Sony has launched an entirely new division called Airpeak. Airpeak have produced a large drone that can carry an Alpha sized camera. They claim that this is the smallest drone capable of carrying an Alpha sized camera. It’s unknown at this time whether the Airpeak division will purely focus on larger drones capable of carrying non integrated cameras or whether they will also produce smaller drones with integral cameras. It would certainly make sense to leverage Sony’s sensor expertise by creating dedicated cameras for drones and then drones to carry those cameras.
The drone market is going to be a tough one to make inroads into. There are already a couple of very well regarded drone manufacturers making some great drones such as the DJI inspire or Mavic Pro. But most of these are small and cannot carry larger external cameras. However the cameras that these drones are equipped with can deliver very high quality images – and they continue to get better and better. The use of larger drones for video applications is more specialist, however globally it is a large market. Whether Sony can compete in the more specialist area of larger drones that carry heavier payloads is yet to be seen. I hope the succeed.
One thing I intend to do in the next few years as the Sun enters the more active phase of it’s 11 year solar cycle is to shoot the Aurora from a drone and a camera like the A7S III and a larger, stable drone would be perfect. But there is no indication of pricing yet and a drone of this size won’t be cheap. So unless I decide to do a lot more drone work than I do already, perhaps it will be better to hire someone with the right kit. But that’s not as much fun as doing it yourself!
For more information on Airpeak do take a look at their website. There is already some impressive footage of it being used to shoot a Vision-S car on a test track.
Interestingly the FX6 is specifically noted as NOT approved for anamorphic capture. I suspect this is down to the fact that this is a 4K sensor with no oversampling. While the PXW-FX9 is not listed as approved for anamorphic (only Venice is specifically approved) it does not have the anamorphic exclusion that the FX6 has. Perhaps the FX9 can be used on a case by case basis for anamorphic thanks to it’s 6K oversampling when using the Full Frame 6K scan mode?
Anyway, this is more good news for Sony film makers and shooters.
Sony 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.
Sky 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.
Camera setup, reviews, tutorials and information for pro camcorder users from Alister Chapman.