vid: Making a Sony A7R3 to Elgato S60+ to Mac OBS Studio and SanDisk Pro-G40

OK, it is just incredible how complicated it is to get anything to work correctly, but this is a relatively advanced podcast studio where I want to use the high-quality 4K output (not from a webcam with its relatively crappy lens) but with a great Sony Zeiss 55mm F/1.4 lens.

It turns out it is incredibly complicated to make all this work because technology is interesting and has all these strange requirements.

Elgato S60+ Capture from Sony A7R3 to MacBook Pro USB C

This Elgato S60+ is needed because MacBook and other computers have HDMI output circuits, so even though the Mac now has a dedicated HDMI output, you can’t use that to plug into your computer. It takes some real work to figure out what you need, but the Elgato (now owned by Corsair) is a standalone box that is powered by USB 3.0 connection and will convert HDMI input into something the computer knows about.

The confusing this is that you need to know two things:

  1. The Sony has what is called a micro-HDMI connector, so you need to buy an adapter that is micro-HDMI male on one side and HDMI on the other side.
  2. The Elgato does not appear anywhere and doesn’t need setup, but when you start OBS Studio and add a video source, you will see the Elgato S-60 magically appear

Left to be done: Connect the Shure microphone to the Elgato input

I was using the MacBook as the microphone for this, but the right answer is to get a 3.5mm cable and plug that directly into the Elgato input so the HDMI has everything you need. I’m assuming now that you don’t need extra light, so the Shure

Sony A7R3 Setup Nightmare

Of course, you can’t just set up the Sony A7R3, with the Image Capture that comes natively, you have to put it into A or Aperture mode (not Program) and make sure Google Drive is not running. But you need to set up things up right for this (note that the Sony documentation is nonexistent and wrong)

  1. Set the camera mode to Movie, this is the icon that looks like a movie frame (since M stands for manual)
  2. Go into the menus (and these differ based on firmware, so this is for the latest as of 2023 on my camera). Got to Menu > Movie1 > File Format > XAVC S 4K
  3. They talk about APS C/Super 35mm shooting, but I can’t find this on the Sony A7R3. This 4K is using the “cropped” sensor, so there is “zoom” in this mode, unlike HD which uses binning so you get the full field of view. That means you may need to swap to a 24mm lens or move the camera farther away.
  4. The A7R3 doesn’t have steady shots you can ignore that.
  5. You need to go to Menu > Setup3 > HDMI Settings to change the resolution from Auto to 2160p/1080p otherwise it defaults to HD
  6. Is very important to use Menu > Setup3 > HDMI Info Display and turn that off since you want to do a direct capture rather than use this output to monitor the video recording
  7. Now you have to plug the micro HDMI cable in as some menus are not available specifically, you have to Menu > Setup4 > 4k Output Select which is on Memory Care+HDMI and change that to HDMI only (30p) because fi you are outputting in 4K, you need this set so that FAcetracking stays on (argh!). Not that disables the regular mode of writing 4K to disk, (so see below, it’s better to create a custom setting for this). Or surface this setting in Custom

Sony Dummy Battery (not needed for short recordings)

If you are doing long podcasts, you should get a dummy battery connector so that you can power your camera directly from AC power. I don’t really need that as most podcasts are less than an hour. On the other hand, it is $36 at and saves you from one worry.

I’m Rich & Co.

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