Quick tip: if you ever travel to Iceland bring specialized non-slip shoes. You can find them at REI and other outdoor shops. Believe the marketing hype. They work and allow you to walk on ice (but not water) — especially important when trying to do so in freezing rain as you climb the steps to the top of a waterfall while shooting video.
3 Days in Iceland, a new short film Loni Stark and I have been working on for most of 2020, is just about here. Finally.
We shot the original footage in Iceland and the charming capital city of Reykjavík way back at the start of 2017. Boy, the world was different back them. What innocent times!
I had just bought a Sony Alpha a6500 camera for the trip, which also included a stat in Paris where Loni attended art workshops. That was my first time shooting a project in 4K. At first I was concerned about storage. Accustomed to the rather frugal demands of 1080p would shooting almost all-day in 4K put storage costs through the roof? Happily the answer was no. I ended up only filling three 128GB SD cards. Not too bad really. And this gave me confidence going forward then when I have the choice I will shoot source footage in 4K. I must admit, I do enjoy the re-framing and creative opportunity it affords later on a 1080p timeline in Premiere Pro.
As for the a6500 mirrorless camera itself. I like the image. But I don’t love it like I do on the Panasonic GH5.
Had that camera been on the market in January 2017 I would’ve much preferred to take it on the trip. I find the Sony ergonomics — the display, buttons, menus — quirky as all hell.
There’s terrible rolling shutter with the a6500 that results in jello-y clips when the cameras is panning, even when doing so moderately. And… in the freezing rain, during winter in Iceland, the a6500 over-heated (yes, over-heated) at least a couple of times. Worth noting this happened while I was shooting run-and-gun handheld style, with short bursts of recording times, not long-form. In three years of shooting with the GH5 I’ve never had that happen.
So something to consider if you’re looking for a compact 4K travel camera. Today, though, there’s many great options such as the fabulous Fujifilm X-T3 and X-T4, new Panasonic S5 (which I received yesterday and will write about on Stark Insider), Canon R5/R6, Sony a7S III and on and on.
Hope you pop by on Friday 10.09.2020 to catch our latest work. And I highly recommend a visit to Iceland (go in the winter!) once life returns to the new normal, whenever that will be.