A while back I got the opportunity to shoot a circus with the Sony FR7. The circus is a traditional travelling circus based in the South West of the UK called “Funtasia”. They put on both family shows and adult shows (Cirque du Vulgar) touring during the summer months as well as a Christmas show.
Filming a traditional circus during a live show is difficult as there is no raised stage as you would find in a theatre. So it is very difficult to use a camera on a tripod without obstructing the audiences view unless you shoot from the back and this isn’t ideal either. The FR7 however allows you to place the camera on the floor, on a stand or to hang it from the the venues structure and then operate it remotely. It is also very small, so won’t obstruct someones view in the same way that a large camera would.
It can be controlled from a laptop or tablet or with Sony’s RM-IP500 controller (many other PTZ camera controllers can also control it). It can be connected to wirelessly but this adds some latency to the monitoring images that are sent from the camera over the network and for something fast moving like circus this isn’t helpful. So, for this I ran a single ethernet cable from the camera to a basic router and then connected my laptop to the router. I did also have the Sony RM-IP500 remote control panel, but it was easier just to do everything via my laptop.
I filmed 4 shows. Two from low down at the front of the performance area and 2 with the FR7 hanging from one of the support trusses of the big top tent. The high shots would not have been possible any other way and they give a unique perspective, especially of some of the aerial acts.
The FR7 is part of Sony’s Cinema Line and is basically a Sony FX6 digital cinema camera in a Pan, Tilt and Zoom housing. It has the same very high image quality as the FX6 as well as all the same recording codecs (plus some extra streaming codecs). And just like the FX6 it can record 4K at up to 120fps. For this shoot I used the Sony 28-135mm power zoom lens with a little bit of Clear Image zoom every now and again to further extend the zoom range.
For more on the FR7 click here. https://www.sony.co.uk/interchangeable-lens-cameras/products/ilme-fr7
For more about Circus Funtasia click here: https://www.circusfuntasia.co.uk/