Working with the Sony A7s for Broadcast – Part II

A7s general viewIt’s the middle of 2015. Europe is being flooded with migrants coming from Africa and the middle east. Together with my BBC corespondent Bethany Bell, we traveled to Bolzano-Italy trying to witness first hand how those immigrants are trying to cross the Italian-Austrian border and then continue to Germany and northern Europe in hopes for a better future.

It’s the end of June 2015. The Canon 5D mark III is already sold, my Canon 1DC is collecting dust and the Sony A7s is being deployed over and over again for news and documentary assignments. After all, it is an excellent, flexible working tool.

I treat the Sony A7s as “the brain”. If I need it compact, I can travel almost incognito and still achieve excellent results. Do I need it large and on the shoulders? No problem, a few reliable accessories and I have a larger, well balanced tool to work with.

I’ve tried to put together some tips and info regarding my setup for the above shoot. I hope these will help you when you might have to shoot in similar conditions or use the Sony A7s for broadcast.

Sound:

A7s headphoneFor this specific mission, the requirement was to be as compact and flexible as possible. In order to achieve that I “sacrificed” Sony’s XLR-K2M attachment and decided to have only 1 recordable audio channel. Since I didn’t know what to expect when shooting, I decided to rely on the camera’s internal microphone for ambient sound and when conducting interviews, I would quickly plug in my Sennheiser EW100 G2 wireless receiver. As a rule of thumb I always have a mini to mini audio L-shape plug extension on the camera headphone socket, so discerning the mic plug under pressure is easy. This also comes in handy when I use headphones.

Cage and REC button:

I also replaced my trusted Thor cage platemotion9 Sony A7s cage with the new IndiPRO Tools Thor Video Sony a7S Cage. This cage has a “built in” tripod plate and its right hand side is open (unlike the motion9 cage). With an open cage is possible to use a new and ingenious accessory made by Cineasy Touch. This A7/S/R/ button enhancement accessory can be attached to the camera’s neck strap eyelet near the video button with a screw. The result is a much easier and reliable operation of the camera’s REC button.

A7s Cineasy

 

 

 

 

Lenses and ND filters:

My “day to day” lens kit consists of the following 3 lenses: (used with a Metabones EF to NEX adapter mark IV).

  • Tokina 11-16mm F/2.8. Although it’s an APS-C lens, it is the widest and fastest lens I can get. Great for general run&gun shooting, plus, the focus hard stops are as a god-send.
  • Canon 24-105mm F/4. This has been my workhorse lens for a very long time. With a good built-in stabiliser and adequate focal length, this lens truly shines. Mind you that this lens has no hard stops so accurate focusing can be hard at times.
  • Canon 70-200mm F/4.0 IS. For a long time I was debating with myself if I should purchase the F/4 or F/2.8 version of this lens and then decided to go with the F/4 one. With modern cameras being so light sensitive (especially the A7 family), the F/4 aperture is an acceptable trade-off, as the lens itself is much lighter and smaller then its F/2.8 brother (or is it the sister)?…. This suits my shooting style and constant traveling.
  • Heliopan 77mm Vari ND. This variable ND filter always give me satisfying results especially when using long lenses.
  • XUME Lens Adapter & Filter Holder. On of those simple accessories that makes life so much easier when changing lenses during running&gunning situations. Simply attach the supplied magnetic holder to any of your lenses, then attach the other part on your preferred “screw on” filter. From that point on, changing 1 filter between several lenses couldn’t become easier.

Bottom line regarding lenses, 5 years into the large sensor camera revolution and there is still no manufacturer who offers a proper, modestly priced run&gun zoom lens. The only one that comes close is the Sony 28-135mm but this one will mostly suit a full frame camera and is quite large and heavy for some assignments.

