Sony FX9 Full-frame 6K Camera

 

Frame size and image quality from the new Sony FX9 goes way beyond the limits of conventional Super 35mm sensors.

Just like Sony's flagship Venice camera, the FX9 has a full-frame 17:9 sensor, which is over twice the frame size of Super 35mm, it's virtually the same size as the famous VistaVision widescreen film format. 

True 4K recording
Most 4K-sensor cameras use a single Bayer Array sensor, which does not deliver a true 4K picture. Although these cameras record in 4K, the available resolution from a Beyer sensor camera is actually around 3K.  The FX9 is a 6K camera which down samples images in-camera to 4K, so the actual FX9 recorded resolution is true 4K.  If your delivery requirement is standard HD, then the camera can be switched to HD, but that 6K sensor still provides spectacular over-sampled pictures with visibly superior texture and detail.

The huge ‘Exmor R’ full-frame sensor captures a much wider background than S35. 
For example, if use a 50mm lens on a full-frame camera and a super35 camera to shoot a medium close up of something, when I match the frame sizes so the subject is the same size on each camera, the full-frame camera shows much more of the background than the Super35 camera.

Venice film look
The camera’s S-Cinetone colour offers the same immaculate colour palette as the Sony VENICE camera, so you get that wonderful VENICE film look straight out of the camera without grading. 

Dual ISO
The sensitivity that captures the best images is called Native ISO.  The FX9 has Dual Native ISO, so depending on light levels; I can use the low 800 ISO for normal shooting or high 4000 ISO for low light shooting.  So rather than cranking up the camera sensitivity in low light by adding gain, switching to the higher sensitivity produces significantly cleaner images; it’s like having to optimised cameras in one body. 

Features:
15+ stops of dynamic range approaches that of traditional motion picture film.
Dual base ISO, 800/4000
VENICE Colour science
4-Channel audio
Built in Wi-Fi transmission for image monitoring
Continuous high speed shooting up to 180 fps (with firmware update) 7 times slower than real life.
Full-frame, S35 switchable
Lens lever lock e-mount.

The Sony FX9 is not a successor to the FS7 camera.  The FX9 is an extremely sophisticated camera and different from the FS7 in almost every aspect.

 
 

 Sony F5 Super 35mm 4K Camera

 

The Sony F5 is a super35mm cinema camera, just like those movie cameras that purred away for decades in film studios.

The F5 delivers a shallow depth of field that we've all seen in the cinemas for many years, the foreground is in focus the background is immediately out of focus; it's a very pleasing look. With an impressive fourteen stops of latitude, the whole picture is reproduced in a very natural way with lots of details in the dark areas with great highlight handling. 

Features:

14 stops of latitude
Low-light sensitivity with a base of ISO 2000
Extremely low noise in the blacks
Continuous high speed shooting up to 120 fps; 5 times slower than real life
Time-lapse interval recording starting at 1 frame per second
PL Lens mount.

 
 

Sony A7 III Full-frame 4K mirrorles camera

 

Used as a B camera for interviews or going places the bigger cameras can't, the Sony A7 III is one of the best full-frame mirrorless cameras around.

24.2-megapixel Exmor R sensor for shooting at high ISO without noise concerns. Captures 6K footage from the full frame sensor, data is then condensed into 4K movies at bitrates as high as 100 Mbps. Shoots S-Log3 with up to 14 stops dynamic range and slow motion up to 120 fps in full HD.  Camera has built in 5-axis stabilisation.

Monitor
5-inch Small HD daylight viewable.

Sony XLR Adapter   
Adds two XLR inputs for pro microphones and precision level control into the Sony A7 III camera.

HDMI to HD-SDI Converter
Converters 1080/50p into 1080/50i for connection to SDI feed points or satellite trucks.

 

 
 

I have a versatile collection of full-frame lenses with focal lengths from 15mm to 600mm.  Every lens has a purpose.

 
Sony Alpha Lenses   Voigtlander Super Fast Manual Primes

Sony G series lenses deliver exceptional resolution and clarity with super-fast focus tracking.

 

One of the oldest optic manufactures in the industry, Voigtländers bring back that lost ‘3D pop’ lifting the subject away from the background.  Voigtlander lenses were used extensively in the new Top Gun: Maverick movie.

28-135mm Wide-angle to telephoto, FX9 kit zoom   15mm Super wide-angle
24-105mm Wide-angle to short-telephoto zoom    21mm Ultra wide-angle
70-300mm Medium to long-telephoto zoom   50mm Standard
200-600mm Long to super-telephoto zoom      
135mm Classic telephoto portrait prime   Specialist Lenses
85mm Classic medium-telephoto portrait prime   24mm Macro Laowa probe lens, 2:1 magnification
35mm Medium-wide-angle prime   58mm Helios 44-2 Vintage swirly bokeh flare lens
 
 
 

Optical filters

   

Panavision 4x5.65"

Tiffen Ultra Pol Polariser - Linear

 

Tiffen Gold Diffusion FX

 

Tiffen Black ProMists

 

Schneider NDs

 

Schneider Grads
   

Round 138mm

Schneider Tru-Pol Polariser - Circular

 

Schneider +1 Split-Field Diopter Lens
  Schneider +2 Split-Field Diopter Lens
  Tiffen Star 8 point, 2mm
  Tiffen Star 6 point, 4mm
75x80mm  

 

Nisi Neutral Density ND 3.0
  Nisi Neutral Density ND 1.5
  Nisi Neutral Density ND 0.9
  Nisi Neutral Density Graduated ND 0.9

 

Nisi Polariser - Circular

 

 
 

Camera support & grip

Tripods
My principal tripod is a Miller SX18 fluid head on Sachtler SpeedLock legs. I love this hybrid of ultra-smooth fluid drag and speedLock legs.

