The Sony A7sII, a mirrorless digital still camera, is able to deliver stunning cinematic image quality video in low light conditions. Shooting in such conditions means that the depth-of-field and therefore depth-of-focus is very shallow. This can be extremely difficult in a “run-n-gun” type of environment. Without fast, autofocus capable glass, you need all the focus assistance possible.
One solution is to use the Video Devices PIX E-7 as both recorder and 7″ monitor. The impressive PIX E-7 screen offers numerous focus enhancement features, making the entire process much easier. It also means that you can record user-friendly ProRes files to a large, removable drive. With the optional audio interface, the PIX can accept XLR sources and offer phantom power to mics if needed. The usual DSLR audio limitations do not apply in this case.
Making this combination work is a Zacuto rig featuring hand grips, shoulder pad and a counter-weight. The PIX is suspended from an arm and connected to the A7sII by an HDMI cable, conforming to the position of the shooter. The HDMI cable permits the full 3840 x 2160 UHD output of the A7sII (or A7s) to be captured by the 4K capable PIX.
When configured correctly the balance of the camera, PIX and rig becomes natural, resulting in comfortable shooting for extended periods. The PIX also makes it easy to review footage and adjust audio levels.
This combination of parts and pieces turns an awkward-to-hold DSLR type camera, into a very functional, shoulder-mounted, run-n-gun cinema camera.
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