NEW Canon ME20F-SH “Box camera” (£19,251- $30.000)

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ME20 title

Looks like we are getting an influx of wee square box cameras from various manufacturers, ARRI being the first. Canon have now jumped on the “Very expensive box camera” with the ME20F-SH. No doubt you will see the ME20F on a drone with an external recorder attached. Its all about adding to your tool kit, if this wee box fits a purpose then it will no doubt be a great asset…assuming you can afford one !

ME20 back1084924510 copy

Canons press release:

I am very excited to announce that today Canon has launched the ME20F-SH, a video camera which boasts an industry leading unrivalled maximum ISO of 4 million (+75dB). Our previous highest ISO for a product was 204,800 on the Canon EOS 1-DC.

A professional video camera capable of capturing full colour images in low-light environments, ME20F-SH is able to support image capture in situations where it previously would not have been possible. It is ideal for use within applications such as TV productions of night time wildlife, deep sea / cave exploration, astronomy and surveillance.

Key Product Features

  • 4 Million ISO allowing for ultra-low light performance
  • High quality Full HD output
  • Newly developed full frame 35mm with 2.26MP CMOS sensor & DIGIC 4 Processor
  • Includes Canon Log and Wide DR settings
  • Compatible with a wide range of EF lenses
  • Remote control of camera settings

BM box

At £669 the Blackmagic Cinema Camera with MTF mount will be hard to beat. Full HD plus inbuilt recorder and Canon LP-E6 battery mount.

HDW : At a whopping £19.251 pounds for the Canon ME20F-SH this is far more specialised than a stock camera at Production Gear or H Preston Media, this will be an order only camera or a rental special. We all know Canon will release a 4K version next year but at £19K I really think Canon are kidding themselves asking this price for an HD only camera…no matter how good its low light capabilities are !

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

First footage out of Japan with the Panasonic DVX-200 4K camcorder

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First Footage

A video has surfaced from Panasonic, Japan, showing us some of the first footage from the new DVX-200 4K camcorder, I would have liked a lot more colour and low light shots, personally.

KYOTO – A Panasonic AG-DVX200 short film from Sebastian Wiegärtner on Vimeo.

Director of Photography:
Sebastian Wiegärtner

Finally online! The worldwide first footage of the brand new Panasonic AG-DVX200!

Shot on a pre production model in UHD resolution and 50p. Sadly the compression of Vimeo and YouTube is so high, you just really can’t judge the image. All I can say: This is the perfect camera for Documentaries and fast TV work stuff, where you have to be fast and where you still want to achieve a cinematic image. Due to the M4/3 sensor it’s way easier to focus than with a Super 35 or Full Frame sensor. Almost everything shot full wide open. Native ISO of this camera is 500.

I used the flat V-Log profile, applied VariCam 35 Rec 709 and graded everything very hard + added some grain to the footage. This was shot during the Panasonic #DVX4Ktour. Shot on Location in Kyoto, Japan.

Christofer Wong – Driftin in the Rain

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

“The Spirit of Edradour”…Behind the scenes video

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Edradour Video

Not only was I allowed to blog about my fabulous experience filming “The Spirit of Edradour” I have been given access to some of the original ungraded footage. I started out with good intentions to produce a behind the scenes video but the days were so intense getting the scenes produced the video got lost in the bluster.

I also give you an in-site to the smallHD 502 monitor and some practical uses I had not realised myself.

I did manage to film some parts along with Scott and Susan so sit back and enjoy the next 7 minutes. The drum music is by Clanadonia, the best drumming experience on the planet.

My Thanks to Rory my director and RMN Productions for this fantastic behind the scenes access.

Shot with a Sony PXW-FS7 @ 4K 25p with Metabones EF adapter and six 4K Canon prime EF lenses. Using a Cambo pull focus unit and a smallHD 502 monitor. Powered by DSM-U84 LION batteries.

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

The Filming at Edradour…Final Thoughts

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7 hard 10 hour days, no gaffer, no focus puller, no S-Log2, just the good old way it used to be…baked-in as you go along.

Germans camera

All the sound is transmitted from the sound recordist into the camera as “scratch sound” which is lower quality but is there as a guide track for syncing later in post production. I must thank Dave from DSM Broadcast Power who supplied me with a third DSM-U84 battery for my Sony FS7.


At the initial negotiations I insisted on having a sound recordist but 28 soundmen were already being used at the St Andrews golf tournament leaving a rather large hole for anyone decent. Rory the director finally sourced Merlin Bonning a top man by any standards.