Eyepiece

Many of you requested to know the type of eyepiece I used and how to attach it to the Sony A7s EVF, so here we go:

-Eyepiece
-How to fit to the A7s EVF: https://vimeo.com/103261808

 

Camera settings and menu:

A7s Fn button

On the left you can see my Fn quick access settings. I’ve also programmed the C3 button to allow me quick audio level adjustments and under “Custom key settings”  Center Button is assigned to “Focus Magnifier” while the Down button is assigned to ISO settings.

 

A7s APS C capture sizeI also keep my camera menu ready for “APS-C Size Capture” so if I quickly need to change focal length (as demonstrated in the above video), all I have to do is press “menu” and voilà. (A quick access to this function can not be assigned as a short cut to any of the buttons).

TIP: If you want to prolong your shooting time from a single battery, put the camera on “flight mode”.

My decision was to shoot this report on PP7 (flat mode) and add the look I wanted later on. The LUT I used in this report is from Rocket Rooster. Together with James Miller’s DELUTS, currently those are my favourites LUTs.

If you have any question about this article, don’t hesitate to drop me a line!
Also check out Working with the Sony A7s for Broadcast – Part I

Many thanks to Bethany Bell. The original BBC link to her report can be found here.

Johnnie Behiri is a freelance documentary cameraman/editor/producer working mostly for the BBC and other respected broadcasters. He is also co-owner of cinema5d.com

Watch it on Vimeo

Leave a Comment

Login to comment

You are not subscribed to this post. Follow new comments

Niall Megahey Reply
Niall Megahey June 24, 2015

Great post. Could you tell me what the eye peice is youre using? Would you not find that using a monitor would help with this setup?

Reply
Johnnie Behiri June 24, 2015

Hi Niall.

Using a monitor for out door shooting in run&gun situation is not my style.

Regarding the eyepiece: http://c5d.at/cushion
How to install (as this eyepiece has to fit to the A7s EVF: https://vimeo.com/103261808

Thank you!

Johnnie

Joaquim Bel Reply
Joaquim Bel June 25, 2015

Had the same question!

I guess being red calls a lot the attention… ;-)

 Felix Zapatero Reply
Felix Zapatero January 14, 2016

Thanks a lot, great work Johnnie!

I’m looking for an eyecushion for the “new” smaller Eyecup, since this one seems to be way too big. I can’t find any in that size. Did you get one for this as well?

Reply
Johnnie Behiri January 18, 2016

Hi Felix.

Since that video was published, one of my colleagues lost the entire eyecup including the cushion so my best bet for a fast replacement was to get a smaller eyecup which I can imagine is similar to the one you are using. Me too have difficulties in finding a smaller cushion. If you find anything appropriate, please share.

Thank you!

Johnnie

Joachim Richter Reply
Joachim Richter June 24, 2015

What kind of stabilizer do you use for handheld shots?

Reply
Johnnie Behiri June 24, 2015

Hi Joachim.

Only lens(s) stabilizer was used.

Thank you!

Johnnie

Pijus Peleckis Reply
Pijus Peleckis June 24, 2015

No rig? Completely handheld?

Reply
Johnnie Behiri June 24, 2015

Hi Pijus.

No rig, just a cage (as you can see in the photos above).
2 short interviews were made with a tripod. You can spot those easily as there is 0 “shakiness”.

Thank you!

Johnnie.

Brian Dowling Reply
Brian Dowling June 24, 2015

great post. Interesting to see the look you achieved with LUTs. I’m wondering how long it took to edit the film after.

Also on a side note. I wonder is sony really winning the race here in terms of new cameras and rooms like the 5d is kinda going away.

Reply
Johnnie Behiri June 24, 2015

Hi Brain.

Editing was done in couple of hours as work flow Bethany and I developed over the years is very solid.

Regarding grading. Rocket Rooster (http://www.rocketrooster.ninja/) has nice LUTs and using Adobe Premiere’s “Adjustment layer” is making the grading process very strait forward for short features.

Thank you!

Johnnie

Gonçalo Ferreira Reply
Gonçalo Ferreira June 24, 2015

Great post. Especially to see the gear and review that is used with the camera.

