Camcorders Sony

Sony NEX-FS700 Camcorder with Super Slow Motion and 4K Imaging: Wildlife Cinematography by Russ MacLaughlin

The following video presents Ghoha Hills Savuti, Botswana :

A promotional video of the stunning Ghoha Hill Savuti lodge in Botswana created by cinematographer Russell Maclaughlin and myself.

Cinematography: Russell Maclaughlin & Shannon Wild
Editing: Russell Maclaughlin
Colour Grading: Shannon Wild


Shannon Wild and Russell MacLaughlin – Wildlife Photography are an award-winning wildlife photography and filming team with 20yrs shooting experience between them.
Shannon Benson aka Shannon Wild is an Australian wildlife photographer, author and presenter based in South Africa. Shannon hosts an online series called Shannon Wild, which follows her adventures in her search for the perfect shot. Her award-winning images have been exhibited around the world including Paris, New York and LA.

Russell is a wildlife filmmaker and photographer by profession, a wildlife conservationist and naturalist at heart. Russell has filmed numerous documentaries for National Geographic and Animal Planet, among others and his award winning images have graced the covers and pages of numerous international publications.

Both Shannon and Russell are official contributing photographers for WildAid.


Going Wild with Sony’s NEX-FS700

by Sony Pro Team 09/08/2015

Digital technology has created a Golden Age for documenting wildlife, and a camera like Sony’s NEX-FS700 camcorder with super slow motion and 4K imaging opens windows into worlds that could not be glimpsed before.

by Russ MacLaughlin

Russ MacLaughlin @ "Brian in the Wild" Filming: Image by Shannon Benson

Russ MacLaughlin @ “Brian in the Wild” Filming: Image by Shannon Benson

My passion for being a wildlife cinematographer, naturalist and conservationist started when I was growing up in South Africa.  My mother is from Malawi, my father is from Zimbabwe, and we traveled throughout Africa for his conservation work. Now, my dream of sharing my love of African flora and fauna with the world has come true. For the past nine years I have been filming wildlife documentaries for the BBC, National Geographic, Animal Planet and other networks.

I’m what you’d call a “Digital Native” – my career has coincided with the digital imaging revolution. Sony camcorders have been my go-to since I started, and I always eagerly await the latest cameras. At first, digital imaging was mostly about convenience and economy. It offered a practical alternative to film, with tradeoffs that purists raised on film found problematic. Those days are now long behind us, with the latest advances providing quality and utility that were not possible before.

Russ MacLaughlin @ "Brian in the Wild" Filming: Image by Shannon Benson

Russ MacLaughlin @ “Brian in the Wild” Filming: Image by Shannon Benson

I started with a Sony PD170 DVCAM camcorder. It was a classic in the SD miniDV era: light and reliable with great battery life that made it terrific for field use. That it was also affordable allowed me to learn my trade with 1/3″ sensors with a whopping .38 megapixels. Next, I was an early adopter of Sony’s Z1U, basically an HD upgrade to the PD170 and one of the first affordable HDV camcorders.  Then, I went tapeless and to full HD with Sony’s EX1 XDCAM camcorder. Solid state recording is an important advance because it is inherently more reliable, ending all the tape transport maintenance issues. The EX1 added depth-of-field with 1/2″ sensors and the 35mps 4:2:0 recording was a great improvement over HDV’s 25mbps and 1440×1080 HD.

Sony’s NEX-FS700, body only

Sony’s NEX-FS700, body only

When the FS700 was first announced in late 2013, I knew I needed to get my hands on it. It was an important leap ahead in so many ways. Combining Super Slow Motion with the ability to shoot 4K RAW in a single camera at an affordable price makes this camcorder a reliable, practical tool to go beyond HD. The full-sized Super 35mm sensor allows amazing depth-of-field. It is also my first camcorder with interchangeable lenses so it’s a far more versatile tool. It’s terrifically compact and light and with great battery life – all essential for operating effectively in the field.   Most important, the pictures it produces are just extraordinary.

Sony FE PZ 28-135 f4 lens

Sony FE PZ 28-135 f4 lens

My primary use for the FS700 is shooting Super Slow Motion. This delivers the most beautiful look and feel, especially when using the Sony FE PZ 28-135 f4 lens. At 240fps, you gain new insights seeing cobras spitting, lion and cheetah hunting and leopards climbing trees. These and other animal behaviors are simply too fast for the unaided human eye, much less traditional film, to fully capture.

In addition to the Sony camcorder and lens, my Odyssey 7Q external recorder is an essential accessory. I put this kit through its paces on a recent project — my first filmed completely in 4K RAW. Being able to cover the rhino poaching crisis in South Africa in 4K was not only entirely enjoyable, but it will help get attention for this issue worldwide. As with adopting any new format, I was concerned with support for editing. It turns out that working with this content (in Adobe Premier) is a breeze, easy and fast. I often find myself on the road shooting projects and then putting together a quick edit for social media.

 Russ MacLaughlin @ "Brian in the Wild" Filming: Image by Shannon Benson

Russ MacLaughlin @ “Brian in the Wild” Filming: Image by Shannon Benson

Now, following my experience working in 4K on the FS700, I have been working on additional 4K projects including a new blue-chip series on wildlife using the Sony F5 and F55 cameras.  Other new dimensions for my work involve aerial filming and photography. As always, I stay on top of Sony’s latest, paying close attention to the smaller, mirrorless cameras that are ideal for drone work. I’ll soon be working with the Sony Alpha a7R mkII, the first full-frame camera capable of in-camera 4K recording.

Next stops for me include a trip to the Arctic to film polar bears, then onto the deserts of Namibia. Throughout, I’ll have my trusty FS700 by my side.

The following video presents Sony Professional: Introducing the Sony NEX-FS700:

The first footage from Sony’s new NEX-FS700. The new Super 35mm model is designed for high-speed shooting and is capable of capturing footage at up to 960 frames per second. The camcorder also features a range of capabilities such as 3G HD-SDI output and built-in ND filters. Additionally, it also offers several creative options, shooting styles and enhanced ergonomics — all based on customer feedback — to deliver a flexible production tool that fits seamlessly into a variety of shooting applications.