When we announced the release of the Zenmuse X7 aerial cinema camera from DJI, we went over all of the tech spec goodness the camera has to offer. This time, we're going to take a look at a short film shot entirely with the new Zenmuse X7 in order to let you see how the camera performs under very challenging lighting conditions. The DJI team, led by director Yehonatan Levin Richter of DJI Studio Europe, set out to film some architectural shots at Khazakstan's Astana Opera but, according to Levin Richter, the team was inspired to create much more once they arrived onsite. 

The video below explains how and why the DJI team decided to put the Inspire 2 and the X7 to the test by filming a simple yet emotionally charged story inside the Astana Opera.

The Zenmuse X7, with its small size and huge sensor, proved to be the perfect tool for the job. Because flying inside necessitates a small and agile drone in order to navigate easily while minimizing risk of crashes and damage, a large drone equipped with a much larger camera would not have been ideal. As explained in the video, the alternative to flying a drone would be to use traditional equipment like dollies and cranes. However, setting up that kind of equipment inside a delicate location like the Astana Opera house would take a tremendous amount of time and effort and would present even more challenges because of the risk of damaging the interior. But, because the Zenmuse X7 with its Super 35mm sensor is small enough to be carried by the Inspire 2, the team was able to achieve complex shots quickly, easily, and safely. 

"We built a simple story and had to find shots to charge this story with emotion, and that was where the X7 really gave us added value." 

Small size alone isn't helpful if you can't get a clean image, and this is where the low-light handling capabilities of the Zenmuse X7 sets it apart from any other drone camera. The Super 35mm sensor is quite large compared to the micro four-thirds sensor found in its predecessor, the X5S, so the X7 is able to deliver far superior low-light handling capability. This meant that the team was able to shoot their scenes using available theatrical lights in the opera house without having to set up any additional lighting equipment. 

Ferdinand Wolf, Creative Director at DJI Studio Europe elaborates in the video above:  "The low light capabilities of the X7 was a major point in this project, as we wanted to capture the natural light characteristics of the opera without bringing in any external lighting equipment. We could easily go up to ISO values as high as 1600 without compromising any of the picture quality."

Though the original plan for the shoot didn't include filming the entire project only with the X7, once the team saw how well the camera handled the conditions, they decided to use it for all the shots—even the close-ups. 

Wolf says, "With this project, we helped to push the boundaries of aerial imaging one step further"

Check out the final video below: