Sony A7s with a Rokinon 24mm T1.5

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The real time pictures from the Sony A7s of an Aurora are truly stunning from Anders Mildestveit, worth a view.

Aurora Borealis in Tromsø from Anders Mildestveit on Vimeo.

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

Sony PXW-X180 Pre Review

Categories: Miscellaneous 12 Comments


Sony Broadcast have sent me their new PXW-X180 camcorders to review, like the PXW-X70 it won’t be a full video review but I will make sure I get footage online ASAP.

This camera is a direct competitor for the Panasonic PX270 especially in Long GOP mode it will be interesting to see how Sony compares with the PX270.

If you have any questions about this camera send me your thoughts in the comments section of this post.

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

The GAFFGUN for $249

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Seems like a simple device …so why has it taken so long to be invented…the times I could have done with a GAFFGUN. This device is not cheap at $249 but I like to see it as a one off purchase and the time it will save taping cables is worth the money…if it works.

I would like this company to send me a unit to test for myself, I will let you know how I get on.

Join the Revolution from GaffGun on Vimeo.

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

NEW Canon C100 Mk11

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Harnessing technology found in the flagship EOS C500, the EOS C100 Mark II boasts a powerful imaging engine which delivers outstanding performance. A Canon Super 35mm 8.3MP CMOS sensor combines with a DIGIC DV 4 processor to deliver the rich colour and wide dynamic range synonymous with Cinema EOS cameras, while a new extended ISO range of 320 to 102,400 ensures superb performance, even in extreme low light conditions. The camera also features a new image processing system which enhances performance further by reducing moiré and aliasing, resulting in sharper, clearer images.

The EOS C100 Mark II includes Canon’s pioneering Dual Pixel CMOS AF technology as standard, which enables anyone to find focus and switch easily between multiple subjects in a single shot. Canon’s Face Detection AF technology is also supported and provides further creative control through the automatic recognition and focus tracking of faces.¹

Greater creative opportunities
The EOS C100 Mark II features two recording formats to suit the needs of different productions. Dual Format recording allows operators to simultaneously capture Full HD footage in both MP4 (up to 35Mbps) and AVCHD (up to 28Mbps) variants, using frame rates of up to 60P. Alternatively users can chose to record HD and SD footage to separate SD memory cards for maximum workflow flexibility and easy sharing. This range of options further expands the world of creative opportunities offered by the EOS C100 Mark II and also makes the capture of slow and fast motion action possible.

Integrated Wi-Fi connectivity – a first for the Cinema EOS series – ensures that sharing footage from the camera is now easier than ever thanks to ability to transfer files via FTP. In situations that demand a fast turn-around, such as news or events reporting, Dual Format recording allows operators to quickly share low resolution SD files directly from the camera whilst the security of an HD copy is maintained.


Uncompromising operation, wherever you are
Thanks to its robust, compact design, the EOS C100 Mark II is ideal for shooting in a wide range of applications, especially those involving a single shooter. Browser-based camera control via built-in Wi-Fi and support for Canon’s multi-functional RC-V100 remote control allow the camera to be positioned in locations that previously could not have been considered, enabling crews to maintain creative control even in the most awkward or obstructive situations.

The EOS C100 Mark II’s screen has been redesigned and now flips out to the side to provide greater monitoring possibilities, including allowing users to frame the shot whilst in front of the camera. A new OLED display delivers higher contrast, more vivid colours and faster response times, even in bright conditions. The camera also features an improved tiltable Electronic Viewfinder (EVF) and a larger eyecup to provide greater flexibility and accuracy during shooting. Additionally, a range of professional audio features accompany a microphone in the handle unit, while a new built-in microphone has been added to the camera body, enabling sound recording for continuity in the smallest possible camera configuration.


EF lenses – unlimited possibilities
As part of the EOS system, the EOS C100 Mark II is immediately compatible with – and optimised for – Canon’s world-renowned range of interchangeable EF lenses and 4K EF cinema lenses, providing both the power and versatility to meet virtually any creative challenge.

EOS C100 Mark II key features:

  • 8.3MP Super 35mm CMOS sensor, ISO 102,400
  • Dual Pixel CMOS AF and Face Detection AF
  • Dual Format AVCHD/MP4 recording up to 1080/60p
  • OLED display; improved EVF
  • Built in Wi-Fi and remote control options

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

Exclusive interview with Danny Macaskill…How the Ridge was filmed

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I was producing a two camera interview for the Discovery Channel yesterday with Danny Macaskill a professional street trails rider who decided to cycle up the “Ridge” in the Cuilins on the Isle of Skye.



Danny had a film crew from CUT MEDIA with him all eleven of them plus a German Shepherd, they used various cameras from a Canon C300, two Panasonic GH4’s, one mounted onto a  DJI S1000 Drone and one mounted onto a Movi 5 and a GoPro HERO 3+.



Here is one of the GH4 cameras being used on the Movi M5.



