Memory? Who needs memory? Well your camera will soon. And lots of it.

As we speak, Dr David Smith is reviewing a Blackmagic URSA 12K camera for  Australian Videocamera. Yep, that’s right, 12K. Makes my little(?) Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K Pro sound tiny, doesn’t it?

We hope to have the full review available shortly, but the major reason for this piece is to highlight an issue that is going to be more and more front and centre as camera and optics technology goes forward.

Recordable memory.

Not that long ago, a 256GB SD card was classified as “yuge” and cost a pretty penny. The trouble is, if I put one of those in the BPCC 6K Pro and shoot at maximum resolution, I’ll get around 16 minutes. And it costs around $350 for the 128GB version that is fast enough to record at the full 6K in Blackmagic RAW.

As this camera also supports CFast cards, how do they compare cost wise then? A bit more expensive as it turns out, although you can get them up to 1TB (which’ll set you back over a grand!).

The best option then seemingly is to go for an external SSD. But not all USB-C drives are equal as it turns out.

Thankfully, Blackmagic Design has a useful section of their website detailing exactly what SSD’s (and SD and CF cards) are supported. Sadly, and my mistake, I only discovered this after the fact, and blew some $ on a non-supported Samsung drive instead of the supported Samsung T5 1TB unit. Never mind, that now acts as a storage drive for the Blackmagic Design ATEM Mini Pro and is doing a Stirling job there

So I got the T5 (seems I was lucky to find it though as they seem as rare as rocking horse poo), and it set me set me back just over $130 on special, and while is adequate, for general purpose shooting, is not usable at the full 6K Blackmagic RAW 5:1 up to 50 fps, being limited to 6K 2.4:1 Blackmagic RAW 5:1 up to 60 fps and lower. Trap for the unwary; it is easy to think that if you cannot find a T5, a T7 will suffice. Not so. Blackmagic tells me there are reports of “issues” with these at present.

For the full beans, I was pointed to a LaCie Rugged SSD Pro at around $600 and this is doing a champion job.  Being small. I am currently working out a way of adapting a phone holder to contain it and it’ll then mount on the Miller Air 75 Solo tripod nicely.

As I stated at the start, as the tech of cameras gets better and better, having to use this amount of memory for recording is going to become the norm. My suggestion therefore is if you are about to fork out hard earned cash for SD cards or the like, go as high in capacity as you can as in the not-too-distant future, you are going to need it. 128GB will be as laughable in a year or so as 16GB is now.

Oh and for reference, the test files David Smith shot for his review – and these are JUST test files – amounted to 900GB!

Kayell Australia invites filmmakers to ‘illuminate’ their creativity

Aspiring filmmakers have the opportunity to unleash their creativity by producing a short film encompassing the theme ‘illuminate’ for the chance to win part of a prize pool valued at more than $50,000.

The Illuminate Filmmaking Challenge 2021 is a new initiative by Kayell Australia that invites entrants of all levels to produce a short film between one and four minutes with at least 70 percent of the footage shot on a DSLR, Mirrorless or higher quality camera. This allows film entries to incorporate up to 30 percent footage from smaller compact cameras, smartphones or drones if desired.

In addition to their feature film, entrants also need to provide a separate Behind the Scenes (BTS) video comprising up to five minutes of footage.

Event organiser, Robert Gatto – Managing Director, Kayell Australia, said the Illuminate Filmmaking Challenge aims to encourage enthusiasts of all levels to enter – from passionate amateurs to industry veterans.

“Australia has a flourishing filmmaking community and this is an opportunity for them to showcase their exceptional talents and abilities by capturing a visual story that incorporates the ‘illuminate’ theme.”

Mr Gatto said the judging criteria will focus on originality and creativity, quality of the cinematography, BTS film quality, and the products used to shoot the films.

Submissions for the Illuminate Filmmaking Challenge must have been completed after 1 January 2021

All participating films need to be produced as an MP4 file in no less than full HD resolution at widescreen 16:9 ratio with Stereo sound.

No credits, names or production company details are permitted in the films to enable judges to base their decisions independently on talent, creativity and ability.

Platinum sponsors for the event are Nikon, Aputure, SmallHD, Teradek, Wooden Camera, and Lacie. Gold sponsors for the event are Inovativ, Core SWX, Eizo, Deity and Sekonic.

  • 1st Prize ($30,000 value) Nikon camera + lenses ($10,000) Lacie storage devices ($10,000) Teradek, SmallHD & Wooden Camera equipment ($5,000) Aputure LED lighting equipment & Deity microphones ($5,000)
  • 2nd Prize ($10,000 value) Inovativ cart & accessories ($5,500) Core SWX batteries & chargers ($2,500) Sekonic cine colour meters ($2,000)
  • 3rd Prize ($3,000 value) Eizo ColorEdge 4K monitor ($3,000) Social media viewers will also have the opportunity to be part of a prize pool valued at $7,000.

Entrants must be over the age of 18 years and be an Australian permanent resident for at least one year prior to the Illuminate Filmmaking Challenge closing date on 1 August 2021.

Full entry details + Terms and Conditions for the Illuminate Filmmaking Challenge 2021 can be found at:

Quick Case Study: A Yacht, The Great Barrier Reef and LOTS of Video Data

” These are the most advanced mobile hard drive solutions we have ever seen!!! Thanks to Seagate and LaCie we now have a whopping 40TB of storage to backup all of our footage, photos and data while we travel the east coast of Australia over the next 3 weeks. Now the fun bit will be filling them up!”

