Finally a good news Drone Story

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After the Gatwick fiasco we get a good news drone story about the help DJI drones helped to contain the fire in the Notre Dame Cathedral fire in Paris recently.

The firefighters are using a large screen monitor to view the footage.The DJI Matrice 210 Professional Drone is a rugged, durable quadcopter ideal for a multitude of applications, in an array of sectors. For example: Firefighting: detecting fires and sources of fire

A DJI Mavic Pro and a Matrice M210 were used to track the movement of the flames and inform firefighters on where they should aim the fire hoses. “The drones allowed us to correctly use what we had at our disposal,” said fire brigade spokesman Gabriel Plus.

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

All about the Panasonic S1

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I had the pleasure to interview Richard Payne head of technology at Holdan about Panasonics new full frame S1

I decided to take some pictures at my friends house of wee 2.5 year old Grace with my new Panasonic S1.

Grace was a lovely subject to photograph and at 2000 ISO these pictures are very clean.

Not everything went smoothly so I will give you my honest assessments of the Panasonic S1 during this week. I will leave you with my 12m interview with Richard Payne.

Richard Payne S1 interview from Philip Johnston on Vimeo.

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

The 1960’s Turret lens makes a comeback

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Growing up in the 1960s all the broadcast TV cameras had a turret lens system on them because zoom lens were not good enough yet.

For a more in-depth look at this lens system have a look at

Over at NAB 2019 the chaps at Cinema 5D caught up with Ian Kerr who has literally re-invented the wheel for some of todays modern cameras like the Sony FS7.

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

Wireless GO from RODE £179

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No surprises that RODE has produced this little wireless package as the filmmaker kit was far too big. I just wish the word RODE was not on the clip itself.

Dont panic as I did on first reading of this product “with built in microphone” you still have the ability to plug in a  lavalier microphone and use it the good old fashioned way.


  • Operates as a clip-on microphone or beltpack transmitter for a lavalier/headset microphone
  • Built-in omnidirectional condenser microphone delivers broadcast-quality sound
  • All-new Series III 2.4GHz digital wireless transmission with 128-bit encryption designed to deliver crystal clear audio under any conditions, even in locations with dense Wi-Fi and Bluetooth activity like shopping malls, conventions, hotels etc
  • Up to 70m range (line-of-sight), but optimised for shorter-range operation in congested radio-frequency environments
  • TX and RX have built-in rechargeable batteries, charged via USB-C 
  • Up to 7 hours on a full charge, including a battery-saver mode
  • Super-lightweight and ultra-compact: TX is 31g and RX only 31g
  • The transmitter and receiver pair in just 3 seconds
  • 3-stage output pad: 0, -6dB and -12dB
  • RØDE’s market-leading smartLav+ (with an SC3 adaptor), Lavalier microphone and HS2 headset microphone are perfect companions for the Wireless GO when used as a beltpack (and sold separately)
  • Use up to 8 systems in one location.

Sennheiser brought out the AVX-MKE2 system but at over £750 is a lot of money to justify. Rode’s new compact system comes in at £179 less a smartlav mic at £50 extra.

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

A tribute to the best dad in the world 1931-2019

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Sadly this morning I lost the best friend a boy could have, my father. He was a great man, a very good father and a much loved grandfather and great grandfather. Everyone liked George as he was very friendly and very generous.

Many people did not know he was a bookmaker and as I was growing up I travelled to many horse racing and dog racing establishments. He was such a good mentor and encouraged my love of film making buying me a Super 8mm Kodak XL camera back in 1972 for my Christmas when I was 12.

He even bought my first video camera a Sony Betamax  HVC-2000 with a SL-F1 portable video recorder.

He also mentored all his grandchildren with my son Paul taking up the love of golf. My dad was a keen golfer himself and a 44 year lifetime member at Cathkin Braes Golf Club. Paul would regularly keep gramps up to speed with the golf results and the horse racing.

