Final short film for Sony using the FS100 “Portrait of a boxer”


ETHICS STATEMENT: I was hired by Sony Europe to shoot this film and Zacuto are one of my main site sponsors. Read more on my ethics statement here.

I was asked to make 3 short films for Sony’s FS100 promotional campaign taglined “Extra.Ordinary.” The brief was to take ordinary things and make then come alive. The first piece was of a rather run down fun fair in north London. The second was a cake being made. The third idea formed the competition to win an FS100 and for me to film the winning idea. Peter Hastie from Glasgow won with his idea of filming boxing training.

This was great for me as the other two films were rather sedate, and this gave me an opportunity to do something way more kinetic, and just as exciting, it was going to have a lot more sound in it! I convinced Sony to let me also do an interview in the piece. Although as it would need to be subtitled for all the different languages, I did have to make it short and punchy (figure the pun!)

My concept was simple. We see lots of films about boxing and training. I wanted to make a short, snappy portrait driven by the words of Festim (which is a gamble as it’s interview driven). I have no interest in boxing as a sport. I don’t follow it. I don’t enjoy watching it, but it’s a very visual thing to film. The best docs for me to shoot, even micro ones like this, are the ones where don’t like what they do but I am fascinated by it. I want to know why he loves boxing, as I don’t get it. Can you find out in less than 2 minutes? That was the plan! I didn’t want the narrative to be too linear, lots of cross-cutting back and forth and ending before a punch is thrown…one of the directives from Sony was that no physical contact was to be shown with another boxer. That was fine by me. More challenging! 🙂

I won’t go too in-depth here, as I talk a lot about the making of the film in the two behind the scenes videos that were made for Sony. They can be viewed by clicking the below images, as long as you are registered you can watch them. Part 1 looks like it hangs but click play and it will load. Part 2 still seems to hang…speaking to Sony to get it working! A shot at greatness is what the film is formally called. I just renamed it for myself! 🙂

Watch the BTS below

Sony Extra Ordinary Tutorials With Philip Bloom Shoot 3 Film 1 from Threefold on Vimeo.

We follow Philip Bloom shooting on Sony’s Brand new NEX-FS100E, with a bunch of handy tips along the way.

In this film we visit Repton Boxing Cub in East London, and show how the camera lends itself to being rigged in all sorts of inventive ways

Shot By Tom at Threefold
Sound Aaron Young

Sony Extra Ordinary Tutorials With Philip Bloom Shoot 3 Film 2 from Threefold on Vimeo.

We follow Philip Bloom shooting on Sony’s Brand new NEX-FS100E, with a bunch of handy tips along the way.

In this film we visit Repton Boxing Cub in East London, and show how the camera lends itself to being rigged in all sorts of inventive ways

Shot By Tom at Threefold
Sound Aaron Young


I struggled through even though I look like crap and sound like crap. I was pretty sick with laryngitis when I made this film! It was when I saw the BTS of this that I started my health kick to get back into shape. Didn’t help that I looked even worse next to our boxer!

Festim was chosen because he was at Repton Boys Club gym where we filmed and he had the look, style and voice of what I wanted. He is not an actor or a model. He is a real person and although the film was totally under my control and more or less storyboarded, his words were not. I interviewed him rather than giving him lines. I wanted these to be his own words.

On May 6th as part of a special one-day event in NYC I will be dissecting this film from conception, to shooting, lighting, sound, editing, grading. I will be one of 3 speakers. The other being Adam Forgione going in depth on sounds and Timur Civan talking about lighting. You can book tickets and read more by clicking the image below.



Using the Zacuto Scorpion rig


Sander Saar testing out James’ body rig


James Miller



The BTS boys!




Oliver Robbins


Directing Festim





Festim being fitted with the body rig





Setting up the light for the interview


Testing the fast shutter speed brightly lit action scene with Sander


My Zeiss ZF glass


With the Zacuto rig again


See how hot the light was on Festim so I could darken the background



Getting the end shot



Interviewing Festim. Had to boom…nowhere to put a lav mic on him!


We brought was too much gear…oh well


The main gear I used was as follows:

Sony NEX FS100

MTF services Nikon Adaptor

Miller Compass 20 tripod

Zacuto Scorpion rig for handheld

Zeiss ZF lenses, 21, 35, 50 and 85mm

Samyang 35mm F1.4

Sigma 14mm F2.8 (I had loaned out my Tokina!)

TV Logic 7″ and 5.6″ monitors

2k Arri

800W arri

Dedolight 150 watt

RODE NTG 3 for main sound and 2 for on camera mic

James Miller’s homemade body rig!

