So I had the opportunity to rent and use the Sony Fs7 last week. I expected to like this camera, had one on order but postponed until some more work comes along. This outing was straight forward vox pop style interviews. I encouraged the producer to go with it so they could easily cut into the 4K image without a loss in resolution.
The camera really is well laid out and easy to jump into using (for someone that has used dozens of cameras). The number one thing that myself and any other user is going to need to spend some time with is the the CINE settings. Shooting in Slog with LUTs can be confusing and an extra step in the process for post. Make sure that you and your post pipeline are familiar with this and do some testing. For this project we went with a fairly flat “Alexa” style LUT and baked it in by selecting that the LUT be applied to internal recording.
If you are planning on filming long interviews I would recommend that you get the 128 GB cards. Shooting at 4K chewed through the 3 64GB card I had in no time or 32 minutes each. If you are downloading cards on set the reader is USB3 so make sure you bring a computer with this connection speed or you’ll be waiting a while.
I was using the camera with the Metabones Ultra lens adaptor. This worked great with my Canon Full frame glass. I really appreciated having the built in ND filters on the camera rather than messing with screw in filters on the lens.
I didn’t get to take advantage of the slow motion features too much on this project, but did run through it in my prep for the shoot. Like the Fs700 it has the capability to do slow motion in 1080. But unlike the Fs700 this camera can run at 180 FPS continuously.
I look forward to taking the camera out again on the next shoot.
Sure enough, Sony announced a new camera, but it wasn’t a replacement for the FS700, but another variation on it. The PXW-FS7 has fantastic specs including 4K UHD, slow motion up to 180 FPS and a more ergonomic design. After toiling for a few days and thinking about how much I had been using the FS700, it was decided that this would be the next equipment purchase for our company. Move aside stabilizers and sound equipment, the FS7 has been ordered.
Here is the cheesy promo video for the camera:
Once upon a time you could shoot 60FPS material on a video camera and use Cinema Tools to conform or alter the properties of the clip to 23.98 (or 30 if you were so inclined). With more folks using Premiere to edit I couldn’t find the solution to do the same until I stumbled upon another blog post. Within the project folder right-click on the clip that was recorded at 60FPS and choose Modify>Interpret Footage.
In the dialogue change the Assume Frame rate box to the appropriate time base for your project.
Now this does not change the size of your clip so if you recorded slow motion clips at 720 and the rest of your project at 1080 you will have to scale up the slow-motion clips or scale down your 1080 footage.
NAB is just around the corner. There will be new tools and gadgets for sure. It is fun to speculate what will be the big trend. I’m not basing my predictions on anything too scientific, just what I have been seeing in my work, students’ work and others throughout the industry. Last year was all about 4K, with the Black Magic camera that I guessed they would make before it was announced. (it just started shipping last month I think). This year will be all about High Speed cameras. We’ve seen some of this with the basically boring Sony FS-700. A work horse video camera with a 4K upgrade path. The on-board recording is AVCHD but you can send an uncompressed signal out through SDI. What makes this thing cool is the ability to shoot a burst recording at high speed, what they call S&Q (slow and quick). It will do 120FPS, 240FPS, 480 and 960. Using some fancy math and at the expense of quality you can get all of those frame rates at 1080. The 120 and 240 look great, but 480 and 960 are really just for screwing around.
Ok, so this wasn’t intended to be a review of the FS-700, but it shows the path and trend we are on. People want slo-mo video in their projects. The Go Pro can do 120 at 720. The new GH4 has a burst up to 96 I believe. There was mention of a mirror-less camera from another manufacturer that had 240 and higher at reduced resolutions. Arri’s new Amira will do 200FPS with the purchase of the key$$$ to unlock it. My prediction is that we will see a lot of cameras with a 120fps capable rate and at least one under $5K that will do 240fps well.
In the mean time here is a clip from the FS-700 at 240FPS.
set-up test: Jami and Adam from little tree films on Vimeo.
We had a chance to play with this camera courtesy of Z-systems. Of course we went straight for the Slow Motion menu and never looked back. We smashed, broke and jumped around for two days. All at 240, 480 and 960 frames per second.