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
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.