23 Jun 2015

Refuge: Moonlit Sony A7s short shot at ISO 51,200

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Refugee: Sony A7s at ISO 51,200 Refugee: Sony A7s at ISO 51,200 Sam Shapson

A new sci-fi thriller short, Refuge, leverages the night-to-day capabilities of the Sony A7s for a shoot lit entirely by moonlight at ISO 51,200.

When the Sony A7s was released into the wild, we saw a flood of user videos that explored the camera's now-famed low-light sensitivity. One of the first and most impressive of these films is the short Moonlight, which was shot entirely (you guessed it) in moonlight:

Moonlight, which is the creation of Carbon Studios/Abandon Visuals, was shot at ISOs 12,800, 25,600 and 32,000.

Recently, a RedShark News reader, Sam Shapson, alerted us to his new sci-fi thriller short, refuge. Like Moonlight before it, refuge uses the Sony A7s to turn night-to-day. All scenes were lit entirely by moonlight and by bouncing that moonlight for fill. refuge also ups the ISO to 51,200 throughout.

Shapson's short is definitely well-directed and acted. It's a matter of personal taste as to whether shooting at such an extreme ISO delivers an acceptable picture. I'm sure some will argue that, in this case, the blockiness in the shadow regions adds to the overall aesthetic and feel of the film. And I'm sure others would have preferred a cleaner, less fragile image. Nonetheless, it's at least a worthwhile experiment and another testament to what the Sony A7s makes possible.

What do you think of high-ISO shooting on the Sony A7s? What's the highest ISO you would set for this camera? Let us know in the comments!

[WARNING: The following video contains strong language and violence.]


Patrick Jong Taylor

Patrick Jong Taylor is former North American Editor of RedShark Media. He is currently the Director of Strategy at bigSTORY, a consultancy specializing in story-based analysis, strategy and production for corporate clients.

Website: bigstorybiz.com/

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