Skip to content

Sony FX3: How to Build 'The Creator' Camera Rig

a sony fx3 camera over a colorful gradient background

Disclosure: Some of the links in this article may be affiliate links, which can provide compensation to us at no cost to you. You can read our full affiliate disclosure in our privacy policy.

The Creator set a new standard in filmmaking by offering a beautiful, high-quality (IMAX-worthy) image captured with a prosumer camera costing less than $4,000.

Of course, there have been films throughout cinema history captured on low-cost cameras, but this is truly a watershed moment simply because this film is unapologetically gorgeous. The use of the FX3 is not a gimmick or a marketing stunt, and if the filmmakers had lied and claimed they shot on an Alexa, no one would have thought otherwise.

This article unveils the complex camera rig that provided the filmmakers with a lightweight and portable setup without sacrificing image quality. It is honestly one of the best Sony FX3 rigs that we’ve seen.

Key Points:

  • The Sony FX3 was the main camera used for shooting ‘The Creator’ due to its simplicity, lightweight design, and affordability.
  • A custom handheld gimbal rig with the Ronin RS2 at its core was used as the primary camera setup, allowing for maximum maneuverability and flexibility.
  • The Sony FX3’s high ISO range of 12,800 allowed for shooting in low-light situations, reducing the need for heavy lighting setups and creating a unique visual style.
  • The film utilized the ProRes RAW codec via the Atomos Ninja, which provided a robust image for post-production.

Parts List

The setup used to build ‘The Creator’ camera rig is both simple and complex. We’ve broken down the most essential component parts below.

Essential Components

PartLink
Camera: Sony FX3Check Price
External Recording: Atomos Ninja 5.2″Check Price
HDMI Cable: 4K HDMI to HDMI Coiled CableCheck Price

Lenses

PartLink
Primary Lens: Kowa 75mm Anamorphic (rehoused by P+S Technik)Check Price
Alternate Lens: Atlas Mercury 42mmCheck Price
Lens Mount: PL to E Mount AdapterCheck Price

Gimbal Rig

PartLink
Gimbal: DJI RS 3Check Price
Gimbal Power Adapter: DJI Ronin Expansion Base KitCheck Price
Underslung Handle: Tilta Advanced Rear Operating HandleCheck Price

Other Camera Support

PartLink
Crane: CAME-ACCORDION Electric Camera CraneCheck Price
Jib: GF-MINI JIBCheck Price
Slider Dolly: Kessler Shuttle DollyCheck Price

Wireless System

PartLink
Wireless Video Transmitter: Vaxis Storm 3000Check Price
Wireless Lens Control: Tilta Nucleus Nano V1/2Check Price

Power

PartLink
V-Mount Battery: FXLION Nano V-Mount Battery (98Wh)Check Price
Camera Power: D-Tap to NP-FZ100 Dummy BatteryCheck Price
Atomos Power Cable: D-Tap to Locking 2.5mm DCCheck Price
Atomos Power Adapter: AtomX Battery EliminatorCheck Price

A Closer Look at the Equipment

First and foremost, we have the Sony FX3 and the Atomos Ninja. With the exception of a few drone shots, these two items were always present to capture and record the image no matter what circumstance.

Camera

image of the sony fx3 camera

PRICE: MSRP $3900

To fully appreciate how ‘The Creator’s’ camera rig was built, you’ll first need to understand the Sony FX3, its features, and why it was chosen for this project.

The Sony FX3, a compact mirrorless camera, is a filmmaker’s dream. Its robust ProRes RAW video output, combined with its affordability, makes it a prime candidate for high-budget productions. But what really sets it apart is its ability to capture stunning footage, even in low-light conditions.

This means you can forego heavy lighting setups, making your FX3 camera rig more mobile and versatile. With its fan-assisted cooling mechanism, the Sony FX3 can handle extended shooting times without overheating.

RAW Recording

atomos ninja external recorder

PRICE: MSRP $499

The Atomos Ninja allows for the recording of ProRes RAW footage that is superior to the internal recording capabilities of the FX3 alone. Additionally, the Ninja provides a superior external display with a number of added features that give filmmakers more control and make things just a little easier.

In order to connect the camera to the Atomos Ninja, you’ll need an HDMI cable. And both are being powered by an external v-mount battery. So we’ll need two cables to carry power from the battery to the camera and the external recorder.

Lens

The primary lens used for The Creator was a custom-rehoused Kowa 75mm from P+S Technik. The price for this lens is not listed, which generally means that it’s the sort of lens you rent rather than buy. Thus, we have a found a replacement option that is both affordable and high performing.

product photo of SIRUI Saturn 75mm

PRICE: MSRP $1299

The SIRUI Saturn 75mm is an affordable alternative to the custom Kowa 75mm used in production of The Creator. The SIRUI features 1.6x anamorphic squeeze and full-frame sensor coverage – which is required for the FX3. The lens is lightweight (by anamorphic standards) and features a sharp, clean image.

Building The Creator Gimbal Rig

How do you go about setting up a custom handheld gimbal rig with a Sony FX3? It’s simpler than you might think.

  • First, mount your Sony FX3 onto the gimbal of your choice, such as the DJI Ronin-S or RS2. These gimbals are well-suited for the FX3 due to their payload capacity and ease of use.
  • Next, balance the gimbal. This is crucial for smooth, cinematic shots.
  • Then, connect any additional accessories, like an external monitor or microphone.
  • Finally, test your setup. Make sure everything is secure and functioning as expected.

The Creator FX3 rig specifically used the DJI Ronin RS 2, however we can assume that if the Ronin RS 3 had been available during filming they would have used that model instead. With this custom rig, you’re not just holding a camera; you’re wielding a powerful filmmaking tool.

