Rycote produce a sexy new website

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RYCOTE title

“In 1969, Rycote introduced the first windshield system used for Location Sound and ENG”
Since that time, they continued to refine their technology with industry-leading innovations for wind, shock and handling protection.  With a wealth of versatile tools designed to deliver outstanding audio while withstanding the harshest environments and the rigors daily use, Rycote remains the most trusted brand by professionals. New web site  http://rycote.com


This was me filming Tim at the Rycote stand during BVE 2014.

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

Ikegami 8K on its way from Japan

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Ikegami are charging ahead with 8K 7680×4320 which is 16x bigger than HD. Having seen 8K for myself it produces pictures to die for. If you think 4K is good wait till you see 8K. Just when we have passed “Back to the Future Day” no one predicted 8K so soon.

Ikegami has announced the completion of the world’s first 8K OB production vehicle. The new vehicle is designed to operate as a complete mobile 8K broadcast production facility capable of producing television of unsurpassed picture quality, complete with 22.2 channel surround sound.

In March 2015, Ikegami introduced its SHK-810 fourth-generation 8K television camera that was developed in co-operation with Japan Broadcasting Corporation (NHK). This is about one tenth the size and weight of Ikegami’s first-generation 8K camera and offers significantly improved operability. The company’s efforts to develop 8K broadcast production equipment have focused on achieving extremely high resolution combined with Ikegami’s proven ability to deliver very wide dynamic image processing. Ikegami also has long experience in producing mobile television production trucks, having produced more than 800 OB vehicles.

In Japan, the road map for 8K broadcasting announced by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications specifies that trial broadcast transmissions will be conducted in 2016. Regular 8K broadcast services are planned to begin in 2018.


Many elements of 8K television production infrastructure are much larger in size, power consumption and number of cables than their HDTV equivalent. This is because 8K broadcast production captures 16 times more image information than HDTV. Organising an 8K OB vehicle is therefore much more challenging than designing and producing traditional OB vehicles.

The 8K OB vehicle produced by Ikegami delivers extremely high quality and high reliability in a compact size. The vehicle’s specifications allow operation not only in Japan but worldwide so it can be operated for global sporting events such as the Olympic Games. It can be expanded to accommodate additional equipment as and when required.

The 8K OB vehicle was delivered to NHK in September 2015. Its role will be to allow television audiences to experience the full reality of live events from wherever they choose to view.

NHK_8K_OB_vehicle copy

OB system outline

Vehicle size: 2495 (W) x 3330 (H) x 11,930 (D) (mm); (1000 mm (W) expandable when operating.
Switcher: 16 inputs, 4 outputs 1 mix/effects.
Router: 8K, 4K and HD (2K).
DSK : 8K.
Camera: Up to 10 8K cameras (Ikegami SHV-8000, SHK-810).
Recorder: 8K recorder (up to 4 units).
Slow-motion: 8K slow-motion player. Up to 4 units.
Audio router: Supports MADI.
Monitor for switcher: Main: 55-inch 8K monitor; Sub: 55-inch (with multiviewer).
Additional video monitors: 32-inch and others.

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

Coming up this week on HD Warrior

Categories: Miscellaneous 3 Comments

This week

A revolution in prompting with LIVE EDIT

Firstly a review of a brand new prompter hardware/software that will revolutionise the world of prompting…forget what you own this will be instantly better than anything you own and hears why… Via its own WiFi hot spot you can have control over 5 iPads, one for controlling the other 4 and one for changing text………LIVE as it happens, plus the second iPad can have the text un-mirrored…this is a truly revolutionary piece of kit all for under £400 incl vat.

JVC LS300 will be back with version 2 software

JVC are sending me the updated LS300 with the new v2 software that everyone is talking about with the new JVC Log mode sees the GY-LS300 deliver wide latitude and high dynamic range – up to 800% according to the company, with the unit’s Super 35 CMOS sensor providing details within highlights and shadows. 4096 x 2160 Cinema 4K and 2048 x 1080 Cinema 2K recording modes at various framerates have also been added, along with a 17:9 aspect ratio for digital cinema presentations, and ability to output a full HD signal via HDMI/SDI when in 4K recording mode for monitoring in HD.

Prime Zoom, which uses JVC’s Variable Scan Mapping technology. When used with a MFT prime lens, the image can be adjusted between the maximum scan area and minimum scan area using the camera’s zoom rocker, delivering a 2.3x maximum zoom for HD or 1.25x maximum zoom for 4K. Of course, it can also be used as a lens extender for actual zoom lenses like the Lumix 45-175 zoom lens.

