behind the scenes
making of The Blacklist
The Big Bang Theory switches to F55
Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown
Spike Lee shoots in 4K Da Sweet Blood of Jesus
breaking new ground Welcome to the premier issue of CineAlta® magazine, a periodical dedicated to telling the stories of those using Sony’s large sensor digital motion picture cameras in production. We are focused on real stories with real people behind the cameras, and those in post-production handling the workflow with stories spanning from Documentary, Episodic Television, Feature Film, Sports and much more. We will also bring you the latest news about our technology with tips and tricks, workflow, and how to’s. In this first issue, we cover feature stories first published in ICG Magazine, Film and Digital Times, and others in addition to our own exclusive coverage. There is no better way to explore the technology than reading about those using it in various challenging environments.
Letter from the Editors Sony and 4K have been synonymous since 2005 when we delivered our first 4K SXRD projector to motion picture theaters. Since then, Sony 4K projectors have provided the highest standard of motion picture quality on more than 11,000 screens in the U.S. and more than 15,000 screens worldwide. Sony offers filmmakers the widest selection of 4K cameras from the F65 used for major motion picture production, to the F5 and F55 cameras, to the new Z100 4K handheld camcorder that sells for well under $8K. Today, Sony is the only company in the world that offers a total 4K ecosystem from “lens to theater to living room,” including 4K content delivery to the home. It’s an impressive story, so we’ve created an entire publication to tell it. In this first edition of “CineAlta: Behind the Scenes” you’ll read first-hand accounts of professionals using Sony 4K technologies every day. Here’s a preview of this issue: Many of the most popular television series currently airing are shot with Sony 4K cameras including: The Blacklist, Masters of Sex, Community, The Big Bang Theory, The Michael J. Fox Show, Trophy Wife, Mom, Rake, and others. For the big screen, DP Daniel Patterson talks about his experiences with the F55 on the set of Spike Lee’s newest film. You’ll also see how 4K acquisition is becoming more common for “live” broadcast events. FOX Sports used the F55 camera at the World Series to do multiple cut-outs and zooms of 4K images and extract clear HD images with no pixel degradation to give viewers crisper replays. 4K live production was also successfully tested at the
2013 FIFA Confederations Cup, and there are many more stories of Sony 4K production from just about every application possible. Sony 4K cameras are the choice of professionals based on fantastic color reproduction that compares with 35mm film and exceeds the DCI standard, high frame rate for slow motion capture and the open, scalable, flexible XAVC™ format that delivers cost-effective 4K production on an HD budget. Our Digital Motion Picture Center in Culver City, California, is dedicated to helping professionals experience every aspect of Sony CineAlta and 4K Acquisition Systems. You can find all the details about this location and similar Sony facilities worldwide in this issue. Whether experiencing the elegance of High Frame rate, or shooting in 4K to derive the best quality HD and future proofing your productions, Sony 4K cameras give you all the options. The evidence is here in this magazine. We have compiled a broad crosssection of workflow and production stories from sports to documentaries to feature film and episodic television. And we want to hear from you. If you have a story to tell about your production experiences behind the camera, from the director’s chair or in the post production suite, let us know about it. It could end up in our next issue! Send your stories to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Enjoy the magazine.
President Professional Solutions of America Sony Electronics Inc.
Marketing Manager Professional Solutions of America Sony Electronics Inc.
Access Denied The Blacklist chooses a Beta F55 over Alexa
The Big Bang uses F55
DP Steven Silver switches to “Panavised” Sony F55
The F55 travels underwater in the new Gates housing
1 The Blacklist 11 MyTeeVee 33 Local Hero 37 The Big Bang uses F55 43 The Hunt 51 Le Ride 79 The Michael J. Fox Show 83 Digital Motion Picture Center 97 Anthony Bourdain’s colors 105 Spike Lee’s new production 113 FIFA uses 4K live 125 World Series 127 4,000 Reasons 135 Welcome to the Jungle
Le Ride in 4K
Anthony Bourdain’s colors
Spike Lee’s new production
Retracing the Tour de France 1928 with the F55 over 3,000 miles in 26 days
Colorist Steve Beganyl on grading of Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown
Spike Lee shoots with three F55’s in 4K for his latest production Da Sweet Blood of Jesus
access denied by Pauline Rogers, ICG Magazine
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hat goes around comes around,” is the age-old dictum that attracted director Joe Carnahan to the new Sony/NBC series The Blacklist. Carnahan, known for kinetic action features like The A-Team, Smokin’ Aces, and Narc, calls the new show “a fastpaced puzzler, where I immediately saw endless possibilities centered around Raymond ‘Red’ Reddington (James Spader), a covert intelligence operator [known as “The Concierge of Crime,” who has brokered shadowy deals for criminals across the globe]. He comes back because he’s got multiple scores to settle. His choice of novice profiler Elizabeth Keen (Megan Boone) as his unwitting accomplice provides a great dynamic.” Carnahan and cinematographer Yasu Tanida [Frank Prinzi, ASC, will handle series chores] had just wrapped a pilot where they shot gritty and grainy hand held with mixed color temperatures. “Joe loved this script because it called for a different style, more dolly moves, sharper blacks and a bigger, cleaner look,” says Tanida. “We didn’t want a Kubrickian look. It was almost a tableau style,” adds Carnahan. “So Yasu and I looked for a camera package that would support that — and allow us to make [the District of Columbia] a physical and metaphoric labyrinth.”
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The Black List: Access Denied
Fagan says the size of the F55 allowed for intimate choreography with actors and location sets — the majority of the pilot. “It allowed us into the story on a personal level, and the form factor for hand-held was truly refreshing,” he recounts.
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Fagan says the size of the F55 allowed for intimate choreography with actors and location sets — the majority of the pilot. “It allowed us into the story on a personal level, and the form factor for hand-held was truly refreshing,” he recounts. “Since the Sony Raw recorder doesn’t add 8.5 pounds to a Steadicam or hand-held configuration, it was great for stunts and close quarters.”
ince The Blacklist was produced through Sony Pictures, Tanida and his team had access to a Beta version of Sony’s new F55. “The first thing that Joe liked about it was the form factor, with its lightweight and compact size,” Tanida explains. “The Sony reps said it wasn’t quite ready to be put through a shoot. They were encouraging us toward the F65. So, it was either the Alexa, F65, or a Beta F55.” Panavision allowed Tanida to test the camera the day after it arrived at their Woodland Hills office. He lined up all three cameras and compared their outputs at the 4K Colorworks Lab on the Sony lot. “I love Alexa but I knew we could get the F55 into different places,” Carnahan recalls. “The fact that it was Beta didn’t matter — I knew we had access to technicians on the lot if things got too far afield.” “It could record the workflow as we set it, and it had a unique look to it, with sharper blacks and good skin tones,” Tanida adds. “Alexa tends to want to go more green; the F55 tended to want to be more yellow in skin tones.” Steadicam/camera operator Brant Fagan, SOC, was also enthusiastic about the new F55. “It has a physical presence that operators and assistants can be happy with,” he says. “Despite the smaller chassis, as compared to Alexa, the controls are well laid-out and work well when rigged on a Steadicam. The modifications from Panavision combined with its upgrades and support of the system make this a joy to fly.”
With a $12-million-plus budget and a 17-day shoot, Tanida and Carnahan could really indulge their adventurous side. Or as Tanida puts it: “Joe won’t admit it, but every scene and set-up we do, he’s always fighting himself to try and attempt a move or an angle or a reveal that he hasn’t done before. When a new idea doesn’t go our way, we can always opt to shoot the scene conventionally. “At one point, Eddie Kiza (B-camera dolly grip)was pushing the Pee-Wee Dolly with the 11:1 Primo zoom on it into position for the next setup over a brick road at the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens,” Tanida continues. “Joe was watching the monitor, loved the frenetic shaking of the camera. We chased Megan Boone down this brick road at full speed, without dolly track on the Pee Wee, 11:1 zoom lens, zooming in and out, having the focus go in and out. I was afraid the sensor on the F55 would take a beating, but it performed beautifully.” “Yasu is my ideal wingman,” Carnahan laughs, “because he’s even more of a daredevil than me. At one point we attached two GoPros to the feet of a stuntman doing an upside-down dive into the water. Great shot — but a little too audacious. Then, of course, there was Yasu calm and cool when we shot a dolly back with a 14-millimeter lens as the sun was going down and we were losing the light. Yes, he knew it would have been better with a 75-millimeter, but we chose to go wide — and it worked with the F55.”
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The Black List: Access Denied
Joe was watching the monitor, loved the frenetic shaking of the camera. We chased Megan Boone down this brick road at full speed, without dolly track on the Pee Wee, 11:1 zoom lens, zooming in and out, having the focus go in and out. I was afraid the sensor on the F55 would take a beating, but it performed beautifully.
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The Black List: Access Denied
he give and take between director and DP figured considerably in several large key sequences; for example, creating the prison set where Red was secretly held by the FBI.“It’s hard to re-invent ‘jail cell’ scenes, but I hope people will like what we did,” Tanida shares. “The Locations department found a huge abandoned floor in the old New York Post Office that had a viewing deck that ran across the whole floor. Production Designer Andy Jackness built this amazingly modern, seethrough cell that retracted back completely to expose Red.” “We didn’t want to over-light the set and be locked down to where James Spader is being held,” adds gaffer Michael Marzovilla. “It was done with small, precise strokes, nothing in-your-face. Joe likes to move fast, so you need to be ready.” Like needing to place 25 Parcans with medium globes down the long walkway to the cell, all on dimmers. “All of the surrounding lights were daylight-balanced using four-foot Kino tubes in frame and 4K HMI Pars aimed into the lens,” says Tanida.
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“In the shots where Red and Liz talk to each other, the light was warm, and everywhere outside of that space had a bluer, colder feel,” he adds. “Our intent was to have the audience feel like Red and Liz were close, like family, even though they had only just met for the first time in the pilot.” When they did get into close-ups between these two characters, Marzovilla introduced Tanida to an interesting alternative — Westcott lights that are normally used for still photography. “ They are lightweight, well-designed, and easy to rig,” Marzovilla explains. “I like them for multiple uses, and the grid option by Lightools makes it a perfect all-around light: cuts down on using nets, cutters and diffusion.” While Red’s prison allowed for some intimate closeup work, closing down the Long Island bridge, for a scene where a General’s daughter gets taken out of their Suburban as she rides across with Liz as her protector, was another animal altogether. The scene
mixed physical stunts, Technocrane, SFX, VFX, insert unit, and green screen on stage. “We had four operators on every setup, sometimes looking 270 degrees at once, so a crew of 50 people had to tuck into a sliver of space on the bridge,” Tanida recounts. “More important than lighting and camera was being able to communicate to each department what, when, and how Joe and I were shooting each particular shot.” “Joe loves overcoming obstacles,” says A-camera operator Charlie Libin. “He throws them at his characters and his crew. The bridge offered three ways out: forward, backward, or the water. So Joe, Yasu, and [stunt coordinator] Ben Bray mapped out the entire sequence with AD Eric Henriquez in prep. Brant, Jeff Dutemple, and I were more like a hand-held documentary crew in the sense that Yasu and Joe loved keeping us off balance and never ahead of the action. Could be 18 millimeter, or Yasu would say, ‘Joe, how about 100 millimeter? You dig it?’ ‘Do it, brother,’ Joe would respond with a grin, and we’d be off and running. In the last light of the day, Doug Pellegrino on the wheels nails a breathtaking Technocrane swoop over the SUV. “Ben Bray also plays the hazmat worker to first pull his weapon,” Libin continues. “Joe sees my lens just behind Ben’s ear as he zigzags, firing an AR-15, quick up-down tilts to hands, hot brass flying. I’d touch my free hand on Ben’s shoulder, running full-tilt boogie — he’s a human Maserati. The Sony F55s are nice little boxes with lens flange close to the base. Panavision built a rig around it — perfect for gripping the front matte box.” From hand-held to Steadicam, The Blacklist team kept everything moving. Fagan says Carnahan “pushed it to the max” in two very different environments — New York’s Waldorf-Astoria in an opulent 14-room suite, and on a crowded Washington D.C. street. The hotel scene reveals how Red has been able to pull the FBI’s strings. “The Steadicam, with a 14.5-millimeter Primo, made the rooms another character,” Fagan elaborates, “as we dance about with Reddington while he manipulates the agents. The wide lens combined with the overall smaller size of my rig allowed me to move about the rooms with the actors and not be limited or trapped by furniture or set dressing.
“Filming on Pennsylvania Avenue, in Washington,” he continues, “Spader’s character barely escapes a last-minute takedown and slips into the crowds while fielding a phone call. We needed to showcase the location and, more importantly, make Reddington blend and melt away into a sea of heads. This meant multiple passes, beginning with wide lenses and finishing tight on him with a 150-millimeter Primo.” Carnahan and Tanida were unabashedly proud of the team behind The Blacklist, including the vital contributions of DIT Curtis Abbott, whom Carnahan says was a “massive help to get the finished look in key frames.”
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The Black List: Access Denied
his was the second pilot with Yasu, and we approached the workflow in a similar fashion as the first one. Abbott recalls. â€œUsing the F55 currently and shooting S-Log2, you can only monitor in S-Log2. This would mean that everyone on set would have to see a flat image. To counter that, we decided to do live color correction with Pomforts Live Grade. I took the signal from all cameras to my cart, and applied the color correction we discussed using a Sony BVM-F250 reference monitor. I would make any tweaks necessary from scene to scene and send a color-corrected signal to our video assist so that everyone could see the look we were going for. Once we completed a scene, I would save that look as a CDL file that I sent to post to be applied to the dailies.
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“The F55 with the R5 recorder allows you to shoot a compressed 1080 file internally and Raw 4K simultaneously,” Abbott adds. “This meant we could store all the compressed footage from the show on my Raid. Using Scratch Lab, I was able to apply the CDLs we created with Live Grade, which allowed us to recall any footage at any time for matching purposes or to make further adjustments to the image.” Abbott says that “early firmware” on the F55 didn’t allow for over- or under cranking — only 24 fps. “But Joe really wanted a few shots in slow-mo,” the DIT states. “During some testing on set, I discovered that you could set the camera to 59.98i, and it would record interlaced internally, which would be unusable. But the R5 recorder would still record Progressive. So, we were able to acquire 60 frames per second and just convert it afterward to 24 for playback in slow motion.”
Tanida, who says he tends to “light very aggressively, with a lot of contrast,” emphasizes the importance of having a DIT as attentive to a DP’s needs as Abbott. “More than a few times he’d check to make sure I was okay with the amount of flares or over-exposure in a given frame,” he remembers. The Blacklist tested higher than any other NBC pilot in more than a decade, earning the coveted Monday 10:00 p.m. slot starting September 23, which Tanida says is a testament to all of the hard work the crew put into the project. “Joe’s ability to push the limits and make his own rules made this a special project,” Tanida concludes. “We crossed the 180-degree rule so many times, it may well continue as a motif throughout the season. What you see on screen is pure adrenaline and energy, a visual style that makes for a very unique kind of show.”
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By Andres Faucher
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Launched in October 2012 and based in Los Angeles, MyTeeVee is a free collaborative network for entertainment professionals and aspiring professionals. Members create their own channels/profiles to promote themselves and their work, utilize the network to connect with others and form collaborations to create original content â€” both on the network and off.
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MyTeeVee is about creating opportunity for anyone interested in filmmaking or media production in general, it’s the showroom and playground of the multi-hyphenate.
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Andres Faucher, MyTeeVee’s Co-Founder and CEO
More than another networking platform for filmmakers or another channel through which to get one’s work seen, MyTeeVee gives filmmakers actual opportunities to participate in the creation of professionally produced content — content that the members of the network themselves help contribute and choose.
What makes MyTeeVee.tv “unique is how it expands on the culture of DIY video-uploads pioneered by actors such as Will Ferrell (Funny or Die) and Joseph Gordon-Levitt (hitRECord),” adds Nisha Gopalan, who recently interviewed Faucher for The Aesthete. “With it, Faucher and [Co-Founder and President] Kevin Allen Jackson have actually manifested a creative ecosystem.
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MyTeeVee strives to bring together and encourage collaboration between anyone interested in the creation of entertainment media, regardless of geographic, economic, or social barriers. “You have to make it happen for yourself doesn’t mean you should have to do it by yourself, “ says Jackson. “MyTeeVee gives filmmakers both legitimate creative opportunities and a support network to help them navigate and endure a difficult business.” MyTeeVee has an extended network of millions of fans, followers, viewers and members in over 120 countries. Anyone can join MyTeeVee for free at www.myteevee.tv.
About MyTeeVee’s creators Graduates of the Actors Studio Drama School, Andres Faucher and Kevin Allen Jackson are the creative team behind The Legacy and El Pasajero, which collectively have won awards at festivals around world, including the Palm Beach International Film Festival, The Mexico International Film Festival, the Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival, the Academy Awards qualifying Athens International Film and Video Festival, and Rutger Hauer’s Milan-based I’ve Seen Films International Film Festival, among many others.
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MATCH the web series MyTeeVee’s anthology web series MATCH sources the network’s talent for its producers, directors, writers, actors and crew. Individual episodes of MATCH are tied together by a common theme: there is a fire that burns deep within each of us, that motivates us into action — for good or for evil — and that intertwines us with others. It is this fire that draws us to other people and them to us. And once it does, how do others affect us and whatever drives us on the deepest levels? MATCH evolved out of the search for a series that would embody MyTeeVee’s goals of attracting passionate filmmakers while extending that opportunity to as many people as possible. Since each episode of MATCH is its own story with its own creative requirements and its own creative team, episodes can be shot anywhere and include a far greater number of people in the process than a traditional series could.
Furthermore, each episode of this innovative series is both part of the larger series and a pilot for its own episodic series. Which pilots get turned into full series? That completetly depends on viewership. Each episode’s creative team is incentivized to help spread the word about its episode because the more views an episode receives, the more likely it will be developed into a series. In its first season, episodes were shot in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Austin, Texas. In future seasons, MyTeeVee hopes to shoot episodes in a whole new set of cities and even other countries. MyTeeVee received submissions from over 300 writers, 800 directors, 2000 crew members and 25,000 actors. From those submissions, the scripts, cast, crew and directors of its first season were selected.
