So I’ve had the A7S mkII for a couple of weeks now. I’ve shot some tests and a couple of short doc style projects for clients. Using the sLog3 is kind of scary. I’ve read some things on various blogs and haven’t had a chance to thoroughly test it out. With the Fs7 I felt confident about shooting with it, but with only 8 bit I want to make sure I have the formula worked out. So far what do I like about it? Compared to the 5DmkIII it really is quite an upgrade (for motion). I like the 4K image, I like the 120fps (though I haven’t run it through the ringer). The menu is straight forward and really caters to the motion camera. The flip out screen is great. When paired with an external monitor the camera monitor goes black and still functions as a display of operations. It came with a cable clamp for the HDMI and various cables. made of cheap plastic, but I didn’t have to buy it as an add on. Though it should be noted a standard mini-plug may not quite fit in the mic or headphone jack.
What could use some work: Battery life is bad but not as bad as RED’s small volt batteries. various crop factors for 1080. So at 120fps it uses less of the sensor than at 24, 30, 60 fps. Ok, I live with it. It is better than 720P/60. The record trigger is odd. A tiny dot on the right side of the camera. It is not easily pressed by accident, so that is good, but it is hard to activate in a hand held operation. I’m looking for external trigger options.
So I think I like it and it will be a good camera for the next year or two. What comes next? Who knows, maybe Black Magic will finally make a camera worth buying.
RED RAVEN, fs5, A7Smk2. Here we are with new cameras all coming in less expensive than predecessors and with features exceeding previous models. What an amazing time to be a filmmaker. But wait, did you just buy the A7s last week, or maybe you got the A7Rmk2 but really should have waited for the A7smk2. Why? The lower megapixel on the a7s makes it better for shooting video in low light. Both have sensor stabilization so it makes them very similar. If you plan on taking more high res stills then the R model will be your pick.
I think the fs5 is a great choice over the Canon C100mk2 because of slow mo burst, 4K and 10 bit 1080. I’m a little disappointed that the 4K material is 8 bit only, but concessions have to be made to make the budget and other factors.
RED RAVEN is another example of how RED doesn’t really understand the landscape or believes their customers will buy for name and hype. 6K for the body, 10K equipped. crop factors? lens mount? audio? I will say it again, for 10K you can have a Sony Fs7 shooting RAW and use any lens you choose. And have really good audio, shoot in prores or XAVC Log3, and built in ND filters. Sorry RED, looks like it is not for everyone.
Magic Lantern is not new. It is software, or rather a firmware hack for your Canon DSLR. So up until now I had resisted loading it on the 5DmkIII because it could void the warranty, cause the camera to act up, or possibly brick it. Why now? Why not? The features have really come along way since I tried loading it on the Canon T2i years ago. It has an intervalometer in camera. All kinds of waveform monitoring and peaking to help with exposure and focus if you’re not using an external monitor. It also allows you to under crank and over crank the fps. This is cool if you want that time lapse look, but record it straight to video. Of course it has the much hyped RAW feature. I tried this out on a clip and it was cool, seemed to work just great and I don’t doubt the added resolution, but is it really worth it? About 12 minutes of recording time on a 32 GB CF card and then the post on it was a pain. Conversion using some hard to find utility. Sort of reminds me of the early days of working with RED footage. Some useful tools and options for creative filmmaking and photography that Canon didn’t think you would need. Good luck!
This week I have been thinking a lot about color correction and color grading. Probably because I had a lecture on it in two classes and I’m finishing up post on two projects. I’ve always enjoyed color grading and what you can do with the final image. My first visit to the color suite was in 1995 in film school. We shot color neg and took it in to get transferred and they used a telecine with a Davinci color corrector. It was amazing. And expensive. Fast forward 20 years and we have so many options for color correction that it is dizzying. Davinci, as Resolve, is still in the picture. The color correctors in the NLE programs are very powerful. What is the point of this post?
I thought I had a point when I was thinking about writing this post, but mostly it was random thoughts on color correction. We are in a period where the look of the film belongs to the colorist. As a DP this is very scary, but also freeing in that everything I do on set is not the final look. Small HD has released a monitor that allows you to load a custom LUT so you can view your RAW/Log files with a defined look. That is really cool. The cameras that have that ability are available at prices that would cost less than my telecine session in 1995 without inflation adjustment! There has never been a better time to be a filmmaker. And there has never been a worse time.
Here’s the link I sent my students to for a primer on color correction.