GROUP TEST: FIELD MONITORS
SPECIAL AUDIO SECTION
BUSINESS MASTERCLASS Real-world advice from a top filmmaker
Six of the best external screens tested and rated
How to master your sound
WINTER 2017 £4.99 @ProMoviemaker
THE BEST KIT OF 2017 honoured in the first ever ProMoviemaker Awards
How to use Instagram to make more money
DRONE ZONE News and views on making cash from your UAV
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Panasonic EVA1 n Sony FS7 II Nikon D850 n Zeiss CP.3 and more
SHOTS YOU MUST MASTER Transform your films with our helpful guide
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OPINION by Adam Duckworth
FROM THE EDITOR
Welcome to our final issue of the year; it’s packed with inspirational features, expert advice and a whole host of insightful reviews of some of the latest cutting-edge kit. I’m excited by the fact that we’ve got our hands on the EVA-1, the first affordable Super35 Cinema Camera to be offered by Panasonic, which comes with ten-bit 4:2:2 internal recording and excellent low-light performance. We’re asking whether this new model will have enough under the bonnet to give the established players a run for their money. Also on the test bench this issue is one of those very rivals, the Sony FS7 II, reviewed in tandem with the highly rated Sony 18-105mm f/4 cinema-style lens that comes complete with built-in optical stabilisation. Elsewhere in this issue we’re focusing on such fundamental filmmaking skills as how to produce the perfect voiceover, use Instagram to drive potential clients to your business and set up a state-of-the-art audio editing suite, while Martyn Moore is giving us the benefit of his ten years of experience as a commercial filmmaker to pass on some expert tips for those looking to make the transition from photography to moving images. In short there’s something inside for everyone, whatever level of the business they might happen to be at, and I hope you enjoy the read!
TERRY HOPE, EDITOR
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Bright Publishing Ltd, Bright House, 82 High Street, Sawston, Cambridgeshire CB22 3HJ Pro Moviemaker is published quarterly by Bright Publishing Ltd, Bright House, 82 High Street, Sawston, Cambridge CB22 3HJ. No part of this magazine can be used without prior written permission of Bright Publishing Ltd. ISSN number: 2045-3892. Pro Moviemaker is a registered trademark of Bright Publishing Ltd. The advertisements published in Pro Moviemaker that have been written, designed or produced by employees of Bright Publishing Ltd remain the copyright of Bright Publishing Ltd and may not be reproduced without the written consent of the publisher. The content of this publication does not necessarily reﬂect the views of the publisher. Prices quoted are street prices. In sterling they include VAT but US dollar prices are without local sales taxes. Prices are where available or converted using the exchange rate on the day the magazine went to press.
THE PERILS OF TECHNOLOGY We’re in an age when the majority of teenagers dream of owning an iPhone X rather than their first car and everything from doing the weekly grocery shop to attracting a mate is done via a computer or smartphone screen. Technology is booming everywhere, and that’s very apparent in the filmmaking industry. Not only in terms of uploading your content to YouTube and marketing yourself via social media, but also in the amazing tech in the hardware used to make films. For under ten grand you can buy a large-chip digital movie camera that just a few years ago would have just been a work of fantasy at any price. Super35-size sensors with stunning low-light performance, 4K and even higher resolution, Raw files captured to cheap memory cards, 240fps super slow-motion and autofocus that actually works and can detect and track a human face. All edited on your laptop and then shared instantly on the net for all to see. We all know that all this tech helps if you have the basics of operating a camera, composition, audio capture and storytelling skills. Unfortunately, the wider public don’t realise this, and seem to think everything is possible at the click of a button. Armed with a smartphone and bunch of Instagram filters, they believe anyone can create award-winning photos as their selfies have got lots of likes from their followers. And as they now shoot wobbly vertical videos on their phones and broadcast them on Facebook Live, or add amusing fake ears and noses on their Snapchat stories at just a click, they think movies must be just as easy to master too. This was recently hammered home on a shoot where the talent read from a script that had been pre-approved by the client. But after the edit, the client – represented by a recent graduate in his first marketing job – decided he wanted to change the words. So could I somehow edit the footage so the talent said something totally different? After all, they figured you can change the content of photos in Photoshop so surely you can make someone say something they didn’t on video, too. While I’m sure some SFX wizard could do this at a justifiably high price, it’s way beyond the skills and remit of most independent filmmakers. In times of tightening budgets and rising expectations, it’s important to let clients know what’s possible and included in the price, is potentially possible at extra cost or is just not possible at all. We’re filmmakers, not miracle makers, despite all the gizmos and gadgets.
ADAM DUCKWORTH, MANAGING EDITOR
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AGENDA LATEST UPDATES
WHO ARE THE FULL-FRAME CAMERAS AIMED AT? RED and Sony up the game by revealing ultra high-end professional cameras with big sensors and eye-wateringly large prices! WORDS ADAM DUCKWORTH
he full-frame Canon EOS 5D Mark II may be the camera credited with the explosion in affordable large-frame video, but it’s taken until now for full-frame sensors to reach professional-style interchangeable lens cinema cameras. RED and Sony have both revealed their own big-chip cameras, but unlike the Canon which was very affordable, the new breed cost up to £115,000/ $109,000 for a workable kit.Of course, the Canon is a DSLR with HD video and was at a competitive price
TOP The new RED camera sets a new level for cost! ABOVE The RED Monstro sensor can shoot at 8K.
point, leading to the launch of similarlyspecced DSLR and mirrorless cameras with increased video performance. The Sony A9 and A7 range lead the way as full-frame mirrorless cameras with a special focus on video and cost up to £4500/$4500. Full-frame sensors tend to offer increased high-ISO performance and a very wide dynamic range compared to cropped, Super35-size or smaller sensors. And as you need to use a longer focal length lens for the same viewpoint compared to a smaller sensor camera, the depth-of-field is shallower, to give a more cinematic effect. So, the lenses are often physically bigger as they need to project a wider image circle to cover the larger sensor – and cost more. Focusing is also more critical at such shallow depthsof-field. RED’s Monster sensor! Californian company RED has a new cinematic CMOS sensor for its Weapon cameras, called the Monstro 8K VV. It
Sony’s target for the Venice is clearly the motion picture and high-end TV market as it can fit into a workflow alongside existing cameras like the F5 and F55, using the same memory cards, Codec and accessories. The RED offers more resolution and would fit into a RED workflow which is starting to make headway into movies, but is more likely a rental proposition for very special, highend shoots. They are not the only large-chip cameras as Arri last year revealed its ALEXA 65 with a huge 65mm sensor. These cameras are used on many top Hollywood films now but are rental only, and lens choice is limited. What is more relevant for independent filmmakers is the technology of using the very large sensors and being able to process the data quickly enough to record Raw which is now possible, but at a price. Once this tech starts to trickle down to more consumer-orientated cameras that are more affordable, then the cinema camera market could really move into a full-frame revolution. Until then, a full-frame mirrorless camera is the only realistic alternative on a budget.
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LATEST UPDATES “Lenses are physically bigger to cover the larger image circle” is said to offer the best image quality, dynamic range and shadow detail of the range. It captures 8K full-format motion at up to 60 frames-per-second, shoots 35.4-megapixel stills, and has data speeds up to 300 MB/s. It also records Redcode Raw and either Apple ProRes or Avid DNxHD/HR simultaneously, too. The sensor is 8192x4320 pixels and measures 40.96x21.6mm so is slightly wider but shorter than the traditional 35x24mm full-frame sensor. Although this is close to the same area, it means some full-frame lenses may vignette. The sensor is claimed to offer more than 17 stops of dynamic range, with maximum frame rates of 60fps at 8K, 120fps at 4K and 240fps at 2K all at the full format size. If a 2.4:1 cropped format is used, these figures increase to 75, 150 and 300fps respectively. The camera is made of carbon fibre, magnesium and aluminium alloy and weighs just 3.3lb with its media bay. “RED’s internal sensor program continues to push the boundaries of pixel design and Monstro is the materialisation of our relentless pursuit to make the absolute best image sensors on the planet,” said RED President Jarred Land. “The full-frame 8K Monstro provides unprecedented dynamic range and breathtaking colour accuracy.” A new Weapon camera with Monstro sensor will cost £85,000/ $79,500 and go on sale in early 2018. To make the camera useable, you also need to buy an accessory packages such as the cinema pack which includes a display and control functionality, Input/Output connections, a handle, mounting equipment, and a method of powering the camera. You also need a lens mount of your choice and some media. This pack can add around £30,000/ $30,000 on top of the base price and is one of the reasons a camera like this is usually rented rather than bought outright by independent shooters. RED’s latest Image Processing Pipeline (IPP2) firmware includes smoother highlight roll-off, better colours, improved shadow detail, more accurate mid-tone and improved demosaicing algorithm. There’s HDR and standardised colour space and gamma. Sony reveals Venice The Venice is the first full-frame cinema camera from Sony and replaces the bulky F65 which had the option of
ABOVE Sony’s latest Venice camera is the new flagship as it has a full-frame sensor but it’s not 8K capable like the far more pricey RED Monstro. But dynamic range is said to be 15 stops and there’s a 16-bit Raw workflow available.