Other new additions include a histogram display; a colour matrix adjustment; a new spot meter for setting exposure values; a black paint setting to precisely adjust colour temperature of master black; JVC LUT support via the Atomos Shogun external recorder; a 2:1/1:1 zoom for critical focus; and a 70Mbps recording mode that makes it possible to record 4K onto economical Class 10 SDHC/SDXC memory cards.


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

Panasonic DVX-200 “Stand out from the crowd”

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red brolly copy

One of our site sponsors Production Gear have the new Panasonic DVX-200 in stock why not give them a phone on 020 8236 1212.

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

Native ISO…Confused ?…”So you should be”

Categories: Miscellaneous 7 Comments

native iso

What ever happened to signal to noise ratios the bar at which all video cameras were judged, we talk about native sensor ISO (International Standards Organization) these days, total confusion. Recent 4K/HD cameras give you a choice of either decibels (dBs) or ISO for gain, the problem with ISO is its far from standard.


Back in the days of film your film speed was measured as ASA (American Standards Association), as an example you had T-MAX 100 ASA and T-MAX 400 ASA film. The T-MAX 400 provides greater under-exposure latitude that results in more detail in the shadow areas. However, this is achieved at the expense of “smokey blacks”. Are we starting to see a similarity to filming in LOG which is where all this terminology originally stems from. We are so intent in making video footage look cinematic we have built a science around it.

During the 1960s news reports were usually filmed on 16mm film rated at 400 ASA allowing a faster shutter speed and footage in lower lighting conditions, it was slightly more grainy than 100ASA film.

Todays camera manufacturer sets the cameras native ISO (equivalent to film speed)  taking a few points into account…

1. Noise and grain

2. Optimum Dynamic Range (12-14 stops)

3. Detail

The sensor is at its best when all 3 are optimised and given its “Native ISO” but that may not correspond to 0dB.

In the world of ISO…if your camera has an ISO of 200 that should be the same on all cameras but in the real world that only works for the same model and make of camera.

ISO 500

Take the Panasonic DVX-200 its native ISO is rated at 500 which is the lowest ISO on the camera therefor it also equals 0dB. For every 6dBs you double the ISO, so 6dBs = 1000 ISO and 9dBs = 1500 ISO with 12dBs = 2000 ISO which is fine for the DVX-200 but if you have a Sony PXW-FS7…

FS7 ISO 2000 copy
The Sony PXW-FS7 has a native ISO of 2000 so you can see where the first problem lies there is 1500 ISO of a difference between the Panasonic and the Sony.

My gripe is that in the film days 400ASA was a set film speed that many makes of camera could use and exposing via a light meter would be standard throughout, today you can’t apply the same rule for ISO as the sensor sensitivity differs between each camera model.

Take the two cameras above, setting both cameras to 0dB at f4 will still give you vastly different exposures to each other. You would have to set the DVX-200 to 12dBs to match the Sonys native ISO of 2000, but the noise and grain would be a lot more visible on the Panasonic.

So is 0dB the same on all cameras ? 0dB should be the quietest point in a cameras sensor giving the best possible picture quality.

Why do we use ISO at all ? The camera’s ISO setting is its sensitivity to light. The higher the ISO, the more sensitive it is. This is measured according to international standards. Each ISO setting is double the one before, if you increase the ISO from 100 to 200, you double the camera’s sensitivity.

XDCAM User “Sony’s native ISO rating for the FS7 of 2000ISO has been chosen by Sony to give a good trade off between sensitivity, noise and over/under exposure latitude.” and “If you were to use SLog2 or SLog3 with the camera in custom mode and not use the native ISO by adding gain or changing the ISO away from 2000, you will not get the full 14 stop range that the camera is capable of delivering.”


Now for more confusion the Sony FS7s native ISO is 2000 but you have ISO 800, 1000, 1250 and 1600 before you hit the native 2000 ISO, most FS7 users I know prefer ISO 800 in Cine EI mode. You have to make up your own minds on ISO, some so called scholars will tell you never to go below the native ISO, thats just nonsense.

Use your eyes it all depends on the lighting conditions and what overall effect you want to achieve, the BBC prefer not to have noise levels above 6dB but how can they tell these days with cameras like the Sony FS7 !

To me the whole ISO system stinks with deliberate confusion and is far from standard, I spoke to 2 engineers and three competent cameramen today who were all confused by this topic so what chance does everyone else have.

