LED 312AS mini REVIEW £169

Categories: Miscellaneous 2 Comments

Today I used my new LED 312AS Bi-colour light from H Preston Media. I was interviewing a father of a child who has type one diabetes and I used the new light to great effect.

I had been looking for a smaller Bi-colour LED light for my highlights and the LED 312AS fits the bill.

The light comes with a magnetic diffuser, a bag, 2 NP-F570 type Lion batteries, double battery charger, mains adapter, car adapter and hot shoe adapter for camcorder mounting.

This compact flicker free LED light is now part of my lighting kit, the addition of a DC input is very welcome as most lights of this size use battery only which can be a pain if the light is being used for products shots.

This is version two and the build quality is very good indeed and comes with it’s own zip protective case, the LED 312AS costs £169 from H Preston Media.

You will get a fiver off the light if you mention you saw this review up until the end of October 2012.

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

A must at Malvern

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Tomorrow at H Preston Media you can see the new non faulty Sony PMW-200, a rare NEX-FS700 and a rarer NEX-EA50. My good friend Alister Chapman will be on hand to go over the technical side of any of the new Sony camcorders on show.

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

Sony PMW-200 mini Review “Faulty”

Categories: Miscellaneous 22 Comments

STATEMENT : Firstly it’s important that you understand that I do not get paid by Sony or do any consultation work for Sony so what you read is my personal findings on a camera that I had intended to buy from H Preston Media. I do part time independent consultant work for H Preston Media but H Preston Media have no input to this blog or it’s contents. What you get are my honest findings with no bias towards Sony, Panasonic, JVC or Canon. 

UPDATE : Looks like my PMW-200 was faulty so my findings are correct but not representative of a working PMW-200.

Probably the shortest amount of time I ever spent with a camcorder for review, the new Sony PMW-200 has gone back to H Preston Media…why ?

As you all know I have spent time with the Canon XF305 for run and gun but the 1/3″ chips don’t do it any favour’s but the media is a God send…Compact Flash is as cheap today as it’s going to get for a 32G 600x card at about £60 per pop.

The media is my main gripe with the PMW-200 and the reason I sent the camera back, I discovered the following…

The PMW-200 out the box is typically set up with far too much edge detail, this is common with most Sony camcorders. I was able to resolve most of the detail problems by tweaking the crispening and HD detail, this caused the picture to loose a fair bit of detail as you can imagine but preferable to the awful edge detail.

I also discovered that you can only use the MEAD adapter in FAT mode (35Mbps) taking away the 422 and giving me an organic picture that I had not seen with my EX-3. (This may be attributed to the fault in the camera).

Fortunately I had a 32G XQD card plus adapter that allows you to film in 422 full quality but the playback picture was not as good as I had been expecting which was very disappointing as this £130 card was to be my saving grace, this I hope was part of the fault within the camera.

Back to SxS and here the quality finally shines which is why Sony advise you use XQD as an emergency only in 422 mode. The XQD card is more than capable speed wise to handle 50Mbps 422 footage at full HD quality.

SxS is far too dear for my productions at £355 per 32G card it’s 5x the price of CF media and not any better in my opinion.

This is the part of the menu system that allows you to choose from PAL/NTSC, UDF (422) or FAT (420), HD or SD and Format 1080 50i/720 50p etc.

The bottom line is to get the best out of the PMW-200 you are going to have to use SxS cards which may not be a problem if you are coming from an XDCAM background, for me this expensive media is a step to far as I get very good results using my Canon XF305 with inexpensive CF cards but you don’t get the 1/2″ Exmor chipset for low light but then the majority of my low light filming is done with my Canon C300.

I really was expecting good things from my PMW-200, after all most of my professional cameras have been Sony and was not expecting to keep the Canon XF305 in favour of the PMW-200.