SONY GOES REALLY LARGE! If you think a sensor that’s just slightly bigger than 35mm full-frame is a biggie, then Sony has just revealed plans for is IMX411 Back Side Illuminated CMOS camera sensor that’s bigger than Arri ALEXA 65, has a resolution of 150 megapixels and will go on sale in 2018. It’s a huge 66.7mm sensor meant largely for medium format stills cameras but will offer 12-bit recording in 4K at 30fps or 8K at 16fps. They are also going to reveal a black & white only version of the sensor, too. The BSI technology on such large sensors means the technology will be there for very advanced sensor-based autofocus systems such as those used in cameras like the Sony A9 and A7R III. So although it’s unlikely we’ll all be rushing out to buy huge-sensor video cameras, the technology could trickle down to Super35 cinema cameras and provide very advanced autofocus. a global shutter to stop the dreaded rolling-shutter effect. The Venice uses a conventional shutter but is said to control rolling-shutter effect well, thanks to its much faster processing speed. Compared to the RED, it’s around half the price for the body alone but doesn’t output in 8K. Instead, Sony has focused on making the camera better at low light by increasing the size of the pixels on the 35x24mm full-frame sensor rather than increasing the resolution wildly. The camera also has lots of different anamorphic capabilities, and sensor will be interchangeable so can be upgraded if a new chip becomes available in future. With talk of 8K TV broadcast in coming years, especially around the 2020 Olympics in Japan, this would make it a prime candidate for a sensor upgrade. The camera comes with a PL mount but E-mount can be fitted, and the lens mount includes contacts that support Cooke/i Technology for recording data
which can be used in post-processing. There are user-selectable areas of the image sensor to allow shooting in Super35 size while future firmware upgrades will unlock even more options. The sensor is said to handle 15 stops of exposure latitude and the camera offers 16-bit Raw/X-OCN and XAVC workflows using the portable memory recorder £8630/ $6980 AXS-R7 that also fits the F5 and F55. A 1TB AXS card is £4780/ $3600 so the costs do escalate. The Venice also has a built-in, eight-stage glass ND filter system, the widest range of any similar in-camera system. What is unusual is that the users have to pay extra to licence certain features on the camera which can be bought for permanent use, or rented monthly or weekly. Although exact details haven’t yet been announced, they will unlock features such as 4K anamorphic and full frame output. The camera will be on sale in February.
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AGENDA LATEST UPDATES
Caught up in the general excitement created by the launch of Canon’s EOS 5D Mark II, Fleet Street snapper James Vellacott had a vision of his future career and left the world of tabloids to make movies WORDS JAMES VELLACOTT
here was a time not so long ago when every national newspaper employed a sizeable number of staff photographers, whose jobs might take them all around the world from war zones to Downing Street door-stepping. Little by little, however, the move was towards freelancers who were used as and when necessary, and the staff jobs started to disappear. Soon, there was only a handful of staffers left in place, and their positions were becoming increasingly precarious. At the Daily Mirror, James Vellacott could see the writing on the wall, and as he started to think about life outside of Fleet Street he was given the opportunity by the paper to work with the revolutionary Canon EOS 5D Mark II, launched towards the end of 2008. Seeing the potential to produce HD fullframe movies with the camera he was also using to shoot stills was a pivotal moment, and very quickly James made
ABOVE James relaxes against The Nest’s trademark firefighter’s pole BELOW An artist’s impression of the open-plan layout
the decision that this was the direction his life would move in from now on. Here’s his take on the things he’s learned from a life making images. National newspapers didn’t ‘get’ video. At a time when digital was making serious inroads into the world of traditional photography back in the noughties, I had a meeting with the managing editor of the Daily Mirror and persuaded him to allow me to start shooting video for the Mirror website. On a news assignment I would take a Sony Handycam with me and, after shooting the stills needed for the paper, I would shoot a little video, too, which I then edited in Apple’s Final Cut Express software. After many months of providing videos for our online department, and accompanying the Mirror advertising reps on client calls to see if they could use our online video ability, I was called into the Mirror offices to discuss my efforts. With a spring in my step, I walked into the office expecting perhaps a pay rise, or new ‘head of video’ job offer or, at the very least,
a pat on the back. Instead I was asked, ‘where’s the profit?’ They were right: although my videos added content to the Mirror website and achieved reasonable hit rates, we couldn’t get anyone to sponsor it for a viable sum. I wanted to make video affordable. Faced with the daunting prospect of 30 years of unemployment ahead of me if I didn’t get myself into the thick of emerging technology, I decided to set up a company with my wife Michelle to bring affordable video to websites. We looked at other film production companies and their unusual names, and came up with Cherryduck; it was available as a domain and so the website was built. We recruited editors and camera operators from the film industry and set about offering high-impact videos for media and commercial websites. These videos were then formatted for websites, phones, emails, iPods and for TV broadcast. We re-mortgaged our house to fund the studio. In the early days, Cherryduck was run out of the spare room in our
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LATEST UPDATES “We’re looking to create a vibrant community here”
flat, and we then moved the operation to its own dedicated rented flat before, in 2010, taking on offices close to St Katherine’s Dock in Wapping, which had previously been used by The Sun. We very quickly outgrew this and at that point re-mortgaged our home to purchase the studios next door. We proceeded to work 24/7 turning this essentially derelict space into a usable area for photography and filmmaking – it even had a studio with a cove and a roller door, providing room to drive a car in. We’ve continued to grow ever since, and went on to buy the 125-year lease on a warehouse in 2011, giving us 21,000 square feet of space. Everything has been done using our own resources, and we were determined to own rather than rent our property to prevent the situation that has happened in so many other parts of London, such as Hoxton, where media companies have moved in and made the area attractive, only for developers to force them out by hiking rents. Jeremy Corbyn helped me! When we initially started out it was tough to build everything up from scratch, especially in the area around Tower Bridge, which is such a prime residential spot. Having managed to get established and offer employment to 19 full-time members of staff, it was always Michelle’s and my dream to put something back and to create an affordable hub where creative people could have a base and the opportunity to network with one another. A few years back it became clear that a
rundown, 8000-square-foot residential block next to us was likely to become available, and we set about investigating whether we might acquire this with a view to turning it into a collaborative working space. We had an unusual problem in that we were looking for a change of use from residential to commercial, something that has been described to me as ‘property suicide’! But we weren’t looking to speculate, rather to create something that we truly believed in and, after a long fight with the local council and support from Jeremy Corbyn amongst others, we managed to get the local council to agree to re-list the property. The nest is for fledgling creatives. Our new venture is going to be called The Nest, and it’s literally just thrown open its doors after months of serious building work. Built over two floors, it includes an open-plan office, break-out spaces, conference booths, post-production workspaces and screening rooms. There will be a maximum of 35 tenants, and all of them will have direct access to studios, cameras, lighting, props and edit suites, and they will all have the opportunity to work alongside a creative community that includes marketers, designers, filmmakers, animators and producers. Our policy is that only creative people will be accommodated in this new space so there should be a real buzz about the place, and we’re looking to create a vibrant community here where ideas will have the potential to flourish.
ABOVE The shared facilities in The Nest are designed to provide tenants with all they need to run a creative business
I aim to help the creative community. I wish somewhere like this had been available when we were starting out. It will cost £400 a month, which includes such things as a shared receptionist, café bar, meetings room, business rates, building service charge, a high-speed Internet connection, power, water rates and refreshments. There will even be discounted hire rates for studio spaces and film equipment for local residents. If you’re a young filmmaker starting out it will be a cool space to work and to invite your clients to, and we’ll have this amazing creative community working together in one place. It could even be that a small start-up could look at hiring a number of desks to get their business off the ground, and it will be a great place to build contacts. One of the things I like the most about it all is that we’ve gone to town on the design, which taps into the history of the place as a warehouse by using materials such as hessian sacks and ropes, while retaining many of the industrial elements of the building. We’ve even got a fire fighter’s pole going from the ground floor to the basement, and it will be interesting to see how many people use this!
More information https://cherryduck.com www.thenest.space
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AWARDS GEAR OF THE YEAR
Readers of Pro Moviemaker have voted in their thousands to award the best kit you can buy with our first Gear of the Year Awards
f you buy any of the kit that has been named as one of the winners in our Gear of the Year Awards 2017, then you simply can’t go wrong! That’s because thousands of Pro Moviemaker magazine readers have voted for the best kit in lots of different categories – from cinema cameras and lenses to microphones, tripods, bags and more. From the latest high-tech innovations to tried-and-tested workhorse equipment, the award winners are a total mix but all share one thing in common – they have been voted for by real filmmakers. The sort of people who need their equipment to deliver the goods every time and have the experience to back up their votes. So here we present all the winners in the first annual Pro Moviemaker Gear of the Year Awards 2017.
