How the FS-700 shoots slow motion.

Using Sony’s new NEX-FS700 to shoot slow motion is simplicity itself. To enter the slow mode button you simply press a switch marked S&Q on the left side of the camera. First press of the button puts the camera into S&Q motion where it will shoot full resolution HD at up to 60fps. In this mode you just shoot as you would normally, only now at a higher speed than normal. Press the S&Q button again and the camera enters super slow motion mode.
In supper slow mo the FS-700 will shoot at 120fps or 240fps at full 1920×1080 resolution. You can also shoot at 480fps and 960fps at reduced, but still very useable resolutions. When shooting at 120fps you are limited to a recording burst of 16 seconds and at 240fps the burst period is 8 seconds.
There are two ways to trigger the recording burst. You can trigger recording immediately after the press of the record button or you can set the camera to record the burst period prior to pressing the record button. If using the trigger at start mode, on pressing the record button a message saying “buffering” appears in the viewfinder. After 8 (or 16 secs) the camera starts to write the recording to the SD card (or FMU) and you see a slightly slowed preview of the recording (roughly half speed) of what you have just shot. So this takes about 2x the record time, roughly 16 seconds, to write the file and during this period you cannot shoot anything else. Pressing the record button during the write process, stops it at that point, keeping the written file to that point and the camera goes back to standby ready to record another shot.
In trigger at end mode, you point the camera at the scene you want to capture and shortly after the thing you want to record happens you press the record button and the camera then starts to write the previous 8(16) seconds to the SD card, again you see half speed(approx) playback of the clip as it is written to the card.

The fact that you can’t shoot anything else during the write process is a little frustrating, but it’s a small price to pay for the ability to shoot at 240fps, although it does mean you can’t really use the FS-700 to shoot long duration events without gaps in super slow mo. The great thing is that as all the processing is done in the camera playback of the clips is no different to playing any other AVCHD clip. 8 seconds at 240fps results in an 80 second clip at 24fps. I could have really done with the trigger at end mode on a recent shoot I was doing with Red Epics where we were shooting pyrotechnic and special effects events that often took some time to trigger, but only lasted fractions of a couple of seconds. With the Epic’s we often ended up with several minutes of footage prior to the action we wanted, wasting storage space and making more footage for the editor to go through.

I really enjoyed using the FS-700, my guess is that slow motion is about to become the new time-lapse.

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