Return of the weekend challenge: THE SEQUENCE and a quick review at the Sony compact camera the RX100

FOR THE RX100 quick look go to bottom of this post. 

I did a few of these a while back. Most people got the idea that this was not a competition but a challenge to get you off your bums and out there shooting and improving. A small minority got uppity that there were no prizes and that I didn’t give feedback on all videos. So in the interests of a quieter life I didn’t do anymore. BUT I have decided to revive the weekend challenge and try to make it bi-monthly. Setting new challenges every two weeks and giving you just the weekend to do it. These are going vary in topics. Some will be more challenging than others, but all WILL make you a better filmmaker as you learn every time you shoot. I stand by this 100%.

SO, the challenge this weekend is…THE SEQUENCE.

So simple. So important. So easy to make dull or just plain screw up. The sequence is a sequence of shots that need to be able to be cut together. Once they are, they should tell a story. An example of a REALLY boring sequence is this.

INTERIOR DAY: Man is sitting alone at a desk. He opens computer, types for around 5 minutes, then closes computer and leaves. 

That was me writing this post if you didn’t get it. Dull, but you can tell a story from it 🙂

Below is an example of two simple things that I posted a few weeks back. One was my mum washing the windows, and the other was my dad smoking a cigar. YES they were shot at 240fps so they look cooler, after all everything looks cool at that speed! BUT even at normal speed it would still look interesting. Look at the shots I did and how I pieced them together. I am not saying do all your entries like this, but this should give you an idea!

The parents at 240 from Philip Bloom on Vimeo.

Here is the challenge. Take an action, a process or something similar. For example, brushing your teeth or making a bed or frying an egg. Create a film of 45-60 seconds, no longer, thinking really hard about how you can tell the story of this action in a creative way. Take a step back, think hard, plan it, shot list it if need be, but I want to be surprised as to how you can take the simple things and make them look great.

You have until Monday 9am 30th July UK time to upload to this group. PLEASE only upload video to this challenge.

There is no prize other than a chance to see how others take this simple challenge and run with it. After all, if you can make an egg being fried exciting, what could you do with something more exciting. The skill is making the dull look brilliant!

I make no promises to watch them all and give feedback, but I will try. Please watch others, comment, critique, share!

Thanks for taking part and if this goes well I will make this a regular bi-monthly thing.

I won’t approve any videos uploaded after the deadline. Deadlines are GOOD! They push you! You must upload to the Vimeo group here and I will post my 10 favourites mid next week with WHY I have chosen those ones.  I am also going to do one myself, so feel free to critique mine!

EDIT: BLIMEY!! Someone has already done one…check it out below!

Pipe… from hixrat on Vimeo.

The Sony RX100 is a really powerful little camera. I haven’t had it long (24 hrs) but I did manage to shoot my entry to this challenge on it today. It’s a top end fixed lens compact camera with many cool features. It has raw, a 1 inch 20 megapixel sensor which is roughly 2/3 the size of micro 4/3. Sound confusing? Well check out the sensor chart below from DP review

Stills wise it is very strong but I have yet to really put it through it’s paces other than to take some shots of my cats. It shoots raw but no software I have can take it yet. The fixed lens is equivalent to 28mm to 94mm. It’s F1.8 at the wide end and slows right down to F4.9 at the long end.

Noodle on the RX100

Pop: Shot on Sony RX100 from Philip Bloom on Vimeo.

Video wise at it’s highest bit rate of 28mb/s in Full HD with either 50p  (what i have) or 60p (for US and other regions). Great thing about 50p is throw it on a 25p timeline and it just drops a frame to get lovely 25p as there is no setting in camera to do it. For 60p if you want 24p it’s more complicated. Of course full HD slow motion at 50p/ 60p is very cool. I had to use the micro HDMI out of the camera (not full screen whilst recording) for this little piece as you can see below but blimey what a dumb place to put the HDMI socket!! Right by the 1/4 20 tripod mount. I managed via filing down my micro HDMI lead and using the Kessler Quick Release plate which is full of mounting holes to make it work…but seriously…what a place to put it!

This is why I needed HDMI out…



The new quick release plate system
Monitor output

It’s got full manual control and a nice multi function wheel on the lens.

It’s too soon to give my final opinion, but so far after 24 hours I am very impressed. Powerful in stills, with ISO up to 25,600. A large sensor for a compact and lovely video mode…although I couldn’t work out how to get a flat picture profile yet. I am hoping to work this out without resorting to the instruction manual which of course men simply don’t use! 🙂

Biggest downer? It’s not cheap.$650 in the US. You can buy a DSLR for that but that is not the point. This is aVERY small camera with a crap load of stuff in it and it does most of it, from what I have so far, very well. The best pocket camera I have used to date, beating my beloved Canon S100.

