A BIG News Story in Glasgow…”This will be part of my Panasonic PX270 review footage”

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8am Thursday morning while browsing the internet I came upon the Daily Records web site and a picture of a plane. The Emirates A380 was arriving at Glasgow Airport today.

Costing £241 million, the double decker Airbus A380 was making its maiden journey to Glasgow as Emirates Airline celebrated their ten year connection with the airport.


An airport bus arrived to take us to a fantastic vantage point, the bus was full of media from television to snappers.



The beast came right over our heads and it was later I discovered the big red Emirates sticker on the belly of the plane.


This was a great chance to finally put my Panasonic PX270 to the test, recording at 1280 x 720 50p 10bit 422 50Mbps this was as good if not better as any of the professionally used camcorders around me.

We had a birds eye view and the 22x lens coped very well indeed, out of a full days filming the lens went out of focus once…top marks for Panasonic engineers.

NOTE : As with most professionals I don’t usually use AF but when you are testing a camera you have to let the rains out, if the camera had “hunted” too often AF would have been disengaged but to give Panasonic credit this AF is as good as it gets in my opinion.


Picture above supplied by my friend Stewart McKenzie…fantastic


My good buddy Allen was also filming the plane with his new Sony NX3, one of Allen’s passions is aeroplanes, there is nothing he does not know about aeroplanes, once again soothing times like this take his mind off his sore foot.


The BBC were covering this event with a live feed back to the studio from what looked like a LiveU streaming box in a bag.


Everyone has an LCD screen to watch films and the beautiful young air hostesses make the journey a bit more bearable.


First class the only way to travel, this was a plane and a half, the airport staff were brilliant and the security was spot on.


The Panasonic PX270 was brilliant with a viewfinder to die for this was an easy job and a lot less weight than a conventional shoulder mount.


STV reporter Karen Greenshield’s an old friend from my freelancing days at STV.


My thanks to my son Scott for taking all these pictures and helping me in general…it was a great news story and a fantastic insert for my Panasonic PX270 review…coming soon. My thanks also to William Henshaw of the Rutherglen Reformer for getting us this gig.


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

Thoughts on the Blackmagic Studio Camera from Richard Crowley

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What makes a broadcast camera is the ability to control multiple cameras by someone doing the “camera shading” job. This is management of all the camera adjustments in real time (even while on-the-air) to keep the camera pictures matched well enough to live switching without noticeable differences in the images.

This is typically done with a Camera Control Unit (CCU). A proper CCU with a “paint box” is what separates the major-leagues from the wannabees. BMD have acknowledged this requirement with a “soft control” CCU panel for their new range of switchers. Alas the “CCU” panel looks nothing like the traditional broadcast camera CCU, and lacks virtually ALL the traditional controls all broadcast engineers have been using for their lifetime. In fact, the “soft CCU” rather looks like a mini DaVinci color tweaking window (with a full-size DaVinci window available at the click of a button).software

IMHO, this shows an unfamiliarity with how multi-camera broadcast video production is done. Colorists working after-the-fact in post production can spend well beyond Real Time tweaking every shot to a fare-thee-well. But in the “heat of battle” of a multi-camera production, that kind of fine control is simultaneously too much, and too little. Too much detail control that a live program doesn’t have the luxury of time for, and too little of the familiar CCU controls that all video engineers have come to expect.


While this may be interesting to a new generation who don’t know any better, it seems rather to have dropped the ball for high-end broadcast production applications. A glaring example: there appears to be no white-balance control at all. While you could argue that you don’t need traditional “white-balance” controls with this camera, it appears that you will spend that much more time balancing all the cameras without any fixed reference point. It just makes me think that the design was created without any input from people experienced with standard, multi-camera broadcast hardware or procedures.


Now the “world’s largest viewfinder” screen is very nice, but its fixed position and angle supports only one style of shooting, where the operator’s head is directly behind and a bit elevated from the lens axis. While this may be suitable for sit-down (but not stand-up) chat/newsreader shows in a studio, or sports games from a distance, I have encountered a great many (perhaps the majority in my genre) situations where that position for the viewfinder is just not suitable. In live-event coverage where the camera head is higher than the operator’s head, that viewfinder becomes nearly useless (or neck-strain-inducing, if you try it). Not to mention a giant distraction to the live audience behind the camera). Don’t get me wrong, it is a killer viewfinder. I just wish I could put it where I could use it.

