4 Channels – Thank you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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150328_Audio2

Today I updated our FS7 to 4 channels Audio and ProRes support.  The new firmware from Sony is split into 2 installs.  One is for the camera alone which add the 4 channels of audio as well as DCI (4096×2160) 4K recording.

The other 2.0 update is for the XDCA-FS7 (camera back which adds a V-lock plate, RAW out, TC, Genlock and ProRes hardware) which adds Apple ProRes recording option.

The biggest thing for me is the added 2 channels for a 4 channels recorded file.  Being able to add scratch sound or a camera mic onto ch3/4 is a huge plus when doing jobs without a sound person.  The hotshoe adapter also adds audio controls such as attenuation and phantom power. Really nice!

The Good:  Great to have 4 channels  of recordable, controllable audio. It also gives you a hands on control of audio levels while the camera is on your shoulder.

The Bad: It builds a little on top with the XLR-K2M (K1m doesn’t build on the top but requires a custom attachment plate/point).

 

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The added ProRes recording option, only with added “XDCA-FS7”.   NO S&Q, No Dual Record or Picture Cache while shooing in ProRes.

 

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4 channels Audio Sony FS7

FS7Audio1

Sony has announced that with the new free firmware released in March 2015, the FS7 will allow for 4 channels of audio input.  Really a welcome addition!  By adding the optional XLR-K2M adapter you can access the additional 2 channels via XLR input.

Other feature include DCI 4k recording as well as Prores support with the optional XDCA-FS7.

Sony release

Natural light

Today I shot a pilot for a documentary series hopefully coming soon.  We were a small team, sound guy and myself + producer, no budget and short of time.

Here is an example of what natural light can look like in a hurry.  Very simple setup.  I taped some 250 diff (3/4 stop loss) to the windows (RED marked) and put a 1/4 stop silk flag on the top window to take the harsh edge off.  Then a little bounce from the left.  The only light in this shot was a small LED (with 1/8 Minus green) that hits him ever ever so slightly on the right cheek.  That it!!  We shot this on the Sony FS7, in Slog3, XAVC.

Other things I wish I would have done: Add a black flag to the right hand side to give a little more contrast face right. Remove the plant in the way back.  Never ever happy… 😉

Nat light
Nat light2

This is the final frame.  Slog3. NO grading


Nat light30 uncorrect0

Same frame but added a Rec709 LUT, NO grading.Nat light30 copy

The compression artifacts in the frame grabs are due to hard JPG compression for the web!

Adobe Speedgrade and LUTs

I recently started getting into Adobe Speedgrade since we’re using Adobe Premiere Pro for editing.  The Adobe suite really has a nice family of programs to allow you to edit, color grade, sound mix, and VFX all within the same suite. The round trip function between for example Premiere Pro and Speedgrade is really sweet and easy to use.

So I wanted to create some custom LUTs to load into our Sony FS7.  I started playing around with this and after a few attempts of not being able to load the LUTs into the camera I realized there is a compatibility problem between Speedgrade and the Sony F5,F55 and FS7 cameras.

SpeedgradeBLOG2

The exported LUTs from Speedgrade are in a  32x32x32 .cube format and the Sony cameras will only accept the 33x33x33 .cube luts, being exported from other apps such as Davinci Resolve.  Of course I could use resolve but i’d like to be able to do it within speed grade since we use the adobe suite for the rest of our stuff.

I pushed an email to my contact at adobe and he was not aware of this but would check and get back to me with some news, hopefully soon… In the meanwhile I’m looking at ways of converting the 32x LUT into a 33x LUT.  I’ll post updates.

First shoot with the Sony FS7

So NOW I’ve shot 2 days in real production with the FS7. After going through 4 x128GB XQD cards I have one word that comes to mind, Impressed.
I am one of those very picky DPs always having things I wish was better and more thought out as far as user friendliness goes. With the FS7 this really is minor stuff.
With the same sensor as the Sony F5, with Slog 3 (slog2 is coming) XAVC, 10 bit internal recording in 422 picture quality is what we’d expect. It really is an F5 in a slimmer package. The body is a magnesium chassi with dust and drip sealed buttons add connectors.
The air vent is kept separate for the internal components so not to get dust and liquids inside.
Handholding (which is what I shot 2 days straight) is superb. I can go all day long. We added the XDCA-FS7 extension back which adds TC in/out (switchable connector), Genoock in, RAW out, 12V hirose out, and 4pin XLR DC in. The back also allowed us to use V-lock batteries which balances the unit nicely. In a free firmware upgrade in the beginning of 2015 the hardware inside the unit will also add proRes recordings to the XQD cards. I would say this unit is also Almost a must to get good balance for handholding.
Since the camera only pulls 19W I went all day on one V-lock battery.
Controls are great and the handle out front works like a charm. 3 assign buttons, rec, zooms rocker (for the 28-135 f4) and a button to rotate the handle. It really makes for easy comfortable handholding.
The viewfinder is sharp and with the use of normal peaking at proper levels I had absolutely non problem pulling focus.
The dual XQD cards worked well and made for quick and easy offload. An SD slot makes for easy setup by saving setup files and adding LUTs etc.
We shot using Canon stills glass and Metabones adapter.

Positive positive positive. Are there any negatives. Yes but very few and pretty minor in most cases.
*Only 2 channels of audio input.
*The handle arm only swings one way and when you need to set the camera on the ground, which I did 20-30 times a day it sort of lays sideways on the ground. This unless you swing the arm all the way back and angle the handle EVERY time.
*The loupe is in the large-ish side. Works great though.
* The E mount seemed sturdy enough for the glass we used but will most likely need support for heavier lenses. Nothing new to most of us.

I am so impressed with the FS7. Sony has opened up to a whole new customer base as well with the price point of this camera. Is the f55 still a winner. Yes of course with global shutter, more options and connections but at a whole other price range. The 2000 orders in Europe and 1500 in the States must say something. 🙂

Disclaimer: No one asked me to write this post, nor have I got payed to express any positive opinions about how the FS7. Although I am a Sony ICE I am free to say anything I want and I am not employed by Sony.