Me & Merlin

Merlin was the cream of the crop and an asset to the production.


Even the clapper board looked drunk at one point “Fdradour”, our clapper, Sam was new to the job and is studying sound at college, what a great week he had watching Merlin at work.

Window shot

A classic window shot…the faces are lit with 2 camera top LED lights gaffer to the inside of the window.


Outside the camera is gaffer with black tape and a deep black lastolite is positioned behind the camera, the chap holding the umbrella over the camera was also doused in black material, you do not want any reflections in the window.

Window Shot copy

Then in post you can add a reflection, all adding to the magic.


Angel (Dave Finnegan) with Donna (Georgina Blackledge)

Cam again

SmallHD me and Cambo

The Sony PXW-FS7 was the right camera for the job with hired (PROCAM) 4K Canon EF glass using a CAMBO pull focus unit.

smallHD hair

The hair and makeup girls latched onto the 502 smallHD monitor using it for continuity and taking JPEGS.

smallHD barrels

At the end of the week Holdan sent me the new smallHD sidefinder which came in very useful when the camera was perched on a Whisky barrel. The picture quality was better than Sony’s LCD.

Tams dad

The Clan lads

The lads !

Sam 35mm

Clanadonia are a Drums & Pipes band with a difference – their music, passion, culture, history, people, ancestral bloodlines – are all bonded within the music…they are the dogs bollocks.


The local paper came to take a picture and featured on page 7 of the Courier next day.

Rory mad

Cast & crew

As you can see the cast and crew were not insignificant.

Watt and me

My final thoughts are with a very good friend of mine Watt Nicoll who wrote the initial draft for the Spirit of Edradour alongside Rory the director. During 1973 Watt wrote an episode for Norman Wisdom “Nobody is Norman Wisdom”…now thats impressive on anyones CV.

The week was hard and days were long but friendships were struck amongst cast and crew…but it was a good laugh in-between all the hard graft.

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

First look at the Panasonic DVX-200 from Richard Payne

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AG-DVX200 First Look

My good friend Richard Payne had a pre production model for a weekend and produced this video.

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

Day TWO…Filming and Lighting

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Day 2

There are about 4 scenes per day from a boardroom to a whisky warehouse and they all bring their challenges with lighting.


The warehouse scene is especially challenging, I use a mixture of 5200K and 3200K LED lighting, the warehouse has health and safety problems with alcohol fumes from all the barrels so conventional halogen lighting is out.


STV arrived on day 2 with a Sony EX3 not their preferred camera but with the golf Open at St. Andrews cameras are at breaking point.

STV John

John Barleycorn being interviewed for STV.


My soundman, Merlin, added 2 bits of kit to my camera, a radio receiver and a timecode generator, seemingly the camera receives a scratch sound track for sync purposes as he records a pristine 24bit track onto his recorder.


I had to scrim (diffuse) the window to the right of frame to help with continuity and produces a less harsh light for Andrew, the chap in the red top.


Rory the Director checking the script.

Small HD

My SmallHD monitor has been a God send for not only me but the make up artists.


You can’t use prime lenses without a pull focus unit, this is a Cambo pull focus and so far it has been fantastic, there was no budget for a focus puller but when you have 2 end stops on your pull focus its a breeze to do it yourself.


What a training ground for a young cameraman, my son Scott has learned a ton of  new techniques on this shoot.


Me and Two-Barr, I was setting up a shot in the warehouse and I shouted at the top of my voice Tea Barr to the hilarity of all on set.

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

Day one filming “The Spirit of Edradour”

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Spirit v2

Day one filming “The Spirit Of Edradour” set in a lovely part of Perthshire.


The Sony FS7 with Metabones Canon EF to Sony E mount adapter using Canons 4K glass.


The day starts with 4 lovely children running towards “John Barleycorn” (below), Rory our Director is rehearsing while Scott is a stand in for John (Watt).


The lovely Watt (John Barleycorn) is having his mic hidden by our soundman Merlin.



Back at base the hairdressers are busy with the actors.


The lads in the warehouse scene, Angel, John and Tam.


Rory (Director) giving some sage advice to Angel and Tam.