Reply
Johnnie Behiri June 24, 2015

Thank you Gonçalo.

Appreciate your comment!

Johnnie

Martin Hantich Reply
Martin Hantich June 24, 2015

Excellent post on how (professional) news gathering can be done these days. For some projects, there is just no need to lug a huge PDW700 (with corresponding heavyweight tripod) around anymore. I myself recently shot a report for local TV in the mountains completely on my GH4, mainly because it was raining like crazy and we had to shoot in pretty dense surroundings.

Reply
Johnnie Behiri June 24, 2015

Hi Martin.

Couldn’t agree more!

Reply
Timothy Jace Tan June 24, 2015

Yes, i am also interested in the eye piece. haha

Reply
Johnnie Behiri June 24, 2015

Hi Timothy.

Regarding the eyepiece: http://c5d.at/cushion
How to install (as this eyepiece has to fit to the A7s EVF): https://vimeo.com/103261808

Thank you!

Johnnie

Reply
Eno Popescu June 24, 2015

A great post, thanks Johnnie.

Reply
Johnnie Behiri June 24, 2015

Thank you Eno!!

Luke Holley Reply
Luke Holley June 24, 2015

Thanks for sharing as always.

I too love Rocket Rooster LUTS and DELUTS. To both are great buys for the price.

A7s has become my primary camera too, and anytime I have to go back to any other camera I find myself spoiled by the A7s ‘s low light shooting prowess.

Have you gotten to use the A7RII yet?

Reply
Johnnie Behiri June 24, 2015

Hi Luke.

The A7rII is doing its way (slowly)…to our office.
For now the RX100IV is on my table. Will shoot with it tomorrow.
A review/post will follow soon.

Thank you!

Johnnie

Luke Holley Reply
Luke Holley June 24, 2015

Can’t wait to see the review, the RX100III is my B camera and I love it will probably replace it with RX100IV just for the SLOG alone not to mention the 4K.

My feeling is to wait for the A7sII and skip the A7rII, but we’ll see.

Riley Endicott Reply
Riley Endicott June 24, 2015

Hey Johnnie thanks for the great info. Could you explain how you compensate for shooting with SLog2 in bright day light? I have an A7s and would love to use SLog more but it seems hard to do so outdoors without cranking my shutter speed, even with my Variable ND. Thanks!

Reply
Johnnie Behiri June 24, 2015

Hi Riley. Thanks for commenting.

I never had to crank the shutter speed when using the Heliopan.
Which Vari ND are you using?

Thanks!

Johnnie

Riley Endicott Reply
Riley Endicott June 25, 2015

Thanks for the reply. I’m using Tiffen’s variable ND but it doesn’t seem to be strong enough (with out vinnetteing) to open up past about an f8 in bright sunlight. Maybe I’ll che out the heliopan one.

Thanks!

Reply
Johnnie Behiri June 25, 2015

Riley,

As the Heliopan is rather expensive, please try before you buy or alternatively make sure you can return it if not for your liking….

Thanks!

Johnnie

Joachim Richter Reply
Joachim Richter June 25, 2015

As a strong ND changes the color I decided to use best quality. I purchased a 6 stops filter from B+W. It is the best I could find, but also not perfect.

Niall Megahey Reply
Niall Megahey June 24, 2015

Hey Johnnie.

Do you ever find that you get a good bit of hiss when using the preamps in the Sony a7s? I have the Sony UWP-D11 wireless kit

Reply
Johnnie Behiri June 24, 2015

Hi Niall

If I’m not mistaken, early samples of the UWP-D11 wireless kit heavily suffered from hiss. It was later recognised by Sony and fixed in later shipments . Can it be you are using an early unit?

Thanks

Johnnie

Reply
Jonathan Constantinou June 24, 2015

Very informative post, thank you. Glad the BBC accepted XAVC-S too.