CAMERAS It’s been an incredible year for cameras, with the buzz being centred around new, large-chip cinema cameras such as the Canon C200 and Blackmagic Ursa Mini Pro. Filmmakers are realising the advantages of these feature-packed cameras that can provide everything from run-and-gun action to super slow motion, Raw recording and a real cinematic look. But it’s not one of the newcomers that took the accolade – a camera that may have been around a while but is still top of the wish list for many filmmakers. Our cinema camera of the year is the RED Raven, a modular camera from the pioneering Californian
firm that kickstarted the whole large-chip camcorder revolution. The Raven may be the baby of the RED range and the most affordable, but it still packs a 4.5K sensor at up to 120fps and 240fps at 2K. It records in Apple ProRes to a fast SSD and comes with a Canon EF mount. It’s a real dream camera. And in the Rental category, it was another well-proven camera that took the award – the Canon C300 Mark II. It may not have the built-in Raw capability of the newer C200, but rental customers obviously value the image quality and codec of the C300 Mark II, as well as rugged reliability, and will put up with another stage of post processing to
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use Raw files. And the stunning dual pixel autofocus system is the envy of the industry. It was another well-loved Canon that was voted best DSLR, the EOS 5D Mark IV. The latest version of the camera that paved the way for cinematic-style shooting, the EOS 5D range has always been trusted by independent filmmakers everywhere. It has a 30.4-megapixel full-frame sensor, shoots DCI 4K footage internally and can now have log profiles to maximise detail from the sensor. And if you want a camera to shoot stills, too, it’s incredible. While DSLRs may have fallen out of favour slightly with filmmakers, it’s been mirrorless cameras that have really taken off thanks to their smaller form factor and superior
live view. Although full-frame models such as Sony’s A7s Mark II, are hugely popular, the Panasonic GH5 is the camera that has won our award. Not only is it cheaper than many of its rivals, but it offers an incredible video spec, including 10bit 4:2:2 recording. A forthcoming firmware update will see the bitrate hiked from 150Mbps to 400. Of course, some filmmakers still prefer the all-in-one solution of a camcorder with a fixed lens, and JVC’s GY-HM200E has come out on top as our award winner. A bargain at around two grand, the JVC shoots 4K Ultra HD to SD cards but its unique selling point is that it can live stream in HD. The final camera category was a mixed one for speciality cameras including VR and action cameras. While VR my be the new kid in town, it’s affordable action cameras that have given a unique point-of-view angle to many films and that’s why an action cam has won our award. The YI 4K has spec that’s better than the big-selling GoPro Hero 5 – such as 60fps at 4K – but costs significantly less. The quality is fantastic, it takes all the standard GoPro accessories and is certainly a worthy winner.
LEFT AND BELOW Just some of the top kit and cameras that have been named as winners in the Pro Moviemaker awards.
WINNERS SLR Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Mirrorless Panasonic GH5 Action cam/VR/speciality YI 4k Action Cam Camcorder JVC GY-HM200E Cinema camera RED Raven Camera for rental Canon C300 Mark II
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CANON ADVERTISEMENT FEATURE © Charlie Lower
The great outdoors When Zach Lower was given a commercial brief for a showcase film promoting a furniture maker’s products he decided to head out on location and to work with the cutting-edge new Canon EOS C200
o, you generally expect to find tables, chairs and desks in their natural environment, inside a house, right? Certainly not sitting deep in the woods, looking totally at home surrounded by trees. But that delicious element of surprise adds a layer of fascination and makes you look again. And it’s this twist that gives the latest film from Zach Lower, a DP and Director who co-owns the production
ABOVE AND BELOW Taking furniture into the woods was Zach Lower’s quirky idea for a shoot. © Charlie Lower
company Even, its quirky appeal. It was produced for a company that creates beautiful bespoke furniture. “The company had come to us asking for a film that showcased its work and promoted its services,” says Zach. “I always love shoots such as these, when we get to film talented people doing what they do best in their unique environments. Our aim was to create a short and punchy piece for them, between 30 and 45 seconds long, that was packed with beautiful shots of their work and workshop, telling their story through enticing visuals and the spoken word. “But we wanted to add something extra, that would be guaranteed to make people look again, and focused in on the fact that the guys at the workshop love being outdoors, and often do weeklong trips in their van with a few friends exploring great landscapes. Taking this into account it felt right to showcase their work in an outdoors setting, so we decided it
“Zach is itching to work with the C200 again” would add a neat twist if we were to film their furniture in a patch of woodland that was close to where they were based.” Planning the shoot With the concept established, it was time to consider what gear to use, and Zach’s thoughts turned to the brand-new Canon EOS C200, the latest addition to the celebrated Canon Cinema Series. Features include a Super 35mm CMOS sensor capable of recording high-definition UHD/50p MP4 footage internally to dual SD cards and Full HD up to 120p, plus the ability to record 4K Cinema Raw Light footage in 10-bit/50p or 12-
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CANON ADVERTISEMENT FEATURE with the C200 prior to using it on his important commercial shoot. “I decided to use it to make a short test film with a musician friend,” he says, “capturing a one-take acoustic music video that utilised the camera’s face tracking function. We shot this on a beach at night using a small bonfire as our only light source, and the C200 handled it all brilliantly. We also shot in 4K raw and the dynamic range was quite incredible, offering me tons of flexibility in terms of how I exposed for the scene at times of greatest contrast, when both the fire and my subjects were in the frame at the same time.”
© Charlie Lower
Go-to camera On the big day everything went to plan and the EOS C200 performed impeccably, delivering everything required of it without missing a beat. “I enjoyed the experience,” says Zach. “Having a camera that can shoot beautiful 4K raw internally but can switch to a superfriendly UHD recording format in an instant makes it a great allrounder. It would be suitable for any project I might take on. “Having now worked with the camera I’ve got more of a feel for it. For example, should I not want to shoot 4K raw at 12-bit all the time, the next option is 8-bit 4K. But if I didn’t want to make this kind of jump then using an external recorder would enable something in between these two formats to be output. It’s just a case of getting to know the camera’s capabilities.”
© Charlie Lower
bit 24p/25p internally to CFast 2.0 cards, with simultaneous MP4 proxy. There’s also up to 15 stops of dynamic range with Cinema RAW Light, sensitivity from ISO 100 to 102,400 and four-channel audio recording. It’s clear this is a powerhouse of a product, and yet it’s still priced competitively, midway between the C100 MkII, the entry point to the Cinema range, and the C300 MkII. “I’d not used Canon’s Cinema range before,” says Zach, “but was very familiar with its line-up of HDenabled DSLRs, and the transition between the two turned out to be very straightforward. The C200’s ability to record in 4K 50p was what first made me consider it for this job, but I was also highly impressed by its ability to offer continuous autofocus for tracking shots. “The concept for the outdoor ‘studio’ shot was to start off with a tight shot of the furniture seen against a traditional white infinity wall, but in one fluent pullback I wanted to reveal the set in the middle of woodland. This meant starting close up on an object and pulling out to a wide shot, while maintaining pin-sharp focus throughout. Because we often work with a small crew, having a camera that can also serve as its own focus puller is appealing when working with a gimbal or Steadicam.” Zach sourced his EOS C200 through rental house Hireacamera, and arranged a longer loan period to give himself the chance for some first-hand shooting experience
ABOVE Turning a woodland into a studio location involved some creative DIY skills.
BELOW The Canon EOS C200 was an ideal size for using on a motorised gimbal. © Charlie Lower
Given such a positive experience, Zach is itching to work with the C200 again, and can see it rapidly becoming his go-to camera for future projects. “It offers so many advantages,” he says. “It’s lightweight enough to take on travel jobs where I’d want to keep gear to a minimum, but is also scalable for bigger projects. “For what the camera offers the price point appears very reasonable, and in terms of features there’s nothing lacking from the C200 that I would seriously need. It performs well in low light, records stunning 4K, is lightweight, and can shoot higher frame rates up to 120fps, which I find is plenty for most things. For good measure it can also run all day on a single battery, so I’m more than happy: it’s a great addition to the Cinema line-up.”
More information www.weareeven.co www.canon.com Rent the Canon EOS C200 from www.hireacamera.com
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CASE STUDY TANIA ESTEBAN
LIVING THE DREAM
Sir David Attenboroughâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s love of wildlife inspired Tania Esteban to take a degree in zoology then make waves as a filmmaker WORDS TERRY HOPE
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TANIA ESTEBAN CASE STUDY
ometimes you can put your finger precisely on the certain something that changed the entire course of your life. For BBC researcher and filmmaker Tania Esteban, her career was kindled as she spent evenings in front of the TV as a child, following the epic journeys of the legendary Sir David Attenborough as he travelled the world to reveal stories of extraordinary creatures and the habitats that formed their homes. “He was my absolute hero,” she says, “and a real inspiration to me growing up. His deep knowledge and passion for all living things, as well as his innate curiosity for the unusual, enthralled and fascinated me. It also helped immensely that I grew up living in the Spanish countryside, where I had the space I needed to explore, think, learn and be creative. I would read endlessly about wildlife and faraway places, yearning to travel and see the world’s amazing natural spectacles as well as cultures. “When I was 13 my father bought me my first DSLR, and, to my delight, I found that I could finally capture the bee-eater birds and short-toed eagles that had previously always been tantalisingly out of reach. Armed with my telephoto lens, I wanted to share my passion with others but knew that being self-taught wouldn’t be enough for me to cut it in a competitive world.” Tania went on to sign up for a BSc in zoology at the University of Leeds and, like many others who pursue an interest in the natural world, became increasingly aware of the negative impact humans can have on it. She became determined to dedicate herself to protecting animals and the ecosystems that sustained them, and quickly realised the best way to do this would be to create films that, in the spirit of Attenborough, made a compelling case for the preservation of species. However, to be in a position to apply for an MA in wildlife filmmaking at the University of West England in Bristol, she needed to build up her media credentials. So at Leeds, she joined the student radio, television and photography societies, created a conservation YouTube channel
LEFT AND ABOVE Tania successfully completed a degree in zoology at Leeds but knew she would need to go the extra mile to enter her dream career, so completed a Masters in wildlife filmmaking at the University of West England.