The  DJI S1000 Drone was kitted out with a GH4, Wi-Fi monitoring and a gimbal.


Danny is a great down to earth chap, Chelsea from the Discovery Channel interviewed Danny from Canada via my iPhone 5s on speaker phone and I got a great technical interview with Danny after the important work was finished. Once again the Sony PXW-X70 sat beautifully alongside the GH4 picture wise and I ran 2 64G SDXC cards simultaneously which worked a dream.



Here are some fans who were passing by on the Glasgow Commonwealth Games 2014 dirt track at Cathkin Braes.

Here is my 5m interview about how the Ridge was filmed…

Watch Danny’s film produced by CUT MEDIA “The Ridge” on You Tube


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

Sony announce to HD Warrior v3 FW upgrade for PXW-Z100

Categories: Miscellaneous 26 Comments


SONY BROADCAST UK “We are pleased to announce that the version N°3 of  PXW-Z100 firmware upgrade will be available the 30thOctober.

This free of charge firmware upgrade will be publish  in “Resources” area  on under the main page of PXW-Z100.”

The version 3 will include:

  • XAVC Long GOP* 4K(QFHD)/HD recording capability with max.150 Mbps on XQD media card
  • TC output from HDMI

*XAVC-L (long GOP) is a codec with MXF file wrapper, in QFHD is 4:2:0 with 8bit, in HD is 4:2:2 with 10bit.


The next firmware version should include AVCHD recording and will be available in January 2015.

The Direct Copy function we plan to update in first half of 2015.

We intend to email all our registered users with this information when the software is ready to download.

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

Sony’s new PXW-FS7 camcorder Promotional Video

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This is the camcorder that set the heather alight at IBC 2014 the new Sony PXW-FS7, have Sony finally created the best 4K-HD camcorder of all time, I can’t fault this camera it ticks all the boxes and more.

Here is an interesting promotional video Sony have put together with a lot of interesting facts and figures.


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

Panasonic GH4 FW Update V2

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October sees the latest FW for the Panasonic GH4 and brings some interesting new modes including square pictures or 1:1

1. [4K PHOTO] mode is added which records 4K video exclusively for capturing a frame to save as a photo.

  • Settings can be adjusted as below when entering this mode.
-Rec Format : MP4
-Rec Quality : 4K/30p/100Mbps
(System Frequency 59.94Hz)
(System Frequency 50.00Hz)
-Luminance Level:0-255
  • In addition to 16:9 aspect, 4:3/3:2/1:1 can be selected.
  • Exif information is embedded to the captured image from the 4K video.
  • Marking function is available enables marker setting on the designated point while recording video and users can jump to the markers when playing back the video to capture the frame they want.
  • Loop Recording function is added, with which the camera keeps on recording video while deleting the old footage automatically.
  1. 4K/23.98p/100Mbps mode is added in MP4 video recording.
  2. The upper limit of the ISO sensitivity can be set in the menu of ISO sensitivity setting and emission amount of flash light can be adjusted in the menu of exposure compensation.
  3. Focusing performance of 1-area AF in video recording is improved.
  4. Tracking performance of tracking AF when used with the interchangeable lens H-FS14140 is improved.
  5. Remote shooting via USB tethering is available by using PC software “USB Tether” supplied by Promote Systems.


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

Sony’s AVCHD Firmware for the PXW-Z100 now 3 months overdue

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Its clear that Sony have an intention to update the PXW-Z100 but this was being discussed as far back as January the 9th 2014, its now October and still no AVCHD. One disgruntled owner Michael Thompson has written to HD Warrior with his tale of woe.

Michael Thompson (PXW-Z100 owner)…

“I have publicised within the Institute of Videography and some members there are appalled. I have also posted a message to the Sony Europe Facebook page in the the hope that they may sit up and listen. I have also written to the suppliers of the camera who could be considered to be in breach of contract.

You are already aware of some of this, but it is worth repeating the story:

I bought just under a year ago a Sony PXW-Z100 4K camera which I have been very pleased with, by and large. But there is a serious issue about this and other Sony cameras which I feel is giving them a less than good reputation. Essentially, it has been sold unfinished.
Let me clarify.

When I purchased the camera, the manual acknowledged the following:

The “Memory Stick” media / SD card C slot / access lamp – to be supported by a future (firmware) upgrade.

USB connector (A type) – to be supported by a future (firmware) upgrade.

DATA CODE button – to be supported by a future (firmware) upgrade.

TC/U-BIT/DURATION button (to switch between the timecode and recording time display on the LCD screen. The user bit) – to be supported by a future (firmware) upgrade.

This upgrade was promised by Sony for the middle of 2014. I quote Sony:

*A firmware update is planned for the middle of 2014 to support the Long GOP mode for extended 4K recording time and to add support for AVCHD recording, a format that until now has been compatible with the playback environment of Blu-ray® Discs.

