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Moving Picture’s Guide to Accessorizing your Sony F3

Moving Picture’s Guide to Accessorizing your Sony F3

With all the industry buzz about the new Sony F5, the F3 seems like yesterday’s news.  In many ways, that’s correct.  However, for those of you that own one of these still relevant camera systems, you know it’s a great tool for corporate video, documentary, and low-budget commercial work.  It still produces an excellent image while in S-Log mode, and it still has excellent latitude and meager lighting requirements.  There just isn’t enough justification to spend $20,000 on a properly accessorized Sony F5 if you really don’t need the 2K resolution that camera can provide. It seems that nowadays a camera is only as good as the toys you can bolt to it, and we’ve redesigned our Sony F3 camera support system to be flexible and functional.  Here are some of the toys we’ve purchased to accomplish this. Berkey System Support Accessories Berkey System offers some great accessories for the Sony F3.  Our favorite is the F3 Top Utility Plate and Plate Extension.  This little gem mounts to the camera using the two ¼-20 mount points on the top of the camera and still gives you access to the playback controls on the top.  The utility plate features sixteen ¼-20, six 3/8-16, and a dozen 10-32 tapped mounting points, as well as a focal plane stud on which to hook a measuring tape.  Aside from giving you broad flexibility in mounting additional accessories, it helps to reduce the stress on the plastic camera body by spreading the load of the mounted accessories throughout the entire plate as well as both mount points to camera.  The optional front extension provides even more flexibility as discussed later in this article. The Berkey 15mm F3 Baseplate is a robust unit designed with flexibility in mind.  It provides 15mm lightweight rod mounts that are vertically adjustable for fine-tuning as well as forward and aft adjustment for balance.  On the bottom, there are mount points for the ARRI BP-6 or the ARRI BP-8 19mm Bridgeplate, should you need to run 19mm Studio camera support. Berkey’s shoulder pad system is designed with convenience in mind.  It can be left attached to the baseplate in “disengaged” mode when on a tripod.  When you’re ready to go handheld, simply pop the camera off the sticks, loosen a couple thumbscrews, and swing the shoulder pad 180 degrees to the “engaged” position.  The tripod plate may be left on the camera for this.  All of these Berkey System accessories can be purchased together for about $1000. Shape Front Handles and Movcam Hand Grip Adapter While Berkey System does offer a front handle kit that works with the rest of their camera support system, we’ve...

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Stop Shooting with the Canon 5D and Begin Shooting with the Sony F3!

Moving Picture recently performed a camera test with Director of Photography, Henry Lynk, using the Canon EOS 5D Mark II, the new Panasonic AG-AF100, and the new Sony PMW-F3L using Zeiss prime lenses in candlelight conditions. The star of the show was, without a doubt, the new Sony F3 camera. The following images are screen captures taken from an uncompressed Apple ProRes 422 HQ, MOV file. The cameras were set to an ISO of 800 and 1600 for these shots using a 50mm Zeiss CP.2 Compact Prime lens. Panasonic AG-AF100 – The AF100 was the biggest disappointment of the bunch. Its ability capture clean imagery quickly falls away as lighting conditions diminish. Notice the complete lack of definition. The cheek, jawline, and neckline have a jagged video effect, and the hairline across the forehead is just a blur. Also, the shadows come across as blotchy and unnatural. We have used this camera in daylight and well-lit environments, and it performs well. This just isn’t the right tool for the job in these lighting conditions. Canon EOS 5D Mark II – The 5D performed about as expected. Excessive contrast and a soft look are unfortunate traits of this camera system. However, as you can see, the facial outline is clear without artifacts, the hair and neckline are discernable, and minor shadows on the face and neck look far more natural than the AF100. Facial features and contours begin to appear, as well as texture on the lips. Sony PMW-F3L – We knew coming into this test that the Sony was going to walk away as the winner of the MPES Candlelight Shootout. What we didn’t realize was how impressive this new camera really is in low light. Everything about this image is superior. You can see individual shadows of hair on our model’s face and the wisp of hair to the right is distinguishable from the hair lying flat beneath. Full facial features, textures, contours, and (dare I say) imperfections are all completely identifiable. The soft natural glow of the candlelight is reflected beautifully off the cheek, something that the AF100 and 5D just couldn’t do. The definition and latitude of this camera is quite amazing, and is very nearly on par with the RED and Alexa. Moving Picture Camera Test (5D vs. AF100 vs. F3) from Moving Picture Media on Vimeo. Download a copy of the Moving Picture Camera Test for Offline Viewing: Internet friendly MPES Camera Test (640×360, 1200kb/s)   16mb H.264 HD MPES Camera Test (1920×1080, 7500kb/s)   95mb Uncompressed MPES Camera Test (1920×1080, ProRes422 HQ)   1.5gb Bookmark it to Stumbleupon, Digg, and more! Hide...