I have some simple tips as follows…

  1. Use your eyes, can you see grain in your picture, make sure you have a good monitor and a decent viewfinder.
  2. Use -dBs if available to avoid using the ND filter as even ND filters can introduce their own noise. (Its down to how perfect they are made and are they dust free). TIP. When changing lenses make sure you have the ND filter out (clear position) to avoid dust getting onto the ND filter.
  3. By using 0dB you may affect the full dynamic range of the camera i.e. 12 stops rather than 14 that in my opinion is a sacrifice I prefer to make to have noise free footage, remember the full Dynamic Range (DR) is only used in LOG mode once again something a lot of us do not bother with in day to day filming.
  4. Most professional video cameras give you the option for dBs or ISO, personally I am happier to use dBs to control gain.
  5. Remember dBs and ISO give you the same result its only useful to use ISO if you need to get all of your cameras dynamic range by sticking to its native ISO.



One of my readers David Heath has some interesting input…

“You have to go right back to basics – to sensor level – to really understand where the term “base ISO” comes from, and why it’s so important.

Start from total blackness, then gradually increase the light level – at some point the sensor will give a just discernible output. Carry on increasing light level and the output will correspondingly increase until it reaches a saturation point – no matter how much more light is input, the output won’t increase any more. It follows that the difference between these min/max points is the basic dynamic range of the camera, normally expressed logarithmically in stops.

Note this is AT SENSOR LEVEL, and is independent of such things as camera gain etc. Hence there is ONLY one grey scale range that can give this, so taking absolute brightness, f stop etc into account the camera can only have one ISO value where this is true. This defines the “base ISO”.

All “ISO value” really means is that for a given illumination, at a given shutter speed, it tells you what to set the f stop (more correctly, T-stop) to for correct exposure.

It’s not really true to say “0dB should be the quietest point in a cameras sensor giving the best possible picture quality”. It normally corresponds to MAX DR, which is not necessarily the quietest in terms of S/N. As example, on cameras before the complications of log etc it was typical to have a position for negative gain – which would give a better noise performance than 0dB. But at the expense of dynamic range, normally highlight handling, which is why the amount was typically restricted to only -3dB, or maybe -6dB on pro 2/3″.


So yes – the quote from XDCAM user is perfectly valid. By rating it at ISO 2000, you can then expect to set aperture etc to get THE BEST RESULTS THE CAMERA IS CAPABLE OF. (At least overall – I agree with the way the XDCAM user quote refers to best “trade off”.) It may not be a surprise that rating it at a higher ISO won’t give such good results – we’re all familiar that such implies gain and likely more noise – but the same is true if you try rating it at a LOWER ISO. In the case of the FS7, ISO 2000 produces the OPTIMUM result.

And if Panasonic say the base ISO for the DVX200 is ISO 500, then the same is true there. It then becomes worthwhile querying why the FS7 is then 2 stops better than the DVX200. Most obvious is sheer sensor size, but as s35 is only about twice as large as 16:9 4/3 (not 4x), that only accounts for about 1 stop in itself. I can only presume the other stop is due to Panasonic using a higher than 4K pixel count sensor (hence smaller than optimum photosites), and Sony exploiting their back-illumination technologies.

It does mean that assuming the same T-stop, the FS7 has a 2 stop advantage over the DVX200, and the FS5 (base ISO 3200) is nearer 3 stops!

And sorry, but your point 3 above is incorrect. You can expect 0dB to be where you get the BEST dynamic range. Using a log setting won’t automatically give you a higher dynamic range (contrary to a lot of belief) – what it WILL do is give better post flexibility as to how the basic camera DR is mapped to output. If you don’t use log, then the high DR gets mapped to a lower one (suitable for the eyes more limited range) in a set fashion, according to gamma curve, knee, slope and such factors.”

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

mMorph CUT from Motion VFX for FCPX ($59)

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Morph CUT title

I am so impressed I needed to blog about mMorph CUT from Motion VFX but don’t just take my word for it, watch the video…

Premiere Pro boasts a similar in-house plugin called Morph Cut, but about 2 weeks ago I tried it in desperation. I had an edit that had little to no cutaways and Premieres plugin was very disappointing.

A morph cut is a plugin that disguises a jump cut making the interview look as if the person was word perfect with one take.

Today Motion VFX have brought out a plugin called mMorph CUT which actually works a dream within FCPX but it must be 10.2.2 or better. If you order it today from Motion VFX you also get 20% discount by adding October into the discount field.

Having had a play with it today you can extend the time it takes by stretching it along the timeline which is some cases can give a more natural looking transition.

Get your copy here https://www.motionvfx.com/mplugs-97.html

Here is the material I was editing 2 weeks ago without and with mMorph CUT

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

User Review of the Lumix FZ1000 (£599 Wex)

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FZ1000 title

A few of my readers have asked me to do a review on the Lumix FZ1000 as I use it as my main camera to film blog interviews and many of you have been more than impressed with the results.

