PXW-FS7 firmware version 4.0 now available to download.

FS7-Firmware-V4Sony have released firmware update version 4.0 for the PXW-FS7. This new firmware brings some welcome updates to the FS7 including the ability to move the focus magnification area away from the center of the screen.  Other new features include true 24p (as well as 23.98fps).

1. Support for Flexible Spot in Focus setting.
2. Support for XAVC-I 4K 24.00P.
3. Display for Video Signal Monitor is improved.
4. Operability of S&Q setting by assignable button is improved.
5. Remove Basic Authentication from items saved in all file.
6. Auto knee stability is improved.
7. Overall stability and operability of the camera is improved.
The firmware can be downloaded from here: https://www.sony.co.uk/pro/support/software/SET_BPE-SS-1238

One Week Intensive Workshop. 21st – 27th August, Arizona, USA.

I will be running a one week, limited numbers, intensive workshop in Arizona between August 21st and August 28th.

Lightning over Tucson
Lightning over Tucson

This workshop is timed to coincide with the Arizona monsoon season which will should give us some really exciting opportunities to put into practice many of the things that will be taught during the week.

Each day will begin with a  2  to 3 hour workshop on different aspects of modern video production including such things as log, raw and high dynamic range. We will also cover timelapse photography, lightning photography and include some basic motion control methods. So the workshop will be suitable for both still photographers as well as video camera operators. Below is an idea of the topics that will be covered:

Sunday 21st: Arrival day. Social evening, time to meet everyone.

Day 1: An introduction to lightning photography and video, including basic time lapse and slow motion techniques.

Day 2: An introduction to scene files, picture profiles, log and raw.

Day 3: CineEI, exposure index, gain and ISO and offsetting your exposure for the best results.

Day 4: Post production grading with DaVinci Resolve including the use and creation of LUT’s. How to use ACES to streamline your workflow.

Day 5: HDR, high dynamic range and Rec 2020.

Saturday 27th: Putting it all together, editing, grading and viewing your footage before social evening and diner.

Sunday 28th: departure day.

Night time thunderstorm in Arizona.
Night time thunderstorm in Arizona.

This schedule is subject to change as we will want to maximise opportunities to get out and shoot any interesting weather and storms. Most afternoons and evenings we will be out and about putting the things taught in the workshops into practice. For one half of the week we will likely be based in Tucson, Arizona and the other half Flagstaff. This will give us opportunities to shoot the incredible lighting storms that are common at this time of year as well as spectacular scenery such as the Grand Canyon or old western towns such as Tombstone (the location of the OK Coral). We will shoot conventional video clips as well as time lapse, so expect some early starts or late finishes as we shoot sunsets and possibly sunrises.

The minimum number of participants for this workshop is 4 and the maximum is 8. Ideally you should bring your own camera equipment and a laptop to edit with, but this is not a requirement.

The course fee is $1,500 USD per person. This does not include accommodation, food or your transport to Tucson, Arizona. It does include transportation each day of the course. We will be staying in a mid-priced motel (Holiday Inn Express, Hilton, Hampton Inn or similar), and you should budget around $110-$150 per night for accommodation.

Please use the contact form if you are interested in joining this exciting workshop.

 

PXW-FS5 Tutorial Videos.

I was asked to prepare two tutorial videos on the PXW-FS5 for Sony. The first video covers the advanced features of the camera including super slow mo and the variable ND filter. The second video gives an overview of the picture profile settings with some suggestions for which to use and when, including the correct exposure for S-Lo2 and S-Log3.

There should be some downloadable PDF guides to go with these videos coming shortly.

PXW-FS7 CineEI Guide Updated.

I have just completed a long overdue update to my guide to CineEI and S-Log2/S-Log3 on the PXW-FS7. I have made some changes to reflect the new expanded zebra range available in the latest firmware versions as well as the new waveform operation. I have also added in the two videos I have made on using CineEI. The first video covers setting up the Cine EI mode and how to expose S-Log2/3 and then the second video explains how to use the exposure index function to offset your exposure for less noise and grain.

http://www.xdcam-user.com/2014/12/ultimate-guide-for-cine-ei-on-the-sony-pxw-fs7/

Storm Chasing and Canada Workshops.

I’m off to Canada today for workshops in Montreal tomorrow at INIS (301, boulevard De Maisonneuve Est) Thursday May 26th, 1pm – 5pm and then at  6:30pm – 10:30pm.

Then in Toronto at SIRT, Monday May 30th 1pm – 5pm and 6:30pm – 10:30pm.

