Travel filmmaker Andy To (@andyto) recently took a meaningful trip to Vietnam. “I'm part Vietnamese and it always hits home for me to go back home to the motherland. Even though I wasn't born there, my family's from there.” He has always taken an annual trip there to visit, until the pandemic kept him away for several years. Once he was able to return, he took the new Sony Xperia 1 IV with him to capture the country’s beauty with cinematic style. We connected with him to learn more about his experience shooting cinematic travel footage with his Sony Xperia 1 IV . Watch his video from Vietnam directly below and keep scrolling for his video where he explains how he used the phone to capture those smooth, cinematic shots.
Travel filmmaker Andy To created a beautiful cinematic video of his trip to Vietnam – see how he did it with his Sony Xperia 1 IV and why he calls it an “all-in-one cinema phone.”
Portability, Lens Options, 4K 120FPS
“While going around Vietnam, it was great to have the Sony Xperia 1 IV because it was so portable,” explains To. “It’s super compact and just fits in my pocket. I was very incognito. I didn’t feel as intrusive of people’s space as I was going around filming. So that definitely gave me, especially looking at it through the lens of a filmmaker, it just gave me a better opportunity to grab more intimate shots.”
There were several features of the phone that To says helped him capture cinematic shots. “The three lenses on the phone are super useful,” he says. “Just being able to shoot ultra wide, and then shoot wide, and also have that telephoto on there. Usually when I do my travel films with my full kit I have that same trinity. Not having to carry all three of those lenses around and trying to switch on the fly was very helpful, especially when you’re doing travel filmmaking. It was just so easy to get those different shots without having to swap out lenses on a camera.”
The 4K 120fps with up to 5x slow-motion video recording was also an important feature for To when creating cinematic footage. “It’s a huge element in regards to cinematic video,” he says. Just combining that slow-mo look with 4K 120…it was operating like an all-in-one cinema phone. That’s the way I approached it when I was going out filming.”
Smooth Gimbal Shots & Playback
The portability and stability of the phone makes it great for handheld shooting, especially when To wants to shoot more of a run-and-gun style. To really take the cinematic look of his videos to the next level, he likes to put the Xperia 1 IV on a gimbal. “It just allows me to get more cinematic movements,” he says. “If I’m doing a tracking shot or a follow shot or an under-slung foot shot, it looks so smooth with the 4K 120fps. Then when you play it back, it plays in slow motion as well. That was a really cool feature that I haven’t experienced from a phone personally.”
Cinema Pro App And Night Shooting
He used the Cinema Pro App that’s built into the Xperia 1 IV when walking around and recording footage. “The interface looked like a cinema camera, which was really impressive,” To says. “You don’t have to download it from the app store, it’s all built in. You have access to your ISO, shutter speed, and you change your lenses all in one place. You have a user interface that’s working in an intuitive way so you’re not sacrificing time with the shot. It’s really cool.”
The travel filmmaker also captured beautiful footage at night in the city of Hội An. “It’s one of the most beautiful cities in the world,” he explains, “especially at night because of the lanterns. There’s a river that pretty much goes through the middle of it and the nightlife has an ambiance of lanterns and lights. I filmed there and I cranked the ISO all the way to 6400. I was impressed that it was able to capture some really nice, usable footage at night.
See more of Andy To’s work on Instagram @andyto and on his YouTube Channel.
Learn more and pre-order your Sony Xperia 1 IV HERE.