“The purpose of my film, A Lion’s Tale, was to emotionally engage and raise awareness” about local biodiversity and produced two regular radio programmes on wildlife and travel. She loved every second and quickly realised that she had found her true vocation. “The Master’s course gave me the opportunity to create my own film. I had a particular passion for lions and had been captivated by the true story of George and Joy Adamson, immortalised in the film Born Free in 1966, which involved an orphaned lioness being released into the wild. The purpose of my film, A Lion’s Tale, was to emotionally engage and raise awareness, focusing not just on issues concerning lions, but on all wildlife in Kenya.” Born Free starred Virginia McKenna and the experience famously changed the actor’s life, turning her into a devoted conservationist. Through the Born Free Foundation, Tania was able to arrange to meet and film McKenna, film the human/ lion conflict in the Meru National Park and cover the largest ivory burn in African history. A Lion’s Tale has since gone on to be BAFTA nominated. “I didn’t want to write a set script,” says Tania. “Rather, by using the characters’ voices in the film, I wanted to give audiences the opportunity to connect with and care about the cause, not to be lectured on it. “The major theme of the film is hope, an emotion that all humans can relate to, and it’s a message I believe everyone involved in the filmmaking and conservation industry can use as a device to inspire and drive change.”
Valuable insight Acquiring the credentials you need to become a wildlife filmmaker doesn’t happen overnight. It needs to be worked at, and you never stop learning and picking up experience. Likewise, the knowledge Tania gained during her zoology degree has been put to good use, giving her valuable insight into animal behaviour, informing how she reacts with her lens, giving her a better chance of anticipating her subject’s next move. “Movement is key in wildlife documentaries,” she says, “and one of the creative styles I particularly enjoy is forward tracking movement to get a POV of my animal’s ‘character’, really immersing the audience into their habitat and world. But nothing beats actually being out in the field observing creatures, getting to know them as individuals. Dr Jane Goodall and Virginia McKenna were pioneers in this approach and it was a major step towards audiences feeling empathy and caring about the wildlife they saw on television.” Although still on the threshold of her career, Tania has already seen a lot of changes in her field as technology opens the door to new approaches. Cameras have become faster and more sensitive to light, enabling the recording of scenes that would have needed artificial lighting not so long ago. The overall quality of the end result continues to improve while the cost of hardware is coming down. “The more detail you capture in a story the easier it is for a viewer to process that information,” says Tania. “That’s
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ACADEMY CASE STUDY: COMMERCIAL FILMMAKING
CASE STUDY: COMMERCIAL FILMMAKING
REAL-WORLD MASTERCLASS Independent filmmaker Martyn Moore reveals what he’s learned from a decade in business WORDS MARTYN MOORE
t’s never been easier to shoot, edit and distribute moving images. But ease of access doesn’t mean better quality: it’s never been easier to make a dreadful video. Students of filmmaking and chancers, like me, who work hard to improve their skills, have a greater chance of making a living at it than ever before. Not everyone will land jobs at the BBC, Netflix or Hollywood but many more will be perfectly happy earning a decent living creating great work for corporate clients. I tend to think of myself of one of the new wave of video producers, shooting
high-definition digital video on fairly small cameras and editing the footage myself on a home computer. There are thousands of us all over the world. Many of us are doing weddings, events, training films and corporate promos; others are creating art films and documentaries. The demand for video is growing at an incredible rate and video producers will soon be like photographers – every town will have dozens of them working professionally and hundreds operating as serious enthusiasts. They will offer services at all price points and
at various levels of competence and complexity. Some will carve out a niche for themselves, only shooting conferences or maybe health and safety guides; others will continue to be Jills and Jacks of all trades, enjoying the variety. But making it in business is what it’s all about if you’re going to earn a living from producing videos. The past decade has seen a huge shift not only in the demand for video, but also the technology and skills needed to be successful. Here are some of the things I’ve learned in the past decade as an independent filmmaker.
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CASE STUDY: COMMERCIAL FILMMAKING PERSONAL SKILLS Learn to get the best out of people Most people don’t like speaking in front of a video camera as it’s intimidating and the filming process disrupts their thought processes. I take time to make sure my victims are comfortable. Develop a good line in small talk, talk to them as you make fine adjustments to the camera and lights. Take longer than you need on the sound check and get them to start on a subject that is easy to talk about. When the peaks of their voice pattern are falling just below the red zone on your sound meters and the lavalier mic is not rustling against clothes, you’re ready to start. Never stop learning I continue to learn my craft: make mistakes; find out why; fix them. A better strategy is: play; test; learn. There is lots of help online from experts in support forums.
KIT AND TECHNIQUE Insure against bad audio Nothing marks out an amateur film more than dodgy sound. You need professional quality microphones and I survive on a good quality radio mic system with an excellent tiny lavalier mic, and a camera or boom-mounted shotgun microphone. If my main source is a lavalier connected to a radio pack, I also have a shotgun mic mounted on the camera and pointing at the interviewee. The second mic is my insurance or safety net, providing a backup recording if the transmitter pops or the batteries fail. The lav radio mic doesn’t have to point at the speaker’s mouth. Aim to get it below
the chin to capture the lower frequencies coming from the chest. Avoid having the mic brush on clothing or skin. Adjust your audio inputs to avoid clipping, where the sound becomes horribly distorted. If your sound is adjusted too low, you will have to increase the gain or volume in post-production. And make sure to record a few seconds of room noise or ambient sound as it will be very useful when editing. Clever sound editing programs like Adobe Audition can use this sample to filter the offending noise out of the rest of your recording. Don’t trust the camera meters; monitor your sound through good-quality headphones designed to cut out all sound apart from the sound you are recording.
Invest in your computer A good computer will enhance your editing experience; a bad one will ruin it. Obviously the faster the drive, the better. By adding extra drives, you can reduce the load on the system. The first thing to do with multiple drives is get the operating system and all the programmes like Premiere Pro onto a different disc from the video files out of the camera. A good set-up is to have the OS and apps on a very fast SSD and everything else on a 7200rpm hard drive. Know your kit It is vitally important to know how to work your kit. Every purchase must be followed by hours of reading the manual. To ignore the book often means ignoring the full potential of your new tool. At worst your filmmaking will never be quite as good as it could be; at best you’ll look like an amateur as you try to remember how to navigate the menus. Spend the right amount of money The law of diminishing returns applies to video equipment: the very cheapest kit is very often rubbish. There’s usually a significant gap between cheap stuff and mid-priced stuff but the improvement in quality and performance is significant too. You will pay a lot more for the good kit but once you get beyond a certain point, the perceived quality to the viewer falls off. Most people will see the difference between a £100 camera and a £500 camera; a professional filmmaker will appreciate the difference between a £5000 camera and a £7000 camera; but in my opinion the jump between £10,000 and £30,000 doesn’t deliver value in the same way.
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ACADEMY AUDIO SPECIAL HOW TO DO A VOICEOVER
THE FINISHING TOUCH
SOUND DECISION Adding a voiceover to your film can be fraught with issues but we tell you how to avoid the pitfalls WORDS TERRY HOPE
our voice is something that’s highly individual and may well convey a whole host of things you’re not even aware of. The way you speak can resonate with people in different ways, enabling you to come across as warm, trustworthy and friendly. Conversely, some voices can have the opposite effect, or might just not fit the audience or the message that’s being put across. The speed of the speech, the softness or sharpness in the voice, even the perceived age of the speaker or a strong regional accent can all have an effect, and it’s an element of film production that’s crucial to get right. A film aimed at a young audience, for example, would probably be best voiced over by someone who sounds as though they are in the same age bracket, while others who are trying to put across a message about traditional values might fare better if the voice sounded older and carried a certain amount of gravitas. If you’ve made a film about a particular part of a country then a voiceover that reflects the regional accent, whether it be Scotland or the Deep South, might likewise just feel right. Also consider whether a male or a female voiceover
might be most appropriate: again, it’s down to the content of your film and the audience you’re looking to attract. What it boils down to is that you can’t afford to ignore the voiceover. It might not be the first thing on the agenda when you’re planning a film, but it most certainly should be carefully considered, and a decision of who to go for made on the basis that they are a good fit for the subject matter. Who to choose Delivering a professional-standard voiceover is very much an art in itself, and it’s not something that everyone is capable of doing. The untrained could, for example, stumble over words, not pronounce them clearly enough or simply have a monotone voice that won’t sustain the interest of the listener. Take a listen to a good radio voice to see what it’s all about: the best are engaging and naturally easy on the ear, and while they might have arrived in their job thanks to a certain amount of natural talent, a substantial amount of training will also be behind such a relaxed performance. “It’s the same reason you might find having a non-actor play an on-screen
film role is not as effective as having, say, Denzel Washington play the part,” reasons Stephanie Ciccarelli, chief brand officer of voice talent provider Voices. com. “Voice acting is a true profession, and those involved in the business take their craft seriously. Their voice has to carry the whole weight of the script: they can’t rely on the camera picking up cues from their facial expression or body language.” Naturally this doesn’t preclude the use of non-professional talent, but you need to match them to the right production and be confident their delivery will match your requirements. Sometimes the real world needs a helping hand. In a documentary, for example, there are times when the authentic voice of the person being featured will do the job admirably, but equally there will be occasions when a professional voiceover actually sounds more authentic. It’s your job as a filmmaker to make a decision and to act on it accordingly. It’s not just a case of matching a voice to a production, there are sometimes practical reasons for particular voice actors to be selected. If a company is looking to commission a training film
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HOW TO DO A VOICEOVER
“You want the right character coming through in the actor’s voice, so that it accurately matches your intention” for their global workforce, for example, then there could be a need to produce voiceovers in several different languages. At other times the requirement is for a peer recommendation on a product, so that the message is being clearly delivered to the required demographic. Future voice In this high-tech age, new solutions are coming on stream all the time – one emerging avenue concerns the use of synthetic voices. These can come in a multitude of different languages, accents and age groups, and they offer the potential for a flexible, cut-price option. It’s still very much just over the horizon, and at the moment the technology isn’t highly developed enough to offer a complete solution. “In the future you’ll be able to pick virtually any voice that you want from a
menu of choices,” says Stephanie. “There will be no negotiations, auditions, bidding processes or interactions whatsoever with a live artist or agent. The synthetic voice will say whatever you want it to say provided it has the lexicon or linguistic tools to speak it. However, at the moment there is a complexity and subtlety to the human voice that simply can’t be matched by anything a machine can create. Much in the way that e-readers can’t recreate the experience of holding a book, or CGI can’t match an actor’s performance, the human voice currently remains the best vessel with which to deliver a message.” The kind of fee you need to set aside to cover the voiceover aspect of your production is difficult to pin down since, as with actors, it will depend on profile and negotiation – while you need someone that fits your production they
also need to be within your budget. An agency such as Voices.com doesn’t set the rate, rather it provides access to a wide choice of voice actors who themselves dictate the fee, so you need to look at your budget and then consider cost on a caseby-case basis. “Casting a voice into a role is just like casting any other part,” says Stephanie. “You want the right character coming through in the actor’s voice, so that it accurately matches your vision and intention. In the same way that seasoned on-screen actors bring their best to every part, voice actors do the same. They can add a depth and richness to the performance, and make your work shine all the more for it.”
