Every so often there comes a time to step up your game in whatever you do. For the past 4 years I’ve been shooting with DSLRs. First the Canon 7D and currently on a MKIII. It used to be that the DSLRs were the obvious choice in terms of budget and quality, but recently that choice has become quite a bit more difficult to make. With Sony, BlackmagicDesign, Panasonic and even RED cameras becoming more and more affordable, it’s hard to know what is the right setup for you. For a recent music video production, it became apparent that a DSLR based shoot was not going to cut it, and as I explored other options, the Sony FS700 kept popping up more and more often.
I liked this choice because not only is it a Super 35 4k-capable sensor, but a company called Odyssey has come out with an OLED monitor/recorder called the 7Q that can record Raw directly from the SDI out. I was lucky enough to find this exact setup on craigslist and rented it for the week to give it a go. I had to rent it for a week since we had never shot with it before, and it took us an entire weekend of trial and error to figure out how to get clean clips off of the camera, but by the time we needed to shoot the music video, we were ready and I’m very pleased with how the clips have come out.
Full disclosure: I don’t expect to be the authority on this setup, and I welcome others who have tried things differently and had better luck to comment below, this is just what worked for us!
WHAT YOU’LL NEED:
• SONY FS700R
– Be careful to make sure that this is the R version or has been updated to unlock the 4k RAW out capabilities. The other external recorder from SONY is much more expensive and cumbersome and the 7Q seems like a much better choice.
• ODYSSEY 7Q
– The 7Q is a very cool, very expensive piece of equipment. It records via proprietary SSDs from Convergent-Design that you’ll have to have in order to use the recording feature. Other than that it functions as a splendid 7″ display that sucks very little battery (except when you’re recording to the SSDs)
– Our rental package included everything we needed in order to record and dump on to a computer.
• SONY FS700
• Metabones EX to E adapter (If you are using your Canon EF lenses)
• Convergent Design ODYSSEY 7Q
• MINIMUM of two 256GB SSDs from Convergent design
• A magic-arm to mount the 7Q to the handle of the FS700
• A MINIMUM of 4 SONY NP-F970 (6300mAh) batteries (they fit the FS700 and the 7Q, but your 7Q might be setup to take different batteries)
• A USB 3.0/THUNDERBOLT to 2.5″ SATA adapter
• MINIMUM 2TB USB 3.0/THUNDERBOLT Portable hard drive for footage
• USB 3.0/ THUNDERBOLT capable laptop
• 2 Separate chargers to charge the extra batteries for both the 7Q and the FS700 at the same time.
ODYSSEY 7Q SETUP:
– The 7Q is surprisingly easy to use. Assuming the model you have has been updated with the FS700 presets, it will be as easy as connecting a 3G SDI Out cable to the SDI A IN and powering on.
A few tips with the 7Q:
• If you are doing 240fps 2K Raw (and most likely you are), it’s important to be in the correct mode for that format (detailed below).
• Never pull the SSDs without ejecting them, even if the 7Q is powered off.
• It will only playback the files shot in the mode it’s currently in
• You can load LUTS
• Make sure the Record is triggered from the camera, not the screen ( this will be helpful to record backup of the 24fps clips to internal SD)
• There is no playback control at this point
• 240fps shots are played back in 120fps ( as far as we can tell this can’t be changed, and dramatically affects shots that have artificial light, meaning you might have a nasty flicker when you playback in 240fps)
• 240fps are also recorded in a RAID setup and require a program you can download from Convergent Design (CD CLIP MERGER) for free.
