March 8, 2020

Shooting with Sony Venice

Right now I’m in Copenhagen, where a 7 week (!) commercial shoot for a big furniture brand takes place. I’ve got my family with me and we all feel truly Danish already, besides the accent.

The project is shot on Sony Venice and I would like to give an explanation to why. 

As an Alexa owner I didn’t shoot anything with Sony for the last years, even though I’ve been interested in the specs of the Venice. I prefer the Alexa sensor when it comes to film humans, the skin tones and grain simply feels closer to film stock, straight out of the camera. If you have the time and money to advance grading, I can’t say that anyone can see the difference from Alexa or Sony, they can all be tweaked and turned to look the same. The look is created by light and choice of lenses. But if you only have a limited time in grade, 1 day for 30 sec TVC or so, then you want the footage to be as close as possible to the desired look. Therefor I usually go with Alexa when shooting human or nature, but electronics, appliances, furnitures or food could with benefits be shot with Sony or Red. Our sets are designed by the amazing interior stylist Christine Rudolph and on set in the hands of Thilde Sander. Without them, this project would not be the same. <3

But the key reason for choosing the Venice for this job was not to get glossy look. Even though we’re shooting 70% in the studio we use the daylight as our key light. The most of the sets are lit only by blocking the daylight entering the studio. The superb gaffer Toe Bengtsson and his best boy Piet Hasselby Nielsen do a phenomenal job by creating a look more or less only with flags, molton fabric and reflector boards. This makes a very organic and natural look, hard to achieve by working with HMI’s in such a limited space as we have in the studio. The only drawback is that we’re totally in the hands of the sun. With the Sony Venice you’re able to set the native ISO to 2500 and that extra one and a half stop really helps us a lot for us. I use the Tokina Cinema Vista lenses that opens T1,5 so I’m really able to push the limit of exposure quite much. Looking at the set, it sometimes just feels too dark, but my light meter tells me I’m all set. 

We have a pretty big crew of the total 40 people, and for me, one of the most important roles is the on-set editor and motion graphic artist Greg Cambielli that quickly turns the takes into a sequence and test the latitude of the exposure levels. For me, it’s great to get the feedback on set and to be able to tweak the next shots.

The next great thing about the Venice is the Rialto extension system. We shoot from a dolly and jib, but also hand held and with the Rialto setup I’m able to get angles and movements that I couldn’t do with an Alexa, it would simply be too heavy and sturdy. 

Another small benefit of the camera is the built-in ND-filters that goes all the way from 0,3 to 2,4, this is so handy since the use of external ND-filters is just not needed. 

But. I have to agree. I hate the cable between me and the camera body. I thought the days when you were stuck to a cable was over, but for this job…it’s still worth it!

Thanks Uncle Grey, The Lab, Acamera, FAC Rasmus Gaardhøje and grip Christian Brøndum for the first two amazing weeks!