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.

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

Crop Factor on the Sony FS7 is 1.5x

Categories: Miscellaneous 9 Comments


I can now confirm that the Sony FS7 with 4K Super 35mm sensor using the Sony FE 24-70mm f4 ZA OSS Carl Zeiss lens does indeed have a 1.5 crop factor. I also now have the cracking 10-18mm f4 wide zoom which has an effective field of view of 15 – 27mm very useful indeed. Sony have E mount and FE mount lenses, very confusing. FE indicates Full Frame E mount lenses for the Sony A7s etc. but the FS7 uses a Super 35mm sensor which allows you to use FE or E mount without vignetting. This is especially useful for a larger choice of lenses.

The 24-70mm is a full frame lens but on the FS7 with a 1.5x crop the lens is equivalent to a 36-113mm.


Still no sign of my servo zoom but a reader has posed the question about the wide side of this lens…will it be wide enough. The Super 35mm sensor will always cause a 1.5x crop no matter what lens you use. The 28-135 with a 1.5x crop will be the equivalent of a 42-203mm lens. Having the 10-18mm lens (15-27mm 1.5x crop) gives me a two lens camera bag. The Sony FE 24-70 f4 lens is my standard zoom for my Sony A7s.

In the earlier days of my photographic career I was more than happy with a standard lens (50mm) it was usually the sharpest lens you could buy and wide lenses were not as sharp back then. Today wide lenses have improved enormously, especially wide zooms.


My Sony 10-18mm f4 lens is just the job for getting dramatic landscapes and interior shots. The quality of the optics are superb and having a constant aperture is a major bonus.


Back to the question can I live with a servo zoom at an angle of view of 42mm at the wide end, no problem, 30mm would have been better but to be honest I have a 10-18mm lens in my bag and you don’t need a wide servo zoom lens so as far as my filming is concerned I am covered.

If I get any further lens it might be the Zeiss 35mm f/1.4 FE lens due late March which would cover any lower light filming and interviews.

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

Radical Video Slider from AMC PHOTOVIDEO £349

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I was during August 2014 that Zhac and his son James came to Glasgow to show me the new slider from AMC PHOTOVIDEO who are based in Lancashire. This was a per production model.


We took the AMC slider to one of our local parks in Glasgow to photograph and produce a small 38s video. Unfortunately the tripod head that’s holding the slider (Manfrotto 504HD) had developed a fault and would not lock down completely but on the final shots when James is sat down on the bench we managed to reposition the slider taking a fair bit of strain off the head giving us far better smoother shots.


The slider’s carriage uses 6 steel wheels and works a treat, we used the Panasonic GH4 with a 12-35 f2.8 lens.


Young James a keen photographer himself loved playing with the slider, there are 2 Adjustable Locking Points for Start to End Shooting, acts as transportation lock.


The Radical Video Slider Track is designed to produce smooth sliding video images. An aluminium profile measuring 80mm wide ensures camera stability when using Professional Video Cameras with Prime Lenses and HDSLR Systems. Slider blocks are included to fix the the end of the slider to 2 studio stands or slide one of the blocks to the middle and fix it to your tripod. Includes start to end adjustable shooting points which can also lock the Camera platform when not in use.


Have a look at the AMC website

Here is a 38s video we shot at the park.

Radical Video Slider from Philip Johnston on Vimeo.

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

MID WEEK SPECIALS from Production Gear

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

Canon 5Ds now sporting 50MP sensor but no headphone socket !

Categories: Miscellaneous 4 Comments


We are now up to 50MP when this Canon 5Ds appears in the shops, quite stunning, video specs are 1080 30p (25p)  nothing to set the heather alight. I hope Canon are finally getting back to making good photographic tools, as there are far too many large sensor video cameras around now.

There is no headphone socket in either model so is totally useless for serious video work…mind you it does sport time-lapse (TL) which is still the preferred tool for TL work.

There are two models the 5Ds and the 5Ds R, same old trick as with Nikon, the 5Ds R is better for photographic use.

  • 50.6mp full frame CMOS
  • 53mp total resolution
  • 5DS R has no low pass filter
  • AF 61 points (41 points cross type)
  • ISO 100-6400 (extended with ISO50 and 12800)
  • Dual DIGIC 6
  • 3.2 inch LCD 1.04 million pixels
  • RAW (50MP), M-RAW (28MP), S-RAW (12.4MP)
  • CF (UDMA7), SD / SDHC / SDXC (UHS-I)
  • Crop modes 1.3x and 1.6x
  • 100% field of view
  • Magnification 0.71 times, the eye point 21 mm
  • Electronic Level
  • Grid display
  • EV-2 support.
  • Itr AF
  • Anti-flicker
  • Time-lapse movie
  • Bulb timer
  • Face recognition during live view
  • 150,000 pixel RGB-TR metering sensor
  • 252 zone TTL metering
  • EOS iSA system
  • Shutter speed is 30 seconds -1/8000 seconds
  • Synchro is 1/200 sec
  • Continuous shooting 5 frames / sec
  • Video 1920×1080 30fps (ALL-I or IPB)
  • Mini HDMI output terminal
  • External microphone terminal
  • Battery LP-E6N / LP-E6


This is why we are getting a £4760 drop in the price of the Canon 1Dc to £7240, though its still far too dear in my opinion.

