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Sony’s Screen Gems Looks For A Middle Way By Shooting New Film With Smaller Camera

For a few years now, Screen Gems, a division of Sony Pictures, has been scaling down and making smaller films that continue to return modest profits. In these days of huge potential blockbuster budgets or movies that barely have any budget at all, Sony seems to have found the middle ground by shooting their latest film with a smaller $3000 camera.

Sony Pictures Entertainment recently announced that Screen Gems’ Cadaver, in U.S. theaters this summer, is pioneering a wide range of new technologies to realize a modestly budgeted motion picture with high-quality production aesthetic. The horror-thriller will be the first motion picture from a major studio shot entirely on the accessible, consumer-facing Sony α7S II camera, and the first to employ the EmagiBlock System which is a new, sustainable building block technology for set construction from Emagispace, Inc.

Screen Gems is the specialty production division at Sony Pictures Entertainment, which was created to finance and produce moderately budgeted films that are marketed to targeted audiences. Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) is a subsidiary of Sony Entertainment Inc., a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Sony Corporation. SPE’s global operations encompass motion picture production, acquisition and distribution; television production, acquisition and distribution; television networks; digital content creation and distribution; operation of studio facilities; and development of new entertainment products, services and technologies.

For the Executive Producer of Cadaver, Glenn Gainor, it seemed a simple choice as he said that, “Not only is the α7S II right for my studio production but it will help democratize storytelling around the world because it is a powerful camera accessible to people who may not otherwise be empowered to tell their story.”

Widely accessible camera Sony α7S II was designed to allow storytellers to express their vision under virtually any budget with its 35mm full frame sensor and high sensitivity. For Cadaver, the cameras are paired with large format Hawk 65 Anamorphic Lenses from Vantage in Germany and Atomos Shogun external recorders from Australia, built into Dallas-based Red Rock Micro’s rigs and wireless follow focus systems. Tiffen, of Los Angeles, provided its camera filters and Aero 30 Steadicam system for stabilized movement, and Small HD is providing electronic viewfinders and on-camera monitors.

Cadaver uses Digital Sputnik modular LED lights, which are highly efficient and can create wide range of high precision white light (1500K – 10000K) with capability to mix in any primary or secondary colors. This approach enables cinematographers to work with a visual toolset allowing them to achieve the look that they want with grading the lights instead of grading the image.

While traditional sets are typically non recyclable wooden flats, Cadaver is also the first film to employ the EmagiBlock™ System — sets made of reusable and recyclable materials. These sets are constructed without the hassle, cost, or environmental waste of traditional construction.

Mr. Sawyer is a freelance writer, editor and journalist from Tampa. He has written thousands of articles for hundreds of magazines and news sites on countless topics including science, the media and technology. He is also the author of many white papers, special reports and ebooks covering a wide range of subjects.
Kevin Sawyer
Broadcast Beat - Production Industry Resource