group of men filming in icy conditions

Walden – A Sony FX3 Cinematic Short Film

Dennis Schmelz

My name is Dennis Schmelz and I’m a professional filmmaker from Erfurt, Germany. My work gives me the opportunity to visit exciting places, meet interesting people and discover unique stories. I put a great deal of effort into my work to create authentic, inspiring and visually stunning films. My work is not just a job for me, but a passion and I enjoy every aspect in the process of a new project. There is always a story to tell and a fresh perspective to be discovered.

Walden

With the FX3 sitting in Sony's Cinema Line range of cameras, I wanted to produce a cinematic short film to show what is possible with such a small camera. the film explores the contrast between our fast, digital world and the silence and power of nature, coupled with some lighter moments. I had originally planned to shoot it in the alps, and had already scouted some suitable locations, but with Covid restrictions it wasn't possible. In the end I decided to shoot it in Thuringia, Germany and it turned out to be the right decision.

man holding a sony fx3 camera with accessories mounted

Photo: © Pascal Blaurock

First impressions shooting with the Sony FX3

I was immediately impressed with the style and build of the camera – it’s very solid and the design is good. The controls and attachment points for additional equipment such as monitors and transmitters are well thought out and make for a fast and effective workflow.

The fan cooling system meant that I never had to worry about the camera overheating and the S-Cinetone option is a great addition. Although I used it a lot, I actually prefer S-Log3 to get the widest dynamic range out of the camera for high contrast scenes especially.

With the top handle and the addition of 2 XLR ports – the workflow is similar to when you use the XLR box K3M which I appreciate a lot – it felt right at home to manage audio on the shoot and on top of that you can use it for lower angle shot more easily.

man films a truck from the back of a car

Photo: © Pascal Blaurock

Image look and lenses used during the shoot

We filmed a lot with prime lenses to enhance the cinematic look and shallower depth of field. I was lucky enough to test the new 35mm f/1.4 GM for a previous project and especially love this lens on this shoot. The FE 50mm f/1.4 ZA which gives a lovely smooth bokeh was also used, along with the FE 24mm f/1.4 GM for the wide shots in the cabin. For the longer portrait shots, I needed something with a longer focal length to separate my subject from the background so I used  the 85mm f/1.4 GM and FE 135mm f/1.8 GM for faster and accurate autofocus transitions. For flexibility we also used some zoom lenses, primarily for the car shots – FE 16-35mm f/2.8 GM, 24-70mm f/2.8 GM and FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS. And lastly, for the animal shots I needed a lot more reach - we used the FE 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 GM OSS and FE 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G OSS. Sony has so many options to be creative in your focal length choices and all their lenses work beautifully on Sony cameras.

man films an actor with his sony alpha camera

Photo: © Pascal Blaurock

Shooting tips with the Sony FX3 and last thoughts

I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to test the camera before the official launch and I think the FX3 proves that you don’t necessarily need big setups to achieve cinematic quality. The power and small size of this camera prove that point beautifully!

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Dennis Schmelz

Dennis Schmelz | Germany

"There is always a story to tell and a fresh perspective to be discovered"

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