With nearly 17 years of experience fusing photojournalism and video art together in countries like Spain, Singapore, and the UK, Michael Larsson is not your typical cinematographer/colorist. Larsson has studied a mix of video art and 3D stereoscopic media, which when coupled with his great interest in human perception, and his experiences in working with time and space in conjunction with the photographic image, has taken him through many different stages of his career. His extensive background includes audiovisual installation works and audiovisual performances before moving on to video productions and later cinematography and color grading. In hindsight, Larsson's curiosity has led to him to garner skills that have prepared him for a wealth of projects, allowing him to develop interesting ideas and methods for capturing events and stories.
Today, Larsson runs the small production boutique, Ohsoweird, a play on words that reflects back on his early career. Larsson's cinematography work consists of documentaries, short narratives, music videos, and advertising spots. Larsson is passionate about the creative and technical process of storytelling and always searches for imaginative ways to use technology for his work. Halfway through the filming of the documentary Uprooted, Larsson found himself in need of a solid, reliable 4K monitor that wouldn't distract him from his fluid workflow. For this, he turned to the Video Devices PIX-E7 4K recording monitor.
"For quite some time, I have known Sound Devices as being a benchmark name in the industry," says Larsson. "Sound artists and sound recordists that I work with have praised Sound Devices for a long time, so I knew [as a brand of Sound Devices] Video Devices must be in the same league. After reading up on features, reviews and listening to recommendations, it came down to build quality, an innovative solution for storage, and, most importantly, a no-compromise approach, so I pulled the trigger and purchased the PIX-E7."
Larsson and his PIX-E7 have been inseparable since his purchase. "My PIX-E7 goes wherever I go," says Larsson. "The endless versatility of this device makes it a very reliable tool in my work. Mostly it sits rigged up on my Blackmagic Design Cinema Camera during filming, but with a few quick moves, I can hook it up to a Ronin/Movi gimbal or connect it to an ARRI or RED on more demanding productions. Sometimes I will even use it with a Panasonic LUMIX DMC-GH4, with a lightweight cage, for very portable handheld filming, or connect it to a GoPro HERO4 Black to get some unique angles while bypassing internal recording. The multitude of ways I can use the monitor is great and it definitely delivers. When on the rig, the PIX-E7 draws power directly from a bebob battery via the extra D-Tap port and when needed, I attach two Cineroid 6600mAh 49wh batteries on the back of the monitor. That gives me many hours of power without having to worry about it running out. I love the fact that it can be configured in many ways depending on the needs of the production."
Since acquiring his PIX-E7, Larsson has been very happy with its recording and monitoring capabilities. "You've got all flavors of ProRes, plus H.264 for reference, recorded directly to the SpeedDrive and SD card respectively," he says. "The timecode is synchronized with camera control and there is no need for complicated docking once the SpeedDrive goes to offload. It's these kind of innovations that go a long way and allow you to focus on the creative work instead of tedious problem-solving. In addition, I'm very happy with the monitoring abilities of the PIX-E7 as you have large, clear scopes, false color, and if needed, individual parameter settings to adjust it all. It really helps to nail mission-critical focus and exposure in challenging situations. Most importantly, it gives me a reliable image of what the final result might look like."
On a recent video-shoot in Greece for a large-scale, commissioned project called Soundscapes/Landscapes, Larsson faced challenging conditions with strong sunlight during the day creating over-exposed areas and harsh shadows. He says he relied on the PIX-E7's accurate recording previews. The PIX-E7's hood, in particular, came in very handy during production.
"I appreciate the fact the PIX-E7 is built like a tank," says Larsson. "That makes me less worried in rougher situations. As for features, I find myself using a combination of scopes, especially the four-way view, and false color quite extensively. When sound sync is routed to the PIX-E7, I massively appreciate the overview you get from all the signals. Also, the buttons make navigation very intuitive; it is never a question about fiddling through menus. Often you need to act fast and knowing that there is a dedicated button for that is worth its weight in gold. I want to thank Video Devices for building a great tool that enables me to focus on the creative side of my work. I am now considering getting the PIX-LR audio interface to further streamline cabling and remove the need for post-sync where applicable and possible."
Founded in 1998, Sound Devices, LLC, designs both Sound Devices audio products and Video Devices video products. Sound Devices offers portable audio mixers, digital audio recorders, and related equipment for feature film, episodic television, documentary, news gathering, live-event, and acoustical test and measurement applications. Video Devices offers digital video monitors, recorders, and related products that address a range of video productions, including fast-paced studio applications, live sports, and events, as well as mobile, TV, film, and documentary productions.
The Sound Devices, LLC, headquarters is located in Reedsburg, Wisconsin. Additional offices are located in Madison, Wisconsin, Chicago, and Berlin. For more information, visit the Sound Devices and/or Video Devices websites: www.sounddevices.com and www.videodevices.com.