Kitplus Magazine by TV-BAY

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REVIEW shoulder rather than a lighter camera where I’m supporting a lot of the weight with my right arm. At least with the FS7 the design lends itself well to many types of shooting styles, whether that’s semi shoulder, full shoulder or cradled at waist height. The viewfinder, which is 960x540 resolution is attached to the camera via a thin arm that offers up and down adjustment as well as fore-aft adjustment but no left-right adjustment. It has a flip up loupe that is also removable. Personally I don’t like the way this viewfinder is mounted, perhaps it will be improved when the camera ships, or 3rd parties will bring out better mounting systems. I found the operation of the camera almost identical to the Sony PMW-F5. There are some differences however. The FS7 does not have a 2K center scan mode for the sensor. This is used on the F5/F55 to eliminate aliasing and moiré problems when shooting above 60fps where the cameras 4K native sensor is read out as a 2K sensor. On the F5/F55 if you don’t want to use the 2K center scan mode you can fit a special 2K low pass optical filter that replaces the factory fitted 4K filter to eliminate aliasing above 60fps when using the full 4K sensor at 2K, but this is not possible on the FS7 so there may be a little bit of aliasing and additional moiré when shooting above 60fps. Another thing the FS7 doesn’t have is the large side display of the F5 and F55. For conventional shooting this is not really a big deal. But if you are using the Cine-EI mode where you may be using LUT’s on different outputs not having this information clearly displayed is a bit of a nuisance. In fact during the shoot with the FS7 at one point I though I was shooting with a LUT when in fact I was not. The only way to be sure of how everything is set is to go into the cameras menu system. Like the F5 and F55 the FS7 has two distinct shooting modes. In custom mode the camera behaves pretty much like any other conventional camera where what you see in the viewfinder is what’s recorded on the cards. You can create scene files where you can alter the cameras gamma curve choosing between standard gammas and hypergammas, alter the colour matrix and make changes to many other picture settings if you choose. But basically what you see in the viewfinder is what you get. The other mode is the Cine-EI mode, just like an F5 or F55 and very similar to the EI mode of an Arri Alexa or Red camera. This mode is designed to mimic the way a film camera works and in addition is designed to maximize the cameras dynamic range and image quality. In this mode the camera records using SGamut3.cine and S-Log3 (S-Log2 will come in a firmware update early next year). As the aim is to capture the maximum possible dynamic range in this mode the cameras recording sensitivity is locked to it’s native ISO of 2000 (as you will only get the full dynamic range at the native ISO). As S-Log3 results in a very flat picture (that’s great for grading and post work) the camera includes the ability to add a range of Look Up Tables (LUT’s) to the viewfinder or HDSDI output. LUT’s help you better judge exposure and give a more pleasing image prior to grading. LUT’s can be used to give an approximation of how your footage will look after it has been graded. You can even generate your own LUT’s in software such as Resolve (or Sony’s new free Catalyst software) by grading a sample clip and then exporting the grade settings as a 3D Cube LUT. You then load the Cube LUT into the camera via an SD card. For exposure assistance the camera has a range of tools including a waveform, vectorscope or histogram display as well as zebras. Another way to use the LUT’s is to “bake” the LUT in to your recordings. Normally the LUT’s are only applied to one of the cameras two HDSDI outputs (the other 56 | KITPLUS - THE TV-BAY MAGAZINE: ISSUE 94 OCTOBER 2014 TV-BAY094OCT14 v118.indd 56 07/10/2014 15:41