Guest Blogger Chris Plummer and his new toy!

I’m turning over today’s blog to our Video Producer Chris Plummer

Will this camera make us cooler? 

In short, yes.  Which camera, you may ask?  I’m talking about the newest camera in the Morningstar arsenal, the Sony F3, or the Sony PMW-F3L Super 35mm Full-HD CineAlta, to be exact.  Ok, well it might not make us cooler, but it makes our clients look cooler; which I guess makes us cooler by association.  When you are a company of our size, equipment purchases must be done carefully and with a lot of research…especially with as fast as technology is changing.  Our goal is to find products that deliver superior results, but are priced at a level that keeps them accessible for our client budget requirements.  Plus, we’re looking for trends and longevity, not the latest fad.  So when we began our search for a new HD camera last spring, it was with those parameters in place.

The past five years or so have seen a great deal of advancement within HD camera offerings.  Video shooters have long been searching for the look and feel of film with video gear.  They’ve tried special filters, post-production processes, and more…all with marginal results at best.  The secret lay within the lenses and variable frame rates, we just couldn’t get there with the gear available.  A new generation of cameras and after-market lens adapters came on the scene about 4 or 5 years ago, and began to change the face of video as we knew it.  Unfortunately, none were perfect options.  You either had clunky, difficult to use camera systems whose workflow was a nightmare in post-production and field reliability was iffy, or you had good workflow and easy to use cameras retro-fitted with lens adapters that required lots of light, and had relatively noisy picture quality.  Everyone in the industry knew that it was just a matter of time before the big players would see the trends, hear the complaining, and develop camera solutions that eliminate or greatly reduce those issues.

Winter 2011 saw the introduction of a number of new HD digital cinema cameras from a variety of manufacturers, but 2 rose up from the pack, the Sony F3, and another camera costing 5 times as much.  I won’t bore you with too much technical mumbo jumbo, but suffice it to say, the F3 rocks.  It shoots true 1080 HD (many HD cameras say they do, but are actually far from true 1080 resolution), utilizing a Super 35mm sensor (the same size as Hollywood film cameras), has over 11 stops of dynamic range, and shoots at ISO 800 (super fast — great in low light).  The F3 comes with a PL lens mount and we added a Nikon mount adapter, which allows us to use the best cinema lenses available.  In short, the workflow is great in the field, reliability is rock-solid, the flexibility is un-surpassed, and the picture quality is remarkable whether through the in-camera compression to SxS cards, or full 10-bit 4:2:2 HD SDI output to a secondary recorder.  Beautiful, rich colors, incredibly clean blacks even at high ISO’s, and a wide range of filter settings and frame rates means your projects look amazing.

Of course, without the right people and concepts in place, it doesn’t really matter how great the gear is…fortunately, at Morningstar, we have a team in place that knows how to find the story first, and then utilize tools like the F3 to bring them to life…which is ultimately what helps us set our clients apart from the rest.

At the end of the day, that’s our job at Morningstar…to make our clients look cool, whether it’s a broadcast commercial series, corporate videos, documentaries, or even online videos.  Make no mistake…we’re not about making you look cool for no reason…but rather to brand your product, service or organization in such a positive manner that your audience will respond in a good way…and that’s cool anyway you look at it.



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