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Real world Sony A7S interview shoot

by | Oct 22, 2015 | Blog, MAARTECH

I had the opportunity to shoot interviews for Tribute Media at TIFF 2015, using two Sony A7 class cameras. The studio was created in a suite at the Intercontinental on Front Street in Toronto, where several other entertainment media shows also set up shop. Here’s a behind the scenes view.

This was not a traditional two camera interview setup – the producers provided only a single step and repeat background, and did not require shots of the host during the interview. We used the two cameras to provide a wide shot and a closeup – most useful when shooting interviews with two guests.

This was a challenging one-man operation – I was responsible for camera, audio and editing. You will find the final videos posted on Lessons learned: be completely familiar and comfortable with the cameras – I seemed to pick up new tricks every day(this is not about reading the manual, it’s about operational ease); do a test shoot prior to day one to test/evaluate the entire end-to-end workflow.

In the video I note that I didn’t do any colour grading in post for the production. That’s true.
For this video I did make a few minor exposure adjustments.

With thanks to Sony for the loan of cameras and lenses, here’s a list of the equipment used – along with some explanations and comments.

– Sony A7S (ILCE-7S) with FE SEL70200G(we started with a 24-70 on this camera, but wanted a tighter shot than 70mm provided)
– Sony A7 II (ILCE-7M2) with FE SEL24-70Z
– Marshall M-CT7 monitor (used on the A7S)(used mostly in low contrast b/w for focus confirmation)
– Sony CLV-V55 monitor (used on the A7M2)
– Tascam DR-70D mixer/recorder (uses 4 AA batteries, often one set was not sufficient to get through a day. And I do wish it had an XLR output.)
– Sony ECM 44 hard wired lavalier mics (an old favourite from my TV audio “back in the day”s)
– Sennheiser HD 215 headphones (Sony loaned an XLR-K2M audio adapter, which I used for ambiance/reference audio on the A7M2. With only two inputs, it wasn’t as useful as I’d hoped.)
– Manfrotto 504 head, 546 sticks kit Manfrotto magic arm to mount Marshall monitor
– Westcott D5 lights with soft boxes
– Ianiro Chimera with soft box (loaned by Rob Stewart)
– SanDisk Extreme Pro 64GB SDXC U3 memory cards.
– 5K iMac (16GB RAM, 240GB SSD) with Final Cut Pro for editing
– WD 4TB USB3 editing backup drives (I tried one of these inexpensive drives for archiving, but find they’re excellent and quiet for editing as well.)
There was no space for monitors on the editing desk, so used the internal speakers and headphones.
– Duracell AA batteries – for the ECM 44s and the Tascam DR-70D.
(I’ve been doing audio long enough to know that under these conditions, nothing else will deliver.)

For the video, I used a Sony A6000 with SEL1670Z lens and an Atomos Ninja Star to capture camera screens.

I rely on The DV shop, a great camera/video store in my neighbourhood. They were instrumental in providing both guidance and assistance – and their prices are usually the best in the city. I also shop at Vistek and Long and McQuade.
And thanks to Kim, Calla, Alexandra, Nicole, Mariska, Rob and Aaron for their assistance along the way.

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