Sunday, January 27, 2013

Shooting On The FS700

Last week had me shooting near Charlotte NC with Brad Keselowski in his shop doing a bunch of product endorsements. Shoot ran fine. I want to thank Steve Kahn of Edit On The Hudson  for helping me out on the first rate crew and gear. I used a FS700 for this shoot with my Rokinon 35 1.5 Cine on the front for most of the shots. Mounting this required me to pick up a fotodiox EF to NEX adapter which worked fine. Second camera was one of my 60D's with OM 50 1.5 + Kenko 1.4X extender doing close ups.  

So what  about that FS700 ? well we had tons of lights - my HMI's and LED's handled the job easily, plus a couple extra rental LED lights. This lighting was not at all challenging for the camera. The images where nice and sharp, no moire or aliasing to be seen.

Was there anything I didn't like ? Yes. In several setups Brad had a yellow shirt on. The camera completely blocked it up into solid color. Reading the red channel it was 255 ! Not happy. I looked at the blue and green channels and saw they still had gradation in them. So I ran those shots thru Resolve 9 for fixing. I used the RGB channel mixer to borrow some luma from the blue and green channels, applied a soft circle wipe and qualifier to limit the effect to his shirt, pulled down the highlights a bit and now I had something looking like a shirt rather than a yellow blob. On one level I'm happy the camera simply didn't burn it out to white but on the other I wish it had handled it better. The problem was we had Brad for a very limited amount of time and I just couldn't go digging into menu's to mess with knee point, slope and maybe saturation levels. We just had to get shots done ! 

Audio

Its nice having 2 XLR's on the camera. The camera oddly gives you the choice of PCM 48K 16bit or compressed audio... not sure why you'd want compressed audio in this day and age. Sound otherwise was ok. Wish it had 24bit and AES input as options. 

Media and Codec

Uses SD cards, I'm happy. in 24FPS the data rate is 24mbit/sec which is about the same as canon. The only difference was at the end of the shoot where both cameras rolled together, the 60D had shoot 30G of media while the FS700 had only shot 12G. That was weird but it looks ok. I guess Sony has a better encoder. A 32gb SD card means a lot of shooting space.

The down side here was MXF. I like simple QT files from Canon, I don't like folder based MXF. Its just a problem format. For some odd reason Prem Pro CS 6.0.2 on MY machine didn't open the files. On another machine running the same software, but 10.7.5 rather than 10.8.2 CS 6.0.2 they worked fine. I dearly wish this camera wrote either QT or single file MXF without the folder structure nonsense that 10.8.x may be messing with.

Would I buy this camera ? maybe... I need to spend more time with it get a better sense of how it works and get some better tweaked settings.