The camera produces great pictures via an HDMI feed and definitely better than my XF305 in low light but Sony have learned a hard lesson with the EX3 using SDHC card adapters so much so they have in my opinion gone too much the wrong way forcing you to use SxS in 422 mode only !

The one thing I do know is that SxS and P2 are far to expensive when compared to SDHC and CF cards, as I have said before we don’t mind paying for good camera equipment but I for one will not accept overpriced media due to the type of work I get involved with. I need archive, usually that means keeping the original CF cards for 6 months at a time, I don’t rely on computer hard drives as they have let me down in the past, so for archivists like me SxS and P2 camcorders are a no, no.

Further update : Someone correctly asked me what the fault was, during my testing I noticed the playback to be full of artefacts and some pixelation, I phoned Alister Chapman who told me that all modern camcorders should playback as faithfully as the picture was recorded. I also noted that the camera performed better at 35Mbs than at 50Mbps which gave me a good clue that the camera was faulty.

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

Sony PMW-200 arriving today

Categories: Miscellaneous 2 Comments

Today my Sony PMW-200 arrives and I am looking forward to playing with her, I need a good run and gun camcorder and miss my Sony EX-3. The PMW-200 is an EX-3 on steroids with the capability of running at 50Mbps.

I will be doing a user review of the 200 within the next two weeks so if you have any questions for my review please let me know ASAP.

Unfortunately I have to part with my XF305 or I could have done a side by side comparison but I have no doubt that with Sonys 14x constant aperture lens and 1/2″ chips it will be far better in low light than the 305.

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

Canon 6D “Entry level full-frame DSLR”

Categories: Miscellaneous 5 Comments


Lets not get excited this is not a super duper 5D Mk111, it’s another full frame DSLR set clearly at the entry level rather than a step above the 5D series cameras which the number would have you mistakingly believe.


  • 20.2MP full frame CMOS sensor
  • DIGIC 5+ image processor
  • ISO 100-25600 standard, 50-102800 expanded
  • 4.5 fps continuous shooting
  • ‘Silent’ shutter mode
  • 1080 30p video recording, stereo sound via external mic
  • 11 point AF system, center point cross-type and sensitive to -3 EV
  • 63 zone iFCL metering system
  • 97% viewfinder coverage; interchangeable screens (including Eg-D grid and Eg-S fine-focus)
  • 1040k dot 3:2 3″ ClearView LCD (fixed)
  • Single SD card slot
  • Built-in Wi-Fi and GPS
  • Single-axis electronic level

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

Will the Sony A99 match Canon’s 5D Mk111 for video

Categories: Miscellaneous 4 Comments


Let me take you back a model, the A77 this is a camera that I had for a few months and I preferred it to my Canon 5D Mk11 with one exception…the hot shoe. From day one my Sony F43 flashgun wobbled on top of my A77 making me very uncomfortable with the build quality of the hot shoe.

Overcoming the poor hot shoe design the camera was a joy to use though choosing lenses for it was not as easy as a Canon or a Nikon. You have three choices of lenses with Sony, Leica, Sony G and Sony plastic body lenses.

The Sony 16-50mm F2.8 was my lens of choice and it was a very good lens indeed, I also had the Sony 70-300 “G” lens a sample can be seen below.

So finally after four years starting with the Canon 5D Mk11 we get a DSLR with all the boxes ticked for video recording, the Sony A99 is not only full frame 35mm sensor but has a movable LCD and full HD output from the HDMI socket allowing external recorders or monitoring.

It has not only mic in and headphone out but can also take an XLR adapter, a major improvement for sound input over any other DSLR on the market today plus the ability to record 1080 50p onto AVCHD, this is not new as the A77 records in 1080 50p but the picture quality is outstanding as I have seen myself.

Is the A99 four years too late…with all the large sensor camcorders that are now available I can’t quite see the need for photographic cameras to evolve to this level though it does give the wedding photographer a second crack of the whip.