I have a question about cages – Coming from a C100, I’m looking to get one for my own A7S. Unlike the C100 or larger cameras, the A7S doesn’t have space for 1/4 20 plus a securing pin, meaning tripod plates wobble and twist. This is my main issue I’m looking to solve with a cage – which would you recommend?

Reply
Johnnie Behiri June 24, 2015

Hi Jonathan.

My master sent to the BBC was in ProRes.

Regarding cages. Hope to conduct a comprehensive cage test in the near future as we now have most of the popular one at the office.

Please head to my “favourite A7s accessories” article (https://www.cinema5d.com/7-favourite-sony-a7s-accessories/) to read about the motion9 cage. Maybe it is the one you are looking for.

The cage featured in this article (IndiPRO Tools Thor Video Sony a7S Cage) is fine and doesn’t twist. but has other issues like poor HDMI cable holder although it was not a problem in this shoot. (no HDMI cable was connected to the camera).

Hope this helps.

Thanks!

Johnnie

Gerardo Campos Reply
Gerardo Campos June 24, 2015

you must try the Sony 18-105m f4 G lens with power zoom; internal zoom, stabilization, nice optics, parfocal zoom, fast and really slow sppeds in zoom, face detection in A7s, little and light, since I own it is one of my “in camera all the time” lens ( I have more than 20 diferent lenses)

Reply
Johnnie Behiri June 25, 2015

Hi Gerardo

Thanks for the tip. If I’m not mistaken, the 18-105mm f4 G lens is an APS-C only lens. Is it correct? If so, I guess you are loosing some of the “aesthetic” full frame camera has to offer. Nevertheless, will take a look at this lens.

Thank you!

Johnnie

George Atanassov Reply
George Atanassov June 24, 2015

Great article. Really sad about the people and their kids. Hope one day we don’t have problems like these. Sadly though that run & gun zoom lens might come first.

Reply
Johnnie Behiri June 25, 2015

George, I’m afraid you are right!

Oscar M Reply
Oscar M June 25, 2015

Hi Johnnie,
Awesome doc. looks really great and nice edit.
1. is it standard PP7
2. i would love to see your workflow in regards to the CC and how you
make tohose LUT´s look so damn good.

Reply
Johnnie Behiri June 25, 2015

Hi Oscar.

Thank you for the thumbs up!.

1-Yes
2-It was very strait forward…When shooting, I try keeping the camera internal exposure meter between 0.0 to +1.0. Later in Adobe Premiere CC 2014 (2015 is crashing my computer), I prepare 3 adjustment layers. One for the LUT, second for RGB and the third for contrast (if I feel some is needed). Then (in such a short piece) I adjust the RGB and contrast for my liking for each clip. In Premiere CC 2015 my workflow is a bit different but it is too early to know if any good as the software Is a bit buggy.

Hope it helps.

Thank you!

Johnnie

Oscar M Reply
Oscar M June 25, 2015

Exellent. Thank you for the fast answer.
cheers´

Darryl Ephraums Reply
Darryl Ephraums June 27, 2015

Hi johnnie, great post. By internal exposure meter, do you specifically refer to the spot meter which you point at a part of the image. For example, do you measure 0 to 1 for skin tones or general mids etc? Thanks again for your work.

Ivan Forastiere Reply
Ivan Forastiere June 25, 2015

Nice piece Johnnie,
The footage look with a kind of “fake” sharpness.
Did you add sharp in post?
Thanks

Reply
Johnnie Behiri June 25, 2015

Hi Ivan.

As I shoot “LOG”, internal camera sharpening is completely off. I do tend to add a bit of sharpening in post but it’s the first time I hear it looks “fake”.

Thanks to your comment I’ll take extra care when doing so or search for other “less evident” sharpening alternatives.

Thank you!