More information www.voices.com
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ACADEMY DIRECTING MASTERCLASS
IMPROVE YOUR FILMMAKING
YOU SHOULD MASTER Learn from the giants of TV and cinema to increase the production values of your next film project WORDS ADAM DUCKWORTH
lthough the majority of working filmmakers may not have been to film school, anyone who has spent many years watching films and TV already has an innate understanding of how directors use different camera shots to not only tell a story but create a mood, build up suspense or even shock a viewer. From the unnerving wobbly camera work in The Blair Witch Project to the
wide, establishing shots of grassy Middle Earth in The Lord Of The Rings, to the extreme close-up claustrophobia of submarine drama Das Boot, the grammar of filmmaking is well established. And a clued-up cameraman can learn from these classic shots when telling a story in many sorts of films. Varying the camera angle, incorporating different camera
movements and having a variety of shots where the subject in the frame is shot at a different distance will provide a far wider choice in the edit, to really increase the production values of the film and help tell the story the way you want it to be told. So if you havenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t had time to delve deeply into the language of visual storytelling, then here are some key shots and what theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re used for...
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SIZE OF THE SUBJECT
How big the main subject appears in the frame is a crucial element in the story you are trying to tell. From a tiny figure in a huge landscape right through to an extreme close-up, these are some of the shots you should consider for your next production.
Establishing shot This is usually the first shot and establishes not only the location but can also set the mood in terms of time of day or even season, and also set the tone. Establishing shots are usually long shots or extreme long shots, and often come after an aerial shot, typically from a drone. Long shot or extreme long shot Often confusingly called the wide or extreme wide shot, it shows a figure from a distance and generally includes a lot of the scene, as well as how the subject fits into the environment. It’s not essential to always include the subject in it. It can be on a wide-angle lens, or at a distance on a longer lens to compress perspective. It could be shot of a mountain biker on a huge mountain, for example. An extreme long shot usually has the main subject very small in the frame, while a long shot shows at least their full length; scenery is still crucial.
Full shot This includes your subject from head to toe and usually demonstrates some form of action, such as walking into an office building, rather than any emotions – it’s just a bit too far away. Medium shot This is typically how close you’d see someone if you were in conversation with them, framed from the waist up, and is where the viewer gets to experience the personality of the subject or what they are saying. It’s one of the most common shots as you can still see some of the scene yet get to focus on what is being said. It’s used very often in scenes with dialogue, and is sometimes called the mid-shot or semiclose shot. Close-up This tightly-framed shot is cropped to show a person’s whole face and is used to convey the feelings of the subject. It’s
an intimate shot, often used to put across dialogue or mood that’s high in emotion. It could be an interview where someone is holding back the tears, for example. An extreme close-up usually focuses on the eyes or mouth, to really capture emotion. It can also be a scene detail that helps to explain what’s going on – it’s really useful as a cutaway shot or as B-roll footage. For example, a detail shot of a ballerina lacing up her shoes, a racing driver pulling on his crash helmet or the reflection of an aeroplane cockpit in the pilot’s sunglasses. Bird’s-eye shot This is a shot taken from directly overhead, showing a wide view or where the action is moving, or to reveal something the viewer didn’t know, such as a walker whose path is at the edge of a huge cliff. Often shot from a drone or crane, it can be used as an abstract shot and can give great scale to a location.
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MOVIE MATTERS THE ART OF SHOOTING CORPORATE FILMS
THE COMMERCIAL EDGE As businesses start to appreciate the commercial value of short online films, filmmakers that can deliver productions that combine quality with value are in big demand WORDS TERRY HOPE
t’s a competitive world, but at a time when the challenge of attracting regular and well-paid filmmaking commissions is becoming ever greater, the market for short commercial films produced for local businesses and designed for online distribution is booming. The reasons are simple: Internet speed is improving all the time, meaning that it’s increasingly feasible for an online audience to access smooth flowing moving imagery with none of the buffering that was such an issue in the past. Meanwhile the power of video to put across a message and to sell a product or a concept is undeniable: often way above what a still image is capable of achieving. Hence the coming of age of the corporate film, and more and more business websites are now hosting one or more of these or are at least considering whether they should be joining the club.
The issue that faces a business, however, is that a poorly-made film could do them more harm than good. It might even convince prospective customers that the company itself is a bit ramshackle and unprofessional if there’s wobble in the footage and the focus is all over the place. Even if someone might be capable of producing some decent footage themselves, there’s always the editing to consider – which needs to be really fast flowing and efficient in a short production – while there is a definite art to creating a production that might run for less than a minute but which still gets its message across in a clearly understandable and engaging way. Stopping your customer from losing interest and flicking on to the next site is the name of the game, especially in an online world where attention spans can notoriously last for mere seconds.
All this has to be done within a budget that is likely to be tight, because many clients still have the mindset that tells them a short film shouldn’t take much time to produce and consequently, should be around the same price as a conventional set of still pictures. To justify a fee that takes into account all the pre and post-production legwork involved, it’s likely that a fair amount of education will be involved to ensure there’s an understanding of what goes into each production and why it’s inevitably going to come at a higher price. We caught up with two commercial filmmaking specialists on either side of the Atlantic to find out more about this sector and to see what goes into the making of a 60-second classic. Beyond doubt those that can rise to the challenge will have the opportunity to do some great business.
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THE ART OF SHOOTING CORPORATE FILMS PETRO STUDIOS: Christopher Shepherd petrostudios.com Demo Reel: https://vimeo.com/171003271
Chris Shepherd cut his filmmaking teeth working at a local church in video production and then moving to a job at a local ABC affiliate in broadcast media. Ultimately he completed a degree, moved to Houston in Texas and, a year later, Petro Studios was born. “It began with just me, saying yes to every opportunity available,” he says. “I got busy enough to support another salary around the time I met Justin Sweidel, who is now our GM and DP, and he really upped the quality of work we were producing. We now have a total of five employees, all with industry specific roles but ready to wear the hat that a given project requires.” Chris believes that every commercial film needs a clear goal. “However, unlike other content, it can accomplish more than one,” he says. “For example, is your aim to get people to spend money with you? Think about the people you spend money with yourself. You have to know and trust them. So, your video should build trust and allow people to get to know you and your company. I think that what makes a film successful is its ability to get people to think, and maybe question what they believe to be true. It should pull back the curtain and let people see what kind of passion and ingenuity went into your business or product.” There’s no one set approach to commercial filmmaking because every production is different. First, expectations have to be set with the client: some may have a very specific approach that someone
will be brought in to refine with its skillset, while others will be more hands off. In both cases the starting point is as much research on the product and brand as possible, which then leads to ideas that turn into pitches and, hopefully, full blown treatments and scripts. This process can take anything from two weeks through to six months. In terms of handling potentially inexperienced people in front of camera, Chris advises allowing things to happen naturally. “It’s something you’ve got to get right if you’re going to succeed in this industry,” he says. “Our goal is to make people look good, and nobody looks good when they’re extremely nervous. We communicate clearly days or weeks before the shoot and get to know people so that we’re not strangers when the camera starts rolling. Most importantly we learn to care about these people and their stories: we have hundreds of hours of unusable interview footage, but we get these people to confidently talk about themselves. “It also helps to have a location that’s appropriate to the subject. You’ll see in a lot of our commercial documentaries that we’ve got guys sitting out in the warehouse where they spend most of their time, a farmer on the back of his truck in the middle of a cow pasture, a tiny cramped office full of old photos and dusty trinkets. You’ve got to find locations that make sense for the subject, then have a DP talented enough to make that look good.”
