Sony A7s, Atomos Shogun Power Award Winning Video Studio

Stargate Studios, one of Hollywood’s top visual effects studios has started using the Sony a7S as a key part of its visual effects arsenal, reports. The company, which got its start decades ago when it created kinetic lightning effects for Star trek: The Motion Picture, has won countless awards and has worked on everything from TV to motion pictures. (Check out the video show reel above to see some of their work.)

The company started using the A7s when it was released, but wasn’t able to add the camera to its workflow until external 4K recorders started to ship.

Their website features an incredible look at their virtual effects and how they created it, and is work a visit as well.

The A7s appealed to Stargate not only because of its 4K capabilities, but also its celebrated low-light capture abilities. “We have to shoot a lot of plates, and often we’ll need to get a large variety at a certain location so a network show or movie can have a choice of day, night, or dusk, so we need that variation in sensitivity from the sensor,” White explains. “Being able to shoot with the A7s and get all those times of day, with everything still looking good, was important to us.

“And, yes, we are always shooting 4K. Given that most things are still delivering in HD, having the extra resolution to play around in allows us enormous flexibility in post.”

But the A7s didn’t become a viable camera until February, when the company got its hands on the Shogun Atomos monitoring and recording system, which Stargate decided was the most mobile and cost-effective recording option for a rig with multiple 4K cameras. “We were able to pair them up as soon as the Shoguns became available,” White said. “We’ve got several dozen SanDisk Extreme Pro SSDs, ranging from 240 GB to 960 GB, that we rely on for all media recording. We send them out with single-camera rigs, three-camera or nine-camera circle rigs, or split into four- and five-camera or three- and six-camera configurations.”

Having an external recorder actually has its advantages.

A common complaint from early Shogun users has been that reflections on the unit’s screen make it hard to read in bright lighting conditions. We asked White how his team has been coping. “The screen is a bit reflective,” he agreed. “But since we have our Shoguns separate from our cameras, we can usually angle them away from the sun, or they are in our vehicles for our driving plates. Turning up the brightness also works, but that does drain the battery. A few of our supervisors have bought the Atomos Sunhoods for the Shoguns and have had great success.”

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