Johnnie

Reply
Greg Latham June 26, 2015

Really curious about your use of SLOG-2 as your footage looks great. I’ve read a lot of folks saying that exposure should be around +2, but you’re footage looks to be completely noise free and you’ve gone for 0 to +1: any tips? It has a touch of post-sharpening about it, but looks good on Vimeo and not overly done. Could you share how much sharpening you add in Premiere? I normally find between 10-18 is good.

Reply
Johnnie Behiri June 27, 2015

Hi Greg

No special tips. For my experience exposure between 0 to 2 works well although the +1 works best for me.

I normally sharp around 18 in Premiere.

Thank you!

Johnnie

Reply
Johnnie Behiri June 27, 2015

Forgot to mention…

You should also consider carefully the LUTs you are using. Some are adding noise to the picture others are “flattening it out”.

Rocket Rooster, together with James Miller’s DELUTS, currently works for me best. They don’t add any noise to the picture, part of it or into some colours.

Thank you!

Johnnie

Reply
Greg Latham June 30, 2015

Thanks Johnnie, much appreciated.

Christopher Roland Reply
Christopher Roland June 25, 2015

Hi Johnnie. Your a7s posts have been super helpful! I was curious about your shoulder rig configuration as I’ve had some trouble getting the balance right, and solutions like the zacuto recoil rigs are a bit out of my budget at the moment. Any advice would be much appreciated!

Reply
Johnnie Behiri June 25, 2015

Hi Christopher.

Shoulder rig is indeed a painful thing…

For now I’m using “mish mash” (accessories form 2 or 3 different companies).
Distributing the wight is and issue but I can always attach a little wight or battery at the back in order to achieve a better balance.

I might do soon a short review about “my rig” and share with the community.

Thank you!

Johnnie

 Alex Clear Reply
Alex Clear June 26, 2015

I am curious about your lens choice … are you using the Canon lens because you had these or prefer the image quality/style over the Sony Vario Tessar 16-35 and 24-70 which seem to be paired with the Sony A7S?

L Ryan M Douthit Reply
L Ryan M Douthit June 26, 2015

I own and occasionally use the Sony Zeiss 24-70 with the A7S but the focus feel is terrible. This makes it a poor choice for run-and-gun video. Personally, I use Nikon lenses adapted for the A7S when doing documentary-style work.

 Alex Clear Reply
Alex Clear June 27, 2015

Thanks Ryan, the 24-70 is my main lens right now, and I agree that sometimes (a lot) it is a little difficult to focus :-( Until now I was passing it off as being me!!! :-)

Reply
Johnnie Behiri June 26, 2015

Hi Alex.

When the A7s came out, I tested it together with the Sony 24-70 and hated every minute working with it. (https://www.cinema5d.com/sleep-eat-taste-wine-and-relax-a-sony-a7s-camera-video-review/).

Focusing is indeed like L Ryan M Douthit wrote above, very difficult.

Working with my Canon (or Canon bayonet lenses from Samyang) is for now the obvious thing to do. Was seriously considering purchasing the Sony 28-135mm, but for now will wait until testing it again.

Thank you!

Johnnie

 Alex Clear Reply
Alex Clear June 27, 2015

Thanks Johnnie, I do not have any Canon lens but will have to rent a couple to try out! I like the softer look on the images you have compared to the sharper Sony lens.

With the hand held run and gun stuff I have done … people have rolled their eyes at me as it involves auto-focus :-) I set the camera to AF-M and Focus Peeking … start rolling and use the photo button get the focus I want or close to quickly. Frame the shot and then if need be adjust manually with the focus peeking to guide. This was much faster than me fumbling around with manual focus.

Simon Bailey Reply
Simon Bailey June 27, 2015

The shipping charge from the U.S. to Australia is $56!!!!!!!! For a tiny little piece of rubber that would fit in the smallest envelope… America needs to learn how to export. China do free shipping. Not surprising the U.S. is now No. 2 “superpower”.

