December 3, 2018

A Look Into How the Sony a7S II Was Used to Shoot a Hollywood Feature

Sony a7s II Movie
Check out the First Hollywood Feature Shot on a Full Frame Mirrorless Camera.

Is this big news for filmmakers, or just another viral stunt to get coverage? You be the judge, but is interesting look into how (and why) one Hollywood feature chose to shoot not on an ALEXA or RED, but on a $2,200 Sony a7S II.

Don’t get us wrong, the Sony a7S II is a great camera and can be the perfect fit for many independent filmmakers and videographers - but is this news about this new horror thriller The Possession of Hannah Grace a gimmick or for real? Or, maybe, both?

The Sony a7S II Hollywood Feature

Sony a7S II

There are elements of this story which definitely feel similar to Sean Baker’s breakout hit Tangerine was receiving press for the filmmaker's decision to shoot on an iPhone 5s (or when Steven Soderbergh did the same with his film Sane). But the Sony a7S II is no iPhone, it’s a very successful and well-used full frame mirrorless camera.

In an article on PetaPixel, executive producer Glenn S. Gainor explains their decision as such:

“I knew that Sony’s A7S II had a full-frame sensor and could capture in 4K. And I knew that we had to make the film in a manner that would fit our schedule and budget. I had a relationship with Vantage, so we put it together and made a motion picture in a way that has never been done before.”

It gets really interesting though once you get a peek into how the team was actually able to make a workflow for their full frame prosumer mirrorless camera.

A Full Frame Mirrorless Workflow

To get a 2:40:1 widescreen image on the camera’s 16:9 sensor, the team used Hawk 65 lenses to apply a 1.3x squeeze for all of the shots. They used six different lenses during production ranging from a 40mm to a 95mm. And, because the a7S II is such an affordable option compared to many major cinema cameras, they simply had a dedicated a7S II for each lens to swap between.

The Possession of Hannah Grace

The film - The Possession of Hannah Grace - is out in theaters and currently holds a 14% on Rotten Tomatoes. Although, according to Wikipedia it already has netted $10 million at the box office against a $6-9 million budget. Which probably goes to show just how well small budget horror films do compared to how much was truly saved by using the a7S II.

But for fans of the Sony a7S II, it’s cool to see the surprising results and workflow to showcase what the camera is truly capable of. For more info on the Sony a7S II you can check out how it stacks up against the GH5s in a low-light comparison. And as always you can get one on here for $2,198.00.     

Your Comment

11 Comments

LOL, I noticed they kept the noisy neck strap connectors on. Those things come off the second it comes out of the box, for me. They just come off like a key on a key ring, why would you keep them on while shooting video?

December 3, 2018 at 2:53PM, Edited December 3, 2:53PM

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Marketing?

December 4, 2018 at 8:38PM

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visionrouge.com
DoP freelance cameraman 4K HK & Shanghai.
299

I don't know about 'noisy' unless you're shooting while jumping up and down, and using in-camera audio. I and most people I know keep them on simply because there's no real reason to take them off, so it never crosses ones mind...

December 6, 2018 at 4:49AM

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So they had the money to afford several A7S bodies but couldn't afford to shoot on and FS7.....???
What a slap in the face to Sony.

December 3, 2018 at 4:03PM

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Alex Alva
886

And they released it as a 4K DCP, that's really cool!
Now we just need a theater equipped with a Sony R815P and a Harkness Matt Plus screen to see it at it's best :D

December 4, 2018 at 4:36AM

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Why the R81P? That projector is only meant for small and medium screens. Wouldn't you want it to be larger than that?

December 4, 2018 at 10:27AM

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Alex Alva
886

Time, as if frozen in place Oh, how I dream with you to be together To touch you and gently hug . (Point), Inspiration Love Quotes For wife and I continue to miss.

December 8, 2018 at 9:00AM

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Kimberly
Spa Manager
1

It can't be. Everybody on internet knows the Sony A7S II has bad color science and records in 8-bit. Someone needs to alert the team that produced this visually impressive movie that they did it wrong.

December 4, 2018 at 12:36PM, Edited December 4, 12:38PM

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Marc B
Shooter & Editor
673

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Happy New Year 2019

December 7, 2018 at 3:48AM

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So why don't just use the FS7 to shoot the movie in actual 10 bit 422 then?

December 7, 2018 at 2:43PM, Edited December 7, 2:43PM

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Isaac Alonzo
Photographer / Cinematographer
280

Because Sony helped finance the movie and made it part of the contract for them to use the a7S II to use as a marketing tool like they're doing here to make people believe they can make a hollywood film with their camera.

December 8, 2018 at 10:35AM

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