behind the scenes
Shooting in low light:
Cinematographer Michael Barrett on his 3 new films How to monetize and distribute your 4K content
Behind the scenes look of the first 4K documentary about hypercars
Up close with Michael Price DP of Trophy Wife
LETTER from the EDITORS As this second issue of CineAlta Magazine went to press, we were all busily preparing for an exciting NAB show in Las Vegas, and that excitement shows in the pages of this magazine.
Sony’s 4K vision is also rapidly spreading across many other production areas including “live” entertainment and a host of business-to-business applications ranging from fashion to oil explorations.
Sony’s NAB exhibit – once again the largest on the show floor at more than 26,000 square feet, with the largest camera set by far – features a range of new products and solutions that will keep the industry moving forward to 4K.
We’ve got 4K acquisition solutions for virtually every application and budget. On the consumer home television and projection front, Sony is the clear leader in the sales and marketing of 4K UHD TV’s and offers a 4K content distribution service to the home.
At NAB, Sony is announcing many excellent additions to the CineAlta line and in the What’s New page, you’ll get an overview of the powerful upgrades we have planned for the F65, F55 and F5 cameras. The articles in this issue clearly show how wellestablished the CineAlta platform is for motion picture and television production. Check out what Cinematographer Michael Barrett has to say about shooting his newest feature films, including A Million Ways to Die in the West on Sony 4K cameras. Get a deep dive (literally) about 4K underwater imaging from the professionals at Woods Hole Oceanographic Research Institute, and hear from DP Michael Price about shooting XAVC in HD for the hit television show Trophy Wife. And if you’re looking to shoot in 4K, Shutterstock and Sony’s own distribution service wants you. Read how the online stock footage library is looking for your content, and how Sony is looking to deliver your 4K production into the home.
Alec Shapiro President Professional Solutions of America Sony Electronics Inc.
This magazine was created to highlight Sony’s unique diversity. Our first issue was very well received and we thank you for your support. We’ve continued our efforts to make this magazine a useful, hands-on resource. There is no better resource for learning how technology works than by hearing directly from those that use it every day. From episodic television to documentary, sports to commercials, independents to major motion pictures, CineAlta Magazine is all about production stories that are relevant for you. That’s why we want to hear from you. Email us your stories at email@example.com. We hope you can visit us at NAB 2014 and also mark your calendars to look for a significant Sony presence at CineGear later this spring in Los Angeles. Cordially, Alec Shapiro and Peter Crithary
Peter Crithary Marketing Manager (Twitter: @CineAltaNews) Professional Solutions of America Sony Electronics Inc.
Shooting in low light Cinematographer Michael Barrett discusses the challenges of low light
Defining the DIT
Interview with DP Michael Price
Alex Carr on the job as a DIT
Up close and on set with Michael Price, DP of the hit series Trophy Wife
1 Shooting in low light 29 Defining the DIT 41 Interview with DP Michael Price 57 Hollywood’s Leading Colorists 65 Center Scan Mode 81 The dawn of the hypercar 91 Shooting 4K? 95 Matching the Sony F55 107 Gearing up for 240 fps 113 It’s not cold. It’s Bloody Freezing! 123 Cinephotography with the F55! 133 CineAlta, not just for Hollywood 143 Choices 153 Deep Water Imaging in 4K 167 Shutterstock
Hollywood’s Leading Colorists
Center Scan Mode
The dawn of the hypercar
Join Fotokem, Sony Pictures Colorworks, and Technicolor to discuss Sony’s new color science S-Log3/S-Gamut3.Cine
Double the magnification of your lenses for FREE
J.F. Musial and Josh Vietze capture the beauty of the hypercar in 4K.
Shooting 4K? How to distribute your 4K content and make money doing it
Matching the Sony F55
Gearing up for 240 fps
Check out the F55 with Fujinon Cabrio zoom lenses for EFP shooting
Ben Bratten tries out the F55’s spectacular HFR at 240 fps in the desert sand
It’s not cold. It’s Bloody Freezing!
Cinephotography with the F55!
Alister Chapman shoots with the F5 in minus 32 degrees Fahrenheit
Jeff Berlin on taking fashion and beauty stills with the F55 for leading magazines.
CineAlta, not just for Hollywood
Crews Control represents DPs and production companies all over the world.
Robert Alberino on the choices and success of digital video and 49ers.com
Deep Water Imaging in 4K
William N. Lange on the challenges of building deep-water housings for underwater cinematography.
Own an F5, or F55? Shutterstock wants your content in 4K.
What’s NEW in CINEALTA By Peter Crithary
Sony’s 4K cameras continue to transform Continuing the consistent development path for the F5, F55 and F65 digital motion picture cameras, Sony has very exciting news to share at NAB 2014. Since their introduction, all three cameras have benefited from powerful firmware updates that have significantly expanded the features and further protect customers’ investment. Sony listens to all feedback and as a result carefully considers what features to implement based on technical capabilities and engineering resources. The F5 has a long future ahead of it: In addition to firmware, Sony is also announcing two optional hardware upgrades for the F5 and F55. Those looking to purchase, or have already purchased the F5, will be very glad to hear Sony is going to offer a hardware upgrade path to migrate the F5 to an F55. This means the F5 can grow with you when you are ready. The hardware upgrade option will deliver the same imager as the F55, the same Ultra Wide Color Gamut using the same color filter array; on board 4K recording and 4K live signal output capabilities via 3G SDI and HDMI. Pricing and availability has not been finalized yet, but it will cost slightly more than the purchase price differential between the two cameras. Transforming the F5, and F55, announcing the ENG and Documentary Dock: For those needing the perfect shoulder mount camera with weight balance, power and functionality at their fingertips, this optional hardware upgrade is ideal. Sony is happy to announce the ENG and Documentary shoulder mount dock. With functionality powered through the F5, F55 multi-pin communications port on the back of the camera, dock the shoulder mount directly to the camera body and within minutes, professionals are running and gunning with full access and control to key functions right where you need them.
Version 4.0 firmware: Version 4.0 firmware for all three cameras, released in early April of 2014 has a number of user requested enhancements that open the door to further production possibilities. One of the most requested features for the F5, and F55 are for Documentary DP’s that need to be prepared to capture the unexpected at a moment’s notice without taking up valuable record time on the media cards. We’re referring to picture cache. By recording in a loop using the memory buffer in the camera users can be assured of capturing that unpredictable moment by enabling cache recording. Simply hitting the record button writes that captured time sequence to the memory cards in the camera. The picture cache has up to 15 seconds for 50Mbps 4:2:2, and up to 8 seconds for XAVC in both HD and 2K. For XAVC 4K shooters can achieve up to 2 seconds of cache recording. Other requested features being implemented in v4.0 for the F5 and F55 are the all-important usergenerated 3D LUT’s and simultaneous recording with HDCAM SR® and 50Mbps 4:2:2 in 30p to the same SxS PRO+ card. There are many more improvements and enhancements in v4.0 so for details check out Sony’s Community support forum, or visit www.sony.com/35mm F65: Version 4.0 The pinnacle of all Digital Motion Picture cameras is the F65. Sony is committed to the ongoing development of this camera. As a result we are excited to announce v4.0. With many new enhancements, this promises to be a powerful release. Features include live streaming and clip playback via the F65 Remote Look Plus iPad app, support for live grading via the Tangent Element TK control panels, and for 4K live we will implement HFR up to 120P with support via our CA-4000 live fiber adapter. There is much more to this exciting update so be sure to check on line for more information. Stay tuned, there’s much more to come!
SHOOTING in LOW LIGHT
NO GOOD DEED, ABOUT LAST NIGHT and A MILLION WAYS TO DIE IN THE WEST
By Michael Barrett
I am about to begin my fifteenth digital “film” which means that I have been struggling for a while with the semantics of calling any project a “film” or describing what we do as “filming”. It amazes me how this technology has advanced so quickly and so far. Looking back I recognize how my approach to nearly all aspects of cinematography have changed as a result. To date I have shot eight features with Genesis or F35 cameras (including one in 3D), another 3D feature with F3 cameras and two more with F65s. My most recent project, A MILLION WAYS TO DIE IN THE WEST was shot on F55s.
No Good Deed My first F65 project was a thriller titled NO GOOD DEED. Based on early tests I cut my lighting package in half but within days realized that most of our lights would sit on the truck. Come to think of it, had I been a little braver from the start, our truck could have been smaller as well.
Shooting in low light
Mind you at this point I was already very familiar with the low light sensitivity of the F35 where, given a fast lens, 320 degree shutter and a bit of gain it was already a new world. But nothing could compare with the F65. There were several instances where we would set our lenses at their widest aperture (the sensitivity of the camera made this unnecessary for the most part), used a faster EI and a slightly wider shutter angle and with less than a foot-candle of illumination, my light meter wasnâ€™t able to read any exposure. Neither could my eye. But I looked at the monitors on the DIT cart and saw an image that was much brighter than reality. Simply put these cameras can reach into the darkest shadows and find detail. As most of the film takes place at night, I relied 5
heavily on existing light sources wherever we found them. If a street had sodium or mercury vapor fixtures they would be utilized. The sensitivity of these cameras allows you to balance exposure to the prevailing ambience. This also kept with our methodology to keep everything as natural as possible. I donâ€™t mean to suggest we wouldnâ€™t light a scene. We would still create a desired look but there were different considerations in how to achieve it. Often our approach was more subtractive. Typically if a location had sufficient exposure, we would shape the light by removing or turning off sources. The resulting look was very authentic and quite beautiful. For some time I had been striving to emulate the work of artist and photographer Todd Hido. The F65 made this possible.
Shooting in low light
But I looked at â€œthe monitors on
the DIT cart and saw an image that was much brighter than reality. Simply put these cameras can reach into the darkest shadows and find detail.â€?
About Last Night
ABOUT LAST NIGHT was my second F65 feature. My long time friend, producer Glenn Gainor (with whom I did NO GOOD DEED and a number of other films) wondered aloud if it would be crazy to do the movie without a generator. Mind you Glenn truly understands technology and we had both just witnessed the F65 exceed all of our expectations. The studio had promised to green light the film only if he could deliver it for a price. On the creative end, Glenn, along with Screen Gems President Clint Culpepper and our 7
Director Steve Pink, wanted to make the film in downtown LA with every scene taking place in a practical location. Glenn reasoned that if done right, LA would become a character in the film. Sounded good to me. With no generator, every light was small enough to be plugged into a wall. Predictably, our biggest challenge were day scenes that had to be scheduled carefully to make the best use of natural light. Our only daylight augmentation was a Noahâ€™s Ark package of 1.8K Arrimax lamps and VISTA BEAM 300s and 600s.
Shooting in low light
Shooting in low light
...wanted to make the “film in downtown LA with
every scene taking place in a practical location. Glenn reasoned that if done right, LA would become a character in the film. Sounded good to me.”