Daniel Harrington Reply
Daniel Harrington June 27, 2015

I don’t like the color grade, looks unnatural and it looks like a lot of other a7s grades, which is why I’m selling mine. The slog and even cinegamma’s aren’t very forgiving or malleable at 8-bit 4:2:0 internal, even with an external recorder the image isn’t forgiving at all.

Reply
Johnnie Behiri June 27, 2015

Hi Daniel.

Grading is a very personal thing. Some may like it, others won’t.

I’m very curious to hear what will be your next camera. Please share if you feel like it.

Thank you!

Johnnie

Joachim Richter Reply
Joachim Richter June 29, 2015

In my opinion you are right. Italian policemen do not wear cyan colored uniforms. For a documentary style film natural looking colors are also part of the job.

Bob Wall Reply
Bob Wall June 30, 2015

I agree – it was bizarre to see the teal/orange color scheme show up in a news story. I worked through all the Deluts recently and couldn’t find one that fit into a picture that was factual, not artistic, and so ended up using a more generic LUT to lift the PP7. Skintones, especially your host here, look strange and like the person had spray-on tan.

PiDicus Rex Reply
PiDicus Rex June 30, 2015

Johnnie : For Run n Gun ENG lens,… Sigma makes Parfocal Zooms ;)
They can pick up some gunk that makes the zoom not smooth enough, but you can always use a Follow Focus with the gear on the zoom ring to get a smooth action.
Snap in, focus, snap out, frame, shoot, roll the zoom.

Reply
Johnnie Behiri June 30, 2015

Any particular lens you can recommend?

Thanks!

Johnnie

PiDicus Rex Reply
PiDicus Rex July 7, 2015

I’ve been using the stupidly cheap DG 70-300 in front of my K-01, and a pair of mates 550D and A7s, and it’s done the job rather well for a budget lens.
I don’t expect them all to be perfect in a production run,…
The limitation on them is how smooth you can move it, hence the Follow-Focus-as-Zoom-control suggestion.

I went through and checked all of my Sigma’s, from classic push-pull zooms, the Astron Clone 28-70, and the aspherical 28-80, and haven’t found any parfocals in the bunch.
These are all K-mount – I use a K-to-E mount adaptor in front of the A7s.

PiDicus Rex Reply
PiDicus Rex July 7, 2015

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uFpqQ4i5z5M

Closeups and camera right, A7s with the DG 70-300

Closing sequence is all the A7s, with SMC prime.

Reply
Johnnie Behiri July 7, 2015

Thank you PiDicus Rex for sharing the info!

I guess for now I’ll continue using the Canon 24-105mm….

Most important, keep up the good work! (BTW, 4:45, I guess it was a long shooting day :)..)

Johnnie

Reply
Kepano Kekuewa July 1, 2015

Johnnie, thanks again for sharing your perspective and work. I’m curious why you used a cage at all if you were trying to travel super lightweight on this job. I agree with your primary glass choice, however – the 24-105 is a great run-and-gun lens. I’m spoiled by my 2.8 zooms for photography, but for video work f4 is very versatile, as is the 24-105 range. I decided to purchase the Sigma version, but they’ve been out of stock at the major retailers here in the U.S. for a while.

The lightweight setup that worked for me is the 24-105 on a Metabones, the XLR-K2M on top (though, as you point out, a small wireless receiver in the hot shoe does lower the overall profile), and an aftermarket battery grip. No cage. I have a Black Rapid strap secured to the tripod mount of the Metabones and a small tripod QR plate on the bottom of my battery grip. I can have this strapped bandolier style across my chest with the camera on my hip right where my hand naturally hangs.

The battery grip and XLR-K2M do make the camera a lot taller, but it’s still easy to manage, and the grip really does help add some leverage when hand-holding longer lenses.

I fully agree with your premise that the A7s can serve as the “brains” of a highly configurable system, built up or stripped down as the job dictates.

Reply
Johnnie Behiri July 1, 2015

Hi Kepano.

Thanks for sharing your perspective. Appreciated!.

