Hello all! Great news comes from APV in the form of the latest revolution in cinematography; capturing and delivering video and media content in 4K (3840x2160p) or Ultra High Definition using the Sony A7S camera and Atomos Shogun recorder.
Seeing the release of both the Sony A7S and Atomos Shogun at industry events, I was so keen to get my hands on this kit. Unlike DSLR's the A7S is mirrorless which means it's body is around 1/3 the size of the Canon 5D mkIII, it has incredible light sensitivity, the features to film in both slow-motion and using the S-Log gamma curve make it an ideal production camera in a tiny body.
I first saw the Shogun outside of an expo at the Shadows and Light workshop, a friend was showing me some footage he shot the evening before on the setup in 4K. He showed me the captured footage, and then applied the LUT in the Shogun to show what the result would be after grading.. I was blown away. Both as a monitor and a recorder, the Shogun excels at capturing HD and 4K video and audio with in-built monitors such as waveform and vectorscope, peaking, zebras, as well as recording in a range of formats at a much higher bit-rate than in camera recording - 220Mbit/s HD and 440Mbit/s 4K (I think) which is perfect for grading and video-focused productions to filmmaking.
I invested into Canon EF equipment a couple of years back as the 5D mkIII was to best option for large sensor filming, so instead of spending out on native Sony E mount lenses I purchased both the Metabones EF-E mount mk IV and the Commlite EF-E mount to use my current lenses.
Also knowing that the batteries for the A7S (FW-50) are much smaller in capacity than the LP-E6 Canon batteries, I ordered another 4 Sony's with the camera and two from Amazon with another charger (EX-Pro). Inevitably, all of the accessories came before the camera did.. So I eagerly charged and labelled up the kit and get it ready for the camera to arrive!
The camera came last week and not having any new toys for a while I was keen to play around and check out the cameras features straight away! Glen came over as the camera arrived, so he became my willing subject. I hooked up the Tamron 24-70 to the Metabones which worked fine and shot some handheld video, as the lenses vibration control was active. I also have an eyecup for the little viewfinder for another point of contact, to reduce the shake if I need to hand-hold for some shots.
As I was waiting for numerous deliveries to arrive (including the Shogun), I was housebound for a while so I made do with the plants in the garden and my cat for things to film. Here's some of the first footage captured -
The best friend has bought a swanky new Audi, so he took me for a spin! I was still getting used to the photo mode and controls, it was past 8pm with the sun only just set so the ISO was wacked up reasonably high.
Because the cable for connecting the A7S to the Shogun hadn't arrived yet (from Atomos) I went searching around Epsom with no avail for a micro HDMI to HDMI cable. I ordered one off Amazon for evening delivery, which came while I took the photos of Sams new car!
I was overly happy with the recorded images that I captured in the mean time with the Shogun hooked up to the 5D mk III. I decided to record them in ProRes HQ to see how far I could push the footage in colour correction, post and grading. It worked fantastically, so much in fact that I'm deeply considering teaming the 5D mk III with another Atomos recorder for the same reasons as above.
I finally got my hands on a micro HDMI cable to road test the 4K HDMI output from the A7S to the Shogun, and just as I began to film, Alfie the cat decided he wanted to join in! I don't remember the picture profile, but it was shot with a pretty wide aperture on the Tamron 24-70. I also tried out the down-ressing method that I'll be using for 4K filming but delivering in HD, so I edited the 4K sequence twice, one in native 4K resolution and the other in a 1080p sequence with some clips scaled down or cropped. NOTE - please change the resolution to the highest possible for the best results!
Let me know what you think!
I also shot some Picture Profile tests to compare the colours, DR, contrast and noise, this is to come later!