A Step into the FX6 Cinematic World

By Saad Aldin

Trying new camera’s is like trying new flavors from your favorite childhood treats. You know you love it but you’re still excited to find out what’s new. I was lucky to have the Sony FX6 camera for almost a week to explore its new features and enjoy filming with it. It’s an absolute treat to test new features developed by Sony and see how it works on the ground.

The Ballerina Project

It was a pleasure to work with an incredibly talented Director such as Malak Mansoura, and I was also pleased that Lilian Alhakim was on board as the production Designer.

It’s important to work with people that can add value to the quality of the work and luckily everyone on this set had something special to offer. We’ve worked closely together throughout all stages of production. From the beginning of creating the idea throughout the script, mood board, shot-list, set design and even costumes were all prepared for production.

Aligning all those creative elements under one theme allowed me to have control on set as a D.O.P and light the set exactly as I envisioned with the Director.

A single character on screen can go a long way with the right story to choose.

The Director took us on an imaginative fairytale simply narrated by a little girl reading her bedtime story. Nevertheless, the production required serious pre-production work so every member in the team put a lot of effort to create this project from scratch. We even made sure that the script and shot list were tailored to fit all the FX6 new features that we were looking forward to explore and test on set.

I am the kind of a DOP who loves to operate and get my hands dirty. Usually, the more technically advanced the camera, the bigger it is so It came as a great surprise that the new Fx6 is a practical professional camera yet It had a compact easy to handle size that makes it easy to place and rig on any piece of equipment I had in mind.

I was concerned before using the FX6 because we had shots that was full of movements but once I received the camera, I knew that we can make it happen in a smooth way. We hanged the camera on the celling and took a beautiful top shot. I was able to attach big lenses without worrying about the weight balance, it is very light and handy.

Our shot-list required additional gear to capture the frames we wanted. I was able to adapt the camera easily to different gears. I put the camera on a slider, rigged it to the celling, and used it with a Ronin, it went smoothly. I was even impressed with the quality of frames I was able to take hand-held. It kept things efficient and I was able to quickly jump from one method to another during this one-day shoot. I was also glad that it didn’t take a lot of time to set up or change the lenses.

Having the Fx6 in hand gave me the courage to risk some shots and try out some new features for the first time on set. One of them was the Auto Focus. I said to myself, let’s loose the focus ring and give it a try. It worked smoothly to the point that I had a focus puller on set, who ended up helping in other stuff rather than focus pulling! Using the compatible lenses for the camera shocked me. The eye tracking feature was unbelievable. It even work when I used the Sony FE 200-600mm F5.6-6.3 G OSS in low light with slow-motion in ,Even working with a Sony FE 35mm F1.8 lens mounted on a slider it was adjusting to everything I was doing. It helped me to take control completely and I was able to focus on taking brilliant shots of the ballerina dancing. Things wouldn’t have been as fast and efficient otherwise and the quality remained impeccable.

I decided to remove the matt box, so I chose not to use any external ND filters. It was nice especially when I wanted to keep my depth of field. For example, I had Sony FE

85mm F1.8 lenses and I didn’t want to change the camera settings especially the ISO as I wanted to keep it consistent during the shoot. I completely relied on the ND to cut the light while keeping my blurry background. It gave me more control of the Fstop. I kept in mind that that the FX6 has 1/64 ND which is equivalent to 3 stops therefore if my right exposure was 5.6 without an ND but I needed more shallow depth of field so I added 3 stops and opened my exposure to 2.8. The math comes easily to you once you have such a practical camera in hand. It’s simple to figure out which is great for any aspiring D.O.P during a busy shoot.

It’s always critical when it comes to dynamic range. How much details I can save on my darkest point in the frame compared to the brightest point, without losing the details nor the essence. On this project, the director wanted a high contrast cinematic look, that meant we needed to capture all the details in the picture, which the FX6 delivered sharply. The camera has 15+ stops, which allowed us to achieve the vision of the director instantly.

To summarize, the Sony FX6 is a beautiful compact camera, that has a lot of handy and professional features that can help any filmmaker or videographer take their content to the next level. This camera fits such a wide range of productions. Whether it’s a small documentary for your neighbor’s bakery or a large-scale commercial gig you just landed you can rest assured that this camera won’t disappoint. In fact, it will add a great value and efficiency to your work. I personally believe that Sony FX6 is a great choice to step into the cinematic world with no fear.

About Saad Aldin

Saad Aldin Alkharouf is an award-winning cinematographer based in the United Arab Emirates. Saad is a trust worthy D.O.P that has extensive and worked with industry greats, like BAFTA Award nominee Brian J Breheny and Norman B Schwartz best known for his work on E.T. He believes that a perfectly shot image is crucial to achieve a frame that ads to the story being told in a film.

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