All posts by alisterchapman

Sony Burano Events and Workshops

Now that the Burano cameras are shipping I will be running a number of events at various dealers. At each event I will go over the basic configuration of the camera. Look at lens options and how to expose correctly for S-Log3, X-OCN and S-Cinetone. Then I’ll cover workflow with X-OCN.

The first will be at Vocas in Holland on the 12th of March:

https://www.eventbrite.nl/e/tickets-ready-set-burano-841422375977?aff=oddtdtcreator

Then I have one at CVP Brussels on the 19th of March

https://cvp.com/events/sony-burano-showcase

And then one at AVS Nordic in Copenhagen on the 23rd of April. 

https://shop.avsnordic.com/pages/sony-seminar-23-april

 

Timecode and external record run for the FX3 and FX30 from Mutiny

mutiny-fx-io2-500x500 Timecode and external record run for the FX3 and FX30 from MutinyThis is a really useful teeny tiny input/output box from the guys at Mutiny. It allows users to input timecode into the FX3 or FX30 as well as connect a remote rec run control to start or stop recording. This will be so useful for those using the camera on a crane or jib as well as many other applications where the camera needs to be controlled remotely.

mutiny-fx-io1-500x500 Timecode and external record run for the FX3 and FX30 from Mutiny

The Mutiny TC-R/S for Sony FX3 and FX30 camera, feeds Timecode IN and R/S (remote triggering) via the multi-terminal (Multiport). Works with every FIZ wireless follow focus system (Preston, Arri, C-Motion, Nucleus, Heden, etc) as well as every timecode generator (Tentacle, Deity, Deneke, Ambient, etc). Orders start shipping Monday in the order taken. https://mutiny.store/products/tcrs

Where Can I Buy a Burano?

Many were expecting the Sony Burano camera to start shipping this week. However there is currently a small delay of around 2 weeks while some additional calibration work is being done. So, at the moment it looks like camera will ship at the end of February or very early March.

Where can you buy one? Burano is a CineAlta camera and can only be purchased from approved dealers. To be a CineAlta dealer you must be able to provide the expertise and support expected for a camera of this level. As a result the number of dealers that can sell it is smaller than for cameras like the FX6/FX9 etc.

If you follow this link you can locate dealers in the USA: https://pro.sony/ue_US/where-to-buy/products/digital-cinema-cameras/burano?

For the UK click here: https://pro.sony/en_GB/where-to-buy/products/digital-cinema-cameras/burano

For other countries if you go to the Pro.Sony webpage for Burano and set the country/region to your country and then click on the “Where To Buy” button you will get a list of your local approved dealers. If you can’t see a button to set the country go to the very bottom of the page where there should be a box that allows you to change the region and country. Then go back to the Burano page and from the Burano page select “where to buy”.

https://pro.sony/products/digital-cinema-cameras/burano

 

2025 Northern Lights Expedition and Workshop tour – now taking bookings.

aurora1_1.8.1-1024x576 2025 Northern Lights Expedition and Workshop tour - now taking bookings.

With another years tour completed and the Aurora seen on 3 out of the 7 nights I have decided to open up bookings for my 2025 tours a bit earlier than usual to help people wishing to come plan ahead and also spread any payments over a longer period.

Next year I will be running 2 tours, both will go to the same place and do most of the same activities. But I have decided to offer two different variations.

The first tour is an adventure tour for those wanting to see the Aurora (Northern Lights) and enjoy the experience of staying with a Sami family in cabins up on the arctic plateau in Norway. Although there will be people available to offer advice and guidance on filming or photographing the Aurora there is no formal photo or video training on this trip. This trip is not a workshop, it is a chance to experience a different way of life in an amazing location. It is suitable for anyone that is reasonably fit and healthy with a sense of adventure. You don’t need to be interested in photography.

A7-first-night1-1024x684 2025 Northern Lights Expedition and Workshop tour - now taking bookings.
Captured on the first night at the cabins in 2018.



The second tour will be a photo and video workshop tour. It will be based at the same cabins and do most of the same activities as the adventure tour but in addition there will be classes from 10am to 12 noon day on shooting the Aurora, using log gammas for video, colour grading with DaVinci Resolve. After each class you will be expected to go out and shoot some video or photographs of that days activities or you will be given a shooting assignment for the afternoon. Then the following day your work will be critiqued and ideas and suggestions on how to improve what you have shot will be given. The aim being to help you improve your shooting skills over the course of the week. This tour is best suited to those with a keen interest in video and photography.

For more information go here: https://www.xdcam-user.com/northern-lights-expeditions-to-norway/

Sony Burano Tutorial Videos

Sony have released a series of 4 videos that I made for them about the Burano camera. You can view these here or for full screen and the best quality on the Sony YouTube channel.

