a chef being filmed in his kitchen

Beauty in Simplicity

Vinicius Souza

Sometimes it is the simplest things that make the best stories. This is a premise that Portuguese filmmaker Vinicius Souza used to great effect when he partnered with famous chef, Carlos Duarte, to shoot a film based on the art of creating a meal.

“Focusing on a dish that is traditional to Portugal called “Açorda de Bacalhau”, made with cod fish, I wanted to film Carlos Duarte making the dish as spontaneously as possible,” says Vinicius.

Simplicity was at the heart of the shoot, with Vinicius shooting the short film using a Sony FX6 Cinema camera and an FE 16-35mm f/2.8 G Master lens. “The setup was super simple. I shot using natural light and one small light source. There was nothing else as the Sony FX6 did the rest.”

chef preparing a dish in his kitchen

The choice to use the Sony FX6 was an easy one for Vinicius, with the camera providing stunning detail and colour, but most notably in a form factor that allows him to shoot very naturally. “I love the workflow and the fact that I have all the buttons easy to reach. If I wanted to change from shooting at 25fps to 120fps for slow motion, I just press the S&Q mode button, and that's it. I don't need to go into any menus.”

vinicius souza framing a shot on his sony fx6 camera
The form factor is also something that I enjoy,” Vinicius continues. “Previously I shot with a larger cinema camera with a more DSLR-style form factor. It wasn't for me, but since I've been using the FX6, I’d go as far as saying it’s perfect.”

Having essential tools, such as ND filters, built-in to the Sony FX6 is another huge advantage to the way Vinicius shoots, and it came in useful for this project. “Sometimes I have projects that are run and gun, and I move quickly from a scene inside to outside. So, having the built-in ND filters is helpful for that kind of shoot. The camera is equally as convenient for this type of job. Most of my Sony lenses have 82mm filter threads, but I use other lenses with much larger threads when looking to achieve an effect like this one with Carlos Duarte. And, having the ability to switch lenses without having to swap over or apply different ND filters is just so handy.”

For the video, Vinicius used the 16-35mm f/2.8 GM and shot exclusively at f/2.8. For the close-up wide shots, the wide aperture had a shallow enough depth of field to blur the background, whilst still keeping the main details in focus. “Even if I move away from the subject, I can still have that separation,” he says.

Shooting at f/2.8 also lets enough light into the camera to make the space look bright and modern. A major kitchen brand provided the kitchen showroom space for the shoot, so it was important for Vinicius to show this space looking its best in the video. The spontaneity of the shoot meant that although it looked polished, the video was almost shot as a documentary, with the chef preparing the dish twice over the course of four hours.

vinicius souza filming a close up of a chef preparing a dish

“He was cooking while I was shooting,” says Vinicius. “I used autofocus for the wider shots because I think Sony Eye AF tracking is super impressive. It is also a trusty companion when working on a shoot like this, with the subject in frame almost continuously. For the close-up shots, I shot everything using manual focus. I am used to using manual focus lenses, so it isn't a problem to manually focus the Sony lenses on the FX6.”

close up of a chef adding an egg to a dish

“My favourite shot is where he adds the egg as the final touch. As it is a close-up, I used the 16mm focal length to allow for a super-wide angle. There is also the pop of the yellow egg yolk, which stands out as we were shooting in such a clean neutral-coloured space.”

Speaking of colour, Vinicius shot using S-Log3 Picture Profile and previewed some of the LUTs he would eventually use to grade the footage when making the final edit.

sony fx6 camera filming a dish in a kitchen

“We were mainly shooting in natural light, so the brightness and colour of the scene changed a lot. I started with natural light, but it was almost a dark sunset by the end of the shoot, so I had to push the exposure as the shoot went on. Even the tint in the scene changed slightly. But, when I am shooting with S-Log3 with the Sony FX6, I know I have the dynamic range to ensure everything looks perfect in the final video.”

Overall, the Sony FX6 will be Vinicius' camera of choice for some time. “The image quality is second to none,” he says. “You get that cinematic look and feel to the image. It's amazing and the Sony FX6 is probably the best camera that I have shot with to date.”

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