The FS100 is a great camera with a couple of caveats. It shoots amazing pictures but is ergonomically awkward and the highlights have a tendency to go a bit yellow when blown out, but it’s the best camera on the market for the money by far. You can get past the ergonomics with a decent rig and with the right picture profile you can tame the highlights.

For all the handheld I shot with the new Zacuto Scorpion rig which was a dream to use. Designed for DSLRs then turned out to be perfect for the FS100. It’s pricey but turned out to be exactly what I needed. The FS100 absolutely needs a rig to shoot handheld.

For the picture profile I used Frank Glencairn’s G-Log A.

Everything was coloured with Magic Bullet Colorista II and a tiny touch of Looks 2. Both can be bought for 20% with the code bloom20 at checkout

before and after grading

Sound was of course what made this come to life. I used two RODE microphones, one mounted on the camera and one on a boom. James Miller was once again my erstwhile assistant. I also had 3 guys come along to intern to get some experience. Ollie Robbins, Sander Saar and Ben Carlson. The FS100 is a proper video camera with proper sound controls and sound inputs. Recording sound in camera is not challenging like DSLRS. It’s a piece of cake!

There is a loads more info on the Sony site in the BTS films and the tip sheet. Head on over there to check them out!

Music was by the fantastic Niklas Aman who is scoring two films I DP’d for Danny Lacey. Check out his very affordable and brilliant stuff here. 

Portrait of a boxer from Philip Bloom on Vimeo.



  1. its fantastic,why just zeiss lense?
    why didnt use canon L series?
    is zeiss better than canon lense?
    i want buy canon lense then seen this!!!!!i dont know what to do?
    please help me

    1. No one is saying not to buy a Canon L lens – it’s more a question of personal preference. For example, Canon’s are a little “warmer” than Zeiss – the image will look a little more as though you lighted with tungsten (even if you didn’t) – Canons don’t have full manual control, whereas Zeiss ZF (not ZE) do offer this – although Zeiss ZF rings turn in the opposite direction than most other lenses, which some people find annoying (small price to pay though – not a big deal) then there’s the Canon focus ring – ever try one out? It never stops – it just spins for eternity – try focus pulling with that!

  2. I LOVE this camera. Everything that comes off of it is Beautiful! Of course that’s in the hands of someone who knows how to use it as well as you do.
    Great work as usual!


  3. Very nice piece, Philip.

    The shooting, the production sound, the edit, the grading and the music, all together, create a very nice short that drowns you into the story being told, even if you wanted to watch it for technical reasons alone. Mission accomplished.

    I have to say I never liked much your approach of lighting, or almost lack thereof (I come from the avertising world though), but this time the raw lighting used here has worked wonderfully.

    The “body rig” shots are priceless. They really get you into the caracter’s/opponent mind. Outstanding.

    Did you script before shooting? I know you have a news/doco background where you “script in the edit booth”, but this one was very well made, as if you came with a storyboard from pre-production.

    It’s a shame the FS100 tends to blow the highlights in such a way. If the new CineGammas on the FS700 solve this problem, Sony will have a winner for the indie crowd with the new camera.

    Anyway, very well done, as always.

    BTW, while Zacuto builds some very nice stuff, I’ve discovered the rigs from, which fit DSLRs and small cameras, as the FS100, like a glove, even with a hundred accesories attached to them. Check it out it you can.

  4. Good job Philip James and interns 🙂 If i were Sony I’d be pretty happy with the work here. I just watched it on silent cos my fiance is asleep in the next room. (will watch it with music tomorrow) but seriously great visuals. There wasn’t a dull shot. The video looks so nice and sharp too. Great lighting and grading. Seems to have much more detail than my 5D mark II.

    Can I ask, did you record in camera or to an external recorder?


  5. Philip,
    I just wanted, no wait, HAD to say – that this film put me on the very edge of my seat and I loved every frame of it. The editing was incredible, paired with such great sound design. What a great character – you have such a great ability to profile a character and peer into their world and into their heads. The fs100 really comes through here so sharp and lovely, but pales in comparison it’s operator (you). Thank you for being so inspiring.


      1. I’m going to be using the red rock micro with the AF100 for a documentary but I’m never sure if the rig is well balanced. I usually balance it on my knee as much as I can. How do you distribute the weight? Great video by the way.

  6. Wow Philip that looks amazing, I was glued to my screen all the way. Would you recommend the Zacuto scorpion for the F3, Af100 and the upcoming Fs700? Thank you for sharing your work!

