastly there are 2 small bolts on the back of the Sony remote (fig 3) un-tighten them and slide out as far as it goes, re-tighten. Then rest the Sony remote on top of the Miller assembly as shown.


This version is far simpler and works a treat giving you your robust pan handle and the remote hand grip for start/stop, servo zoom and menu options.

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