I’ve just return from the arctic cabins that I use for my Northern Lights Aurora tours following a great trip where the group got to see the Aurora on 3 nights. In this video there is footage from two nights, the 13th and 14th of January.
I recommend watching the video direct on YouTube and on a nice big screen in 4K if you can.
Most of it is real time video, not the time-lapse that is so often used to shoot the Aurora. The Sony FX3 (like the A7S3) is sensitive enough to video a bright Aurora with a fast lens without needing to use time lapse. On the FX3 I used a Sony 24mm f1.4 GM lens, this is a great lens for astro photography as stars are very sharp even in the corners of the frame. The Aurora isn’t something that is ever dazzlingly bright, so you do need to use a long shutter opening. So, often I am shooting with a 1/15th or 1/12th shutter. I have been using the CineEI mode at 12,800 ISO and also using the S-Log3 flexible ISO mode to shoot at 25600 ISO. This isn’t something I would normally do – add gain while shooting S-Log3, but in this particular case it is working well as the Aurora will never exceed the dynamic range of the camera, but the footage does need extensive noise reduction in post production (I use the NR tools built into DaVinci Resolve).
I also shot time lapse with my FX30 using a DJI RS2 gimbal. On the FX30 I had a Sigma 20mm f1.4 with a metabones speedbooster. I shot using S&Q motion at 8 frames per second, this gives only a slight speed up and a more natural motion that time lapse shot at longer intervals. By shooting at 8 frames per second I can use a 1/4 of second shutter and this combined with the FX30’s high base ISO of 2500 (for S-Log3) produces a good result even with quite dim Auroras.
By shooting with S-Log3 you can still grade the footage and this is a quick way to get a time-lapse sequence without having to process thousands of still frames. It also needs only a fraction of the storage space.