FX9 footage from Norway 2020

Here’s a compilation of footage from this years winter trip to Norway. This was all shot with the PXW-FX9. Mostly with sony lenses and autofocus. The AF was great for following the dog sledding. The camera performed really well and did a great job of capturing what was a very faint Aurora display in between cloud banks.

The daytime footage was shot using S-Log3 in CineEI. I didn’t expose any brighter than base, so used 800EI or 4000EI. I used the viewfinder display gamma assist rather than any LUT’s as I know I can use gamma assist no matter what frame rate I shoot.

DSC_0899-1024x768 FX9 footage from Norway 2020
The PXW-FX9 worked perfectly even when the temperature was below -30c.

The Aurora was very faint, barely visible to the naked eye, so I had to shoot using a 32 frame slow shutter (the equivalent of about 1.3 seconds at 24fps). I then used interval record with a 2 second interval to create the timelapse Aurora sequences.  As there were no dynamic range concerns I chose to shoot using the default S-Cinetone settings in custom mode so I could see exactly what I was getting. I was amazed at how many stars the camera picked up with such a short exposure, a sure sign of how sensitive the camera is. For the Aurora I used a Sigma 20mm f1.4 lens with Metabones speed booster and 4K s35 scan. I felt that the extra stop of light gained from the use of the speedbooster was better than the slightly lower noise that would have been present if I had used the 6K FF scan. I did also try S&Q at 1 frame per second with the shutter off to see how this compared to the slow shutter. The S&Q was much noisier, the cameras built in NR seems to work particularly well with the slow shutter function, so if you need a long exposure on the FX9 I recommend slow shutter and interval record over S&Q at 1 frame per second.

DSC_0887-768x1024 FX9 footage from Norway 2020For the  sunset shots I made use of the variable ND filter, set to auto to control the exposure. I used the cameras “backlight” auto exposure setting to obtain a bright exposure despite the strong sunlight. These shots were shot using S-Log3 in CineEI and it’s nice that the auto exposure functions work very well in this mode. The main lens used was a Sony 24-240mm f3.5-f6.3 zoom. Not the very greatest of lenses, but for such a zoom range the image quality is pretty decent. I used this lens because the temperature was often below -15c dipping to -34c at times. In addition there was a lot of blowing snow. I don’t like doing a lot of lens swapping in these conditions and the 24-240mm allowed me to take just one lens on most of the trips out and about on the snow scooters or dog sleds.

DSC_0856-1024x768 FX9 footage from Norway 2020
Getting ready to go and shoot with the FX9 plus Core V-Mount adapter and Core Neo 98Wh battery.

Another big help was the Core SWX V-Mount adapter. I used both the Core Neo 98Wh V-Mount batteries and some of my Pag Paglink 150Wh V-Mounts. They all worked very well in the harsh conditions and a great feature of the Core Neo’s is the run time indicator that gives an accurate time remaining readout based on the batteries capacity and the cameras power draw. This is very handy when using a V-Mount adapter as all the adapters currently on the market convert the battery voltage up to 19.5 volts to feed the FX9. As a result you don’t get any form of capacity or run time indication in the viewfinder. The Core V-Mount adapter also incorporates an LED indicator that turns red as the battery voltage gets low and then flashes red when it’s about to run out – a very nice touch. I did use a loose fitting insulated cover that I made myself. It’s not heated but does have a fleece lining so helps keep the heat generated by the camera when it’s operating in the camera. Where this really helps is to keep the lens warmer than the ambient air and this helps stop the lens from frosting over when shooting the aurora at night (see the picture at the top of the article where you can see just how frosty things can get at night).

DSC_0874-768x1024 FX9 footage from Norway 2020
Miller CX16 tripod head and solo legs works extremely well even in very cold conditions.

As usual on these trips we had one guest break a tripod. A lot of materials that are normally solid and robust become very brittle at temperatures below -15c. I was using a Miller CX18 tripod head with Miller Solo legs and once again this proved to be a great combination. The fluid damping of the head remain almost completely constant all the way down to -34c. A lot of other heads become unusable at these sorts of temperatures.

For file backup and file management I use the Nexto DI NPS-10. This is a relatively new device from Nexto DI. Designed to offer a robust backup solution at a much lower price than similar previous Nexto DI products it too worked very well even in these harsh conditions. I have a 1TB SSD in mine and I can backup a 128GB XQD card in around 5 minutes. I can’t recommend the Nexto DI products enough for those that need to have a simple, reliable backup on location.

The workshop shots are part of a sequence of shots for another video I am working on. For these I used Sony 85mm f1.8 FE and 24mm f2 FE lenses. The sequence is mostly available light but I did have a Light & Motion Stella 5K on hand to add a little extra light here and there.

Post production was done using DaVinci Resolve and ACES.

Advertisements

9 thoughts on “FX9 footage from Norway 2020”

  1. Hi Alister. Thank you very, very much for sharing your tips, thoughts etc from your trip to Norway. Most importantly, thank you for sharing the beautiful imagery! I have to ask, were there any “issues” that your FX9 solved that you couldn’t solve using different cameras in previous years/trips? As a commercial still photographer I rely on AF and full frame cameras all of time for my still shots and only switch cameras when one proves it can’t solve a given challenge. I do shoot video for clients, mostly product still life, and my super 35 sensor on an FS5M2 (shooting ProRes Raw) does well for me…no problems unsolved to this point. I try to solve problems BEFORE they become a problem so any thoughts you have will be welcomed. Thank you again Alister. Always look forward to your next posts.

    1. The one thing it’s solved is the need to take multiple cameras. I used to always take an A7s to shoot the Aurora and then a video camera for everything else. I don’t need to do that now.

      1. That’s a big problem solved. Less “stuff” is usually desirable. Ever pull a still frame from the FX9? I shared a still frame pulled from my FS5M2 (again, from a ProRes Raw file) and shared with a prepress colleague of mine — he was surprised that, up to a certain size, the file looked “useable” for print. I would never plan to do that but in a pinch it’s an option. FX9 can only be better? Thank you Alister.

  2. Allister,

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful footage from your trip to Norway. I was wondering if the Variable ND feature set to “auto” works well to prevent ramping from the 24-240 lens? I’ve had my FX9 now for a couple weeks and have been using the 28-135 Sony lens with good results (about the same as the 18-110 in Super 35 mode) but it would be great to have the option to use a lens like this when you need the extra reach. Thanks again for sharing your footage and knowledge!

    1. The variable ND only responds fairly slowly, but you could use it to help hide the ramping. Or just work at f6.3 and then there is no ramping.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.