  7. Great piece on a compelling camera, Philip. Your subject indeed made this interesting, which leads me to a question. Why did you choose to not interview him “into the lens” as you’ve demo’d with the Eyedirect? What was the creative thinking here? And…was this cut on Premiere Pro? If so, what do you use to create the 2.35 letterbox effect? In Final Cut we had the matte filters – haven’t yet figured out what to use in Premiere! Many thanks…

  8. looking forward to the BTS when the Sony site gets itself fixed, There is a cracking BTS photo of you with No Guts No Glory written behind you. Its almost like seeing a speech bubble. I also want to publicly thank you been reading your reviews, watching your videos and now have taken the plunge from stills photography to moving picture as my gran calls it.

    Anyhow bought a battered old Sony Z1 and its like my first car all over again. Looking forward to the day I can try out a FS100. When I get some interesting footage I will definately ping you,


    Digital Photographer, Matte Painter and now videographer.

  9. Honestly I expected a little more Phillip. No 60fps? In my line of work this is pretty much a lot of what we do boxing and sports in general. I too have the FS100 and I think you could have done a lot more with the cam than what I saw in that short.

      1. I think it looks great without the use of slow motion. That is what everyone would be expecting so when you chose not to use it I think it conveyed your message a lot more. Also what did you record the ntg-3 with? (direct into cam or with a recorder?)

      2. If this is a commercial for Sony well then the whole point would be to show off all the best features this camera has. If this was just a short for you own portfolio, well then do what you want. I’m guessing Sony wants the commercial.

          1. “I was asked to make 3 short films for Sony’s FS100 promotional campaign.” What I’m trying to convey is that if this is for a promotional campaign detailing what kind of imagery you can get from this camera then why not display one of the biggest assets 1080p 60fps. That’s one of the reasons I bought it. Also slow mo isn’t cliche if you have the proper talent. I’m not saying this kid you used isn’t good but luckily for me I’m in Southern California where the best of the best train and you really can’t appreciate how fast guys like Manny Pacquiao are without seeing him slowed down then sped back up. A thing of beauty.

  10. I love the grading you did here Phil. Fantastic. Thanks for posting the picture profile used, I love finished stuff like this better than camera tests so Ill know what the camera can achieve in the hands of a real talented user.

  11. boxing lovely? yup, you sure made it so. some of your best work yet man. i love the fs100 thanks to you-however i just can’t get as much out of it as you seem to. you are an artist phil, thanks for sharing. i appreciate your sound advice on so many important issues that are driving our industry, keep it coming. so many fun things coming our way right now eh? i just have to remember that they are all tools to be used as necessary, or as inspired-i busted out my redrock adapter with a little lens whacking the other day for some fantastic shots-over my f-3 and dslr arsenal…just because. thanks again, i love reading your blog.

  12. I really like this piece. The sound is great and the body rig was very cool. Its sad to see boxing moving away from the main stream and MMA taking over. Oh well. Great job on this one Phillip!

  13. With myself in making a ton of fight sport based films, I have to say that this is damn well done, Phil.
    You really took advantage of a lot of static shots and the body rig was very Aranofsky-like to me.

    Superbly done, even down to the color choices.

  14. Very nice short. Love the editing and grading. Keep up the great work.

    And you are right box is a very popular subject to shoot. Me and my buddy did a similar thing not long ago. It doesn t have the refinement of this video. But for our first it ll have to do. You can check it at:

  15. Hey Philip,

    Amazing. Loved this film. I hope you can answer a couple of things that I have really been wondering about concerning you and your body of work.

    All things considered i am very inspired by what you do in general. I am curious though…….It’s obvious to me that Documentary work is your calling and natural medium, but is there a reason that you haven’t ventured into dramatic/feature film work?

    I mean there are some montages of yours (Venice’s people, etc) that could fall into a creative short category….anyways im rambling, just curious, mainly cause id like to see you do a feature film, ha, ha.

    Second, i’ve noticed your use of shotguns – namely the rode ntg’s – in all sorts of situations (interior or exterior)… there any situations you’ve considered booming the hyper mics (at4053, akg ck93, etc) or are you just that happy with the shotguns in all situations. I personally have used the ntg for interiors as well, just not sure if a hyper boom mic is worth it.

    Anyways your thoughts would be great, best of luck and amazing work here, one of your best for sure.

    1. Dear Philip,

      I am not sure how to complement you on this one, but it is not only this one.
      It is about how you tell a story.
      You are a great cinematographer but also an amazing editor.
      All the best.

  16. Hi Philip!

    I’m curious about the g log a. I pulled a screenshot and I’m interested to see how you adjusted the sharpness. Did you work with any of the detail settings in the menu or was it all applied in post?