I had the best time lighting the night scenes! For the most part I used Lowell RIFA lights and Chimera Pancake lights. Everything was dimmed significantly. I also used rice paper lanterns with 25w or 40w household bulbs. One character lives in a 9th floor loft with floor to ceiling windows. After balancing exposure to the city lights, you can see people walking on the streets, cars moving, even city hall twenty blocks away. And the image is so clean. It reminded me of a fine9
grained anamorphic film but at a light level where anamorphic would not be possible. On occasion I would put a little light into a neighboring building but it would be minimal. Even at such low light levels I could expose near a 2.8. In one scene the couple takes a candle-lit bath. I had 2 daylight balanced source 4’s with 1/2 CTO and 1/4 plus green at street level aimed at the windows 9 floors up. I chose the source 4s to keep the light out of the neighbor’s windows.
This light illuminated the ceiling, creating a cool, soft ambience to contrast the warm candles. And of course we could see city lights for miles. The candles lit the scene. As our â€œlightsâ€? could be photographed we were able to shoot our wide shot and both pieces of cross coverage simultaneously with three handheld cameras. One evening we found ourselves on the exact same street corner where I had filmed the movie KISS KISS, BANG BANG nearly ten years earlier. We had finished an interior scene and were a bit ahead of schedule. Another good friend, AD Mark Little and I were trying to figure out if there was anything we could pull up. The only possibility was a night exterior walk and talk. That said, we had about thirty minutes to get our equipment outside (one small elevator) and another forty minutes before the shooting day would be over. There were sodium vapor lights on each corner and shop windows with every variety of fluorescent fixture you could imagine. On KISS KISS we lit up as much as we reasonably could with respect to budget and time.
Shooting in low light
This turned out to be a few blocks requiring multiple condors, a lot of cable and several generators. We filmed with our fastest lenses set at their widest aperture and our fastest film stock. Even so, at a certain point our background disappeared into the darkness. I knew it would be different with the F65s so we decided to give the walk and talk a try. I began by killing a few unflattering sodium fixtures. One nearby sodium source seemed to function fairly well as a subtle backlight. The other existing sources and resulting ambience enabled us to see for miles. We keyed the actors by bouncing several 1K pars into nearby walls just out of frame. The color of the walls and some gel brought the color in line with the existing palette. On the DIT cart we corrected the sodium away from yellow/green to a more appropriate golden color. I placed a car in the deep background and used its headlights aimed toward camera as a neutral source and augmented this with a spot par. It turned out we had enough exposure to use our T2.8 zooms and we were done with the scene in twenty minutes. On both films, the financial benefits of using the F65s were far reaching. Their sensitivity allowed for the use of significantly smaller lights, which were easier and faster to position. We were also able to choose locations that might have been prohibitive with regards to additional manpower
and time. We had no rigging crew with the exception of running stingers shortly before we moved into a location. It was a generally held opinion that both NO GOOD DEED and ABOUT LAST NIGHT accomplished a schedule and budget that were otherwise unobtainable.
A Million Ways to Die in the West Last summer we filmed A MILLION WAYS TO DIE IN THE WEST in Santa Fe, New Mexico. For this project I chose to use F55s after trying them on a few commercials. The majority of AMW was shot in a period western town where the only light sources would have been fire or gas lamps. As we would be spending a significant amount of time there, I hoped to maximize
our efficiency by rigging the town in such a way that we could look in any direction at any time. That said, given the length of our schedule it would be expensive to leave the town rigged with conventional lighting units. Utilizing the sensitivity afforded by the F55 we chose to hide dozens of 25w-40w household bulbs spaced apart under the eaves and awnings.
Shooting in low light
Additionally, we would place standard fixtures in most of the rooms but the largest would be a 1-2K open face, which would then be dimmed to approximately 30-50% and/or gelled. All of these sources became our â€œhighlightsâ€? or hot points in frame. For broader areas and ambience we used bigger, softer sources. At the edges of the town we might take a maxibrute and put it through two layers of full grid,
the largest being 12'x12'. Seldom would we use more than four or five bulbs. We would aim it into the desert where it would gradually fall off. This was to simulate the glow of the town. To avoid a pitch-black background we positioned several deep condors carrying maxi-brutes and 117 gel also going through heavy diffusion.
Shooting in low light
The 117 is a cyan gel, which can be de-saturated or pushed in a more neutral direction resulting in a silvery cool color. This can either be moonlight or low-level ambience. Remember that moonlight is actually white light but for the way our eyes perceive very low light levels (the rods within our retinas being more numerous and sensitive but 15
the cones providing the eyeâ€™s color sensitivity). These sources would lift the background so we might see the surrounding hills. What was most remarkable was that these hills were often a mile away. Lastly we might put a 5K or T12 with 117 in a lift for a backlight to show as a back edge to show the texture of the town and dirt street.
Similar to my experience with the F65 cameras I found myself lighting with units much smaller than I expected. Where I might once have used a 5K I would use a 2K or even a 1K. For daylight scenes lighting was more or less the same. Emulating the sun almost always necessitates a bigger source further away to get the light beams
as parallel as possible and balancing light levels to facilitate entrances and exits to the saloon required equally larger units. That said, the cameras were more than able to handle an extreme range of contrast from hot sun to dark shadows.
Shooting in low light
...the cameras were â€œmore than able to handle an extreme range of contrast from hot sun to dark shadows.â€?
Shooting in low light
The main light source â€œwas a large campfire around which our hero and the tribe sit..â€?
One of my favorite scenes takes place at a Native American campground. Bringing equipment in was difficult to say the least. The main light source was a large campfire around which our hero and the tribe sit. Once again we lifted the background with tungsten sources diffused and gelled with 117. The largest tungsten sources were 5Ks. These lights were placed on top of nearby hills and rocks. The camera was able to hold detail in both the fire and the far away hills. For deep points of interest we added several smaller campfires also surrounded by tribe members. These fires lit up the canyon walls and provided a very nice contrast to the gelled tungsten sources.
I think our biggest challenge artistically was a long night exterior walk and talk with our hero and the woman who would soon become his love interest. The walk began at one end of the town and continued to the other end. We would look 180 degrees and it was impossible to hide any lights on the ground. I wanted as soft a key source as possible throughout the walk. As became standard, we turned on most of our pre-rigged light bulbs and practicals. We also lit our deep background as described earlier.
Shooting in low light
We would look 180 â€œdegrees and it was
impossible to hide any lights on the ground. I wanted as soft a key source as possible throughout the walk. â€?
For backlight we placed a condor with two T12s and 8'x8' light grid cloth. The unpredictable wind in New Mexico prevented any soft boxes or lights hung on cranes so to key our actors we put up seven 20'x20' muslin bounces on grade-alls placed behind the buildings. From the ground we bounced 5Ks and T12s dimmed to 30 percent. These bounces were underexposed anywhere from one to two and a half stops throughout the walk. Our hotspots and back-edge gave us enough contrast to keep things interesting.
Shooting in low light
What I most appreciate is that these â€œcameras enable a Cinematographer to reflect less on technology and more on how best to tell a story. â€?
Shooting in low light
The color rendition of both the F65 and F55 cameras is truly remarkable. Among these three films we had the widest variety of skin tones and each was accurately reproduced with the subtlest nuances. On a macro level, I found this attribute to be most evident when photographing downtown night exteriors. Even with the best of intentions to replicate the variety of colors, densities and quality found in such a setting, it is easy to run out of time creating this look with traditional units.
That the camera is able to see such low light levels and accurately reproduce these colors lends itself toward a high-end image with significantly less effort. I am curious what will be next in this family of cameras. I really canâ€™t think of anything needing improvement. What I most appreciate is that these cameras enable a Cinematographer to reflect less on technology and more on how best to tell a story.
TECHNOLOGY HIGHLIGHTS Shooting in low light
F65 8K Sensor Camera • 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 •M echanical rotary shutter (11.2˚ to 180˚) plus electronic shutter • Anamorphic 2:1 unsqueezed in viewfinder & HDSDI monitoring
F65 Recording/RAW Viewer • 16-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 • Advanced de-mosaic of 8K/6K RAW for enhanced flexibilty in VFX motion stablization, anamorphic 4:3 production, and sports broadcasting
F65 Version 3.00 • Connectivity to Sony’s DVF-EL100 •O LED 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.
F65 Version 4.00 Firmware Update • Color Grading Panel* • Live Streaming and Clip Playback on iPad** • 4K HFR 100/120p • CA-4000/BPU-4000 are the same as F55 * Tangent Device, element TK panel ** iPad application: “F65Remote Look Plus”
Editors note: For details including latest firmware updates click here
DIT By Alex Carr Iatse Local 600 DIT
...it is my duty to support the members of the camera team with any issue related to using digital cameras and getting the best performance out of the digital camera system.
I work as Digital Imaging Technician, (DIT). This position is always changing, and there are no concrete rules about responsibility or duties. It is constantly evolving into a very complex position. But not every job needs the expertise of a Digital Imaging Technician. I tend to work on the more complex movies requiring new or difficult workflows. There’s not a DIT handbook that you can read through and hope to perform the responsibilities required by Production, Cinematographer, Camera Department, Post Production, and VFX Department.
t’s always a challenge to communicate effectively between these departments and figure out what defines ‘Workflow’. Every commercial, movie and television show all have their own custom defined workflow that the Digital Imaging Technician should help to define, if it is not already in place. This article will outline what my position intends to accomplish on major motion pictures. I am a member of the camera department, and it is my duty to support the Cinematographer and the members of the camera team with any issue related to using digital cameras and getting the best performance out of the digital camera system. My position is not limited to only color and exposure. I have a background in electronics, and computer engineering. I can help to diagnose, repair, and troubleshoot many issues that can be easily resolved on the camera truck or even on set. I always carry a small electronics repair kit. I find myself repairing connectors and power cables most of the time. But, when you are shooting several thousand miles from the rental house you become much more valuable when you are saving Production money on shipping for repair of a BNC cable, XLR power cable or some simple LEMO power cables.
On my last film, Tomorrowland, we used the F65 and F55 camera systems from Keslow Camera. Keslow is able to modify their camera systems, which can streamline the camera body and create a very effective camera package. Michael Kramer is the Head of Research and Development at Keslow and answered all our problems with very professional solutions, whether it was custom brackets, power distribution accessories, or custom cables. I mention the camera rental because it is a critical part of the workflow. If you have corrupt clips from power issues, or focus issues, there is nobody to blame but lack of support. Keslow has done an amazing job with the F65 and F55 bodies and we thankfully had no issues. I would highly recommend a camera rental package from Keslow Camera in Culver City. I also prep the camera package with the assistants, and test my equipment with the cameras to seek out any issues and resolve them as quickly as possible. I will outline my equipment in this article, enjoy!