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A 30-something still trying to find his path in life discovers he possesses a special giftâ€Ś but is it his alone or is someone or something manipulating him? Written by Jake Eberle, Directed by Traci Hays
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A teenage girl forced into therapy she doesnâ€™t need by her overbearing mother tempts her lonely therapist until he violates everything he believesâ€Ś with bizarre consequences neither of them could have imagined. Written by Charlie Aaron, Directed by Andrea Ashton
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A precocious 12-year old girl already in high school forms an unlikely alliance with the school heartthrob when they discover they share a dark secret. Written by Elaina Perpelitt, Directed by Matthew Kaundar
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An enigmatic stranger checks into a Washington hotel and soon finds himself having to turn the tables on an armed assailant. Is it a case of mistaken identity or does this man truly have something to hide? Written by Shane Perez, Directed by Tara Alexis
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A teenage girl lives out a fantasy she wasn’t ready for — then lets the world know about the nightmare she helped create. Written by Elaina Perpelitt, Directed by Elspeth Brown
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With Every Death
A young girl from a blue-collar traditional ItalianAmerican family prepares to leave for college against the objections of her father, while the entire family struggles to cope with the death of the family patriarch. Written by Kevin Allen Jackson, Directed by Christopher Stanley
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A young man dies an untimely death and finds himself in a dangerous netherworld between heaven and hell where souls struggle to find salvation. Written by P.J. Marino, Directed by Ian Spohr
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After finishing post-production and premiering the first season of MATCH, MyTeeVee will immediately turn to its members, fans and viewers to determine which of the Season 1 episodes will be turned into their own series and launch its search for the scripts that will comprise Season 2 of MATCH.
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Matched up — MyTeeVee and the Sony F65 Wes Chappell
(Co-Producer/Editor/ Swing DIT)
I got a crash course on the F65 being that I was on all 7 sets and saw 7 different directors and DPs with 6 different crews, each of which, with varying knowledge in using the F65, interact with the camera. Some AC’s came in knowing nothing about the F65, some who had only shot with DSLR’s and prosumer cameras. Then we had career veterans that knew the camera in and out and ran it as if they had been working with it for the past 20 years. I did notice one change from the beginning of each shoot to the end. People were surprised. Whatever their preconceived notions towards this camera, and preference for one camera over another, by the end of each shoot, most DP’s and AC’s were 27
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singing its praises particularly in low light settings. Coupling the F65 with the primo lenses provided by Panavision, gave us an extraordinary image quality that was palpable from the reactions in all departments. It’s not everyday that a web series is able to use such a high end camera, but I think the days of web being a place where quality doesn’t matter are coming to a close. Now that Sony is helping filmmakers of every degree create content, we’re going to start seeing much higher production value and better image quality flood the pages of the internet. I came into this production thinking that the F65 was going to be technically unwieldy and have come out embracing the camera and especially the technology — I cannot wait to get into the conform and color temp where I will finally be able to see the whole 4K picture.
On set the transfer was slow, often making me the last person to go home, but transfer speeds significantly improved when using Maxx Digital drives with USB3 interfaces. The Sony F65 software was intuitive and very easy to install and use however it has limited export format options which don’t allow for anything besides DPX, OpenEXR and F65 RAW — It would be great to have the option to export H264 or Quicktime ProRes as well.
Editors Note: RAW Viewer v2.1.1 has added support for ProRes, and XAVC among other new features. For download and further details click here.
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Ian Spohr (Director)
knew from the get go there was a couple key challenges in getting the look I wanted for The Society. First, I like to work fast. I like minimal crews, as much practical light as possible and I like to run and gun. Marc (Marc Ritzema, Director of Photography) and I both agreed that the best visual way to tell this story was longer takes with bursts of fast cutting to capture the interjection of the this characters psychology into his physical world. Basically we wanted a camera that could do it all. I wanted true black, filmic high-lights, enough resolution for the fx work and a camera that was maneuverable enough to chase our actors at full speed. I remember Marc looking at me like “yeah, I want a
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magical unicorn to ride around on, but it’s not going to happen.” We started talking about camera options. Both Marc and Roham (Roham Rahmanian, 2nd Unit DP) predominantly operate themselves, and I like to grab a camera from time to time so we all had a real concern of what the camera “feels” like when we operate. To be honest, we all thought of the F65 as a big power hungry, tethered studio mode style camera, so it seemed an illogical choice for the project. Basically we wanted an Alexa image in a RED Epic body. However, when we started testing we actually found that ergonomics of the camera were great for handheld. By the end of the shoot the operators had shed most of the support gear and we were happiest with a back to basics handheld approach. We did some test
grades with DIT Arthur To, who was instrumental in giving Marc and myself the confidence that the F65 exposure index and color gamut could give us the elusive combination of inky blacks and soft, blown out highlights that we wanted. Over all, I’d say happily surprised would encapsulate our experience.
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Marc Ritzema (Director of Photography/Camera Op)
I was most impressed by the F65’s “filmic” look and high light sensitivity. Skin tones come off very natural and the highlights have a wonderful roll curve to them avoiding the hard HD clipping. The F65 is so light sensitive at times my light meter read an F .7 and there was still detail in the shadows and mid tones. Unlike most underexposed images, the F65 maintains inky blacks with little digital noise. The rotary shutter really helped reduce any rolling shutter allowing me to feel comfortable with whip pans and shaky handheld without any strobing or “jello shutter.” Overall I think the F65 produces a stunning 4k picture that’s above all others.
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(2nd Unit DP/Camera Op)
The challenge for 2nd Unit was how to move the camera at highspeed, with a controlled handheld aesthetic in incredibly tight environments. We experimented with different types of walk-off rigs, rickshaws, easy-rigs and the like with the mindset that the F65 was just too big to throw on your shoulder and shoot run and gun all day. By the second day I found the ergonomics for the camera were great for just back to basics hand-held. Heavy enough to get the resistance for smooth movement and light enough to keep up with the action. While all those tools played a part, after looking at
the dailies, we found the stuff we liked best were the more organic shots. Just the operator and the talent in an orchestrated dance. One of the most difficult sequences in the film is the opening when we’re introduced to the main character Alex (Kevin Oestenstad) as he’s running flat out through the hallways of a rundown building. Ian was determined to do this scene in long fluid takes as Alex scavenges for materials. The tight spaces of the location, and 360 shooting environment made lighting from the interior almost impossible. We wanted Alex to be going in and out of the light but we wanted true blacks not digital noise. We had resigned ourselves that in that environment we were
going to have to sacrifice a lot of highlight control. I was impressed when we went back to the raw files, that the F65’s latitude in combination with the vintage Panavision lenses, had both inky blacks and soft blooming highlights.
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MyTeeVee MATCH Season 1
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Post Production Case Study Local Hero, a workflow design and DI facility in Santa Monica, CA, served as post production partner on Season 1 of MATCH for MyTeeVee. The Sony F65 and an all-4K workflow was chosen for MATCH’s inaugural season. Local Hero employed an end-to-end approach using ASSIMILATE’s SCRATCH dailies and DI platform exclusively on the show. Sony RAW files were sound-synced, one-light graded and transcoded both onset and at the Local digital lab after each day of production, in SCRATCH and prepped for editorial and web review.
Local Hero Onset Scratch dailies system onset Season 1 of MATCH
Once through editorial, MATCH was finished entirely in theatrical 4K, as well as various home video and web versions. As with dailies, the DI was handled entirely in SCRATCH, in Local Hero’s 4K DI theatre. Although MATCH will primarily play online, the temptation to future proof the series by mastering in 4K won out, especially once the team saw the quality of the F65 4K image.
Local Hero 4K Scratch DI Theatre back to TOC
encouraged MyTeeVee to explore the Sony F65 as a one-size fits “allIsolution for every episode of Season 1 of Match. The images we ended up with surprised even me. As a feature film DI colorist, I’ve graded every kind of 2K and 4K RAW image in my grading bay and theatre. The image from the Sony F65 is by far the best I’ve ever seen. I feel that it has the best of many worlds; it has the clarity and pure resolution of a true 4K imager, but somehow also combines in a great dynamic range, soft skin-tones and natural looking color in general. Also, the 4K RAW formats that Sony has implemented are straight forward and practical. We shot a mix of RAW and RAW-LITE and found no issues or bottlenecks in the post process. SCRATCH read the raw files easily and the 4K DI flowed smoothly. This really is my dream digital cinema camera and I’m going to be recommending it to my feature clients.
Founder/Supervising Colorist of Local Hero
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Camera RAW from MATCH Season 1 (Not representative of actual frame)
MATCH Season 1 F65 Footage in LOCAL HERO grading bay back to TOC
“The Big Bang Theory” and “Mom” DP Steven Silver switches to “Panavised” Sony F55 Written By David Heuring Reprinted with permission from hdvideopro.com
Cinematographer Steven Silver, ASC and crew on the set of The Big Bang Theory. (Photo: Michael Yarish/Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.)
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the Warner Bros. backlot in Burbank, surrounded by cinema history, Steven Silver, ASC is the benevolent ruler over a small kingdom of comedic television image-making. On adjacent stages along an alley dubbed “Lorre Lane,” episodes of Mom, The Big Bang Theory and Two and a Half Men are produced. Silver serves as director of photography on the first two, and consults on the third, for which he shot almost 200 episodes and his former operator Mark Davidson is now handling cinematography. Like Two and a Half Men, Mom and The Big Bang Theory were created by Chuck Lorre. The Big Bang Theory is now in its seventh season, and in 2013 the show took home three Emmy® Awards. Mom premiered in September 2013. Each show’s story and character traits require a carefully tailored visual style, and a workflow designed for maximum efficiency in creating that style.
Both multicamera shows are currently shot on “Panavised” Sony F55 cameras, putting them among the first sitcoms to make the switch to 35mm sensors.
Mom stars Anna Faris as a newly sober, single mom trying to pull her life together. Allison Janney plays her raunchy mother, and Sadie Calvano portrays her wayward teenage daughter. The half-hour show is a comedy, but the humor comes blended with drama and borrows the occasional edgy issues from real life — such as addiction, mental illness and teen pregnancy. The show is set in California’s Napa Valley, and Faris’ character works at a very fancy restaurant, and lives modestly at home. Silver’s images punctuate the contrast. The Big Bang Theory follows a woman who lives across the hall from two brilliant but extremely geeky physicists. Her common sense contrasts with the awkwardness of her friends, with comic results. Silver’s goal was to bring the warmth and feel of a science department at a prestigious university to the main set, their apartment. Both multi-camera shows are currently shot on “Panavised” Sony F55 cameras, putting them among the first sitcoms to make the switch to 35mm sensors. But the similarities pretty much end there. “The Big Bang Theory and Mom could not be more different in subject matter and tone,” says Silver. “I was looking for a little more filmic look for Mom. The pilot was shot on film and the producers and studio were happy with the look, but wanted to continue on digital.”
For Mom, the desire for a filmic look was one reason for choosing the F55 and its larger, 35mm sensor. The F55’s other attributes include a native ISO of 1250, which can result in less image noise with similar lighting scenarios. The S-Log2 format is also a key component, recording a richer image with higher dynamic range and greater latitude. The workflow was tailored with expertise and assistance from Panavision. “Since the show is a traditional sitcom where the director, producers, and live audience see the output of the camera in real time, it was necessary to be able provide a reasonable approximation of the final color corrected product to the floor and audience monitors,” says Silver. “A system of GDP (Genesis Display Processor) boxes was incorporated into the signal path for on-set and audience monitor feeds. A single LUT was created by my video controller, my colorist, and me on stage. We took the GDP box to Technicolor and with help from Panavision further dialed in the look of the LUT, which enabled us to reasonably simulate the end product on the stage monitors. The images also go through a final color pass where the compressed, low contrast of S-Log2 is transformed.
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“Panavised” Sony F55
GDP allows the LUTs to be put in line from the live image, without creating any additional delay on set. Meanwhile, the cameras are still recording in S-Log2. Some scenes are pre-recorded and cut in to the live camera output for the benefit of the in-studio audience. Panavision worked with the editorial department to ensure that the on-set LUT was being applied to the pre-recorded material as well to help deliver a seamless viewing experience. With four cameras running, RAW files were prohibitive in terms of data wrangling and archiving, not to mention the quick turnaround. “When I’m working on Mom, just like shooting on film, we’re basically creating a negative that the look will later be applied to,” says Silver. “Luckily for us, Panavision helped simulate the look on stage and make the producers feel comfortable. But really, the entire look is dialed in after the fact. Because we start by recording more picture information, there’s more to work with in post.”
For The Big Bang Theory, Silver’s goal was to bring the warmth and feel of a science department at a prestigious university to the main set, their apartment. (Photo: Michael Yarish/Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.)
On The Big Bang Theory, Silver set a look on the pilot that he has followed for seven seasons. It has more saturated colors compared to Mom, which Sliver describes as having a more “fun” color palette. Throughout the show’s history, Silver has incorporated new technology as it comes on the market. Here again, creating a balance of ISO and lens aperture helps maintain the original depth of field from previous seasons. The low noise floor of the F55 means that there is no noticeable noise introduced. In the show’s current setup, F55 cameras are set to REC-709 mode, giving video controller John O’Brien the ability to paint the 39
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image live to the record media, maintaining a color palette designed by Silver. “John carefully balances color temperature and contrasts the cameras individually when we are shooting,” says Silver. “We see our image results WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) on our OLED monitors. Consistency from camera to camera and show to show is what I strive for during this process. Later in final color, I manipulate these images further using windows and effects in order to direct the viewer and enhance the moment.”
Essentially, The Big Bang Theory can be almost completely colored on stage and finetuned in post. According to Panavision’s David Dodson, “Anytime you’re going to take a successful show and change things, it’s a bit nerve wracking. We tried to make the easiest transition possible, while getting Steve the look and workflow he needed. This was our first multicamera show transitioning to F55 from a 2/3" format camera.” Silver says that shooting multiple shows is never a problem. “Going from show to show, you’re always putting on a different hat,” he notes. “You light in completely different ways. I really believe each show has a unique look that suits the material. That’s probably the number one thing that keeps me motivated: trying to keep the visuals unique and interesting while servicing the material. I’m proud of all three of the shows.”
Going from show to show, you’re always putting on a different hat,” he notes. “You light in completely different ways. I really believe each show has a unique look that suits the material.
For Mom, the desire for a filmic look was one reason for choosing the F55 and its larger, 35mm sensor.
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TECHNOLOGY HIGHLIGHTS P“Panavised” Sony F55 “Panavised” Sony F55 Here are Panavision’s Sony F55 modifications: customized viewfinder with heater, leveling rod, finder arm, handles, cage around mount, PV mount, mattebox, and more.
7" DVF-L700 Full HD LCD monitor/viewfinder. Same cable powers the monitor and feeds HD signal. Superb resolution, image clarity. Exposure tools, 3G-SDI input plus 4-pin DC input for use as monitor. LCD screen offers 1000:1 contrast ratio.
Configurable carrying handle with lots of mounting threads and Hollywood Handle
OLED VF with improved diopter, eyecup, and eyepiece heater
Panavision Mattebox with Side Rod System
Steadicam Dovetail with patent-pending Quick-Release System and Panavision or ARRI or handheld Base Plate System
Focus Tape Hook PV or PL Lens Mounts and improved Lens Lock
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Quick Release Cheese Plate for Studio or Steadicam Modes
Panavision Side Iris Rod System
Configurable Hollywood Handle
3x 12v and 3x 24v Accessory Connectors
Steadicam Dovetail with patentpending QuickRelease System
OLED VF with improved diopter, eyecup, and eyepiece heater
Panavision or Arri or handheld Base Plate System
Configurable carrying handle with lots of mounting threads
Focus Tape Hook
PV or PL Lens Mounts
Improved Lens Lock
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By Doug Anderson
’ve used Sony cameras through most of my professional life as an underwater cameraman. From Digital Betacam’s DVW — 700WSP on BBC/Discovery productions The Blue Planet to HDCAM’s HDW — 790’s and 900R’s on Planet Earth, Life and Frozen Planet. 15 years of 3CCD 2/3" camcorders makes one rather set in one’s ways. I imagined pottering on with them, or at least a new variation of them, and a nice ENG lens for the rest of my working life. Comfortable and reliable they were the cornerstone of what I did — I was happy but from a technology perspective found myself taking the technology rather for granted job to job. And then, with all the tact of being disturbed from a sleep by a taser, Sony releases the PMW-F55. OK….I’m awake now. The PMW-F55 is an impressive little package. With the R5 recorder it boasts super 35mm 4K RAW files up to 60 fps then 2K RAW up to 240 fps. A global shutter keeps things so much cleaner that the old rollers and the color palette is excellent. Equally impressive is the speed with which Gates Underwater products came up with another beautifully machined housing. The Cameras arrived to our offices in February from Japan and the underwater housing followed in May from San Diego. We received the first one off the milling machine. I think the chaps at Gates burned a little of the proverbial midnight oil to get it out but it arrived in good time. We looked at it, threw it on the plane to the Red Sea and did 100 faultless hours in the water with it in 3 weeks in June. Underwater technology, it is important for those who do not know, rarely works so well out the box.
For information on Silverback Films current productions click here
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The Sony PMW–F55 Camera
ut of the box the Sony F55 looks nothing like any other broadcast quality camera Sony has ever made. More Arri Alexia than RED Epic it screams “I’m new and 4K!” It also looks like Sony asked a lot of people what they wanted and actually listened to what they said. Firstly, and fundamentally, it has a Super 35mm size sensor. This is crucial. The pleasing look of the format married to the very high level of performance in a relatively small and affordable package is the bridge between the 4K 35mm canvas — usually the domain of feature films and commercials — and markets that would not have typically used this format — namely documentaries, sports, arts and of course blue chip wildlife. The change from 2/3" to Super 35mm is not without its problems, the long lens boys will struggle with an even narrower depth of field, and underwater there is much more emphasis on lens change decisions, but from a purely photographic perspective the new grammar of the image is a welcome thing. The pictures are more “cinematic.” Culturally we associate the look of Super 35mm with quality on the big screen and this for sure helps; but for underwater it offers more important, and basic photographic options. Simply the reduced depth of field gives us the chance to make decisions about what, in frame, is important for the viewer to look at. Underwater scenes tend to be busy and often difficult to interpret. The language of the 35mm frame allows us to simplify the imagery and that makes the message easier to carry in the individual clips and then on into the whole sequence. Simple but true.
