If Mac Pro has got you considering your future 4K workflow, one of the first combinations we’d recommend is the Sony FS700 and the Odyssey Q7 OLED monitor/recorder. The Odyssey requires a paid firmware upgrade to shoot anything other than compressed 10-bit, but once it’s unlocked you can record in HD RAW, HFR or 4K as needed. Here’s what you need to know.
What’s the Odyssey 7Q?
It’s the latest recorder from Convergent Design, the bright sparks behind the Gemini 4:4:4 and the nanoFlash. In its simplest form, it’s a 7.7″ OLED monitor with a 3400:1 contrast ratio and the option for iOS/Android-based remote control, which would have been enough to garner our attention on its own. However, the Odyssey 7Q also lets you record DNxHD 8 or 10-bit YCC to 1080p, 60/60i, 720p, 60 (.mov, .mxf) – it’s an OLED monitor and a recorder. But there’s more…
When you’re ready to move up to 2K, 4K, HFR or Canon, Sony or ARRI’s various RAW formats, you can simply buy a firmware update from Convergent Design to unlock the format you need. And if you’re only going to need it once, or only for a few days, you can save yourself a few pennies by renting it from them on a day-by-day basis, so you’re only ever paying for the option that you’re using. If you’re not going to ultra high resolution just yet, you can still buy in recording options for 10-bit compressed 1080p YCC 4:2:2 at up to 120fps, 12-bit compressed 1080p RGB 4:4:4 at up to 60fps and uncompressed 10 or 12-bit 1080p RGB 4:4:4 at 60fps.
And that Q? Stands for quad, and means it can handle four incoming video streams at once – again, this is a modular paid upgrade.
So, understandably, we’re keen for you to pair this tiny box of scalable goodness up with your FS700 as soon as humanly possible.
Why choose the FS700?
As HD-cameras-that-can-do-4K-with-an-add-on go, the FS700 is one of the most scalable, flexible and cost-effective. Even when you factor in the €500 fee some early adopters will have to shell out to upgrade theirs to 4K, it still comes in at roughly a third of the price of Canon’s C500, which is incredibly good value for a Super 35mm HD camera.
Then there’s the fact that it’s got a simple, scalable workflow that you can learn once and then apply to footage anywhere on the scale from compressed HD to 4K RAW, including your HFR clips. And you can use that workflow to capture uncompressed footage at up to 120fps, so you have plenty of creative freedom when it comes to how you shoot.
Finally, while we love the Blackmagic Design’s 4K Production Camera, it a) isn’t here yet b) doesn’t come with a support contract (the FS700 can be covered with Sony Prime Support) and c) uses EF mount lenses as opposed to the FS700’s E mount, so gives you fewer options when it comes to using interesting glass. All of which means that, if you’re looking for something to act as your primary production camera, we’d recommend spending the extra on an FS700 and R5 or 7Q recorder.
How do I get 4K-capable?
To unlock HD RAW, HFR and 4K recording on your Odyssey 7Q, you’ll need to purchase a firmware update directly from Convergent Design. You can also ‘rent’ recording options from them on a day-by-day basis, so you only pay for a function as and when you need it – a good option if you want to test your 4K workflow before committing to paying for the full upgrade.
Your FS700 will need Version 3.0 of its firmware installed. If you bought your FS700 recently, it should have arrived with this already loaded, but if you think you’re on an older version you can find out how to upgrade here.