At long last! Sony has finally released its previously announced firmware updates for the a7r III and a7 III alpha series cameras! The new updates, titled version 3.0, include real-time eye autofocus, real-time animal eye autofocus, and much to our delight… BUILT-IN INTERVAL SHOOTING! You know what that means right? 43-megapixel time-lapses! Exciting right?

Up until now users of both cameras would have to purchase an intervalometer in order to capture true time-lapses (or if you’re lazy like me you’d have to film twenty minutes of footage and speed it up in post). Now we’ll be able to use our a7r III and capture those sweet, sweet time-lapses we always love, without the use of additional gear. Of course, that feature is what we are most looking forward to, but we shouldn’t overlook the real-time eye autofocus at all.

Using machine learning, these cameras should be able to (as the features name says) track the eyes of your subject and keep them in focus! This can be especially helpful for those like me who struggle with manual focus settings. Sony’s autofocus has already been getting ridiculous in terms of its power, but this just adds a whole new dimension. In addition, the animal eye auto-focus? Finally, now all those squirrel and deer pics I’ve been taking lately might actually be in focus!

Sony Cameras

Now that we’ve got our firmware updated (as of 3:59 p.m. today) we’re excited to put these features to the test! With upcoming trips to Pennsylvania, and Atlanta, we think we have some good test subjects. Who doesn’t love a good bussling city time-lapse? So now that it’s out, what do you wanna see us shoot with these new features? If you’re a an Alpha user yourself, what do you plan on shooting? Let us know in the comments, and lets get some ideas generating 😎

Check out our last post, A Fight Broke Out On Set!

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A Fight Broke Out On Set…

A Fight Broke Out On Set…

The Lead Up…

Back inside the lab (our affectionate name for the office), it’s a bit redundant to say that these past few months have been quite busy. We kicked house tour season into gear, we continued creating our regular monthly content, we put some more miles on the ol’ Durango, but arguably our biggest chunk of time was taken up by our recent commercial work.

You may have already seen based on our countless shares and shameless plugs all over social media, but we recently shot a seven-part commercial series! Now calling it a seven-part series may be overselling it just a bit, with each commercial ranging from about 15 to 60 seconds in length, but it was certainly one of the most intricate and ambitious projects I personally have undertaken.

We wanted every step of the process to be motivated and necessary, and with that came some extra steps that we haven’t always needed to take into account. We put out a casting call, held auditions for actors, and did rehearsals. In our typical line of work, a large portion of what we do is either capturing footage run and gun style or certain elements such as actors and locations are often provided by the client we happen to be collaborating with. In this instance though, we had free reign creatively, and let me tell you… it was exhilarating. We found an amazing set of actors, we pinned down the perfect location, we purchased all the necessary props, and by the time we were set to get the camera’s rolling, we were feeling pretty confident.

“… It was exhilarating.”

The Set

The Day Of…

As is typical, the day of a big shoot can be a bit nerve-wracking. Little details keep flashing through your minds as you try to remember everything required for a successful day of filming. And inevitably, you end up forgetting something anyways. I’ve learned it’s better to just breathe and let all things be as they should. Through the process of video production over the years, I’ve discovered it’s better not to get too worked up because it can definitely have a negative effect on your production, and the morale of the group.

In the case of this specific shoot, I happened to forget to print a few extra scrips… but hey, lucky us! There was a printer on site! Sure it slowed us down slightly, but the energy was still high and things were looking up. Finally, the time came. Our scene was set, the spotlights flickered on, and the actors were blocked into positions. We were ready to hit that record button. Then we were off, things began swimmingly. In about an hour, we completed all the necessary shots for our first three spots. There was a creative buzz in the air as things were clicking on all fronts. Then, the incident happened.

The Incident…

A fight broke out in the middle of the shooting. I remember the incident pretty vividly… Scene four, page two of the script…

INT. DAY. STAN’S HOUSE. – Stan and Bethany begin to aggressively yet playfully bicker about Stan’s bracket choices –

Thankfully, this fight was merely contained within the creative confines of our auteurs acting our their scene amazingly! I’m not sure what we would have done if a real fight happened to break out…

I remember the incident pretty vividly…”

Stan is getting into character, while Zach provides some direction, and Noah Lucy captures some behind the scenes

The Aftermath…

Finally, at about 7:10 P.M. we were wrapped! After a long day, all the fights, arguments, and “madness” (again solely confined to our scripted scenes) had been completed, and our team was packing things up. While looking out at the sprawling scene of our crew members and actors packing their things up, I felt a great sense of pride. This project was a true team effort on all ends, and because of our collaborative efforts, it made the production run all the more smoothly. Due to this day, I learned plenty of things which I think I can summarize them down into five simple lessons.

The Lessons…

1. Collaborate Collaborate Collaborate

2. Expect the unexpected

3. When the unexpected comes, breathe, and don’t let it get to you

4. Make sure your team feels appreciated and valued during the production

5. Learn the correct protocol incase an ACTUAL fight (not a scripted one) did happen to break out on set

Our rig for this one got pretty complex.

If you liked this post, you’ll love our post about Why You Need To Create

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