Filming Edradour

I bought the Panasonic FZ1000 a week before filming at Edradour, a whiskey distillery in Perthshire. I needed pictures for my blog and some video as well.

Why not use the Panasonic GH4 or the Sony A7s, tempted but we needed a run and gun camera, pick up and go, unfortunately both the GH4 and A7s are far from quick and easy.

Cam Scott1

The FZ1000 has one major omission that Panasonic can hang their heads in shame…no headphone output. Why on earth did they bother giving the camera 4K-HD video and no headphone output, lazy designers in my opinion !


The way I kind of get round this is to use Sony’s UWP-D16 radio mic system, having a headphone output lets you monitor the sound for breakup etc. As for the sound going into the FZ1000…your guess is a good as mine.

The FZ1000 does have audio indications on the LCD screen but you are relying on the audio limiter to make sure your sound is not distorting.

Int Allen v2

I have found this to work fairly well and using the RODE NTG-4 gun mic with the Sony radio transmitter keeps a lot of stray background sound to a minimum.

Kids WS

Photographically its not a GH4 but the 12fps using fast Class 10 speed 3 SDXC media allows you to track these children running up a hill.

Pic as is 100 crop
This picture of Scott is shot at 25mm f3.2 @ 1/125 at lowest ISO 125

Video modes are AVCHD or MP4…AVCHD is the choice for me along with 1920 x 1080 50p at 28Mbps though on the occasion MP4 as its the only codec to allow 4K 3840 x 2160, 25p at 100Mbps.

I have investigated AVCHD v MP4 without any success but at 28Mbps on both codecs I doubt there is much difference plus the camera tells you that AVCHD is better for HD footage.

The success of this camera is keeping the ISO to a minimum, the lowest is 125 ISO, keeping the ISO down certainly helps the quality of your video footage. I don’t use it in low light conditions as it was never bought with this in mind but having a 1″ sensor helps keep the grain to a minimum.


The CAMBO loupe with Schneider optics is great for outdoor sunny work and keeps your head away from the leads coming out from the Sony receiver.

Cambo Loupe

Unfortunately the CAMBO loupe uses a base unit that partly covers the battery compartment as seen above but if you start the day with a fresh battery and a 64G SDXC U3 card its not a problem. You only have to unscrew one bolt to change the battery.

Me 200 filming

Anyone who watches the footage I get out of this camera are blown away and some have commented they are more pleasing and less electronic than a GH4 !

On the whole I am delighted with my Panasonic FZ1000 with its 25-400 Leica f2.8-4 lens its a great blogging camera, 3 of us now own this camera, Allen (above) as you can see, myself and my ex boss Chris from Arran.

The behind the scenes video we produced at Edradour was shot using the Panasonic FZ1000…

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

Final thoughts on the Panasonic DVX-200

Categories: Miscellaneous 26 Comments

DVX title

Lets start with the ergonomics of the Panasonic DVX-200, some users would have preferred a shoulder mounted camera as they complain the camera is too bulky for hand held use…no. It works best on a tripod, if you want a hand held camera there are plenty of alternatives.


As you can see rigs are already springing up to satisfy the shoulder mount needs of some shooters with an extra heavy duty battery pack to help distribute the weight.

Handle threads

The camera handle has 4 thread mounts 2x 1/4″ and 2x 3/8″ which are very useful additions if you have an external recorder, video light or a radio mic.

Batt 1

This is the same battery pack as seen on the Panasonic PX270 and is as yet the only battery that fits the DVX-200.


With its 4.3″ LCD touch screen all your menu functions are made far easier rather than using an on camera thumb wheel.

Top cam

At the top end of the camcorder there is a flap, underneath you have the only access to your recorded material via the “thumbnail” button. Pressing this brings up small thumbnails of each recording, to play them its by touch screen, easy when you know how.

Allan shoot2

The 13x LEICA lens is very sharp and accurate with no chromatic aberrations as you can clearly see from the 100% cut into the 4K FCPX timeline. Most of my previous cameras would at least have green and purple fringing. Remember its only a 13x lens in HD, if you film in 4K onto an HD timeline its like adding a 2x extender to your 13x lens by punching in on the 4K footage giving you a potential 26x zoom range.


The lens has a switch to allow either servo or manual zoom control and in manual mode although fly by wire is not as bad as some I have tested recently. You also have the ability to add a focus control.

