The Right Tools for the Job

By Todd Norris, Director of Photography-DHTV Digital

“The right tool for the job.” This phrase comes up often when talking about different camera models. While a larger broadcast camera might be best for most video production, sometimes you need something small and nimble. Also, while quality video production involves using professional lighting, sometimes you need to capture images in very low light. Enter the Sony A7sii, the latest addition to DHTV Digital’s camera family.

Camera A7S ii

Small and lightweight? Check. Incredible low-light performance? Double-check. Oh, and stunning full-frame video in 4k resolution, continuous 120 fps slow-motion and, for the camera nerds, 14 stops of dynamic range. Uh, what? Let’s break these down, one by one, to see how and why these features help make your videos better.

1.     Small and lightweight. Sometimes a big broadcast camera just isn’t a practical choice. It’s much easier to mount a small camera onto a vehicle for a moving shot, for example. And sometimes a larger camera and tripod are simply too large to transport to remote locations.

Screen grab from video captured in extreme low light with Sony A7S ii.

Screen grab from video captured in extreme low light with Sony A7S ii.

2.     Low-light performance. Some locations are too big to light. Some locations forbid the use of video lights. Most common are situations where adding lighting would spoil the mood (a candlelight vigil, or a dark conference room, for example). The Sony A7sii can actually be used in moonlight! Not that you would ordinarily shoot in such a way, but having that ability is now another brush for our canvas

3.     4k resolution. TV and websites like YouTube are quickly making the jump to 4k. Shooting in this format future-proofs your videos. Also, when down sampling 4k footage to the more common 1080p, the result is a creamy, cinematic look.

4.     Continuous 120fps slow-motion. Many cameras that shoot 120ps can only do so in short bursts. This means that there’s always a chance of missing a crucial shot when the burst ends. The A7sii can record 120fps without such restrictions.

5.     14 stops of dynamic range. While most people are aware of the benefits of higher resolution images, fewer people are aware of the benefits of high dynamic range. Dynamic range is the range of light to dark a camera can capture in one shot. Higher dynamic range is one reason Hollywood movies look richer than, say, your average reality TV shows, which are shot on cameras with lower dynamic range. 14 stops is roughly the same range that 35mm film can capture. So there’s plenty of detail in the shadows and the highlights.

Combine all these features and the Sony A7sii adds up to the perfect addition to the DHTV Digital camera family.