Any purchases through the below links help to keep my site going and cost you nothing, so always appreciated! 🙂



  1. This sounds fun!

    I’m a wee bit confused by the second part of this phrase, though: “Create a film of 45-60 seconds, no longer thinking really hard as how you can tell the story of this action in a creative way.” I have no idea what it says.

    1. He wants you to create a film of 45-60 seconds, no longer than 60 seconds. He wants you to be thinking really hard as to how to tell the story of the action in a creative way.

      Hope that helps.

  2. Hi Mr Bloom

    I found that the best thing to do regarding picture profile is to set it to Portrait, then turn everything down to -3.
    That is the flattest I was able to make the image in camera.
    All other settings have more contrast in them. Also turn off HDR optimizer as this will start to introduce a lot more noise.
    What are your thoughts on the active stabiliser setting?
    I’m blown away by this camera!
    Glad you found a way to mount to a tripod and use the micro hdmi port.
    If only they switched the positions of hdmi and usb!

    Long time reader of your site and first time poster.
    Just want to say thanks for all your work and knowledge that you have shared with us over the years.


    1. Hi Philip,

      Just wondering on the Slo-Mo bit with the FS700, doing the speed ramping… that recorded at 240 and then you just speed it up in post to make it back to normal speed?

      So say if I wanted someone turning round at normal speed and then it slows down, would I record in the slowest fps then speed up in post to make the normal 25fps part of it?


  3. Nicely done, now you have your very own “greedo” moment, salt, sugar or toffee, only you know.

    On another note, why do camera companies think about lead connections as an afterthought? My Z1 firewire is the most important cable on my camera (connected to Datavideo DN 60), but in a place where it catches and is easily pulled out.

    1. Quite the contrary, you should shoot with no shutter (360 degrees), or 1/50th of a second at 50fps, if you are going to drop every other frame to conform to 25p. The dropped frame simulates the shutter being closed half of the time, and you get the proper amount of blur for the final frame rate at that shutter speed. Going to 1/100th will create strobing without traditional cinema blur.

      The RX100 allows the use of no shutter, and even allows shutter speeds of as long as 1/4 of a second, though longer speeds than the frame rate will introduce motion artifacts.

        1. Exactly. So if the desired result is 25 fps with a blur of 1/50th shutter speed, but you don’t have any progressive frame rate available other than 50p as on the RX100, shooting 50p at 1/50th and then dropping every other frame provides you with your desired result of 25 fps with a blur of 1/50th shutter speed. How could it be otherwise? It’s a mathematical fact…the dropped frame is identical to the shutter being closed for 1/50th of a second between frames, as if you had shot at 25fps at 1/50th shutter speed.

          The 1/50th shutter speed also doubles the amount of light you have to work with for the RX100, a nice bonus. If you are going to conform for slow motion, or deliver at 50p, you ought to shoot at the standard 180 degrees or 1/100th in the case of PAL versions of the RX100. NTSC versions (as in the United States) are 60p and the rates would be 1/60th for no shutter and 1/125th for 173 degrees (as close as you can get to 180).

          The new Hobbit movie was shot at 48fps with a shutter of 270 degrees (1/72 second). Should they decide to punt on 48fps and just drop every other frame to 24fps, they will end up with a resulting shutter angle of 135 degrees, which while not having the traditional blur amount, isn’t so very off from the standard 180.

          1. And btw for NTSC RX100’s, the shutter angle you can get at 24p by shooting at 1/60th of a second is 144 degrees. Not as much blur as the cinema standard, but also not so terribly off that the strobing will be unpleasant.

            Playing with shutter angle is an opportunity to control clarity/blur and smoothness/strobing to taste, and it’s nice the RX100 gives such latitude even as it’s exasperating it only offers one progressive rate per region of the world.

  4. Can focus be adjusted whilst recording ? And what about other setting adjustments whilst recording (aperture, exposure, zoom, iso, shutter speed) ? I had bought the S100 having read somewhere that everything could be adjusted manually… Although it’s a good camera, the lack of adjustments that can be made during recording make it very limited for video work. Plus the sound is horrible with the automatic focus motor and the noise/hiss it generates (my 130$ Canon 100HS has much better internal audio than the S100). Thanks for your response Philip (or anyone else), really appreciate.

  5. As always, your opinion is very much appreciated. I would love to learn your opinion about the LX7 which is soon to come out. Smaller sensor than the RX100, but you never know…

  6. I’ve been using the 550d ML for daily interviews and the 3seconds lost footage as the video spans is very annoying. however most of my interviews are going for over 45mins so 3seconds lost video every 12mins is grr.

    question is – after 29mins what happens here? does it span ? is there lost seconds? and how long does the battery last while recording video ?

    my budget is extremely very low/non-existant! – I’ve been in China now for three months shooting this self funded documentary on my own coins and have not earned a cent this year at all – so every coin saved helps these days, lucky its very cheap to live here having said that – the 3second drop out on the 550d with ML is enough me to make me grab a second camera and start it a few mins later and use two cameras to shoot the interviews so when one drops out the other will be still going.. this will work for me.

