Sony’s $3,000 A7S II mirrorless camera is well known for its incredible low-light ability and great 4K video. While the camera and others of its ilk are beloved by students and independent filmmakers for their compact size and relative affordability, rarely do such devices make it onto large-scale productions, least of all as A cameras. But for its upcoming horror film Cadaver, Screen Gems (a division of Sony Pictures Entertainment) decided to shoot the entire thing on the A7S II.
“Not only is the A7S II right for my studio production,” executive producer Glenn Gainor said in a statement, “but it will help democratize storytelling around the world because it is a powerful camera accessible to people who may not otherwise be empowered to tell their story.”
Much of the supporting gear was also prosumer grade, including Redrock Micro rigs and follow focus units, monitors from SmallHD, and Atomos Shogun 4K HDMI recorders. One area where the studio didn’t skimp was with the glass: The A7S II was adapted to accept large format Hawk 65 anamorphic lenses from Vantage.
In speaking with Indiewire, Gainor said that using smaller, inexpensive cameras wasn’t just about saving money — it was about accomplishing things that they otherwise couldn’t have while working more efficiently along the way. “We utilized some of [Vantage’s] finest anamorphic lenses on Cadaver and never waited to change lenses because each lens was mounted on the camera,” he said. “Imagine that. We never said, ‘Change lenses.’ Instead, we simply picked up the whole unit and shot.”
The idea for using the A7S II came when Gainor was scouting the London underground. Such an area would be difficult to access with a traditional cinema camera. The A7S II, with its 12-megapixel full frame sensor (larger than the Super35 format used by most cinema cameras) would also be perfect for working in such low-light conditions.
Cadaver tells the story of a disgraced ex-cop who takes a graveyard shift at a morgue, but when a strange cadaver is delivered, things take a turn for the worse. The movie will premiere in the U.S. in August.
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