ction Issue 7
exploring digital cinematography & beyond
The FS5 travels to the North Pole in
True North Sony’s cameras are a winning team for Jake Dyke’s Sports
Jacques Star’s Guadalupe Great White Sharks Beyond Definition A1
LETTER from the EDITOR From summiting Mount Everest with the FS5 to plummeting into the depths of shark-infested waters on Guadalupe Island with the X70, the latest crop of amazing behind-the-scenes production stories in @ction Issue 7 transport you to some familiar places, as well as a few of the most extreme and isolated on earth. Our cover story is the definition of inspiring, detailing the FS5’s use on the documentary True North. Join the team documenting two-time cancer survivor Sean Swarner as he scales the Seven Summits and the North and South Poles to complete The Explorer’s Grand Slam. Hear how Sean, the documentarians and the FS5 survived these harrowing conditions. Next, Jake Dyke, a lifelong Sony user, takes us on his personal journey from filming BMX biking as a teen, through college when he realized he could shoot for a living, to his current role as a freelance operator working with some of the top sports teams. Learn about the different cameras and lenses he uses, his advice on gimbals and the advantages of shooting on different Sony systems.
his astonishing photos and videos and marvel at the bravery of the divers who bring you closer than you probably ever want to get to the colossal creatures. Next, Jon Fauer, ASC takes us behind the scenes of the Kickstarter-funded indie, Magpie. Shot on the FS7, it centers on a housewife whose husband comes back from WWII a changed man. Jon interviews filmmaker Paul Cook about the making of Magpie. We finish our journey in Hyderabad, India where professional photographer and videographer Nick Souza used the FS5 to capture a documentary on Fredric Roberts Photography Workshops, designed to teach the art and craft of photography to high schoolers. Thanks again for reading and sharing your personal stories and experiences. Visit www.sony.com/ professional for the latest news and information from Sony, including firmware updates for the FS5 and Z150 and details on Sony’s FS7 II, and the newest members of our family, the HXR-NX80 and PXW-Z90V 4K palm cameras.
Andy Best is a photographer, cinematographer and self-described nomad who relished the opportunity to capture the splendor of fall in Breckenridge, Colorado. For this run-and-gun shoot, he used the FS7 and praised its versatility and slow-motion capabilities. Next on our tour is Brooklyn, New York, home of boxer Yuri Forman, where 16-Time National Emmy winner Jon Alpert documented the hopeful’s quest to become the first Jewish boxing champion in over 75 years, using Sony’s FS7 and SELP18110G Zoom Lens to capture all the fast and furious action. Guadalupe Island, Mexico is one of the top destinations for great white shark cage dives, so it’s no wonder Jacques Star took Sony’s X70 and RX100 IV and an underwater housing to the hotspot. See
Chiyoko Yannette Senior Marketing Manager Professional Solutions Americas Sony Electronics Inc.
What’s new New FS5 V.4.02 firmware. With the PXW-FS5, Sony overturned every previous notion of compact, handheld cinema cameras. And we haven’t stopped. Succeeding FS5 firmware versions have added powerful new capabilities, reaching a high point with Version 4.02. Twice as nice: doubling the HFR to 120 fps Out of the box, the FS5 achieves up to 60 fps continuous shooting with Full HD XAVC® L recording. Now Sony is dramatically doubling that to 120 fps with Version 4.02 firmware and the CBKZ-FS5HFR upgrade license, sold separately. This means you can capture full-resolution High Frame Rate footage to create beautiful 5x slow motion playback at 24 fps. (Actual frame rates are the quoted rates divided by 1.001.) “Instant HDR” with Hybrid Log Gamma High Dynamic Range entices audiences with the prospect of more vibrant images, brighter peak highlights and deeper shadows. The FS5 rises to the challenge with Hybrid Log Gamma (HLG). Based on research from the NHK and BBC television networks and standardized by the ITU as part of Rec BT.2100, HLG defines a signal that captures the full dynamic range of the image sensor, yet requires no special post processing for display on either conventional or HDR televisions. With HLG source material, you’re also free to edit, color correct and distribute content just as you do today, all without the need for metadata. By combining a conventional gamma transfer curve at the low end with log at the high end, Hybrid Log Gamma enables High Dynamic Range viewing without sacrificing compatibility with conventional, SDR televisions and displays.
Instant HDR Workflow using HLG HLG supports conventional post and distribution processes without the need for metadata. The same HLG capability will be available in Version 2.02 firmware for Sony’s PXW-Z150 camcorder. Gamma assist display for HDR monitoring While compatible with conventional distribution channels, HLG does alter the image in the camera’s LCD monitor and viewfinder. For this reason, firmware Version 4.02 includes Gamma Display Assist, which restores a natural-looking viewfinder image.
V. 4.02 highlights Continuous 120 fps in Full HD (w. CBKZ-FS5HFR, sold separately)
Instant HDR with Hybrid Log Gamma New Gamma Display Assist ISO 2000 in S-Log modes
Table of Contents
Behind the scenes of True North
Sony’s cameras are a winning team for Jake Dyke’s Sports Videography
Adventure seeking in Breckenridge with Andy Best and the FS7.
And the winner is...
Jacques Starâ€™s Guadalupe Great White Sharks
Magpie is a micro-budget independent production with huge production value
Capturing youth photographers in India using Sonyâ€™s FS5
Behind the Scenes of
True North Sony’s FS5 is a Peak Performer The Workshop’s True North is an inspiring documentary about Sean Swarner, who in 2002 became the first cancer survivor to reach the top of Mount Everest. He’s kept climbing ever since spreading his encouraging message of hope. In a span of five years, the two-time cancer survivor with only one functioning lung scaled the Seven Summits, the highest mountains in each of the seven continents. Swarner’s journey started at the age of 13 when he was diagnosed with Stage 4 Hodgkin’s lymphoma and given two months to live. He beat the odds and went into remission 10 months later, only to be diagnosed with Askin’s Sarcoma two years later and told he had two weeks to live. Once again, Swarner overcame adversity and resisted expectations to continue sharing his infectious spirit. But defying the odds and topping the Seven Summits wasn’t enough to satisfy Swarner. Two years ago, he set out to accomplish another goal by conquering the North and South Poles to complete The Explorer’s Grand Slam. In 2015, Swarner checked the South Pole off his list and in April 2017, after summiting the North Pole bearing a flag with the names of over 2,000 people affected by cancer, he became an official member of this exclusive club. True North’s Tom Caamano, Director and Producer, and Igor Kropotov, Director of Photography, chose Sony’s FS5 as their primary camera to document this unimaginable achievement. During the nine-day journey, which saw temperatures of -40 degrees Celsius, the two asserted “the Sony FS5 was definitely the right camera for this shoot.” In addition, the team summiting the North Pole, which included Kropotov and second camera operator Corbin Johnson, used two Sony α7S IIs for stills and support. They paired all the cameras with Sony’s complementary 18‑105mm zoom lens for longer telephoto shots and brought an 11‑18mm lens for an extremely wide angle.