I was happy but from a technology perspective found myself taking the technology rather for granted job to job. And then, with all the tact of being disturbed from a sleep by a taser, Sony releases the PMW-F55. OK….I’m awake now. 45
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John Chambers (AC, left), Doug Anderson (middle), Hugh Pearson (producer, right)
comes with a FZ mount and will pretty much take any lens out there. We’ve gone for Nikon stills glass on ours. PL Cini lenses are, generally, beautiful and of course expensive, but tend to have quite long minimum object distances (MOD) and pretty flat focus which don’t necessarily translate to easy use underwater behind mostly dome ports. Specifically we travel with the Tokina 10-17mm f4 (fisheye with very short MOD — not used often but nice to have), the Tokina 11-16mm f2.8 (aspheric, beautiful and great behind the Gates 8" Glass dome), the Nikon 17-55mm f2.8 (the work horse with pretty short MOD — will work zoom through without a dioptre behind the Gates 8" glass dome) and the Nikon 70-180mm f4.5 macro zoom (one of the sharpest macro lenses we have ever seen and so useful to have the zoom for finding and then getting in for the close up). They are all mounted using the excellent MTF mount. This quiver gives us what we need from super wide in fisheye and aspheric to pretty far down the macro scale.
There are other articles, written by those far cleverer than I, that cover the technical aspects of the F55 performance so here I’ll keep it relatively brief. The headline grabbing features are Super 35mm 4,096 x 2,160 single CMOS sensor (11.6M total photosites). At “The Hunt” the Technical support team tested the F55 exhaustively. They found it to have an excellent color palette, with extremely low noise in the blacks — I remember one test shot with a girl illuminated by just candlelight, which was just stunning. Sony advertises a default 1250 ASA baseline but, admittedly shooting RAW with the R5 RAW Recorder, we found we could underexpose by three stops with no discernible noise on regrade. That is 5000 ASA! I’m not saying we rate this camera at 5000 ASA — actually we tend to try and over expose slightly in RAW for the richest colors — but having a virtually noise free option
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at 5000 ASA is a real asset for wildlife photography. There are 3 behind-the-lens optical filters: clear, ND 0.9 (3 stops) and 1.8 (6 stops) — I can’t tell you how useful this is for underwater. Changing lenses is enough to think about. Trying to decide when and where to drop a ND is extremely restricting.
balancing. I tend to leave it on 5500K for viewing. Not white balancing underwater is one of the great pleasures of my job these days. In fact any destructive decision in video has historically been fraught with anxiety. RAW is like film. You get is exposed roughly right and in focus and the magic happens later.
Electronic shutter angle is variable from 4.2 – 360 . Underwater we shoot RAW, so actually none of this applies to us, but in “Video” mode the White balance choices are 3200, 4300, 5500K, Memorized, and ATW (Auto) and there are 6 standard Gamma Curves, and 6 HyperGamma Curves. RAW is hard to look at on a small LCD — it’s flat, washed out and hard to focus — so we put a Hypergamma curve on the viewfinder image. It’s non destructive of course and just means we get a slightly more viewable image for focus and composition decisions. Since we were shooting RAW there was no point in white
The F55 will shoot high speed up to 240 fps in 2K RAW with the optional AXS-R5 outboard recorder and 60 fps at 4K RAW. It retains 16-bit image quality — no matter the frame rate and has no crop factor — no change in angle of view. Yes, no change in angle of view! Sony apparently did ask what annoyed us all and did listen. And I mean 240 fps — in a basic shooting package! It seems like less than 12 months ago we would be reaching for a hundred thousand dollar Phantom to get that far off speed and now it’s there at the flick of a switch!
Culturally we associate the look of Super 35mm with quality on the big “screen and this for sure helps but underwater it offers more important, and basic, photographic options. ” 47
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The F55 records internal — there are a couple
of slots on the camera head — 4K (not RAW) to SxS cards, along with varieties of HD and 2K. The onboard AXS-R5 records onto AXSM memory cards at various data rates (depending mostly on frame rate). They are a monster 512 Gig but there is a warning! Even these behemoths of the card world will only last about half an hour at 60 fps in 4K RAW. If you want 4K RAW you better bring some storage! We download to mirrored drives in the field. We tend to view straight off the camera onto the Sony 17" OLED monitor for a technical review before download. After download we play RAW files off the drives using the Sony “RAW Viewer” software on the Macbook Pro’s — the picture is never as good as it was off the camera but it’s quite viewable and will play of the laptop without juddering at 1K rez. Back in Bristol at the office the Digital Imaging Technicians (DIT) put the rushes through the Yo Yotta system to create an edit proxy (HD 115). They are editing in HD on AVID media composer version 7 (which has all the F55 support). The Yo Yotta system is also the archiver. They archive using a LTO 5/6 system — LTO is a tape archive system that is generally regarded as more stable than hard drives. Neatly everything is backed up through the Yo Yotta system and there’s a direct link between our archive and edit proxies. At the end of the edit the Edit Decision List (EDL) for the final cut goes back into the Yo Yotta system and it then manages the high res pull from the archive. Once that is finished the original files (RAW and 4K video) go onto the Baselight for the final grade. The Yo Yotta system, at the center of what they do in DIT, is a super bit of work, and a real credit to all that put it together at Yo Yotta. The Sony F55 is the type of camera the industry wanted. Sony asked and then listened to what people said. In every generation Sony has come up with a camera that has become a cultural icon. In the 90’s it was Digital Betacam’s DVW-700. In the 00’s it was HDCAM’s HDW-900R. Now, admittedly after several years in the dark, we have a very likely candidate in the PMW-F55. Time will tell but it is looking pretty good.
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The Gates F55 Housing I have only used Gates housings at work now for over 2 years. Either the excellent Gates Deep Epic housing or, and there is no other way to describe it really, the feet of engineering that is the Deep Atom 3D beam splitter housing. I am a fan of Gates of that I will make no secret. I’m too old to fight broken video housings into the night on shoots. I like to work all day, wash the kit, start the download, have dinner and perhaps a glass of claret and fall asleep ready for the next day. Simply the Gates gear suits that life. It just works and keeps on working…. for ages. Though a little strange to put into a review of the Sony F55, the game changer for me, the housing from Gates that really made me sit up and notice, was the Gates Deep RED. Gates collaborated with underwater legend Howard Hall on this housing and it made a difference. Lots of the good things about that collaboration (as well as a few more new ideas) have been poured into the design of the Gates F55 housing. The primary controls — Zoom, focus, Iris and run on/off — are all well positioned at the fingertips. The Gates Gear system allows a huge gamut of lenses to be used with off the shelf port extenders. Lens changes are relatively quick and painless (particularly if you have an assistant to do it and can use the time to have a quick cup of tea).
Fundamentally it is the feeling of quality that defines the Gates brand. The kit is carved out of solid lumps of Aluminum. The swarf pile at Gates must be 30 feet high! You can’t fake that quality in a product.
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The Gates glass 8" port is a beautiful thing with one of the finest multi-coats I have ever used under water. Internal reflections and unwanted flare are the bane of any underwater videographer. Little flares are insidious and can be tricky to spot — especially when there is behavior happening — and can ruin a day when they crop up in the rushes in the evening viewing. It is a comfort to know in the water we have a dome coating that is going to handle mostly everything that is thrown at it. We also carry a spare Perspex Dome and a Flat. Otherwise the camera controls are very intuitive — in many ways the Gates trademark. Actually, when I first get a video camera housing in my hands, I like to throw the manual to one side and see how long it takes for me to work out what every thing does. I guess it’s a kind of intuitive design test. With the Gates F55 housing — it’s about 3 minutes.
The Gates Seal Check has been improved and is now built into its own bespoke Peli case. I would not use a camera housing without a seal check and we rely heavily on it in the field for peace of mind. It is actually only for peace of mind. I have probably spent over a thousand hours in the water with various Gates housings over the past two years and I am yet to get a drop of water in any of them. Again it is an age thing — I am also too old to deal with leaky housings as well as broken housings.
exhaustive team meetings about the reliability of the cameras, the stability of the media, the problems of Super 35mm underwater. I was at a team meeting last month and I don’t think we talked about the cameras once. We talked about photography, imagery, story and crewing and all the things that come together to make a good wildlife blue chip sequence. The camera systems, it seems, can take care of themselves.
Fundamentally it is the feeling of quality that defines the Gates brand. The kit is carved out of solid lumps of Aluminum. The swarf pile at Gates must be 30 feet high! You can’t fake that quality in a product. And the pictures underwater? Well so far they look good. In the last 6 months the team has had the systems filming 100 Blue whales in California to 1" Sargasso frogfish in Bermuda and quite a few places in between. The kit has performed flawlessly and the pre-grade pictures are looking nice. It’s a kit that does what it says on the tin. I remember this time last year wondering about whether it would deliver — whether to believe the hype. We had
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by Philip Keoghan with contributions from Scott Shelley and Doug Jensen Story produced by Mike DesRoches
Second camera operator Uri Sharon 51
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Phil Keoghan, host of ‘The Amazing Race,’ leverages cutting edge technology to tell the story of a 1928 cyclist’s achievement in the Tour de France. The Tour de France in 1928 was twice as long as it is today, the bikes were twice as heavy, and they had no gears. Harry Watson was not only the first New Zealander to ride in the Tour de France in 1928 but he was also part of the first English speaking team. Watson teamed up with three Aussies to form an Australian team and ride in what is considered the toughest sporting event on earth. The four man squad were planning on teaming up with 6 French riders to make a team of 10, like the other competing teams, but when they arrived in France the sponsor said they couldn’t pay for more riders. Racing as a team of 4 was considered a joke and “nothing short of murder”… “like 4 guys going against 10 in a tug of war competition” Harry and his mates would have to race alone 150 miles a day for 22 days.168 riders started the more than 3,500 mile race that year, only 41 finished! Miraculously three of those riders were from the Australian team who won the heart of the French public. Surprisingly this remarkable story has never been told… until NOW.
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Retracing the Tour de France 1928 A fter the success of The Ride, my bike ride across America, I decided to put my old team together and retrace the 1928 Tour de France.
The challenge would be to ride the same roads, stick to the same schedule and ride an 85 year old single speed bike like they did in 1928. Le Ride was an extremely challenging adventure, shot as a true verite documentary. We were a very lean crew with our DP (Scott Shelley) covering the action with an F55 while perched on the back of a motorcycle for 26 days and traveling over 3,000 miles. The shooting days were brutal, at one point we shot continuously for 23 hours through Pyreneess mountains traveling over 200 miles and climbing more than 20,000 feet. We shot in all kinds of weather and in every conceivable lighting condition, day and night. The action was constant and free flowing, nothing was staged for the camera. We endeavored to never impede the riderâ€™s progress for any reason.
To get all of this accomplished, the technical crew consisted of only three people, two camera operators and a media manager/editor. The entire entourage including riders was only 10 people. Logistically, we were moving an average of 150 miles per day and stayed in more than 20 hotels. While verite filmmaking has been always relegated to 16mm and 2/3" cameras, the F55 is a proper cinema camera that makes hand held Super 35mm documentary cinematography a practical reality. For our master shots we used the light weight F55 with the Angenieux Optimo 16-42 lens, a simple clip on lens hood and filter holder. We made use of a shoulder mount and handgrips but had no follow focus, or matt box. Our primary focus was on simplicity and balance keep everything as light as possible. We mounted two wireless receivers, and improvised a camera mic mount. A choice had to be made here as we were limited to 2 inputs, and re-patching was occasionally necessary to cover the action.
THE TEAM Philip Keoghan
Phil Keoghan has been telling stories in front of a television camera for 25 years. He has worked in over 100 countries as an actor, author, speaker, television host (The Amazing Race), producer, director and cameraman on thousands of program episodes. His work has earned him numerous awards including 9 prime-time Emmy Awards.
Louise Keoghan has worked as a television producer and writer for over 25 years. She has created, developed and produced numerous highly rated, award winning prime time television series. Louise produced The Ride, which sold out in theaters across the US.
Jess Bushyhead is the editor of the The Ride (part 1). For more than 30 years, Jess has worked around the world as an editor, colorist, writer and producer for all the major networks as well more than a dozen cable channels. His work has earned him 4 Emmy Awards.
Scott Shelley has worked as a cinematographer and producer for television, After the success The Ride, my bike ride films across documentary andofindependent feature I decided to put my together in America, more than 60 countries. He old hasteam received and retrace the 1928 Tour de France. a number of Emmy nominations and won a prime time Emmy for Outstanding Nonfiction The challenge would be to ride the same roads, Cinematography in 2006.
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The cameras and the overall workflow exceeded our expectations in every way. In addition to the two F55s we supplemented our footage with Sony Action Cams as well as the FS700. Being able to capture full 1080p images in slow motion has given us some breathtaking footage for our documentary.
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We were a very lean crew with our DP (Scott Shelley) covering the action with an F55 while perched on the back of a motorcycle for 26 days and traveling over 3,000 miles.
An F800 might seem the obvious camera choice with four audio inputs and an ENG lens that offers 15-20x zoom ratios rather than the 3x of a cinema lens. What we hoped to gain with the F55, was the versatility of the 4K S-Log recording, with its enormous latitude and the incredible sensitivity of the large single imager. Verite film making precludes setting up a china silk and bounce card just because the sun is blazing, and riding through a village at 2 AM in the rain the only available light comes from street lamps and the occasional passing truck. The F55 exceeded expectations in all of these conditions. 55
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In the bright light you can see deep into the shadows and still have detail in the clouds and in night shots you can see the clean noiseless black silhouette of the Alps revealed by the last bit of skylight. All this capacity is useless unless you can control it which was made possible because of the OLED viewfinder. Keeping focus with a Super 35mm lens and fast moving action was a big concern. Having a super accurate viewing system was essential. The OLED image was sharp and bright with reliable coloration. That, combined with the ability to configure the peaking and having a
well placed, dedicated focus assist button made it possible to keep a sharp focus and proper exposure in a constantly changing environment. Our only addition was a larger eyecup. Our two biggest concerns about the durability of the F55 was the obvious vulnerability of the viewfinder cable connector to impact damage and the open vents on top of the camera body exposed to rain and dust. We had to take extra precautions to address these concerns. Another function we hope can be addressed is the difficulty of getting at the white balance memory. Though not an issue in S-Log, for any project shot
in the other gamma settings one would expect to have a discrete control for capturing a custom white balance. Overall our feedback is extremely positive. The cameras and the overall workflow exceeded our expectations in every way. In addition to the two F55s we supplemented our footage with Sony Action Cams as well as the FS700. Being able to capture full 1080p images in slow motion has given us some breathtaking footage for our documentary.
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his was no ordinary production. We were shooting 4K video with a pair of relatively unproven Super 35mm cameras and cinema-style lenses in a run & gun documentary production that would typically be better suited for 2/3" shoulder-mount ENG cameras, such as the PDW-F800. In addition, we were recording onboard the cameras with a new 10-bit XAVC video codec that nobody on the crew had used before. And to make things even more complicated, not only did we want to capture the highest quality 4K images that could be used for editing of the final film months later — but we also had to be able to edit a daily 5-7 minute highlights video and upload it to CBS every day.
Everyone on the crew wore many hats covering all aspects of production to get the job done under extremely challenging conditions. The principal assignment for our media manager/editor (Doug Jensen) was to ingest and safely backup all of the 4K footage from both of our F55 cameras at the end of each day, then edit a 5-7 minute highlights video of the day’s ride and upload it to CBS. We called these short videos “blogs,” but ultimately they were far more elaborate. We all put a lot of effort into these videos and they turned out more like feature stories. As a PMW-F55 owner Doug was able to help us to create a “look” for the cameras and determine the best menu settings prior to leaving for France. After conducting some shooting and workflow tests, it was determined that we would program the cameras to record S-Log2 gamma and S-Gamut color — plus a few other paint menu modifications to fine-tune the look and camera performance. After finally deciding on all the menu settings we were able to email the file settings to the cameramen so they could load them into our cameras before France. This pre-planning worked perfectly and the result was that the cameras were ready to roll the minute we arrived in Paris — essential since we only had about 4 hours for prep before shooting began. A unique feature of the F55 is that the camera is capable of recording two separate video files simultaneously on a single SxS memory card. That allowed us to record both a high-quality 4K XAVC file that could be set aside for use later during online editing — and a more manageable broadcast-quality XDCAM HD422 file that could be used for the daily blog editing and eventually the cutting of the documentary. The two files always had matching file names, in and out points, and timecode. This dual-recording capability of the F55 worked flawlessly during the entire four weeks and in some ways is what made the whole production possible. We couldn’t have done this same production with any other camera. 57
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We had a total of eight 128GB SxS cards with us that could each hold about 45 minutes of 4K footage. While we were prepared to off-load cards during the shooting day if we ever ran out of card capacity, that never happened. There were only one or two days when we used all eight cards but six cards per day was typical. Doug suggested we label the SxS cards “A” through “H” so it was easy to keep track of them. We used a system of wrapping rubber bands around empty cards so that the cameramen could immediately distinguish between used cards and empty cards. We never once accidentally erased a card or had to wonder if a card had been used or not. It didn’t matter to Doug if the cards were used in alphabetical order or which camera used which card, but having unique labels helped keep things straight at the end of the day. Our computer for the production was a bare-bones, refurbished 13" MacBook Pro with only four gigabytes of RAM. Doug was initially worried that the computer would be under-powered to keep up with the archiving and editing, but it proved to be up to the task. We also brought a cheap 13" external computer monitor to help with some much needed extra screen space for editing and grading. Our backup plan for the footage was simple. At the end of each day Doug would collect the SxS cards from the cameramen and set-up an “ingest station” in whatever hotel room we happened to be in that night. Before leaving for France, we had decided that we would avoid using LTO drives, raids, or anything else that might cause us grief if it broke down while we were on the road. Instead, we opted for a daily routine of backing up each SxS memory card onto two separate hard drives so there would always be at least two copies of every clip. We had several dozen 4TB and 1TB Seagate drives that were used for the backups, we modified two Pelican cases to transport them safely and securely. A big advantage of the Seagate drives was that they could be used via USB 3.0 or Thunderbolt, depending on the adapter that was attached to them. This really came in handy when the USB 3.0 hub died during the second week of the shoot, and we couldn’t locate a replacement hub in France. With other drives this would have caused a huge bottleneck with the archiving because the MacBook Pro is woefully short on ports. But we just converted some of our Seagate drives to Thunderbolt and went on working. The card reader we used was a Sony SBAC-US20 that is bus-powered and uses USB 3.0. With this hardware setup, we could ingest and backup each 128GB SxS card in about 25 minutes. This proved to be amazingly fast!