“You’ve got to find locations that make sense”
LEFT The team at Petro Studios understands the value of ensuring their subjects are comfortable and at ease with being filmed.
Petro Studios travel to a shoot with a standard kit that rolls out in a massive Mercedes Sprinter van, loaded with support gear, tripods, c-stands, sand bags, Kino Flo gaffer kit, a hive wasp light, Dana dolly, gimbal stabiliser, easy rig and cameras. For larger shoots a grip truck and gaffer might be required so the team doesn’t have a manpower issue on set. “We always set up light, no matter what the situation is,” says Chris. “The aim will be to incorporate available light and bring resources to modify their colour to make the set look as natural as possible. Our DP is something of a light control freak; I’ve come to love the difference it makes in our final products.” Pricing has to be handled sensitively and varies from job to job. Chris’s view is that a successful film should be making money and so can justify the outlay, but if a job might be costing tens of thousands of dollars it’s not unreasonable for a client to want to know what it’s being spent on. “We’ve done $5000 projects and others that have cost over $100,000,” he says, “and it depends on what a film requires. We have a ‘value’ section on our website that helps to explain the pricing process and it’s important to talk clients through this.” Chris sees the market for commercial films about to explode. Films represent the easiest way to put across information and eloquently touch multiple senses, and it’s now possible for smaller companies to follow the likes of Amazon and Netflix into the market. “People are tired of being advertised to,” says Chris, “but if you can entertain, challenge and impress them with incredible film they’re going to give your advertisement the time of day.”
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ARIEL FILMMAKER BIRD S-EYE VIEW
JOELâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S HIGH FLYING BIRDS
The remarkable eagle hunters of Mongolia had long been on the mind of travel specialist Joel Santos and he was determined to produce a film about them that utilised the full potential of drones WORDS TERRY HOPE
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BIRD S-EYE VIEW
ongolia had long been on the mind of Joel Santos. As a young man he found himself teaching in East Timor, and en route to that country he happened to be on a flight that passed over some spectacularly mountainous landscape, which a quick check on the in-flight map told him was in the region of Ulan Bator, Mongolia’s capital and largest city. “Even the name of the place sounded kind of exotic,” he recalls. “I looked down at the landscape and I was completely amazed by what I was seeing, and I decided on the spot that one day I was going to travel there.” In 2015, some 17 years later and by now an established travel photographer and filmmaker, Joel achieved his ambition by setting up a four-week personal shoot in the country that saw him join the five-day migration of a family of nomadic Kazakhs. This was
followed by a period in the company of three different eagle hunting families in the Atlas Mountains, in the Ölgii region of Western Mongolia. The eagle hunters that live in this region of Western Mongolia are also nomads who all hail from the same ethnic group, and they’re keeping alive a centuries-old tradition that sees them hunt with golden eagles. In Mongolia, you can only be an eagle hunter if your father was one, and there are now just 400 left in the whole world who still do it in the traditional way, and all are blood-related.
“On the first day we walked 35km on rough terrain”
“On the 2015 trip I concentrated solely on photography,” says Joel, “since for the six days of the migration I was travelling on foot alongside two men on horses as they moved 500 heads of cattle 150 kilometres through the mountains. With a 12-kilogram pack full of kit on my back to carry, I knew it was going to be exhausting. On the first day alone we walked 35km from 2000 metres to 2800 metres through rough terrain, including the negotiation of dried-up rivers.” While the story of eagle hunters had been documented previously, Joel was determined to bring something extra by getting close to his subjects to ensure a full understanding of what their life involved. In particular, he was intrigued by the way they could earn the trust of a wild creature to the point where there was a shared bond, and it would willingly hunt for them.
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GEAR PANASONIC EVA1
PANASONIC GOES FOR QUALITY The all-new EVA1 Super 35 camera produces beautifully sharp and colourful footage WORDS ADAM DUCKWORTH
t may have taken them seven years to do it, but Panasonic is now firmly back in the hottest game in town – that of the affordable Super 35 cinema camera. The new EVA1 steps up to the plate against rivals from Canon, Sony and Blackmagic with a strikingly similar feature set, but with the added benefit of 10-bit 4:2:2
ABOVE The all-new Panasonic EVA1 may have been a long time coming but it’s been worth the wait.
internal recording and dual-native ISO for low-light performance. Not since Panasonic’s revolutionary Micro Four Thirds AF101 of 2010 has the company had anything to offer the costconscious independent filmmaker, apart from the mirrorless GH4 and its siblings, or the Varicam LT at ten times the cost.
The EVA1 is the firm’s first affordable Super 35 cinema camera and comes with a new 24.60mm x 12.97mm sensor with 5.7K resolution, the highest of any of its rivals. At a body-only weight of just 1.2kg/ 2.6lb, it’s also lighter than the competition. It’s HDR-ready with Rec.2020 colour space, has 14 stops of
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PANASONIC EVA1 dynamic range, full V-Log/VGamut capture and that dual native ISO. Using a clever dualcircuit system, this means there is a low native ISO of 800 for bright conditions, and a second native ISO of 2500 for low light. It records internally up to 10-bit 4:2:2 in 4K onto twin SD cards, rather than needing an external recorder like some of its competitors. A forthcoming firmware upgrade will see 4:2:2 10-bit Intra compression for incamera recording and 5.7K Raw output to third-party recorders, plus a leap from a maximum bit rate of 150Mbps to 400Mbps. If you wish to use the 400Mbps, you’ll also need to upgrade to V60-class SDXC cards. At launch, the camera can record slow motion at up to 59.94fps/50fps for 4K/UHD, 120fps/100fps for 2K/Full HD, or 240fps/200fps from a cropped area of the sensor. The body itself is slightly larger than the Sony FS5 and has a similar layout, with a detachable, rotatable handgrip that has buttons for menu, rec start/stop, iris and two userprogrammable buttons. The iris wheel is a bit tricky to feel at first but you soon get used to it. The camera we tested was a well-tried prototype unit and the handgrip would occasionally slip and rotate. Panasonic says this has been redesigned in production versions. Overall, the build quality of the camera is decent and similar to the low-end Canons and Sony cinema cameras. But there are no zoom rocker switches at all or extra rec start/stop buttons on the handle, for example. Unlike the Sony FS5 or Canons there is no viewfinder, so the only option is to use the 3.5in LCD touch panel for viewing and flicking through menus. The screen is very reflective so comes
RIGHT The LCD screen can give an instant overview of the all important current settings.
“There’s no viewfinder so the only option is the LCD touch panel” with a hood which does a good job in cutting down reflections but that makes it quite fiddly to get your hands in there to use the touchscreen. You can always use the selector wheel on the left side of the body. The screen doesn’t have touchto-focus and the information on it is very small, too. To check settings it’s best to push the info button which brings up all the major settings. It does offer peaking, expand image zoom, waveform, zebras and a spotmeter. For anything apart from run-and-gun work, an external monitor or recorder/monitor would be a useful addition and many EVA1 buyers will realistically end up going down this route. There are 4k HDMI and SDI outputs, which can be adjusted separately, so you can feed one signal to a monitor and a second to a recorder, if you like. We tried the EVA1 with an Atomos Shogun Inferno recorder/monitor and it made the camera far more useable in the field. Of course, it does add bulk and cost. The lack of viewfinder and EVF position does mean the camera isn’t really suitable for on-theshoulder use unless you invest in an aftermarket rig system. These are already starting to become available and some kits let you move the standard EVF far enough away. An alternative is to buy
Price: £7770/ $7345 body only Sensor Size: 24.6x12.97mm (Super 35) MOS Formats: 5720x3016 (5.7K), 4096x2160 (4K DCI), 3840x2160 (UHD), 2048x1080 (2K), 1920x1080 (FHD), 1280x720 (HD) Codecs: Raw (with forthcoming firmware upgrade), 4:2:2 10-bit and 8-bit MOV, 4:2:0 8-bit AVCHD. Up to 400Mbps Frame Rates: 59.94fps/50fps for 4K/UHD, up to 120fps/100fps for 2K/ Full HD, or 240fps/200fps (cropped area) ISO range: 200-2000 (800/ 2500 native) Dynamic range: 14 stops, V-Log and V-Gamut Controls: Peaking, expand image zoom, waveform, zebras, spotmeter Lens mount: EF Stabilisation: Electronic Image Stabilisation with crop Filters: 2/4/6 stop ND, IR cut in/out Screen: 8.89/3.5in LCD touchscreen, 1.5million dots Audio: 2x XLR inputs with Dolby encoding Output: 4K HDMI and SDI Storage: 2 x SDHC/SDXC slots Dimensions (wxhxd): 17x13.5x13.3cm/ 6.7x5.3x5.2 in Weight: 1.2kg/2.65lb
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GEAR GROUP TEST
A good quality monitor is an essential accessory for many filmmakers these days, particularly those working with smaller cameras. Phil Rhodes take a look at what’s available WORDS PHIL RHODES
t’s a brave soul these days who would shoot using a DSLR or CSC camera without access to reasonable monitoring. Because the fact is that, despite the convenience of a smaller format, it’s undeniably more difficult to see exactly what’s going on. Happily, as use of compact cameras has become more widespread, so the monitor market has responded. Much of the technology for this growth has migrated over from the tablet
CINEMARTIN LOYAL 5.7IN £350/$458
Cinemartin’s handy little 5.7in Loyal monitor offers a rich feature set for the price, including both HDMI and SDI inputs, cross conversion between either input to the HDMI or SDI outputs, plus waveform and vectorscope displays, which are usually much more expensive. It’s also possible to switch off the HDMI/SDI crossconversion, presumably to save power. It might not be that useful to have a full 1920x1080 pixels on a display of this size, since the extra sharpness isn’t really going to be visible on a panel that's only about 121x66mm to begin with. However, really good digital image scaling is hard, and it’s much better to display all the available pixels. That way, if the viewer’s eyes aren’t good enough to see them all, it doesn’t create aliasing problems.