Igor Kropotov I had previously used Sony’s cameras including the FS5, and I’m no stranger to shooting in remote and cold climates including Nepal and Siberia. So it’s no surprise I jumped at the ‘once in a lifetime opportunity’ to go to the North Pole and be a part of an amazing documentary centered on Sean, an inspirational and strong-willed person. Our crew kept the equipment list limited, bringing only Sony’s FS5, two α7S IIs, 10 additional batteries, two lenses and more than a dozen 128GB Sony SD cards for this journey. We had to be very conscious of our camera’s size and weight, since it had to easily fit in our sled and we had weight restrictions when flying in the helicopter. Alternately, I’d strap it around my neck and it wouldn’t weight me down. We appreciated that the camera doesn’t require a lot of accessories to make it operational. The FS5’s small and compact size, coupled with the quality of the image made it the best tool for the job. Our team opted to shoot HD to ensure we had enough media and batteries to stay up and running for nine days, and to stay self-sufficient without the need to carry hard drives or laptops, which allowed us to rely solely on SD cards. The FS5’s slow motion capabilities added a meditative element to the documentary. For one shot, we used the camera to capture a classic shot of a mug of hot water being tossed into the air and immediately turning into ice droplets. The slow motion helped to illustrate the emotional weight of traveling to the North Pole.
“The FS5’s small and compact size, coupled with the quality of the image made it the best tool for the job.”
I also appreciated the camera’s distinctive neutral density filters. Because there’s 24 hour sunlight on the North Pole and the reflective white snow is so bright, the ISO was generally pretty low and we used the ND filters to give us that depth of field and it worked extremely well. As with any shoot in punishing environments, our crew was up against a lot of unknowns. A challenge which the FS5 was up for was producing a natural and realistic image despite the flat terrain and persistent landscape of blinding white snow, in addition to the 24-hour sunlight.
We did experience some issues due to the intense temperatures. It was like the camera had been stored in a freezer and we were immediately shooting with it upon removal – only way colder. Other concerns included a lag in the image and the ability for the LCD monitor’s liquid crystals to freeze in the bitter cold. We also quickly learned how to keep the extra batteries warm and fully functional by storing them in our sleeping bags overnight and chest pocket during the day, using body heat to keep them operational; otherwise they’d wind up being
ice cubes by the end of the day. The crew also had to contend with condensation, which froze immediately to their faces, eyelashes and even the camera, causing the buttons and lenses to fog if not handled properly. We also learned the importance of preparing the camera to the desired settings in advance of leaving the tent, since there’s no tinkering or changing settings possible, and if something falls off the camera, you have to wait until the end of the day when you’re inside the frigid tent to fix it. Everything has to be on point in terms of where it’s located and stationed and how the settings and switches work with ISO and light balance. Because of the constant sunlight and temperature, we didn’t want or need to significantly manipulate these settings over the course of the day.
Despite some minor cracking and freezing, the FS5 held up really well and if I were to do it all over again, I would most certainly take the FS5 with me again – it was great. Between Sony’s 18-105mm lens and the 11‑18mm lens, we were able to capture a variety of scenarios and vantage points using just two lenses. Sometimes it’s not ideal to switch lenses in the field, so our choices had to be varied and flexible. There’s a lot of talk about the condensation settling on the glass and the sensor, but that never seemed to be an issue, which contributed to our decision not to switch out lenses very frequently in the field.
“I also appreciated the camera’s distinctive neutral density filters. Because there’s 24 hour sunlight on the North Pole...”
â€œThe wide angle shots conceptually capture the constant feeling of movement..â€?
The idea was to use the 11-18 inside the tent to get wider shots and also to fully capture the landscape without veering too far off our path. We were also able to get wide shots, to show a sense of scale of the Arctic Ocean, and shooting in the helicopter gave us a wide field of view. One of the filmâ€™s concepts is to bring these survivors and people affected by cancer who are named on the flag on this journey with us. The wide angle shots conceptually capture the constant feeling of movement and allow viewers to follow Sean and have a visual sense of what carries him through this journey.
We wanted to keep everything in the Sony family because it allowed us to use the same system. Lenses and other accessories were interchangeable and our videos and stills looked great. If I was shooting with the FS5, I would have an Îą7S II underneath my layers and ready to swiftly capture a lead. The Alpha cameras were a key element of our shoot and the ability to quickly draw it out and produce a quality image was great. Another reason we chose it to be our secondary camera is because it is an integrated system with no cables and less buttons, which means less opportunity for failure.
Tom Caamano We used an ‘intentional’ form of storytelling. The distance between Sean and the sled he pulls is about four to six feet. We wanted the viewers to experience that distance throughout the entire documentary and feel like they’re in the sled with the team’s supplies and Sean’s symbolic flag. When Sean’s going to get his check-up or visiting people at hospitals before his trip, we opted to have the camera the same distance behind him and use those same prime lenses to keep the vantage point consistent. Then, when we made the transition to the North Pole it was a seamless extension of his day-to-day journey. We like to say that six months beforehand, when Sean got the first signature on his flag, that’s when the trip to the North Pole really began, so we wanted to keep that uniformity in our point of view.
From L to R Director Tom Caamano, Director of Photography Igor Kropotov, Sean Swarner
“We wanted the viewers to experience that distance throughout the entire documentary and feel like they’re in the sled with the team’s supplies...”
“Other elements of the documentary were shot using Sony’s F5 camera and matched perfectly with the FS5 footage.”
Other elements of the documentary were shot using Sony’s F5 camera and matched perfectly with the FS5 footage. Prior to his excursions, Sean met with cancer patients and people who are at the darkest points in their lives. When he meets with them he tells his story of overcoming hardship, and when he leaves, these people are at a different point. They’re feeling more positive. They’re feeling more inspired. And we’re sitting back as a fly on the wall and documenting this amazing story to encourage and motivate others. It’s a privilege for us as filmmakers to witness something so genuine and inspiring and see how many people Sean is affecting. And we get to put faces to those names on the flag and follow up and see how they’re doing. In the end, the journey was an overwhelming success and Swarner is now one of few on the elite list of people who have accomplished the Explorer’s Grand Slam, and he has the video diaries to prove it. I think Sean has run out of places to go, so the next journey may have to be into space! True North is now in post-production and will air nationally on American Public Television in the fall. Watch a clip from True North detailing Sean Swarner’s story that recently aired on ESPN’s SportsCenter: https:// vimeo.com/theworkshoptv/ review/233664204/0ba54d55e5
Sony’s Cameras Are a Winning Team for Jake Dyke’s Sports Videography
Jake Dyke is a freelance Camera Operator in the Washington, D.C. area, primarily working for a number of major sports teams, with coverage including professional sports, action sports and college sports. During a game’s live production, Jake rotates between camera, video shader, and engineer. On the videography side, his shoots cover player appearances, interview shoots with VIPs and player intros. In addition, he works on productions, live television broadcasts, events for clients and his two passion projects – a BMX mini documentary and a stylized surfing short.
