David Mirabella, a Melbourne-based cameraman with over 30 years’ experience, started out in news and current affairs at the Nine Network in the early 1980s and has been freelancing since 1995. One of his favourite camcorders is Sony’s Super 35mm 4K PXW-FS5.
Mirabella explained, “Think about the biggest TV in the department store, smartphones, hi-res tablets and computer screens. These are my end users now, so for the journey from acquisition to delivery, the PXW-FS5 credibly and reliably does what it was designed to do and you can’t ask for more than that. I also really like the PXW-FS5 because of how it works for me in the real world.”
Recently Mirabella was engaged by Executive Producer Maurice Parker to shoot a unique segment with his FS5 for Channel TEN’s Cruise Mode Show as he explained, “The Cruise Mode loves a Jaguar segment involved me using my Sony FS5 on a jib with a remote pan-tilt head. The reason for this was simple. When people sit down to watch a car show now, they are already used to watching particular shows with massive budgets and very cleverly, the FS5 and an affordable jib and remote head set up gives a very professional look.”
On this shoot Mirabella had to get footage of several cars and again the FS5 proved to be the perfect camera for the job.
He added, “The economics of using the FS5 for this style of B roll footage made complete sense here. We allocated one hour per car and used the FS5 to get high shots, low shots, static shots, moving shots, branding shots, interior shots, exterior shots and anything else the director could think of. The compact FS5 was ideal as, particularly with car interiors and engine bays, you would never get a big camera in there. By using the FS5 we got all the shots with one camera and one operator.”
The compact FS5 was ideal as with car interiors and engine bays you would never get a big camera in there. By using the FS5 we got all the shots with one camera and one operator.
Mirabella is a big fan of his FS5 and much of his enthusiasm for the camera comes from its flexibility as he explained, “For the setup on this shoot I used the 18-105 kit lens. I removed the handgrip from the camera and connected a LANC extension to it then repositioned the handgrip close to my left hand. This meant I had the FS5’s main iris, zoom and record controls close by for speedy adjustment. I also had one after market servo motor for the focus and this too had its controller near my left hand. While shooting these cars with the FS5 I also experimented with the auto focus of the 18-105 Sony kit lens and it worked quite well. For example, it would lock in on the gaps in the car doors, the front grill or the car’s badge. At f4 some might say the 18-105 kit lens doesn’t offer shallow enough depth of field but when shooting cars I prefer deeper focus as you get to see the full length of the car’s lines. This is also another example of why being able to relocate the LCD screen on the FS5 is so convenient as on this shoot it was in my peripheral vision, while I was mainly using an external viewfinder.”
On the Cruise Mode loves a Jaguar shoot Mirabella used a Sony PXW-FS5, Sony PMW-F5, two Sachtler tripods, various bi colour LED lights, a director’s monitor, a MōVI M5 3-axis stabiliser and an iFootage Shark Slider.
Mirabella added, “This segment was shot at Lorbek Luxury Motors in Melbourne and the team there were very busy. Again the FS5 was a big help and worked extremely well with such tight timelines as we used the SDI out for the director’s monitor and hard-wired the audio as this meant that the sound recordist could minimise the amount of radio microphones required.
With the mix of artificial and natural light constantly changing during the shoot, being able to make adjustments quickly was a major bonus as when I was not happy with the Auto White Balance I could simply dial in my preferred colour temperature. Having the FS5 pre-rigged on the gimbal on standby was another timesaving plus as I could just pick it up and go. The Sony engineers who designed the camera were clever in the way they positioned various industry standard threads around the camera body and this is particularly useful when mounting the FS5 on a gimbal as we did on this shoot.”
In terms of workflow for the Cruise Mode loves a Jaguar Mirabella recorded to both SD cards in the FS5 for “great for peace of mind”, adding, “For Cruise Mode, the production unit was in Sydney, so I was transferring footage from all cameras to a portable HDD using Catalyst Prepare and sending it off by courier. I backed everything up again in my studio and kept the files until I received an e-mail from the post production department that I was clear to format the original camera cards. This was and is a simple, safe and efficient workflow.”
All in all, not only is David Mirabella happy with his Sony FS5 but as he explained the camera was the ideal choice for the Cruise Mode loves a Jaguar segment and there are many reasons he intends to keep using it moving forward.
He concluded, “For the Cruise Mode loves a Jaguar segment it was important that we did not obstruct Lorbek Luxury Motors’ daily business and by using the FS5 and its small footprint we were able to achieve that. For this shoot it wasn’t possible to use a big set up or to lay power cables. So by utilising available light and the latest generation of battery operated LED lights, the FS5 camera performed beautifully. I also set up a couple of the Picture Profiles to match other cameras and I love how simply I could change these settings on the FS5 for this shoot. I also like the layout of the buttons, switches and dials on the side of the FS5. I am so familiar with the side of the camera now I can make many of the adjustments without looking. Sometimes, as on the Cruise Mode loves a Jaguar shoot, to obtain the client’s trust, the external LCD screen plays a big role as, when I took the shot, review was so easy with the thumbnails. Using the FS5 on the Cruise Mode loves a Jaguar shoot just reinforced what I already knew – this is a great, flexible and very high quality camera.”
David Mirabella and his Sony PXW-FS5 on the Cruise Mode loves a Jaguar shoot.