H Preston Media …Open Day, see the new Panasonic cameras

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

IBC 2011…One day to go

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We are heading to Amsterdam today arriving Friday morning so I won’t be able to give you any info till Friday evening with pictures and a written report of day one at IBC.

As usual we are filming and this year I have the Sony FS100 and the Sony NX70, the video will not be edited till late next week so please be patient.

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

How to go Viral

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Today in Glasgow my nephew became big news because of one person…Taylor Swift. During a You Tube interview Taylor happened to mention Douglas’s You Tube video (4m 30s in) and how it was cute watching him being licked by baby lion cubs. The roof lifted off Dougies life and everyone wanted to know the “Scottish lion man”.

As you can see Taylor Swift is mega and has an enormous following especially in the USA, today our local independant TV station interviewed Dougie.

Our camera crew from Scottish Television, Fraser Clelland and Karen Greenshields (Reporter) who are old friends of mine as I used to freelance for STV many moons ago.

So here is that very internet sensation followed by Dougies own music video filmed by myself on the new Sony FS100.

[xr_video id=”1728c884c58643878a46fa9f50b80fdb” size=”md”]

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

Harking back to the past to educate the future

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Everyone thinks that shallow depth of field is part and parcel of the film world but not everyone was happy with SDoF.  When one of Hollywood’s biggest directors Orson Welles filmed Citizen Kane a film made in 1941 which was not only directed by Orson Welles but stared the very man himself, director Welles insisted on having a large depth of field for many of his shots.

This gave the crew a nightmare as they had to bring in far more lighting when Orson decided his next shot was to be filmed at T11 or f11 to you and me. T11 in those days ment blasting the set with light in order to allow the iris to stop down to f11, if nothing else things must have got very hot indeed.

If on the occasion enough light was not the answer they would use a split lens to give them two seperate depths of focus now this was tricky as you had to make sure your foreground actors and background actors never crossed the “invisible” line.

As an example you would use the edge of the door as an invisible line then pop on the split lens giving you two separate focusing fields.

As you can see the actors could not move from that position or the effect would be ruined. So you see it’s a savvy director who decides not to follow the rest of the field and give the viewer a visual experiance that in those days was new and different to the norm.

Think out of the box like Orson Welles did seventy years ago, the internet is a great tool but many of you are trying to emulate and be influanced by what you see on YouTube, Vimeo etc. The best films or videos today are fresh, free of influances from what others do and say, it does not have to be the “Film Look” for everything you do, video and its larger depth of field still has a place, it’s the power of your story that matters the tool to do the job is secondary to that.

My thanks to Norrie for the background info.

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

24p or 25p video myth buster

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If you are filming with a video camera or a DSLR why are we constantly being told to film in 24p to make it closer to film when it’s a lot of tosh. No one can tell the difference between 24 and 25p as long as they are edited in 24 and 25p respectively so why are so called gurus always banging on about 24p.

24 and 25 frames per second is a term that comes from the film world, if you are producing a 16mm film for the cinema then choose 24 fps and if you were producing a 16mm film for TV then choose 25 fps.

16mm cine projectors run at 24 /25 fps and other frames in between but your TV set does not process your video footage the same way as a cine projector so where does this myth come from.

“Film like” is the answer, video manufacturers have been giving us film like features for years…cine gamma, 24p filming and now shallow depth of field large sensor cameras. Video artists have been craving that cine look for years and have been taken along on that CINE LOOK bandwagon till they and we have been brainwashed into thinking that by setting your video camera to 24p, cine gamma that you will indeed get a picture closer to cine…NO.

Film has a unique look depending what emulsion you use 125ASA for a smother look or 400ASA for a grainer look etc, etc. Film stock between manufactures also add to that look, film has a far greater latitude than video which means it can handle a wider range of exposure before it whites out.

A 35mm film produced 25 years ago will transfer onto a Blu ray HD DVD without any problem but the “look” is indeed film. Video tries to emulate film in many ways but sadly for the artist if you want the true film look then USE FILM !

Video will always look electronic no matter how good it is and this myth about using 24p over 25p to get that true film look is nothing more than fantasy, if its produced on video you can not see any difference between 24 and 25p.

While we are on this topic can news producers stop sending idiots out on news shoots with their cameras switched to 25p as it looks crap, I am forever watching locally produced news where one news insert has been filmed at 25p…you can’t miss it in your viewfinder the moving people behind your talking head are staccato, its a sad sign of the times when we get badly trained operators who do not know their cameras and how to set them up properly.

I have used 720 50p for a few years now with great success, it transfers to DVD like a charm and now shoot 1080 50p, the “p” or progressive look is a closer match for todays plasma and LCD TVs and does not give you those jaggy edges seen in interlaced footage.