There was a minor upgrade in February 2014 which did none of these things (so far as I am aware) but did correct sound channels 1 and 2 which were the wrong way round, and one or two other things:

What’s New

Improved Functions
Audio Channel Correction
HDMI version 2.0
Slow shutter speed setting in Slow & Quick mode

My concern is that I have been chasing the v3.00 firmware upgrade for months. Eventually, I pretended to be a new buyer and asked Sony the question. The salesperson was very conscientious and eventually came back to me with some newly released software (not the promised firmware) and indicated to me that the firmware might not be released until 2015.

I find this exasperating as it means that the SD card slot and the USB connector are unusable and I cannot record using Long GOP which would enable more running time on the cards. Since XQD cards are very expensive (currently £380 approx for a 64GB card – 1/2hr at 4K and 1hr at HD ). I have started to use an Atomos Ninja 2 with 240GB which gives me 5 1/2 hours with ProRes HD.

Now, it doesn’t end there, unfortunately.

The newly issued Sony PXW-X70 is being raved about as an excellent camera, 50% the price of the PXW-Z100, but, according to Sony, “The PXW-X70 is also 4K ready and can handle 4K recordings with a future upgrade.”

Oh dear, here we go again.

It seems that they are beginning to make a habit of it, spoiling excellent cameras by relying on the issue of upgraded firmware, AFTER the sale, some time. The problem is they are not keeping the new owner of the camera up to date as to when that firmware might be issued.

Personally, I think this method of business is appalling and can give a company a bad reputation. After all, does any of us wish to buy something that hasn’t been finished? The trust is beginning to wane, somewhat…….”


HDW : I have written to Sony on this matter and hope to get a reply very soon which I will publish in this post. Meantime you can watch my review on the PXW-Z100 which was produced back in January 2014.

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

Sony A7s User Review and the 16-70mm lens confusion. (Update on lens)

Categories: Miscellaneous 12 Comments


Having sold one of my two GH4’s I decided to buy a Sony A7s because I needed camera that would perform well in lower lighting conditions. The first thing I tested was the cameras colour compatibility with using the A7s beside my GH4.

Next was choosing a lens, I looked at all the options before plumbing for the 16-70mm f4 ZEISS T* a cracking all rounder though I was not prepared to discover that this lens using APSC crop would also increase the noise at higher ISOs.


There has been a fair bit of confusion over the lens I chose, firstly its not a “Full Frame” lens as there is no FF equivalent. When I had my Canon 5D I had a 24-105mm lens and it ticked a lot of my boxes therefore I chose the 16-70mm lens knowing it would give me a 1.5x crop, what I was not aware of is that 1.5x crop would also increase the noise, thanks to Chris for pointing this out but indeed when I film with a full frame Nikon lens on an MTF adapter the noise is less than using the Sony non FF lens. The ISO was set to 12800 and the croped Sony lens is indeed a tad noisier, interesting. Update. I have decided to return the 16-70mm APS-C to WEX who are kindly exchanging it for the 24-70mm Full Frame version, its not due in till the end of the month and I will re-evaluate the ISO when I get my new lens.

I also bought a 60mm f2.8 Sigma lens which gets terrific reviews and is also a very sharp lens. The last item I bought was the hand grip which allows you to use a second Lion “W” battery extending your total video battery life to about 4 hours.


The worst feature of the A7s is the video record button, not only is it in the wrong place but its your only option unlike the GH4 where the shutter release button doubles up as the video record button, lets hope Sony do something about this in the next FW upgrade.


To solve the problem I bought a Sony RM-VPR1 remote that works a dream with a nice big video record button off camera making the A7s a lot more pleasurable to work with in video mode.


How does the Sony A7s compare with the Panasonic GH4…I used them only last week on a major NHS job filming side by side using the A7s as a wide locked off shot and the GH4 for a medium close up. The GH4 has the YAGH and the A7s was relying on its inbuilt mic for sound syncing. This worked well on the timeline but you have to remember to crank up the A7s to make sure you get enough volume to sync the two cameras together.


I have as I write ordered the £500 Sony XLR-K2M adapter kit, this fits onto the top of the A7s unlike the first Sony carbuncle that sits on a bracket.

Back to the colour compatibility…you can get them fairly close but FCPX nails the slight incompatibility with a great feature called “Match Color” and the XAVC-S file loads into FCPX a dream, this confused me at first when I tried to import XAVC LongGOP (PXW-X70).

There is a lot of nonsense being banded about the net as to the A7s ability to see in the dark…well it can but at the cost of noise…I find you can run the ISO up to 8000 happily before it starts to get noisy (APSC Sony lens) with a Full Frame lens (Sony only have 3 full frame E mount lenses to date) you should expect the ISO to climb to 12800 before noticeable noise kicks in. Videos on the internet hide a lot of noise wether its the compression used to convert the video who knows but I prefer to use my monitor in my edit suite and my trusty JVC reference monitor.

Here is a job we did recently, its still in its editing stage but gives you a look at the Sony A7s performing at ISO 8000


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

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