The lights being used are 2 Rotolight Anovas, 2 Litepanel Astras, 3 Dedolight Fellonis and a Ledgo panel light.

warehouse dark


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

The Rig for my 7 day shoot next week

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The Rig v2

Next week will be very interesting indeed as I am the DoP for a small film to be shot near Pitlochry, thats as much as I can tell you but I have permission to blog about the technical side of this shoot depending on a Wi-Fi connection and having the time and energy to do it.

look down

I initially bought a Metabones speed booster but Production Gear told me that certain people were having problems using the Speed Booster with the Sony FS7 so they steered me towards the Metabones EF to E mount adapter. My Director, Rory asked me if there was anything we should hire for the shoot and since its in glorious 4K, I leaped at the chance of Canon 4K EF primes

Lens box

As you can see above 6 cracking Canon 4K primes hired from ProCam who have an office in Glasgow, we also ordered 2 Rotolight Anova LED lights as well as a ton of grip and lighting accessories.


I also have my trusty Cambo pull focus with end stops, this works a dream with proper cine lenses.

RED REC button

My faithful RED REC button will be very useful and stops false shots or missed shots.

Small HD 502

On the back of the FS7 will be my Small HD 502 full HD monitor though the picture is down-converted from 4K 25p to HD for monitoring purposes. My faithful Sony 9″ 740 will also come in handy for the director to view.

Scene 1

On Wednesday I took a trip with Rory, to recce the site high in the hills of Pitlochry. Its very exciting producing a feature with actors, crew and catering laid on, I can’t show you any rushes for copyright reasons but we will be documenting behind the scenes for you as we go along. Meantime why don’t you watch Canons explanation behind their superb 4K glass.

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

GoPro’s new baby the HERO 4 SESSION £329

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The GoPro HERO 4 SESSION is the smallest, lightest, most convenient GoPro yet.  50% smaller and 40% lighter than GoPro’s best-selling HERO4 Black and Silver cameras, HERO4 Session packs GoPro’s Emmy® Award-winning image quality and performance into an exciting new low-profile form factor. HERO4 Session benefits from a durable waterproof design that eliminates the need for a separate housing and features simple one-button control to make capturing immersive photos and video quicker and more convenient than ever before. HERO4 Session is compatible with existing GoPro mounts and will retail for $399.99 MSRP at authorized GoPro retailers around the world and on beginning July 12, 2015.

“With HERO4 Session, we challenged ourselves to produce the smallest, lightest, most convenient GoPro possible,” said Nicholas Woodman, GoPro founder and CEO. “HERO4 Session combines the best of our engineering and user-experience know-how to deliver our most convenient life-capture solution, yet.” Woodman adds, “I’m so excited about the launch of HERO4 Session because now I can finally use mine in public!”

HERO4 Session captures GoPro-quality 1080p60, 720p100 and 1440p30 video along with eight megapixel photos in Single, Burst and Time Lapse modes. It features many of the same innovative features found in GoPro’s best-selling HERO4 Black and Silver cameras, including SuperView™, Protune and Auto Low Light recording modes. An expanded set of controls and settings can be accessed when using the GoPro App or Smart Remote.

Operating HERO4 Session is very simple. A short press of the shutter button quickly powers the camera on and video recording begins automatically. A long press of the shutter button powers the camera on and triggers Time Lapse photo capture. Press the shutter button again to save video or photo content and power the camera off. This simple one button design drastically improves the speed and convenience of capturing life moments as they happen.

  •       Stunning 1080p 50, 720p 100, and 1440p 25 video
  •       Waterproof to 33’ (10m), no separate housing required
  •       Easy one-button control: short press of shutter powers camera on and begins capturing video, long shutter button press powers camera on and begins capturing time-lapse photos
  •       Captures 8MP Single, Burst, and Time Lapse photos
  •       Compatible with GoPro mounts and accessories
  •       Dual Mic system captures enhanced audio during high wind and water-based activities
  •       Built-in WiFi and Bluetooth® enable easy connectivity to GoPro App and Smart Remote
  •       Auto image rotation corrects image orientation during recording
  •       Includes standard and low-profile frame mounts for increased mounting versatility
  •       New Ball Joint Buckle mount is included

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

Follow focus will change forever …Red Rock Micro Halo

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I have a fairly massive shoot coming up in about a weeks time which I will be blogging about and Red Rock Micro’s Halo follow focus system would have been a dream tool on that up and coming feature. This is the all time best solution for follow focus I have seen and the best part is…it takes the guesswork out of follow focus, especially using shallow depth of field.

Halo detector

My only concern is the cost, Alex does mention enthusiasts and solo operators but have Red Rock spent so much time developing this amazing system that none of us will be able to afford it ?

Time will tell as its not available till the end of 2015.


My good old pal Badger from CVP saw this over at NAB 2015 and here is his report…

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

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