Article ID : 00128005 / Last Modified : 12/07/2018

Alpha 7s (ILCE-7S) movie settings guide

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This guide gives you an overview regarding the most important features and settings, as well as giving advice on how to get the most out of the ILCE-7S, when it comes to recording video footage.

Table of contents

Video

  1. What are available recording formats, and how do they differ from one another? 
  2. What is Auto Slow Shutter? 
  3. Switching between PAL and NTSC
  4. Recording in 4K and using menu item HDMI Info. Display
  5. What is Dual Video Recording? 
  6. Picture Profile settings

Audio

  1. Audio Recording 
  2. Audio Rec Level 
     

What are available recording formats, and how do they differ from one another?
The file formats you can choose from are XAVC S, AVCHD and MP4.

XAVC S allows you to record high definition movies with relatively small file sizes. XAVC S also captures more details, and vivid colours, compared to AVCHD and reduces the amount of noise in dark areas.

AVCHD is the default setting of your camera. It forms the perfect balance between quality and compression. Suitable for creating Blu-ray Discs and viewing them on a high definition TV.

MP4 gives the most compressed files, making them smaller in size compared to the other two formats. This means you will lose a little bit of detail in certain areas, but makes the most desirable format when sharing videos through Internet or by e-mail attachments.    

Recording format

Size 

Frame rate

Wrapper format

Movie compression 

Audio compression

Colour format & quantisation bit rate

Maximum bit rate 

XAVC S 

1920 x 1080

30p / 50p / 30p / 25p / 24p

MP4 

MPEG-4
H.264 / AVC  

Linear PCM

4:2:0 / 8-bit

50 Mbps

1280 x 720

120p

50 Mbps

AVCHD

1920 x 1080

60p / 50p

M2TS  

MPEG-4
H.264 / AVC

Dolby Digital
(AC-3) 2ch

4:2:0 / 8-bit

28 Mbps

60i / 50i

24 Mbps

24p

24 Mbps

MP4

1440 x 1080

30p

MP4 

MPEG-4
H.264 / AVC

AAC

4:2:0 / 8-bit

12 Mbps

VGA 3M

30p

3 Mbps

You can change the file format at any time, by going to the menu:
Select Image Camera Settings → page 1 → Image File Format → Select your desired setting.

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What is Auto Slow Shutter?
When recording movies in dimly lit environments, the Auto Slow Shutter feature automatically lowers the shutter speed to effectively reduce noise and camera shake, which results in smoother motion overall. A tripod may be required when using the Auto Slow Shutter feature with longer focal length lenses.

NOTE: Auto Slow Shutter will not function in the following situations:

  • When Movie in shooting mode is set to Shutter Priority or Manual Exposure
  • When ISO is set to other than ISO AUTO

The slowest shutter speed available with Auto Slow Shutter turned off is 1/4s.

You can activate the setting at any time, by going to the menu:
Select Image Camera Settings → page 7 → Image Auto Slow Shut. → Select your desired setting.

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Switching between PAL and NTSC

European models use the PAL format by default, but it is possible to change the format to NTSC. By doing so, you will have the possibility to record movies in high definition at a high frame rate. For instance, recording in a 1920 x 1080 resolution at 60p, gives you the maximum number of frames possible when creating slow motion footage in post production. 

NOTES:

  • It is not possible to mix PAL and NTSC files in the same folder hierarchy. If you insert a memory card that has previously been formatted with the PAL system, you will be informed that the memory card will need to be re-formatted.  
  • When the NTSC mode is selected, a message saying “Running on NTSC” will always appear on the start-up screen each time you turn the product on.

You can change between PAL and NTSC by going to the menu:
Select Image Setup → page 2 → PAL/NTSC Selector → Select your desired setting.

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Recording in 4K and using menu item HDMI Info. Display

The ILCE-7s is capable of recording 4K when attached to an external recorder (sold separately). Set the mode dial to Movie Mode, and connect the external recording device by an HDMI cable.

In the menu, select Image Setup → page 3 → Image HDMI 4K Output → Select your desired setting.
You will have several different options to choose from:

  • OFF: The recorded video does not output in 4K quality
  • 24p: 4K video is output in 24p format
  • 30p/25p: 4K video is output in 30p/25p format

NOTE: When attaching an external recording device, you cannot record on the memory card of the camera.

To obtain a clean video signal, without the recording information showing, set the HDMI Info. Display to OFF.

Select Image Setup → page 3 → HDMI Info. Display → Select your desired setting.

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What is Dual Video Recording?

This feature allows you to simultaneously record an XAVC S movie and an MP4 movie, or an AVCHD movie and an MP4 movie. For example, if needing to quickly upload footage from on-location, but at the same time keep the best quality for later.

To activate this feature, select Image Camera Settings → page 2 → Dual Video REC → Select your desired setting.

Picture Profile settings

The Picture Profile (PP) settings adjusts colours and the vividness of the image during recording.You can make similar adjustments by using nonlinear editing software after shooting. Supporting a wide range of adjustable settings, the Picture Profile menu allows you to change a variety of settings, such as Gamma Curve, Colour and Detail. Up to 7 sets of setting combinations can be stored in the internal memory as PP1 through PP7.

One of the most interesting picture profiles is the S-Log2 setting, because it gives the opportunity of defining the appearance of the recorded movie in post production to a larger extent than the other profiles. In order to bring out the contrast in highlights as much as possible, the sensor output has been extended to 1300% of the dynamic range. While you can compare the other picture profiles to the Creative Styles for shooting still images, the S-Log2 can be compared to what the RAW format is for still images.

More information on about the different picture profiles can be found here.

Select Image Camera Settings → page 5 → Picture Profile → Select your desired setting.

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Audio Recording

This menu settings selects whether to record sounds when shooting movies, such as noise from the lens.

To activate or deactivate this feature, select Image Camera Settings → page 7 → Audio Recording → Select your desired setting.

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Audio Rec Level

The Audio Rec Level can be controlled automatically by the camera or be set manually by the user. The levels ranges from -60 to 0 dB and can be set manually in 32 fine steps.

The levels are displayed with two channels in Decibel. The farmost left being -60 dB and the farmost right 0 dB.

Select Image Camera Settings → page 7 → Audio Rec Level.

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