The first video covers the general configuration of the camera and some details on the “Home” page menus and main menu system.

The second video covers the different scan sizes and the corresponding codecs that are included in Burano . 

The third covers the lens mount, IBIS and variable ND filter and the fourth video covers Burano’s fast hybrid AF autofocus system.

What CFExpress Cards Can I use with a Sony Burano?

Burano-Media-e1706111847296-600x299 What CFExpress Cards Can I use with a Sony Burano?

Sony’s Burano camera is about to start shipping and one question that keeps coming up is “what cards can I use”?

The official line and my own recommendation is that you use CFExpress type B cards that are certified to the VPG400 standard. No other type of card is GUARANTEED to work. 

Certainly if you want to get production insurance you are going to have to use the recommended media and if you are shooting something that can never happen again, you really want the security of that VPG400 performance guarantee.

Screenshot-2024-01-24-at-13.22.21-e1706109500159 What CFExpress Cards Can I use with a Sony Burano?
Sony VPG400 CF Express type B. Guaranteed t work with a Sony Burano.



You don’t have to use Sony cards, you can use VPG400 cards from other brands such as SanDisk, Exascend or Nextorage. If you use a Sony VPG400 card not only do Sony guarantee it will work but in the event of a card failure Sony will do their utmost to try to recover any data from the card for you free of charge. You might not get the same service from other brands.

But what about other non VPG400 cards? After all VPG400 cards are a bit thin on the ground right now and they are also rather expensive, tpically around 4 times the price of other fast but non VPG400 cards.

I can say that I have used other non VPG400 cards in pre-production Burano’s and they have worked. Each time you insert a non VPG400 card you get an “unsupported media” warning, but the camera will still allow you to use the card.  I’ve used Integral Ultima Pro X cinema grade cards and so far have not had any significant failures. BUT the cards do run very hot and when you stop recording it takes noticeably longer for the write process to finish compared to a VPG400 card.

integral-ultima-e1706109642953 What CFExpress Cards Can I use with a Sony Burano?
I have used these cards and others MIGHT work. But they are not guaranteed to work.

 

I have been able to crash the camera when using these cards by rapidly starting and stopping recordings and then to get the card to work again you have to allow the camera  do a “restore media” . Whenever I have had to perform a restore media with these cards I have lost the last clip on the card. But in normal use, provided you don’t try to record instantly after stopping this hasn’t happened.

Integral state that these cards can sustain a write speed of around 800MB/s which is faster than the VPG400 spec. OK, so that sounds good. But I have to wonder why the cards are not in that case certified as VPG400? My guess is that when the cards start to age and are near full their performance will start to drop off and that the card won’t be able to sustain 400MB/s under all circumstances. 

So – what to do? 

My recommendation remains: Follow Sony’s advice and use VPG400 cards. These are guaranteed to work, no if’s, no but’s. They will work and they will be reliable. But if you can’t get a VPG400 card……………

If you do use other cards do let me and everyone else know in the comments. I’d love to hear about what works and what doesn’t. I would hope that in time VPG400 cards will become more common and the price gap will narrow. I do not advise that you use cards that are not VPG400, but I thought I would share my own findings.

Northern Lights Live Streams from Norway 2024

norway24-live-stream-600x338 Northern Lights Live Streams from Norway 2024Next week I head out to Norway for my annual trip in search of the Northern lights. Like last year I will try to stream the Aurora live from Norway. Of course this does depend on the weather and whether the Aurora comes out to play. 

The plan is to stream each evening from around 6pm CET Central European time starting from February 2nd. I will stream for as long as I can when the Aurora is visible. I have scheduled 5 YouTube live streams but there will likely be more added depending on the weather and many other variables that are out of my control. These streams may start later than planned or get interrupted if I need to move the camera position or if I run out of power. As well as the scheduled streams I intend to include additional streams where I will go over the equipment used and things like that.

To stream the Aurora I will be using various pieces of kit including my Sony FX3 camera connected to an Accsoon Seemo or an Accsson CineView. The Seemo connects to an iPhone directly via a cable and I can then stream the output of the FX3 from the phone. However the area where I will be doesn’t have the best cell phone signal so I might need to use the CineView. With the Cineview connected to the camera I can send the pictures to my phone and then stream from the phone. This way I can put the phone in a location where there is a better signal.

The livestream page of my YouTube Channel is here: https://www.youtube.com/@alisterchapman/streams

I will also try to send out notifications from my facebook feed of any streams shortly before I go live: https://www.facebook.com/alister.chapman.9

And in case you haven’t seen it before here is a little bit of behind the scenes info from last years Aurora trip. 

New Firmware Coming For The FX3, FX30 and FX6 – Shutter Angle for FX3/30.