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Rather than making the two copies of each file one at a time (which would have doubled Doug’s workload) he installed a copy of a utility program called ShotPut Pro on the Mac. This allowed him to make two hard drive copies simultaneously without any reduction in transfer speed. Once the backups were finished, those drives were put back into the Pelican cases for safe-keeping and were not used for editing. Depending on the size of a particular backup drive (either 4TB or 1TB) it would be used for several days until it was full, and then another drive would take its place until it was full. In addition to the two backup drives we also copied the XDCAM HD422 files to a third 4TB Seagate drive that was used throughout the production as the editing drive. We didn’t need the 4K files for editing so we only transferred the XDCAM files to this drive. This one drive 4TB drive was able to handle the entire month’s worth of files. Once the backing up and archiving of the footage was completed each night, the raw footage from both cameras was reviewed and Doug started editing the blog video. At the end of each long day, I would record an on-camera summary of the day’s events. That narrative gave us a blueprint to follow for each blog. For editing we used Adobe Premiere Pro CS6 on the MacBook Pro. We found that the XDCAM footage was no problem for the computer, and we could cut in real time and with no significant rendering or slowdowns. Once the blog editing was completed, every clip had to be graded because we had chosen to shoot with S-Log2 and S-Gamut settings. The advantage of using those settings is that they allow maximum versatility and quality for the footage that will be used in the final 4K edit, but the disadvantage is that they look washed out, de-saturated, and underexposed before grading.
Due to the run & gun nature of the production, exposures and white balances were understandably inconsistent, so every shot had to be corrected individually. This meant that Doug had to grade about 50-75 clips per day within Premiere. Doug then did an audio mix and added music . . . also within Premiere. Approved blogs were then exported via Adobe Encoder and uploaded it to CBS via Hightail (formerly known as YouSendIt). WiFi at most of the hotels was very slow so sometimes it would take 4-5 hours to upload a 500MB file.
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by Jess Bushyhead
Software used Sony Content Browser Version 2.2 Avid Media Composer Version 7.02 Sony AMA Plugin for XAVC/XDCAM Version 3.2011 Workflow is being done on both Mac and Windows platforms In the field the camera cards were offloaded continuously to Seagate 1TB drives and Seagate 4TB drives with snap-on USB3 or Thunderbolt adapters. The entire card structure (4K, proxy and metadata folders) was maintained and double backed up to the two different types of drives at Seagate’s suggestion. A separate 4TB Seagate drive was used on a nightly basis to consolidate each day’s proxy media only. This created a onestop-shopping source for screening any shot from any day and protected both masters from having to be accessed again.
a “golden” look then a 2nd conversion was stacked on top of the first to reduce full-scale 0-255 RGB to video 709. These LUT modified clips were used only during offline editing. Full-scale color grading from the 4K S-Log2/S-Gamut files will occurred after picture lock.
In post the field-consolidated proxy only drive was used to — literally within minutes — ingest the entire 22 days of shooting into Media Composer using Sony’s AMA plug-in for XAVC. Then a basic LUT was applied to all the clips to give the footage
A current speed-bump is Sony’s 2047 character limit in their comments field, and Avid’s 255 character limit on bin columns. This caused any clip’s annotation exceeding 255 characters to be truncated at that point during AMA linking.
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Separately the masters were logged using Sony’s Content Browser 2.2. Clips were annotated “keep, NG, good” etc., named and a description was added to clips for which they were appropriate. Information logged was passed through into Avid via AMA.
Another limitation is the Content Browser cannot log individual proxy clips from the “proxy only” drive as it must access the “Clip” folder containing the 4K XAVC files and their associated metadata documents. The workaround was to manually copy and paste descriptions longer than 255 characters into a text-searchable spreadsheet. This complete spreadsheet was formatted and printed as a PDF then converted into simple text and imported into Media Composer as a textsearchable script for use with Script-Sync. There were two F55’s and an NX used on this project and linking via AMA allowed me to sort the bins by camera serial number which allowed me to easily identify the cameraman that shot it.
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relinking from 4K to XDCAM 50Mbps HD 4:2:2 Proxy I got to work sorting and screening the footage as soon as I acquired it but the logs were not finished till some weeks later. So I re-ingested the metadata modified 4K clips when they were finished being logged into new bins in a separate folder. This was to remind me these clips were originally linked to 4K and needed to be re-linked back to the 4K from the proxy after picture lock in order to consolidate 4K only clips for color-grading. I had no luck with the advertised “Modify AMA resolutions...” procedure Avid recommends. It never worked so far for me.
I was also confused by the options of “Highest Quality” and “Most Compressed.” That was a more meaningful choice when selecting between XDCAM full-rez and proxy. That distinction has blurred in the realm of 4K XAVC and HD 50 Mbps Proxy.
Until these issues are resolved I’m using the method described here.
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I link to the full-rez clips using “XAVC Folder” as the choice of AMA plugins. This pulls clips in that have Content Browser appended metadata (up to 255 characters).
I link to all the individual proxy .MXF files in a day’s folder on the field-consolidated drive using “Sony XAVC_XDCAM (*.mxf) as the plug-in. This pulls XDCAM 50 proxy clips into the system.
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I modify both the 4K and Proxy clips to give them a “Tape” number.
In this case it’s LR022. Ignore the warnings (left over from tape days) and proceed.
When both proxys and 4Ks have the same tape tape number and both bins are open, you can relink.
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Now your full-rez clips (with metadata descriptions etc.) are linked to proxy media. You’re ready to apply a LUT to make the material look reasonable in offline and edit.
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When both proxys and 4Ks have the same tape tape number and both bins are open, you can relink.
A box pops up with the middle tab “Color Encoding” selected.
Tell Media Composer the source files aren’t the default REC709 gamma but Sony S-Gamut (S-Log2 gamma).
Select a LUT to apply. Here I’m applying a LUT from Dennis Hingsberg he calls “Golden Texas.” Note the histogram shows crushed blacks. (www.hingsberg.com)
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Fix it by adding another adjustment called “Levels scaling (full range to video levels)”.
Click “Apply to all” to apply these LUTS to all the clips in the bin.
When the editing is finished you will have an HD 1080x1920 sequence (note the â€œClip####S02 clip names in the timeline denoting proxy files) with the basic LUT information indicated by the green dots (realtime effect) applied to the clips in the timeline.
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F55 post workflow by Jess Bushyhead
after picture lock relinking from 4K to XDCAM 50Mbps HD 4:2:2 Proxy In the 1st workflow document, LUTS have been applied. The LUTS in offline are simply to help establish a ballpark mood... in our case we're going with a deliberately golden tone that compliments the feeling and tone of our recreation of the 1928 Tour de France. Also for editing you have to have a decent feel/look going for you to pick the right music and sound-bite / interviews. Using washedout raw S-Log2/S-Gamut footage isn't ideal to spend months drawing inspiration from so these LUTs suffice as a temporary way to assist the creative process by giving the footage a dramatic look that will approximate the more nuanced final grading to be done after picture lock. Sometime next spring by Deluxe will be handed the final 4K S-Log2/S-Gamut clips to use via an AAF export to either Baselight or Resolve in a projection room with a 4K projector and/or OLED monitors.
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This part of my write-up is about the extensive testing I’ve done with Sony’s Content Browser 2.2, logging and adding descriptive metadata comments and transcripts to the source clips themselves, then using AMA to link to Avid Master Clips with as much descriptive data as possible fused into the clip. This makes logged clips incredibly accessible at any time with a key word search query.
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This shows the first step to be taken after picture lock has been achieved. The blue box on top shows the bin into which I'd used the AMA “Link to XAVC_ XDCAM Folder” option to pull master clips that were 4K in size yet had all the Content Browser descriptive metadata applied. These clips will be most often used in the majority of edits since descriptive metadata had been applied and looking for them would have been most simple. The yellow box shows the XDCAM 50 proxy media files that were consolidated to one 4TB Seagate T-Bolt / USB3 drive, mounted on a Windows system in this illustration and assigned as the LR_EDIT_2 (O:) drive.
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Step one in getting XAVC media and an AAF (edl) into color-grading is to give Media Composer a simple way of knowing that the proxy HD XDCAM 50Mbps clips used in the final locked sequence have the same “source” as the original XAVC 4K files.
The most reliable method I've discovered of achieving this is to put the old-school “Tape Name” column to good use again. I do this by simply “modifying” all clips shot on any given day (derived by the “Date Created” metadata column) to any unique source. For example, in the case illustrated here, I modified clips in both bins so the system “knows” they both come from “SOURCE001”, the same source. The difference is that we've been editing up to this point with XDCAM 50 HD 1920x1080 from drive LR_EDIT_2(O:) and after giving them the same “tape number” we can easily relink based on “same source” to “highest quality” on drive (J:) from “most compressed” on LR_EDIT_2 (O:)
Now I made a reddish colored bin for my test sequence and cut 3 short clips into it.
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LUTS are applied and active on the video media as indicated by the green real-time effect dots. Also note that the clips are named as if they are 4Ks but are playing proxy XDCAM 50 media.
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I've changed my bin settings to “reveal source clips” in the rose colored bin. This shows the 3 masterclips that make up the cut sequence and will need to be relinked BACK to their original 4K media files for export and color-grading once editing is finished. I found it simplest to “Unlink” the master-clips from the Proxy media. Unlink is achieved by selecting all the clips in a bin, holding down “SHIFT”, “COMMAND” and “CONTROL” simultaneously and clicking “Unlink...” as shown here. This pulls the XDCAM 50 proxy media offline including any used in the sequence.
Now a final AMA-link to the F55's top folder structure repopulates these clips with XAVC 4K media and the sequence media is 4K.
Now you're ready for export video for use in a color-grading system like Resolve or Baselight. In our case our masters are on 4 4TB Seagate drives with Thunderbolt adapters which will be daisy-chained. No need to consolidate media, simply link to it (much faster) since daisy-chaining 4 4TB drives with Thunderbolt will make all 4K clips available for color-grading. Your final AAF will be small in size as it only contains links / pointers to 4K media. But this AAF will open in most AAF compliant colorgrading tools and NLEs. A good test of an AAFâ€™s integrity is to drag it back into Media Composer to make sure it is identical to the sequence you exported.
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MICHAEL J. FOX
by Eric Camp
Originally published in Film & Digital Times
wasn’t long ago that 4K motion picture acquisition was the sole territory of a select few cameras. With recent entries, filmmakers in the market for extra pixels have more options than ever. “The Michael J Fox Show,” on which I am currently the DIT, is quietly keeping its eye on the future by capturing 4K RAW on set. Although we aren’t the first TV show to shoot 4K, we are part of a growing trend. We have 3 Panavised F55s provided by Panavision New York. As is the norm nowadays, the F55 is a fast evolving system with the words “firmware update” bringing equal parts delight and fear of change. My advice: conduct a little research to make sure your information is current before any project. The F55 shares its CFA (Color Filter Array) with its big brother the F65. While the sensor is different, the CFA should not be overlooked as these filters directly translate into the color rendition of the footage, which is excellent. The sensor also benefits from an electronic global shutter instead of the rolling electronic shutter of many other CMOS sensors. The camera has a factory native rating of 1250 ISO and John Inwood, the series DP, has found that the 1250 rating is accurate. The images are exceptionally clean with virtually no noise. Everyone involved is exceedingly happy with the quality of the footage. We are recording 4K RAW at 23.98 fps (and up to 60 fps) onto the AXS-R5 onboard recorder. The show delivers in 1080 so we can and do occasionally use the 4K for some image re-composition.
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However, its primary function is archival for later 4K delivery. The 512Gb AXSM memory cards capture the 16bit raw file at the native 3.6:1 compression and hold just over an hour of footage at 23.98fps. The image from the camera is set for S-Log2, which is a 4:2:2, 10-bit, single link signal. Three Blackmagic HD links allow us to adjust the log image from up to 3 cameras via CDL (Color Decision List) values. CDLs are uploaded to the HDLinks via Framewright’s software LinkColor, which is also embedding an extended-to-legal transform at the end of the color chain. We monitor on the new Sony Trimaster 25" OLED monitors, which we had calibrated to match the lab. As this show was gearing up for production there were not many options for tested S-Log2 to REC 709 transform LUTs. As such, the show operates on a CDL-only painting workflow. Since then Sony has released four transforms. The “downside” of an all-CDL workflow is that you have to transform the flat log image into an image with proper black and white levels with pleasing amounts of contrast and saturation in every look. An all-CDL workflow does benefit from simplicity. Almost every post production application at this point is capable of reading CDLs. This allows for a ubiquitous translation with little room for error. The lab has even mentioned that the stills from the live image match the CDL-applied dailies even better than they are accustomed to.
Technicolor/Postworks NY is providing the entire lab and color-based services for “The Michael J. Fox Show.” Our AXSM memory cards are treated like exposed film and are sent to the lab twice a day. Once the footage has been retrieved, duplicated, processed and verified the cards are sent back to set to enter into the rotation again.
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The M.J.FOX Show The footage is sound synced in Colorfront, and the CDLs are applied as per a LUT Report delivered with the footage. Dailies in their various delivery mediums and Avid DNX edit materials are delivered and the 4K Raw is archived. While the amount of 4K Raw footage was a bit alarming at first, almost 2 TBs a day on average, we have a smooth pipeline in place with no delays. All in all, 4K RAW acquisition is not just for features anymore. 4K may not be in every home yet, but rest assured, when it is, the workflows and content will be waiting.
4K may not be in every home yet, but rest assured, when it is, the workflows and content will be waiting. Eric Camp As a Digital Imaging Technician, Eric Camp works with digital motion picture cameras and their workflows for national broadcast shows and major motion pictures. Some of his credit highlights include The Amazing Spider Man 2, Person of Interest, The Great Gatsby, The Michael J Fox Show, Night at the Museum 2, Masters Of Sex, and Blue Bloods. Camp has also worked for four years as an outside consultant to the design team at RED for the development of their camera systems, field testing the cameras and providing realtime feedback to the engineering team on user interface, functional design/ergonomics, firmware debugging, workflow and developing on-set practices. He has been instrumental in the development of on-set practices for digital productions and lectures for IATSE on the subject. Prior to his work as a DIT and DP, Eric was an editor and Post Production Supervisor for shows on Discovery, Animal Plant and Fox in Washington DC where he oversaw the technology for, and delivery of, various national broadcast shows. Camp is a graduate from Full Sail University in Orlando, Florida. In addition, he studied mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and technical drawing. 81
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The M.J. Fox Show
Sony 25-inch OLED Monitor The 1920 x 1080 OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) panel provides accurate color reproduction in almost any lighting, as well as high contrast, stunning blacks, and excellent picture quality; motion is fluid. It offers the widest color gamut of the Sony OLED panel. The PVM-2541 also provides three I/P modes so that users can select the most suitable mode for their needs. Inter-field mode interpolates images between fields, used for picture quality precedence, such as to reduce the jagged effect on moving pictures. Field merge mode combines lines alternately in odd and even fields, regardless of picture movements, used for PsF (Progressive Segmented Frame) processing and still image monitoring. The Line Doubler mode interpolates by repeating each line, used for editing and monitoring fast-moving images and checking line flicker.
AXS-R5 2K / 4K RAW Recorder The attachable AXS-R5 recorder works with the PMW-F55 and PMW-F5 cameras to record the highest quality 16-bit RAW 2K/4K images. The recorder works with sleek, optional AXSM™ memory cards, which are compatible with an affordable optional USB 3.0 reader, the AXS-CR1. Once connected to your computer, the RAW file can be screened and processed with Sony’s free RAW Viewer software. AXSM memory provides a super fast, affordable format for sensational quality recordings.
AXS-512S24 512 GB Card The AXS-512S24 AXSM™ Memory card is an ultra high speed, high capacity, and high reliability memory media, for the highest quality recording with 16-bit precision, High Frame Rate recording in 4K and 2K. The AXS-512S24 has a capacity of 512GB. Ideal for PMW-F55 and PMW-F5 workflows, AXS Memory has a unique combination of capacity, sustained data throughput, security and portability.
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Sonyâ€™s global training centers: a commitment to the art and technology of the moving image By Keith Vidger, Peter Crithary, M.S.Sundaresan, Gillian Howe, and Yjun Guo
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Creatives from all genres strive to excite and entertain audiences with their boundless imagination. To ensure that filmmakers are able to best utilize state-of-the-art digital production technologies, Sony has established Digital Motion Picture Centers in key locations around the world.
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Sony pioneered 4K projection systems in 2005 and is now the worldâ€™s foremost manufacturer of 4K cameras and televisions. Just seven years after its introduction, 4K technology is now racing toward becoming the standard in theatrical projection and electronic cinematography. Fueled by consumer demand for 4K content, an incredible array of new 4K products are now available to filmmakers; presenting both new creative opportunities and technical challenges. To streamline the transition to 4K, Sony has established a worldwide-training organization with DMPC locations in Culver City, California; Pinewood Studios in Buckinghamshire, UK; the Sony Media Technology Center in Mumbai, India and the Sony HD Academy 3Dâ€˘4K Technical Center in Beijing, China and plans further expansion. 85
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These centers will be networked to form an environment of global collaboration, demonstration and learning. The goal is to give filmmakers of every genre access to equipment, content screenings, training and support. The DMPC mission is to provide a fully self-sufficient resource for industry professionals and students alike, to learn about and share their experiences in all aspects of digital content creation and workflow. DMPC locations consistently offer seminars, master classes and special events for all members of the industry including directors, producers, cinematographers, camera assistants, operators, loaders, D.I.T.s, editors, SFX technicians and film school students, among many others.
These classes and events provide professional training on Sonyâ€™s digital cinematography cameras and incorporate the complete workflow from capture to screen. Post-production professionals also have access to the latest third-party workflow platforms for hands-on training. These facilities are also a valuable resource for feedback, which is shared directly with Sony engineering and manufacturing teams to drive current and future product development. Resources at each facility include: cameras, workflow systems, professionally-lit camera sets and critical screening environments. Select DMPC locations are equipped with Sonyâ€™s state-of-the-art professional 4K projection systems for both testing and learning applications. In addition to motion picture technologies, Sony is expanding the global DMPC mission to incorporate broader technologies including 4K live production training for sports and sitcoms, traditional studio camera systems and much more.