From there I go to Vancouver Film School on Wednesday June 1st, 1pm – 5pm and 6:30pm – 10:30pm. 

More details about these free workshops are here: https://www.sonybiz.ca/pro/lang/en/ca/article/broadcast-socan-alister-chapman

After that it’s down to Cinegear in LA for some more workshops there before heading up to Denver for a 10 day long storm photo and video workshop. While getting ready for the trip I came across a few clips from last year that I had not put up on youtube yet, so here they are:

PXW-FS5 Firmware Version 2 Released.

Firmware version 2.0 has just been released for the Sony PXW-FS5. This update adds the automatic ND filter option as well as zebras that go rom 0 to 109% so now you can use Zebras with grey cards for S-Log and raw exposure…… Oh yes, of course you need firmware version 2 if you want to get the raw option for your FS5.

The raw option allows you to record 12 bit linear DCI 4K (4096×2160)  at up to 60fps to a compatible external recorder as well as 120fps 4K raw in a 4 second burst plus up to 240fps slow motion 2K.

Also the GPS will now work (provided you have the handle attached), so footage can be geotagged for future reference and the cameras internal clock can be synchronised to the GPS time signal. This may be useful for multi-camera shoots as at least the time on each camera will be exactly the same.

Here’s the link to the firmware.

Digital Cinematography Workshop – Singapore.

I’m running a 2 day intensive digital cinematography workshop at Singapore Media Academy on the 28/29th of June.

This workshop is going to be great for anyone that want’s to get the very best from their camera equipment covering aspects such as scene files and picture profiles. How to use different gamma curves to create different looks. How to shoot with log and raw and how to create stylised look with LUT’s (Look Up Tables). There will be an introduction to grading and post production as well as a look a the ACES workflow. There will also be an introduction to 4K and HDR production.

Grants are available through MDA Singapore for residents and some other categories to cover the full course fees.

CLICK HERE for more information.

Big Sky News Investment in Sony XDCAM.

PXW-X400Sky News in the UK have decided to invest in a new ecosystem using a number of different Sony XDCAM camcorders in a move to future proof their news production. All the cameras chosen feature Sony’s built in streaming and ftp functions.  To go with the cameras Sky are also investing in a number of PWS-100RX1 live streaming receivers that feature Sony’s QoS system that ensures high quality images even when using low quality data connections.

The cameras chosen include the PXW-X400 shoulder camera (which from next year can be upgraded to 4K with a new sensor system). The PXW-X200 and the PXW-X70 (also 4K capable).

According to the Sony Press release:

George Davies, Head of Operations at Sky News UK said: “Sky News is constantly looking to improve its news service and customer experience. Core to Sky News is the ability to increase speed to air with accurate information. IP is now an integral part of the news infrastructure and the cameras we are purchasing will allow a revolution in the workflow for Sky News in the field. The Sony cameras and network system will allow Sky News to have permanently connected cameras with bi-directional information to ensure we get the pictures back but also have metadata to ensure we know what they are and where they are from”.

For more details click here.

Storm Photo and Video Tour. 1 Place left.

Shooting a Supercell Thunderstorm
Shooting a Supercell Thunderstorm

I have one spot still open on my storm chasing photo and video trip.

This is NOT a trip where we will try to get as close to a tornado as possible. The aim of this trip is to capture some of the incredible beauty of mother nature when she is angry. So we will be trying to capture incredible stormscapes, lightning, supercell storms and maybe tornadoes from a safe distance (at least 1 mile). Full details are here: http://www.xdcam-user.com/tornado-chasing/

Supercell Thunderstorm in South Dakota
Supercell Thunderstorm in South Dakota

You will get to spend 10 days between June 6th and June 16th with me as your guide and mentor. I will help you get the very best images. There is no guarantee that the weather will play ball and there will be long hours in the car travelling. But if you spend a week in “tornado alley” in June and are prepared to travel, then it would be very unusual not to see some incredible weather and storms. If that happens then we will make good use of the time shooting some of the spectacular scenery that states like Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, Montana, Wyoming and the Dakotas have to offer. Use the contact form if you are interested in joining me.

Bennigton Kansas Tornado from about 2 miles away.
Bennington, Kansas Tornado from about 2 miles away.
Dying Supercell Thunderstorm at Sunset in Nebraska.
Dying Supercell Thunderstorm at Sunset in Nebraska.

Camera setup, reviews, tutorials and information for pro camcorder users from Alister Chapman.