Camera kits

Cricket rises from the Ashes with Sony F5

Cricket rises from the Ashes with Sony F5

Twenty20 cricket? “Predictable and repetitive,” said Geoffrey Boycott in 2008.

In reality, the runaway success of India’s IPL and Australia’s Big Bash, Twenty20 has re-vitalized cricket. It has brought back the crowds, developed new audiences for the sport and generated vast sums for the promoters, players and pundits. The venerable governors of English cricket have also seen the light, with the launch of the NatWest T20 Blast.

To drum up support in the run up to the 2014 season’s opener in Nottingham and to entertain the fans pitchside, production company Affixxius was commissioned to produce a promotional film full of energy, commitment and heart. The resulting video is dramatic and inspirational.

“We have worked with Nottinghamshire cricket for a number of years, creating a series of videos called the Put Some Colour in Your Cricket.  With the matches moving to Friday night prime time, Notts wanted a new film featuring their star players, showing off the famous city and highlighting the iconic Trent Bridge ground.” Explains Tim Cabrelli, the company’s co-founder.

The video features a grey, empty, city centre, with players running through the streets hitting and catching a flaming ball that falls from the heavens. The contrast between the dusky backdrop, the colourful outfits of the players and the scorching asteroid-like ball is particularly eye-catching.

“To get this effect, we needed to film both at dusk and at dawn. We knew we would encounter different lighting conditions at the start and end of each day so we needed to shoot with a camera that would give us the latitude to cope with heavy grading and VFX.” Notes the director, Dave Whayman.

The crew opted for Sony’s F5, hired from VMI, capturing RAW HD files to the Sony AXS R5 dockable recorder.

“For this kind of work, the post production guys need as much data as they can get.” Continues Whayman. “Compressed ProRes 422 files just can’t stand up to the same level of grading. The editors had to work hard to crush the blacks, replace inconsistent skies and colour balance each shot. The Sony files stood up very well indeed.”

Ergonomically, the camera performed exceptionally well. Having tested other systems, the director needed the excellent handling that the F5 offers. Whayman comments:

“It’s lighter than many other models, making it very nimble in use. As we were always shooting against the clock, being able to move instantly from a track to the shoulder made all the difference, helping us to complete the production on time and in budget.”

DoP Dave Smith shot with the Sony PMW-F5 and AXS-R5 dockable RAW recorder with Zeiss CP.2 prime lenses.

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