George McLean (Rangers), Willie Henderson (Rangers) and my dad

Even back in the 1960s my dad knew how a good photograph could be good for business. My other son Scott has a love of football and dad loved talking about the good old football days with Scott.

Me and dad about a year ago
Willie, my sister Martine, me, mum, dad and my wife Susan at my 50th birthday party
George and Rita 1956

A lasting memory of my mum and dad at their wedding, sadly my dad was blighted with health issues in his later years going almost blind 5 years ago but he had a great life with his loving family and will never be forgotten.

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

Why I have stayed away from Skype on my 27″ iMac

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As seen from the same angle as my GH5

When you are limited to using an inbuilt static camera on your iMac its no wonder you stay away from Skype for demo purposes.

Static iMac shot

This is the HD camera in my 4 year old iMac and its appalling. Apple sell you great all in one computers like the 27″ iMac but compromise on the build of the in built camera.

This is the Logitech c920 HD camera (£59 on Amazon) that works with the iMac as long as you use an APP called WEBCAM SETTINGS (£7.99 Apple APP store). I am using Mojave on OS 10.14.3 and it works fine. Dont be put off by the bad reviews and its also 5 years old.

Logitech have their own app for the camera but it does not allow you the most important feature in WEBCAM SETTINGS the ability to adjust the GAIN. In advanced settings you can also focus the C920 manually. The best news is portability, your no longer stuck with a static camera position, you also get very useful 1.5m of cable.

iMac is a lot more fluffy than the Logitech c920

The Logitech c920 is a far superior picture in all ways the main one having the control over the gain and the ability to set manual focus and a good white balance.

I needed a camera to sit on top of the GH5 so I can use the GH5 shots in the main edit

I must thank this You Tubber Andrew Strugnell for showing me how good the c920 is on an iMac and remember this You Tube video is 7 years old.

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

Cinemartin gone bankrupt, very sad news

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Via Cinemartin’s Facebook page. “Bad news, we are about to close due to bankrupt. Our tie mother company leaves us with no other option.
End of Cinemartin probably by 1 April, the joke day, but our end as a filmmaking company.”

“Thank you for all your efforts and grattittude.
Soon we will make the public announcement”

HD Warrior were one of the first blogs to produce a review about their 7″ monitor which I still use.

The Cinemartin boys from Spain will be missed by many of us who were looking forward to their 8K FRAN camera, possibly a giant step too far.

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

Big changes for HD Warrior my new Video Podcast starting with the Panasonic S1

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Once a month I will be producing a video Podcast, this month I will be starting with the new full frame Panasonic S1

My good friend Rick Young has this very camera coming tomorrow and he will be giving me his first thoughts on the Panasonic S1 at the end of this week.

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

Well done JVC awarded “Best Camcorder 2018” for the GY-HM180 4K camcorder

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Great news for JVC, John Kelly receiving the award from the quarterly international magazine for professional filmmakers for their 4K GY-HM180 camcorder.

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

RODECaster PRO with Multitrack added via firmware 1.1.0

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The first major firmware update for the RODECaster Pro Podcast Production Studio has arrived. Update 1.1.0 introduces a stack of new features to the RODECaster Pro, including the much-anticipated multitrack functionality, as well as an updated user interface and mix-minus on the USB output.

I was excited at this when it was mentioned over a month ago as I prefer to record all my tracks separately, but it comes at a cost. For those who use Mac programs such as Garage Band 10 (I don’t) I think you can get this to work. Rode don’t hide the fact that it works with a £55 audio program called REAPER but its overly complicated in my opinion.

The fly in this ointment is that it only gives you multitrack via USB in other words you need a laptop plugged into the output if it is to work for you expanding the gear needed to make this very slick, self contained audio mixer work in multitrack mode, such a shame in my opinion.

Why RODE could not have made this feature self contained beats me when you are not limited by the micro SD card, after all a 128G mSD card gives you 94 hours of record time so adding a few more tracks to this would have been easy rather than this cumbersome solution.

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

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