Monday, 6 July 2015

Working with the Sony A6000

It's always a little while in between blogs and i'm really trying hard to change that. I've learnt so much from reading blogs from guys like Philip Bloom, Nino Leitner and co in the last few years its such a valuable resource for information, trying things out and critical feedback on your work and meeting like minded film makers can only be a good thing. It's amazing now, we have the technology to put our work on show and share information so freely and I love being involved in back to the original statement. I will blog more!

The point of this post though is to discuss a camera I think I may love more than any i've used before, the Sony A6000. At the time of posting Sony are going a bit mad.....Sony A7S, A7 Mrk2, RX10, RX1000iv. Internal 4k, slow-mo, low light beats, incredibly quality all under £2000, some under £1000 (dollers if your not British) however the A6000 is something of an enigma. I think for stills, its beyond doubt it's amazing, the autofocus is insane and the quality is great at 24mega pixels. It has so much going for it, i'm not going to bother reviewing, thats been done a lot but I do think when it comes to video it gets overlooked slightly. Maybe because it's so small its not taken on professional shoots as frequently as more likely because theres a fair of amount of other small cameras out there competing with it.

I use a Canon C100 as my main camera, I whack a Ninja Star on there (the Atomos recorder, not the deadly throwing weapon) and its basically a C300, minus the EVF. Way round that is to stick a Z-Finder on the front and voila....a near perfect ENG camera. I love it. However I ALWAYS bring my A6000 with me. I use it so much its untrue. I can usually record 20minutes or so before I get a the overheat warning (yes its small and just like many DSLR's it overheats) but generally I don't use it in a multi cam situation where I know i'm going to be recording for a long period of time, thats just not what its for. As a 2nd camera on an interview or a small hideaway camera when shooting stealthily though, its awesome. The image is so....lovely.

Sony recently released new firmware which enabled the camera to record XAVC-S which at 50mbs is double the bit rate of the original AVCHD flavour in the camera. I updated a few weeks ago but haven't had chance to test it out until recently. ]

Luckily we've had a bit of a heat wave in England lately and last weekend their was an american car show on a few miles away from where I live in Manchester. I decided to take the A6000 down, eat burgers and wear a stetson.....

Shot entirely with the A6000 with no rig or tripod. I meant to bring my monopod but somehow I completely forgot to stick in the car DUUUUUHHH! Anyway, because the lens I used was a Sigma 24-105 with Optical Stabilisation it wasn't a massive issue. This is canon mount lens that I fit to the camera using a pretty cheap adaptor from Viltrox. Its an active adaptor and has electronic contacts so I can control the aperture from the camera, even the auto focus works! albeit slower than a native E mount lens which is what the Sony takes.

I shot this using the Neautral picture profile at -3 all the way, sharpness, saturation and contrast to get the image as flat as possible. I also shot using the dynamic range optimisation on the camera at +5.

Graded using the awesome LUTS by James Miller, these work so well even for footage that's already for a baked in look in camera. The A6000 doesn't have s-log like the A7S but the luts pack you can buy include a series of 'make log' luts in various different strengths. These really helped the image a lot when grading and gave me that extra bit of room to work with. Of course the extra bit rate with the XAVC also helped.

'Make log' lut added

Graded with the DE LUTS pack and Lumetri in Premiere Pro CC

As long as you get the exposure right in camera then you can tweak away in post. I found I could push the image quite far before it started falling apart. I can definitely do more now than with the AVCHD compression before.

Go check out the LUTS here they are fantastic and i've used them on both my A6000 and C100 footage. Whether you've shot in s-log/s-log or some other flat picture profile it doesn't matter, you can do amazing things with these, highly recommend!

On a final note, i'm using the 2015 edition of Premiere Pro CC and i'm loving it. The integration of the Lightroom style sliders and really simple colour workflow using Lumetri is working a treat for me. It's really quick and really as simple as you want it to be.

The final video is online at:

Bottom line, the A6000 is such a great little camera and I can literally take it anywhere and even with a hefty lens on I can still look inconspicuous and be stealthy if needs be. I have the RX100IV on order which will be my first 4k camera that also does insane slow motion....I am a bit excited.

Till later.


  1. Hi Johnny, I just bought an A6000 myself and got some nice ideas from your post thank you :) As you seem to be knowledgable on the video workings of this camera perhaps you could iron out a question for me. I want to shoot video in 16:9 aspect ratio, and there is a option there in the menus to change it from 3:2, yet both settings output the exact same size video. In fact I can't even see the frame view change when I select 16:9 while in video mode. Does this happen on your device too? I have the latest firmware. Cheers - Jay

  2. Hi! What is the precise LUT you bought from the John Miller site? Is the "Sony Set"? or another one?

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