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Capturing the Beauty of the Wilderness With Atomos Ninja V

Atomos
(Image credit: Peter O'Hara)

BANFF, Alberta—These days I fly back and forth between Banff, Toronto and Vancouver, mixing my own work for my own company, Silver Fern Productions, with television production. Silver Fern has managed to carve out a niche for itself by shooting for tourism boards and outdoor adventure brands in Canada. The Atomos Ninja V really comes into its own in the outdoors, especially when it comes to keeping a lightweight setup on big backcountry expeditions.

Though I am currently based in Banff, in the heart of the Canadian Rockies, I received my training in television production in Toronto where I was first introduced to Atomos products. Many of the DPs and cinematographers I was shadowing were using them as they’re perfect for TV and commercials. 

On a recent production of “Hot Market” for HGTV Canada, we used a Sony FX9 camera, which is a great camera, but kind of big and bulky. So we supplemented some of the footage with the Sony a7s Mk II on a DJI Ronin gimbal with the Ninja V to both record and to boost the footage up to broadcast-standard 4:2:2. This allowed us to create intricate tracking shots without compromising image quality.

Built for Travel
We also recently did a project for Travel Yukon and were flying over Klaune National Park and Preserve, which has the largest non-polar ice field in the world. For two and half hours, I shot footage using my Sony a7s Mk II mounted on a Ronin, again with the Ninja V. It worked brilliantly, as it allowed me to boost the footage up to 4:2:2, while backing things up. Working off the monitor is so much better than relying on the camera’s comparatively smaller viewfinder, especially in a small, cramped aircraft, where having a fully functional, lightweight and compact rig is essential.

I’ve had the Ninja V since 2018 and it pretty much does everything I want it to. It’s bright enough that I can use it as a monitor without a sunscreen. I do still photography as well and I often have it with me to make sure I’ve got the shot lined up right and free of any distractions.

A Replay Ninja
Using the monitor on client projects also allowed me to replay footage for the client on site. As soon as we departed the plane after shooting above Klaune, I was able to show the client pictures and video we’d taken of Mt. Logan, Canada’s highest mountain. 

I’ve saved my LUTs to the monitor as well, which serves as a great addition on replay to see instantaneously, and with confidence, what the final image is going to look like.

I’ve recently upgraded to the Sony a7s Mk III and when I hook it up to the Ninja V, the Ninja lets me record in ProRes Raw, an important feature and added benefit to making  your footage look even more cinematic—not to mention the high dynamic range, which allows me to preserve highlights and shadows in the best possible way.

I’m going to upgrade to the Ninja V+ shortly, and am excited for the powerful 4K 60fps feature. There is no better time to be a creative filmmaker. I’m really excited to see where this technology takes us in the future. 

Peter O’Hara is based in the Bow Valley, in the heart of the Canadian Rockies and is the owner of Silver Fern Productions. He is passionate about adventure photography and filmmaking in the mountains, bringing stories to life representing nature in all of its wonders. O’Hara can be contacted at peterohara@me.com or at
416-859-4742.
 

For more information visit www.atomos.com.

Peter O’Hara is the Owner of Silver Fern Productions