Our Sony FS7 Camera rental is one of the newest cameras to hit the streets and our first shipment has landed.  With a form factor ideal for ENG and Doc work, the PXW-FS7 features a shoulder mountable design which is equally adept on sticks. Sony’s unique Smartgrip positions the most commonly used controls naturally in your right hand when shoulder mounted.  Super 35mm sensor offering a claimed 14 stops of dynamic range, support of high quality XAVC and MPEG-2 codecs, 10-bit color depth and ability to record up to 4K resolution to the internal dual- XQD card slots. RAW recording is supported via the Sony XDCA-FS7 Extension Unit and by use of Sony’s AXS-R5 RAW recorder or a third party external recorder such as the Convergent Design Odyssey7Q or Odyssey7Q+ with Sony RAW option.  Built in dual XLR slot and audio mixer. 3 Neutral density filtrations options + Clear. Ability to overcrank to 180 frames per second in Full HD and up to 60 frames per second in UHD resolution to the internal media at high nitrates!  This is a huge improvement over the lowly 24Mb/s AVCHD codec the FS700 used. With an external recorder, you’ll be able to record 2K Raw at up to 240 frames per second continuously. Supports NTSC and PAL, which is great if your clients are local and international as ours are. Numerous free firmware updates are promised by Sony, one of which is record DCI 4K internally.

A FS7 is shown here with optional Extension Unit, V-mount battery and 28-135mm Servo lens.
A Sony PXW-FS7 is shown here with optional Extension Unit, V-mount battery and 28-135mm Servo lens.

 

To output RAW, the FS7 requires the Sony XDCA-FS7 Extension Unit.  The XDCA-FS7 Extension Unit plugs in to the rear of the FS7 camera and provides a few different features that will come in very handy.  First, you can record ProRes (feature expected via free update available Q1 2015) to the FS7 internal XQD media.  The Extension Unit also has a 3G-SDI connector enabling 12-bit RAW output along with BNC connections for Genlock and Timecode, which can be helpful in syncing up multiple cameras or audio gear. In addition you’ll get a V-mount battery plate with 4-pin XLR power connector to power other camera mounted accessories such as a external recorder.

Using the Odyssey7Q with the Sony FS7.

The Sony FS7 currently outputs a 1080P signal over it’s HD-SDI connector. If you want RAW, you have to buy the Sony Extension Unit.  So one of the primary benefits of using the Odyssey7Q with the FS7 for other than an excellent monitoring tool is to record Apple ProRes 422 (HQ).

Recording Apple ProRes 422 (HQ) with the Convergent Design Odyssey7Q.

We used the following gear to record Apple ProRes 422 (HQ) files.

Sony PXW-FS7 Camera
Odyssey7Q (including Noga arm, NP-F970 battery, 3G-SDI cable 18″)
256GB Media for Odyssey7Q

Sony FS7 Setup

1. Connect an HD-SDI cable to Sony FS7 SDI OUT 1 port to the SDI-A IN port on the Odyssey7Q.
2. Select the Resolution and frame rate you want to record to Internal media under User -> Video Format.  Default is 3840×2160 59.94p on our camera.
3.  Select the Resolution you want to record to the Odyssey7Q under User -> Output Format.  For this exercise we’ll use 1920x1080p (Level A).
4. To enable the Odyssey7Q to start recording when you press record on the FS7 go to Recording -> SDI/HDMI Rec Control and change to On.

Odyssey7Q Setup.

1. Under Setup, Set Camera -> Sony and Monitor -> Record: HD -> HD ProRes (.MOV)
2. Then, Record Trigger: Camera
3. Connect an HD-SDI cable to SDI-A IN to SDI-OUT 1 on PXW-FS7 Camera

Once you are finished with recording, transfer the footage to your computer and use your favorite NLE to edit.