    This is what I’m shooting – China’s NGPDT ( the treatment takes just 45 seconds to kill the cancer cells ) nano-technology & laser light whole body out-patient cancer cure. – I’ve already started posting my footage up online which is helping cancer patients make the huge decision to come to china for treatment and not do chemo or radio as their first option.

    Thank you,

  7. Hmm … unfortunately, I recall reading at the start of this blog post “in the interests of a quieter life I didn’t do anymore” and then I read a response like SNEAKYPEE and fear “Mr Bloom” will succumb to the natural tendency to avoid this kind of “straining of gnats”.

    SNEAKY … life is too short to alienate yourself with, what appears to be, your need to defend your doctorate in terminology ON A PUBLIC BLOG. The best teachers share their knowledge in the “language” their students understand and apparently 99 of Philip’s students took time to put together a creative “sequence” cause they understood the point of the lesson. What was the point you might ask? I believe it was obvious. The point was to put the proverbial pen to paper and enjoy drawing outside of the lines for a bit … especially if our daily grinds are centered on the tight constraints of our employers.

    Philip, simply put … thanks for the challenges and I hope to make time to submit a piece next time around. May I suggest calling the next one “TROLL”. That’s pretty easy to define. ;^)

    1. Philip thanks so much for bringing the challenges to us again… It is amazing to see how much creative inspiration you can provide to the community by making a single blog post encouraging others to go make a one minute sequence. Almost 100 people spent their weekend filming and getting better at the craft.

      The main thing that I took away from my time with you and others in Key West was that you have to allow good shots to hit the floor in edit. This sequence challenge really showed that even more in post. I shot over 25 minutes of raw footage to edit down into a minute, it was hard to let good stuff go, but at the end it made a better piece. Thank you for that advice!!!

      Who knew that you could taking baking cookies and make it dramatic on film, I would have never known if you had not presented this challenge. Don’t let any negative comments get to you. There are lots of us out here who really appreciate what you do. Thanks for being a leader and being in the spotlight so we can learn.

      PS: Let me know if you need it, I have something in my truck that takes care of trolls, GO TEAM DEATH!

  8. Hi Philip,
    Long time lurker/reader, first time poster.
    Thanks for you blog and effort in keeping it current, I have no idea where you get the energy to do it all. They say: invest in nuclear, it’s clean and blah blah blah. I say exploit the unfathomable Bloom energy, it seems to 100% renewable, just feed him a new camera every month… but I digress.
    I am a lucky and a happy owner of the RX100 and as far as I can tell there is no way to display the histogram in video mode… You photo here shows a histogram while recording. Is yours a pre production unit or are you just luckier than others?


  9. Looks like SKEAKYPEE (pierre) has removed himself from your blog which now makes for a very confusing thread. Ah, life on the web. Oh well.

    Honestly though Philip, there are over 800 “among us” right now (according to the red banner) and I for one believe that the vast majority understand your heart behind this site is to educate and challenge personal growth. Keep it up!

  10. Totally agree with your comment best pocket camera yet. I was brought up on an Olympus OM1, and I still love to control the camera, not the camera control me. I bought this on the strength of your review.

    Unless I need ultra quick shots then I still go manual. On full manual the wheel on the lens controls the aperture and the wheel on the back controls the shutter. Added to this a quick flick of the function button and the ISO and/or exposure compensation pops up. If you are a control freak, then this is the nearest you’re going to get for sub £600.00.

    The Panoramic ultra wide feature does produce good results. I own a 5d, however these produce Excellent quality shots for such a small compact.

    Only missing a viewfinder, but hey, what a camera and thanks for reviewing it.

  11. Hi Philip, Hi everyone!

    About Sony RX100, could someone here help me take a decision in my life? 🙂

    I was planning to buy a Sony Nex-5R due to its interchangeble lens possibility and its large sensor for a compact camera (APS-C) to make enthusiastic/something-better-than-amateur videos. Then… I saw some videos made on Sony RX100 that really impressed me! Even if it is fixed lens and smaller sensor is it possible RX100 cast better quality videos than Nex-5R or am I getting crazy? I couldn’t find any comparsion between these two cameras, only an automatic comparsion site: where it says almost everything on Nex-5R is better but says RX100 is a better camera (making me more confused haha). Both cost the same (US$ 650), so, which camera would you guys choose?

  12. Hello Philip, Love your work 🙂 Would you be able to tell me? where did you get the bracket you use to overcome the problem you had with the micro hdmi on the Sony RX100 Ive been looking everywhere to find a solution to this.

    Regards Breezy

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