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Pushing creative boundaries

Sony Xperia

The Future Format competition challenges filmmakers to enter their best short film shot exclusively on a smartphone*. A device many of us use in our day-to-day lives, turning a smartphone into a tool for creativity has it's benefits: it's portable, discreet and can evoke a more immersive feel to films shot on larger kit. 

Here we highlight Sony European Imaging Ambassador Mike Will's review of Sony's Xperia 1 IV and how the smartphone can open up opportunities – particularly slow motion – for filmmakers.  

Renowned for his unique and vibrant urban style, London-based Sony European Imaging Ambassador Mike Will travels the world to capture some of the most breathtaking places with his signature blue hues and dynamic perspective.

Knowing Mike is always up for a new challenge, we asked him to take the brand new Xperia 1 IV out for a test drive right before its release in the UK.

Pushing boundaries as always, Mike created an inspiring 120fps slow motion video and captured a split-second sequence of still images to showcase the Xperia 1 IV's capabilities.

Here is his creative journey.

Shooting 120fps Slow Motion on Xperia 1 IV

This has been my biggest video project so far! It was super exciting for me as I was fortunate enough to get hold of the phone a few weeks before it was announced, to create this video. This was a fresh challenge and I wanted to create something way out of my comfort zone. I decided to shoot a cinematic piece, fully utilising the new features such as the 120fps 4K HDR slow motion video and the new 85-125mm lens.

Sony Xperia

Shooting video entails a completely different process which was great to explore. I decided to capture the detail and elegance that’s at the heart of a dancing sequence. Building a relationship and sharing the vision of the project with Mikey, the dancer, was very important. From choosing the music, pairing the choreography, and syncing with the scene, every single element had to be perfectly executed. Having movement and slowing it down gave it a real sense of mood and impact when captured at 120fps 4K HDR slow motion.

Sony Xperia

A huge advantage for me was having a similar interface and functions as I have in my Alpha cameras. Having this familiarity was incredibly useful and helped speed up my creative process.

Sony Xperia

Photography is the essence of my work, so I wanted to explore those features too. Having Eye AF and Object tracking on all lenses for both photo and video is a game changer, as it allows me maintain sharp focus while capturing people or animals, the same as I do with my Alpha cameras.

The 20fps burst mode with AF/AE allowed me to capture the exact moment while Mikey was in mid-air with rich colour and contrast, always in focus. This sequence is the perfect match to support the cinematic piece and I had plenty of options to choose from as the Xperia features the same incredibly fast performance across all lenses. This was shot on the ultra-wide 16mm lens to create more scale and drama.

Xperia 1 IV

Final thoughts

"This was an exciting challenge for me; really fun to produce something new and I wanted to show that anyone can create on this phone. The Xperia 1 IV is definitely a great companion to my Alpha 7 IV.

My best tip? Just get out and start creating!"


This review was originally published on Sony Alpha Universe's Stories.

*Entries to the Future Format competition can be shot on any smartphone.