Defining the DIT
MY SETUP My current setup is custom built, from the carts down to the computer system. I use two of the Sony BVM-250 monitors, both mount on the top shelf of my cart. I keep all the video and networking electronics below where they do not interfere with monitoring. On the left I use a BVM F250, on the right I use a E250A.
I prefer the Sony BVM series monitors for my on set grading. They are spectacular monitors, with very sharp and high contrast images. I saved several profiles in each of my monitors for various purposes. The E250A is the monitor I perform all the grading on. The viewing angle is nearly 180ยบ, absolutely no color shift at all. When I had them recently calibrated, the E250A was a small fraction off of REC 709. I added 10 points to Gb, 31
and 5 points to low Gb, but still remarkably close to specification. When calibrating my F250,it was a bit farther off, but still very easy to calibrate. I spent about an hour per monitor to finely calibrate them with a Photo Research spectroradiometer. I use both monitors for monitoring multiple cameras. Otherwise I use the BVM F250 on the left for my coloring tools.
It is quite important for me to have a dark environment to work in, and still be as mobile and accommodating as possible.
I can’t be 100% sure what the shooting schedule holds, as it can change in a moment’s notice, so I have to be prepared for the worst. As a result I have created a shade that engulfs the entire top of the cart to create a dark environment without constantly needing a tent or grips to provide shade for me. I like to say this shade gets me though 95% of my environments. I have 2 waterproof tents I use when it is raining or snowing. They can provide me with a completely black environment although I prefer to move quickly and efficiently. So I use the tents only when absolutely necessary. It’s not a simple task to move efficiently while cabling cameras, VTR, cinematographer, operators, focus pullers, etc… I prefer to initially take all the camera signals into my cart. All my cables are HD/SDI bound with Ethernet Cat6 to provide camera control. Hence, I cannot give the signal first to any other departments. I cannot rely on a VTR to provide me with an Ethernet switch, so I provide output to VTR instead through x6 Digital Amplifiers routed from my BlackMagic SmartHub.
I must also provide live signal to camera operators, focus pullers, projectionists, 24 Frame Playback, and dimmer board operators. My boss is the Cinematographer, and he needs to trust the signals feeding their monitors… no delay, no softness, no processing, no strange color shifts.
Defining the DIT The dimmer board operator needs to see exactly what the Cinematographer sees, this provides an accurate and efficient way to discuss remote lighting. The camera operator needs a non-delayed signal to the remote head wheels, and the focus puller needs a sharp non-delayed image. VTR cannot always provide all of these positions with a Video Signal alone, so I hire a Utility to help us with cabling Cameras and extra monitors. I work closely with Claudio Miranda, ASC, and he prefers to have his own cart with BVM F250A, x2 Leader 5330’s, Blackmagic Router and a HME communication system. It helps him to stay remote and quiet while being able to monitor all the camera signals, playback signals and switch between the reference clips I have loaded with ExD. But the main routing is done from my cart where I have camera control and HD/ SDI routing. Routing on my cart is done with a single 16x16 BlackMagic SmartVideo Hub, and a x16 port managed ethernet switch. I have 8 dedicated inputs from SDI, x2 Dedicated from fiber optics, and the rest are loop through for Quad Split, Colorfront SDI output from my grading system, x2 HDlinkPro’s, and the Sony PC-4. 16 inputs is barely enough. Outputs from the switch are looped through HDlink inputs, 6 Digital Amplifiers, x4 guadrants in the quad split, my x2 BVM monitors, and x2 Leader 5330 monitors. From the digital amplifiers, I use one output from each DA to convert into Fiber Optics. This allows me to send or receive HD/ SDI and Ethernet over Fiber, which can be up to several thousand feet. I can connect Claudio’s cart over fiber optics so he can be wherever he wishes, sometimes even near the dimmer board operator for more complex setups. When working in movies, the next shot could be outside SDI range (300ft), and the Cinematographer would like to begin lighting that also. So, I like to provide these options to the Cinematographer, and even the Director, especially when the next shot could be on the next stage, over a thousand feet away.
Claudio Miranda, ASC with the F65
I no longer need external look boxes to create CDL values, it can all be done directly on the F65 camera and then referenced later on in a CDL or embedded in the RAW files. — Alex Carr
a dedicated FPGA on SDI1 which provided a separate output, but also CDL value manipulation! This is an incredible feature, which embeds the values into each RAW file and is exportable from the Web Interface. So you can save them, apply them to other cameras, or import them into grading software that does not read the embedded CDL values. I found this to be the most powerful and streamlined feature available in any camera system to date. I no longer need external look boxes to create CDL values, it can all be done directly on the F65 camera and then referenced later on in a CDL or embedded in the RAW files. Recently, the engineers sent me a beta build of the F65 firmware that would allow control of the CDL values through Firefox web interface directly with my Tangent Element Tk Panel.
When using Network control with the F65, I can adjust CDL values directly, change camera settings, or even black balance the camera. When the camera is 95% of the time on a Hydroscope, it helps to keep the settings remote because a DIT can be working away from the camera and sitting next to a calibrated BVM monitor. It is very difficult in my opinion to take 1 point of red out when you are looking through an eyepiece. I’m incredibly accurate when changing these values remotely with the grading monitor as my live camera monitor. I am very proud that I’ve helped the engineers at Sony develop the F65 into an amazing camera system. I had asked about changing CDL values in the F65 Remotely during Oblivion. And 4 months later, v2.2 was released which was a hardware upgrade featuring
This feature is the best. I can now precisely adjust values just as I would in Colorfront ExD during grading. This saved me hours of combined clicking and scrolling, now I can color the camera live just as Livegrade or Truelight. I’m very thankful for this feature, and I hope the functionality improves even more when it is released in April. I have two computers on my cart. One is a small 1.5RU microatx computer that is simply meant to provide camera control, I use it with Phantom, Red, Arri camera systems as well. It also has three operating systems installed so I have all the crossPlatform tools at my fingertips. I have Windows, OSX, and Debian Linux ready to run depending on my needs. It also consumes far less power than my grading setup, so I can run off battery for an extended period of time with my leaders and BVM monitors.
Defining the DIT
My grading setup is custom built all by myself. I have a background in electronics, and system building. So I built a Dual Xeon 2.7 Ghz 16 core with 64GB RAM and a Nvidia Titan. Equipped with Myricom 10Ge, Atto H680 and R6F0, and Decklink Duo. Onboard I have a x12 drive RAID setup, using 3TB drives. Using RAID 0 I was able to achieve a 36TB at 2GB/s. I required the highest speed possible to achieve fast transfers, full resolution debayer playback, and ability to work on multiple tasks. I use other drive arrays for backup, so I like to call my RAID 0 a working palette. It’s expendable, and purely for high performance. High performance raises temperatures, so to keep temperatures low while staying quiet, I've installed liquid cooling inside my grading system. It is connected to both CPU, Nvidia Titan and also the ATTO R6F0 RAID card. The radiator fits just behind the x12 drives and sends hot air from the drives through the radiator and out through the rear fans, allowing me to be very close to the action, and be very quiet while keeping average temperatures, even under full load. I can even work in hotter environments that other systems would overheat. Overall, the liquid cooling provides me a very reliable way to have a powerful setup on the set, allowing me to have Express Dailies loaded with the day’s work ready to be reviewed by the Cinematographer. Sometimes, we are shooting with multiple cameras and having the fastest transfer is the key to my entire workflow. If I can’t download efficiently and quickly, I have to keep the Cinematographer waiting. I use the Sony PC4 with Myricom 10Ge, it provides the fastest and most reliable transfer. Since the PC4 runs a very similar operating system as the SR R4, the PC4 has the highest reliability over the SR-D1. Not to mention the SR-D1 has nearly 50% less overall speed. The PC4 offers many recovery 35
options, as well as an SDI output to review clips without downloading them. I use this feature to review all the clips, check timecode, slates, and select the circle takes to download. When using the Myricom 10ge, speeds are reliably at 330MB/s download. So a full Sony 512GB card would take no longer than 25-27 minutes. The files can then be checked with the Sony RAW Viewer software. I created a bash script to create new srsum files from copied media, and then compare them to the supplied srsum file within each clip’s folder, so I can have the verify running in the background without having to use RAW Viewer manually. My script writes a log file showing proof of transfer as well as the user, date, and any errors. I tend to create the tools I need in order to keep up with the busy workflow of a movie set. For the F55 camera, I created another script that copies each clip and verifies with MD5 checksums and prints all information to another Log File. This one script saves me a massive amount of time, and if a certain clips MD5 does not match it will re-copy the data again. I use a Bash script because I can
select the argument on my right-click. It's less work for me... although, the only progress indicator are growlnotify notifications during the transfer. Not very complicated utilities, but save me a lot of distraction. I can focus on the Live Camera signal, and especially freeing up time to grade the shots in Colorfront Express Dailies. I prefer using Colorfront Express Dailies as it is the fastest way of adding CDL primaries to a set of shots. On my last movie, I would download the circle take from each card, or any takes with a lighting change. I would always view the live camera signal, which would give me a head start on quality control and to write down any lighting changes, and log clips to download. I use a Tangent Element Tk panel with Express Dailies. It fits all of my needs. I’ve been surprised by how quick ExD is to operate. All the operations are keyboard shortcuts, and the list can be viewed at any time. Customizing the interface to your needs is easily exportable and saved for quick access. ExD also has an excellent Audio AutoSync. Within your daily folder, for example 20140325 (March 25th 2014), you have several folders. Audio/ look/ emd/ and any camera formats, ≥≥F65/ F55/ REDR3d/ ALEXA/. Anything within these folders will be available to use within the software. After the media is parsed into the MySQL database, you can review all the clips at one time in a entire day timeline as individual rolls. ExD has a luxtore feature, which is a saved CDL with a .tiff screenshot from the current frame you are working on. I would then use those frames to match corrections across various angles. These Luxtores can be accessed instantly by holding the “5” Key, and then Option+UP/DOWN to browse them. I can add a Luxtore by pressing shift+pageUP, and then apply by shift+pageDOWN. This makes grading shots within a scene extremely fast without using a mouse. With the Luxtore and the Reference wiping, and all the keyboard shortcuts, I can complete the Dailies grading everyday on time before leaving the set.
I tend to create the tools I need in order to keep up with the busy workflow of a movie set. For the F55 camera, I created another script that copies each clip and verifies with MD5 checksums and prints all information to another Log File. This one script saves me a massive amount of time, and if a certain clips MD5 does not match it will re-copy the data again.
