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Month: October 2019

David C. Smith

Scenes from the BTS SH1 taken on 8/1/19 in Los Angeles USA
Shot with Panasonic DC-G9
Photograph by Kevin T Gilbert
© 8/1/19 {credit}


David C. Smith


David C. Smith: Cinematographer, Cinema Technologist, CEO and creator of DrivingPlates.com LLC, the world leader in 360 motion environments for driving scenes in television and films.  Recent projects include Bohemian Rhapsody, The Post, The Irishman, Narcos, This is Us, and hundreds more.  From the success of DrivingPlates.com, David and his business partner created Third Law Productions: a full service production company specializing in VFX production services.  Under the Third Law moniker Smith has provided set extensions, 360 elements, VR R&D and custom camera systems for projects such as Joker, Creed II, Man in the High Castle, and Stranger Things.  Since Third Law’s inception in the fall of 2017, they have produced a first person VR short, three feature films and a feature length documentary.  Third Law was also awarded a Clio in 2018 for their work on the 360 Behind the Scenes featurette for Mission Impossible: Fallout.

David’s background is in cinematography, with over twenty five years of experience, he has lensed over a dozen feature films and numerous national commercials for companies such as Keystone, Meguiar’s, and Jaguar.  In addition, he’s DP’d many reality based shows such as Living With Ed, Overhaulin, Car Crazy, Punk Payback and Are You Faster Than a Redneck, which required a staggering 45 cameras including 7 units shooting simultaneously.

Throughout his career, David has always been a forward looking technologist and inventor.  In service of a creative vision, he has continually innovated the techniques and tools for bringing a story to the screen.  The patented camera array at the foundation of DrivingPlates.com is one such innovation that has become the industry standard.  With an eye toward the needs of the next generation of content, Smith is pursuing multiple endeavors that promise to impact narrative production for decades to come.


The gear he has used




  • DJI Ronin 2 for everything else not drone
  • Atlas Lens Co. Orion Anamorphic lenses in focal lengths of
    • 32mm T2
    • 50mm T2
    • 65mm T2
    • 100mm T2
  • Xeen 24mm on Drone . http://xeenglobal.com/
  • Tilta Nucleus Follow Focus


  • Formatt Hitech 4 x 5.65″ Firecrest ND 1.8 Filter



  • Motocrane Ultra


Sony Alpha 7R IV Winning the GOLD Award of 91%!

Sony A7R IV

Ergonomics & operability

  • Improved ergonomics including bigger, better buttons
  • Impressive high-resolution viewfinder
  • Limited touchscreen implementation
  • Menus still awkward to navigate


Image Quality

  • Impressive resolution and detail capture
  • Slightly noisier than its predecessor at the highest ISO values
  • Excellent JPEG sharpening and good color, but high ISO noise reduction takes a small step backwards
  • We’d like to see an option for the electronic front-curtain shutter to automatically disable above a certain shutter-speed threshold (leaving EFCS enabled can negatively impact out-of-focus areas of your images)



  • Users can choose to capture 4 shots to cancel the Bayer filter array and get better detail from 60.2MP files, or capture 16 shots and combine them on an editing computer for 240MP files
  • Works with strobes, but the fastest shutter speed available is 1/8 sec
  • No motion-correction severely limits the range of subjects it can be used with
  • Cumbersome ‘Imaging Edge’ software is required for best results (the camera cannot combine its images internally)


AF & Speed

  • Real-time Tracking continues to impress with ease-of-use and effectiveness
  • Incredible autofocus accuracy while shooting single drive, but accuracy drops during burst shooting
  • It’s best to switch out of tracking in very low-light or backlit situations
  • Even slight mis-focus is made more obvious by the very high 60MP resolution
  • Burst shooting speeds drop noticeably when shooting uncompressed Raw
  • UHS-II slots do offer a speed benefit, but large uncompressed Raw file sizes mean the buffer still takes a while to clear



  • Offers both full-width and (roughly) APS-C crops for both 4K and 1080p
  • Cropped footage offers detail benefit, but full-width 4K still looks good
  • Plenty of capture tools
  • Still only 8-bit footage, even when output over HDMI
  • Real-time Tracking of faces and eyes now available while shooting video – but you have to make sure to enable touch-to-track focus
  • Fn menu and button behavior can be configured differently for movie shooting but exposure settings carry over, slowing stills/movie switching


Comment from Richard Butler (who attended the launch event in US)

The Sony a7R IV is a hugely powerful camera which, with a bit of configuration, makes it remarkably easy to shoot perfectly-focused 61MP images. Improvements to the AF behavior and ergonomics make it the most pleasant Sony to shoot with so far, in my opinion. It feels less sure-footed away from its core role, though, with burst shooting and high res mode not being quite so effortless. It’s also not as slick as it could be for switching between stills and movie shooting, if that’s something you need to do quickly.


Pros & Cons

Pros Cons
  • Plenty of resolution, good dynamic range and noise performance
  • Excellent autofocus tracking implementation
  • Generous grip, very good button-and-dial feel
  • Large, high-res electronic viewfinder
  • 10 fps max burst shooting with AF
  • Class-leading detail in 4K video
  • Excellent AF tracking in video
  • Updated weather-sealing measures
  • Dual UHS-II card slots
  • Great battery life
  • Users can now choose their AF area display color, making it easier to see
  • ‘Focus Priority’ option to focus at wider apertures in low light is welcome
  • Good JPEG sharpening, noise reduction and color
  • Incredible customization options
  • Ports galore
  • Pixel Shift yields up to 240MP images
  • Robust wireless connectivity
  • In-camera charging + power
  • Large file sizes mean lengthy card write times, even with very fast cards
  • General interface lagginess persists
  • Burst shooting hurts AF accuracy
  • Slightly noisier files than predecessor
  • Touchscreen is under-utilized
  • Exposure settings carry over between stills and video; they shouldn’t
  • 4K video maxes out at 8-bit files
  • 10 fps only gives 12-bit Raws with compression applied
  • Clumsy Raw compression
  • No in-camera Raw conversion
  • Touch-to-track implementation should recall setting between stills and video
  • Can’t switch to video until buffer clears
  • High resolution increases visibility of camera shake and AF misses
  • No Pixel Shift motion compensation
  • Pixel Shift workflow is cumbersome
  • No flash AF assist grid

Sony A7R IV


The Sony a7R IV is among the most capable cameras we’ve tested. It makes a compelling case that the days of choosing between speed-oriented cameras and resolution-oriented cameras are coming to an end. It wouldn’t be our top choice for sports and action purists (all those megapixels result in many megabytes of storage), but for those users that need this resolution on a regular basis and want to be able to photograph fast-moving subjects when necessary, the Sony a7R IV is the best option on the market right now.


Credits: https://www.dpreview.com/reviews/sony-a7r-iv-review