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

Rycote at NAB 2014

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The Super-Softie significantly enhances the performance achieved by the existing Softie windshield, through an innovative new aerodynamic shape, and brand new surface material – 3D-Tex, combining to achieve excellent acoustic transparency with superb attenuation of wind noise.

Key features are:

  • 3D-Tex & the novel shape and give greatly improved wind noise reduction compared to conventional “soft” windshields.
  • A true cavity design, with superb performance at extreme low frequencies
  • A rough-service windshield, robust enough for the most challenging ENG situations
  • Maintains excellent acoustic transparency in almost all situations,
  • High immunity to rain-soaking


The Super-Shield is the latest version of Rycote’s rigid basket windshield, replacing the S Series range, and sitting alongside the flagship modular windshield product.

Key features are:

  • A lightweight basket windshield system with a minimum number of parts, that is simple to use
  • Configurable for aerodynamic and centre-of-mass balance
  • Excellent wind noise reduction and lyre-standard isolation from handling noise
  • Removable fur Windjammer to add the highest levels of wind noise suppression

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

AJA’s new CION £5,370 plus vat

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The new 4K camera from AJA has been given little press but is quite popular amongst my readership as Blackmagic have done a fair bit of damage with the previous Cinema Cameras and sensor problems. The CFast memory for URSA is $1,200 for a 128G card giving you 20m of ProRes in 4K.

The AJA uses their proven SSD cards with sensible card sizes like 256GB ($695) or 512GB ($1,295)…more space for your buck.

CION – The New Production Camera from AJA from AJA Marketing on Vimeo.

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

Have Blackmagic opened a Pandoras box that the video industry would have preferred to have kept tightly shut !

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For years we have paid through the nose for video equipment thanks in no part to inflated prices and inflated egos willing to spend silly money on kit.

Been there, done it, ate the pie as the saying goes…till now…the one clear message from Blackmagic’s latest offering is how much such a high spec camcorder DOES’NT COST !


If another manufacturer had brought URSA to market we would certainly be paying £10K upwards for this level of sophistication but the genius that runs Blackmagic Design Grant Petty has a clear vision…QUALITY at AFFORDABLE PRICES.

Granted BM have had a bad run of luck with the original BM Cinema camera but they have been honest enough to keep us informed about the duff sensors and hopefully with some better luck will start shipping the new URSA during July 2014.

At £3,785 plus vat the new URSA has set a new standard in not only quality but more importantly price that companies like Canon, RED, ARRI, Sony, Panasonic and JVC are going to find it hard to compete…especially those pitching at the 4K arena.

No surprise on the back of the BM announcement that Sony have announced an upgrade path for F5 owners to convert their cameras to the F55 which has delighted Sony F5 owners but at a price some are speculating about £3-4K almost as much as a new URSA !


Canon were rumoured to bring out a C400 with 4K specs but a rumour it stayed possibly a lucky coincidence as a newcomer to the camera market place the AJA CION priced at £5,370 plus vat, I can’t quite see how this camera is going to compete with the URSA at £3,785 plus vat.

So where does that leave similar spec camcorders like the ARRI ALEXA (Not 4K), RED EPIC, Sony F55 and Panasonics VariCam 35 well your guess is as good as mine but you can be well assured now that Blackmagic have taken the lid off over inflated pricing we may see some very good deals seeping out over the next few months as sales figures plummet and manufacturers get nervous.

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

Great news for JVC GY-HM600/650 owners…”FW v3 50Mbps”

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Firmware update for the GY-HM650 launched at NAB

JVC have announced a firmware upgrade that adds Zixi advanced streaming capabilities to its GY-HM650 mobile news camera. The 3.0 upgrade also adds the Extreme High Quality (XHQ) mode, which offers virtually lossless 50 Mbps H.264 recording to the GY-HM650 and GY-HM600.

Equipped with JVC’s exclusive dual codec design, the GY-HM650 allows live transmission or secure FTP file transfers when equipped with a 3G/4G modem (or hotspot) or Wi-Fi adapter. It supports live HD video streaming at web-friendly resolutions at various bit rates while simultaneously recording a full HD file to an SDHC or SDXC media card.

