I’m like you, bound by limited tools and budgets. We all want cinematic quality, but most cameras just don't cut it.
The ones that do shoot RAW have insane data rates. Along comes the Sony A7s, the low light monster that shoots cinematic videos, and only takes up 1 TB of space for 46 hours' worth of cinema-quality footage. But it comes with one catch - it's not a point and shoot. You need some know-how to make it work, it's just like working with film!
I realized early on that the A7s can deliver stunning images in any situation - corporate videos, commercials, cinema, documentaries, wedding videos, music videos, you name it. All you need is a workflow - a step-by-step system that tells you when to use which profile, and how to get great images in any budget or deadline.
If you've been reading my blog you'll know my free stuff itself provides phenomenal value. Even a brief persual of my blog or Youtube channel will show you the amount of effort I put into each piece. In return, I have been blessed with thousands of comments and emails from successful filmmakers who have benefited from my guides and articles.
That's what I bring to the table - a single-minded dedication to teach and help.
This is the culmination of all my efforts. What you're seeing is the definitive guide to creating cinematic videos and films using the Sony A7s. You've got the camera in your hands, and you have the quality, now it's time to connect the dots.
The guide contains tons of material, over 4 hours of videos, full resolution stills that you can download and study; and a couple of print-ready infographics on production workflows. It can't any simpler than this.
See for yourself. Here are the table of contents, and some free videos for you to sample:
The simple guide to getting your camera running in no time.
Learn which settings to turn off or on, and how to prepare yourself for shooting.
The A7s is designed to work with lens adapters. But which ones are good?
Learn my system of choosing lenses, and why I bought what I did.
Every sensor is sensitive to ugly IR pollution. How prone is the A7s?
Shooting at ISO 3200 demands ND filters! Here's how to choose them.
Configuring the A7s to the LWS standard is tricky. How do you solve this problem?
The tiny batteries that come with the camera are power hungry. Are there better options?
How did I rig my camera system?
How do you get the HDMI cable fixed in its place?
Different mounts and arms to help you connect an external monitor or viewfinder to the camera rig.
Rigging and power solutions specific to the Atomos Shogun.
What exposure tools can you use to make your life simpler?
The A7s offers three codecs, which one do you pick?
How high can you go with the Sony A7s? Can you really shoot in the dark?
How good is the Auto White Balance on the Sony A7s? Can you replace custom white balance completely?
This is a MEGA chapter with sub-lessons:
Comparison of Standard and Neutral Creative Styles
Comparison of Movie and Still Picture Profiles
A thorough study of Cine1
A thorough study of Cine2
A thorough study of Cine3
A thorough study of Cine4
A thorough study of Rec. 709
A thorough study of Rec. 709 800%
A thorough study of S-Log2
Two real-world scenes compared
Every profile has arcane sub-settings that's the work of the devil himself. I make him go away for good.
My picks on when to use which profile, and how. Shoot today! Can't get any easier than this!
How should you plan your hard drive strategy? The drives I use!
How useful is the file organization and metadata in camera?
Sony's answer to DaVinci Resolve. Is it useful?
My simple workflow to creating dailies, transcoding and creating LUTs.
My simple workflow to creating dailies, transcoding and creating LUTs - for those who like Resolve better!
Watch me in action:
This is a huge A3-paper-sized chart. Frame it!
Which editing softwares take XAVC S? Do you need plugins?
The simplest way to edit and grade footage in FCP X.
Is the A7s as bad as other DSLRs? Find out for yourself! Here are samples:
Learn how to record audio using lavaliers or shotgun microphones.
Want to handle more complex projects with better audio? This lesson is for you.
My down and dirty guide to audio post.
An overview of all the features available via HDMI on the Sony A7s.
How to make the best use of an EVF or external monitor with the Sony A7s.
Is the false color tool all it's made out to be? Here's a comprehensive look.
All the ways you can get 4K from the Sony A7s, and of course, the cheapest way.
This is a MEGA chapter with sub-lessons:
Atomos Shogun Initial Impressions (temporary, will be replaced by full review shortly)
Step-by-step configuration guide and workflow with the Sony A7s
What hard drives to use with the Shogun, and a data strategy for 4K editing
How to expose correctly using the Shogun
An Overview of the Tools Available for Exposure in the Atomos Shogun
Exposing with Rec. 709
Exposing in Cine modes
Exposing in S-Log2
Exposing in S-Log2 4K/UHD
Quality of internal 1080p recording compared to Prores on the Shogun
Resolution, Noise and Dynamic Range
Latency, Grading and Chroma key stress tests
My recommendations: When should you shoot Prores for 1080p?
