Sony Fs5 – Wow!!

cameras set up for 2 person interview at dance studio
OK so I got a demo Fs5 from my good friends at VMI Video in Southern California.  Well in short – Very cool!!!

I’ve got it for about 6 days to test out and put though it’s paces in my typical work flows.  Yesterday I shot a group of sit down interviews with it in 4K.  Today I used it as a B camera to our F5 for a green screen segment.  The director is going to do the final edit with both cameras but I looked at my footage in 2160@ 24p and it looks really nice.  I was able to pull a key very quickly in PPro.  
Tomorrow we are getting together at a local production company’s stage and testing it against an F5 and an A7s.  The plan is to use every lens, recorder and format we can with each camera and then compare to footage.  So this will be an on-going series of posts for the next few weeks as I develop my impressions further.

Part 1:

The interviews went very well.  I used the Fs5 as the A camera and my EX3 as the B camera.  The EX3 was mostly to give me a backup as the Fs5 was new and I was new to it.  I sent the same audio feed to both cameras and kept matched framing.  I used the EX3 last year on this project and was sure it would work if I got pickled.  The Fs5 did a fine job.  I wanted to to be in 4K for re-framing in post.  I got a little scare when I looked at the footage this morning; there was one interview where a short had a tight blue and white pattern that created a moire pattern and I didn’t see it while we were shooting…  The I thought about it, I am down resing the footage to 1080 on the fly and hadn’t rendered it.  I hit the big R button and then everything was fine.  So one for OE….
That’s it for now.  I’ll post some more info this weekend after the big camera day.

Part 2:

So we did the shoot out with the other cameras and it turned out pretty well.  We set all three cameras up with the green screen.  We tried Sony lenses and Canon L series lenses along with a pair of B4 ENG lenses – one SD and one HD.  As for the B4 glass, we found very little difference to the eye when viewing on a 20″ JVC broadcast LCD monitor.

The Sony lenses, a 24-70 ƒ4, a 16-35 ƒ4 and a 70-200 ƒ4 worked very nicely.  Auto focus worked as expected and face tracking on the wider lenses was remarkably accurate.  The Canon glass looked very sharp as well.  The iris control through a Metbones Mk IV adapter was quite good.  I was having a little trouble (probably OE again) getting the camera to use auto focus with the canon glass.

The kit 18-105 lens from the Fs5 worked on the A7s which was fun.  But the zoom function was a little lacking with the  A7s’ remote.  We tried a LANC remote via and adapter and it was still a little on the unhappy side.

More info soon… Stay tuned 

Until next time, good shooting and editing and grading,

My New Sigma 50mm ƒ1.4 DG HSM Lens

sigma lens product shot

I just picked up my new Sigma 50mm ƒ1.4 DG HSM Lens from Samy’s Cameras on Monday – Wow!!!  I’ve been waiting for it to come on now for about 2 months and it was worth the wait.  All the research I’ve done says this is one of the sharpest lenses to come along in a while and they are right. 

I’m using this lens on my 5D3 rig.  This is one in a new line of lenses from Sigma.  They also offer a 35mm ƒ1.4  Full Frame and a 18-35mm ƒ1.8 zoom for an APS-C size sensor.  

The skinny:

  • Very sharp – all the way to ƒ1.4
  • Great contrast
  • Great color rendition
  • Smooth focus ring
  • Fast auto focus
  • Nice ergonomics

So of course I wanted to shoot an image as soon as I got it and had 2 choices; the cats or the bird feeders ( man!! I’m getting old =).  So forgive the not so scientific photos… I will post some real shots and video as soon as I get a chance.

Along with the lens I added a cool little focus gear from DLC called a DL-V/Band.

It went on really easy and is nice and snug. Not too much extra hanging over to catch on the camera rig.  Smooth feel with my Chrosziel follow focus.  $15 USD.

All in all a nice ad to my kit.  I was holding out for a Rokinon 50mm Cine lens but as they seem to never want to make that lens (rumors be damned!!!!) I thought it’s time to make a move.  Stay tuned and I’ll post some more info as I discover it though use.

Until next time, Good shooting


12G… What’s on the horizon I wonder???

So at last year’s NAB the big announcement from Black Magic Design was the Production 4K camera and it’s ability to use 6G SDI to get the signal down one pipe.  This year it’s the introduction of the URSA and a 12G pipe.  Along with BMD, Atomos introduced a new external recorder, the Shogun, which also is sporting a 12G connection…

So I’m wondering what’s coming down the pipe??  If 6G is able to handle 4K UHD no problem…  What can 12G handle?  Are we aiming for an 8K world in the near future??  It would be interesting.  If you think about it, the new URSA has a great architecture for  future proofing – replaceable lens turret with the sensor inside.  As sensors increase in both spacial and temporal resolution they just have to release an update for a moderate price and have it “plug into” the URSA body… Not a bad idea. 

