It was not long ago that High Definition was something exciting to be able to shoot. A fantastic leap in video quality. The Sony EX3 and EX1R has provided great service to Mufasa and continues to do so today. This year though, brings a wealth of new cameras capable of shooting at 4k. Something that was amazing with the Red One when that was released. 4k! Yes, amazing. Now it is starting to sound very average. The minimum expectation of a camera for any professional work is one capable of High Definition. I loved my Canon XM2 and still do. It is no longer fully functioning now. It does provide many memories of shoots and it performed very well with fantastic image quality. Will High Definition cameras soon be joining the XM2 graveyard?
The Sony NEX FS700 is a very interesting camera in my point of view. It requires an additional external recorder to achieve 4k, so that is a limitation. However, what makes it very interesting to me is its capability to shoot 240fps in HD. It is also capable of 960fps at a lower than HD resolution. Still amazing. The slow motion is limited to a buffer and so recording cannot continue for long. Once the recording is finished, there is a waiting period for the clip to be written to memory and during this time no further shooting is possible without cancelling the writing to memory.
I still think that the Sony FS700 is an amazing camera. But what really gave me a big shock was to learn about the Convergent Design’s latest Odyssey 7Q. What this allows is the Sony FS700 to record at 240fps continuously, non-stop. The Convergent Design Odyssey 7Q is an external recorder using SSDs. It incorporates a monitor and can be used for many different shooting functions. It is a touch screen and capable of recording in RAW. I find this simply outstanding that this is now possible. I like the Convergent Design Odyssey 7Q very much.
I imagine the possibilities with the full frame sensor of the Sony FS700 and how that can be an edge for video production in Bangkok. All the features are fantastic. Combined with the Odyssey 7Q, it becomes unbelievable. But that disbelief will probably become a distant memory as the technology continues to develop and improve. I want to shoot with the FS700 and Odyssey 7Q.
That though, is currently not possible. The Odyssey 7Q has not been released. And I do not plan to invest in a Sony FS700 because the market conditions for my business does not permit such a commitment. The present economic situation and the demand for lower budgets has a large effect on the risk involved in purchasing new equipment. Will I rent a Sony FS700? YES! I want to rent one for some shoots. I will look for a rental facility with the FS700 in Bangkok and see if it will bring some fantastic cinematography to our productions.
If I rent a Sony FS700, that does give me reason to purchase the Odyssey 7Q because I can use that with my current Sony EX3 and also with Canon 5Ds when there is the new Canon 5D firmware to be released at end of April 2013. I cannot confirm if the Odyssey 7Q is also a Live Production Switcher. It is called the 7Q where the Q stands for “Quad”. It has one sentence on the Convergent Design website suggesting it will do this, perhaps only in HD. I do not see why I would want a live switcher in 4k, at least in this decade. That would be mind blowing if it is possible. Really fantastic. I am also wondering if the four SDI connectors is because of 4k recording requiring this quadruple connection to keep up with the data. All these features, paired with the opportunity to rent the FS700 makes the Odyssey 7Q a good buy.
The idea of purchasing the 7Q is not a reality at present because it is not available yet and also how can I justify this piece of equipment? Again, how sensible is it to leap at this new technology? I do desire 4:2:2 recording on my EX3 and perhaps that is more viable with second hand equipment. The new Atomos Samurai Blade will mean a lot of the Samurai’s will be for sale second hand and at a lower cost than before. A new Atomos Samurai has dropped in price because of the announcement of the Samurai Blade. Also, the older Convergent Design Nano Flash may become available cheaper on the second hand market. Bringing 4:2:2 to the EX3 will be great. I will though still be desiring a monitor. And that takes me back to desire for either the Atomos Samurai Blade or the Convergent Design Odyssey 7Q.
The conclusion though, is that I love these developments. I keep seeing these new things released and they get better. The frequency of their release has increased and this is itself a reason to slow down. Do I need the FS700 and Odyssey 7Q? No. Can I still do great work with my Sony EX3 and Canon DSLRs? YES! Of course. I think that this year is about watching what happens. Keeping an eye on the technology and an eye on the economy. Longevity for the company and financial security are important. Whilst our clients want great work at a lower affordable cost, I am having to build the right strategies to make all this possible. The final decisions have a huge impact. Being aware of all of this great innovation is a key strength in itself even if we are not owners of these devices. I shall be reviewing production technology constantly, and I hope to announce one day that Mufasa has inhouse 4k capability. On that note, I will say that our edit machine is capable of 4k post production. That is interesting.
Author: James Iles