and smartphone market, but turning those display panels into a deployable tool requires ingenuity and capable electronics. One of the things that separates the monitors we’re looking at here is their image-processing capability and the quality of their test and measurement displays. Monitors can also be designed with very different goals in mind. Some are small and highly portable, others large enough to provide a visual reference for
There’s peaking and zoom features on the Loyal, although the fine pixel pitch makes subtle peaking hard to see. The case is metal, the connectors feel sturdily mounted, and the display itself has reasonable performance across a wide range of viewing angles. It’s not a super high brightness type that can be viewed in direct sunlight, but 600 nits is about as bright as these things get. Cinemartin has sensibly opted for an intermediateplate system, in which an adaptor mounts onto the back of the monitor and then the battery mounts on that; different intermediate plates fit different batteries. There are two problems – there’s a slightly noisy fan, and the battery mount would be better with a release lock for the battery. We could complain that the waveform monitor only looks to be updated every other video frame, but that’s hardly a big deal. The only feature that’s absolutely missing is any form of LUT or support for non-Rec.709 input signals, which would be a bit too much to expect at this price point.
the entire crew. Some emphasise precise rendition of colour and brightness, while others are intended simply to be bright enough to overpower sunlight, and features provided range from waveform displays through to cross-conversion, so that an input HDMI signal might be output as SDI. In this round-up, we’re going to look at a selection of displays which provides a snapshot of the current market as well as a good look at the state of the art.
SPECIFICATIONS Technology: LCD Resolution: 1920x1080 Power consumption: 14W Brightness: 600 nits Size: 5.7in Inputs: HDMI, SDI Waveform: Yes LUTs: No LUT output: N/A Supported colorimetry: Rec.709
HOW IT RATES Features: 8/10 Rec 709 input signals only, but a waveform! Performance: 8/10 Very much benefits from the display tech developments Handling: 8/10 Menus are fine, casings are clean and tidy Value for money: 9/10 It’s a brilliant price for the features PRO MOVIEMAKER RATING: 8 Pros: Excellent pictures, high brightness, and a waveform Cons: Fan can be noisy
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GROUP TEST SPECIFICATIONS Technology: LCD Resolution: See text Power consumption: 31W Brightness: 1000 nits Size: 10ins Inputs: 3G-SDI, HDMI, composite, component, RGB Waveform: Yes LUTs: No LUT output: N/A Supported colorimetry: Linear, Arri, Sony, Canon, Rec.709
HOW IT RATES
Highly Recommended ★★★★★
TRANSVIDEO CINEMONITOR HD SB 10IN £3461/ $4249
Features: 9/10 Practically everything you could possibly imagine Performance: 7/10 The actual pictures are nothing out of the ordinary Handling: 8/10 No featherweight, but the facilities are flexible and the menu’s fine Value for money: 7/10 Very high-end gear is often not brilliant value, but it does everything
Transvideo’s CineMonitor range is available in a range of sizes, from 6 to 15ins. Each is based, unusually, on a 4:3 aspect ratio LCD panel, allowing metadata displays to appear without obscuring part of the image. This approach has been used on panels with a computer-oriented aspect ratio of 16:10 while displaying 16:9 images, but that only leaves a very narrow strip of pixels in which to place metadata. Conversely, Transvideo’s 4:3 screen leaves lots of spare space for extra displays, and that’s something this monitor is well capable of using. The difficult waveform display - even multiple waveforms - and vectorscope are included, as is the usual selection of focus assistance and pixel zoom modes. Targeted at higher end productions, the LensReader features displays output from electronically-active lenses compatible with either Cooke’s /i or the Arri LDS standard. There’s even a horizon level display, recalling Transvideo’s status as a favourite of Steadicam operators, with an upgraded, gyrostabilised version available for particularly critical applications. Physical build is high end, with metalfinished pushbuttons and a transparent
front cover to protect the LCD panel. At the back, the real capability of the display becomes obvious: it can handle more or less any signal format that’s ever been used in film and television production, from composite video up to SDI and HDMI, and including component analogue formats. RS422 and simple parallel device control is present alongside and power outputs to run accessories, perhaps such as a wireless receiver. The display is designed to take full-size camera batteries, with options for PAG, Anton/ Bauer gold mount, or V-lock plates, as well as four-pin XLR input. The actual resolution of the 4:3 display panel isn’t hugely obvious, so it’s hard to tell what the resulting resolution of the image is. The SB variant, for Super Bright, is a 1000-nit display, and in full-brightness mode ought to be visible even under bright sunlight. There are also modes intended to display various common log encodings, two options for HDR monitoring with adjustable highlight handling in each case, and special attention paid to minimising lag and latency for viewfinding applications. Transvideo’s displays have never been
PRO MOVIEMAKER RATING: 8 Pros: Endless features both in software and hardware Cons: Pricey
particularly elegant – particularly from behind, the huge feature set requires a lot of connectors - but it’s hugely functional. The monitor is clearly not intended to be a reference display – the off-axis contrast performance is not the best and the features are clearly bent towards on-set use by crane or steadicam people who need to be able to handle everything a job throws at them. In that situation, though, there can hardly be a better option.
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GEAR BUYERS’ GUIDE PART 3
We take a look at some kit we recommend for pro run-and-gun filmmakers to suit every budget If you’re a one-man operator working under tight pressures of time and budget, you need your kit to serve you well and be rugged and easy to use in a hurry. In this issue we’re looking at ideal kit for the run-andgun filmmaker - gear you can bank on to deliver the results with the minimum of set-up time and fuss. Get in, get the job done and get out of there. In the third of our newlook Buyers’ Guide series, we take a look at some of the kit that we believe offers a good buy at three different levels of spend. For the Budget Minded, it’s kit that’ll get you going on a pro level. Pro Performer equipment might cost a bit more, but is workhorse equipment packed with features and performance at exceptional value for money. And if you have the budget, Dream Buys is where you’ll want to be looking.
ACCESSORY: LACIE RUGGED THUNDERBOLT USB-C HARD DRIVE £122/ $177 www.lacie.com
A fast but tough external hard drive for backing up data on the move is an essential part of the run-and-gun filmmakers’ kit, but the latest crop of SSD devices can still be just a bit too pricey. But Lacie’s range of Rugged hard drives can still be bought with conventional hard drives inside, which makes them significantly cheaper. The latest Rugged Thunderbolt USB-C is ideal for users of the latest MacBook Pro laptops but can be used on any computers with USB-3.0 connections. A 2TB version with a standard hard drive costs just £122/ $177 but a 1TB SSD version is also available at £550/ $570. The drive comes with a built-in Thunderbolt cable and IP54-rated resistance to water and dust. The rubber skin means it can withstand drops of up to 1.4 metres and is crush resistant to one ton. It comes with a three-year warranty and three years of Data Recovery Services where if it fails and all looks lost, the service will attempt to recover your data.
BUDGET MINDED GREAT-VALUE KIT THAT DOES THE JOB
BAG: CAMRADE LARGE RUN & GUN BACKPACK £263/ $239 www.camrade.com
A dedicated camera backpack makes loads of sense for a runand-gun shooter as you can move quickly, set up and keep the pack on your back while shooting. No bag to trip over and you’re ready to move to a new location in a flash. The large Camrade Run & Gun Backpack is ideal for the job, coming with a soft, padded interior with adjustable dividers and lots of pockets for all your accessories like cables and memory cards. It’s made of Cordura fabric so you know it’s tough, and it also doesn’t scream “camera bag” which is good for security. It also comes with a built-in rain cover and a five-year warranty. Weighing just 3.85kg/ 8.49lb, it’s light and is airline-friendly in size. The interior is 52x35x22cm/ 20.5x13.8x8.7in so is big enough for most camcorders.
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RUN-AND-GUN FILMMAKERS CAMERA: OLYMPUS OM-D E-M1 MARK II £1850/ $2000 www.olympus.com
AUDIO: SARAMONIC SR-TM SHOTGUN MIC £199/ $200 www.saramonic.com
Audio is crucial so it makes sense to use a good-quality shotgun mic. But despite some costing over a grand, you can still get great results from far more affordable kit like this Saramonic XLR SR-TM1. It’s a directional microphone featuring a cardioid polar pattern so is ideal for cutting out extraneous noise while focusing on your main subject. It has a built-in rechargeable lithium battery, a 150Hz low cut switch, + 6dB high frequency boost to restore some sound that may be cut by a windshield or blimp, -10dB pad for recording loud sounds without clipping, and it comes with a micro USB cable for charging, a mic clip and XLR cable. They also throw in a foam windshield but for outdoor use you may want to invest in a dead cat to keep wind noise at bay.
