Sony PXW-FS7 Goes Offroad for Australian Adventure Series

Australian freelance producer and owner of New Life Media Shaun Walker was tasked with finding a camera to shoot segments for popular outdoor lifestyle program The Offroad Adventure Show. After a period of evaluation and assessment Walker chose the Sony PXW-FS7.

Shaun Walker is a Central Coast cameraman, editor and producer with 18 years’ experience of shooting for TV along with filming a number of cooking, lifestyle and news pieces. Walker is the head cameraman for the adventure and cooking segments of popular Australian outdoor lifestyle program The Offroad Adventure Show.

After a period of evaluation and assessment Walker chose the Sony PXW-FS7 for the show. Walker explains why, “I was initially looking at purchasing the Sony FS5 for shooting the fishing and adventure segments for The Offroad Adventure Show because I shoot in a lot of different and challenging environments. For the fishing segments I shoot in various types of boats, from small tinnies to large charter vessels and in all sorts of weather conditions such as rain, snow and tropical heat. With my adventure shoots I have shot off the back of jet skis and snowmobiles, in bi-planes, while abseiling and zip lining and caving. I also would often be required to trek fair distances to get to our locations. For the first two seasons of our show I shot on a Sony PMW-160 and the form factor of the smaller handycam meant it was easy for me to move around small boats or shoot while hurtling over the jungle canopy on a zip-line, as well as carry the camera and the other equipment I needed for the shoots. For this reason, I felt that perhaps the smaller FS5 would suit my purposes perfectly but one of my peers thought otherwise.”

The FS7 cache record means Walker always get the money shot.

The FS7 cache record means Walker always get the money shot.

Shooting Handheld

One of Walker’s colleagues encouraged him to explore the FS7 as he continued, “The other cameraman who shoots the 4WD segments on our show was shooting on an FS7 and I was really impressed with the images he was getting, so when we were asked to shoot a corporate video for one of our show’s sponsors I decided I would rent an FS7 kit and put the camera through its paces to see if I could throw the camera around as easily as I could the smaller handycams. In truth I was very impressed. The larger size was actually a help rather than a hinderance because I was able to get far steadier shots handheld than I could achieve with the smaller handycams. After that commercial shoot I decided that rather than getting an FS5 I needed to buy an FS7 instead.”

The majority of what Walker shoots for The Offroad Adventure Show is handheld, so the FS7 having the centre of gravity on his shoulder rather than at his elbow meant that he could comfortably shoot for longer periods.

He continued, “The feedback over the image quality of the FS7 has been extremely positive. The larger sensor in the camera, coupled with my Metabones adaptor and DSLR lenses gives me that shallow depth of field that I was missing in the other cameras I was using and now gives our show a more filmic look compared to previous seasons.

Over-Cranking

Walker’s use of the FS7’s functionality doesn’t stop there as he added, “The other thing I love about the FS7 is the slow motion function. I have been able to capture incredible 150fps slow motion footage of our host fly-casting. The slo-mo function is also vital for the Adventure activities I shoot. Every episode has an adventure segment, from jet skiing, to zip-lining, sand boarding and surfing, and having the ability to slip into slo-mo mode to capture the action sets the FS7 apart from many other cameras. That leads me on to the ability to be able to shoot in 4K, which is a Godsend. I use a Canon 24-105 lens as my main lens, and because I am always shooting hand-held I don’t have the ability to use my longer 70-200 lens to get close shots of the fish as they are being reeled in. So shooting in 4K allows me to be able to zoom in in the edit so I can get that closer shot while the fish is in the water.”

For Walker on The Offroad Adventure Show a typical fishing shoot starts with establishing shots of the crew arriving at the location, meeting their guides and heading off to their location.

Whether in extreme weather or in more moderate conditions Walker says his FS7, so far, hasn’t let him down and as far as he can see it doesn’t look likely to as he concluded, “The FS7 performs incredibly in all environments. The completed segments look lush and cinematic and even after just a few episodes of season 3 having aired people are already saying that our show has stepped up a gear compared to previous seasons. I’m delighted to say the FS7 is a major part of this increase in production quality.”

Sony has just announced an upgrade to the FS7, the new FS7 II which will available from January 2017 onwards.

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