Defining the DIT
Checking audio sync, metadata, and Burn-ins are all easily accessible from the HUD interface. I would then render those select takes the next morning to use as a lighting reference while the Dailies lab would render out the entire day’s work for Editorial, Dailies, and PIX. Express Dailies is a smaller version of the OSD ‘On Set Dailies’ Software, which has quite a few more features. So typically for a movie workflow, I would inquire about a sister OSD setup in the Dailies Room to ingest all the media with Primary Color Correction for archival, RAID backup, iPad dailies, PIX dailies, and generate the editorial media with all metadata included. Every day during a movie workflow I export a set of CDL’s that can be used in any other software to translate the CDL values. However, ExD and OSD use an XML based file called EMD. This EMD allows me to include grades, LUT, transform, Burn-in, and crop with my ExD generated pdf report so that the in the Dailies and Archive Room my grades can be loaded automatically by filename. Then the Dailies Operator applies my grades to the surrounding shots in each Setup. I would simply need to note which shots had any changes from the rest and note any issues that I would come across.
On my last movie, Tomorrowland, we chose to keep the LTO Archival, and generation of editorial media off the set. This means we have to have enough F65 SR Memory® to use for up to 72 hours. This allows us to have varied working hours, and keep constant verified writes to LTO Tape and VFX RAID backup. It would be very difficult for me to be responsible for writing LTO on set, as I move my cart too often and its always dependent on the days shooting schedule. That creates an inconsistent archival environment, which I would never recommend. Even when working on commercials I always offer LTO next day after wrap. There is no point in creating a rushed LTO archival. So it’s very important to have an environment that stays consistent throughout the shooting schedule.
It’s always good to ensure that the Dailies Room will have the necessary power to run several workstations, RAID’s, and LTO Decks. LTO tapes can be written with a backup with enough time to write them in a consistent environment. It is the most critical part, tapes will need to be re-ingested if data loss occurs.
In conclusion, I strive to be prepared for any situation. My cart may be heavy… but I can move fast and be an effective DIT. A mobile coloring lab is not a lightweight setup anyway. I choose to be prepared for any situation, so maybe I push around a few extra pounds every day. It keeps me in shape! To be an efficient and helpful member of the team, it requires communication between departments, understanding and defining the "Workflow".
TECHNOLOGY HIGHLIGHTS Defining the DIT By Gary Mandle Display Product Manager
The PVM A170 and PVM A250 are the latest in the Sony PVM lineup of OLED monitors. These models are included in the reference monitor series called Trimaster EL. Both models use a 1920 x 1080 10 bit OLED panel. These models are intended for critical monitoring on set and include tools for camera alignment and general image monitoring. They are light weight so they fit well on a cart or table. Inputs are auto-setting so anything from HDMI to 3G HDSDI can be displayed. They are uniquely designed to display any errors or problems that might be in the picture. In addition, a new OLED panel design basically eliminates any off axis viewing problems. Also, with our new processor design, the image delay is minimized to less than 1/2 frame for any signal format. This relieves any requirement to have to time external audio systems to the monitor image. Included are other tools such as waveform monitor with line select and zoom functions, vectorscope, and focus assist. These models can be used with Sony’s autoalignment system that interfaces with most industry light probes. Using this system allows for quick alignments which result in very accurate images.
PVM A170 17" Trimaster EL Production Monitor •16.5" Diagonal Screen Size •OLED with 1920 x 1080 Resolution @10-Bits •High dynamic range offers accurate blacks with no clipping •3G-SDI, HDMI and Composite Inputs •Active Loop-Out for Both SDI Inputs •Dramatically improved viewing angle •OSD Waveform and Vector Scope •Camera focus assist
PVM A250 25" Trimaster EL Production Monitor •24.5" Diagonal Screen Size •OLED with 1920 x 1080 Resolution @10-Bits •High dynamic range offers accurate blacks with no clipping •3G-SDI, HDMI and Composite Inputs •Active Loop-Out for Both SDI Inputs •Dramatically improved viewing angle •OSD Waveform and Vector Scope •Camera focus assist
BVM-E250A 25" Trimaster EL E-Series Master Monitor •24.5" Diagonal Screen Size •OLED with 1920 x 1080 Resolution @10-Bits •High dynamic range offers accurate blacks with no clipping •Multiple image evaluation features Dual image display •Compatible with electronic DSC Labs camera charts •Direct LUT or ASC-CDL authoring using Filmlight Onset •2K display and DCI color gamut
BVM-E170A 17" Trimaster EL E-Series Master Monitor •16.5" Diagonal Screen Size •OLED with 1920 x 1080 Resolution @10-Bits •High dynamic range offers accurate blacks with no clipping •Internal automatic white balance (no probe needed) •Multiple image evaluation features Dual image display •Compatible with electronic DSC Labs camera charts •Direct LUT or ASC-CDL authoring using Filmlight Onset •2K display and DCI color gamut
The BVM models are our master reference series. These are considered the most accurate and stable of all or monitors. They are always correct even after extended months with no calibration. In some cases these monitors will hold calibration for more than a year. The BVM E250A and BVM E170A models include a number of tools for extremely critical monitoring. They display any format from NTSC (with optional BKM 227W decoder) to 2K cinema formats. Color gamut’s include SMPTE C, ITU-R BT709, P3/DCI, and S gamut for use with the F series cinema cameras. The monitor can be configured for single button configurations. This means that it can change from any white balance, gamut, EOTF, marker, and other items with one button click. Analysis functions include pixel zoom, gamut error alarms, 3D Checkerboard and difference display. Two inputs can be monitored and compared using side by side, wipe, and butterfly displays. The blending display is used for green screen work where composited VFX images can be placed behind live camera inputs. Using the DCS labs Chroma DuMonde charts, camera setup is a simple comparison between the electronic DSC matching file and the camera input image. On set coloring is enhanced when coupling Filmlight’s Truelight Onset. The Truelight box is eliminated and LUTs are written directly to the monitor. The BVM E170A and BVM 250A can accept ASC CDLs and user compiled 32 x 32 lattice point 3D LUTs.
Interview with MICHAEL PRICE, DP of Trophy Wife Story produced by Peter Crithary
Sony: Tell me about your shows and what equipment you’re using. Michael Price: Trophy Wife is my third project with the Sony F55 cameras. I’m currently on a pilot with the F55s, and then shooting two other projects till July. You could say I’ve fallen in love with these cameras.
What’s the pilot you’re doing now? It’s called The Mason Twins, produced by ABC Television for NBC. Trophy Wife is an ABC Television series for ABC. In fact, this was the first time we were able to use the F55 cameras with ABC Television. They had never used them before. We showed them footage and the workflow and they were sold.
What lens package are you using?
We carry two pairs of lightweight ARRI/Fujinon Alura zoom lenses, the 15.5-45 T2.8 and the 30-80 T2.8, and a pair of Angenieux Optimo 12:1 24-290 T2.8 zooms. These days, production is really pushing for 11 hours to be the new 12 hour day and 3 cameras are becoming the new single camera show. It’s gotten so much more fast-paced in the last several years that we’ve added a third camera to stay ahead.
Do you use prime lenses?
No, I haven’t used primes for quite some time. We started using the new short zooms for Steadicam and handheld, but the Aluras are so well made and the picture so beautiful, they’ve become our primary lenses. We want the audience to feel like they’re a part of our ensemble cast, and the short zooms get the cameras closer to the actors. In close quarters, there’s a real difference in the composition when the front of a big zoom lens is a foot and a half from the film plane. The last time I used primes for episodic was about a dozen years ago on Gilmore Girls and within a week, we switched to the ARRI/ ZEISS Variable Primes, which were the only short zooms available at the time. Because it’s TV, you just don’t have time to change prime lenses, and with the low light sensitivity of the F55, the wide f-stops of a prime aren’t as important as they once were.
In fact, this was the first time we were able to use the F55 cameras with ABC Television. They had never used them before. We showed them footage and the workflow and they were sold.
What rental house are you
getting the equipment from? Clairmont Camera. When camera and lens manufacturers go to these guys for advice, you know you’re getting the best gear and experience to support it.
When you said 3 cameras are
becoming the new norm, how are they shooting? It’s always different. There’s a lot of improv in comedy and you want to capture all of it immediately. Most of our coverage is cross covered. In every setup, all the cameras are working, sometimes in two camera cross coverage with a Steadicam master or all three covering different actors. On occasion if three actors are talking, facing each other, we’ll split their looks, go longer lens and put a camera on each actor. It kind of looks like the cameras are shooting each other; they’re not, but capturing those comedic moments when they happen is most important.
Tell me more about the F55.
You’re recording in what format, what resolution and so on? We are recording XAVC™ internally on SxS cards and the format is full HD. We’re basically driving a Ferrari on surface streets. Essentially, we’re using the best 4K sensor and recording in HD, one of the lowest resolutions possible of the F55, but the advantage is how great it looks.
A re you archiving anything in 4K?
Not yet. ABC Studios hasn’t required 4K delivery or archives at this point like they have at Sony Television, Hulu, Amazon and Netflix. But I imagine it’s just a matter of time—probably within the next season or two.
You mentioned the Ferrari
on the surface streets, a car analogy that will make Denny Clairmont smile. Why are you using the Ferrari, the F55? For a number of reasons. I’d say about a year ago, before I started using the F55s, I loved the Alexas. They were my go-to camera for the last three years for everything. Last year I was shooting a pilot with director Troy Miller for Dakota Pictures and he had just finished Arrested Development for Netflix, shooting with the RED in 4K and 5K. He said he was looking for a small 4K camera for a Hulu project called Deadbeats. He wanted a simpler post workflow, so we started searching for the best 4K option. Sadly, the Alexa was out because it has no 4K capabilities, same with most DSLRs. We tried the Canon C300 and C500, but they didn’t seem very ergonomic when you added the recorder and the battery and the power distribution. Then I went to AbelCine to check out the F55. When I first saw it, it was this perfect little box of a camera with everything in it, everything you ever need. The 4K RAW recorder just clicks on and doesn’t affect the size or weight significantly, and the picture is amazing.
What about the F55’s low light capabilities?
My biggest issue with digital cameras is trusting their low light sensitivity. I have yet to work with a camera that I felt comfortable shooting over 2000 ISO. We shot some low light tests with the F55 that were impressive, but I was reluctant to experiment with its sensitivity, but then I got into a pinch. One night on Ventura Boulevard, we had a small splinter unit shooting establishing shots and car drive-bys, and all of a sudden we see the principle actors drive up in a van. The AD tells me the actors are going to pull over and that some dialogue was added while sitting in the car. I tell him I don’t have any lights, he looks at me, I look at him, and after a
...I went to AbelCine to check out the F55. When I first saw it, it was this perfect little box of a camera with everything in it, everything you ever need.
brief pause, we ended up lighting the scene with a couple of assistant’s flashlights through pieces of diffusion that our resourceful Key Grip, Kevin Ball came up with. So it’s nighttime and we’re at 3000 ISO, wide open and the footage came out amazing. Now we regularly shoot the F55 at 3000 ISO, and it’s the first camera where I can actually plan on using available light, not just to bump up they background, but at times, for the main source.