Great Barrier Reef Legacy

For more info, go to

LaCie I A 360° View of the Great Barrier Reef

Some say that 360 video is a bit like 3D TV – a solution looking for a problem. Well, we have been playing with 360- video for a while now with a superb Ricoh Theta V and the new impressive VUZE XR cameras (we LOVE the Ricoh optics as you’d expect by the way) and we reckon that given the right subject matter, 360 degree video definitely has a place.

Yesterday LaCie / Segate told us of a project they are helping with involving the health of the Great Barrier Reef, a subject close to Aussie’s hearts especially of late, and this turns out to be the perfect foil for VR.

To quote LaCie …

LaCie was excited when offered the chance to support the Great Barrier Reef Legacy during an important expedition. We dished out the data storage—and they discovered the first new coral species in 30 years, along with the first definitive ‘Super Coral’ species. Dr. Miller told us one of the goals of their trip was to get the world’s very first 360° footage of coral spawning and it worked! Using your finger or cursor, explore this incredible underwater scene for yourself.”

Quick Tips: Before you go, check these…

The best laid plans of mice and men…

When going on any shooting trip (with cameras folks, not things that go bang), it is a fact of life that the chance of something going wrong is inversely proportional to the number of gadgets you have.

On our recent getaway (courtesy as mentioned before, of Mr Frequent Flyer points), here at Ramada Eco Beach Resort in Broome, we have a large number of them in order to test and report on in use in a real life field operation.


The list is extensive:

  • 3 x camcorders (Canon G40 HD, Sony AX100 4K, Panasonic WXF1 4K)
  • 1 x Panasonic GH5S
  • 3 x GoPros (models 4,5 and 6 – 5 being in the…
  • 1 x GoPro Karma drone
  • Sony RX0 ultra compact shockproof/waterproof camcorder
  • 360Fly 360 degree camera
  • LaCie CoPilot backup and storage system
  • Logitech Wonderboom Bluetooth sound system

… and various chargers, capacitor “brick”, cables, housings, mounts and a Joby Gorillapod. All fits snugly inside a decent carry all that is waterproof with a bunch of external and internal zip pockets.

Things to look for BEFORE going out of the door.

Power: This is the bleeding obvious but it is of course important to make sure that all batteries are charged (including spares), and if you have one, a capacitor “brick” is also fully charged and can be connected to your device(s) in an emergency.

Memory Cards: I tend to make sure all cards are clean (empty) and formatted before I go, and after even a single use, all files copied off (hence the LaCie CoPilot) for safe keeping and then reformatted. I keep one set of cards per device and label them accordingly ie: teach GoPro has its own card(s) with the volume label set for that specific camera. I also have a waterproof zippered pocket carrying case to keep spare cards in (as well as adaptors for MicroSD cards).

Drone: This may be Karma specific, but once I have reached a location (in this case, Ramada Eco Beach 140Km south of Broome in Western Australia), I tend to reorient the drone to the GPS, make sure all batteries (drone and controller) are fully charged, and that the controller and drone are “talking” to each other. I also preset the camera angleso you don’t end up with vision solely of the sky or the ground due to be unable to see the controller LCD in bright sunlight.

360Fly: As this is primarily driven by smartphone software, I check that both the Wi-fi and Bluetooth connections are operational. It also good form to have the smartphone recording the footage as well as the 360Fly for backup safety. Of course the same principle applies if you are using any of the “action cameras” that also rely on Bluetooth / Wi-fi.

Mounts: Check all connectors are working OK, all screws are tightened and anything that needs lubrication has been treated. I keep a tube of ABU fishing reel oil on hand for this as well as a small tube of Vaseline to rub around all waterproof seals.

Lenses: Make sure all lenses are clean!

Microphones: Many external microphones (we have some Rode and Sennheiser handheld and wireless mics) use battery power. It is easy to leave these left on after a shoot, so double check they are all OK with fresh batteries.

Other: From Coles or Woollies, you can buy cheap plastic airtight containers and I have a number of these for camera gear (and they are great for fishing gear too!) In these are an assortment of spare USB cables, both ‘AA’ and ‘AAA’ batteries plus a 9v (for the Rode mics),  lens cleaning wipes and a fine brush, jewellers screwdriver set and small pair of pliers.


Once I have checked everything, I get Jacqui to do a separate check to make sure. There is nothing worse than being 10Km from the nearest power point, or out in a boat fishing or whale watching and something basic you forgot goes wrong.

Like everyone (I hope!) over the years I have dropped batteries overboard, lost SD cards in the sand and even dumped a drone at sea 5km off shore (admittedly this was a GoPro Karma battery failure, but still …) and every one of these mishaps could have been averted with a bit of forethought.

Postscript: Another REALLY good idea I have only discovered today , is to carry a small rolled up mat with you – about the size of an A4 page. That way if you have to pull something apart, or put it down, it is relatively safe. (Yesterday I knocked the cover from the Sony RX0 between the cracks of the swimming pool here at the resort, never to be seen again. It IS supposed to be attached, but the flimsy plastic hinge had snapped making it free standing … are you listening Sony design gurus?)

Postscript Postscript: Also check once formatted and clean AND inserted in a camera / camcorder the card works. Today, while attempting a high tide flyover with the GoPro Karma drone, the card in the camera refused to initialise. This caused a delay while getting new card from the room … not a big deal, but if we had been 10Km offshore for example…

(Footage from Karma Drone with GoPro Hero 5 at Eco Beach at low tide.

The tidal rise and fall here is 10 metres +!)