Venture Films Trials Sony AXS-R7 Recorder: F55 at 120fps, 4K

When Venture Films were looking to expand the capabilities and functionality of their F55 cameras they decided to purchase Sony’s latest 4K recorder, the AXS-R7. The production company, based in Sydney, Australia was co-founded by Gavin Rawlings and Melanie Galea and shoot a wide range of productions from travel shows to corporate videos, branded content and TV commercials, with the emphasis on 4K capture. The AXS-R7 supports the new Sony X-OCN codec, and can record 4K at 120 fps.

Rawling's tests with the AXS-R7

The durable, dust and splash-proof AXS-R7 Portable Memory Recorder attaches seamlessly to the high end F55 and F5 Sony CineAlta cameras, speeding up the 4K production workflow without compromising quality. The AXS-R7 doubles 4K RAW recording from 60 fps up to 120 fps for the F55 camera compared to previous Sony recorders. For shooting at higher frame rates, the recorder captures 2K RAW at up to 240 fps for the F55 and F5, for playback with 10x super slow motion. Working with high-speed AXSM A-Series memory cards, the recorder features dual memory card slots for extra security and to extend recording times. The recorder also offers 4K RAW cache recordings up to 30 seconds while in standby mode. The tough, all-metal casing makes the AXS-R7 the ideal companion to the F55 and F5 for all kinds of high-end drama, documentary and wildlife productions.

X-OCN Codec

In addition to AXS-R7 has new recording format, X-OCN. This new format supports high quality workflows at a moderate bitrate. The system retains everything the sensor sees, delivering tonal gradation with 16-bit precision, ideal for High Dynamic Range (HDR) image grading and other cutting-edge workflows that require higher than 10-bit or 12-bit precision.

Gavin Rawlings, cinematographer.

Gavin Rawlings, cinematographer.

Venture Films co-founder Gavin Rawlings explained, “I’d been really interested in the AXS-R7 recorder ever since it was announced. Owning an F55 camera the AXS-R7 gave me the ability to shoot 4K at up to 120fps now which was such a useful feature. I was also very interested in Sony’s new X-OCN codec. Being able to shoot in 16-bit, having access to all your camera raw features in programs like DaVinci Resolve, and all at a much more efficient file size compared to the original Sony RAW codec was very promising. This means faster offload times, less storage required and even less processing power all of which saves dollars. The unit connects effortlessly to the back of the F55 just like the R5 did and also has two slots for cards now meaning you don’t have to stop and change cards, you just keep shooting. Thirty second cache recording on the AXS-R7 is another very useful feature, especially when shooting fishing segments!”

120 fps at 4K

Rawlings continued, “I guess one of the key requirements that is fulfilled by the AXS-R7 is that the F55 can now deliver higher frame rates - up to 120fps - in 4K for clients who require that. I know a lot of people were asking for longer cache recording times as well and now that has also been addressed.”

Rawlings is known for his high quality shoots and this often means pushing his equipment to the limit, something he admits to with the AXS-R7 as he added, “When testing the unit I did push the codec pretty hard. Lots of high detail shots, lots of different lighting scenarios and I even pushed the exposure more then I normally would in SLog. Some of my test shots included scenes where I had deliberately overexposed the image by two stops to see how the new codec looked after bringing the levels back down in post. Happy to report it looked great. 120fps 4K looks beautiful as well.”

The AXS-R7 allows 120 fps recording at 4K resolution with the F55.

The AXS-R7 allows 120 fps recording at 4K resolution with the F55.

Gavin Rawlings concluded, “Typical environments I have used the AXS-R7 in include beaches, forests and swamp lands. Some days were quite hot as well, around 40 degrees Celsius, I also had some light rain too and even with all those sorts of weather conditions the unit held up really well. The AXS-R7 gives its users a significant edge by enabling 120fps 4K on the F55. Also the smaller file size of the new X-OCN codec is a major plus. There’s even a light variant of the codec which reduces file size yet again while still maintaining 16-bit recordings and having access to all your camera raw features in post. This as a huge benefit to productions.”

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