Sony F5 Camera Shoots Navy Review


Aerial Film Australia (AFA) recently used of one of the world's most advanced stabilised gimbals for aerial cinematography – the Shotover K1 – combined with a Sony PMW-F5 camera to shoot the prestigious Royal Australian Navy International Fleet Review from above Sydney Harbour.

AFA’s aerial cinematographer Peter Beeh explained, “The Shotover K1 gimbal delivers highly stabilised aerial images and is designed to take almost any kind of modern digital camera package. In particular it can carry large sensor cameras and cinema camera payloads. The producers asked me if AFA could help with this shoot and what camera I would suggest. As it was a night time presentation, the producers were particularly interested in using a large sensor camera in order to benefit from better low light performance, especially given that we would be showing wide angle city and harbour scapes. After extensive testing, and keeping in mind that the material would need to be used in a live feed and also for archiving purposes, I tested numerous cameras in detail. After all were assessed, the Sony PMW-F5 clearly proved to be the best overall camera for this shoot.”

As the biggest event seen in Sydney Harbour for many years the Royal Australian Navy International Fleet Review 2013 attracted hundreds of thousands of visitors. For Peter Beeh and AFA the brief to help shoot a live broadcast of the event stressed three main criteria.

Beeh added, “The ABC’s producers wanted high quality images and the best possible low light performance. We also had to be able to deliver a live HD feed and CCU camera control. The PMW-F5 met all those requirements and on the low light performance measure it simply excelled. The night time pictures were just jaw dropping, outperforming all other cameras on the broadcast including the leading studio OB rigs.”

Even for an experienced aerial cinematographer such as Peter Beeh night time shoots can pose many challenges. Beeh’s decision to use the Sony PMW-F5 and Shotover K1 combination however paid dividends on the night.

Beeh continued, “I knew a large sensor camera would be better than a traditional 2/3" camera, but the improvement in performance in low light conditions had to be seen to be believed. The pictures from the F5 just sparkled. The Shotover system also introduced a fabulous new shot dynamic.”

Built on the success of Sony's PMW-F3, the F5 was developed in close consultation with DOPs across the globe and is well known as a camera that offers cinematographers a wide range of recording options in HD, 2K or 4K.

Commenting on the versatility of the Sony F5 during the Navy review Peter Beeh concluded, “The F5 camera is highly flexible and we were able to use it very much like one would a conventional video camera in an outside broadcast context. However, we were also able to record some additional shots separate to the broadcast and treat it much more like you would treat a cine camera to achieve a higher quality finish, including the ability to work with high frame rates up to 240fps. This was particularly useful for me on this shoot because rigging the camera into the Shotover mount takes a couple of hours and there wasn't time to change cameras. I’m delighted to say that the ABC was thrilled with the results and we received plenty of positive feedback from the production."

For more information and footage of Aerial Film Australia using the Shotover K1 combined with a Sony PMW-F5 camera go to: