Slow-motion has always been used in movies , commercials and even cooking shows to add that extra character to the show . But more often than not these shows have good budgets and use cameras like PHANTOM Camera or the RED Epic which are amazing cameras but also come with a very heavy price tag . When SONY came out with the NEX FS700 with the ability to shoot slow-mo in Full HD at 240 fps up to 960 fps(with reduced resolution) it not only created a stir but more importantly made slow motion “Accessible” to people. With features like this at such an amazing price point makes this an amazing camera to have and to say that I am happy to have made this purchase would be an understatement .
So lets breakdown the process of shooting slow-motion with the Sony NEX FS700 .
Firstly since this camera can switch between NTSC&PAL the frame rates also change accordingly . For NTSC which is 24p the frame rates for slow-mo are 60fps,120fps,240fps,480fps,960fps while for PAL which is 25p the frame rates are 50fps,100fps,200fps,400fps & 800fps . So depending on which mode you select the frame rates will also differ .
Shooting slow-motion on the Sony FS700 is a simple process . To get into the Slow-mo mode you simply press a button on the left side of the camera titled “ S&Q” .Pressing the button once will get you into S&Q motion where it will shoot 50fps at Full HD. Another press of the button takes you into the “Super slow-motion mode” . In this mode the FS700 will shoot 100fps and 200fps at full resolution which is 1920 x 1080. It is also possible to shoot at higher frame rates such as 400fps & 800fps at a slightly reduced resolution but still very much usable . Although the recording is limited to 16 seconds for 100 fps and 8 seconds for 200 fps .
Now depending on what frame rates you want to shoot at be it 100,200,400 or 800 being maximum , you have to go and set the desired frame rates under the “Frame Rate” tab . There are three ways to trigger super slow-motion on the FS700 which are “ Start Trigger” , “ End Trigger” and “ End Half Trigger ” all of which can be selected under the “ Super Slow motion ” section.
You can trigger recording immediately after the press of the record button or you can set the camera to record the burst period prior to pressing the record button. If using the trigger at start mode, on pressing the record button a message saying “buffering” appears in the viewfinder. After 8 (or 16 secs) the camera starts to write the recording to the SD card.During the writing process you cannot shoot anything else. Press the record button during the writ process and it stops the process at that point, keeping the written file to that point and then the camera ready to record another shot.
In trigger at end mode, you point the camera at the scene you want to capture and shortly after the thing you want to record happens you press the record button and the camera then starts to write the previous 8(16) seconds to the SD card, again you see half speed(approx) playback of the clip as it is written to the card. The end half trigger mode somewhat similar to the trigger at end mode and the difference being that it writes end half of the footage the moment you press record.The fact you cannot shoot anything during the writing process might be frustrating but considering that it does all this in camera AVCHD and especially at this price point is definitely a winner.
Now lighting plays an important role while shooting any sequence and especially while shooting slow motion . One of the main issues of shooting slow motion not just with this camera but in general is the flickering. This flicker is mainly caused by the lighting so it becomes more important to choose the right kind of light setup for a slow motion shoot.
The flickering is seen a lot while using florescent lights which realized when I tried super slow mo for the first time just to check out the settings at home.
Shooting slow motion in natural does not cause any issues as one does not have to deal with power output of the lights or electrical frequencies.On-set lighting is where the challenge lies and to know how different lights react becomes essential .
Hello World Communication tried out the lights more commonly used on set and tested out how much flicker each light creates . This test is ideal for understanding how light reacts while shooting at different frame rates .
One thing to remember is that as you increase the frame rates from 200 to 400 and 800 the amount of light hitting the sensor becomes less and the overall view becomes darker.So it might take a couple of takes to get the exposure right for the shot depending on what fps you are shooting at.
For the second slow motion test I used a 49 bulb LED light which was a bi-colour light mounted on the cameras hot shoe . There were no issues of flicker which was very much obvious in the first video.The footage is a combination of 200 and 400 fps .
Personally I am excited about owning this camera and I think Sony has really done a good job with the FS700 . Sure it might not have the crazy 1500 fps of the Phantom or even the resolution of the RED Epic but to have one camera which does great slowmo, a great low light performer,light weight and at a price which is not heavy on your pockets is definitely a great tool to have .