Quality of 4K recording, and which Prores version to use
How useful are the bracketing features for HDR?
My simple workflow on how to shoot and post process timelapses.
You can shoot any project with the Sony A7s, with confidence. Now it'll be a point and shoot!
You can grade your own videos easily.
Finding parts for your rig won't be a problem.
You will save precious time and aggravation conducting your own tests and research.
Both stills and videos are downloadable in 1080p. Study it yourself!
Shoot with any camera in Log mode. You only have to learn this thing once!
That’s what real knowledge can do for you – it will make you look good. Even if you put half my tips into practice over the next month or so, you’ll see immediate benefits.
If you have the motivation, my guide is all you need to reach the next level. However, some of you might not have the confidence to make it on your own. Well, I have a solution for that too.
"So you use the Sony a7s to make videos. Then why don't you know about Wolfcrow's Sony a7s Guide? That's a must read, there's no beating around the bush." - Stefano Armanini, Italy.
"This guide is a wealth of information. I had been browsing the Wolfcrow website for months before I saw the guide available. I decided to give it a change. I am glad I did" - Kent, Thousand Oaks, CA
"Sareesh's Guide is amazing. He has put a lot of work in testing the various aspects of working with the Sony A7s and shares all his professional shooting experience. It saves me a lot of time and prevents me from beginners mistakes. I am shooting with the GH4, but I am seriously thinking, of getting the A7s. The guide informs me of all the cons and pros, it's a great starting point for my decision. Sareesh does this in with a thoroughness, that is admirable. The best is that it's updated continuously, great value for your money." - Rainer von Rottenburg, Berlin, Germany.
"Wolfcrow Sony A7s Guide, is a quick way to learn all the needed technical aspects in order to make the most out of a7s. (www.facebook.com/Karypidis.Alexandros)" - Alexandros Karypidis, Thessaloniki, Macedonia, Greece.
"This is an amazng kick start guide to the Sony A7s! Sareesh gets you up and going with this amazing camera. I found his passion and knowledge for the 7s super helpful to give me the added confidence to push the limits of this photographic / cinemagraphic tool. His update emails again, just make me dig deeper and use this 7s to its fullest! Thank you Sareesh!" - Sion Michel ACS, Hollywood, CA, USA.
"Before I read Sareesh's guide I was having only marginal success using the XAVC-S codec. Sareesh's methods and techniques are esssential in getting the most out of this camera." - Chris
"Sareesh's A7s guide has been very helpful in working with this camera. I particularly appreciate how he backs up his findings with data and multiple examples so you can judge for yourself. For me it was totally worth the cost in the time saved and the confidence gained mastering the A7s." - Mike Hinchey, Honolulu, Hawaii.
"Sareesh has a gift for digesting high volumes of complicated technical information and present it using a clear, concise, writing style that empowers the reader. Also, he includes embedded videos to further illustrate and expand on each subject. If you want to master the potential of the Sony A7s and use it to express the content of your video effectively ... this is the only A7s manual you will ever need." - Howard, Los Angeles, California.
"I earn my life with my canon 5d since 2010. Time to update my equipment came and I decided to jump to the Sony A7s. Well.. camera is great. I know, but more than this I wanted to save time and money in learning quickly not only how the camera works but how to make the best of it, especially the work flow. ... I follow this blog since a year and I did not doubt that the guide had to be as extensively technic and incisive as Sareesh's reviews. And indeed it is. Its like making a seminar o course of a extended DIT dslr course rather than just a guide of the settings of the camera. Yeah, I recommend it." - Víctor Luengo, Madrid, Spain.
Format and terms:
Can the guide be read offline?
No. You will always need a browser and an Internet connection.
Why is this guide web-based?
I can't think of any other format where I can combine video, high-quality stills and loads of content. I understand the need for offline reading, but I don't know how to make it work so the lessons are presented in the way I want to teach them.
I don't like web-based content!
When I get everything I want from life, you'll get yours.
Do you offer email support?
No. There is no support of any kind. This guide is given free as-is.