two women on a windy hillside making a film

Bloom - A Sony FX3 Cinematic Short Film

Salomé Rapinat

My name is Salomé Rapinat and I am a 27 year old Director of Photography (DoP) from France. I began in the industry working as a second camera assistant on more than 15 movie and TV drama sets. I worked for both international productions (Cold Skin directed by Xavier Gens, Noureev directed by Ralf Fiennes on 16mm film) and French productions (Celle que vous croyez starring Juliette Binoche). For the last 9 months, I have transitioned to the role of Director of Photography by working on short films, fashion digital ads and documentaries.

Bloom

When Sony contacted me with this opportunity to direct a short movie on the new FX3, I wondered what I could show on screen that could make good use of the low light capabilities of the camera and the 100p high frame rates mode. Creatively they gave me “carte blanche” so I took this opportunity to celebrate the strength of women – their incredible magic.

I immediately thought about the movie Portrait de la Jeune Fille en Feu and its realistic depiction of witches. I also took inspiration from my personal experience. When I was young, I was part of a girl scout group where it’s the custom to have a “totemisation” – a rite of passage – which symbolises the transition from your teenage years to adulthood. In Bloom, I tried to show that moment of friendship, community where women take care of each other. As I am part of the collective "Femmes a la Camera" (Women behind cameras), the female gaze movement theory is central to female DoP work. Let’s tell stories that look more like women or stories that we want to see more. For me, I would like to see more stories told about women that love each other.

Ladies dancing around a fire at night

First impressions shooting with the Sony FX3

There are three key aspects of this camera that stood out for me:

Firstly – Base ISO in S-LOG 3 (ISO160) looks incredibly good. At night, I pushed to ISO 640 as I only had one light source (the fire where we had a China-ball to reinforce it) and I did not notice any noise in the image. I did a test in the field with Da Vinci Resolve and I knew immediately there would be no issue of noise levels. Black tones are deep, and I could play with mid tones and highlights as I wished.

Secondly, the autofocus system – it’s amazing even at 24mm. At first I was a bit scared to rely on it but again – when I checked my footage – I was not disappointed by the result. I chose to use single point focus in all automatic and transitions were perfect with no hesitation. The only case where it struggled is when we were really in the dark where I switched to manual focus for a couple of scenes. But in the end, I pushed the exposure a bit and it worked very well again. It was quite an impressionable experience.

Finally, an important aspect of this camera is its operability and the fact that it is lightweight. The newly designed grip and new button layouts changes everything compared to an Alpha camera. You can get really close to your characters handheld, creating intimacy which is a style of filming I particularly appreciate.

group of ladies being filmed on a hillside at dusk

Image look and lenses used during the shoot

For this short movie, I wanted to only use only one lens – the FE 24mm f/1.4 GM. It gives a very organic look to the final image. I also used a matte box to use a wide aperture constantly and compensate the exposures changes in the scene.

Ladies dancing around a fire waving torches

Shooting tips with the Sony FX3 and last thoughts

Shoot whenever you can. Write your own stories, have your friends play in them and tell creative and artistic stories that challenge you. Learn about the light fundamentals and get inspired by what’s happening around you. It can be anything – the look that gives a streetlight, photography books, a movie, a TV series.  Simply shoot to get better. This camera is perfect for that and will give you that cinematic look that bigger and more expensive full frame cinema cameras have.

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