There is no doubt in my mind the A99 is streets ahead of the Canon 5D Mk111 from a video stance alone, photographically I think the A99 could give the Canon a run for it’s money but it’s hard to ignore the vast assortment of Canon “L” glass and by all accounts the Sony is very hard on battery power not something a pro would be very happy with !


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

Film stock to be discontinued thanks to upsurge in digital

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Fujifilm has mainly provided negative films for shooting and positive films for projection in its motion picture film business operations. However, in order to adapt to the recent rapid transition of digitalization in the shooting, producing, projecting and archiving processes of motion pictures Fujifilm has decided to shift its business operations to provide products and services designed for digital workflow of motion picture production and projection.

Digital cinema camera shooting has been gaining momentum, and digital editing that heavily uses CG composition and VFX processing has now become common in motion picture production. There is also an increase in the number of movie theaters that converted to digital projection, following the increase of 3D motion pictures, implying the dramatically advancing digitalization in the motion picture industry. In such trend, Fujifilm has strived to reduce the costs of the production process for its existing negative films and positive films and continued to supply such films. However, the dramatic decrease of demand in the last few years has become far too great a burden to be covered by corporate efforts. Therefore, it has been decided to discontinue the sales of negative films, positive films, and some other products of motion picture in a prospect of March 2013.

Fujifilm will continue to provide films suitable for long-term archiving, high-performance lens for motion pictures, and other products and services designed for digital workflow of motion picture production and exhibition. Fujifilm will strive harder than ever to provide such products and services in its continuous contribution to the motion picture industry.

However, professional and amateur photographic still film will continue to be manufactured.

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

The NEW Sony A99 DSLR with Full Frame sensor

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

Filming Major Educational DVD with the Canon C300

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Every time I get back to base and look and my days filming I still get a kick watching the fantastic footage the Canon C300 produces, it’s my favourite camera to date.

This is a major educational DVD for the Scottish Government about type one diabetes and so far it has taken us all over Scotland, this is Emma demonstrating the use of an injection called Glucagen. The C300 was used with an iPad prompter then with a 60mm macro lens to film the close ups, using an XF305 to film wide shots.

This was a long day filming various medical staff and children at a camp down just past Dumfries using two LED lights to add a lift the dark side of the doctors face and a key light for good measure. I always use my Sony PVM-740 OLED monitor to check my output.

96 mile drives and a long days filming takes its toll, this is my Mr Grumpy mode, as much as I enjoy my work it does take it out of you.

This is my standard interview setup with my new Sigma 24-70 f2.8 lens and my GenusTech matte box rig.

There is nothing better to make me happy than a dog on the set. I still have a few days filming to do on the diabetes video and by all accounts my new Sony PMW-200 arrives next week , so with a wee bit of spare time I will produce a user review of the 200 within the next two weeks.

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

35mm Full Frame “Finally Arrives”

Categories: Miscellaneous 1 Comment

It took a hybrid DSLR from Canon the 5D mk11 to show video manufacturers like Sony and Panasonic that there was not only a need but a major Yen earner !
Why when it’s so obvious does it always take the domestic side of a major corporation like sony to announce a full frame 35mm sensor camcorder.

I was surprised to see Sony domestic maintaining the same camera body as the VG10/20/30 when a slightly bigger body would have been in my opinion far more user friendly.

This FF35mm camcorder has really set the heather alight, Sony are going for the large sensor market big time, it’s just a pity the EA50 due out in November is crippled with an APS-C sensor.

Sony Professional need to respond with FF35mm sensor camcorders, especially the lame 35Mbps Super 35mm F3. Bring out a FF35mm F3 with 50Mbps, Hi Res viewfinder and the Yen will come pouring in.

F5 concept but who knows maybe Sony has this very model sitting in the wings waiting for the right moment in time to be announced.

Sony Professional cannot avoid producing FF35mm camcorders or Canon will trump them yet again with a FF version of the C300, as night turns to day this will happen…hopefully soon !

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

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