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Digital Motion Picture Center in Hollywood, California
ocated on the most historic sound stage at Sony Pictures Studios, the DMPC provides a unique environment where filmmakers can get hands-on training with the latest 4K technology. Since opening in June of 2012, the DMPC has helped directors and producers with productions ranging from big-budget features to reality television, and has even drawn professionals from as far away as China, Australia and Europe to classes that have trained more than 1,000 cinematographers, operators, assistants and Digital Imaging Technicians.
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he DMPC experience represents all major aspects of filmmaking, including:
Capture — Creatives at every level of production can select from Sony’s state-of-the-art cameras (including the Z100, FS100, F5, F55 and the flagship F65) to shoot their own footage on the DMPC’s custom set. Designed to test electronic cinematography cameras, the DMPC’s set combines traditional lighting with LED technology and challenging production design elements to push cameras to their limit. Post — Just a few steps away from the camera set is the DMPC’s Workflow World. Modeled after a post house, Workflow World highlights products from the major manufacturers of dailies systems, editorial and color grading to offer nearly every workflow possible. Only minutes after shooting, filmmakers can work with their footage using Colorfront, edit with Avid and finish on a BaseLight, for example. Footage can also be edited directly with Apple’s Final Cut Pro or Adobe’s Premiere Pro and finished on Da Vinci Resolve or on Pablo systems. There’s really no limit to the workflow possibilities at the DMPC, and it is all offered at no cost. Display — Once the 4K footage is finished in Workflow World, it can be displayed on a variety of 4K televisions or in the DMPC’s screening room which features a 25-foot screen and the latest Sony SXRD
4K Digital Cinema Projection System. This final stage of the DMPC experience brings the creative vision of the filmmaker to life in a way that few people have experienced firsthand. In the span of just a few hours, the simplicity of 4K production, combined with the elegance of 4K workflow is realized as stunning 4K imagery for an experience that is unparalleled in the industry. The DMPC offers regular classes on camera operation, workflow and other production technologies to any member of the industry. The DMPC also conducts classes in cinematography and camera operation for film schools such as AFI, Chapman University and USC. In addition to serving the needs of the production community with the latest 4K technology, the DMPC continually strives to improve image quality for the theatrical and television industries. New workflows are always being tested to improve quality and efficiency. The DMPC is also the foremost supporter of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences work with ACES, and is also a driving force in image enhancement for live television, and is expanding the application base to include a broader range of technology. To book a training class or schedule a tour, please visit the DMPC website at: www.sony.com/DMPC or call: (310) 244-6730.
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Digital Motion Picture Center in Europe at Pinewood Studios
In October 2013 in front of a select group of film
industry luminaries and journalists, Sony Professional Solutions of Europe opened the doors to the Digital Motion Picture Center Europe (DMPCE). The new facility at Pinewood studios highlights Sonyâ€™s commitment to the film industry in Europe. 89
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n his opening speech, Katsunori Yamanouchi, VP, Sony Professional Solutions Europe, said: “Our mission at the DMPC(E) is to bring together the latest technology and the hottest talent to advance the art of media content creation. We want this to be a facility of training, of knowledge sharing and where people come together to exchange experience and learn about the latest tools and techniques.”
Pinewood has the latest 4K cameras including the F65 CineAlta digital motion picture camera and the F5 and F55. It is able to demonstrate a 4K workflow with a range of workstations and 4K projection facilities that allow visitors to view their work.
DMPC Europe is a place for professionals to discover and share their passion and knowledge for the latest digital filmmaking technology from Sony and its alliance partners.
This will include courses for DIT’s, DP’s, Producers, Line Producers, and VFX Post Producers. An accreditation program will be offered, and addressing the different aspects of 4K production including budget preparation, make-up and art direction.
DMPCE Pinewood has seen the launch of script to screen workshops that give participants the opportunity to shoot using the DMPCE sets and put Sony F55 and F65 cameras through their paces, and experience the workflow. Several VIP visits from DP’s have taken place with delegations coming from Italy (AIC members), Norway (FNF members) and Denmark (DFF members), Belgium, with DPs from across Europe attending the script to screen sessions.
Based on feedback from clients, DMPCE Pinewood is planning to stream courses so they are targeted more specifically at particular market segments.
The center will also be further developing relationships with all the camera guilds across Europe and running series of events at the facility including master classes. For more information please visit the DMPC(E) website at: http://www.sony.co.uk/pro/hub/ broadcast-products-cinematography-pinewoodstudios or call: 44(0)753 785300
The center also has hosted dealer events and camera hire company events.
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Sonyâ€™s HD Operation and Engineering Academy, 3D, 4K Technical Center, China
eadquartered in Beijing, China Sonyâ€™s HD Operation & Engineering Academy (HDA) was established in 2007 with the aim of working with Chinese TV stations, production houses, and filmmakers by offering training courses to achieve maximum added-value of Sony products and stay current with the latest digital technology.
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ince Sony HDA was founded, it has held monthly HD camcorder operation courses (theory and hands-on practice), HD salons and open courses, as well as customized on-site programs for broadcasters. Sony HD Operation & Engineering Academy / 3D and 4K Technical Center (HDA) was upgraded and renovated with a reopening at the end of 2011. HDA has since become a new base for Sony 3D and 4K application solution, technical support, education, research and training service for customers. HDA will support HD development in Chinese broadcasting and media industry to help Chinese broadcasters and related industries with exciting 3D and 4K programs. The mission of HDA is to offer HD/3D/4K operational training of Sony camera technology, program production support, HD/3D/4K program coproduction by using Sony relevant solutions, and consulting, in an effort to support and further develop content creation businesses. As for facilities, systems, and equipment of HDA, there are 3D and 4K theater/projector machine rooms,
shooting corner/control rooms, and editing areas, together with testing room/classroom/meeting rooms. In addition there is an HD/3D equipped demo van for mobile broadcast training made available to the students. Last but not least, HDA is equipped with a 4K demo van which is being used for training. Currently, the following HD/3D/4K equipment and systems have been installed: • Shooting & recording technology • S R master series including F65/F55, HDC camera, HDW/PDW/PMW/NEX camcorder & VCR • Display & monitoring • SRX/VPL PJ, BVM/PVM/LMD monitor, KD BRAVIA® • Production & worklflow applications • HD EFP system, including HDC and MVS •3 D HD-Demo VAN, 3D EFP sys with P1/MPE/SRW and 3Ality Rig •4 K NLE system, including PC/Apple with Davinci color correction system, etc Until now, HDA has organized more than 100 training sessions for over 30 Chinese major TV stations and production houses, such as CCTV, BTV, SMG, TJTV and Xinhua News Agency with about 3500 people having attended the courses. HDA has had significant successes with key accounts in content creation at the 2008 Beijing Games, 2009 China HD/SD simulcast broadcasting, 2011 3D channel establishment, and 2013 12th National Games. HDA’s reputation is gaining rapidly in the industry and as a result more Chinese professionals are regarding its training as a job qualification. For more information, please visit the HD Operation and Engineering Academy, 3D, 4K Technical Center website at: http://pro.sony.com.cn/academy/ default.shtml or call: +86-10-8458-6402
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Sony Media Technology Center, India
In India Sony has collaborated with Whistling Woods International (WWI),
which is a leader in the media and entertainment education sector to establish the Sony Media Technology Center at the Mumbai campus of WWI.
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ndia’s motion picture industry is flourishing with more than 1,000 annual releases, which is the highest in the world. Through SMTC, Sony provides its expertise in high definition and 3D stereoscopic film and broadcast technologies to India’s entertainment industry. The 3D market in India is expected to expand rapidly and the creation of optimum, high-quality 3D content is essential to this growth. Sony supports the creation of an environment that facilitates high quality 3D production, continuing the significant effort launched more than a year ago with the opening of Sony’s first 3D Technology Center in Los Angeles where more than 1,000 industry professionals have visited and trained to-date. Sony has installed top-of-the-line HD and 3D content creation and digital cinema projection equipment in WWI. In addition, it will provide its know-how in HD content creation from acquisition to post-production of content. It will also teach the entire pipeline of 3D filmmaking, methodology, and provide training for high quality 3D content creation.
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The mission of Sony Media Technology Center (S.M.T.C) in Mumbai, India is to encourage the use of Sony digital production technology by providing cinema and TV professionals with a creative environment for a “hands-on” experience with Sony’s high-end, digital cinematic storytelling tools.
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Since its inception in March 2011, the S.M.T.C has regularly hosted workshops and seminars on 3D film-making and digital cinematography, with future plans including a larger focus on 4K. More than 200 film-making professionals from production, direction, editing, screen/playwriting and cinematography departments have attended the SMTC 3D workshops. In March 2012, before starting to shoot the 3D Hindi film Anybody Can Dance, the crew of the film (including the director, producer, writer and costume and production designer) attended a 3D workshop and then applied what they learned in the workshop during the production.
The S.M.T.C hosted a launch event or Sony’s F65, F55, F5 and F3 cameras in the Indian market, as well as seminars on Sony’s Digital Cinema cameras conducted by senior Sony staffers. For the Hindi feature film Highway, releasing in February 2014, the DP Anil Mehta tested the F65 camera at the S.M.T.C and was convinced of its supreme quality when he saw the images played back using the 4K SXRD 320 projector. DP Vikas Sivaraman also tested the F65 at the S.M.T.C for Fox-Star studios’ production Bang-Bang and the top management team of Fox-Star including CEO Vijay Singh visited the SMTC to gain first-hand knowledge of Sony’s 4K Digital Cinema quality and workflow. After experiencing the S.M.T.C, DPs Alfons Roy and Mahesh Aney chose to shoot their TV series on the F55 with a 4K RAW workflow. Major rental houses in Mumbai like Prime Focus, Prasad Labs, and Solo Films — which own F65, F55, and F5 cameras — have sent their camera assistants and data technicians to the S.M.T.C for training on the operation and workflow of these cameras.
Equipment installed at the S.M.T.C includes a 3D- Element Technica “Pulsar” rig, HDC-P1 cameras, HDF-200, MPE-200, and LMD-4251TD monitors. Also used are Sony F65, F55, and F5 cameras with Carl Zeiss-Master Prime lenses, Sony SCL lenses, Resolve color correction panel and software. 3D and 4K projection is through a Sony SXR-320R projector with 3D and 4K lens using a Harkness silver screen. For more information about the S.M.T.C please write to: email@example.com, P.Ponnappa@ap.sony.com or Subhendu.Dutta@ ap.sony.com
Since the S.M.T.C is located within the Whistling Woods International film school, the center also conducts digital cinema workshops with the cinematography students of the school; most recently a 4K RAW digital cinema workshop with the F5 camera was held. back to TOC
grading Anthony Bourdain’s culinary travels to Parts Unknown By Beth Marchant Reprinted with permission from StudioDaily (studiodaily.com)
CNN’s Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown takes the chef and restaurateur’s prickly blend of cultural and culinary commentary to the extreme. Although some episodes may begin in a recognizable place, like the Tokyo bar made famous by Sofia Coppola’s film Lost in Translation (right), Bourdain quickly guides the viewer off the grid — or just under it, in the case of the Tokyo episode.
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Bourdain and journalist Charlie LeDuff stand in a field within the Detroit city limits.
Colorist Steve Beganyi has graded Bourdain’s awardwinning shows from the start. He may not travel with Bourdain and the crew to South Africa, Libya, Tokyo or Detroit, as they did for the show’s second season that concluded this month, but his sense of where the show’s look has been and is headed is based on seven years’ worth of experience with the same team, beginning with No Reservations. The first season of Parts Unknown won Emmys for best informational series and for cinematography, and a third season, shooting now, is scheduled to air next spring.
to come organically from the location and story itself. Working primarily with DP Zach Zamboni to interpret the visions of Bourdain, Zamboni and the producers, Beganyi typically will set some looks on various camera tests shot on location. “This is also very much an editorial show, and the editor and I worked together to get the look of those Tokyo sequences just right,” says Beganyi.
Beganyi says Bourdain is very much a driving force in the look and feel of the show, from each episode’s stylized palette to the handheld, indie film aesthetic. He is also quite clear that each new episode be a departure of its own, and no past look or style should insinuate itself onto an episode. Instead, he wants it
The first season of Parts Unknown won Emmys for best informational series and for cinematography, and a third season, shooting now, is scheduled to air next spring.
Zach Zamboni, DP on Anthony Bourdain ‘s series Parts Unknown
Parts Unknown Beganyi now works exclusively in Blackmagic Design’s DaVinci Resolve, running off a Mac Pro, coloring this past season in version 9. To grade a show that Zamboni has called “constantly shapeshifting,” Beganyi says Resolve’s multiple nodes and versions in real time give him a distinct advantage. “We’re going in different directions all the time, and our schedules are pretty tight because we turn around a lot of shows. They come pretty much week-to-week when they’re shooting. I probably have about two or three days to color-time the locked cut before we ship it to network.” The show is cut offline on Avid, which Beganyi brings into Resolve. Titles are handled back in Avid.
right.” He says Resolve’s tracking tool also helps him navigate through a handheld scene to make sure the focus remains on the meal. “It’s really amazing to be able to track through the scenes, especially when you’re trying to pull out the flattened details in the S-log footage and just protect the skin tones or just project the sky. The qualifiers and tracking tools together are so helpful. When you’re trying to break down an image, the more subtle control you have over it, the more unique look you can give to it.” Although most of the show’s footage is shot on Sony F-series cameras, different formats are often tossed into the mix. The Libya episode, for example,
Bourdain and a former freedom fighter on location in Libya inspect some handmade artillery.
Even with all the diversions along the way, the food is the main reason Bourdain books his passage to these various parts of the world. And that can present a problem when the look of the show is constantly evolving. “Treating the shots with the food in them can still get difficult, especially when the scenes are overstylized, because you still want the food to look good,” says Beganyi. “That mostly means isolating the food and finessing it until it looks
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includes footage shot with camera phones. “I think this is my favorite episode,” says Beganyi. “The phone footage gave the whole show a desaturated look and those sections were overstylized, which we pulled through the whole show. The people that he talked to just made that show so memorable. He’s basically hanging out with rebels who overthrew the government!”
Is there ever a worry that a show might become overstylized, with too many novel elements? “Sure. You sometimes think, ‘Did we go too far this time?” says Beganyi. “But when you step back and see the shows consecutively, it always works. It can also be a challenge to make the different scenes in one show come together as a piece, especially when we’re adding a look to one scene. But Bourdain is always writing as they are cutting, to make those things flow.” Beganyi was involved in testing the Sony F3s and F5s to make sure the footage gave him the details he needed during the grade. “We shoot a lot of S-Log to preserve the highlights and shadows,” he says. “We did a ton of tests before the first season started, just to know where our skin tones would land when we pull the S-Log waveform back. When it comes in, it looks just like a pancake and the information is just squeezed. I think we pretty much nailed it. But we’re constantly testing, pretty much every time S-Log comes out to make sure it looks the way we want.” He says he loves working with the format. “There’s so much information that you can pull out of it. They’ve usually got a really small crew to make his subjects more comfortable around the camera and around him, so it’s shot flat S-Log run-and-gun. We do what we can back in post, but with camera technology like this, it makes our jobs much easier so we can concentrate on the creative elements.”
Bourdain samples a local drink in a remote part of New Mexico.
Even for Beganyi, a self-professed “cheeseburger-and-fries” guy, the show is more than just another delicious meal. “For me, personally grading the Detroit episode was the most meaningful. I’m from Cleveland, and this was a very powerful show about the Midwest’s most infamous city trying to pretty much come back from nothing. It was really uplifting.”
Treating the shots with the food in them can still get difficult, especially when the scenes are overstylized, because you still want the food to look good, says Beganyi.
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SxS workflow at Zero Point Zero Production By Chris Faulkner
With crews for Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown traveling to all corners of the globe, weâ€™ve learned to travel as light and smart as possible. This extends to the size of the crew as well as the amount of equipment we take with us.
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nlike most productions, we forego an on-set DIT or media manager and bring enough media to cover our needs for ten days worth of veritĂŠstyle handheld shooting on the Sony PMW-F5 and other cameras. For most shoots we bring fifty 64GB SXS Pro+ cards. That means we show up to a location with the ability to capture more than 100 hours on our main cameras when shooting MPEG-2 HD. As exhilarating as it is to travel the world exploring cultures through food, the real excitement begins once footage lands back at Zero Point Zero headquarters in New York. When a show arrives, all media is downloaded and checksummed with Sony Content Browser. Card labels are transferred from the card cases to a media journal for verification that all cards were physically present at ingest. Our in-house media managers then rename and organize all clips before creating a backup of the media and ingesting into our Avid ISIS system. Clips are then checked for quality and the project is handed off to an assistant editor for further preparation for the edit. All of this takes place before we wipe media from the original cards. We do not transcode media from the PMW-F5 but rewrap using Avidâ€™s consolidate function through Avid Media Access (AMA) in Media Composer 7.0.2. Though we rely heavily on MPEG-2 HD (4:2:2, 8-bit, 50Mbps) for its light footprint in the field and the edit our DPs also make use of XAVC HD (4:2:2, 10-bit, 90Mbps) for expanded dynamic range and its slowmotion capabilities.
Once a show is completely loaded, backed-up and organized, SXS cards are then erased, relabeled, reorganized, and prepped for the next shoot by the ZPZ equipment department. Since we own most of our own cameras, audio and lighting gear this allows us to prep and field equipment on very short notice. With more than 400 SXS cards in 32GB and 64GB capacities, we currently have the ability to simultaneously field multiple crews shooting on PMW-F3, PMW-F5, PMW-200, PMW-EX1 and PMW-EX3 cameras. This allows our crews (usually two camera operators and two producers) to remain light on their feet and relieves them of the pressure to maintain media at the end of the shooting day; all they have to do is ensure the media makes it back to ZPZ.