Now we regularly shoot the F55 at 3000 ISO, and it’s the first camera where I can actually plan on using available lights...
One scene in a high school janitor’s closet, all the lights go out on our actor couple. The writer and director wanted a completely black scene and have the actor follow the dialogue by shining his practical cell phone at his wife and himself. My fingernails got shorter that night, but I was totally amazed how great it looked, but more importantly, how funny it played. We experimented with one scene shooting at 5000 ISO, since it was just for playback on a TV in another scene. When we finished setting up, I went to the DIT station to remind the camera assistants to put the cameras at 5000 because I’m looking at a great picture and Heather LeRoy, our A camera first AC, graciously replies that the cameras are already at 5000. The picture was so clean, no noise in the blacks, though a little too bright… we had to stop down the lens because lighting to 5000 ISO is a challenge. Also, no more re-lighting when the director says let’s go to high speed. We just bump up the ISO without even a worry of noise because the black levels never rise up into a milky gray and don’t become dirty or noisy at all.
COMMENTS FROM THE CREW ABOUT THE F55 Heather Lea LeRoy, A camera 1st AC:
How are you rating in the studio? The F55 is native 1250 ISO. It took a while to adjust my eye from shooting film. For years I could usually light a set by eye to a 2.8 at 320 ASA and get close. Now my Gaffer Jeff Hall and I are frequently amazed how little light we need for 1250, let alone 3000 ISO. Sometimes while covering a scene with three cameras, we’ll bump up the ISO on a camera if the lighting looks great for two cameras, but the third one needs just a little more luminance without affecting the other cameras. I’m not sure if Sony approves, but on occasions, I’ve had an operator turn up the ISO while shooting cause it’s so easy for them change it on the fly. Our first ACs, Heather, Darrrell Herrington and Mark Sasabuchi love this camera cause we can bump up the ISO for a little extra depth of field for inserts, speed changes and when we add a doubler for a really long lens shot. The internal ND filter wheel is really useful outside to quickly choose the right depth of field for the shot while avoiding additional glass in front.
You said many shows are shooting in HD, but the future is 4K. Do you want to expand on what direction your world is going?
I like its light weight and small size. It can be accessorized easily so that you can get everything you need on the camera, and can be adjusted easily depending on the situation. It can go from full on studio mode to tiny little hand held camera for tight spaces. We recently shot on an airplane and I was able to slim the camera down to fit in a small space and get the shots that we needed. I like that formatting the cards is a multistep process. It doesn't take very long, but the steps prevent you from accidentally formatting.
Scott Boettle, A camera operator:
Size and weight make it good for handheld, work menus are intuitive and very easy to use. Changing ISO, color temp and most other camera functions are just a button push away. Charges my phone (on-board USB connector).
4K television is inevitable and I think all the networks will eventually require 4K delivery. Right now it’s a bandwidth problem. But, that’s the same issue they had twenty years ago with HD, and it’s something that will probably be solved sooner than later. And it’s also a content problem. I think for archiving, the studios will start requiring 4K because they can future-proof the syndication of their shows. Right now, how many shows do you watch that are in 4:3 format? Content providers 46
like Hulu, Amazon and Netflix need content they can stream over and over for many years, well past the 4K transition. And the studios won’t get as much money for their syndicated shows if they don’t capture or at least archive in 4K soon. Seems to me that the smart move is to shoot 4K with the F55 cause it’s the most economic choice and, besides the Sony F65, it’s one of the few 4K cameras currently approved as the main camera on regular network series that I know of. Also the future costs of uprezzing HD images and rescanning and remastering of film can be avoided if you shoot in native 4K.
On your show, why doesn’t
somebody just archive it in 4K? It’s a first season show with an unknown future, and we were just able to use these cameras for the first time. I think these are baby steps into 4K. Sometimes
technology changes quickly, sometimes more slow. Four years ago, we couldn’t use data cards because the networks were unsure of cards and wanted to capture the image on tape. But then the Japanese Tsunami hit and tape was scarce. That immediately changed things and the studios and networks didn’t want tape and everything had to be captured on cards. So 4K is a transition that’ll eventually happen.
Do you have an on-set DIT as well?
Yes. Andrew Osborne is our amazing DIT. He uses Technicolor’s DP Lights color correction system to set LUTs. I usually don’t sit with Andrew at his station; he’s got everything under control. I sit with the Director. It’s like the old film days when the DP collaborated with the Director while watching the same monitor and sharing notes.
So you’re at video village and since you’re
shooting multiple cameras, you’re watching multiple monitors? We watch on three 17-inch Panasonic monitors. It’s tough sometimes when there’s a lot of action and banter because you can see the Director going back and forth between three monitors. It’s like watching a 3 player tennis match.
Are you doing any corrections from
the video village for exposure or color matching? No. I’ve had the same village monitors for 10 years and I can gauge from what I’m seeing on them, so I don’t have to go back and forth to the DIT tent very often. Andrew at his station has two Sony 20inch HD CRT monitors and Leader waveform monitors so he can set all the exposures. I still love the Sony HD CRTs because I feel that they still have the best rendition of what I’m shooting. I’ll talk to him about the color and feel before the scene and he’ll color and match all the cameras. Chris Connolly, our Post Producer, set up a great dailies system where the SxS cards are downloaded and delivered with the LUTs to our on-site colorist, Alex Garcia from EPS/Cineworks, upstairs in our Post Production office. With our dailies produced onsite they’re sent to the editors next door and I can monitor their final look.
And then where do you do final grading? We do the final color grading at Technicolor with Mark Wilkins on Monday nights after work. I’ve never not personally color timed a show in all the hundreds of hours of TV I’ve shot. I’ve been working with Mark since Ugly Betty and he loves the F55s. In fact he was in charge of the final coloring of a CBS test for three of their shows. They were switching from film to digital and they tested the F55. Mark said the choice was very obvious to everybody in the room that the F55’s rendition of the color, the skin tones and the overall clean image made it a clear winner. He said it’s just a really well balanced film-look, with great highlight control, clean color separation, and fantastic range. CBS is shooting with F55s now.
At Technicolor, if I remember correctly,
they’re using DaVinci for final grading? Mark and I are in sync with the DaVinci so we’re really happy with what it does for us.
COMMENTS FROM THE CREW ABOUT THE F55 Andrew Osbourne, On-set DIT: That’s an easy one as these little cams are little powerhouses! • Amazing color reproduction, rich blacks, great contrast & dynamic range slog w/14 stops of exposure • Incredibly versatile (MPEG, XAVC, HDCAM SR® & QFHD) files to full lossless/RAW 4K with many workflow options between including proxy files, SxS cards with multiple formats & codecs & expandable to on board SSD (forget codex!) XAVC is an amazing new modern file format as well. • Small, robust, plenty of interfacing options for DIT & assistants both. Modular design is great! • Cameras hold color balance amazingly well which help my task of matching (3) cameras, in the field, reasonable under tight deadlines. • Corporate in field assistance & tech support is fantastic, something that ARRI, Canon, Panasonic & RED envy! It’s pretty endless really. I love these cameras.
John Hankammer, Steadicam operator / B camera operator: • Lighter than the Alexa. • Boots up quicker than Red and Alexa. • Isn’t as power-hungry as other HD cameras I’ve used.
Getting back to the cameras
from Clairmont. How do you have them outfitted? They’re pretty much off the shelf. That’s the nice part about them. They’re pretty standard. Clairmont did modify the Alura lenses. They remachined and installed lens supports because we use them a lot. Eventually I want to try my Canon still camera lenses on the F55s, since you just change the mount. I think it’s really great, but the ACs will hate it because there’s no follow focus gearing on my Canons.
Are you using filters? We wanted the show to be a little more beautiful than the standard family comedy. So all the cameras always have a Schneider 1/4 Black Frost filter in front on the lens. We tested frosts and mists, white and black, in front of the lens, behind the lens, and we found that the Black Frost in front gives a beautiful creaminess to the skin tones and lends overall softness to the picture, but the highlights don’t bloom as much as the white diffusions.
How do you go from dolly to handheld to Steadicam?
One problem to avoid with 3 cameras is that your shots can get really static because you can only be in so many places. So we end up doing a lot of our masters with John Hankammer and his magical Steadicam. He’ll follow the actors around the set and the other cameras can get close ups or maybe get a nice bit of coverage when they land. It’s not uncommon for handheld cameras to be hiding around walls waiting to slip out for their coverage. These cameras are tiny, so hiding is simple. I like to use Steadicam because of the speed and the main theme these days is speed. Depending on the scene, the other cameras are usually hand held or ride on Hustler dollies with Grip Factory Munich jib arms from Christian Hurley at TCC. The jibs gives us the flexibility of handheld with the fluidity of 49
Steadicam. We can easily adjust for any improv, and quickly go way high or on the deck, and you can also get the cameras much closer than two dollies could for double coverage. The grips love them.
And with all this moving
Your camera and grip package
Our operators, Scott Boettle, John, and Robert Smith use onboard Transvideos. With the jib arms and sliders, the operators are moving so much that the monitors are the best way to go. The jibs are tough sometimes, like when you want to tilt up quickly the jib wants to arm down as you push down on the head, but these guys have it down. The viewfinders are for handheld.
goes from show to show?
We’re basically using the same camera and grip package from Trophy Wife now on The Mason Twins because it’s a proven combination that works really well for us. Our Director, Robbie McNeill, really liked the look, the simplicity, and the speed. The first couple of weeks on Trophy Wife, Dan Kaplow, our Producer, and Bob Del Valle, our UPM, really trusted us with the 3 camera concept and gave us what we needed. It was gratifying when we showed them that the extra equipment and manpower paid for themselves in shorter hours. There’s not many things on a budget ledger that a producer can point to and say this piece of gear will make my days shorter. And just as important, I think the extra camera helps with the comedy. If the actors know we’re covering them from the top to the bottom of the scene with the three cameras they can bring the funny stuff at anytime and we capture it. We’re doing a lot of alternate takes, a lot of spontaneity and a lot of improv. So we want to catch all of that. We can easily move with the actors using Steadicam or handheld or with the 6 foot jib arms moving left and right six feet. On the dolly, we use sliders to adjust left and right 2 to 3 feet. Even with 3 cameras, we’re very fluid. After lunch we’re going back to a scene that’s two and a half pages and we’re shooting it in basically one setup. The cameras and the actors move all over the room, with the Steadicam doing the master and the other cameras on dollies rolling down track getting 2 shots, coverage, crossing and so on. It can be a real puzzle when you include the lighting, but for comedy, keeping the flow for the actors, I think, keeps them in their zone from the start of the scene to the end of the scene, and they love it.
camera, are the operators using viewfinders or little monitors?