Enter the Shogun…  If a 12G feed is the new goal then this is the recorder that can keep up with it.  Atomos seems to be on the leading edge.  Also the Shogun is the new planned companion recorder for the Sony A7s and it’s 4K features.  I just like that it’s a 7″ screen and now has XLR I/O with Mic/Line/Phantom settings.  I have the Samurai Blade and like it a lot.
No big revelations here.  Just me pontificating on a Saturday morning =)
Until next time, Good shooting


The Big Small Rigs…

Canon 5D2 in cine configuration with teleprompter
So here is a cool version of my 5D3 rig with my iPad Prompter on it.  It’s pretty tight.  The prompter is driven by my Macbook Pro using a display mirroring software over WiFi.  The system is pretty light weight all things considered and I can take it handheld if needed.  I am using an ATOMOS Samurai Blade to record in ProRes straight out of the camera’s HDMI. It also records the final audio in sync with the picture.

Here is another version of the rig using a SmallHD AC-7 monitor for the field.  I like the size of the AC-7 and how bright it is.  This is the rig when clients want to record right to CF and not deal with the ATOMOS. 

With the focus on new cameras looking toward 4K this year it will be interesting to see how the world of the 5D fairs.  I am intrigued by the GH4…  I have clients still asking for the 5D3 and the 5D2.  they like the look of the full frame sensor and want to go with a known camera.  I think I’ll get another year or two out of this rig. 

Until next time, Good shooting


Blackmagic Production Camera 4K is Here!!! And it’s CHEAPER – YAY!!!

I just received word from BMD that the BMPC 4K is shipping as of today.  I checked B&H and a few other sites and they are still showing it as a pre-order item but the press release just hit a few hours ago.  Along with the terrific news of official shipping it is also making it’s debut at a lower price point $2995.  Down $1K from the original MSRP.  It is still shipping with a full copy of Resolve  and appears not to have lost anything in the process.  First thing I checked was the BMD site for the specs and everything still appears to be there so it’s all good.  Hopefully as the units start making their way into the market a few review units will drift into bloggers hands =)  I’ll keep you posted.  For now please see the full press release below and let me know your thoughts.

Fremont, CA – February 10, 2014 – Blackmagic Design today announced the Blackmagic Production Camera 4K is now shipping and with a new low price of US$2,995. This new low price will be available for all customers, including existing pre-orders. Blackmagic Production Camera 4K is available now from Blackmagic Design resellers worldwide for only US$2,995.

“The support from the creative community for the Blackmagic Cinema Camera and Production Camera 4K has been amazing,” said Grant Petty, CEO, Blackmagic Design. “As with all of our products, we work hard in production to reduce costs so we can pass along the savings, even to our first Blackmagic Production Camera 4K customers. The Blackmagic Production Camera 4K is a perfect companion for ATEM Production 4K switchers and we hope the new low price will help more customers to expand their Ultra HD live production set ups with even more camera angles!”

Blackmagic Production Camera 4K is a super high resolution 4K digital production camera for Ultra HD television production. Featuring a large Super 35 sensor, professional global shutter as well as EF and ZE compatible lens mount, the Blackmagic Production Camera 4K captures high quality ProRes™ files, giving customers a complete solution to shoot amazing high resolution music videos, episodic television productions, television commercials, sport and documentaries.

The Blackmagic Production Camera 4K has everything customers need right out of the box including a built in SSD recorder, rechargeable battery and a large 5” LCD touchscreen. In addition to focusing and monitoring shots, the touchscreen also lets customers enter metadata and change camera settings all on a single easy to use interface. Customers also get a full copy of DaVinci Resolve for amazing quality color grading and finishing for Mac OS X and Windows computers.

  • Ultra HD 3840 x 2160 resolution
  • ProRes 422 (HQ)™ recording
  • Super 35 sensor
  • Global shutter
  • EF and ZE compatible lens mount
  • Built-in SSD recorder
  • 5” LCD touchscreen
  • Metadata entry
  • 6G-SDI output for 10-bit HD and Ultra HD
The Blackmagic Production Camera 4K is available now for US$2,995 from Blackmagic Design resellers worldwide.

Until next time, Good shooting