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SBP64A SxS PRO+ 64GB Memory Card •Reads and writes at speeds up to 1.2Gbps through an ExpressCard slot. •A fully recorded 64GB card can be ingested directly to a laptop in a remarkable 8 minutes, based on Sony internal testing. •Has a write transfer speed twice that of the SxS PRO 32GB card. Enables 120 minutes of HD422 50Mbps recording in the MXF mode or 200 minutes in the HQ (35Mbps) mode using our XDCAM solid state memory card camcorders.
PMW-F5 SBS64G1A SxS-1 64GB Memory Card • The 64GB SxS-1 card brings the record time to120 minutes per card in HD MPEG2 4:2:2 30p (50Mbps) mode. • As the highest capacity card in the SxS-1 lineup it also supports the same read transfer speed of approximately 1.2 Gbps as the 32GB model. • The higher transfer speed complements the larger capacity card by minimizing the time needed to ingest content to an NLE system.
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• Super 35mm 4K CMOS Image Sensor 4,096 x 2,160, 11.6M total pixel, 8.9M effective pixel, Bayer pattern • High sensitivity (ISO 2000) and low noise (S/N 57dB w/NR off) • Accepts PL and FZ mount lens as well as other Cine, DSLR & SLR lenses (third party mount adapter is needed) • Multi Codec: HDCAM SR, XAVC, 50Mbps 4:2:2, 2K and 4K RAW with optional AXS-R5 • Modular Design Removable View Finder, Handle, Audio Input Box, RAW Recorder Easy to configure depends on the shooting style
Shot using a Sony F5 by Alister Chapman
All the tools to tell your story. Announcing two Sony F5 documentary kits bundled with savings! Now with audio and our new B4 two third inch lens adapter.
For a limited time, Sony is offering incredible savings on “ready-to-shoot” documentary kits, the PMWF5DEL and PMWF5LCD. These F5 packages are carefully configured for the maximum savings, and to provide everything you need to get up and running fast. Each kit includes three lens adapters for maximum shooting flexibility, including the new Sony LA-FZB1 FZ to B4 Lens Adapter, which is universal to any 2/3 inch lens. It’s your choice, optical viewfinder or LCD. Choose the PMWF5DEL kit with the DVF-EL100 OLED high resolution digital viewfinder or the PMWF5LCD kit with the DVF-L350 LCD viewfinder, a stunning 3.5" TFT LCD with a flip-up eyecup. The PMW-F5 camera with its powerful capabilities, features a choice of HD codecs including 50Mbps 4:2:2, 10-Bit HDCAM SR® File, and 10-Bit XAVC™ up to 180P. Add the AXS-R5 Recorder (sold separately) and shoot in RAW up to 4K, and with even higher frame rates — 120, 180, and 240 fps in 2K RAW. Sony will keep you on the cutting edge of creativity with planned future firmware updates at no cost. Act now and take advantage of special $0 down with 0% financing* for 24 months for qualified buyers. Promotion runs from October 15, 2013 through March 26, 2014.
For more information on the Sony F5 documentary kits please visit www.sony.com/f5doc * 0% financing for 24 months available with Standard Warranty. Finance program is avaialble through Sony Leasing, a program of De Lage Landen Financial Services, Inc. (DLL)
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Spike Leeâ€™s new film uses state-of-the-art 4K workflow
By Tom Di Nome
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or his latest film, titled “Da Sweet Blood of Jesus,” filmmaker Spike
Lee chose several Sony F55 4K cameras to capture the highest quality digital motion picture imagery within an 18 day shooting schedule, and to master the film in 4K for distribution. Shot over several locations including Brooklyn, N.Y., and Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, in 2013 and planned for a mid-2014 release, the film tells a unique story that the creative team won’t disclose. But one thing they will talk about is how the F55 contributed to the movie’s overall imagery, the story and workflow.
Sony F55 4K cameras; OConnor tripods, hand grips, matte boxes and filters; Teradek wireless monitoring, Daystrom servers all contribute efficiency and streamlined production.
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Spike Lee’s new film in 4K
Lee has traditionally used film for his feature projects, and with this production he elected to shoot in 4K with the F55’s, according to his director of photography, Daniel Patterson. “Everything went exceptionally well,” said Patterson. “We actually finished principal photography a day early! This camera is really fast, it’s extremely versatile and flexible and the footage looks great.”
LIke many of this films, Lee had a specific vision. “We wanted to go really natural, making scenes feel real and ‘not lit,’ Patterson said. “A lot of the scenes are stylized in terms of the framing and the camera movements.” The crew also needed to be inconspicuous and mobile; letting the actors develop scenes and interact with one another freely. “We were in tight places and had to go handheld often,” Patterson said. “I found the camera to be really flexible, whether it was on a dolly or a jib or handheld. We could go from one option to another with great ease.” That was true for different shooting conditions too, from interiors to exteriors, daytime to nighttime, where the F55’s performance in low light sensitivity and color reproduction really came through. “Spike was adamant about shooting multi-camera and we were dealing with one location with a lot of windows and a lot of reflections,” Patterson said. “Also, it was nighttime and I thought, ‘if we’re going to shoot multiple angles, how do I not see my lights with all of these angles. My gaffer said, ‘you have enough, given this ISO; we can just change the bulbs in the practicals, dim them up or down depending on how it works best.’ We were often dealing with some really harsh ratios at times, but I was able to easily deal with those. With this camera’s capabilities in difficult lighting situations, what I thought were going to be huge challenges, in reality weren’t.”
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He added, “You would think a nighttime scene, with no film lights, might be an issue, but with this camera, it wasn’t a challenge,” Patterson said.
and 1250 ISO was a little too fast for daytime exteriors, I could just click on one of the ND filters and make it a lot slower. Also, with the built-in ND filters, my AC didn’t have to take the tray out of the matte box, put in filters and put it back in. It’s just a simple click inside the camera, so we could keep rolling and not disrupt the rhythm on set.”
The production used up to three F55s at any one time. “Several times I didn’t need to use any filmlights at all,” said Patterson. “That’s when I was able to bring in the third camera, because there was nothing to hide.”
On the set, Patterson was really impressed with the camera’s colorspace.
He said that without question, the F55 is the fastest and most flexible camera he’s ever used. “It’s so fast that it’s able to adapt really quickly,” he said. “It has built in ND filters so when I was outside
“We had a video output of REC 709 on Sony BVM 25 inch monitors, and things really looked gorgeous,” he said. “We were really concerned with certain colors, and to me, every color was represented very accurately. There were no issues and we were confident that everything we saw we were capturing.”
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Spike Leeâ€™s new film in 4K
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The team also used the F55 in slow motion mode: “It has a built in 60 fps mode in 4K and the slow motion was smooth and beautiful,” he said. In addition to the F55, the production also used other state-of the-art technology. OConnor tripods, hand grips, matte boxes and filters were used throughout the production. The F55 cameras and lighting were powered by Anton Bauer, and accessories rentals were provided by TCS in New York City.
Teradek equipment helped deliver a wireless signal to the on-set monitors. “Those worked great,” Patterson said. “It’s so simple, it’s all about line of sight. If there was ever a time where we didn’t get the signal to the wireless monitors, they would just put the Teradek on a C stand, raise to get it in the line-of-sight and the signal was there.” That came in useful during scenes with long shots and zoom lenses. “Sometimes we had two cameras, both with zoom lenses,” he said. “For example, on some scenes in Brooklyn, two cameras, both with zoom lenses were far apart from each other. I would be at one end of a garden and the other camera might be all the way at the other end at the entrance. But we were able to get signals through the Teradek to the monitors so Spike could see both cameras.”
New hand-grips from OConnor helped Patterson move through scenes easily and discreetly. “Those were amazing,” he said. “We did a lot of handheld shooting and this film had a lot of different looks. With the type of handheld we did, it wasn’t always a short move. Sometimes we were walking with the characters on a longer take and there was a lot of choreography between me and the actors. Having those slower grips that were closer to the camera and to my body, I was able to pivot in really close situations without bumping into an actor or a wall. They really came in handy, and I’m going to keep using them.”
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Spike Lee’s new film in 4K The unique capability of the F55 permitted shooting simultaneous XAVC in HD to SxS cards internally and 4K RAW on AXS media using the attached R5 RAW recorder. The exact matching timecode and file naming metadata enables a seamless off line, on line for editing, and dailies workflow. Blu-ray dailies were quickly and efficiently generated on set from the original XAVC media files.
The challenge was to securely archive all original camera files on multiple formats with several copies on-set.
With the demanding shooting schedule and relatively short time span, the production schedule was very fast (18 days). What needed to be solved was how one DIT would handle syncing tracks and applying LUTs for editorial and also back up camera mags, verifying original copy and making duplicate archive copies. Daystrom analyzed shooting ratios and the choice of on-set applications. Steven B. Cohen, Daystrom’s Solutions Architect commented, “We have been working with Sony at its Digital Motion Picture Center on Stage 7 at Sony Pictures Studios on a Post Production Network and Storage System. The opportunity to solve the On-Set Data Management problems was exciting and challenging.” The production workflow and timelines for deliverables dictated that the primary DIT handled syncing tracks and applying LUTs for editorial files and review and approval Blu-rays. He also handled all transcoding and QC of these deliverables. Daystrom determined that backing up the Camera Mags could be accommodated by a separate Data Wrangler with a single MacBook Pro and the two of the new ATTO Thunderlink™ Expansion chassis, one with a SAS card and the second was configured with a 10Gbe NIC. The ThunderLink™ products were utilized because they are self-powered, provided both 10Gbe & 8 Gb/sec Fibre Channel line speed connectivity and are certified by Apple. All camera files were ingested through the Sony USB 3.0 capable S x S ND AXS Readers. Daystrom chose to deploy one of their storageFOUNDRY solutions: a Scale Out NAS
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with Tier 1 Enterprise Class components utilizing the Nexenta ZFS File System which provided a secure self-healing storage file system immune from silent data corruption and simplified disk management though either command line or the NexentaStor Management viewer. Nexenta’s ZFS file system provides a validated copy on write and checksum ensures highest level of reliability and data integrity in both archiving and playback. In order to streamline the tape backup Daystrom spec’ed out a Dual HP LTO Drives in a SAS enabled chassis. To simplify the operators archiving, Daystrom chose the LTFS File System, which offered a simplified drag and drop copy from the MacBookPro. The Data Wrangler was Justin Hartough, who had past experience with LTO systems but not a Nexenta ZFS SAN. Justin commented on his experience: “Martha’s Vineyard is a
fairly remote location to shoot in but I never felt unsupported. When I needed to add drive volumes to our ZFS RAID as shooting progressed I was able to interface remotely with a Daystrom tech located in Colorado to ensure our system was set up quickly and properly. LTO backup are a great partner to the F55 seeing as we shot as much as 2.8TB of RAW data a day and LTFS has made working with LTO tape
much easier than with previous file systems. The RAID/LTO system we were able to create by utilizing the Thunderbolt technology on just a MacBook Pro was truly impressive and met the needs of our production nicely. A ZFS RAID plus LTO backup is as close to a bulletproof media management solution as you can get and it proved to be entirely feasible for our production.â€?
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Sony’s Sayama Talks Future of Live 4K Production
Originally published by Sports Video Group
Despite an up-and-down few years at both the professional and consumer ends of the video business, Sony believes there are good times ahead, thanks to its heavy investment in the world of 4K. The Japanese electronics giant will help spearhead 4K-production efforts next year at the FIFA World Cup Final in Brazil following successful tests at the Confederations Cup last summer and released its 4K Live Production Solution in December. On the consumer end, it has already rolled out three 4K LED television models and has been a heavy hitter in the 4K-projector game for several years. Following a tour of Sony headquarters in the Minato ward of Tokyo, Sports Video Group sat down with Kento Sayama, senior manager, Planning & Marketing Division, Professional Solutions Group, to discuss the company’s near- and long-term future, the development of the 4K market, and the importance of sports content to Sony’s overall business.
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How do you see the 4K format growing over the next year, and what role will Sony play in it? We have been working on 4K officially since 2007, when we started marketing our 4K digital cinema projectors, which have been a great success. So we had a nice head start and have been working with 4K quite a few years already. Then we jumped into 4K acquisition for cinema since the cinema [industry] was looking for higher quality to attract people to the theaters. That is where F65 and F55 — large-sensor, single-chip [cameras] for singlecamera operation — came in. 4K is becoming the mainstream for digital cinema. The next step for us is [to] bring that 4K technology into more live productions. At NAB 2013, we showed our live 4K camera, which is the F55 camera base with a camera adaptor. At IBC, we announced that we are going to productize that as part of a full 4K live system. We did a prototype test at the Confederations Cup in June in Brazil, and it worked out very well. We are continuing to conduct testing in a 4K/60p or 50p live environment. In fact, we conducted a test during a professional baseball game here in Tokyo.
Despite the availability of 4K televisions and cameras, we are still likely a long way from having live 4K sports content delivered to the home. Until then, do you see Sony 4K pro production tools fitting into today’s HD ecosystem? Absolutely. In fact, that’s probably the most important message that we need to be putting out to the market, because we don’t expect full 4K terrestrial broadcasting happening in the coming months. The benefit of our 4K system is more about investing in upgrading your system with the best 4K technology available but currently using it [within] your HD production. That is how our technology is configured. For example, our 4K live system will have the same infrastructure as our high-end HD live system. So our customer can buy a Full HD liveproduction system and add just some parts to it to become a 4K-production chain. We want to configure the system to future-proof and to protect the investment of our customer. We are already seeing single-camera productions for television with 4K, and we certainly believe that the 4K live system will have a place in HD production.
Can you give some examples of how 4K cameras could be used in today’s HD productions? One of the biggest reasons to [utilize 4K within an HD production] is super-sampling. When HD caught on, a lot of our customers moved to HD cameras first even if they only had analog terrestrial broadcasting, because the HD camera head captured a better picture. It’s exactly the same for 4K: even if you are editing in HD, using a 4K sensor — with F65, it’s an 8K sensor — you are getting much more information out of that. Another thing we are proposing is [stitching]. You put two 4K cameras out and cut HD aspect ratio out of that. Instead of sending a full OB van and crew to the site, our customer could potentially just set up two 4K cameras and do the cutout remotely. Two 4K cameras could act as if you had various cameras around the stadium. So that kind of application will be part of our software solution. We are hoping to put that together with our XAVC 4K storage that will coming to the market next year.
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With NHK targeting 2016 for its first 8K transmission services, where does the potential of 8K fit? Does committing to 4K necessarily preclude Sony’s preparing for 8K production in the future? We basically see 8K as a possible future path, but, if we don’t complete the 4K ecosystem first, there will be no place for 8K. We are very carefully monitoring if 8K will gain demand in the market and if our customers are looking for an 8K solution. We already have an 8K CMOS sensor in the F65, so we are not new to 8K thought. But, at this point, we have no plans for it. We think 4K is the way to go and that 4K is the way to make a proper business justification.
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With the 2020 Tokyo Games announcement, sports is in the spotlight in Japan. How important is live sports production to overall business today? Large sports events like the Winter Games are always a great milestone for manufacturers like us, because we can target those dates. That sort of stimulation helps us to innovate more and progress faster. In terms of the Tokyo Games, we are not an official sponsor of the Olympics at this point, so we are not in position to collaborate with the IOC in any way right now. But, with that said, we also know that a lot of broadcasters will be there, and they will be using Sony equipment, and we will be there to support that. Being from this country, hosting the Games means something to this country, and, as a nation, it’s very special. Of course, it will likely stimulate government activities in regards to creating better broadcasting situations. And we are definitely hoping to be a part of that.
The 3D TV market has taken some serious hits in recent months, and many are calling the format dead. Where does Sony stand on 3D production for television and the future? We always think that 3D will be there. It’s a very different discussion from the higherresolution discussion because 3D is possible for analog, HD, and it may be there for 4K. Regardless, 3D is always an added value. It’s true that it didn’t seem to fly in the terrestrial-television market because of the difficulty with license, bandwidth, and having to wear glasses. But, at the same time, with professional equipment, we still have the demand for equipment to create 3D movies and 3D games. It’s still there, and it will always be there, but in a more specialized application.
With Sony’s 4K Live Production Solution set to be released in December 2014, how do you see the next year playing out in terms of professional video business?
Can you talk a bit about plans for the 4K production of the FIFA World Cup Final, as well as what Sony learned from the 4K-production tests conducted at the Confederations Cup? First, for Confederations Cup, the biggest leap forward was getting that 4K signal all the way from the lens to a storage device and having a way to transfer that 4K RAW in real time, then switch it and store it. It was the first time we were ever able to have that full [production] chain in a real sports environment. That was big for us. The second important thing in that trial was perfecting the focus and viewing angles: capturing that sports image in a commercial way and using a PL-mount lens and P4-mount lens to show we can actually get great picture quality using a current HD zoom lens.
We had quite a few customers interested in live 4K productions who came and saw the results of our production and [expressed a lot of] interest. The fact that we are using a single-chip, large-sensor camera but with the lens adaptor means they can capture the image that they want in a television world. That was a great learning experience for us, and we are very confident that we are going the right way. For that reason, we have announced productization of the components that we used in that system.
This next year is really going to be the start of our 4K-live era, where we are actually doing real business with real products available that realize full 4K live production. We continue to support the 4K single-camera high-end movie creation; that is a core of our business. We are the only company that can provide a full 4K production system. We want to be there for premium OB vans and premium event-production companies that are upgrading. As broadcasters and production companies look to take the next step, we see them jumping to 4K because it will give them the best HD image while future-proofing themselves for 4K.
For the World Cup, will it boost 4K interest and business? That is not something that we have full control of. We obviously hope so. But, in terms of Sony’s role in the 4K production, it’s still a little too early to talk about in detail.
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4K Production Trial at FIFA Confederations Cup 2013 In June 2013, Sony successfully completed a live 4K production trial at the 7th FIFA Confederations Cup which took place in Brazil. The trial was conducted at the Estadio Mineiro in Belo Horizonte, one of six stadiums used in the 2013 football tournament. Together, the Sony/FIFA team produced three matches, utilizing the world’s first purpose-built 4K mobile production unit supplied by the leading UK-based company Telegenic.
Sony 4K Live to the test FIFA 2013
By fully exploiting advanced 4K technology, Sony is continuously improving the delivery of true-to-life reality, emotion, and excitement, helping audiences to feel as if they’re really there.