Sony’s Cameras Are a Winning Team for Jake Dyke
Jake described his first experience with a video camera, which was his father’s Sony BMC-110 BetaCam. He was five years old at the time, and although the footage probably was nowhere near today’s quality, he was fascinated with what the camera could do. From that day on, he was officially hooked on still and video cameras and has stuck with the Sony brand ever since. Fueled by his love of BMX videos and passion for photography, Jake began teaching himself to use cameras by filming and editing videos of his friends. He enjoyed the experience but never expected to make a career out of video production. Jake got started using a Sony DCR-TRV320 Digital 8 handy camcorder to shoot BMX footage, then moved to a Sony VX2100 camcorder with a Century Death Lens, what he calls “The camera and lens combo to shoot action sports at the time.” Once tapeless models came to market, he converted. In college, he realized this was more than a hobby and transferred to Towson University to pursue a degree in Electronic Media and Film, where he networked with others in the field and learned the basics of the business, including how to properly wrap a cable, a skill Jake cannot overemphasize the importance of. Soon enough, he made the contacts that helped him begin a career in sports video production. Over the last few years in the industry, Jake has found himself frequently shooting stills and videos using Sony’s latest camera technology for his freelance work. From the FS5, FS700, FS7 and F55 to Alpha mirrorless models, Action Cams and HDC Series System Cameras, Jake enjoys the intuitive nature of moving from one Sony camera to the next.
Jake explained, “Away from live sports I try to shoot everything at 24p to keep the look different from the standard 1080/59.94i TV look. It helps keep my outlook fresh and gets me in a mindset to be creative.” He continued, “Recent projects have called for slow motion and gimbals for the faster moving subjects and dynamic moves, which can really make a project look much more polished. Lately, I am getting a good mix of action and talking head interview footage.” Jake has a wide range of experience using Sony’s FS700, saying for live sports it helped him get involved in the action and “it changed how we shot content and what we were able to produce, making slow-mo easy and affordable and making shooting more fun and flexible.”
From the FS5, FS700, FS7 and F55 to Alpha mirrorless models, Action Cams and HDC Series System Cameras, Jake enjoys the intuitive nature of moving from one Sony camera to the next.
Sony’s Cameras Are a Winning Team for Jake Dyke
“For bigger games or for super specific shots of players that TV might not be looking for, I will rig up the FS700 with a 40x ENG lens. With zoom and focus controls, it is easy to follow fast action and switching between 120 at 4K and 240fps allows me to get as much detail in the action as possible,” he said. After seeing the huge success of the E mount, Jake knew that Sony’s Alpha 7 series was the next logical choice for himself to gather stills and b-roll on shoots. He originally went with the α7s, due to its low light capabilities. Jake loved the camera so much that he opted to replace it with the α7s II so he could benefit from its internal 4K. He appreciates the camera’s lens flexibility which is compatible with virtually any lens he works with from SLR to Cinema to Broadcast, and it also allows for him to add a small native E mount lens and take it on vacation. Overall, Jake refers to the camera as “the most versatile one I have ever owned.” Jake recently began using Sony’s FS5 4K handheld Super35 camera. He became instantly familiar with the new camcorder, due to its familiar Sony look and layout. “The FS5 is essentially the middle ground between Sony’s Alpha cameras, and the FS700,” he explained. “It builds upon the strengths and enhances the ergonomics of the FS700, while maintaining the same menu structure, so I found it really easy to use. It has taken everything the FS700 did and made it better, easier and handheld.” He continued that “the FS5 is very deceiving when it comes to its weight – I was shocked by how light it really is.” Jake first tested the FS5 upon its release, shooting for a local MLB team and putting together short, stylized intro videos of players for use when they walk up to the plate, in addition to green screen work, b-roll, interviews, player appearances and live game day work. On this particular sports shoot, he used the FS5 in conjunction with the α7s II.
One of Jake’s preferred methods for using the FS5 and α7s II are putting them on a gimbal and using it on a golf cart or on top of a van to get shots while moving around. He calls it “a bit of a learning experience, but it was really fun. I paired the α7s II with the Sony FE 28-135 PZ Cine Lens for the added OSS, in conjunction with IBIS of the camera body. So 5 axis of stabilization with the camera and lens holding the subject steady, plus the extra 3 axis of the gimbal holding the camera package stable made for some amazing shots, with a relatively low cost in comparison to a ShotOver system.”
Jake has paired Sony’s cameras with various gimbals including Freefly, DJI and Defy for handheld and vehicle mounting. “The camera’s light weight and auto focus abilities make it simple and fast for moving between shots, which is especially important at weddings where there isn’t a chance for a retake,” he said. He also opts to combine the gimbal with a wireless transmitter for “amazing follow shots as players are announced and take the field.”
Sony’s Cameras Are a Winning Team for Jake Dyke
Jake explained further, “The 18-105 lens was nice and light for work on the golf cart and the gimbal. It is surprisingly a perfect, light weight companion for handheld use with the FS5. The zoom servo is quick enough to follow sports action, but can be used slowly for a dramatic pull out.” He continued, “Additionally, I used a LANC cable to the FS5’s hand grip and then I had the zoom control, the menu and the dials easily accessible, which is really helpful.” The FS5 endured everything Jake put it up against. From humid D.C. summers, to a blizzard and even being mounted to a golf cart. Sometimes Jake intentionally went out in bad weather to capture a specific look or scene. “I put it through its paces and the camera took everything I could throw at it, and I am not one to baby my gear. If I feel a shot is worth the risk I will take the risk 99% of the time,” he said.
Jake found that pairing the FS5 with a gimbal was very easy with the Sony 18-105 lens and it kept the whole package extremely light and easy to balance. “Being able to take off the top handle, hand grip and LCD screen made the package even smaller, keeping the center of gravity very tight. Getting super slow motion on a gimbal was just amazing, making shots even move immersive,” he explained. Beyond gimbals, Jake puts the FS5 on a tripod, alternately accessorizing the camera with a long 2/3" ENG lens for tight shots and Sony’s 18-105 kit lens for on-the-go shooting. “The center crop feature on the FS5 is really nice, and I liked the clear zoom feature, especially to get extra footage when the camera was mounted to the golf cart,” he said.
He also praised the camera’s XAVC™ codec, picture quality and slow motion capabilities, calling the footage it produced “amazing.” He detailed, “The internal XAVC-S codec is great for quality and efficiency for media management on SD Cards. Yet, if you need to get the most from the sensor, you can hook it up to an external recorder and get 12-bit RAW 4K up to 120fps or 1080 at 240fps. The camera is really scalable to fit your needs for whatever the shoot throws at you, without having anything unnecessary.” Jake said he was “more than pleased with the footage I captured with the FS5. The range of footage that comes out of a camera this small is nothing short of incredible. From time lapses of 1 fps to 960fps, XAVC-S to 12-bit RAW in one camera is extremely versatile.” Jake appreciated being able to use SD cards to shoot 4K and “not having to carry around hard drives to offload during a shoot nor do having to buy lots of expensive media to keep shooting.” He put the 4K content to good use, manipulating it as a second or even third angle and as a source to
Beyond gimbals, Jake puts the FS5 on a tripod, alternately accessorizing the camera with a long 2/3" ENG lens for tight shots and Sonyâ€™s 18-105 kit lens for on-the-go shooting.
