I’m pleased to offer a Cinematography shooting package built around the Sony F5 Super35 camera.
The Sony PMW-F5 CineAlta™ is the next generation of Super35 cinema cameras that shoots HD, 2K and 4K
Super35, shallow depth of field is a fantastic look that we’ve all seen in the cinemas for many years. The foreground is in focus the background is immediately out of focus. It’s a very pleasing look that’s associated with drama, high-end commercials and documentary.
The cameras Super35 sensor is where the magic happens.
The Sony F5 delivers gorgeous super-sampled HD pictures with visibly superior texture, colour reproduction and detail that ordinary HD cameras cannot touch. The F5 has fourteen stops of latitude, which allows the whole picture to be reproduced in a very natural way with lots of details in the dark area of the screen with great highlight handling. With an ISO base of 2000, the F5 is a super sensitive camera with multiple recording formats including HD/2K on SxS memory and 16-bit RAW 2K/4K on optional AXSM™ media. The F5 shoots up to 180 frames per second slow motion in full HD which is just over 7 times slower than real life.
Image Sensor Comparison
Using good optics has always been important to me.
Lenses are one of the most important elements of a camera because they form and focus the image that is recorded by the camera sensor. Lenses actually define the picture resolution more than a cameras sensor.
Zoom lenses are associated more with video cameras than large format cinema cameras like my Sony F5. A zoom lens for a shoulder-mounted camera such as XDCAM, etc. would have a typical zoom range of x20.
For the new breed of large format cameras, like the F5, Alexa or Red, zoom lenses tend to have shorter ranges around 3X or 6x. Although these lenses are sold as cine zoom lenses, most cameramen treat them as ‘variable focal’ lenses, i.e. we use the zoom ring to choose a focal length before we roll the camera.
Unlike zoom lenses, prime lenses have fixed focal lengths. For example I may use a 32mm lens for a medium wide shot and a 65mm for a close up. Each framing requires a lens change which is sometimes impractical if shooting an interview as you can lose the moment. Shooting with primes takes a little longer as they have to be changed more often.
Classic Glass on a Modern Camera
Even with the tremendous amount of options on the market today for cinema lenses, many cinematographers still stand steadfast by classic lenses like this Cooke 20-100mm zoom.
The optics of older glass like this Cooke helps greatly in offsetting the hard edge of the new breed of high-end cameras like Sony F5, Alexa, etc. Cooke lenses are known worldwide for their distinctive ‘Cooke Look’, which has created beautiful images for the movie industry for the past 129 years.
The Cooke 20-100mm T3.1 zoom lens was used on countless classic 70’s and 80’s movies. It cost around $30,000 at the time and was Stanley Kubrick’s favorite zoom lens. He used it on many films including The Shinning and Eyes Wide Shut. More recent, Spielberg used this model on his 10-part mini-series, “Band of Brothers”.
Part of the Cooke Look is the very subtle warmth that’s in the lens, which gives luscious, warm skin tones alongside smooth contrast with a pleasing amount of sharpness. Another part of the ‘Cooke Look’ is the fall off of the focus. At a given focal point, the image will be perfectly sharp, but beyond and in front will have a nice soft fall off of the amount of sharpness of the image. Non-Cooke lenses tend to have a pretty sharp fall off which isn’t as nice as the Cooke.
Cooke lenses are renowned for producing beautiful images that can’t be simulated in post-production. The optical characteristics of a lens adds more to the look of a film than you would imagine.
I have a comprehensive choice of lenses
Cooke 20-100mm T3.1 Cine Zoom (PL mount)
A wonderful lens for interviews, documentary and drama. Cooke lenses are known worldwide for their distinctive ‘Cooke Look’. Part of the Cooke Look is the very subtle warmth that’s in the lens, which gives luscious warm skin tones alongside smooth contrast with a pleasing amount of sharpness. Part of the Cooke Look is the very subtle warmth that’s in the lens, which gives luscious warm skin tones alongside smooth contrast with a pleasing amount of sharpness.
Cooke Mini S4/i Prime Lenses (PL mount)
I also have two of the new Cooke Mini S4/i Prime Lenses; 32mm & 65mm. When it’s impractical to shoot with the large Cooke zoom lens, I have these two beauties. The 32mm is a good all-rounder and great for hand held shooting whilst he 65mm is superb for closer shots. Both deliver the distinctive Cooke Look and intercut well with the Cooke 20-100mm zoom.
RED 18-50mm T2.9 Cine Zoom (PL mount)
A very usable lens for hand-held shooting that requires reactive framing. The 18mm end gives good wides whilst the 35-50mm range delivers reasonable out of focus backgrounds when required. Allegedly made by Cooke Optics UK
GL Optics 11-16mm T3 Ultra Wide-Angle Cine Zoom (PL mount)
With an angle of view which is wider than human vision, this lens delivers memorable super wide-angle shots that other lenses just can’t do. Superb lens for architecture, confined spaces or just amazing perspectives.
Tokina 100mm f/2.8 AT-X Pro Macro with max reproduction ratio of 1:1
For filming extreme close-ups of objects. An audience can appreciate for the first time, the delicate complexity of everyday items. Even printed words and maps take on new importance when we can see the very texture of the paper or the indentations of each letter produced by a typewriter. Macro filming brings your audience’s focus into places their eyes normally don’t go.
Follow Focus & Matte Box
My choice of follow focus is the award-winning O-Focus Dual Mini Cine from O’Connor. It’s double sided so it can be operated from both sides of the camera; it’s rock solid too.
Matte Box wise, I use an O’Connor O-Box which I chose over Arri & Chrosziel because it’s very sturdy with good top and side flags. This investment will probably outlast the cameras I’ll own in the future.
The Sony F5 is a multi-format camera, so it fits within the workflow that people want by offering multi-codec support,
XDCAM HD 50Mbps or 35Mbps a well-established codec HDCAM SR (MPEG4 SStp) at up to 220Mbps or 440Mbps Sony’s new XAVC MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 format ProRes & DNxHD coming soon
Not everyone wants to shoot in 2K or 4K, so if your final delivery requirement is HD, then the camera can be switched to HD but your still getting that 4K imager doing it’s magic.
Shot material is transferred via my MacBook Pro to your portable hard drives. The media is edit suite friendly and compatible with up to date Avid, Final Cut Pro, Premere, etc.
My Super35 shooting kit
Sony PMW-F5 Super35 Cinema Camera
Sony 3.5-inch colour HD digital viewfinder
Arri Top Plate Arri base plate with 15mm rods and shoulder pad
Arri bridge plate and dovetail
Start/stop trigger handgrip
Sony SxS PRO+ Memory cards Sony XQD Memory cards
Cooke Cine Lenses:
20-100mm Cooke Varotal T3.1
32mm T2.8 Cooke Mini S4/i
65mm T2.8 Cooke Mini S4/i
11-16mm GL Optics T3.0
18-50mm RED T3.0
100mm Tokina Macro f/2.8 AT-X Pro
80-200mm Nikkor f/2.8 ED
Matte box – O’Connor
Follow focus – O’Connor
Schneider Optics ND filters
Tiffen Black ProMist filters
Tiffen Ultra Polarizer & ND Grads for image control that cannot be created in post.
Small HD DP7-PRO-OLED-SX 7.7-inch field monitor with scopes
Sachtler 10 SB ENG 2 Speed-Lock carbon tripod
PAG L96 batteries and charger
17″ MacBook Pro Quad-Core i7 with transfer software