The inside story behind the results of the trial and the Sony staff’s ground-level support (Article posted: Oct 15, 2013) From the 15th to the 30th of June, the FIFA Confederations Cup was held in Brazil as a preliminary for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. PSG used this opportunity to perform a verification test of Sony’s 4K BRAVIA live production workflow, inviting customers — the majority being representatives of broadcasters from all over the world — a chance to actually see the system at work. PSG’s support team for this huge event landed in Brazil about a week before kickoff. In the Japanese press, they were immortalized in an article entitled: “The Pride of Sony Atsugi: World-Class Elite Engineering First Eleven Enters the Field”. As representatives of this “Atsugi Eleven”,
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we spoke to Tadashi Okano and Takeshi Shibagaki from PSG’s CCS division and Shinichi Ohno from the Planning MK Group, asking them about the real story of the 4K live production trial and what happened behind the scenes in Brazil.
From left: Takeshi Shibagaki (CCS Product Design Division); Shinichi Ohno (Planning MK Grtoup, Application Planning MK Division); Tadashi Okano (CCS Technology Strategy Development Division)
It is very important to offer the best quality “coverage possible at FIFA Events and to meet the expectations of our football fans around the world. FIFA TV has therefore been pioneering new television technology at recent FIFA tournaments. The first 4K live production technical trial that took place during the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup, partnering with Sony, stretched the boundaries of live sports broadcasting by trialing new technology and production approaches.
Niclas Erocson Fifa TV, Director
New technologies such as 4K Ultra HD enable us to deliver sharper images, better sound, deeper expression and emotion capturing all the action on the pitch and connecting football fans with the game in a way we have never seen before. So the question now is how we can get it financed. The production in Belo Horizonte proved that there could be a number of options that can swing costs higher or lower depending on the equipment and system being used. We are working with Sony to ascertain the most efficient workflow.
What was the aim of carrying out this 4K live production trial?
Takeshi Shibagaki: Our aim this time was to use this ideal chance provided by the Confederations Cup, an event watched by soccer fans across the world, perfect for 4K, in order to allow our customers across the world from broadcasting and production to realize that 4K live production is something that has already been made reality. As I’m sure you’re aware, 4K camera recording is already making advances into the field of feature film production, while in home electronics, the 4K LED BRAVIA™ is now on sale. The environments in which consumers can experience high resolution and large screens that make images come alive is constantly expanding, and the next challenge that we face is creating 4K content to match this. With that in mind, our other aim in carrying out the trial was to use this 4K production system, even though it’s still at the development stage,
to make a live recording of the action and then show off how smoothly the recording went and how high the quality of the captured images were. We also wanted to use this as an opportunity to familiarize ourselves with the ins and outs of 4K production ahead of any of Sony’s competitors. 25 of our key accounts (around 50 people) from broadcasting and production companies across the world with interests in 4K production came to Brazil to witness the trial — more people than we predicted or hoped. From Japan, Skapa JST also participated in the trial. Despite the fact that the system was still just a prototype, we had many encouraging comments from customers who said that the level of completion of the equipment and the quality of the 4K footage were both higher than they had expected, making it clear to us that there was a high level of interest in the 4K system from our customers.
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4K Live Sony is continually seeking ways to apply 4K technology, and is making every effort to create highquality footage capable of transporting audiences with an immersive, true-to-life experience. This time, Sony took on the challenge of 4K live shooting and production at the FIFA Confederations Cup 2013. As the trial was undertaken in the context of 4K broadcast capabilities of the near future, Sony chose to shoot, switch, and record the matches in 3840/59.94p format. To demonstrate effective use of existing assets, a newly developed lens mount adaptor attached to the PMW-F55 enabled the camera operator to mount an HD broadcast box lens and cinema zoom lens. For a 4K switcher, a current MVS switcher was upgraded to 4K with special software. The 4K recorder was a current SRMASTER™ recorder, which can also be used for HD. A 30" 4K LCD monitor was able to fit into the limited space of an OB truck to monitor 4K images. Overall, results were very encouraging. The broadcasters and camera crew who attended the test were satisfied with the quality of the 4K live image. What’s more, they were also impressed by Sony’s technology and the idea that a 4K system is switchable to an HD system, achieving very high efficiency as well as cost savings.
Can you outline the 4K production system for us?
Of the 6 stadiums in which matches were held, we chose the three matches held at the Estadio Mineiro (Belo Horizonte) to test the system. For the recording, we used 7 sets of 4K live camera systems, with the PMW-F55 as a base model, as well as two standard HD cameras. The adjustment, editing, switching and so on of the material were all done in a 4K-compatible OB van. We used different lenses and camera work for filming each of the three matches, and so were able to test which methods worked best for 4K broadcasting. The OB van we had was the biggest of its kind in the UK, with the left and right sides expandable outwards in order to create a more spacious working environment.
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It was equipped with camera control units for the VE (Video Engineers) to adjust the color and brightness of the output from the seven PMW-F55s; an HDCA-SR for recording the images; a slow motion control switcher used for replays and so on; and image/ sound mixers. This OB van is also the first in the world that’s 4K compatible, with the systems upgrade done by PSE. After the trial it was bought by Telegenic Ltd., a British production company that’s contracted for a lot of FIFA-related events.
Please tell us the “configuration” of the Atsugi Eleven who went to Brazil, and what you did once you got there.
Tadashi Okano: At the Belo Horizonte stadium we had five camera engineers, one switch engineer, one overall engineering leader, three overall support staff, and two customer service staff, all from the product design Dept. The camera specialists from Design showed the camera operators on how to use the 4K camera and its new features, as well as switched out the lenses at every match. They were constantly rushing around the stadium to get things set up and deal with any possible problems. On the technical side, everything went basically according to plan, with no serious problems. But there was
one issue where the optical fiber stopped transmitting signals. We tested areas that looked like they might be the source of the issue, and in the end we found that the end of the fiber was dirty! The fact that we were able to narrow the problem area down to the cable was largely due to the expertise of the representatives from Telegenic who were there, and of our Design crew. There was also a problem with the temperature in the OB van, and although we tried our best to cool the apparatus down, the air wasn’t reaching to the bottom of the rack, so the footage became more and more scrambled. In the end we
used a flattened cardboard box to redirect the wind as well as electric fans, and somehow managed to keep it cool. To top it all off, when we were setting things up, the BRAVIA TV we were planning to use to display the content to our customers didn’t arrive when it was supposed to. When we thought it was finally going to be delivered, we were told that the people delivering it didn’t know where the delivery entrance was, and we were made to wait a whole other day. There were also lots of times when things didn’t run on schedule… When you’re on the ground like that, you really need to keep a cool head. back to TOC
4K Live No longer a distant dream, 4K live production is now readily available to professionals. They can begin by adding some essential 4K devices to their current HD live systems. And it’s not just 4K cameras; Sony has also developed key products, systems and workflows from shooting to viewing for 4K live production.
How did you perform the demonstration for the customers?
Shinichi Ohno: In the viewing room, we had our guests watch the Japan-Mexico game and Brazil-Uruguay game, both of which had been recorded in 4K, on a 65 inch 4K BRAVIA. At the same time we had them watch the same games in HD, which had been down-converted from the 4K recording, had them compare the two, and see the difference between 4K and HD. Inside the OB van, as well as letting our guests see
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the 4K production system, we also performed upconversion tests from HD — something which will be in high demand in the transition period to a 4K production environment — as well as tests of an application called Cut Out which cuts out HD images from 4K footage in real time. We also showed our guests the positions of the cameras at the sides of the pitch and in the stands, as well as the various combinations of cameras and lenses.
How was the reaction from the guests who watched the 4K relay of the match?
Sony’s promise to professional creators is bestfit 4K live production systems enabling them to deliver 4K live viewing experiences with true-to-life reality, emotion, and excitement — exactly what’s required for audiences to feel as if they’re really there. And Sony aims to provide innovative new workflows that considerably enhance and extend the creative potential of 4K technology.
Takeshi Shibagaki/Shinichi Ohno: Until they actually saw the system, I think a lot of people were skeptical about whether we could emulate the traditional style of recording and record in 4K, but with the 4K OB van we were able to show them instantly that a 4K workflow has already been made reality. We were able to show them that 4K is finally ready to go. What received particularly high praise from our guests was the fact that we made it possible to use the box lens traditionally used in sports filming with the PMW-F55, which we used this time for shooting the 4K content.
PWA-4KS 4K Stitching Software composes an 8K × 2K -wide view of an entire field of coverage, such as a football pitch, shot by dual 4K cameras. Any area on the composed view allows extraction of up to two HD views as if they were cutout images. By shooting the complete field of coverage, there’s no chance of missing a single moment of the action.
Telestrator Software adds more entertainment value to your images
with four times the resolution of HD. Utilizing this in HD shooting, users can achieve extremely high-speed capturing at a maximum of 240/200 fps. Users can record 240/200 fps images captured by the PMW-F55, the CA-4000 camera adaptor, and the BPU-4000 base-band processor unit to the PWS-4400 Multi Port AV Storage Unit, which can replay the video at 4× slow motion (60/50 fps). This capability allows for strong highlighting of selected sports action, greatly enhancing the sports broadcast.
Using PWA-TS1 Telestrator Software with the 4K Stitching Software, users can add various graphics and player information to the HD cutout views (for example, a player’s name, score, tracking information, and more). This capability can significantly raise the entertainment value of a live sports broadcast. High-frame-rate HD capturing for impressive slow-motion images. A 4K live camera system also provides new added value in HD production. The PMW-F55 incorporates the Super 35mm 4K CMOS image sensor, enabling capture
The PMW-F55 normally uses a PL mount for a cinema lens, but the fact that we made it possible to use the B4 mount HD lenses traditionally used in sports filming with the PMW-F55, thanks to a conversion adapter developed by our design team, makes the switchover very efficient for our customers. This is definitely a point that we can emphasize when discussing the system’s merits. This was admittedly a tough challenge on the technical front, but thanks to the engineering team making adjustments right up
to the last possible moment, it worked perfectly. We also had an extremely positive reaction from our guests. Both we and our customers were impressed all over again by the technical skill of Sony’s engineers. With the demonstration over, we’re now receiving a lot of positive feedback. Sky perfect TV in Japan have told us that they want to use this technology not just for soccer coverage but for baseball too, while Brazil’s TV Globo said that next year they want to build a 4K studio. In the
Brazilian local media we also had a good reaction, with reports stating that due to FIFA considering using it for next year’s World Cup coverage, the system test had left a strong impression. On our side, we’re highly motivated to keep working towards an even wider implementation of 4K.
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4K Live at FIFA 2013
4K Live Camera System The PMW-F55 4K CineAlta™ camera utilizes a modular design, allowing the setup to be quickly changed between movie and live modes. It’s ideal for live 4K shooting when used in combination with other live 4K production equipment. • Docks to the F55 multi-pin interface on the back of the camera. - With the CA-4000 fiber adapter mounted on the F55, the Super 35mm camera is turned into a 4K live system camera. • 4K fiber transmission up to 2,000m - The 4K Live system works across standard SMPTE fiber cables for distances up to 2,000m. • Supports HDCU-2000/2500 Camera Control Unit operation - The CA-4000 works with the BPU-4000 Base Band Processor Unit to route 4K signals from the PMW-F55 camera. The BPU-4000 works with the HDCU-2000 series to enable a similar operating experience to our current HDC camera system when using an F55: including Reference signal, Return Video signal, Tally, Intercom and Sony RCPs/MSUs. The BPU-4000 generates 4K and down converted HD signals that offer a similar color matrix to current Sony HD camera systems. 4K and HD signals are output simultaneously. • High Frame Rate recordings - The camera allows High Frame Rate (HFR) output up to 240 frames in 1080p using the adapter. • HD cut-out functionality - Thanks to the extraordinary resolution of 4K, users can select any part of the picture and extract stunning HD images. • Same systemization as HDC-2500 camera - The CA-4000 provides the same interface as the HDC-2500 series camera such as RET, INTERCOM and MENU control.
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SR-R1000 SRMASTER™ Storage Unit This high-speed multi-channel recorder accepts up to four SR Memory cards at one time, and supports multi-camera shooting, slow-motion replay, and other live production features. Its high-speed multiingest capability enhances production efficiency in many different venues. • Industry-standard HDCAM-SR™ codec, MPEG-4 simple studio profile (SStP) • Accepts up to 4 TB of removable Storage
PWS-4400 Multi Port AV Storage Unit The PWS-4400 is a cost effective, next generation solution for 4K live production, HFR (high frame rate) HD and Slow-Motion replay. It is a 4-port server designed for record replay of multiple channels of 4K/QFHD (up to 60p) & HFR HD (up to 240p). Uses the highly efficient XAVC video codec for recording very high quality video while maintaining smaller file sizes. This is critical to maintain creativity and efficiency in high paced environments like sports broadcasting. As standard it includes 2TB of solid state storage. This provides recording durations of 5 hours at 4K 60p or 24 hours at HD 60i. Storage capacity can be increased to 8TB as an option. HD High Frame Rate recording (up to 240p) is available when interfaced to the PMW-F55. This provides the perfect solution for Slow Motion replay.
PVM-X300 4K LCD Monitor This professional 30-inch 4K (4096×2160) LCD delivers powerful monitoring at high-resolution production venues. • Optional 4K SxS™ player replays SxS memory cards recorded on the PMW-F55 camera
MVS-8000X Multi-format Switcher Sony’s flagship switcher; 3G (1080p), single-link Optional software upgrade adds 4K support Optional 4K format converter board (MKS-8460X) enables high-performance HD-4K up-conversion. • At SD, HD, or 1080p: Up to 5 M/Es, 164 inputs, 68 outputs • At 4K (QFHD): Up to 2 M/Es, 41 inputs, 16 outputs
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F55 zooms into the World Series for FOX Sports By Tom Di Nome
Sony’s F55 camera positioned at Boston’s Fenway Park for the 2013 World Series
FOX Sports used Sony’s F55 professional 4K camera to give television viewers a better look at close plays during the 2013 World Series. For each game, one manned F55 camera is positioned high over first base to cover all three bases and home plate. The camera signals were sent over fiber to the game production truck and put through Sony’s BPU-4000 baseband processor unit, allowing FOX Sports to do multiple cut-outs and zooms of 4K images and extract crisp, clear HD images with no pixel degradation. “There’s more flexibility with 4K content,” said Jerry Steinberg, senior vice president, technical operations, of FOX Sports. “You’re starting with such a high-resolution image and more picture information to work with. Our cut-outs and zooms end up in much higher quality and we can really zoom in on a shot and still get a completely clear image.” The F55 camera and BPU-4000 unit combine with Sony’s CA-4000 camera control unit to create an easy-to-use system that makes operation similar to HD cameras. Running the Quad HD signal from the camera through the Sony CCU lets operators shade the 4K camera the same way they would with an HD camera. “FOX’s use of the F55 is a perfect example of how 4K is fast becoming an everyday broadcast reality and a must for television production,” said John Studdert, vice president of strategic sales, Sony Electronics. “The 4K workflow closely resembles what operators are used to doing in HD, and the end result is ultimately a better-looking, more immersive viewing experience.” FOX Sports has previous experience with Sony professional 4K cameras. For the 2012 NFL season, the network used Sony’s F65 camera for one game each week to capture ultra-high resolution images for its “Super Zoom” technology to get enhanced replays during broadcasts. back to TOC
4,000 reasons why I like the FS700 by Eric Bragg
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Greg would have loved to shoot the entire video with film but it was too expensive and an overall pain in the ass. Danny’s part in the video blew minds and looked amazing. It won Skateboarding Magazine’s Best Video Part that year and redefined skateboarding’s limits. Here we are, 10 years later, both skateboarding and video technology have progressed to unimaginable levels. Danny Way is still building bigger, gnarlier ramps and Sony is still on top in the skate video world. The Sony NEX-FS700 has replaced the Sony DCR-VX1000 as the go-to camera for professional skateboard cinematographers. It’s lightweight, shoots super slow motion, looks excellent in low light, accommodates almost any lens, and a single battery and SD card can get you all the way through most days. I’ve been working on a full-length skate video with Danny for Plan B skateboards for a couple years now, and I’ve experimented with a ton of equipment in that time. The Sony NEX-FS700 has been by far my favorite camera to work with. That is, until now. Now that I’ve tried the Sony NEX-FS700 with the 4K upgrade.
In 2003, when professional skateboarder Danny Way debuted the first Mega Ramp in the DC video, the Sony VX1000 DV camcorder was the weapon of choice for almost every professional skateboard cinematographer.
Only 480 vertical lines of resolution to capture a skateboarder drop in on a ramp the size of a roller coaster, backside 360 over a 75' gap at 50mph, and then fly up 23' above a two and a half story quarter pipe!? If you’ve got the whole ramp in your shot, you’re only dedicating a few pixels to the death-defying pioneer who’s flipping his board through the air and breaking world records. Master skateboarding cinematographer Greg Hunt knew DV wasn’t going to cut it, and although most of the rest of the video was shot on the VX1000, he shot Danny’s Mega Ramp portion on Super 16mm.
I brought the 4K recorder and FS700 on its maiden voyage to Kauai, where Danny’s newer, bigger, faster, stronger ramp resides amongst the epic landscape of “The Garden Island.” The Way and Colin McKay dropped in on the massive concrete roll-in that leads you straight into a re-imagined quarter pipe with banks and features ranging from 25' to 40'. Using the 4K 120 fps raw high-speed burst allows me to slow down tricks and show them for what they really are. The amount of detail in the image is incredible, especially when slowed down. I’ve gotten used to using 120 fps and 240 fps bursts on the FS700, but when you add 4K and the image control of 16-bit linear raw file, skateboarding has never looked better.
I’ve been shooting with the FS700 since July 1st, 2012. I preordered the camera based on its stats sheet and was pleasantly surprised by its latitude, smooth highlight roll off, and overall image quality. back to TOC
Pat Duffy. Hippy jump. Barcelona. May 2013. FS700 w/8mm fisheye.
I couldn’t believe how well it performed in low “light. All these features are supercharged with the 4K recorder. ”
Initially, I thought I’d only throw on the 4K recorder for shooting the Mega Ramp, B-roll, and save it for larger productions. After reviewing the footage, I’d be crazy not to shoot everything with it. When we weren’t skating, I went around Kauai shooting waterfalls, sunrises, and even found a New Zealander who climbed up into a tree and jumped out 65' down into a lagoon. Kiwi Knievel jumped out in 4K 24p and then I asked him to do it again in 4K at 120 fps. The camera records simultaneously to its SD card and I was able to easily send him his AVCHD clips that night.