Sony’s Cameras Are a Winning Team for Jake Dyke
crop in on the existing image. He looks forward to seeing further 4K adoption in the consumer and home viewing space and to using the resolution more on his personal projects and professionally, as clients begin requesting it. “Another feature that was honestly amazing is the ND Filter,” said Jake. “In the past I’ve used adaptors and it winds up being very clunky. With a built‑in variable ND like the electronic one on the FS5, it is super smooth. You can roll through and find exactly what you need to do, and you’re able to do it live, which is ideal and looks great. It doesn’t look drastic or harsh. It’s a huge plus for shooting quickly in changing lighting.”
With a built-in variable ND like the electronic one on the FS5, it is super smooth. You can roll through and find exactly what you need to do, and you’re able to do it live, which is ideal and looks great. 21
He continued, “This capability is especially helpful in situations where you are shooting slow-mo and you want to switch back to regular shooting or 4K and when you’re going between different settings and shoots. In the past, the shutter would jump around and you’d have to make adjustments and many times it would be a struggle to find the ND and pop it out and then pop it back in. You’d run the risk of producing something that was a bit off, it would require multiple adjustments and ultimately, it was a pain. With the FS5 you just pop it out, roll it up and easily adjust the shutter to go back down and you’re back where you need to be. I really hope the electronic variable ND is put in other, smaller cameras – it’s a great idea.”
Jake had no problems getting the look he wanted for any project being shot with Sony FS and Alpha cameras by using the correct picture profiles for the project and scene he was working on. As for post-production, Jake loved “Being able to drag and drop any of the footage shot into your NLE of choice and start editing right away, which made everything hassle-free and quick.”
“As a shooter everything I could do in-camera with the FS5 made my life easier, which makes capturing the shots I need more fun,” Jake explained. “All the editors I have given FS5 footage to have been really happy with the look and quality. From keying green screen to grading 4K slow motion, the editors have been impressed with footage that comes out of the FS5.”
Adventure Seeking in Breckenridge with Andy Best and the FS7
Cinematographer and photographer Andy Best learned his craft while in film school and swiftly put those skills to use working on a variety of video projects ranging from medical education to commercial work for brands like Nike, Adidas, Columbia Sportswear, Intel and Leatherman, among others. This helped him transition to his true passions â€“ adventure and lifestyle filmmaking and photography â€“ and gave him the opportunity to work with distinguished brands in that market including Toyota, Eddie Bauer, Gore-Tex, Goal Zero and Gerber Gear. His reputation for thrill-seeking and eye for detail led to shoots for major travel bureaus around the world and helped foster a recently developing relationship with National Geographic.
Adventure Seeking in Breckenridge with Andy Best and the FS7
In his own words, Best lives “a nomadic lifestyle out of his camper,” using it as a mobile basecamp for chasing high peaks and delving deep into the backcountry. He seeks out adventure as a way to find the unexpected, and is always on the hunt for something that stirs his soul. He has an incredible talent for capturing moments that evoke something in himself, and, in turn, all of us. But despite all of his skills behind the lens, he never forgets to take some time to put the camera down and simply enjoy the fresh air. Recently, Best was tasked with helping Breckenridge, Colorado’s tourism office showcase what the area has to offer travelers and residents, including the beautiful ski resorts, rugged bike trails and rocky mountains, along with its rich history and culture. With the support of a Sony FS7 4K camcorder and Sony Alpha mirrorless cameras, Best was able to tell a uniquely “Breck” story which highlighted the world-renowned town. When discussing his reasons for choosing Sony’s cameras to accompany him on this project, he cited his love for the image that Sony produces, as well as the ability to interchange lenses between many of his Sony cameras, which he says is “a breeze.”
With the support of a Sony FS7 4K camcorder and Sony Alpha mirrorless cameras, Best was able to tell a uniquely ‘Breck’ story which highlighted the world-renowned town.
Adventure Seeking in Breckenridge with Andy Best and the FS7
As a run-and-gun adventure shooter, he appreciates the FS7’s “ease of use and flexibility,” as well as “the lightweight body, built in NDs, extremely long battery life, and camera arm that makes shooting adventure incredibly easy.” Expanding on his appreciation of the built-in neutral density wheel he said, “It is extremely useful on a fast-paced project and it’s so easy to click through your NDs and just go.” He also found that “the EVF and camera arm were clutch!
The quick form factor of both allowed me to get in all kinds of strange places to get the shot.” Another feature Best found essential to this shoot were the FS7’s ergonomics. “The camera’s size and lightweight body made it ideal for long hours of hiking, running, crawling on the ground and scrambling around mountains, which really catch up to you on lengthy projects,” he commented.
As a run-and-gun adventure shooter, he appreciates the FS7’s 'ease of use and flexibility,' as well as 'the lightweight body, built in NDs, extremely long battery life, and camera arm that makes shooting adventure incredibly easy.'
Adventure Seeking in Breckenridge with Andy Best and the FS7
“Adventure and lifestyle productions always come with the joy of weather,” he added. “I used the FS7 in a variety of temperatures from punishing cold to extreme heat, and its performance in these environments really speaks to its durability. From heat to cold to humidity, it just kept working perfectly and I have the peace of mind to know that will always be the case.”
detail of a camp fire, I’ll use that native ISO, take off the ND, and open up to an f1.4 and we’re shooting in seconds.” Another favorite of Best’s is the FS7’s slow motion capabilities. “The ability to shoot 240fps super slow mo is incredible and when tastefully done it can really add to a piece,” he said. “It’s super easy to use as well, so it helps on time-sensitive shoots.
“In Breckenridge, the conditions varied, but it was frequently really dusty and windy,” he added. “We’d have mountain bikes zip past the camera over and over and the dust would fly! A quick wipe-off and away we went. At the end of every day I clean my gear with a fine tooth comb, but in the field I have had no question it would keep pumping.”
Because the FS7 enables 4K shooting, Best took advantage of the higher resolution for his Breckenridge project. “The quality of the FS7’s 600 Mbps bit rate is awesome,” he said. “The challenge with all imagery is trying to evoke the emotion of actually being there. The high-quality output definitely helps with that battle.”