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

Sony FS7 Remote arm-handle upgrade on a Miller Compass 25

Categories: Miscellaneous 2 Comments


A great use of the remote arm-handle thats lost when mounting the FS7 on a tripod. I can’t use the remote arm in its default position when I put the FS7 on a Miller Compass 25 Tripod head.

The next best thing was to re-engineer the remote arm to fit the tripod handle bush, this works a treat.


You need to drill an 8mm hole because the Miller bolt is about 6.5mm. A lot bigger than the Sony thread, but now for the good news: the Sony thread does screw onto the Manfrotto 405HD without any re-engineering.


My brother in law has all the tools to hand and drilled the 8mm hole for me, you also need some spacers as the Miller bolt only screws a certain distance.


This works a treat and gives you all the functionality of the remote handle at your fingertips, you could add the original Miller arm to the other bush to the left of the tripod head but you will need to order a spare bolt from Miller.


This is a stroke of genius and will be an asset for filming interviews with the Sony FS7. Please note this is not an alternative to the pan handle I will re-attach mine as soon as Miller send me a replacement handle bolt on the left hand side.

NOTE : This idea has been updated here


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

Why I bought a Sony PXW-FS7

Categories: Miscellaneous 12 Comments


It’s a no brainer if you want top quality 4K and HD footage at a reasonable price there is only one camera on the market that ticks all the boxes…the Sony PXW-FS7. As you know I had a Canon C300 and I loved the pictures but 720 50P and off body XLRs were becoming very dated, not to mention 8bit technology. I would have lost a lot of value trying to sell a C300 once the Sony FS7 was announced. Once you see 10bit pictures you never go backwards.

I had my two GH4s for nine months, selling one for a Sony A7s a couple of months ago. My main reason for buying the Sony FS7 was the servo zoom lens. I still have my GH4/YAGH as it will make a great second camera.

FS7 800As yet Sony can’t supply the 28-135 f4 lens but I needed a camera for more than one filming situation. Your footage becomes stilted using prime lenses all the time, they give you lovely footage and nice looking interviews but sometimes you need a creeping zoom thats not achievable with a DSLR.

The second reason is looks…yes, I am afraid we are in a “looks industry”. I have been filming all last year with two DSLRs and latterly a Sony PXW-X70. When you are filming an interview with two DSLRs to be quite frank there is no WOW factor, in fact it just looks like a photographic shoot, the end result…impressive, the look…not so impressive.


The final straw came just over a month ago when I was called by Channel 4 News to cover live inserts in George Square, Glasgow and the only camera up for the job was the Sony X70.



Everyone had Sony PMW-500s as you can see above, I felt very uneasy attending such a major news story with such a small camera. Don’t get me wrong the camera produced very comendable SD footage from the SDI socket into the satellite truck 50 meters up the road and Channel 4 were happy, but I decided there and then that was the last live news story the X70 was to be involved with.

I needed a camera that gives me many options plus a servo zoom but I was not going to buy into a Sony PXW-400, so the only solution was the Sony PXW-FS7.


The Sony FS7 gives you the best of both worlds. If you want to produce nice large sensor interviews or run and gun news stories the FS7 will do both, but with one caveat; most news organisations use SD video feeds into their satellite truck and the FS7 does not produce an SD signal from the SDI socket. I am hoping Sony can fix this via firmware as I would be reluctant to buy a mini  HDMI to SDI converter just to produce SD. You can produce SD from the HDMI but once again broadcast satellite trucks only handle BNC connectors via your SDI socket.


The great thing is the FS7 fits my prompter, which I was testing for its first shoot on Sunday for a new major client…now that looks impressive. Also found out that the XAVC-I mode:FULL HD 50P VBR, 185Mbps, MPEG-4 H.264/AVC is FCPX ready which is a major boost to me, this is the maximum HD 50p quality and it looks stunning.

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

V4 Firmware Upgrade for PXW-Z100

Categories: Miscellaneous 5 Comments


I think this is what Sony Z100 users are waiting for version 4 firmware upgrade which brings you…

1.) AVCHD Recording Mode.
2.) Formating “Memory Stick” media/SD card.
3.) Seamless playback

Link to software here… 

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

Sony PXW-FS7 Arrives in Glasgow

Categories: Miscellaneous 4 Comments


Finally my very own Sony PXW-FS7 arrived this morning…Fantastic…its the first large sensor camera to tick all my boxes.

I will be getting the 28-135 servo lens sent up to me when it arrives and some 128G XQD cards. The camera is well made, very robust, as is the XQD media itself.


This is just a quick blog to whet your appetite but I have a string of blogs and a user review to produce but I won’t be doing the review till after BVE next month.




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

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