Sony FS700 – review & corporate film

Client: Mindray Bio-Medical Electronics China
Production: COMFILMS, C5D
Writer / Director / DoP: Sebastian Wöber
Producer: Benjamin Hoffmann
Production Manager: Jeannette Kupper
Associate Producer: Samuel Hoffmann
Production Coordinator Hospital: Gina Vollmann
Assistant Camera: Jason Hoffmann
Gaffer: Matthias Ganster
Grip: Filip Sabo
Technical Supervisor: Bach Hoang-Pfennig
Soundtrack: The Music Bed
Sound Design: BLICKPUNKTTON Vienna
Making of: Gerhard Weiner
Stills: Martin Ramskogler
Casting Director: Stephen Sikder
Casting Agency: DreamTeam Munich
Talent Agency: Unit One Christian Kemme
Equipment: Cinegate Germany
Catering Crew: Aramark
Actors:
Chief Anesthesiologist & Mountain Climber: Markus Böker
Patient: Hubert Esch
Fellow Climber 1: Bernhard Fiedler
Fellow Climber 2: Daniel Kalser
Fellow Climber 3: Jeannette Kupper
Background Talent Hospital: Julia Hölzl, Maike Huge, Michael Horn, Dona Preußer, Filip Sabo, Leo Chen, Markus Eitzenberger, Jeannette Kupper, Benjamin Hoffmann
Mobile Nursing Service: Red Cross & Caritas
Consultant Intensive Care Unit: Dr. med. Wolfgang Manert
Consultant Operation Room: Dr. med. Reinhard Finkl
Climbing Supervisor: Bernhard Fiedler
Climbing Assistant: Daniel Kalser
English Version Voice Over: Stuart Freeman
English Translation: Stratton Craig London, Bev Giarraputo
Branding Department Mindray: Leo Chen, Serinna Itan
International Marketing Communication Mindray: Lorance Wang

fs700I’ve been working with the Sony FS700 for several weeks before shooting this corporate film in September.

Slow Motion
The Sony FS700 brings one unique and very exciting feature, the slow-motion mode that allows you to grab 240 frames worth of HD images per second. At this pricepoint slow motion has never been accessible, it’s wonderful to be able to experiment with this new tool.
But there are limitations too: This might not be visible on Vimeo, but the already very weak AVCHD codec of the FS700 (lots of artifacts generally) doesn’t get any better during slow-motion. Also the controls and any external SDI monitoring is disabled in slow-motion mode, so if you’re not connected via hdmi then all you have is the tiny screen on the back of the camera and no technical information at all. It still works somehow though, you’ve got to check after recording.

[UPDATE]:
User Minh adds: You can monitor via SDI during high speed recording, but you have to set the SDI output to 60i, and not the usual 24p/30p.

Lighting
While the camera is strong in lowlight situations, I found that the way it treats light is extremely challenging. Like on other Sony cameras you have to be careful with your highlights, but shooting flat didn’t help in getting a filmic look out of this camera. Even with very soft lights and strong post processing it was hard to get away from a videoy look. I wasn’t used to this look and surprised during editing.

Run & Gun
Not for me. This camera is a little bulky and not very ergonomic in terms of handling. It takes some getting used to and everything is not really where it should be. The design makes run & gun situations very difficult. A very big plus are the internal ND’s though.

The strong points:
– strong in lowlight / dark situations
– slow motion is a new artistic tool at this pricepoint
– battery life
– card capacity (small files)
– low price (very low in rental)
– E-mount means lots of compatible lens systems
– can be used with new Metabones Speedbooster
– built-in ND is very handy

The weak points:
– weak codec, compression too high
– ergonomics
– the way the camera treats highlights
– video look
– too many picture profile options, no standardized/tested LUT for good post workflow
– feels like plastic
– no monitoring during slow motion
– sometimes flickers in slow motion when it shouldn’t

Conclusion
While it’s not the ideal camera for me personally it also has some plus points like the slow motion function that would make me consider it for a second project or some specific shoots. This is a camera you have to run a full test on before you should use it, because it gets better when you know its weaknesses and can adjust for example your lighting setup and accessories accordingly. I would not use the flat profiles unless you have them tuned to your workflow or really need them for your scene.

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Gene
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I have this camera and I’ve always been able to monitor though my HDMI SmallHD during high speed recording. I wonder why yours seem to shut off?

Sebastian Wöber
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Sebastian Wöber

Interesting. I have only been using it via SDI.

Minh
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Minh

You can monitor via SDI during high speed recording, but you have to set the SDI output to 60i, and not the usual 24p/30p.

Sebastian Wöber
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Sebastian Wöber

Thanks, I updated the post

Joe B
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Joe B

I own one and the delay on an attached HD monitor – via SDI or HDMI when in 24p recording is unacceptable. Simply put your hand in front of the lens and quickly pan on and off of it while using an external monitor and you’ll see what i mean.

Delfi
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Hi, very nice video. Wich PP have you used? A custom one? I love the balanced image you’ve got. Thanks!

Sebastian Wöber
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Sebastian Wöber

Hi Delfi,
I used one of the cine presets and altered them in trying to make it less responsive to highlights. I couldn’t do much.
I don’t know which presets are out there now, but I would highly recomming using a proofed profile that can be de-lutted afterwards to get correct colors and gamma curve matching your post processing workflow.
Really don’t tweak in the color profiles, you will have a hard time getting it right at the end. Make a test on this workflow before using the camera.
Seb

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