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Electronic Eye

Sydney Video Makers club newsletter

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LINK to see club calendar.



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Club Meeting Wed 27 July

7:45pm for 8pm start: Doherty Centrre, 7 Victor St., Chatswood

Our special guest speaker this month is a real licensed Helicopter, Glider and UAV Pilot who films aerial shots for TV & Cinema! As usual, this event is FREE for first time visitors.
Phil Burnham combines his flying skills with his passion as Director of Photography to film for TVC and all kinds of TV shows. He is the closest thing we have to a real James Bond!

We are privileged to have him.

So come and enjoy a night with Phil as he screens some examples of his extensive work as a director of photography on big productions like “Home & Away” etc. using drones, gliders etc.

Throught the President's Lens

Rob Nercessian - President

Happy Birthday to SVM and Welcome to our special July club night.
We have seven reasons to celebrate this Wednesday.
  1. Our 25th birthday!
  2. The re-establishment of our film teams
    Six teams completed their entries
  3. The screening of a number of films you made this month
    Thank you to all teams, this was the first for the year and you put a lot into it
  4. Our key-note speaker Phil Burnham will show & tell Drone Filmography,
    It’s very impressive.
  5. The Zen girls have a surprise film for us, which we will try and screen if time permits.
  6. Ami Levartovsky presents.
  7. We will discuss the next script.
So make a note of July 27th as it will be a party atmosphere.

In the beginning...

It was 25 years ago this week that our club was created, when John Weaver welcomed film buffs for their inaugural meeting using VCRs, 8 and 16mm film equipment. It was a cold July night in 1991, much like tonight according to Merv Blanch, one of the originals and life member.

The six original members established a serious amateur film club where ordinary people can solve each other’s technical problems and share a hobby. Our first committee of 6 negotiated with the local council, who own the “Dougherty” building, to have the use of a meeting room ‘for free’ in exchange for a documentary film to be made by the newly established video club. The topic being the council’s “meals on wheels” service which is also located in the same building.

The use of the venue (as a film club) was granted by the council however the promised documentary film took us a further year to complete. This association with the council made us a significant community contributor. These days we do pay rent, insurance etc hence the need to charge a membership fee.

18 Years later I became the president and approached the council to make a second deal, and wanted to establish an annual film festival (our first ever Film Festival) in return for a grant. (You will find our festival details and pictures on our web page  Newsletters -  September 2009).

The Chatswood Film Festival was born, many members took part wearing club T-shirts, we got our first ever grant. Beryl and Joy were happy, as no more selling raffle tickets.

We were then able to purchase our club gear e.g. HD Projector, lights, mics etc for the benefit of our Club teams and the club teams are still making good use these as recently as last week’s filming of the “Romance” film.

Running community clubs is a specialised task, it requires a lot of love, time and dedication. I encourage any new members to join the committee or help the club in any way they can because you are the club.

We will continue to fulfill our role by providing extensive programs for members who:
  1. Want to learn but can’t afford film school
  2. Are down to earth professionals who enjoy the club vibe
  3. Enjoy the social aspect without getting involved in filming
  4. Are ‘givers’ by nature and want to share their knowledge with others
Being an SVM club member does not prevent you from making your own films (individually or collaborating with other SVM members), making individual films and submitting into our internal, or external competitions and festivals. You can even get paid as a film maker.

Conversely, we must not turn our club into an elitist organisation that would deprive ordinary people gaining access  to learn and even make beginner style movies, as we all started that way.

Good luck with the “Romance” & “Red” competitions everyone!

Rob Nercessian
Club President

VP's Message

Paul Szilard - Vice President

Competition Handing In Night is this club night.
We are taking entries for two competitions:
  1. Romance (max 5 mins)
  2. RED (1 min)
Competition Entry Process
  1. Entries must start with the SVM Intro Sequence
    Downloadable from this page on our website: LINK
    (Right click and Save Link As, on the SVM Intro Sequence file)
  2. Enclose signed Copyright Declaration form
  3. Enclose a filled out Competition Entry Form, with all participating club members listed
  4. The movie entries can be handed to the competition manager on the night on a USB Memory Stick OR if uploaded to a personal Vimeo account, the reference number given. Note that if using Vimeo, then the movie has to be PUBLIC and have NO password on it.
  5. Video contents must comply with Club guidelines
  6. Preferred format is full HD (1920x1080p)
  7. The Competitions Manager and President and Secretary, may reject any submission if it is deemed inappropriate.
IMPORTANT: As some earlier entries had been received, without compiling with the above list (e.g. not having had the SVM Intro Sequence, as it wasn't available), you MUST re-submit all entries, as outlined above.

I am looking forward to seeing your entries.

Paul Szilard

Members Write

Article supplied by Chris Saville

Is it worth getting a new camera for taking 4K video?

