Carbon Studios’ Stunning Perspective on San Francisco at Night with Sony A7s

by Karin GottschalkLeave a Comment

Not satisfied with shooting some amazing footage of a lone figure on the beach at night with their Sony A7s, Carbon Studios has gone one better with some absolutely stunning footage shot from a helicopter on a night flight over San Francisco. If anyone still has residual doubts about how well the Sony A7s handles high ISOs in available darkness, then this settles it. The footage in ‘Perspective’ is, simply, incredible.

San Francisco at ground level during daylight hours is one of my favourite places in the United States. Now San Francisco at night from the sky has become one of my favorite ways of seeing that great city. All thanks to the guys at Carbon Studios and their willingness to jump into a helicopter with their A7s bolted into a Freefly MōVI M5.

Freely’s tagline for the M5 is “The Go-Anywhere Stabilizer”. From Carbon Studios’ footage, I can believe it. And the light-capturing power of the A7s’ 16MP full-frame sensor? I do believe that Sony is on to a winner with this amazing new hardware. It can only get better again in this camera’s next version, surely coming sometime later this year.

The proof is in the footage so I won’t ramble on further save to list Carbon Studios’ hardware, camera settings and post-production choices below for easy digesting.

One thing I will add is, if you possibly can, to please view this movie in 4K rather than 1080p and preferably on a great 4K or better yet 5K monitor like Apple’s iMac with Retina 5K display. You really will “see blacker blacks, more vibrant colors and images that practically jump off the screen”.

Seeing ‘Perspective' by Carbon Studios in the highest resolution and on the best display currently available made me feel the closest I ever will to being right there beside the camera in that chopper over San Francisco. I hope it will for you too. [bctt tweet=”Carbon Studios puts San Francisco into perspective at night with stunning Sony A7s aerial footage”]

At the moment, viewing 4K movies is only possible at Vimeo if you have a Vimeo Pro account. If not, do whatever you can to beg or borrow access to the 4K version. A viewing party, perhaps?



    • Picture Profile – PP2, Cinema
    • Apertures – f/5.6 to 7.1
    • ISO – 10,000 to 16,000
    • Shutter speed – 1/160th second

Color grading:


Perspective | 4K


We were fortunate enough to be able to hop on a flight around the city of San Francisco, CA at night! As we approached the city, we were given permission to fly over the SFO airport as well!

We shot this out of a helicopter with the FreeFly Systems Movi M5, the Sony A7s, and the Atomos Shogun recording in 4K.

Lens used: Zeiss 28mm f2

Camera settings:
PP2, Cinema
1/160th shutter to reduce the motion blur
ISO 10,000-16,000

Song purchased from
“Power of Love” by Tony Anderson

Light color grading in Davinci Resolve 11 Light

Be sure to check out some behind the scenes photos to the right from our flight, taken with the Sony A7 II.

Special thanks to the crew at SFO that night for giving us access to fly over the airport!

“Perspective” Behind-the-Scenes Stills

Sony A7s




(cover photo credit: snap from Carbon Studios)

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