And you must have some good focus pullers?
The best, but we never see them. [laugh] I was surprised by an assistant on a job I did in Chicago several summers ago when he gave me a list of everything he needed to pull focus. We got him a Preston FIZ system and a small monitor and I never saw him for the rest of the show. Since then, it seems, the first AC’s role on-set has changed. They have their own monitors, off in their own video village, and surprisingly, it works really well. Especially when you have three cameras in a room with all the actors, grips and Steadicam, having those three camera assistants off the set viewing their own monitors and seeing exactly what their operators are seeing is helpful. Now, I think it’s a great system.
...the F55’s rendition of the color, the skin tones and the overall clean image made it a clear winner.
Trophy Wife Wife Trophy
Since then, it seems, the first AC’s role on-set has changed. They have their own monitors, off in their own video village, and surprisingly, it works really well.
With this new mode of focus pulling, how
are they able to judge distances? I assume there’s been a rehearsal? Yes, that part hasn’t really changed. But, now, instead of running tape measures, they just run through the rehearsal with the second team and they put marks on their dials. They sit in chairs and they just eyeball with these big monitors. We’ve got them big TV Logic 15-inch screens. They increase the contrast on the monitors and when the actors move they just pull focus, looking at the monitor. I’m still not sure how they do it.
So there goes that theory of the need for a three dimensional space to do focus pulling properly?
I was not convinced of this either, especially since I always try to trim camera costs and this system probably added another $2000 a week to my camera package. But now I’m sold. You can’t beat the speed if you want to make a change. I’ve probably seen a tape measure only half a dozen times during the whole season and it’s just as sharp
Why does it add that much money to the
package? What are they getting that they didn’t have before? You need 3 additional monitors, 3 complete Preston FIZ systems, 3 complete sets of lens motors. And then, we also have 3 sets of Cinematography Electronics Cine Tapes.
The Cine Tapes are displaying their readouts next to the monitors?
COMMENTS FROM THE CREW ABOUT THE F55
Michael Price, DP • Cleanest image. • Greatest, useable exposure range (ISO) from any camera (film / digital) I’ve used. (Shot a scene at 3000 ISO with a flashlight, and another with a cell phone screen as a key light) • On-board ND filter wheel • Compact, tiny body • Modular design (4K RAW module) clean simple, integrated design, easily removed as needed. (Sound connection module — can be removed as needed.) (Power distribution module) • XLR external electric connectors are vulnerable to breakage (for all cameras), this module can be easily replace without sending the whole body in for repair. • Amazing price point for an incredible 4K camera. • Approved by TV networks and studios. • Simple and familiar post workflow.
Right, the readout is velcroed to the monitors. Forget about shots being soft ever again. When I was a focus puller, after a take, you were diving for your depth of field wheel, hoping you got it within the circle of confusion, or you had to ask the operator to confirm it was sharp or quickly ask for another take and endure many sleepless nights. [laugh]
Trophy Wife Trophy Wife
Tell me about your background. Where did you grow up? How did you get started and how did you move up?
I AC’d and operated for many years mostly with Shelly Johnson, ASC. Then I started shooting independent features. One film went to the Toronto Film Festival while I was operating on Gilmore Girls that my friend Ron Garcia, ASC was shooting at the time. When he left to do a feature, he convinced production to bump me up, and I’m forever grateful for that. I shot that for 75 episodes and then just started shooting more and more TV. I shot mostly hour long shows like Ugly Betty and October Road, and lately I’ve shot a string of half-hour comedies.
I grew up in Miami and we had a camera that used the big, disposable flash cube on top, and that’s probably as close to photography as I got. I went to school in Boulder for Environmental Design and Architecture and we were required to take a Fine Arts elective. Everybody was taking sculpture or drawing or painting and I took beginning filmmaking, which totally screwed up my career as an architect.
...I started exploring the F55 and I ended up buying three F55s instead.
Where do you live now? We’re in La Cañada, which is up in the mountains north of Pasadena.
A nd do you own your own equipment as well?
Yes. Last year I was about to lay down a chunk of change for a fully outfitted Alexa and then I started exploring the F55 and I ended up buying three F55s instead.
Do you have the onboard RAW
And you have the OLED viewfinders?
Yes, love the OLED viewfinders and the monitors. Sad thing about my Sony CRTs is that parts don’t exist to fix them so, they’ll be extinct eventually. As a test, we put the new Sony 25" OLED next to my HD CRTs for a couple days, cause I’m really picky about getting the picture the way I want it rendered — they are very impressive, the best match to my CRTs so far. When my CRTs go down, I’ll be buying one of those.
recorder for the F55?
Some day you’ll have to move
No, because ABC didn’t commit to 4K this season, but as soon as they do, I’ll be knocking on Sony’s door for three of those.
I know. Well it’s just like film. One day I had to go digital. That’s like 4K too — inevitable.
on to an OLED display.
How long ago were you
shooting film for these shows? The last show I shot on 35 mm film was Ugly Betty in New York in 2009. I was nominated for an ASC award for that one, and the other time I was nominated was for Happy Endings. Since it was a Sony produced show, they wanted to shoot the second season finale in 3D. So, we used 3ality 3D rigs outfitted with Sony F3s. I was nominated for the 2D version and the 3D never aired, but that’s when I fell in love with the Sony look.
What are you doing for
handheld? What kind of rig? When we get into a big ensemble scene with 6 or 8 or however many people, we go handheld so it feels more intimate. Our handheld mode isn’t shakey or zoomy. We just get in there like one of the characters and cover the action as if we’re a part of the group. We use the ARRI accessories for the F55 which are great. The shoulder pad and the handles system are simple and well thought out. ARRI also has the best baseplate and top handles and bracketry.
Do you have a wish list of things you’d like Sony to improve on the F55?
A month ago I would have asked for a more secure ND filter wheel and faster frame rates, but the last hardware and software update solved both those issues. I also hope that Sony provides a 4:3 sensor someday. This would be helpful for shooting anamorphic, because yes, you can do it now but it crops top and bottom a little bit. It’s not a huge deal. But it is a minor thing.
What trends do you see coming?
I actually had a discussion with someone the other day and they said streaming 4K was unfeasible and what’s the point of 4K archiving. Then I Googled what people were talking about in the mid-90s about HD. They were saying no way to HD, never going to happen. Warner Brothers was smart in the early 1990s, when we were required to use their special ground glass lines to frame for 16:9 and they were the first ones I worked with to say this HD is going to happen. Nobody could figure out why they were requiring us to protect for 16:9 and that’s what people are saying now about studios requiring 4K archiving.
I think HD was finally
approved in France just a few years ago. I read an article that NHK is already shooting 8K.
NHK in Japan is working on it. The Tokyo Olympics in 2020 are going to be in 8K.
Televison screens are trending bigger, much bigger. Eventually we’ll have these massive screens of video like the “parlor walls” in Fahrenheit 451 that will line our living room walls.
Interviews with three of
HOLLYWOOD’S LEADING COLORISTS about the new S-Log3/S-Gamut3.Cine
A conversation with Curtis Clark, ASC, Scott Ostrowsky, Sony Pictures Colorworks, Jason Fabbro, Technicolor and Walter Volpatto, FotoKem
With an introduction by Curtis Clark, ASC
or those filmmakers who want the simplicity and convenience of an Alexa ProRes workflow, but with the advantage of 4K resolution, Sony’s 4K XAVC™ encoded with the new S-Log3 combined with the new S-Gamut3.Cine offers an excellent image recording alternative. S-Log3/S-Gamut3.Cine also provides a simple, quick and effective log-based color grading space which works well for grading directly to both DCI-P3 (for digital cinema color mastering) and Rec.709 (for HD color mastering) without necessarily using a color space conversion or Look Profile LUT. For those who would like to use a Rec.709 color space conversion LUT, Sony has made one available.
The following interviews are with expert colorists from three different post facilities who have color graded F55 4K XAVC S-Log3/S-Gamut3.Cine footage that I recently shot with close support from Sonyâ€™s Digital Motion Picture Center colleagues, Kazuo Endo, Simon Marsh and Dhanendra Patel. These scenes were shot at night on Hollywood Boulevard using available light consisting of an extensive array of mixed color lighting sources, along with an especially wide dynamic range of scene tones (in excess of 14 stops). These scenes were selected because they present a significant set of challenges with which to assess camera performance concerning color reproduction (especially using such a wide range of color temperatures sources, including neon colored lights), in conjunction with an exceptionally wide dynamic range of scene tones. In addition to color reproduction, these scenes enabled us to evaluate the reproduction of tonal contrast, as well as spatial resolution. As you will read in the following interviews, F55 4K XAVC S-Log3/S-Gamut3.Cine images provide excellent color and tonal contrast reproduction with tremendous flexibility in grading both shadow and highlight details, as well as mid tones. With carefully controlled exposures using XAVC S-Log3/S-Gamut3.Cine, the cinematographer can safely extend the effective Exposure Index (EI) of the F55 from 1250 to 2000, thereby further extending the reach of highlight detail reproduction without necessarily sacrificing reproduction of excellent shadow detail. It is also important to note that the images were especially clean even at 2000 EI.
4K XAVC S-Log3/S-Gamut3.Cine (1250EI, T4.0 Ungraded)
4K XAVC S-Log3/S-Gamut3.Cine (1250EI, T4.0 Graded)
4K XAVC S-Log3/S-Gamut3.Cine (2500EI, T5.6 Ungraded)
4K XAVC S-Log3/S-Gamut3.Cine (2500EI, T5.6 Graded)
Jason Fabbro, Technicolor
CURTIS: Now that you’ve had a chance to color grade the footage that I shot with the F55 using the new S-Log3 and S-Gamut3.Cine with 4K XAVC image recording, can you give us your impressions about this new option as a working space for color grading?
JASON: S-Log3/S-Gamut3.Cine came in wonderfully. I mean, we pretty much didn’t have to do anything when it came in. I think we just mainly did minor contrast adjustments.
WALTER: You look at the material, you look at the skin tones, your primaries, they fall where they should. There is no twisting and turning the hue of the color. It just works.
SCOTT: S-Log3 with the F55, it is beautiful. Everything is there.
WALTER: Even if I reset everything, even just the very simple tonal mapping that I decide that is good for this particular shot, it takes me five seconds. I’m there.
CURTIS: I noticed how fast that was.
WALTER: Yeah, it makes everything very easy at that point. The simplicity of the workflow to have the ability during shooting to have one (on-set look management) box where the material can have a look. The look can then be coordinated with the final platform, either with Pablo or Resolve and all the CDL information will track across. Right here, in the color grading suite, we review the look, we review the decision made on the set, during the shooting and it’s then just a matter of fine-tuning. We don’t have to reinvent the color correction every time. If I want to use one word to describe the new S-Log3 logarithmic mapping, I will use “more balanced”. The distribution between the midtones, the shadows and the highlights is much more linear so it has better distribution of those codes values (than S-Log2).