That particular cage has a small foot print and is allowing me to attached in seconds any extra accessory I need. (be it sound or light). Also, personally I find the overall camera handling much better when there is a cage.

I guess the cage for me is what the battery grip is for you….Hope it makes any sense….

Thank you again!

Johnnie

Reply
Mike Kozlenko July 25, 2015

How has the Tokina 11-16 been working for you on the a7s? Do you get vignetting when using it with the speedbooster?

Reply
Johnnie Behiri July 28, 2015

Hi Mike.

The Tokina is working very well on the A7s. I never use it with the speed booster as the A7s is already a full frame camera and the speed booster is designed for an APS C devices.

Thanks!

Johnnie

Reply
Mike Kozlenko July 28, 2015

Thanks for answering my question Johnnie! What adapter do you use for the Tokina on the a7s? And do you keep the a7s in APS-C mode when you use it, or do you just zoom in to 16mm in FF mode to lose the vignette? I have a Tokina and was considering selling it, but if it works well on the a7s, I might just keep it for my ultra-wide.

Reply
Johnnie Behiri July 29, 2015

Hi Mike.

It is the metabones IV. Usually I set “APS-C size capture” in the “settings menu” to “auto” and let the camera take care of it for me…

Reply
User Experience September 3, 2015

– Johnnie, Great report and thank you for sharing your approach.

Sound
“… As a rule of thumb I always have a mini to mini audio L-shape plug extension on the camera headphone socket, so discerning the mic plug under pressure is easy. This also comes in handy when I use headphones.”

Can you please rephrase this info? Do you mean to say that you plug your 3.5 mini headphone connector into the different ends of the L-shape extension so that you can discern the sound coming form the camera mic and the wireless mic? If this is the case, why then can you not just monitor the sound from each mic in your left and right headphones? In other words, why do you need the L-shape extension to monitor left and right audio channels?

Thank you and looking forward to your reply :)

Reply
Johnnie Behiri September 9, 2015

Hi User Experience. Sorry for my late response.

My A7s is seating inside a cage 95% of the time.
When inside the camera cage it is very difficult to insert the headphone plug into the camera headphone socket, so a simple L shape extension is solving the problem.

Hope it is a little bit clearer now.

Thank you!

Johnnie

Reply
User Experience September 9, 2015

Thank you so much for the reply Johnnie! Love the work you guys do! Best wishes :)

Reply
Johnnie Behiri September 9, 2015

Thank you. Much appreciated!

 Tracey Glover Reply
Tracey Glover March 21, 2016

Hi Johnnie, Thanks for the great article. I have just bought the A7s and my lenses. Working now on sound. Do you think the sound quality is really high quality/pro recording through mics plugged directly into camera, or run through a zoom recorder, that’s plugged into the camera, or do you think for a cinema quality feature length documentary I need to record with a dual system and sync in post production? I am a total beginner and would like to avoid the post production sync but I don’t want to compromise the sound. Thanks so much for any feedback. Tracey

Reply
Johnnie Behiri March 23, 2016

Hi Tracey.

The sound quality through mics plugged directly into camera is fine.

The main limitations:
No XLR connection
No phantom power
No 2 input source
No automatic sound recording (when ever needed).

For truly cinematic quality I would recommend dual audio recording system.
When it comes to shooting a documentary, if you have the budget for a soundman with a sound mixer/recorder which can feed the recorded sound to your a7s, it would be great.

Filming and recording proper sound can be challenging at times even for an experienced cameraman let alone a beginner.

If the production you are about to shoot is as you wrote very important for you and you aim for a TV or cinematic release, don’t compromise on sound quality and hire a good soundman.

Thank you and good luck!!

Johnnie

 Tracey Glover Reply
Tracey Glover March 23, 2016

Appreciate your advice so much. OK, I will definitely go for dual audio recording. Now it’s just a question about budget for hiring a sound guy, but I’m going to try to make that happen. Thanks so much for your help. All Best, Tracey