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Shibui Is a Star: And Right PITA As Well

My artisan wife, Tricia, has made a quilt out of linen scraps. She brings it home.

“I should have filmed you making it.”

“I can make another with a different design. Film that.”

“Great, but let’s hang this one up as a background. You do a piece to camera and give me some VO. The sun is out, we should do it now.” I grab my Sony PXW-X70, plug the HDMI output into a very old Sony LMD-2020 20-inch LCD monitor.

X70 wide shot of big quilt

Shibui, our Himalayan puss and would-be film star, pricks up her ears and leaps onto the table at the edge of the frame. How does she know just where to be? She preens and prances around in the only corner that is in the shot. Talk about upstaging.

Tricia does her thing, but she is struggling with the coconut remains of a seven wonder bar in her mouth. I stop shooting.

Tricia goes to the bathroom for a thorough tooth clean and water rinse. Shibui loses interest and wanders off.

“No, puss, that was only take one. Mummy, with a mouth full of coconut, looked like Francis the Talking Mule. We have to shoot it again.”

Take Two

“First positions, please!” This is where you need a team of production assistants and cat wranglers. It was not to be—Shibui leaps off the table and comes around to watch Tricia on the 20-inch Sony monitor. Everyone wants to be a director.

The next day I’m at Tricia’s workrooms. I use the Sony HXR-NX30U for my handheld shots. Amazing image stabilization, a great wide Zeiss lens and excellent audio. Just leave the thing on auto-everything and it all comes out. For me, the choice between this little lightweight camera and the ubiquitous Canon EOS 5D is a no-brainer.

NX30 shot of Tricia choosing squares for smaller quilt

Sony, in its wisdom, has discontinued the NX30, but you can pick one up secondhand for less than $1,500.

For interviews, I use the Sony PXW-X70. Why? Because it has a 1-inch sensor that lets me throw the background out of focus, and on B&H it’s under $2K. It records 10-bit color at 50 Mb/s, but who needs that for a routine YouTube video?


OK, I know I’m odd, but I transfer in real time using a Blackmagic DeckLink HD Extreme 3D card.

Shibui sees me editing. In a flash she is in front of the FCP monitor and stomping all over my Logickeyboard. I lift her off the table. Whoosh! She’s back again.

“Puss, darling, Daddy is working. Get lost or no more Fancy Feast.”