Adobe Premiere Creative Cloud – Supports XAVC natively.
AVID Composer – Supports XAVC natively.
Apple Final Cut X – Free software download required. Pro Video Formats 2.0 and Sony XAVC Plug In for Apple.  Read How to use Pro Video Formats 2.0.
Apple Final Cut 7 – Free software download required. XAVC-I supported natively with Pro Video Formats 2.0. Read How to use Pro Video Formats 2.0.

From here you should be able to start recording on the PXW-FS7 and the Odyssey7Q will record right along with it.

RAW Recording with Sony FS7.

The Sony FS7 supports RAW output with the Extension Unit.  The Odyssey will process the RAW signal and allow you to record either a 4K or 2K RAW Adobe DNG file or record to 4K/UHD/2K/HD ProRes 422 (HQ).  For our FS7 RAW setup, we used the following equipment.

Sony PXW-FS7 Camera
Sony XDCA-FS7 Extension Unit
Anton Bauer V-Mount Battery
Odyssey7Q + Sony RAW Option (including Noga arm, D-tap to Neutrik power cable, 3G-SDI cable 18″)
2 x 512GB Media for Odyssey7Q

Odyssey7Q Sony RAW recording frame rates and resolutions.

With the Convergent Design firmware of 4.10.100 we have the following options, including…

4K RAW 23.98, 25, 29.97, 50, 59.94
2K RAW 23.98, 25, 29.97, 50, 59.94, 100, 119.88 (120), 200, 239.76 (240)
4K RAW to 4K Apple ProRes 422 (HQ) 23.98, 25, 29.97
4K RAW to UHD Apple ProRes 422 (HQ) 23.08, 25, 29.97
4K RAW to 2K Apple ProRes 422 (HQ) 23.98, 25, 29.97, 50, 59.94
4K RAW to HD (1080p) Apple ProRes 422 (HQ) 23.98, 25, 29.97, 50, 59.94

Configuring the Sony FS7 + Extension Unit + Odyssey7Q or 7Q+ together.

Setup the Sony FS7 for RAW recording

In this example we’ll run through how to setup the FS7 for RAW Recording.  We have the FS7 and the Extension Unit connected. Lets change the menu settings to enable RAW recording, enable SLog3 and set the camera to output 2K 240 fps since high speed is so cool.

1. Connect an 3G-SDI cable from Sony XDCA-FS7 RAW output to the SDI-A IN port on the Odyssey7Q or 7Q+.
2. Select SLog3 by entering Menu -> User -> Base Setting.  Set Shooting Mode to Cine EI then set Color space to S-Gamut3/SLog3.
3. Disable recording to the internal cards and enable RAW output.  Enter the Menu -> User -> Codec -> RAW
4. Select your recording format. In this example we choose 2K RAW @ 240 fps.  Enter Menu -> User -> Rec Format -> RAW output format -> 2048×1080 59.94p
5. Now, enable high speed recording at 240 fps.  Enter Menu -> User -> Setting -> On, then Frame Rate to 240P.

Setup the Odyssey7Q for RAW recording

1. To enable the Odyssey7Q to start recording when you press record on the FS7 go to Recording -> SDI/HDMI Rec Control and change to On.  Then,
2. Set Record Trigger via Setup -> Record Trigger -> Camera
3. Set the Odyssey7Q up to handle the RAW output of the FS7 by choosing Setup -> Camera -> Sony FS7 then Record -> FS RAW >RAW .DNG
4. Choose from the list of formats. Here we will choose FS 4K/2K RAW -> RAW (.DNG) to enable processing of the RAW signal in to a DNG file.

Press Record on the FS7 and the Odyssey7Q/7Q+ should begin to record at 240 frames per second until the drives are full.  Note 2 SSDs are required to record at that frame rate.  This is about 20 minutes with 2 x 512GB drives.  Convergent Design is now making available 1TB drives for even longer recording times.  Keep in mind that 20 minutes of 240fps high speed footage takes over 3 hours to play back at regular speed!

      

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