With a Micro Four-Thirds lens mount and amazing image stabilisation, the flagship Olympus OM-D EM-1 Mark II is the firm’s first 4K camera that has both UHD and DCI modes at up to 237Mbps plus 4:2:2 uncompressed output over HDMI. And filmmaking essentials like a fully articulated touchscreen, headphone socket and focus peaking. But the key benefit of the camera combines in-body image stabilisation, which counters the shakes by moving the sensor, along with lens-based image stabilisation with selected lenses. At the moment only a handful of lenses, like the 12-100mm f/4 IS Pro, use this new Olympus Sync IS system, though more will follow. For perfect, movie-quality shots you still need a tripod, slider, crane, gimbal or dolly. But the Olympus can come very close to replicating these shots even in handheld work.No other image stabilisation on a DSLR or mirrorless camera comes close and you really can get away without a tripod. Micro Four Thirds sensors are a quarter of the size of a fullframe 35mm sensor, but that means smaller cameras with small and very fast prime lenses that are very affordable. With its great 4K performance, fast data rates, clean HDMI output and very little rolling shutter issues, the latest E-M1 makes a great run-and-gun camera. Especially if you add on Olympus’ own recorder unit for useable audio.
TRIPOD: LIBEC TH-X £245/ $239 www.libec-global.com
For fast-moving shooting you can’t beat a lightweight tripod that’s packed with top-quality features and Libec’s TH-X fits the bill. It features the typical Japanese build quality and attention to detail Libec is known for, and is ideal for camcorders up to 4kg/ 9lb. At 3.1kg/ 6.9lb, it’s the lightest tripod Libec have ever made and it has a flat base with a 65mm bowl. There are some compromises on features compared to the firm’s high-end tripods. The head isn’t adjustable for drag or counterbalance so it can take a bit more time to set up than more feature-packed pricey kits, but no more than rival tripods. The two-section legs are easy to adjust and are solid considering their light weight and portability. And the height is adjustable from 75.5-159cm/ 29.7-62.6in
LENS: OLYMPUS 12-100MM F/4 IS PRO £1099/ $1299 www.olympus.com
With the equivalent view of a 24-200mm lens, the Olympus 12-100mm f/4 IS Pro is a hugely versatile lens that you could shoot just about everything on! It’s weatherproof, rugged and not too heavy or big. So it’s ideal for fast-paced travel work where you don’t want to be bogged down with lots of kit. The image quality is excellent, with very little flare or nasty aberrations at all. And the constant f/4 aperture is usefully fast for general work. But best of all, its clever image stabilisation system works perfectly with the Olympus E-M1 Mark II.
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GEAR MINI TESTS
Our round-up of the great kit we’ve tested in this issue includes a lightning-fast hard drive, a fast cine lens, a colour meter, LED lights and a revolutionary tripod WORDS ADAM DUCKWORTH, TERRY HOPE, ROGER PAYNE AND WILL CHEUNG
DAVINCI RESOLVE MICRO PANEL £818/$995
It’s not the easiest thing in the world to grade using a keyboard and mouse, and you really benefit from a dedicated grading console’s added level of control and the ability it gives you to tweak more than one variable at a time. With this in mind, and with DaVinci Resolve growing hugely in popularity, Blackmagic has developed two compact consoles, the Micro and the Mini, both of which are dedicated to this software. The more compact of these is the Micro Panel, which measures just 25.80x42.75cm and weighs in at 3.5kg, and, like its bigger sibling, it’s designed to allow colour correction workflows to be mixed in with editing workflows. The first thing you notice about this panel is the quality of its finish, and it gives the impression that it’s build to stand up to the rigours of a professional business. Then you marvel at its size: powered via its USB connection, the Micro Panel is
not much larger than the average computer keyboard, so it’s possible to move between the keyboard and the panel as you edit, allowing simultaneous grading and colour correction to be carried out. The Mini Panel comes at a much higher price - £2790/$2995 - and includes the same features as the Micro but in addition offers LCD screens and dozens of menus, allowing fast access to most of the advanced grading features of DaVinci Resolve. Both panels include a row of 12 knobs that provide access to the most powerful primary correction features and, in addition, there’s also a range of transport and grading control buttons on the right hand side of the panel, so that the most commonly used commands can always be right at the fingertips of the colourist. Three trackballs provide RGB balance adjustments for lift, gamma and gain, each with a master level
SPECIFICATIONS Software: DaVinci Resolve 12.5.5 or DaVinci Resolve Studio 12.5.5/ Blackmagic Design Desktop 10.4.1 OS/macOS/OS X: 10.10.5 Yosemite or later/Windows: 8.1 Pro 64-bit or later/Linux: CentOS 6.4, Red Hat Enterprise 6.8 and 7.3 RAM: 8 GB min, 16 GB recommended (16/32 GB Linux) Construction: Die-cast and machined aluminium Interface: USB 3.0 Type-C Dimensions: 7.50x25.80x 42.75cm/2.95x10.16x16.83ins Weight: 3.5kg/7.71lb control set via an outer trackball ring. Overall, this is an amazingly well specified and compact piece of kit, destined to find a place in the heart of any serious editor. TH .
BELOW If you spend a lot of time editing on DaVinci Resolve then this panel will make your life much easier.
Pro Moviemaker rating: 9/10 Terrific piece of kit that really puts you in control of your post-production Pros: Intuitive to use, with keys mapped directly to Resolve functions Cons: Dedicated to Resolve so can’t be used with other software packages
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MINITESTS SPECIFICATIONS Focal length: 14mm Mounts: Sony E, Canon EF, Arri PL Image coverage: Full frame Aperture range: T2.0-T16 Iris blades: 9 rounded Focus rotation: 180 degrees Iris rotation: 60 degrees Front diameter: 95mm Close focus: 270mm/11in Dimension (LxD): 119.5x104mm/ 4.70x4.09in Weight: 1430g/3.15lb
SIGMA 14MM T2.0 LENS £4749/$4999
It’s in the more exotic lenses like this ultrawide 14mm full-frame cinema prime that Sigma’s intentions to be taken as a serious lens brand for filmmakers is particularly apparent. The widest in a seven-strong range of full-frame primes which go alongside Sigma’s three cine zooms, the lens offers a spec with optical and build quality that no other manufacturer comes close to at this price. While there are more mainstream 35mm and 50mm prime lenses on the market, it’s with specialist glass such as this 14mm lens that Sigma shows just how capable it is at making lenses for filmmaking. The optical quality is stunning, thanks to technology from Sigma’s well-proven Art range of photo lenses. It’s full-frame, so will work with cameras such as Sony’s popular A7 series and Canon DSLRs. Many cine lenses don’t cover that size of sensor – even highly expensive ones such as the Cooke S4/i. At T2.0 it’s fast, and you can actually get the unique look of relatively shallow depth of field on a super-wide lens, especially at close focus distances. To get close to this sort of spec, you’d have to be splashing out at least five times the price on an Arri Master Prime lens. And budget cine ranges
can’t compete with the combination of fast maximum aperture and fullframe coverage of the Sigma. For a lens that offers such a wide view and full-frame coverage, it’s surprisingly compact and doesn’t even look too big on a mirrorless camera like the Sony A7. The huge front element and the wide angle of coverage invites flare but the lens controls it well. Flare is pleasant and realistic-looking. However, the front of the lens has a petal-shaped lens hood so you can’t fit regular filters. The footage is crisp and detailed with sharpness across the whole frame, especially if you close down the aperture a couple of stops from wide open. On a full-frame camera shot wide open, the very edges are slightly softer than the centre, as you’d expect. The lens controls all aberrations well and there is no discernable purple fringing. It offers smooth focusing and iris action with a long throw that makes manual control easy and natural. There are standard-sized teeth to fit the lens to a rig, too. This lens is no lightweight, though, a legacy of its rugged, allmetal build. On a camera like an A7 you really need a rig to make it a workable kit, as it makes the camera
ABOVE A compact yet rugged lens full of features, the Sigma 14mm T2.0 offers plenty for your money.
very front-heavy. On a larger cinema camera it’s much more at home – we tried it on a Sony FS5 and FS7 and it was a far better balanced set-up. Of course, these bigger-bodied cinema cams use a Super 35-size sensor, so the image is cropped and the lens becomes an equivalent of a 21mm lens. That’s still a very wide view and avoids the extreme distortion you get with a 14mm lens on a full-frame camera. If, like many serious filmmakers you own a crop-sensor cinema camera and a full-frame mirrorless camera, then the 14mm Sigma makes loads of sense. On the Super 35 camera it’s a super-wide but not so wide it alters perspective to the extremes, therefore more useful in everyday situations. And if you do want that ultra-wide, exaggerated look for a particular dramatic shot or just to squeeze everything in to the scene when there isn’t enough room to get further away, then fit it to a full-frame camera. AD. Pro Moviemaker Rating: 9/10 Great build quality, compact size, unique at this price Pros: Proper cine lens with a super-wide view Cons: It’s not cheap, limited use
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