Quite a few members of the club have been taking 4K video using a Panasonic GH4 camera for a while now and if you look carefully, even when projected in high definition at the club, results look sharper. This is what made me think maybe now was the time to buy a new camera.

Making mainly "run and gun" documentaries, I decided that the GH4 was not suitable for me as it is best suited for drama productions where you have plenty of time to set everything up. Also I didn't want to buy and carry a load of lenses around, so it had to be a camcorder. After looking at a lot of reviews I narrowed it down to a Sony AX100 (LINK). This was further endorsed after seeing the image quality of a holiday video taken in China on You Tube (LINK).

photo: Sony Australia

Next - where do I buy one? Looking at Sony's Australian website, they were out of stock and I was told it would be months before they would receive the next batch as the model was so popular. Online it was also impossible to find anyone who had stock, so I searched around Sydney dealers and finally found one at Digital Camera Warehouse. I was extremely lucky, I bought it just in time as there was another customer behind me in the shop who wanted it as well! I paid $2200 (Aug 2015) and that included a free camera bag.

photo: Chris Saville

So what is it like? The thing that surprised me most was how sharp the image is in 4K and high definition. It must have a very good sensor and quality lens to achieve this. It has a Carl Zeiss lens f2.8 max aperture and a 12x zoom range. Sony make a semi professional camera model PXW-X70 - the AX100 is a copy of this with exactly the same lens at a lower price. The X70 has extra features as well as a detachable handle which incorporates a mixer unit to plug in two XLR microphone cables but having owned a Beachtek mixer for many years I have something that does exactly the same job. The sound quality from the internal microphone of the AX100 is also unusually good. I was once asked after filming a music concert how did I get such good sound quality.

photo: Chris Saville  (Beachtek interface shown underneath camera. Ed.)

There is a down-side to using 4K - because there is so much more information to process, you need a very fast and powerful computer to handle it all (my 2008 Apple iMac may need to be replaced soon!)

At present you cannot show 4K video everywhere but as high definition is so much better using a 4K camera it will improve everything you take now. You are also able to crop a 4K image and retain the quality.

Plus points:
  • Great image quality in 4K and HD
  • Touch screen high quality LCD viewfinder
  • Being a bit bigger and heavier than a lot of camcorders makes it easier using the steady shot to hand hold
Minus points:
  • External monitor cannot be used when taking 4K, you have to use the cameras LCD screen or the in-camera viewfinder. Works ok in HD.
  • Any external devices connected to the camera have to use a special Sony hot shoe adaptor which is available cheaply on e-bay.
  • Need to buy a more powerful computer to handle 4K but you can edit with proxy, a lower quality image for editing and then assemble the final edit in 4K.
A few shots in Vimeo (LINK) from one of the first video's taken with the AX100, working with Rob Nercessian we filmed a Marilyn Monroe festival – The 4K has been converted to HD.

Chris Saville
22 March 2016

4 Sale or Wanted

If you have an item to sell, or want to place "Wanted" advert, then contact email the Editor.

4 Sale

Advance notice: Paul Szilard will be selling a comprehensive NIKON DSL outfit in October, comprising a D750 full-frame body with video cage and 8 lenses, covering focal lengths from 16mm through to 500mm and 3x Nikon flash guns. Expressions of interest to Paul Szilard. Click EMAIL if interested.


Place Your Ad?

If you are a (financial) Club Member, then send the following information to the Editor.
  • 4Sale or Wanted (which?)
  • Contact: Your name
  • Item: Summary
  • Price: Asking price
  • Options: If any
  • Description: Any details, with photos and links


Club assets that are available for loan to financial members


Audio Kit 1

  1. RODE NTG2 shotgun mic, with RODE Boom Pole and noise breaking "Blimp"
  2. RODE FilmMaker radio mic (Lavalier)
  3. Audio Pre-Amp
  4. Carry Bag

Audio Kit 2

  1. RODE NTG2 shotgun mic, with RODE Boom Pole and noise breaking "Blimp"
  2. RODE FilmMaker radio mic (Lavalier)
  3. Audio Pre-Amp
  4. Carry Bag

Lighting Equipment

Items available separately
  1. LED light panel with mains PSU and stand
  2. LED light panel with mains PSU and stand (2nd unit)
  3. Dedo Halogen 150W focusable spot light, mains powered

Miscellaneous Items

  1. Camera Crane (aka JIB) with stand
  2. 7" LCD LED Field Monitor (HDMI)

Loan Procedures

  • Club assets can be borrowed by club members that are financial, for club related shooting.
  • To book any items, please contact the Asset Manager and check availability.
  • The borrowing member is responsible for returning the items in the same condition they were in when borrowed. Damage or loss are the responsibility of the borrower.

See you at the meeting - and email me your thoughts!

Paul Szilard
SVMC Vice President
Comp & Asset Manager | EE Editor | Dog's Body

Click to email Paul now
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