Nikon Learn & Explore

Cinematographer In Need of Small Kit Turns to Z 6

© Anthony Arendt

Behind the Scenes - Get a BTS look at Anthony Arendt's Gangler's Sub Arctic video project in Nunavut, Canada.

Your video production dreams may range from video shorts produced in your basement or backyard, all the way to Hollywood blockbusters and everywhere in between.

The Nikon Z 6 mirrorless camera can handle it all. For the emerging filmmaking pro looking for a small but powerful kit or the seasoned pro in need of a small footprint solution for a project, the Z 6 Filmmaker’s Kit will fit the bill.

Director of Photography Anthony Arendt recently had the opportunity to shoot a production entirely with the Z 6 Filmmaker’s kit. Anthony and his producer Ritch Wedeking brought along a Z 6 Filmmaker’s Kit, a backup body, a few extra lenses and tripod with them to Gangler’s Sub Arctic, which is located in Canada’s northernmost territory of Nunavut.

Anthony’s BTS video provides a look into the production and how he and Ritch were able to shoot everything they needed to—still images and video footage—with a minimum amount of gear. The camera gave them “a wide variety of options in a small package,” says Ritch.

Anthony is used to working on large productions as well as smaller gigs. This project required him to only bring a small amount of gear on location due to the fact that to get to the shooting locations, Anthony and Ritch and their gear had to fit into the small seaplanes they’d be traveling in.

screenshot of the camera's LCD touchscreen with a hand touching settings on the LCD

The bright touchscreen LCD of the Z 6 means you can toggle through menus to adjust settings using buttons on the rear of the camera body or simply by touch on the LCD screen.

screenshot from the Anthony Arendt BTS video for Gangler's Sub Arctic showing Anthony setting up the camera on the Moza gimbal

Adjusting the Moza Air 2 gimbal is quick and easy to do and gives you the ability to produce high quality stabilized video.

Small but powerful mirrorless camera kit

The Z 6 Filmmaker’s Kit puts all the tools needed to produce high quality video within your grasp.

The full-frame image sensor of the Z 6 gives you up to 12 stops of dynamic range—record in 10 Bit 4.2.2 N-Log or ProRes RAW for an even wider gamut and flexibility for professional level color grading in post-production.

Shoot 4K video at 24 fps for a classic film look or 30 fps for smoother videos.

Record video with audio at up to 120 fps in Full HD for smooth fast motion. This frame rate gives you flexibility for slow motion and speed ramping editing in post-production for added drama and suspense. Even record 120 fps slow motion with playback at 4x or 5x slower speed for jaw dropping, fluid slow motion in 1080p Full HD without any post-production.

Other video specific features of the Z 6 include Time Lapse using the built-in interval timer and a time lapse function that creates a finished video file in camera, Full Pixel Readout—equivalent to 6K, Zebra Stripes, Focus Peaking, Timecode and more.

Along with the NIKKOR Z lenses designed specifically for use with Z series mirrorless cameras, the Z 6 is compatible with nearly 360 different types of F-mount NIKKOR lenses when utilizing the Mount Adapter FTZ.

The other items in the Filmmaker’s kit proved to be just as important for the job.

Anthony was able to simultaneously record 4K 10 Bit uncompressed via HDMI to the Atomos Ninja V recording 4K monitor while recording 4K UHD 8 Bit footage to the media card.

The Moza Air 2 Gimbal gave him the smoothness and accuracy of larger studio rigs in a much smaller, handheld configuration. The Moza Magic 11.9” Articulating Arm let him conveniently attach the Ninja V monitor to the rig.

And the beautiful Z 6 video footage was complimented with audio from the RØDE VideoMic Pro+ shotgun microphone that attaches via the camera’s hot-shoe.

still image of people at a small campfire with the Northern Lights in the sky

© Anthony Arendt

The Z 6b is a capable 24.5 megapixel still camera in addition to its ability to produce powerful 4K UHD video.

One chance

For the Gangler’s project, there was no reshooting. As Ritchie explains, “Due to the intricacies of travel up there we had to shoot the landscapes and nature as we found it. Also using the seaplane to get to each location we had to deal with availability and weather.”

The production budget only included Anthony and his producer Ritchie, so this meant Anthony would be responsible for shooting stills as well as video. “Directors and cinematographers are being asked to shoot the stills as well as the video,” Anthony says, noting that this is becoming a more common ask, even on larger productions.

Anthony notes the factors that are taken into account when filmmakers are making the decision on which gear to use for a given production: resolution needed for post effects, dynamic range, the need for variable frame speeds, including high speed frame rates at high resolution and production size and footprint as well as production budget. “The last two points are great reasons why DSLRs and mirrorless cameras have their place in Hollywood,” he says.

“DSLRs and mirrorless are getting better every year. Resolution, shooting raw video, being able to shoot stills and video seamlessly with the same system is such a great advantage,” he says.

“As the future production landscape changes with our current and future challenges, DSLRs and mirrorless cameras will be a big part of my future in cinematography,” Anthony concludes.

Anthony told us that he often is asked what gear to buy, whether it’s from kids just out of film school or small agencies or production companies. “The great thing about the Z 6 Filmmaker’s Kit is that it touches all the bases. Everything works together seamlessly.”

Anthony Arendt

At 16 a used Nikkormat was all that was needed for Anthony Arendt to get hooked on photography. He lived in Milan, Italy working in the fashion industry, attended the American College in Paris / Parsons School of Design and then began working on film and still photography sets. Anthony has taken on the roles of director, director of photography, still photographer and more.

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