    Thank you!


  17. Well done, I enjoyed it.
    However I couldn’t help feeling that it was a bit over cooked from a cinematic point of view. When the camera work becomes too prominent and stylised and over shadows the content then it kills it for me, especially with a subject like this.
    Boxing is all about heart and soul and I didn’t think there wasn’t any intimacy from the camera to really reflect that. It needed to feel more naive and genuine and less 2:35 cinemascope, it might have been nice to play it loose and struggle to keep up with the guy like in those old Ali clips where he’s dancing about all over the place. Maybe a some jump cuts and a nice 27 or 32mm very loose in the hand rater than the body rig may have been better?
    Repton gym is great location, perhaps too nice, maybe a flatter, less zingy grade may have helped grub it up a bit.
    Thats only my opinion of course, it was certainly a slick piece of work and I do appreciate that the film was predominantly to show of the camera (which it did brilliantly) + play with some nice bit’s of kit – and why not – it looked like fun!

      1. Well one critical comment out of 47 its bad eh! – there is no right or wrong in this business as long as you’re learning and challenging yourself on every job, thats the main thing.
        Speaking of learning experience’s I really think you should get your hands on a film camera one of these days soon. I’m sure Kodak or fuji would give you a few rolls of stock for free and they both do very good deals with ilab in town. A digital camera whether it’s a dslr or the newest Sony is still basically the same thing, it’s in your comfort zone – a safe bet.
        I have huge respect and admiration for you Phil, you’ve done an awful lot to educate and inspire people but I really think you should throw yourself out there and shoot some film (this film would have been fantastic on film and given it a whole bother level of depth I think).
        Give it a go, at least out of respect to our profession if nothing else 🙂 I’m sure your blog would go off the scale and inspire a whole new group of people.
        All the best!

  18. Dear Philipp,

    Thanks for all the details in this. Awesome shots I like a lot.

    I currently think that the 1080p25 for PAL is the most annoying thing. And I hope so much for the newer camera generation.
    But then I stumbled on your information:
    What you mean by “record in 25p and overcrank to 50 to retain better bitrate for later grading”.

    I only understand overcranked recording at 1080p50 and then using that or using it for slowmotion.

    But how to overcrank do 1080p50 in the post from 1080p25 footage?
    If there were fast tilts, and moves it wont be as smooth then having more details from 50p.

    Or are you using a 1080p50 project on a 1080p25 footage rendering half images and motion blur in After Effects to make up for the lost images?

    Thanks =)


  19. Love the story…nicely shot and edited and probably one of my favorites so far. And what a mug on that guy, sure you didn’t cast him?
    I would say that the lighting was my least favorite part of the video. Did you consider losing the house lights and just augmenting the windows? Also, since you were hard-lighting him (a ballsy move these days) I would have hit him with a strong back/rim light. My 2 cents. Nice stuff!

    1. I disagree. It was raw unfiltered cold light that helped make this character so abrasive. A touch of ctb here and there , some open-faced lamps and a sweaty meat-face had me smellin’ this guys gnarly garlic pits just fine. Sorry. I do like me a good edge light, but, to be honest, its a location doc. Where is a perfect rim light coming from in a gymnasium? It would have looked contrived in my opinion. I loved the look of The Machinist and I loved the look of this.

  20. Great piece Philip, one of my favorites on your site so far, really lovely images you make the make the FS100 look amazing and well worth its price tag!

    Where you using LED light panels? I thought i could see one in your BTS photos. Can you comment a bit more on your lighting decisions for this piece, I really love the look.


  21. Hey Philip,

    Long time viewer! I just bought the sony fs100 based on your recomendations and review !!! 🙂
    I really need help with something though 🙁
    I see you used your rode ntg-2 mic on board of the sony fs100
    the mic doesnt seem to fit well into the mic whole as it is too skinny
    how did you manage to fit it so nicely?

    Let me know !!! Thanks philip again
    Really appreciate it !

      1. ohh so you stuck the ntg 2 onto the mic mount with gaffing tape? is there any adaptors or any invention out there to fix this problem without gaffer tape ?

        thanks for your response !!!

  22. Hello Philip,

    Really appreciate the time you put behind your film and this article.
    I see what you have done with recording the sound that comes within the frame (e.g. while the boxer was tying his shoes it appeared to me that another guy outside the frame was rubbing his hands together under the mic) and behind it as opposed to using a Foley artist in a studio instead.

    I would really appreciate it if you can give me your proffesional view on why you chose that method over the more traditional studio sound effects.
    Really enjoyed the film and Much appreciated.


Leave a Reply