Using Zixi’s new Advanced Streaming Technology (AST), the GY-HM650 3.0 provides content-aware error correction and bandwidth shaping. It features JVC’s ‘Streamconfidence’ feature, providing real-time feedback of signal and streaming status. With bit-rates as low as 256 kbps and up to 3 Mbps, Zixi proprietary algorithms maximize bandwidth to ensure reliable transmission even under difficult conditions, while advanced content aware error correction compensates for up to 30 percent packet loss.

With the upgrade, the camera is also compatible with JVC’s Professional Streaming Services, including the new ProHD Broadcaster server powered by Zixi that provides reliable live content delivery to a variety of hardware decoders, CDNs, and the web. Other upgrades include large file size support with SDXC media cards and .MOV clip import capability for Mac OSX. Improved file transfers use RTSP/RTP protocol and can be controlled through a standard web browser.

“The virtually lossless 50Mbps XHQ 60p recording mode is commonly found in DSLRs, and we’re pleased to add it to our 600 Series cameras,” said Gustav Emrich, European product manager. “The Advanced Streaming Technology upgrade to the GY-HM650 is very valuable because it makes the camera compatible with our new ProHD Broadcaster server powered by Zixi, which will help news organisations manage and distribute live signals from their JVC cameras in the field.”

Designed for ENG, the compact GY-HM600 and GY-HM650 feature a built-in Fujinon wide angle 23x zoom lens with manual focus, servo zoom, iris rings, three ND filters and a removable hood. The cameras record HD or SD footage in multiple file formats and can produce full HD files on one memory card while simultaneously creating smaller, web-friendly files (1/4 HD) on a second card. Audio features include a built-in stereo microphone, two XLR inputs with phantom power, shotgun mic holder, headphone jack and separate input for a wireless mic receiver.

Version 3.0 upgrades are free to all current GY-HM600 and GY-HM650 owners, and will be available in May via a firmware update available through the JVC web site.


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

URSA the comic just out..Get one today

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

The DSLR 4K choice…not if aesthetics has anything to do with it !

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I had to laugh when I saw these pictures coming from Sony this morning its a feeble attempt to upstage the Panasonic GH4. Lets take a serious look at Sony’s meccano.


This Sony bracket is nothing short of a mess and very impracticable. Try mounting a tripod plate into that plastic screw head and you will be forever tightening it up.

Why Sony think this mess is any competition for the GH4 it beggars belief, Heath Robinson comes to mind, its a very ill conceived bracket from a 1980′s flash grip all because Sony choose to stick the audio onto a cold shoe, rather than design a fit for purpose cradle like the SDI/XLR adapter for the GH4.

This was the main reason I did not choose the Sony Alpha 99 and went for the GH3…the sound for these Sony cameras is a lash up and will do Sony no favours by turning out poor design like this.

Canon have proved with the C500 that its not a good idea to leave out the 4K internal recorder so why on earth do Sony think the 7s will sell leaving out its ability to record to 4K internally !

Can you imagine that bracket with an external recorder as well !!!

Once again Den Lennie has been let loose this time in my part of the world, Scotland, here is his film with the new Sony Alpha 7s…nice one Den !

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

More Magic from Blackmagic…”Studio Camera” $2,995

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Blackmagic Studio Camera

One of the problems with live production is that most cameras have not really been designed for live production, so they don’t have the features that we need such as a large bright viewfinder, talkback, tally, optical fiber plus almost all cameras are made from plastic.

We have been thinking deeply about what features a camera designed specifically for live production should have and we think we have solved these problems with the new Blackmagic Studio Camera!

This new camera features a very large and bright 10” viewfinder, built in 4 hour battery, talkback, tally indicators, balanced XLR phantom powered microphone connections and built in optical fiber and SDI connections that let you connect to a live production switcher with a single cable! The viewfinder’s LCD is extremely bright and has a very wide viewing angle so it is perfect for use even in direct sunlight.


The Blackmagic Studio Camera features an active Micro Four Thirds lens mount that is compatible with an incredibly wide range of lenses and adapters. This means you can use high quality photo lenses for smaller setups or high end broadcast ENG lenses for large live broadcasts using an MFT to B4 lens mount adapter.

The built in fiber optic connection is bi-directional and depending on the model carries HD or Ultra HD video with embedded audio, talkback, tally and even camera remote control all down the single cable. Talkback uses general aviation headsets so they are really tough and low cost.