FX-Firmware-Version5-600x470 New Firmware Coming For The FX3, FX30 and FX6 - Shutter Angle for FX3/30.

Before you get too excited – these firmware updates are not coming just yet. But they are coming.

FX6

The FX6 will get an update to Version 5  to quote Sony “in May 2024 or later” which will include:

–  The addition of 1.5x setting to the De-squeeze function

– Monitor & Control app compatibility (ex. Waveform, False colour such as FX3/30 already supported)

–  A new preset 709tone to support to colour match multiple cameras  (I assume this is to match the older Sony Rec-709 look)

– The expansion of supported lenses, such as the SEL100400GM & SEL200600G, for breathing compensation.

FX3 and FX30.

Then later in the year, in September 2024 or later the  FX3 and FX30 will get:

– A Shutter Angle option

– 709tone support

– SRT/RTMP/RTMPS support for Live streaming demand

The addition of shutter angle in the FX3 and FX30 is going to please a lot of owners of these 2 cameras.

 

 

How I shoot the Northern Lights

460x150_xdcam_150dpi How I shoot the Northern Lights

Every year as many of my regular readers will know  I run tours to the very north of Norway taking small groups of adventurers well above the arctic circle in the hope of seeing the Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights. I have been doing this for around 20 years and over the years as cameras have improved it’s become easier and easier to video the Aurora in real time so that what you see in the video matches what you would have seen if you had been there yourself.

In the past Aurora footage was almost always shot using long exposures and time lapse sometimes with photo cameras or with older video cameras like the Sony EX1 or EX3 which resulted in greatly sped up motion and the loss of many of the finer structures seen in the Aurora. I do still shoot time lapse of the Aurora using still photos, but in this video I give you a bit of behind the scenes look at one of my trips with details of how I shoot the Aurora with the Sony FX3 in real time and also with the FX30 using S&Q motion. The video was uploaded in HDR so if you have an HDR display you should see it in HDR, if not it will be streamed to you in normal standard dynamic range. The cameras used are Sony’s FX3 and FX30. The main lenses are the Sony 24mm f1.4 GM and 20mm f1.8 G but when out and about on the snow scooters I use the Sony 18-105 G power zoom on the FX30 for convenience.

I used the Flexible ISO mode in the cameras to shoot S-Log3 with the standard s709 LUT for monitoring. I don’t like going to crazy high ISO values as the images get too noisy, so I tend to stick to 12,800 or 25,600 ISO on the FX3 or a maximum  of 5000 ISO on the FX30 (generally on the FX30 I stay at 2500). If the images are still not bright enough I will use a 1/12th shutter speed at 24fps. This does mean that pairs of frames will be the same, but at least the motion remains real-time and true to life.

If that still isn’t enough rather than raising the ISO still further I will go to the cameras S&Q (slow and quick) mode and drop the frame rate down to perhaps 8fps with a 1/8th shutter, 4fps with a 1/4 shutter or perhaps all the way down to 1fps and a 1 second shutter.  But – once you start shooing at these low frame rates the playback will be sped up and you do start to loose many of the finer, faster moving and more fleeting structures within the aurora because of the extra motion blur. 

So much of all of this will depend on the brightness of the Aurora. Obviously a bright Aurora is easier to shoot in real time than a dim one. This is where patience and perseverance pays off. On a dark arctic night if you are sufficiently far north the Aurora will almost always be there even if very faint. And you can never be sure when it might brighten. It can go from dim and barely visible to bright and dancing all across the sky in seconds – and it can fade away again just as fast. So, you need to stay outside in order to catch the those often brief bright periods. On my trips it is not at all unusual for the group to start the evening outside watching the sky, but after a couple of hours of only a dim display most people head inside to the warm only to miss out when the Aurora brightens. Because of this we do try to have someone on aurora watch.

During 2024 we should be at the peak of the suns 11 year solar cycle, so this winter and next winter should present some of the best Aurora viewing conditions for a long time to come. My February 2024 Norway trip is sold out but I can run extra trips or bespoke tours if wanted so do get in touch if you need my help. There is more information on my tours here: https://www.xdcam-user.com/northern-lights-expeditions-to-norway/

Don’t forget I also have information on filming in cold weather here: https://www.xdcam-user.com/2023/12/filming-in-very-cold-weather/

I will be back in Norway from the 1st of February, keep an eye out for any live streams, I will be taking an Accsoon SeeMo to try to live stream the Aurora.

Circus shot with the Sony FR7 PTZ camera

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.

313521105_845958669754357_6850939375571143587_n-600x400 Circus shot with the Sony FR7 PTZ camera
Operating the FR7 from 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.

313806757_1197068724545808_2210067909302650202_n-1-600x400 Circus shot with the Sony FR7 PTZ camera
FR7 up on one of the tent supports.


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/