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Header image for article Tom Zweibel Takes It to the Net with Sony FS7 & AbelCine Accessories

Tom Zweibel Takes It to the Net with Sony FS7 & AbelCine Accessories

The Knicks may not be having their most winning season this year, but the video being created by Tom puts the team at the top of the league. Tom shoots court-side play, where following quick action is an obvious necessity. A couple of years ago, AbelCine helped him put together a custom solution for his small DSLR with a shoulder rig and follow focus system. This year, Tom wanted to step up his game with a higher-end solution for greater quality and flexibility.
Tom Zweibel - Sony FS7

If a giant tree falls in the forest does it make a sound? If a 7'3'' Knicks power forward hits from half court during warm-ups does anyone outside the arena see it? In slow motion? Now they do, thanks to the reach of social media and the work of New York Knicks Digital Video Producer Tom Zweibel.

The Sony FS7 is the heart of his new kit. The camera is well known for 4K or 1080p recording in various codecs in a lightweight, shoulder-mount form factor. Sony has been able to fit so much performance, including high-speed capability, into alow-priced package.

"I'm primarily recording 1080 at 60 fps for game-action. For dramatic moments, I enable the S&Q and shoot 180 fps. When I have issues with flickering, I'll adjust the frame rate (and thus the shutter speed) to compensate."

- Tom Zweibel

Tom rents various lenses from AbelCine. Where it gets interesting is the choice of lenses. In conjunction with an HDx35 Mark II adapter, Tom is shooting with B4-mount zoom lenses (Canon or Fujinon). The adapter converts the lens image from 2/3" to full frame and adjusts chromatically for the lack of a prism in the single-chip Super 35 camera. The full sensor is exposed, and Tom has the flexibility of recording either 1080p or 4K. The inherent 2-stop loss of light through the adapter is not a problem for the highly sensitive FS7 to handle.

The resulting camera and lens package has a powerful zoom range, but is also small and lightweight. This is very important for anyone holding and moving a camera for hours on end, but also for the safety of players who sometimes hurdle off the court into a scrum of photographers. Connecting the rig is a new LANC cable from Cameo, one of a family of cables for different camera, lens and battery combinations. In this case, the Cameo LANC cable takes power from the battery to the lens, and run/stop commands from the lens to the camera. A small microprocessor in the cable enables control of multiple functions from a remote lens controller or from buttons on the lens itself.

"The HDx35 Mark II adapter lets me use B4 mount lenses on my FS7, which enhances my zoom range while keeping the weight of the overall camera down. The Cameo cable ties it all together with lens power and run/stop control. Bottom line, I'm getting great footage of the Knicks in action, as well as interviews and documentary segments for play on our website and social media outlets."

-- Tom Zweibel

An Instagram post of a graceful, slow motion practice warm-up shot can garner tens of thousands of views within minutes. Video content for these outlets is generated by a talented group of filmmakers like Tom Zweibel. This ability to connect followers to their favorite teams and players is unprecedented. It doesn't guarantee a win on the court, but it's a win for the fans.

Check out more of Tom Zweibel's work with the New York Knicks at All Access Weekly. If you want to learn more about the Sony FS7, our In-Depth workshops are coming up in Chicago, LA, and NY!