• 4K RAW clips are not recorded in RAID
• It may not allow you to record if the battery is too low
• Even at full brightness, in the sun it’s nearly impossible to see
CHOOSING FRAME RATES & RECORDING FORMATS:
– You can record in many different formats with this but for us, we used 2K Raw at 240fps as well as FS700 4k RAW -> PRORES HD (.mov)
• FS700 4k RAW (4096×2160) -> PRORES HD (1920×1080) this allows for a ton of record time, compresses down to PRORES for easy editing straight off the SSDs and gives a great picture at 24fps
• FS700 2K RAW (2048×1080) -> RAW DNG (2048×1080) This method is used for 240fps and eats up a ton of space across both drives (RAID) with x2 256gb drives, you will get maybe 12mins out of it so be judicious with the record button
• FS700 4K RAW (4096×2160) -> RAW DNG (4096×2160) If you are shooting at 24fps, you’ll get appox. 20mins out of 512gb of space. Awesome to shoot in 4k, but not practical in terms of space, so we didn’t use this format.
– On the FS700 in the Menu, under REC SET select RAW, with simultaneous rec ON, and RAW OUTPUT FORMAT to 4096×2160/24p
– When you press the S&Q(SUPER SLOW) button on the left hand side of the camera, the camera enters a limited mode with no histogram and if you hit MENU, it ends S&Qmode. It also ends if you power off the camera and power it back on
HOW TO EXPOSE YOUR SHOT:
– The ODYSSEY 7Q records from PP7 (GAMMA:S-LOG2). Be sure to set the camera to PP7 before recording anything. It may look very dark when you import it to the computer or DaVinci, but don’t worry, with proper setup this is the best format to record in. Also, S-LOG2’s minimum ISO is 2000, so don’t try to go any lower, because you can’t. Between the built in NDs and f-stops, you shouldn’t have trouble getting a good exposure. Be sure to use the 180 degree rule with 240fps (shutter speed 1/500th) for the best results. We did have small issues with darker shots being a bit noisy, but it’s not terribly unpleasant and certainly usable.
– using the viewfinder with the FS700 screen is almost a necessity when shooting in sunlight
– Try to get the waveform in the middle of the histogram for the best shot
• It’s very important to have a computer with USB 3.0 slots for both the SATA connector and Hard-drive (could also use thunderbolt) Time to offload 512gb of footage is reasonable with these connections, with a USB 2.0 or similar it’s at least 2hrs+ per card, and the last thing you want is to be stuck and not able to shoot with angry clients.
• Create a common folder and combine the clip folders ending in “_SSD1” and “_SSD2“.
• Once the dump is complete, run the program “CD CLIP MERGER” to bring the RAIDED 240fps clips together into one folder. Select the common folder and click MERGE FOLDERS. You’ll end up with a MERGE folder containing all of your clips.
• It’s very likely that the DNGs (Digital Negative files will look dark on in the FINDER, but this is okay because of you settings in RESOLVE)
IMPORTING: Cinema DNG FOOTAGE -> PRO RES 422 HQ:
• If you don’t already have DAVINCI RESOLVE LITE, you can download it for free from the Mac APP store, or from The Davinci website (this will run on slower macs, as opposed to the version from the app store which will not).
• Once downloaded, follow the instructions provided by Convergent Design setting up Resolve to make the clips playback properly (aka not dark). (LINK)
– To setup all the presets, we followed Ross Gerbasi‘s workflow video showing how to import Convergent Design’s FS700 SLOG2 or REC LUTS. ->https://vimeo.com/79959164
– It’s important to makes sure you apply the FS700 S-Log2(download 3DLUTs from CD website), and your project resolution and framerate is correct before you go further (we used 2k DCI at 2048×1080 and 23.976 for a widescreen look)
– Be sure to set the Timeline and Playback frame rates to 23.976 or the clips won’t playback. Set Video monitoring to 2K 1080PsF 23.976.
– Once setup, create a new timeline int the edit tab, add all of your clips, and you can either color or export to as is, individually to PRORES 422 HQ
Now you’re ready to edit! It’s up to you to color all of your clips or bring the XML back into RESOLVE after you’ve edited (which will be time-saving)
Closing: This isn’t a perfect workflow by any means, but in the week we had the camera, it’s how we got the setup to work for us, please feel free to leave comments or ask questions below!