No day is the same for film-set photographer Chris Raphael. One day he shoots a fast chase in a desert in Africa and the other day a lighted shoot-out in the Paris metro. But his cameras are always the same. Chris works with three Sony α7R IIIs, which ensure that he is prepared for everything. Do you want to know more? Read on...
With TV and film productions, everything goes very fast, so a photographer must be ready for anything. The α7R III has special memory settings accessible via the 1, 2 and 3 on the mode selector. Chris uses these to quickly adapt to changing subjects. “Thanks to this camera function, I can quickly switch from bright light settings to settings that fit a small, dark studio with lamps, or even a slow shutter speed to pan.”
Silence on the set
When the cameras are running, set photographers must be invisible and inaudible. “Nothing can distract the actors and the other artists”, says Chris. “The biggest advantages of the α7R III are the Noise-Free Photography mode and the tiltable screen, which allows me to hide behind the main camera and make a composition without making any noise or having to go into the actor's field of vision.”
Fast and sensitive
“Most film sets in studios are very dark. Directors prefer this, nowadays,” says Chris. “So I have to work with high sensitivity settings such as ISO 4000 or 5000 if it really is an important photo, and fast lenses.” Fortunately, the α7R III produces little noise at higher ISO settings. Also, the Sony lenses with E-mount in Chris’ camera bag have a fast lens with a large aperture, such as the 35 mm f / 1.8, the 55 mm f / 1.8, the 85 mm f / 1.8 and the 24-70 mm f / 2.8.
Razor-sharp, quiet and accurate focus is also vital for set photographers, especially in low light. But with the hybrid autofocus of the α7R III it is easier than ever to find a subject and keep it sharp. “The AF possibilities are amazing,” Chris says, “and that's what you need, because you do not get a second chance.” When working with very large apertures, the eye detection is really useful: in the past, perhaps four out of ten frames were razor sharp, and now that’s eight or nine, or even all of them.”
“Any job can be a mix of low light, action, portraits and landscape photos,” says Chris, “and with this camera you can quickly adapt and avoid missing the moment, and that is crucial. The film company might spend millions of dollars and they can not redo it just because you were staring at your camera. You need to know which shutter speed and which lens you need and you have to be ready for it. Messing it up is not an option!”
Chris is a Sony Europe Imaging Ambassador. More of his work can be seen at www.sony.nl/alphauniverse