Shooting in varying outdoor conditions and at different times of the day can sometimes present challenges as far as available light, darkness and overexposure. Best values the FS7’s ability to handle these ranges with ease. “From its native ISO set at 2000 and its built-in NDs you can cover a giant range of exposure quickly,” he said. “On a bright sunny day shooting mountain biking, I’m probably at f4 or f5.6 for a wider depth of field so I can quickly throw on a built-in ND in seconds and be ready to shoot. Then, while shooting low-light
Best found it easy to work with his Breckenridge footage in post-production. He opted for Sony’s XAVC™-I codec and took the content into Adobe Premiere, ingesting footage nightly and importing it into a test project, where he would edit his clips together to make sure he was capturing what he needed to tell the story. Since he works on his laptop, which is frequently stationed in a tent in unusual locales, speed and ease of use are vital to his creative process and ability to meet his deadlines.
“The Sony footage holds up fantastically and the slow mo is incredible,” he said. “I use DaVinci to color the footage and even after the rich color is brought out, the latitude to push and pull highlights and shadows is incredible.” Best used Sony’s XQD cards and found them “fast and perfect for run and gun.” He also used the Odyssey7Q external recorder alongside his FS7. “When I have more time to set up a shoot, I like to use the Odyssey7Q because it records a faster slow mo frame rate at a higher image quality with a reasonably fast setup time.” Next up for Best? “I’m eager to get back out and capture moving and still images that tell transformative and inspiring stories.”
Watch a behind the scenes video of Andy’s Breckenridge shoot where he talks about his artistic approach to videography: https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=Yp082UMxC6I Watch Andy Best’s GoBreck video supporting Breckenridge Tourism: http://www.gobreck.com/what-to-do/ discover-fall-in-breckenridge
The camera’s size and lightweight body made it ideal for long hours of hiking, running, crawling on the ground and scrambling around mountains, which really catch up to you on lengthy projects.
AND THE WINNER IS... By Jon Alpert
There was a time when 7 of the 8 boxing world champions were Jewish. But until recently, 75 years had passed without a Jewish champion. Then, Yuri Forman from Brooklyn came along. He won the WBA Super Welterweight belt – just down the street in Las Vegas from where our industry gathers every year to look at the latest in cinema and TV equipment. I was at ringside filming. I’ve been following Yuri for over a decade as he successfully pursued his twin dreams of becoming a world champion and becoming an ordained rabbi. It’s going to be a great film – if I do say so myself. One of the reasons for this is that as newer and better equipment became available – it was immediately pressed into service. Over the course of the production, we went from tape to digital, and SD to HD to 4K. Electronics progress at a dizzying pace. But as all of us cinematographers know, lenses lag behind. And as all of the manufactures know, the cameraman/woman community constantly pesters and whines and cajoles anyone who will listen to make a lightweight, servo-operated, fast, constant F stop, sharp as a razor, reasonably priced wide angle zoom lens. For us one-man band, run-and-gun shooters, that is the holy grail of documentary filmmaking and ENG.
It’s going to be a great film – if I do say so myself. ... One of the reasons for this is that as newer and better equipment became available – it was immediately pressed into service.
The SONY SELP18110G Zoom lens. It’s 18-110mm, constant f 4.0 and weighs in at lean and mean 2 ½ pounds.
The action is fast and furious at ringside, but with the SELP18110G, I stayed in focus in a fairly hostile and constantly changing and challenging environment. 33
AND THE WINNER IS…
We are getting close to the Promised Land. The SONY SELP18110G Zoom lens. It’s 18-110mm, constant f 4.0 and weighs in at lean and mean 2 ½ pounds. Yuri coming out of retirement to fight for the championship again coincided with the release of the lens. I had it at ringside, and it is a serious step up from the SELP18200 that I used to have on my FS7. The new lens is really sharp. Especially around the perimeter of the picture. The shots of sweat spraying as the boxers slugged each other are spectacular. The range of the lens adequately covered the wide-angle shots in the corner and the zoomed-in close-ups in the center of the ring. The servo is smooth, responsive, noiseless. There’s no ramping. No need for heavy rails or an additional power supply. The lens cooperates with the camera’s electronics. Should you choose to take advantage of automatic functions – they work – and you can track everything on the viewfinder. The lens is heavier than what we had been using. This presents a challenge. I don’t carry the camera on my shoulder and never use a tripod. To see the picture clearly with my aging eyes I use a big, bright on-board monitor. Maybe Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson can hold all this poundage at arm’s length for 12 hours, but I can’t. So we have put our rig on a serious diet, stricter than a boxer trying to make fighting weight. One battery powers everything. We use the Sony BP-U60T inserted into the camera and T-tap off its built-in power output terminal to run the monitor. We used to employ the Ikan MD7 high bright monitor because it gives you the best chance of staying in focus in direct sunlight. But it pulls too much energy from the single battery and sometimes causes the camera’s safety system to shut down. So for the Yuri shoot, we switched to the Convergent Design Odyssey 7Q+. I think you’ll like it. Everything is fastened together with lightweight carbon fiber rods and
aluminum mounts. To further shed weight and take advantage of the FS7’s additional audio tracks, we attached a Sony URX-P03 wireless audio receiver directly into the FS7’s built-in hot shoe. This eliminates batteries and cables. Finally, after removing the camera handgrip, we probably shaved a total of two pounds off the rig. And if we were to use an FS5 instead of the FS7, we’d lose an additional pound and a half. The action is fast and furious at ringside, but with the SELP18110G, I stayed in focus in a fairly hostile and constantly changing and challenging environment. The lens of our dreams could still be a bit faster. Maybe two stops, and a tad wider. But the SELP18110G is a big jump in quality. It’s reasonably priced. It’s available and will make your pictures jump and sing. Too bad it couldn’t help Yuri win the fight. But the footage of him losing sure looks fantastic. The best I’ve ever filmed in 46 years.
Jon Alpert is a 16-time National Emmy winner and the only person to win in all three craft categories – Audio, Editing and Cinematography. He’s been using SONY products since 1971 – if you don’t count the little Sony transistor radio his grandfather, Julius, gave him in 1958. Jon’s latest documentary, co-directed with Matt O’Neill, is Rock and a Hard Place about an innovative prison boot camp in Miami. It features Dwayne Johnson and was shot in UHD with the SONY FS7. 34
Diving with Great Whites Sonyâ€™s Cameras Provide a Jaw-Dropping Experience Capturing Great Whites
Diving with Great Whites
Jacques Star is a freelance director of photography with over 15 years of professional experience ranging from electronic news gathering and electronic field production, broadcast, documentary, commercial and corporate, travel, sports and underwater shooting. In addition to videography, he also directs and edits content. His work has been seen on NBC, CBS, FOX, Discovery Channel, History Channel, BBC and PBS, among others. Jacques latest adventure took him to Guadalupe Island, Mexico where he went diving with great white sharks and took his trusty 4K enabled Sony cameras, the handheld PXW-X70 and digital Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 IV along for the ride. Called Guadalupe Great White Sharks, Jacques’ YouTube Vlog documents his time with the predatory fish during a charter trip to benefit the Historical Diving Society. Jacques is also creating a 4-minute documentary short about white shark conservation in Guadalupe for the Our World Underwater film festival. Additionally, he was able to gather footage for other projects, including for a profile piece on recent Women’s Diving Hall of Fame inductee Nancy McGee. On this excursion, Jacques had the good fortune of being joined by legendary underwater adventure photographer Ernie Brooks and for three days, the two shooters had the opportunity to dive with, photograph and learn about the beautiful species in their natural habitat. Jacques described this breathtaking opportunity as “awe‑inspiring” and commented that it gave him a “much deeper respect for sharks.”
...he went diving with great white sharks and took his trusty 4K enabled Sony cameras, the handheld PXW-X70 and digital Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 IV along for the ride.
Diving with Great Whites
...shooters had the opportunity to dive with, photograph and learn about the beautiful species in their natural habitat. Jacques described this breathtaking opportunity as ‘awe-inspiring’ and commented that it gave him a 'much deeper respect for sharks.'
Diving with Great Whites
Jacques used his upgraded X70 for video including 4K capture in the surface shark cages, while the RX100 IV generated stills and video, residing on the camera table on deck of the boat and underwater in a housing. As far as choosing Sony cameras to accompany him on this once-in-a-lifetime experience, Jacques said, “My Sony cameras are small, lightweight and very portable, which is why they are frequent companions on my travel and SCUBA diving shoots.” The size is certainly an advantage as he went on to explain, “Sometimes, it becomes outrageously expensive or a huge headache to obtain film permits at certain locations. The X70 allows you to go as a tourist, and not attract much attention. We did this when filming Into the Drink, a dive/travel show which used a couple of Sony HDV cameras, and an underwater housing. Most of it fit into our carry-ons and backpacks. The X70 is even smaller and more compact. It is pretty amazing for a 4K camera.” Sony’s cameras offer a number of features ideal for capturing content on-the-go in a range of unpredictable environments. Jacques favors “the XLR inputs, Zeiss lens, and 4K resolution.” Expanding on his use of 4K, Jacques explained he uses the extra resolution to reframe shots in post for his 1080p masters. Even though the final piece is delivered in 1080, Jacques asserts “the scaled down images show more detail and give me room to re-frame shot in post, if need be. 4K offers enhanced creative options.”
My Sony cameras are small, lightweight and very portable, which is why they are frequent companions on my travel and SCUBA diving shoots.
Expanding on his use of 4K, Jacques explained he uses the extra resolution to reframe shots in post for his 1080p masters. Even though the final piece is delivered in 1080, Jacques asserts 'the scaled down images show more detail and give me room to re-frame shot in post, if need be. 4K offers enhanced creative options.'
Diving with Great Whites
Diving with Great Whites
He also found the ND filter worked well and the camera was very capable in low-light for a 1-inch sensor, which also afforded a shallow depth of field he couldn’t achieve with 1/2 inch and 1/3 inch chip cameras. Another element he appreciates is the layout and structure of the cameras saying “the buttons in manual mode are easy to find and use. The Sony cameras also have good auto features when the shooting situation calls for it. In addition, the auto tracing white balance is pretty impressive. While it’s always best to get a good white balance, there are times when I follow someone from the inside of the boat, with its tungsten lighting, up the stairs and outside into the daylight and this feature is extremely handy.” Speaking of his time diving in Guadalupe, Jacques recounted incidents where the Sony X70 really proved itself. “There were a couple of times when I was prepping my dive gear, and a great white shark unexpectedly came up to the surface cage to inspect the bait. The X70 was quick on the draw, I could just pick it up, quickly turn it on and start shooting without missing a beat – or a critical moment.” Another challenge of shooting on a boat and in the ocean is the camera’s exposure to the elements. “The RX100 IV lived on the camera table, outside on the deck of a dive boat, so it was constantly exposed to moisture, salty air, and wet divers, and continued to work flawlessly,” he recalled. “It also worked well in its Ikelite underwater housing, which had intuitively engineered controls that were easy to work and gave me full control of the functions. The housing was dependable, well-designed and streamlined.”
Jacques used Sony’s XAVC™ codec for content shot on the X70. Explaining the post-production process he said, “The XAVC footage imported natively into Adobe Premiere, as did the video clips from the RX100 IV. The 4K footage looks very sharp for this price range of camera and its 8-bit codec. There is some grain and noise in low-light situations, but this is normal for this size sensor and for 8-bit. Overall, the image quality is very good. I shoot a lot with 2/3 and Super 35 broadcast cameras, and comparatively, the quality of the 1-inch sensor holds up. I have also found the 4:2:2 footage when the camera is in 1080p mode to be useful.” On the whole, Jacques considered the experience a success. “We were blessed with plenty of sharks, good visibility and excellent diving,” he concluded. “It was a privilege and an honor to be able to dive with legends in the SCUBA diving world. We were able to contribute to shark research, aid in conservation efforts, and explore an area populated by pinnipeds, Mexican military, a few fisherman and shark biologists. And I have a good portion of my trip chronicled on video for posterity.” What’s next? Jacques laughed, “I might need to consider an underwater housing for the X70 in the near future!”
See Jacques’ Guadalupe Great White Sharks Vlog on his YouTube page: https://www.youtube.com/user/jacquesstar Learn more about his background and work at: http://www.jacquesstarvideoproductions.com/
'We were blessed with plenty of sharks, good visibility and excellent diving,' he concluded. 'It was a privilege and an honor to be able to dive with legends in the SCUBA diving world.'
George (Matt Downton) returns home to fight a battle of a different kind.
Magpie Interview by Jon Fauer of the FD Times Magpie is a micro-budget independent production with huge production value. It’s the story about life-changing effects of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder directly after World War II. It is set during the “Friendly Invasion” from 1942-1945 when hundreds of thousands of American Air Force personnel were stationed in East Anglia, England. The impact on the people and landscape makes it an interesting period of time that fascinated Writer-Director duo Carmel Hannant and Paul Cook.
Bombardment Group in Eye, Suffolk, Carmel came up with the storyline. I encouraged her to begin writing the screenplay. From there, we spent around 2 years writing and rewriting together until we had a full-length feature script. I had already dabbled in the era on-screen with student projects and my final degree film at university. Later, I wrote and directed a short film, which is where I first met Carmel and the Liberation ’44 reenactment group who have supported the project and act in the film.
Photo by Carla Jones.