Danny Way. Kauai. August 2013. FS700 w/4K recorder.
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Fortunately, deciding to shoot everything in 4K from now on is as simple throwing the recorder on. Wait, I shouldn’t say 4K everything. I did shoot a lot of 2K RAW footage at 240 fps. The ability to just let 240 fps roll as long as you want to really creates opportunities I didn’t have before on the FS700 for capturing super slow motion. The fact that’s it’s raw too is just icing on the cake, or buffalo sauce on your wings for me. Not too big on sweets. I used a Small HD AC7-SDI monitor to make sure I wasn’t blowing it in 4K. With a giant, detailed image, it’s obvious if your focus is off. Focus features and false color buttons keep it clean, simple, and fast. Although sometimes I wondered if the false color feature was working because it was so hard to find anything around me that the latitude of my new pet beast couldn’t handle. The monitor definitely came in handy while I used a Nanoha macro lens and Cinevate Atlas 10 w/Moco for a little surprise you’ll have to wait to see.
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4,000 Reasons Having the option to remove the recorder and yet keep it tethered was nice when I needed to lighten the load and shoot leaning over the edge of a 30 foot drop on the edge of the ramp.
The setup was an absolute breeze. I “didn’t even read a manual or anything. The menu is simple and straightforward. Click around for 5 minutes and you’re an expert.
In skateboarding, sometimes the skater will mess up on a trick 20 times before he lands it. Maybe more. Maybe he’ll never land it. The HXR-IFR5 let’s you easily delete clips as you go along. I found myself deleting all the 4K bails right after every try, while leaving a record of everything recording to the SD card in the camera. That way, we still have a copy, but I’m saving card space and I won’t end up with a terabyte of falls to go through at the end of the day.
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Kauai sunrise. Aug 2013. FS700 w/4K & SmallHD AC7-SDI monitor
Wow, am I still talking about this camera? The bottom line is, the trip was a success. We spent 3 weeks getting tricks and making them look good. I tried to surf once, but I think Iâ€™ll stick to skateboarding and camera toys. Iâ€™m looking forward to incorporating the 4K FS700 into all of my scheduled productions this year and of course coming back to the island to watch Danny and Colin throw themselves in the air. Editors note: The FS700 has been updated with RAW output capability, and the models are now NEX-FS700R, and NEX-FS700RH
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4,000 Reasons Sony’s 4K Recording System The NEX-FS700 outputs a 2K and 4K bitstream via a single 3G-SDI cable to the HXR-IFR5 interface. The interface docks to the AXS-R5 Access Memory System recorder, both sold separately.
HXR-IFR5 Interface Unit The HXR-IFR5 enables the NEX-FS700 2K & 4K RAW files to take advantage of the trailblazed by the RAW workflow of Sony’s PMW-F55/F5 CineAlta cameras. The RAW signal created by the NEX-FS700 is sent to the HXR-IFR5 interface unit which docks to the AXS-R5 RAW recorder.
AXS-R5 2K/4K Recorder The AXS-R5 recorder is part of the AXSM Access Memory System, which also includes the AXS-512S24 memory card and an affordable USB 3.0 reader, the AXS-CR1. Once on a HDD, FS700RAW files can be screened and converted using Sony’s free RAW Viewer software and a host of third party workflow solutions.
AXS-512S24 Memory Card The AXS512S24 Card has a capacity of 512GB and guaranteed write speed of 2.4 Gbps. AXS-Memory is unique with its combination of capacity, sustained data throughput, security and portability. AXS-Memory Cards work with the AXS-R5 2K/4K RAW recorder and AXSCR1 USB-3 card reader.
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creativity. evolved. Introducing the NEX-FS700R series camcorders. Designed to provide more creative freedom when shooting.
The Sony NEX-FS700R/RH series is an evolutionary step in the NEX-FS700 story. The two new NEXCAM camcorders, the NEX-FS700R and the NEX-FS700RH retain all the features of the successful NEX-FS700U — full HD 10X Super Slow Motion, built-in ND filters, a 3G HD-SDI/HDMI output and CineGamma curves. The NEX-FS700R/RH takes creativity to the next level with a new Super 35mm CMOS 4K sensor, 4K/2K RAW recording option, Sony E-mount interchangeable lens system and S-Log2 gamma mode. The NEX-FS700RH comes with the new motorized SEL-P18200 zoom lens. The lens features an 11x zoom with a 18mm to 200mm focal length (27mm to 300mm equivalent in full 35mm format). And thanks to the Sony E-mount interchangeable lens system, the NEX-FS700 is compatible with a variety of 35mm lenses using inexpensive Sony and third party adapters. The NEX-FS700R/RH adds 4K/2K 12 Bit RAW recording capability when combined with the HXR-IFR5 Interface Unit and the AXS-R5 RAW Recorder (both sold separately). The system can continuously record 120 and 240 fps at 2K RAW, as well as record 4K 120P in approximately 4-second increments (record to buffer). The NEX-FS700R/RH can record RAW and AVCHD simultaneously.
Get the NEX-FS700RAW Production Package and Save! A complete “production-ready” solution, with special financing and savings. • NEX-FS700RH Camcorder • SEL-P18200 Lens • HXR-IFR5 Interface Unit • AXS-R5 4K/2K RAW Recorder • AXS-512S24 Memory® Card
• AXS-CR1 Card Reader • BCL-90 Battery Charger • BPF-L75 FL Battery • LCF55CZ Hard Case • Chrosziel Shoulder Mount System
Act now and take advantage of special $0 down with 0% financing*for 24 months for qualified buyers. NEX-FS700RAW production package offer is good through March 26, 2014. For more in-depth information on the NEX-FS700R series camcorders and NEX-FS700RAW package promotion, visit www.sony.com/700Rpromo
welcome to the jungle by Ted Elrick Photos by Frank Masi, SMPSP Reprinted with permission from ICG magazine 135
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Peter Suschitzky, ASC, BSC, Blazes New Digital Trails for The Sci-Fi Thriller After Earth The action-based father-son scenario is the latest from acclaimed director M. Night Shyamalan (The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable and Signs) who cowrote the screenplay with Gary Whitta, based on a story by Will Smith. It incorporates over 700 effects shots including creating the current home of humanity, Nova Prime, and a new Earth completely devoid of anything that references humans.
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Welcome to the Jungle For his DP, Shyamalan chose veteran British lenser Peter Suschitzky, ASC, BSC (The Empire Strikes Back, Mars Attacks and all of David Cronenberg’s films since Dead Ringers). Suschitzky’s photographic genes run deep, as his father, Wolfgang, and son, Adam, are also feature DPs. Suschitzky says he and the writer/director clicked immediately, with Shyamalan relating his preference for long takes and camera movement based on the context of the scene.
“One of the reasons I’ve worked so much with David Cronenberg is that we believe that what makes the images meaningful is the context into which they’re put,” Suschitzky explains.
If I am working on a film that is not to my taste, then, however well I do my job, the images may be striking but they won’t tell the meaning in that beautiful context. Shyamalan wanted to shoot on film, using anamorphic lenses, until Suschitzky proposed a side-by-side test with digital. “Film suffers when it is digitized,” the DP explains. “It’s capable of producing a very fine and beautiful image, but that needs to be projected on film, and a very high percentage of theaters, certainly in North America, now all use digital projectors.” The tests involved a Panaflex and an ALEXA and, as A-camera operator Mitch Dubin, who had worked with Suschitzky on the remake of The Vanishing, explains, “the Sony F65, as a kind of a lark, because it was a Sony picture and we thought we should reshoot some of the tests with this never-been-used camera.” The film tests were digitized, and all were projected.
Everybody was terrified that “Night had chosen the F65... There were no accessories; it was just a box that you point.
Mitch Dubin, A-Camera Operator
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To everyone’s complete surprise, Shyamalan chose the F65, and used Cooke S4s and Angenieux zooms. “Everybody was terrified that Night had chosen the F65,” Dubin laughs. “There were no accessories; it was “We had about two weeks from taking the things out of the boxes to sending them on a plane,” recalls A-camera 1st AC John Kairis. “There’s so much going on with the physical prep of taking four cameras and lenses and supporting them internationally, let alone a camera system that has yet to be used. It’s not like we were going to London to shoot on stage. We needed to mash through rainforest — key word ‘rain,’ with its sidekick ‘mud’ — and work on slopes with a good pitch.”
“I had a similar experience on Next,” B-camera focus puller Steve Cueva adds. “We were shooting with the Genesis, and it hadn’t really been tested. The location was forecast to be 115 degrees, so we ended up switching to film for that week.” Although problems were surprisingly few with the new system, Dubin says the main issues were power and environment. “You don’t want an unproven camera in the humidity of the jungle,” he states. “And I think half of Sony technical went down with us to help us through those first weeks. We had a few power issues, but it never failed.” “The first cameras didn’t have frame lines, or the remote on/off capability,” Cueva continues. “So after we had spent weeks shooting hair, makeup, screen and costume tests, the guys from Sony came with their laptops, and as they’re plugging in the cables, said, ‘Well, this can either produce frame lines or it can wipe out the entire memory of this camera!’ We looked at them and said, ‘Guys, the operators need frame lines.’ It was pretty intense.”
A thousand years after inhabitants flee from Earth due to a cataclysmic event, a ship crash-lands on a now strange and unfamiliar world. Kitai Raige (Jaden Smith)and his father, Cypher (Will Smith), are stranded, with Cypher critically injured and trapped within the ship. Teenager Kitai must embark on a perilous journey, encountering strange and vicious beasts as well as an unstoppable alien creature that escaped during the crash, in order to find help for his father.
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Welcome to the Jungle
Other aspects of the jungle location were unpredictable. “When we went to scout Costa Rica, it rained continuously,” key grip Charlie Marroquin relates. “Somebody said it rained 17 inches in a 24-hour period, and our guides kept saying, ‘Keep in mind, when you come back to shoot, it’s going to look totally different.’ For instance, the river we scouted was going to be 15 feet lower than it was at present. And, of course, there were all the snakes.”
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“Eyelash vipers hanging at eye level,” B-camera/Steadicam operator John “Buzz” Moyer laughs. “Every location we had to have a snake wrangler check around all the trees. “The scary part,” VFX Supervisor Jonathan Rothbart adds, “was when we were on the scout tramping through the jungle and were alone. Then we’d come back and there’d be snake wranglers everywhere.” Bringing in a Technocrane was not feasible, so the shoot employed the Giraffe Crane. “It breaks down into small pieces,” Marroquin says. “Everything had to be hand-carried in — one location, the ‘Hog Hole,’ was a three-quarter-mile hike straight downhill. My rigging grip, Craig Vaccaro, had a crew of mostly Mexican grips, and they were awesome. They carried anything and everything we asked.”
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Welcome to the Jungle
Another sequence called for the construction of a 30-foot-long platform, 15 feet high at one end, around the base of a volcano. Again, all materials were carried in and out. Power was also a consideration, so gaffer Mo Flam introduced the Mac Tech 960, which employs 24 LED tubes and a limited power supply. “To me, they’re as powerful as an HMI and are very durable,” Flam says. “We could run this thing on a little 2,000-watt Honda generator.” When production moved to a warehouse in Philadelphia, production designer Tom Sanders (Saving Private Ryan, Braveheart, Apocalypto) realized a year-long development process with Shyamalan that involved decisions every bit as daring as using the untested F65.
I was so tired of seeing apocalyptic futuristic movies,” “Sanders says.“ I said, ‘Why can’t we see a future where we did something right, for a change?’ ” We had to go into space for a couple-hundred years to even find the right place to resettle, where we could create this beautiful world. And while we were in space, we had to use our brains and come up with a new plan for when we found this new place to live. There would be no resources, just organic bio-mimicry.”
This led to designs of a giant cave set, as well as a downed aircraft that used specially farmed fibers, strong enough for space ship hulls or skyscrapers on the new world, with some fibers having a phosphorescent glow that could actually store light and reflect it back as needed. It also led to a mantra of absolutely no gray, rust or stainless steel. Everything, from building to weapon, was made from this newly farmed cream-colored plastic. When the ship crashes, springs and metal bits do not explode from the controls. Organic material flies out. Sanders worked closely with Suschitzky and Flam to incorporate practical lights into the ship’s interior. Low-heat Mac Tech LED lights were used under the plastic fibers. The light’s intensity could be remotely controlled, and, during later scenes, when Smith’s character is trapped, waiting for his son to get aid,
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the phosphorescence begins to dim, mirroring his outlook. In the cave, Flam used some ARRI MaxMovers remote lights so they could rig them under Condors and snake them into position to get the light where it was needed. “Everything has an organic feel to it,” Sanders relates. During a bumpy ride through an asteroid field, an initial pass incorporated the Technocrane capturing all the jostling on the gimbal. Then, Shyamalan wanted to try it with the Steadicam. “The ship was the length of two city buses, and 30 feet in the air on this gimbal, which was operated by a joystick, and this guy sat there and jerked the thing and the hydraulic pistons would cause the ship to pitch and veer everywhere,” Moyer recounts.
“I had no reference as to which way the ship was going; I was roped in from two points with two grips holding me and Night wanted a push in from all the way in the back to Will as he’s realizing the fate of the crew and his ship. I kept the Steadicam away from me far enough so I wouldn’t fall forward, left, right or back. It was the most exhausting shot I’ve done in my career.” “I remember that I first thought, ‘Why do we need this gimbal?’” Dubin smiles. “Then I saw it work, and I thought, oh, yeah, now I see. I was happy it was Buzz and not me.” Other creative ways to expand the action scenes included Canon’s new 4K C500 strapped to a skydiver’s helmet. “Jaden base-jumps off the top shelf [of a continental rift between North and South America] and lands on another level, where he’s attacked by a giant bird,” Rothbart explains.
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Welcome to the Jungle
“He’s carried back to the nest to be food for the bird’s babies. In the nest he’s attacked by these giant, evolved leopard-like creatures. We constructed the bottom half of the nest then shot footage of Jaden reacting against a green screen.” The top part of the nest, and the creatures, were created by Tippett Studios. Aharon Bourland, Tippett’s visual effects supervisor, calls it “a pretty crazy sequence. We’re dealing with feathers and fur. I think the most complicated were the actual sticks. We had to build half of the nest and the tree in CG and had a lot of matte paintings for the surroundings.”
Bourland explains that by having the Suschitzky-shot F65 4K footage, they could get further in and/or repair camera shakes than with 2K origination. “We were also able to frame in on some of the shots to get the framing as they wanted,” he adds. VFX Producer Jenny Fulle introduced another first for After Earth: Joust, a software program that streamlines the management of digital workflows. “The F65 was developed with a lot of thought toward the ACES workflow,” Fulle explains. “This made color management easier than on any other show I have worked on. Also, with the dynamic range of the 8K sensor, and the amount of detail we could get where half the frame is a dark jungle and the other half a bright sky, we could pull out the detail in both.”
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CREW LIST After Earth Dir. of Photography: Peter Suschitzky, ASC, BSC Operators: Mitch Dubin, John “Buzz” Moyer Assistants: John Kairus, David O’Brien, Steve Cueva, Jozo Zovko Steadicam Operator: John “Buzz” Moyer Digital Imaging Tech: Toby Gallo Digital Loader: Aaron Schuh Still Photographer: Frank Masi Publicist: Cid Swank 2ND UNIT Dir. of Photography: Pat Capone Assistants: Stanley Fernandez, Braden Belmonte
Craig Mumma, digital pipeline supervisor, says RAW capture has allowed camera teams to move away from what he calls “NASA on the set,” the big video carts needed to engineer the video signal like a broadcast. “With the advent of RAW, and cameras like the F65, you treat it like film,” Mumma says. “Back in the old days, you had your video tap, but it was for composition and lighting, not exposure. With Raw I teach DITs to trust their light meters. Once you calibrate the camera and you know where your indexes are, you can tell them an 800 ASA is probably equivalent to 1200 ASA on your light meter. So you don’t have to have all these moving parts on set.”
Although Suschitzky operated camera on all of David Cronenberg’s films, he knew the scale of After Earth called for a skillful camera operator. “The person I thought of immediately was Mitch Dubin, with whom I worked twenty years before,” the DP shares. “I encouraged Mitch to choose his assistant, John Kairis, and to come up with the key grip, Charlie Marroquin, and gaffer Mo Flam. (Using a brand-new camera), I can’t say that we weren’t anxious, but after a few days, any initial problems were quickly overcome, and I’m very pleased with the images.” Image quality notwithstanding,
Dubin says the development of so many new digital camera systems often still fails to take into account the human element. “It’s almost insulting how bad the eyepieces are,” he says. “They put all this research and money into the chip in the box, but they don’t think about what is necessary for the people who operate the machinery. That’s what was so great about Panavision. They made a system that respected the people who work it. I know it’s still early in the game, but digital cameras need to go beyond the ones and the zeros, and put those on the set using them first.” back to TOC
Welcome to the Jungle
F65 8K Sensor Camera
F65 Recording/RAW Viewer
• 8K Super 35mm CMOS sensor (20.4M pixels) with unique mosaic color filter array • 14+ stops of exposure latitude • Ultra wide-gamut color reproduction • Four built-in neutral density filters • Mechanical rotary shutter (11.2˚ to 180˚) plus electronic shutter • Anamorphic 2:1 unsqueezed in viewfinder & HDSDI monitoring
•1 6-bit RAW 8K and True 12-bit and 10-bit 4:4:4 SR File recording to SRMemory™ cards using SR-R4 SRMASTER™ Recorder • RAW and RAW Lite recording Modes • 8K RAW High Frame Rate recording up to 120p •A dvanced de-mosaic of 8K/6K RAW for enhanced flexibilty in VFX motion stablization, anamorphic 4:3 production, and sports broadcasting
F65 Version 3.00 Upgrade • Connectivity to Sony’s DVF-EL100 • OLED viewfinder, individual configuration of HD SDI outputs, 48 fps support and new Wi-Fi remote control improvements. The kit entails the installation of a new circuit board, as well as firmware and software reprogramming for the camera, the SR-R4 SR Master recorder and the SRK-CP1 Control Panel. Editors note: For details including latest firmware updates click here
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