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The Redrock DSLR Cinema Bundle

The Redrock DSLR Cinema Bundle enables cinema-style shooting with cameras that are otherwise limited due to size and design.  DSLR cameras such as the Canon EOS 5D Mark II and Canon 7D boast a number of benefits (excellent image quality, low light shooting, etc) but are less than ideal for handheld shooting.  The Redrock DSLR rig solves this problem. The Redrock Cinema Bundle features a protective and stabilizing microSupport cage built from carbon fiber rods (easily disassembled for storage).  A padded shoulder mount, including front handgrips, increases mobility.  Rounding out the Redrock system is the microFollowFocus, which attaches seamlessly and enables fully functional focus pulling. The Redrock camera support package also includes a number of options that make life easy for camera operators.  With a cheeseplate and rod clamp included, the entire system can go from handheld to tripod in a matter of seconds.  Additional add-ons such as the Hoodman Viewfinder Cinema Kit and Marshall V-LCD70P-HDMI Lightweight Monitor can be integrated into the system to meet your specific needs. Bookmark it to Stumbleupon, Digg, and more! Hide...

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Saving Picture Profiles for Sony’s PMW-EX3

The Sony PMW EX-3 has been designed to shoot spectacular images right out of the box, using the preset default settings.  However, like all Cine Alta-branded Sony cameras, the EX-3 also comes with the ability to customize the final look of the recorded images through the manipulation of an extensive array of choices in recording formats, gamma curves and color matrix options. The EX-3 gives the shooter the ability to save directly in the camera’s memory up to 6 different “Picture Profiles”.  The adjustments for gamma, white balance offset, color matrix, detail, knee, black pedestal and black gamma are all selected and saved as a Picture Profile, which is accessed through a separate menu from the main menu. The main menu is used to choose all the other camera settings, including video format and frame rate, gain setup, audio input and output settings, viewfinder settings (markers, zebra etc.), video output options, and many others. For reference, here’s a link to the manual: http://www.movingpicture.com/downloads/pmw-ex3_ops_manual.pdf It is a simple procedure to save these camera settings, as well as a single Picture Profile, to a SxS card for quick camera setup for future use, or to setup another Sony EX-3. (Please keep in mind, that whenever transferring “looks” and gamma and color settings from one camera to another, the resulting images may vary.  That is why in critical situations, it is necessary to utilize a high quality test chart and instruments, such as a waveform monitor and vectorscope, especially when matching cameras on a multi-camera project.) Once you have finished selecting the various camera settings in the main menu and chosen a Picture Profile that you have created, simply open the main menu, choose the last option, “OTHERS” and then the second option, “CAMERA DATA”.  This is where you can save (“STORE”) the settings to a pre-loaded formatted SxS card, or load (“RECALL”) settings from a previously created SxS card. Since only one file can be created per SxS card, and the smallest of those cards (8GB) can cost hundreds of dollars each, one solution is to purchase the Hoodman SDHC SxS adapter card (approximately $100), which will allow you to use less expensive, high quality SDHC memory cards, and thereby economically create and save multiple set-up files for different shooting senarios. Finally, once your new settings are loaded in the camera, there are still many important options that need to be selected via the various manual controls and switches on the camera and lens itself. These include, shutter on/off, ND selection, white balance, gain, and auto or manual lens functions such as zoom, iris and focus.   Content provided by: Steve Ciffone First Assistant Camera http://www.ciffone.com...

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Moving Picture presents: the Sony PMW-EX3 CineAlta XDCAM EX SxS HD Camcorder

Sony has expanded on their XDCAM EX line with the PMW-EX3, a full-res HD (1920 x 1080p) camera that features an interchangeable lens, Genlock in, Timecode in/out, three 1/2” CMOS sensors and much more. Like it’s sister camera, the PMW-EX1, it records to SxS PRO flash memory cards. The EX3 is a great addition to the EX family of cameras, and the ability to change lenses, along with its other key features, makes it a better camera than most sub-$10,000 units on the market. This includes even Sony’s own XDCAM HD-line of cameras, many of which only feature 1440 x 1080 resolution and 1/2” sensors. But there are some drawbacks to the camera, most notably the ergonomics, which I’ll touch upon after the features. At the end of this review is a more full list of features. PARTIAL FEATURE LIST Image Quality: With full HD CMOS sensors (1920 x 1080), the image quality is beautiful. Like the EX1, there are many ways to control the image via the Picture Profile menu, which I’ll discuss in more detail shortly. Because there is less compression than, say, HDV, the image is much cleaner without as much noise commonly found in HDV footage. Multiple frame rates and HD shooting options include 1080p30/25/24, 1080i60/50, 720p60/30/25/24 (HQ mode). Plus the ability to shoot in HDV mode (SP; 1080i60/50). Picture Profiles: There are many options found in Picture Profiles, to control the overall image quality, including color, gamma, white balance, and more. Lens Options: The EX3 comes with a stock Fujinon 14x zoom lens, which is 1/2-inch type lens for 1/2” sensors. Because it’s built on an interchangeable lens system, the camera’s stock lens can be swapped out for a different and compatible 1/2” lens. Ensure that the new lens can support HD images, or there will be problems. A lens built for standard definition (SD) cameras will be obvious when mounted on the EX3 in HD mode. A 2/3” lens adaptor can be used to mount lenses found on cameras featuring 2/3” sensors. These lenses are very popular and used not only on high-end HD productions, but any project that can benefit from lenses that allow more depth of field options. Sound: There are two XLR ports to plug in a solid boom mic or wireless mic to record pristine sound in two-channel, 16-bit, linear PCM uncompressed audio at 48 kHz. There is also a built-in stereo mic, but we recommend using a boom, handheld or wireless microphone. Moving Picture has everything you’ll need to get great audio. LIKES/DISLIKES: There’s a lot to love with the EX3: the key features above make this a better camera in many ways...

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