JON FAUER: Please describe Magpie. The “pitch,” the concept, why the title? PAUL COOK: Our aim was to tell a story rarely told from World War II and to craft a film that would normally require ten times the budget. To achieve it, we formed close partnerships with various organizations and individuals. Here in East Anglia there’s a huge amount of interest and a lot of amazing work being done to remember those who fought. The title of the film refers to an old wives’ tale about Magpies and an accompanying rhyme. The rhyme speaks of sorrow, joy and then later a secret never to be told. Various versions of the rhyme exist and we particularly liked that one of them went on to mention a letter from overseas and true love that will never be. The main conflict of the film is not the ongoing war in Europe but instead the personal battles fought by our main characters Lily (Hannah Morrish), her husband, George (Matt Downton) and US serviceman Charlie (Mateo Oxley). These three individual journeys become entangled in a difficult love triangle. How did the film get started? Around 2012, having long supported and volunteered at the The Red Feather Club, the USAAF museum and home of the 95th 49
Kickstarter Funding. Crazy low budget; big production value. In 2014 we launched a Kickstarter campaign for the feature length Magpie screenplay with a target of £20,000. I think the sum we raised in 4 weeks of campaigning was under £1,000. Needless to say, we simply couldn’t get it off the ground at that point. So we went back to the script and did another round of rewrites to produce a shorter film that covered the key plot elements of PTSD and the contextual backdrop of the USAAF coming to East Anglia. I then had the idea to make a new pitch on Kickstarter that would grab attention. Previously we had created a traditional (some would say “boring”) pitch video: simply us sitting down and pitching our idea, who we were and how we’d do it. This time around I wanted to prove to people that what we were pitching was possible, cinematic and high in production value. That way it would show off our skills, support and resources. And that’s where the idea of a one-shot, single-take pitch video was born. We were fortunate to have attracted the attention of Curt Schaller, who operated the long, single take with his Artemis Trinity Camera Stabilizer-Gimbal. It’s an amazing shot. We exceeded our second Kickstarter goal of £12,000. And then we went over budget. But it was a passion project, a labor of love. The remainder of the production was privately funded.
â€œOur aim was to tell a story rarely told from World War II and to craft a film that would normally require ten times the budget.â€?
Paul Cook, photo by Rob Holding.
Locations and actors and re-enactors. We were very keen to make this a project that championed local creative talent and locations within East Anglia – not only to achieve authenticity but also to extol the virtues of the region as a great place to make a film. Suffolk and Norfolk are beautiful places and are steeped in the history of WWII. Many of our locations were secured through a shared interest in telling the stories of people who lived here in 1940s. We have been overwhelmed by the support of airbase museums and we couldn’t have made the film without their help. The 95th Bomb Group Hospital Museum in Horham was an ideal location for our hospital scenes where we were able to use many original artifacts in our set dressing and re-arrange rooms to suit the script. We then shot the USAAF scenes at 3 key places in Suffolk; the 95th Bomb Group Museum in Horham, the 100th Bomb Group Museum in Thorpe Abbotts, and the 390th Bomb Group Museum in Parham. At these locations, we shot dance hall, bar, barracks and control tower scenes with good attention to detail and accuracy. Other locations included the fantastic Greyhound pub in Tibenham (a local pub during the war for airmen of the 445th Bomb Group), Electric Picture Palace cinema in Southwold, and a restored vintage house in Aldeburgh.
Lily, “Magpie’s” lead character, played by Hannah Morrish.
“We have been overwhelmed by the support of airbase museums and we couldn’t have made the film without their help.” 52
Getting favors Around 5 years ago, a friend of mine introduced me to some of the folks at Vitec Videocom, which is a stone’s throw from my house in Bury St. Edmunds. Since then I’ve worked with them testing new products from their various brands. On Magpie, we used Sachtler’s new FSB10 tripod. They also very generously provided a whole host of kit for the film on a loan basis, including Litepanels Sola 12, Inca 6, O’Connor O-Box, O-Focus, baseplates and various Anton/Bauer batteries. I think Magpie will come to be known as a film built on favors and good will. For example, I am forever grateful that a local Jimmy Jib owner-operator Bernie Totten (@Jibshot) got in touch with me and brought his crane to get some stunning shots that really do the airbase at Thorpe Abbots justice. Likewise, family, 53
friends and colleagues loaned us equipment, took behind-the-scenes stills, chipped in as extras, provided catering, transported equipment and crew, and even accommodated actors during the shooting periods. Sachtler FSB10 I had already been using the Sachtler FSB10 on most of my day-to-day work in the lead up to shooting Magpie and it proved to be an ideal combination of weight, speed and payload for our Sony PXW-FS7 camera. Typically the camera is rigged much lighter than the set up we had for Magpie. In it’s heaviest setup on our productions, the camera weighed just under 12 kg, so the FSB10 was well-matched. We used the touch-and-go version of the head which is a top-loading plate as opposed to the
“...the Sachtler FSB10 .... proved to be an ideal combination of weight, speed and payload for our Sony PXW-FS7 camera.”
side‑loading style I have been used to. This seemingly small detail actually aided us on a daily basis and made shooting and maneuvering the camera within small locations much easier. Many of our locations were small, tight spaces in which framing for a wide shot on the 20mm or a close-up on the 50mm or 85mm would result in myself and our 1st AC being against a wall. A side-loading plate would have meant we’d move the whole tripod in order to make space to slide the camera back and off the head. With touch-and-go we could just pop the plate lock and take the camera straight up and off. We liked the FSB10’s simplicity in balancing the camera. The 5 steps for the pan and the tilt,
and 10 on the counterbalance, gave us plenty of flexibility in getting the camera wellbalanced. Of course, the quality of the fluid head impressed me the most. I could shoot at 135mm or longer and achieve very precise, delicate moves without any judder or shake whatsoever. This was particularly important considering that Ross Turner, our 1st AC, had to use a focus whip for most of the shoot. Budget restrictions ruled out a wireless lens control system, so we used the O’Connor O-Focus with the whip attachment. This sometimes meant forces beyond my control could be acting on the camera during a take. I very rarely got any push/pull feeling through the tripod despite effectively being tethered to Ross for every shot.
Ross Turner, 1st AC. Photo by Rob Holding.
Paul Cook, Easyrig, FS7, Sound, Litepanels. Photo by Jon Kemp.
Camera Equipment I already owned the Sony FS7, which I believe is a hugely capable camera and one that I am well accustomed to. So, it seemed sensible both practically and financially to stick with it as the core of our shooting package. In addition, we borrowed and rented a whole bunch of additional equipment. We rented the Sony XDCA-FS7 unit that attaches to the rear of the FS7 and outputs a 12-bit RAW signal from the camera. Quite luckily, Atomos had just released a beta firmware 55
(AtomOS 6.4) for their Shogun monitor/recorder to record FS RAW to 4K CinemaDNG. CinemaDNG is a really hungry file format and it meant that every 21 minutes of footage filled a 500GB SSD. We used a great piece of software called SlimRAW to reduce the file sizes by a ratio of around 3:1. This was lossless compression, so the quality of the image wasnâ€™t compromised and we backed everything up to 2 x 5TB drives (instead of needing 6 of them).
Photo by Jon Wilson.
Photo by Carla Jones.
“I already owned the Sony FS7, which I believe is a hugely capable camera and one that I am well accustomed to.”