9db 4K crop v2

Low light on the review was seemingly “vague” though we did get to shoot in one of the darkest wee churches in Scotland. The camcorder has a standard ISO of 500 but the MFT size means that the Panasonic DVX-200 has limits. Only the wedding boys need a camera that films in lower lighting conditions but remember the DVX-200 has variable gain something I forgot to highlight in my review. The camera goes up 1 dB at a time so you can dial in as much or as little gain depending on the conditions at the time. One disadvantage is the lens itself not having a constant aperture, the lens reduces the light by 1.5 stops from wide to tight which in low light can make the difference between no grain and grain.

You only have to own an MTF camera like the Panasonic GH4 to see noise becomes obvious from ISO 800 upwards, that said I will show you some remarkable 9dB footage shot in V-LOG.

9db test 2

I filmed some test footage in V-LOG before going over to my local park to film a sequence of shots but to my surprise 9dBs deliberately overexposed came onto my 4K timeline as clean as a whistle, look at the black label.

Film V log
I have yet to be given an answer to this but how this would cope in low light sadly I will never know as I never had the time to film any further V-LOG at 9dBs.

In my opinion Panasonic had a great opportunity with the fixed lens on the DVX-200 to finally steer away from MTF onto super 35mm as seen on all of Panasonics competitors from Sony (FS5 and FS7), JVC (LS300) and Canon (C100 and 300).

Image_GX8_Sensor copy

As I discovered the DVX-200 uses the same MTF sensor as the Lumix GX8 which is a healthy 20MP which is needed as in HD the camera is 28mm which crops to 37mm when you activate 4K (UHD 16:9).

The Panasonic DVX-200 is one of the few large sensor cameras bar the Sony FS7 to have the ability to shoot 4K (UHD 16:9) at 50p onto low cost SDXC cards at 150Mbps which in my opinion is the major plus with this camera.

For long enough certain companies only use 1080 25p because…

  1. They had no option as their cameras only had 25p in full HD mode
  2. They needed to save on card space

Now there is no excuse 25p looks awful with any kind of motion involved while 50p is far more pleasing to the eye and is far better with animated graphics.

Final Cut Pro 2

Editing 4K 16:9 footage into a full HD timeline gives you fantastic results remembering the camera itself is only 8bit 420 but as described by Barry Green your 8bit 420 becomes 10bit 444 on your 10bit full HD timeline. The camera has a menu option to output 10bit 422 but at a cost, you can’t record internally in this mode and you need an external recorder.

The camera comes with outstanding HD capabilities like full HD all intra at 200Mbps, this gives many users a cracking starting platform before they upgrade to 4K.

As a camcorder filming onto SDXC cards at 150Mbps it produces cracking UHD pictures and is the defacto way to produce the best possible HD footage with the added bonus of reframing on the HD timeline. The overall build quality is very high and as long as you take on board the limitations of the MFT sensor, in other words keeping gain to around 9dBs you won’t go far wrong. V-LOG gives you a complete different look, more cinematic and in some cases far less noise than even I was expecting, you have a camcorder with many facets and the best of it is the fixed lens…no dust on the sensor !

Since this article Allan has bought a Panasonic DVX-200 and loves it, he has updated it to FW v1.51 and tells me skin tones have improved and the grain has very much improved.

200 GP

I think Panasonic have done a great job with the DVX-200 from HD to 4K this run and gun camcorder will suit many pockets, speaking of pockets have you seen the price of the DVX-200 at H Preston media…



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

DJI Osmo £549 incl vat

Categories: Miscellaneous 10 Comments

Osmo title

Now this is the business…in fact it looks the dogs bollocks, a 3 axis hand held gimbal with a full HD or 4K ball camera called the DJI OSMO.

  • Fully stabilized 4K, 12Mp camera optimized for ground use
  • Slow motion and audio recording
  • Tripod-free long exposures
  • Remote camera control
  • Secure grip
  • Suite of accessories including bike & car mount, tripod, extension stick and phone mount
  • 6-hour standby time
  • 1 hour of video shooting


Simon from Production Gear one of our site sponsors had a sneak peek at a DJI special showing in London last week.

Osmo cam

Remember to tell Simon if you buy an OSMO that you saw it on HD Warrior, that gives us brownie points with Production Gear.


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

“Contract 736” was the name of the STV film about the QE2

Categories: Miscellaneous 2 Comments


When the Cunard Steamship Company asked John Brown to build them a ship like the ‘Queen Mary’ and ‘Queen Elizabeth’, but light enough to sail in shallow waters, the job became known as Contract 736. This is the story of that ship, and the impact it had on the community where it was built before it was launched as the ‘Queen Elizabeth II’. I thought you might like to see the original film produced by Ted Williamson, the chap with the photographic camera.

crew tighter

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

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