Getting started with the Sony FX3

The Sony FX3 is an exciting full-frame cinema camera aimed at video content creators and filmmakers. Here is a guide to help you get started with the FX3 and make the most of its powerful features.

YouTube player

Unboxing and Initial Setup

  • Carefully unpack the FX3 and included accessories from the box. This should include the camera body, battery, charger, cables, strap, and printed manuals.
  • Charge the NP-FZ100 battery fully before first use. This may take 2-3 hours.
  • Update the camera firmware to the latest version via Sony Imaging Edge software on your computer. This ensures you have all the newest features and fixes.
  • Attach the grip and viewfinder if desired. The grip gives you more mounting points and improved handling.

Attaching a Lens

  • The FX3 has an E-mount and is compatible with both full-frame FE lenses and APS-C E lenses.
  • Turn off the camera before attaching any lens. Align the white dots and twist until the lens clicks into place.
  • For video, choose a lens with smooth aperture control like the Sony FE 24-105mm f/4 G OSS. This allows smooth exposure changes while filming.
  • Autofocus works best with native E-mount lenses. Adaptors can be used for other lens mounts.

Configuring Camera Settings

  • Set up Picture Profiles to suit your desired look and post workflow. The Cine EI profile is optimized for post production color grading.
  • Enable face/eye AF for responsive focus on human subjects while filming. This can be customized to suit your needs.
  • Customize button assignments for quick access to important settings while shooting. For example, assign REC to a custom button.
  • Set recording format/codec, resolution, frame rate, and other video settings per your desired delivery requirements. The FX3 captures up to 4K 120p video internally.

Powering Up and Inserting Media

  • Insert a sufficiently fast SD card rated for 4K video capture. Make sure to format it in-camera for maximum reliability.
  • The FX3 can be powered via the NP-FZ100 battery or external power through the Multi/Micro USB port. Using a battery gives you portability.
  • Monitor remaining battery percentage. Have spare charged batteries ready for extended shoots. The camera can be charged via USB-C too.
  • If using XLR audio accessories, enable plugin power to provide power to your microphones/audio recorders.

With these steps completed, you are ready to start shooting professional-grade footage with the versatile FX3. Be sure to thoroughly learn the menu system and refer to the manual to take advantage of the camera’s extensive capabilities.

Leveraging High ISO for Filmmaking

YouTube player

When you’re shooting with the Sony FX3, one of the first things you’ll notice is its impressive dual native ISO, which can go as high as 12,800, allowing you to leverage natural and available light effectively.

This high ISO capacity reduces your dependence on heavy lighting equipment, enabling you to produce hyper-naturalistic visuals. Imagine filming in various real-world locations without worrying about the lighting conditions.

With the FX3, you’re not just capturing images; you’re capturing the authenticity of the moment. The brilliance of this feature lies in its simplicity. It’s not about adding more to your set, rather it’s about making the most of what’s already there.

Harness the power of high ISO and redefine your filming experience with the Sony FX3.

Maximizing Maneuverability With Ronin RS2/3

With the Sony FX3, you’ve got the power of high ISO at your disposal, but pairing it with the Ronin RS2 gimbal takes your filmmaking to new heights of maneuverability. Imagine the freedom and flexibility this combo provides; the Ronin RS2 is known for its precision and control, making it a perfect match for the Sony FX3’s impressive capabilities.

The RS2’s stabilizing effect ensures smooth footage, even in action-packed sequences. Its compact, lightweight design doesn’t hamper your movement, granting you the agility to shoot from various angles. The RS2’s intuitive user interface simplifies operation, saving valuable shooting time. The carbon fiber build of the RS2 guarantees durability without adding extra weight.

Harnessing ProRes RAW for IMAX Production

YouTube player

Once you’ve got a grip on maneuvering the Sony FX3 and Ronin RS2, the next crucial step is understanding the power of ProRes RAW, especially for IMAX production.

This robust file format delivers high-quality footage that’s ideal for the intense detail required by IMAX displays. It’s not just about size; it’s about the richness and depth of the image.

ProRes RAW harnesses the high dynamic range of the FX3, preserving every pixel of detail. And with its flexible post-production capabilities, you can easily adjust exposure and color balance without degrading your footage.

It’s a game changer, making IMAX production more accessible than ever. If you’re serious about cinematic storytelling, ProRes RAW is the key you need to unlock IMAX potential.

Conclusion

So there you have it, an insider’s look at ‘The Creator’s’ camera rig. With the Sony FX3, Ronin RS2, and a custom handheld rig, you’ve got all you need to conquer any cinematic challenge.

The Creator shot on Sony FX3 is one of the great inspirations for low-budget filmmakers. Virtually anyone can harness the power of high ISO and ProRes RAW for stunning visuals. The road to creating groundbreaking films is at your fingertips.

Get out there, start experimenting, and let your creativity shine!

FAQs

What camera was the creator shot on?

The vast majority of the film was captured on the Sony FX3, along with an Atomos Ninja to record the video signal to ProRes RAW. A few random shots were captured with other cameras and camera drones.

How Did the Use of Prores RAW Codec Impact the Workflow of the VFX Team in ‘The Creator’?

Using the ProRes RAW codec with the Sony FX3 significantly streamlined your VFX team’s workflow in ‘The Creator. It provided high-quality, flexible footage that was easily integrated with CGI, enhancing overall efficiency and visual results.

What Other Camera Models Were Considered Before Settling on the Sony FX3 for ‘The Creator’?

While the filmmakers had access to virtually any other camera model they wanted to use, ultimately, they ruled out all other options due to the increased size of more traditional cinema cameras and the flexibility of the low light capabilities of the FX3.

Share this post on social