I called in a number of favors to get the camera package together, including borrowing Sony CineAlta PL primes from a DP I know and the Atomos Shogun from another friend. The mattebox, follow focus and baseplate was loaned to me by Steve Turner, Product Manager at O’Connor. Anton/ Bauer Digital and Cine batteries) were loaned to us by Andrew Butler, Product Manager at Anton/ Bauer. White Label Media Solutions in nearby Norwich rented us a set of Tiffen Black Pro-Mist filters and I typically used the ¼ or ½ densities
to soften the contrast slightly and bloom the highlights to add to the period look. I used the 1 and 2 densities for some dream sequences. Lighting On the entire production, we only used Litepanels LED lighting. Gaffer Ben Starkin and I were impressed with the punch of the Sola 12 fresnel lights, which married well with the overall power output of the Litepanels Astras. We were able to bounce, diffuse or hard-light with these two different fixtures effectively and generally achieve a pleasing mixed lighting look. Color separation was something we both agreed would give an interesting but accurate look to the film as it is set during the late 1930s and early 1940s. Interiors of homes would have often been dominantly lit by daylight with a small amount of artificial light (from tungsten and incandescent sources.) For the tungsten and incandescent sources we used Litepanels Inca 6 fresnels along with practicals. 56
“We shot the whole film in 4K DCI 4096 x 2160 composed for 2.39:1.“ Charlie (Mateo Oxley) and Lily share a moment of escape.
Format (2.39:1) We shot the whole film in 4K DCI 4096 x 2160 composed for 2.39:1. This will give us some considerable room for stabilization and options for reframing in post if we choose. Delivery of the final film will be in 2K and/or 1080p. Editing and post We have additional scenes to shoot. However, we are beginning post-production on the film: creating Apple ProRes Proxies in DaVinci Resolve that will then go into Final Cut Pro X for editing. Once picture is locked we will get a colorist on board to do a professional grade, a composer for the score, and a sound designer. Background I have been a cinematographer for around 7 years and am mostly self-taught. I graduated from the University of East Anglia in 2010 with a BA in Film and Television Studies. I continue to work with many classmates regularly. My “day job” is working on promotional and corporate films for clients like Cadbury, Corona, Hard Rock Café, Volkswagen and Monarch Airlines. Crew Carmel Hannant and I are co-directing the film, and I am also the cinematographer. We both worked together from day one as the writers and producers. Key crew on Magpie were comprised of friends in the industry. Our main focus puller in August and November was Ross Turner, a filmmaker I had met while a student at the University of East Anglia. On the initial days of shooting, because the combination of FS7, XDCA and Atomos Shogun was quite complicated (to give us a RAW 4K CinemaDNG image), Ross acted as the DIT on these days. After this Ross returned to his role as 1st AC. So for the first 2 days of filming we were joined by 1st AC Aadhar Gupta, an MA Filmmaking student from Goldsmiths University, London. Gaffer: Benjamin Starkin (previously at Cirro Lite). Sound recordist: Len Usselman, Boom operator: Charlie Hurst 1st AD: Capucine Offer Art Department: Lee Martin and Sophie Green 2nd AC: Joel Court Hair & Makeup: Carla Jones
Capturing youth photographers in India using Sonyâ€™s FS5 By Nick Souza, Nick Souza Photography
My career began as a newspaper photojournalist, and for the last 22 years I have traveled worldwide on assignments for a wide range of industrial companies. As the demand for video content increased from my clients, I embraced this new form of visual storytelling. Like many professional photographers that saw video as a new challenge and opportunity, I began by using DSLR’s to shoot my early projects. The limitations of these cameras for video production were frustrating and my creativity suffered because of them. So the search for a dedicated video camera that would be the best solution for my style and needs began. After testing a few different cameras on a mix of assignments from interviews to aerial footage, I still was not sure if that “perfect” camera existed. When I first discovered the FS5, I was excited and a little intimidated, because I thought it would be too complicated for my shooting style. My first experience with the camera was documenting an event for the luxury jewelry company Mikimoto and I knew immediately that this camera was amazing. It was in fact much more intuitive and easier to use than other cameras that I had worked with. The size, ergonomics and the beautiful footage it produced, even in less than perfect light was exactly what I was looking for. Earlier this year I was approached about an opportunity to travel to Hyderabad, India and film a documentary about The Fredric Roberts Photography Workshops. Since 2011 this program has been empowering high school aged students around the world with the ability to express themselves through photography. I knew that this inspiring project was going to be filled with challenges that the FS5 would allow me to easily overcome. A run and gun shoot with constant filming for almost three weeks; the FS5 became an extension of my hand. The adjustable grip and movable LCD screen allowed me to comfortably hold the camera in various positions for long periods of time. Weight and portability were among my most 60
important considerations. By using the Sony 18-105mm F4 G OSS lens combined with the incredible clear image zoom, I had the range for a variety of shots without having to carry several lenses. This lens can be a little tricky to focus, and the kids were always intrigued by my secret weapon when they watched me shoot. I had assigned focus peaking to a button on the grip that I was constantly toggling to produce the dancing red outline on the LCD. I needed to be as unobtrusive as possible to capture real moments as they unfolded, often in very small areas. The size of the FS5 allowed me to blend into my shooting environment without being a distraction to the kids or their subjects. Once the kids arrived at the site of their photoshoot, they would immediately start making images and interacting with their subjects. Plenty of times I found myself jumping out of a car and seeing an amazing shot right in front of me. Knowing that the camera could be powered up and ready to shoot almost immediately, I was able to conserve battery life and avoid overheating in the extreme temperature of India. 61
The dynamic range available on the FS5 even while not shooting in S-Log, allowed me to capture great footage in the assorted lighting conditions that I encountered. Using cinema color and either cinegamma 1 or cinegamma 4, I was easily able to switch my setup when going from inside to outside using custom settings that could be accessed quickly with a press of the picture profile button.
Capturing Youth Photographers in India
The one feature of the FS5 that was so instrumental in allowing me to concentrate on my composition and quickly get perfect exposure, even in India’s harsh midday light, is the innovative variable ND filter. I could keep my lens aperture constant from inside to outside and set the exposure with a quick adjustment of the ND wheel. There were even a few times when I used a pre-programmed button on the grip to switch into auto ND mode, which allows the camera to smoothly find the perfect exposure in changing lighting conditions.
“Once the kids arrived at the site of their photo-shoot, they would immediately start making images and interacting with their subjects.”
While I had some sense of the locations where I would be shooting, what would be happening when the kids arrived to shoot was always a surprise. A great feature of the camera is the access to high frame rate shooting with just the push of a button. Knowing that I could quickly press the S&Q button and choose from several frame rates, allowed me to be more creative with my slow motion shots when there was a good opportunity. Having footage already conformed to slow motion was a great advantage in my postproduction process. Organization of a tremendous amount of clips was handled easily by importing the native MXF XAVC files directly into Final Cut Pro. I noticed no performance slow down even when color grading the final edit. After learning how to tell stories through photography, these kids embraced their newfound means of self-expression with a desire to raise awareness. This was very inspiring to document and the FS5 was the best possible solution for me to highlight their incredible journey. Visit https://www.nsouzaphoto.com 62
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