I do miss my Sony FS5… I quite liked the size of this thing, and especially when paired with an external recorder like the Atomos Shogun Inferno, which can take the Raw stream and turn it into ProRes or DNxHD/HR the camera can truly shine. Recently a couple of very talented visual storytellers Nathan Ingalls and Sidney Diongzon got together and crafted a beautifully shot Christmas message filmed with the help of the Sony FS5 and Atomos Shogun Inferno.
The pair, staff members at Azusa Pacific University, said that they created the short to spread hope this festive season. The pair conceived and executed the whole film, taking around 3 days to shoot and 12 days to do post production.
“It was a major group effort”, explained Diongzon “Most of the cast were students at the University, with the only actors being a father and child. Students from the Cinema arts program also lent a hand as extra crew, with up to 10 helping at any time.”
Ingalls acted as DP, while Diongzon concentrated on blocking scenes and working with the cast, while both edited together in post.
The Sony FS5 and Shogun Inferno were used exclusively on this shoot, and the lenses Nathan used were Sigma Art 18-35mm f1.8, the Sigma 50mm f1.4 and Sigma 85mm f1.4. The duo used a Readyrig for stabilization, but without a gimbal, as they wanted a handheld look. They attached the Shogun Inferno to the FS5 using a Cinevate accessory mount.
Using the FS5 with FS-Raw upgrade allowed them to record direct from the sensor to the Atomos Shogun Inferno in 10-bit Apple ProRes for optimal picture quality. They recorded using the S-Log3 gamma using Atomos’ unique AtomHDR mode to gauge optimal exposure. This mode allows for quick assessment of the image whether shooting for a HDR or, as with this film, a regular Rec.709 finish.
“We’ve done a lot of tests with AtomHDR and we know the amount of information we are getting with it,” added Ingalls. “We find exposing between 1½ and 2 stops above normal to be the sweet spot.” Doing this reduces the amount of noise visible in the shadows, while still allowing for nicely balanced skin tones in the most lighting situations.”
Nathan’s preference is to use S-Log3 because, according to him it “grades quicker and gives us the information we need in an image”. The duo also credits Sony’s reduction of the lowest ISO for S-Log from 3200 ISO to 2000 ISO in firmware as improving the image noise performance. All these factors combined mean that the FS5 and Shogun Inferno produce an amazing image for the price.
Nathan had the advantage of being able to light the film knowing how he was aiming to grade it himself later on. His general philosophy is to light for the scene, allowing him the flexibility to shoot more freely in a space with minimal repositioning of lights. He mainly used KinoFlo Divas, a Chinaball and some LEDs. 650w and 300w ARRI fresnels were also used on dimmers for a couple of the scenes. They used a simple aerosol for haze in the workshop scenes as they didn’t have a proper haze generator.
Are you planning on shooting anything special with your camera this festive season? Share below.