CURTIS: So more of a pure log encoding?
WALTER: More of a pure log encoding. When I’m going down and grabbing the shadows, I’m really grabbing the shadows without too much effort. The color corrector can just grab them and I can bring them where I want it. And the same for the highlights. Especially for the highlights, you never
feel that you are clipping or you are crushing too much to the point that you don’t have detail. It feels more like a film camera.
JASON: Both S-Log2 and S-Log3 have plenty of range. I just found that the S-Log3 came in a lot easier. With S-Log2 I had to do a lot more work. You just need to do a little bigger adjustment to get it into a nice working space. Whereas with the S-Log3, it’s already there. That big adjustment has already been done for me. So that’s the biggest difference I see between the two. I mean they both have great range. S-Log2 takes maybe a little more work than S-Log3.
WALTER: The color mapping, the gamut (S-Gamut3.Cine), it’s really, really good. It goes in, it looks right. I don’t have to do any extra color correction to get it. I don’t have to do a color management to try to bring those primaries in either by eye or by math. I can just start to color. And that’s a great advantage from the colorist’s point of view because you can sit with your DP, Director and just be creative instead of trying to manage in science before you do anything creative.
Introduction to colorist S-Log3/S-Gamut3.Cine
Scott Ostrowsky, Sony Pictures Colorworks
CURTIS: No remedial work. Just actually creative work?
WALTER: Yeah. There is less color space manipulation and more just having fun with the DP.
CURTIS: Which is the way it should be.
WALTER: Yeah. JASON: When you brought in the S-Log3/ S-Gamut3.Cine footage, we pretty much were able to land in a really good place from the beginning. I think we just did a little contrast adjustment, a little saturation adjustment, but they were pretty minor adjustments overall. The image looked pretty good from the get go.
SCOTT: You could bring out every little nuance of detail of color and especially in the 4K range. The beauty of the image is that the resolution is all there, but it’s not harsh; it’s natural. It gives a really nice roll off, but yet if you want to really dig something out, you can dig it out without having to fight the image. This current shot (projected on the screen), there’s one grade on it and it’s going from bright whites to deep blacks.
CURTIS: Like the Mary Poppins sign… you’re seeing all the detail in that very bright highlight.
SCOTT: The Poppins sign. But when the camera pans away from the bright highlights, you’re able to look down the street with its very wide dynamic range of scene tones and you see everything.
JASON: Yeah, I remember actually one of the shots where we were panning across Hollywood Boulevard, you could see down an alley that wasn’t lit at all. And you could pretty much see a lot of shadow detail there and there were people in the buildings, which we could see walking around. There was a lot of range in there. I think you actually had me pull the shadow detail down in the alley. There was quite a bit of dynamic range, which is always the way you want to start. You want to have more image information, so if you eventually want to throw it out then that’s great.
4K XAVC S-Log3/S-Gamut3.Cine (1250EI, T4.0 Ungraded)
4K XAVC S-Log3/S-Gamut3.Cine (1250EI, T4.0 Graded) 62
Introduction to colorist S-Log3/S-Gamut3.Cine
CURTIS: How does F55 4K XAVC with S-Log3/S-Gamut3.Cine compare with F55 RAW?
WALTER: There’s definitely a benefit to shooting RAW, which everybody knows about, but in a low budget environment, you can’t necessarily take advantage of those benefits because the cost is too much. So I think the XAVC would definitely be easier for a lower budget production to deal with than RAW. Since the file size is much smaller you’re not having these huge files to deal with. The smaller files are much easier to move around, easier to bring in here. I can get files and start working directly with them… Right here in the color corrector.
Walter Volpatto, FotoKem
CURTIS: How does F55 4K XAVC with S-Log3/S-Gamut3.Cine compare with film?
WALTER: I come traditionally from film school therefore I like to work with a filmic tonal range with a film lookup table. And I like when images from a digital camera can be ingested and used as a log underneath, a simple color tool to give me a tonal range. They mimic a logarithmic (film) stock that I like.
WALTER: I think it’s a great way to work because it gives the cinematographer a camera that feels like a film stock and they don’t have to think about the technology.
SCOTT: What Sony is doing with the F55 and with S-Log3/S-Gamut3.Cine is they’re giving us the ability to capture images in their purest form.
SCOTT: With the S-Log3, I find it captures the dark areas, it captures the light areas. There’s no clipping or compression of the highlight areas.
Center Scan Mode — DOUBLING THE FOCAL LENGTH of your lenses FOR FREE By Doug Jensen, Vortex Media.com
At the end of December 2013, Sony released the version 3 firmware update for their F5 and F55 cameras. When I installed the update on my F55, I discovered that a great new feature called “Center Scan Mode” has significantly increased the flexibility and performance of my F55 as well as every single lens I own. First of all, what is the Center Scan mode? Well, rather than spending a bunch of time explaining all the technical stuff behind it, because that’s not the point of this article, here’s the Cliff’s Notes version to get you up to speed.
The F55 and F5 both have 4K CMOS image sensors
with 4096 pixels horizontally and 2160 pixels vertically. That’s a lot of pixels!
When you’re shooting with one of the 4K formats, all of those pixels are recorded as a 4096 x 2160 4K video clip. And when you’re shooting with a 2K format or an HD format, the camera takes nearly the whole 4K image of the full sensor and down-rezzes it on the fly to a file with smaller dimensions. For HD recording the 4096 x 2160 image becomes a 1920 x 1080 file, and for 2K the image is scaled down to a 2048 x 1080 file. If you look carefully at those numbers you’ll notice that some pixels get cropped off the sides of the HD clip because 4K has a 17:9 aspect ratio and HD has a 16:9 ratio. But I’m going to ignore that aspect ratio difference right now because it really doesn’t matter for the subject of this article. Resizing the full-frame image from 4K to either HD or 2K is not called cropping because nearly the entire image being produced by the 4K sensor is included within the image that’s being recorded. But suppose that instead of taking the whole 4K image and shrinking it down to HD or 2K, what if we just took the center of the image and ignored all the rest of the pixels around the perimeter? That’s essentially what Center Scan mode is all about. For example, when shooting with an HD format with Center Scan turned on, the camera will record only the 1920 x 1080 pixels at the very center of the sensor and ignore all the rest of the image.
That’s essentially what Center Scan Mode is all about.
This function is very different from cameras that have a “digital extender” mode. For example, a 2x digital extender merely electronically blowsup the center 960 x 540 pixel area of an HD sensor to create a quasi 1920 x 1080 image that has been magnified 2x — and does not produce very good results. In fact, I once conducted some tests comparing the 2x digital extender function of my PDW-F800 to simply rescaling the normal image 200% in post, and the results were about the same. The Center Scan mode is not a digital extender because the camera is still capturing 1920 x 1080 pixels at the center of a 4096 x 2160 sensor. Nothing is being magnified or enlarged with Center Scan. When using 2K Center Scan you do not need to use the optional CBK-55F2K Optical Low Pass Filter. Center Scan supports recording with 2K/HD XAVC, HD MPEG50, HDCAM SR, 2K RAW with AXS-R5 RAW recorder. S&Q is available in XAVC and 2K RAW.
So what are the advantages of Center Scan Mode? Well there are two. First of all, it now makes it possible to use super 16mm lenses and B4 2/3" ENG lenses on your camera whenever you’re shooting with an HD or a 2K format. Now, you’re still going to need an adapter to mount those lenses, but there are a number of quality S16 adapters to choose from and the Sony (LA-FZB1) B4 lens adapter. The second advantage of the Center Scan mode is the one that really excites me. Basically it gives you the equivalent of a 2x optical extender with no loss of light, no loss of sharpness — for free.
Image courtesy of AlanGordon.com
Super-16 lenses B4 2/3" lenses B4 lens shown with the Sony LA-FZB1 adapter. LA series are for 4K Super 35mm resolution.
B4S16PL Adapter • B4 2/3" lens adapter for F5 & F55 2K-Center Scan operation • Minimal light loss; approximately 0.5 T-Stop • Features high-quality optics; no image degradation • Low weight, & small size, for comfortable camera operation B4 lens shown with B4S16PL adapter is for 2K-Center Scan operation
• Lenses with Hirose 12-pin must use optional LAFZPL12P adapter • For 4K recording with B4 lenses use the Sony LA-FZB1 or LA-FZB2 lens adapters
And what that means to me personally is that I just doubled my collection of lenses.
Every lens I own now has 2x focal length boost anytime I need it â€” with no negative side effects.
For example, my f/2.0 75mm Cine-Xenar prime just became a f/2.0 150mm lens.
My Zeiss LWZ f/2.6 15.5 - 45mm zoom just became a f/2.6 31 - 90mm zoom.
For news, documentary, and wildlife shooters this is a huge advantage to be able to instantly double the focal length of any lens by simply changing a menu setting. Any PL or SLR lens will work for Center Scan, but you must start with a 4K sensor, and thatâ€™s where other cameras fall short. 70
So that all sounds good on paper, but I wanted to do my own testing of the Center Scan mode to see if it really is as good as Sony claims. As someone who has written and produced a lot of independent training videos and books for Sony camcorders (www.VortexMedia.com), itâ€™s in my DNA to test everything myself and not take anything at face value. Youâ€™d be amazed at what you can learn from doing some controlled testing and careful analysis of various camera functions and settings.
Iâ€™m happy to say that Center Scan exceeded my expectations and passed my tests with flying colors.
You can view the tests at http://vimeo.com/82808203
In the first test, I wanted to see if the Center Scan mode really was just a center cut from the middle of the picture or if something else was going on. So I shot two identical clips of this Campbell’s chart from DSC Labs.
TEST 1 One clip was shot with the camera’s normal XAVC HD recording mode that captures the entire 4K image of the sensor.
The second was recorded with the camera’s Center Scan mode.
Then I overlaid the two clips onto two tracks in Adobeâ€™s Premiere Pro
and rescaled the Center Scan clip to exactly 50% in the center of the screen to see if it matched. And it did, perfectly.
T he exposure was exactly the same, the dimensions were exactly the same with no image distortion and the resolution looked perfect to my eyes. I did a wipe move across the screen, but I couldnâ€™t even see it moving because the images matched so perfectly. In the frame grab below, I have purposely adjusted the brightness of the Center Scan clip so you can see it better... otherwise the seam would be invisible.
In the second test, I wanted to see if a single lens really could pull double duty as
two different focal lengths. For example, could a 25mm lens with Center Scan turned on give me the same image as a 50mm lens with Center Scan turned off? If it worked for the 25mm lens, then logic says it should work for every other lens I own â€” turning a 75 into a 150, a 95 into a 190 and so forth.
