InCinematographer - Issue 1 - June 2017 - 29
www.incinematographer.com | Issue 1 | June 2017
Sony F5 Duo Skyrockets
to Spectacular Success
So, the blue touch paper was lit, there was no going back for Peter Beeh on a shoot to capture
the spectacle of the Sydney Harbour New Year's Eve firework display...
hen the audience for the show you are about
to shoot is projected to be over one billion
people worldwide and the cameras you'll be using
will be flying through the air, as they were for aerial
cinematographer Peter Beeh at the recent Sydney
New Year's Eve (NYE) fireworks celebration, they'd
better work as you want them to.
Beeh said: "I specialize in aerial filming for
broadcast, commercials and features. There is a
lot of expense in running an advanced stabilized
camera system from a helicopter, so by using a dual
camera setup on the Sydney NYE shoot we were able
to deliver a much wider variety of shot options for a
relatively small additional cost."
For this super high-profile production Beeh
used the Shotover K1 aerial camera system as it is
designed to be able to carry multiple camera and
lens combinations within one single gimbal.
"In this way it is possible to configure a variety of
multiple camera setups for different purposes, said
Beeh. "For Sydney NYE we configured the system
with two Sony F5 cameras, one fitted with a wide to
mid-range zoom, the other fitted with an ultra-wideto-wide zoom. With this setup we were able to deliver
a much greater variety of shots from the one gimbal.
It was also possible to deliver both a wider and a
tighter image simultaneously from the one stabilized
head using the one aircraft."
Beeh and his crew used Sony F5 cameras on the
Sydney NYE shoot, cameras chosen carefully and
with good reason: "The F5s were chosen because
they integrate well into a live broadcast workflow
with essential CCU control. However because of their
Super 35mm sized sensor they perform very well in
low light. As this was a night shoot, optimizing low
light performance was key."
It wasn't just the low light that led Beeh to the
Sony F5s, form and function also played key parts
as he elaborated: "The size of the camera body was
particularly useful. Our brief was to fit two fully
Peter Beeh shooting the Sydney NYE fireworks with
two Sony F5 cameras mounted inside a gimbal
on the Aerial Film Australasia helicopter
truly represent the spectacular. He added, "Every
year I test different cameras for their low light
performance. I have yet to find a camera that
delivers a better live HD-SDI feed in low light than
this one. Admittedly the F5 and F55 sensors are a few
years old now, but I have yet to see better for this
kind of purpose. It is a testament to the quality of
the Sony sensor that it is still so competitive despite
having been around for a while."
independent camera packages into the one gimbal.
The compact size of the F5 and its very 'cubic' form
factor made the task of fitting everything into a tight
space a lot easier. Also, remote camera and CCU
control was critical.
"Sony defines the industry standard
for this and it is very easy to design the
wiring needed to connect multiple Sony
RMB remote controllers to the cameras
themselves. Generally this is not a complex
process, but we needed to be able to pass
all camera control information through
one complex slip ring and because the RMB
remotes are relatively easy to connect, with
just four wires per camera, it was a problem
that was easy to solve."
Low light was just one of the challenges
Beeh had to overcome to make the shoot
A One Shot Deal
Beeh delivered the big picture aerial component of
the Sydney NYE fireworks for the ABC's broadcast.
The footage was also fed live worldwide, a fact not
lost on Beeh as he concluded: "It's a big deal for
Sydney each year as it is the first big city to reach
midnight. As such, the fireworks get seen by a lot of
"Estimates this year suggested up to one billion
viewers saw the presentation across traditional
broadcast and online media. As such the epic
overhead shots of Sydney Harbour, the Sydney
Harbour bridge, the Sydney Opera House and the
city itself play a key role and we had to make sure
the cameras helped us get exactly what we needed.
In truth two Sony F5s inside a gimbal at 2,500 feet
above sea level did exactly that."