When I need rock solid stability I have an O’Connor Ultimate1030D fluid head on Sachtler SpeedLock carbon legs.  O'Connor heads are world famous for their ultra smooth feel, fluid movement and great balance.  Chad O’Connor sold his first fluid heads to Walt Disney in 1949; today these fluid heads are industry standard in Hollywood. 

A Sachtler FSB 8 fluid head has served me well for many years, today it sits on a Miller Solo tripod that offers very high to very low shots in seconds. 

Fluid head   Load capacity   Tripod   Temperature Range
Miller CX18   0-16kg   Sachtler carbon SpeedLock   -40° to +65°C (-40° to +149°F)
O’Connor Ultimate 1030D   0-13.6kg   Sachtler carbon SpeedLock   TBA
Sachtler FSB8   1-10kg   Sachtler ENG, 75mm   -40° to +60 °C (-40° to +140°F
Sachtler FSB4   0-4kg   Miller Solo, 75mm   -40° to +60 °C (-40° to +140°F
Vinten Signet post-head   2-10kg   Vinten ENG, 100mm   TBA

Matte boxes
Matte boxes help bring contrast to the image by blocking out light flares.
I’ve owned Arri and O’Connor matt boxes, which I thought, were the best, until UK based Bright Tangerine came along.
Today I have the VIV studio matte box from Bright Tangerine.  The VIV is a lightweight carbon fibre that uses industry standard "Panavision" size filters.  It’s a swing-away so lens changes are quick.  I also have a Bright Tangerine Misfit Atom, which is an amazing ultra lightweight matte box. 

Follow focus
No surprise that my choice of follow focus is also a Bright Tangerine Revolvr ATOM Cine; the best follow focus I have ever used. 

Follow focus for hand-held shooting
When a cameraman uses a traditional follow focus on a shoulder-mounted camera, it’s general never in a comfortable position to operate; that kind of follow focus was designed to be used by an assistant/focus puller.  When shooting hand-held I use a Zacuto Z-Drive which has a further forward downward angle focus dial, which makes a more comfortable operating position.

Wireless follow focus
I have the PD Movie Remote Air 4 focus system that works up to 100m. A wheel on the hand controller or a dedicated iPhone APP controls focus.

Light meter
My choice of light meter is the classic Sekonic L-858D Speedmaster.

EyeDirect
The Eye Direct System allows a person to look directly into the lens of the camera and see the interviewer at the same time. Direct address makes viewers feel a more intimate connection to contributors who seem to be confiding in them ‘directly’ instead of looking off-camera at the interviewer/producer.

Motion control
The Rhino EVO Motion and Arc lets me automate both linear and pan motions on 42-inch steel or 24-inch carbon rails.  Works beautifully with my Laowa Macro Cine Probe lens.

Camera dolly
Wally-Dolly with 4m of seamless alloy track and lowboy attachment. 
Super smooth, lightweight and quick to set up.

Easyrig 5 Vario
Easyrig relieves strain on back, neck and shoulders.  It’s not a camera stabiliser, but footage looks like a blend between steadicam and a hand held look. It’s perfectly suited to handheld reality shooting, documentary or music promos.

 


 

Daylight viewable monitors

 

Although lenses are one of the most important elements of a camera, just as important are monitors.

I've been a fan of Small HD monitors since I first saw them at NAB many years ago, you really have to see the image quality yourself to appreciate them. I have three Small HD monitors.

17-inch Reference Grade Monitor - 10-bit
The Small HD PX3 is a 17-inch high precision monitor with incredible colour accuracy and wide colour gamut display covering 100% of the DCI-P3 colour space for cinema, which is well beyond the rec709 broadcast space.
Mains or battery powered, C-stand mountable, waveform, vectorscope, HDR preview, 3D LUTs, frame guides and 8 audiometers.

7-inch On-camera field monitor - 10-bit
The Small HD 702 Bright is a new breed of on-camera daylight viewable full HD monitors.
Features; waveform, vectorscope, peeking, picture zoom, LUTs, frame guides, audiometers, etc.

5-inch Focus Monitor - 10bit
A DSLR camera-top touch screen daylight viewable monitor that also powers my Sony A7 III camera. This monitor has everything that the bigger Small HD monitors have, waveform, vectorscope, peeking, picture zoom, LUTs, frame guides, audiometers, etc.

5-inch Blackmagic Video Assist Monitor 10bit
Full HD touchscreen monitor with built in ProRes and DNxHD recording.

 


 

Sound kit

I take great care to assure my audio levels are within ‘broadcast standards’. My audio levels are recorded within ‘recommended broadcast standards’ with peaks between -18 to -20db BBC Peak levels should not exceed -10db. EBU (PAL countries)- tone of 1 Khz @ -18dbfs.

If I’m to film in chaotic environments with several of people and you're expectation is to capture great audio on the fly, then it's really advantageous to have a separate sound recordist with a mixer and boom pole.  Radio mic frequencies are UK legal - TV-channel 33-41, 566,025-630,000 MHz

My sound kit consists of:

Sennheiser 416 microphone in Rycote
Sony Dual-Channel UWP-D Receiver and Transmiters.  
2 x Lapel mics - Sanken COS 11D      
3 x Lapel mics - Sony ECM-77
2 x Reporter/desk mics - AKG D 230 
2 x Reporter/desk mics - Sony F112  
1 x Reporter/desk mic - Bayer M58
1 x AKG P220 Studio condenser microphone
2 x Sennheiser HD-26 PRO headphones
High wind covers for clip-on mics
K-Tek short boom pole with Boom Buddy
Mic stand with short boom arm.