I started filming when I was 12 years of age using various super 8 film cameras not because I wanted a film look but video as we know it today in small camcorders had not been invented. You had 50 foot reels of film which lasted 3 minutes and 30 seconds and that was filmed at 18 fps to “save” precious seconds of expensive emulsion, remembering the projector was also set to 18 fps. In fact if you want a true 70s Super 8 look then you should set your video camera to 18p.

I filmed on Ektachrome 400 which gave me a better results in lower lighting conditions but it was all a toss of the dice whether anything turned out in low light, what a disappointment if your two week wait was in vain. It took two weeks for your Kodak film to go to Hemel Hempstead, get processed and come back.

My uncle Ted used a 16mm Bolex at 24 fps and his footage looked fantastic, much richer and less wishy washy than my super 8mm footage. Film gives you a sense for not waisting shots or precious time on filming rubbish unlike video.

Video like digital photography has changed the mind-set of many people to the detriment of the medium being used, it’s like a lot of things today, if it does not cost then who cares, we are riddled with boring footage and hundreds of needless photographs all to end up in the same prison, the HARD DRIVE.

Only when you have saved your pocket money for film stock and used your 3.5 minutes of film wisely can you have any sence and appreciation for that true film look…I am not nicknamed the “Archiver” for nothing.

The only time it makes sense is if you are filming on video and your footage was to end up on film for the cinema then 24p would be preferable but in general 24p has become the flavour of the “film look tool box” along with cine gamma and shallow depth of field…given to us to emulate a look by the camera manufacturer.

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

SONY’s NEW VG-20…Now with 50p recording

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The Sony NEX-VG20, a consumer HD interchangeable lens camcorder that follows the world’s first consumer-oriented HD camcorder with an interchangeable lens system, the NEX-VG10.

The NEX-VG20 features the same E-mount system that offers users the choice of seven different E-mount lenses. Sony claims the VG20 offers a number of improvements over the previous model, including comprehensive manual controls, improved imaging quality, upgraded sound and ergonomic refinements such as enhanced grips and a second record button.

SONY “The Handycam® NEX-VG20 offers creative videographers and moviemakers professional performance, whatever their subject. With an improved 16.1 megapixel resolution, you can shoot Full HD video in 25p mode to give your images that timeless cinematic look. Or switch to 50p recording to capture fast and furious sporting action”

The VG-10 suffered rather bad moire patterning and only filmed in 25p mode, I do hope Sony have addressed the moire patterning with the VG-20.

I don’t like the fact that Sony have kept the same look as the VG-10, all they seem to have done is internal tweaking but you now have a choice of 25p and 50p which is good and even if you are using Final Cut Express you can buy a great wee programme called CLIP WRAP that will allow your 50p footage to be used in FCP-7 or Express.

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

IBC only 7 days away

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This year I will be taking my Sony FS100 and NX70 to IBC along with my latest purchase the RODE NT4 an X/Y stereo mic. Not for any stereo reasons I may add, it was during my trip to Haydock last year that I happened upon the Audio Technica stereo mic the AT8022.

I used the AT8022 to interview the Audio Technica rep and was taken by the clarity of both our voices, it came down to the simple fact that we both had a mic pointing at us so neither of us were off mic.

Interviews can be a pain if one of you are slightly off mic so a great solution is the stereo mic. The AT8022 has not been made since the problems in Japan so no one had the mic in stock anywhere in the UK.

Fortunately the Australians were not in the same boat as the Japanese and I sourced the RODE NT4 from Jigsaw in London, at £365 this is no cheap option but it’s a cracking mic and comes in a plastic case with all the accessories.

The best bit for me is the ability to plug in two XLRs into my FS100, effectively the right and the left mic capsule, the NT4 has a 5 pin connector which feeds out to two XLRs, this will allow me to choose which mic to “open” during the interviews when I edit it on the timeline.

I think I have made a better choice even although the RODE is a good £100 dearer, I have been very impressed with RODE so far having my trusty NTG-1 plus softy.

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

The new Panasonic HDC-Z10000 3D semi Pro camcorder

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Just when you thought Japan was having a rest and rebuilding after their recent troubles they surprise us with a very advanced semi Pro 3D camcorder.

  • Two 32-320mm, f/1.5-f/2.7 10x optical zoom lenses (29.8-368.8mm, f/1.5-f/2.8 12x zoom when shooting 2D)
  • Nano Surface Coating on lenses for reduced light reflection and ghosting
  • AVCHD 3D (1080/60i, 1080/24p, and 1080/30p), AVCHD Progressive (1080/60p), and AVCHD (1080/
    24p, 1080/30p and 1080/60i PH/HA/HE) modes
  • 3D video macro setting (17.8 inches)
  • Optical image stabilization systems for both 2D and 3D shooting
  • Separate adjustment rings for zoom, focus, and iris control
  • Built-in microphones (Dolby Digital 5.1-channel surround sound/2-channel stereo)
  • Two XLR audio inputs (with 48-V phantom power supply for external microphone)
  • Dual SD memory card slots
  • 2.1-megapixel 2D and 3D still image recording (while recording video)

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

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