The design is cast from magnesium that’s super tough and include a nice large sun shield for use outdoors. It’s an amazing design and having such a large viewfinder makes it amazing to use. It’s so different to any other camera I have used before. It’s so nice doing live production with full talkback to the director and knowing when you’re on air with the tally light.

There are two models of this camera and the Blackmagic Studio Camera is a HD model that operates up to 1080p60 and is available now for $1,995 while the Blackmagic Studio Camera 4K updates up to Ultra HD 2160p60 with 12G-SDI and will be available in July for $2,995.


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

NAB Showstopper Blackmagic’s URSA £3,785 (EF mount)…”Fantastic”

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OMG…What has Mr Petty and the boys been hiding from us…OMG…No longer will anyone dismiss the Blackmagic camera the URSA will take the market by storm.


User Upgradeable Sensor and Mount

Choose from a range of sensors and lens mounts!

The Blackmagic URSA features a modular camera turret that can be simply removed by removing 4 simple bolts! The camera turret includes the sensor, lens mount and lens control connections and can be upgraded in the future when new types of sensors are developed. This means your next camera will be a fraction of the cost of buying a whole new camera! There are currently 4 models to choose from!

URSA EF includes the amazing 4K Super 35 image sensor with global shutter and an EF lens mount with active lens control. Now you can use low cost DSLR photo lenses from companies such as Canon, Zeiss and more!

URSA Broadcast, due later in 2014, features a whole different sensor optimized for Broadcast Video in Ultra HD, combined with a broadcast B4 lens mount and broadcast lens control connection plus built in ND filter wheel.

URSA PL includes the amazing 4K Super 35 image sensor with global shutter and the film industry PL lens mount. That’s ideal when you need to use feature film industry PL mount lenses for the most cinematic optics available!

URSA HDMI includes no sensor because it features an HDMI 4K input and mount plate for connecting any camera such as DSLR cameras! Get much better ProRes recording, monitoring, audio and timecode than what is ever included on simple video or DSLR cameras!


PRESS RELEASE “Over the last few years it’s been really amazing to watch some of the work being done on our cinema camera and some of the rigs that have been built around it. But when we designed it we never really thought it would be used on such large jobs. It was really designed to be a small intimate camera used for creative work where you need to get in close and personal.

So we have been watching these larger rigs and thinking about how people are working when they do large shoots. Our thinking is that we needed to design a professional full sized camera that had all the extra on set equipment built into it, so there was no need to rig it up as much. We also wanted a camera with enough size to fit a very powerful cooling system so we could run high frame rates without fan noise.

The result is URSA, our new camera for professional shoots. It features a stealthy machined aluminum design that’s incredibly strong and has been designed for large film crews. We designed the camera to be divided into separate DOP, camera assistant and audio engineer workstation areas so multiple crew can work around it at the same time.

The DOP station features a massive 10 inch fold out on set monitor and separate 5 inch screen for settings, camera status and scopes. The camera assist station features a separate LCD screen for camera settings, status and scopes and the audio station features audio meters, controls and audio connections.

URSA also includes an upgradable Super 35 4K image sensor with global shutter, 12G-SDI connections, XLR audio inputs with phantom power and dual CFast based RAW and ProRes recorders. There is a total of 3 LCD’s built into this camera!

One of the reasons we have been able to put in such high quality displays and features is because the camera is user upgradable. What this means is the whole sensor and lens mount simply unbolts from the front using 4 bolts and then it can be removed and replaced. So in the future when new sensors are available you can upgrade simply by swapping the sensor and lens mount assembly. This makes the camera virtually future proof!


URSA is available initially in 3 models. One includes EF lens mount and one has a PL lens mount. An example of how you can upgrade the camera would be if you ordered the EF one, you could later purchase the PL lens mount and install it yourself.

One of the weirdest ideas we had was to make URSA available without a lens and sensor and the URSA HDMI features a ‘cheese plate” with threaded holes and a HDMI input where the sensor and lens mount would normally be. This means you can use any camera on the URSA body and get all the benefits of big screen, scopes, professional audio inputs, CFast recorders and more!

The camera runs at 60 fps, however the body has the high speed processing and high capacity cooling to run beyond 100 fps, so when faster sensors are available you could upgrade and then get higher frame rates.

There are a lot more features in the camera than I have space to describe here. The Blackmagic URSA EF will be available in July for $5,995 and the Blackmagic URSA PL will be available for $6,495 from July.”

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

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