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Break Free From 16x9 And Shoot In A Cinematic Style With The Sony Alpha 7C II and Alpha 7CR

Photographer and filmmaker Chris Brockhurst (@chrisbrockhurst) is very excited about a new feature available on both the Sony Alpha 7C II and Sony Alpha 7CR. "If you're a still shooter and you shoot Sony and you're getting the Sony Alpha 7C II or the Sony Alpha 7CR, this is really going to be a breath of fresh air shooting with Sony because it's different.” We connected with Brockhurst to learn more about what he says is different, and how he used the Sony Alpha 7C II paired with the Sony 16-35mm f/2.8 G Master II lens to capture New York City in cinematic style.

Photo by Chris Brockhurst. Sony Alpha 7C II. Sony 16-35mm f/2.8 G Master II.

Photo by Chris Brockhurst. Sony Alpha 7C II. Sony 16-35mm f/2.8 G Master II.

The two new cameras have a feature that Brockhurst likes to utilize and also hasn’t been previously available. “On the Sony Alpha 7C II and Alpha 7CR, you're actually able to add video markers when you're taking stills,” he explains. “And this means you can compose photos in an extremely cinematic (because it is) format. It's 2.35:1. That's the aspect ratio that a lot of movies actually use. The aspect markers can actually be made so that the part that's not in the frame you don't want to see, is completely black as well. So you truly get to kind of experience composing in this actual aspect ratio for taking photos. You obviously could have done this before by cropping after the fact, but you’ve never been able to compose and shoot this way before.”

Photo by Chris Brockhurst. Sony Alpha 7C II. Sony 16-35mm f/2.8 G Master II.

Photo by Chris Brockhurst. Sony Alpha 7C II. Sony 16-35mm f/2.8 G Master II.

Why would you want to do this in the first place? Brockhurst explains, "I'm predominantly a video shooter, but I do like to take stills. And there's something about, to me, the way when a photo just looks like a still from a movie. It just stands out to me."

While going around New York City to shoot cinematic images, there's a reason Brockhurst paired the Sony Alpha 7C II with the new Sony 16-35mm f/2.8 G Master II. “I’ve always had a preference for wider focal lengths for both stills and video,” he explains. “There is something about that 16-35mm focal range that really speaks to me – being able to see and visually show a lot in a frame can speak to a scene so much more. When it comes to stills especially, many of my favorite photos are taken in the 16-24mm focal length which the 16-35mm obviously falls into.”

Photo by Chris Brockhurst. Sony Alpha 7C II. Sony 16-35mm f/2.8 G Master II.

Photo by Chris Brockhurst. Sony Alpha 7C II. Sony 16-35mm f/2.8 G Master II.

How To Turn The Markers On

In order to turn on the markers, Brockhurst explains you go into your Shooting Menu, and then Marker Display, Aspect Marker, and you can turn them on. You can then select the Aspect Marker that you want to use, and then you pick the level that you want it to be at, with 15 completely blacking out the area outside of the markers. “You can actually even go as far as assigning a Custom Button to turn these markers just straight on or off if you don’t want them on all the time as well.”

You can also add these markers for playback as well when you’re looking at your photos. “If you go to the Playback Menu and scroll down to the Playback option, then Aspect Marker Disp., set it to on and again, the level all the way to 15. When you have an image that you took with those aspect markers turned on, it will show you what it looked like with those aspect markers turned on. It also smartly removes them if you didn’t take a photo with those aspect markers turned on as well. Watch the video below as Brockhurst shows how to set these up:

Brockhurst says shooting in this format was a joy, and it was cool to shoot in a way with a Sony that he hadn’t before. “My video-focused mind really loves images in this aspect ratio as they look like movie stills. I think the Sony 16-35mm f/2.8 G Master II was the perfect lens for this. It’s going to be the 16-35mm which sets the standards for all other 16-35’s. It’s sharp, has next to no imperfections (which i know is both a pro and con depending on who you ask), and, being lighter and smaller than the original, it’s a no-brainer for anyone who has the budget and is looking for this lens, there isn’t anything better out there.”

Photo by Chris Brockhurst. Sony Alpha 7C II. Sony 16-35mm f/2.8 G Master II.

Photo by Chris Brockhurst. Sony Alpha 7C II. Sony 16-35mm f/2.8 G Master II.

See more of Brockhurst’s work on his Instagram and YouTube Channel.

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