TEST 2 First, I used a 50mm Cine-Xenar lens at f/5.6 for one clip and then a 25mm Cine-Xenar lens with Center Scan mode turned on and also shooting at f/5.6 for a second clip. In this test I could see some differences with the depth of field â€” which is completely expected. The 50mm lens has less depth of field than the 25mm lens with Center Crop. Why? Because the 25mm lens still performs as a 25mm lens and will always have more depth of field than a 50mm lens with the same aperture.
So what I can conclude from this experiment is that the 25mm lens with Center Crop makes an excellent substitute for a 50mm lens unless you really need the shallower depth of field that the 50mm lens can provide â€” which to me is not a big deal because there are other techniques I can use to compensate, such as choosing a larger aperture like f/4. 75
In the third test, I wanted to see how the Center Crop mode performed in the way that I’ll be using it most often on real shoots — as a 2x extender to occasionally double the focal length of my lenses. In other words, I wanted to see how good the cropped image actually looks compared to using a longer focal length lens. In this test, two identical clips were recorded.
TEST 3 The first clip was shot with the camera’s normal recording mode and a 50mm lens at f/5.6.
And the second clip was shot with the same 50mm lens at f/5.6, but I used the Center Scan mode to give me the equivalent of a 100mm lens at f/5.6. The results looked perfect.
In another test, I used a 35mm lens to shoot a test chart with the cameraâ€™s normal shooting mode. Then I moved the camera twice as far away from the chart and turned on the Center Scan mode. The framing didnâ€™t match perfectly, but as far as I could tell the resolution and picture quality of the two modes were pretty much identical.
And finally, I did one more test.
TEST 5 I used a 95mm lens to shoot some artificial flowers with the camera’s normal shooting mode.
Then I moved the camera twice as far away from the flowers and turned on the Center Scan mode. Once again, the framing doesn’t match perfectly, but the resolution and picture quality of the two modes was pretty much identical.
The only significant difference was that the depth of field is shallower on the clip where the camera was closer to the flowers — which is to be expected. As we saw earlier, depth of field is affected by both the focal length and the F-stop, but it’s also affected by the distance to the subject. Closer equals shallower. So that’s all the in-studio testing I needed to do in order to convince myself that the Center Scan mode appeared to be every bit as good as it’s cracked up to be and that I should have no qualms about using the Center Scan mode whenever it suits me on real shoot.
But I donâ€™t shoot charts for a living, so my final round of testing involved
going out and shooting some real subjects. I decided to shoot a nearby ice racing event on a rapidly melting frozen pond. I spent about two hours shooting the event from several angles and distances using three of my lenses (RED 300mm, Zeiss LWZ 15.5-45mm, Sony 85mm PL) with and without the Center Scan mode turned on â€” plus a few 4K clips for comparison.
The subject matter was perfect for testing with high-speed
action, lots of detailed subjects, and the lighting conditions changing from direct sun, to overcast, and eventually to rain.
It was also a chance to test the HFR (High Frame Rate) mode of the camera when combined with the Center Scan mode. I shot 2K RAW with Center Scan @ 240 fps; 2K RAW Full Frame mode @ 240 fps; and 4K RAW @ 23.98 fps. Everything was recorded to my AXS-R5 recorder. You can view some of ice racing footage here: http://vimeo.com/85834692
My conclusions after this real-world testing is that the 2K Center Scan mode not only looks great, it actually looks superior to the 2K Full Frame mode. Of course shooting with Sony’s optional 2K OLPF (Optical Low Pass Filter) anti-aliasing filter may have changed my opinion, but I don’t own one of those yet, so I’ll have save that subject for a future article.
The dawn of the hypercar.
UPSHIFT TO 4K. By J.F. Musial and Josh Vietze Photo credit: Jalopnik / GF Williams 81
here are plenty of experiences in life youâ€™ll never forget. With every one of those experiences your bodyâ€™s senses reach new heights. Sadly, with the limitations of our biological hardware, the joy and excitement of those experiences tends to fade over time, sometimes as soon as the serotonin levels recede in our brains only moments after. There is however one experience that is, although hard to recreate sensationally, also hard to forget emotionally: the pure exhilaration of traveling 200mph down a closed airport runway, low to the ground, ensconced in a machine that represents the pinnacle of human ingenuity and engineering. Itâ€™s a sensation that never seems to get old. It's something we want the whole world to experience. And to accomplish that, we know we had to make the first 4K documentary telling the story of the hypercar.
With only a few of these machines in existence, the only way many get to enjoy them is to see them in video: moving as they were meant to move, singing their proud songs in a clear voice of engine revs and screaming rubber.
With cars, a full page print ad can only communicate a tiny fragment of the offering. With video, of course, you come much closer to telling a story and conveying the truthâ€Ś
We deal with the rarest and most technologically advanced human creations on the planet. They are amongst the finest machines man has ever produced, their performance only limited by the imaginations of their makers. Our day to day occupation is capturing these works of art in motion in a way that conveys the ferocity in which they push their limits.
We are TangentVector, a small boutique video production firm. Our focus since our start in 2009 has been to target brands in the automotive space and make accessible the authentic and compelling stories that werenâ€™t being told, amidst a growing content ecosystem of disparate noise and clutter. With the rise of YouTube, these brands found themselves with a pressing need to communicate their brand messages by connecting to audiences in a synergistic way that wasnâ€™t possible until now. With cars, a full page print ad can only communicate a tiny fragment of the offering.
With video, of course, you come much closer to telling a story and conveying the truth. In the last decade, humanity has entered into a new era of engineering achievement: the dawn of the hypercar. These exotic machines represent the extremes of the human condition: our urge to surpass, our will to innovate, our love of speed. But these cars are more than just vanity projects. They are a driving force behind modern advancements in performance, aesthetics, and energy independence, not only in the automotive sector, but for society at large. Despite their obvious appeal hypercars are, by definition, so rare, so exotic, and so unobtainable for most that their true nature is widely misunderstood. This film follows their story,
observing the development of a technology market that has more influence on our every day lives than we realize. The automotive industry is in the midst of a paradigm shift as we move closer towards the balance of performance and energy conservation, with the top tier manufacturers presenting radically different solutions to this challenge. But no matter who is first to find this perfect ratio, all of humanity will reap the benefits. In examining this cascade of new technology from R&D lab, to prototype, to racetrack, to production car, our objective with this film is to learn by studying some of the big players in this game: Porsche, Ferrari, McLaren, BMW, Jaguar, Pagani, and Koenigsegg.
We do not take that privilege for granted and agreed we would not compromise on delivering our story on a medium worthy of the technology whoâ€™s story we are telling. We had to upshift to 4K.
We deal with the rarest and most technologically advanced human creations on the planet. They are amongst the finest machines man has ever produced, their performance only limited by the imaginations of their makers.
The dawn of the hypercar
Christian von Koenigsegg, founder of Koenigsegg Automotive AB
With insights from some of the most brilliant thinkers, engineers, and designers spanning multiple industries, we will step into the minds of the people who take these projects from daunting inception to breathtaking completion that results in the birth of an awe inspiring driving machine. Illustrating this process in detail, is a small company based in Angelholm Sweden. Its founder and namesake, Christian von Koenigsegg, has been on a quest since 1993 to change the automotive industry by building the best performance car in the world. In March of 2014 he
revealed his latest creation, the One:1. A car that will defy the unwritten rules of the production vehicle, at the most important industry event of the year: the Geneva Motor Show. Last year, November 2013, in a small conference room in Dubai, our modest team of four partners unanimously decided to endeavor to tell this story. Each of us is under the age of 30, but as a group we collectively have over six decades of experience working around cars. It dawned on us that after nearly a decade of journalism, we are one of a small group of people in the world who have access to all
of the top tier manufacturers who could actually help something like this come together. We do not take that privilege for granted and agreed we would not compromise on delivering our story on a medium worthy of the technology whoâ€™s story we are telling. We had to upshift to 4K. We've always prided ourselves in being lightweight and efficient. In fact, we've modeled our whole production philosophy after Lockheed Martin's Skunk Works program. What we take from Skunk Works is the discipline that each member of the team is capable of doing any other team member's job, and that there is no excuse for not being able to execute with the tools provided. That means we are able to operate with very small teams (we've never wrapped a production with more than 4 crew members) and that we are constantly adjusting our production methods to meet any need for our creative goals. We do not compromise on our philosophy; in this we are not flexible. But that means when making the jump to 4K we needed the tool that offered us maximum flexibility.
Each of us is under the age of 30, but as a group we collectively have over six decades of experience working around cars.
The dawn of the hypercar
Enter the Sony F5. This is a camera we instantly recognized as having the maximum potential for scaling our production quality over the next few years while being more flexible than ever today. Yes, the sensor rivals any of the heavyweight champion cinema cameras there are out there: it should go without saying that the dynamic range has us drooling. But with the need to be fast and light, the F5's ability to simultaneously shoot 4K RAW and 1080 HD with the XAVC codec was as influential in our decision as the image quality. We're not always taking footage back to a production studio to edit. Some of our best work is done in hotel rooms, airport lounges, even in middle seats in economy class. In fact, we're sitting on the floor in the back room of an automaker's factory right now reviewing proxy 1080 footage on a 15 inch MacBook as we write. Thank you kindly, XAVC.
End love fest. After three months of preproduction, we now know we're in for one of the most challenging tasks weâ€™ve ever undertaken. There was no precedent for such a small group in our industry to do something this ambitious. Armed with our two F5's, we're full speed ahead â€” in our first two months of production, our Pelican cases have already crossed a large chunk of the globe: New York, Los Angeles, Switzerland, Sweden, Germany, Abu Dhabi, Italy, and even the Arctic Circle. Our mission is simple: showcase the greatest production vehicles produced by man, tell the story of an unstoppable industry, and explore the minds of the people who are constantly redefining the limits of the automobile. APEX: The Story of the Hypercar. Expected Release: Early 2015
Enter the Sony F5. This is a camera we instantly recognized as having the maximum potential for scaling our production quality over the next few years while being more flexible than ever today.
SHOOTING 4K? Get your content into the home By Patrick Leon
On September 1, 2013 Sony launched Video Unlimited 4K, the worldâ€™s first 4K content platform allowing consumers to purchase, rent, and download native resolution 4K content to be viewed on their Sony 4K TVs. The service is a great option for content owners looking to monetize their 4K content with 12x the buy rate experienced by other EST/VOD stores. With over 1 million 4K TVs expected to be sold in 2014 and Sony in half of all homes with 4K today, the platform is expected to grow considerably over the next 12 months.
Enjoy native and upscaled 4K films by connecting the 4K Media Player to your Sony 4K TV
For Cinematographers, distributors, and content owners, the platform offers a way to monetize their 4K resolution content through revenue share splits on content sales and rental.â€?
Showcased on the service today are nearly 200 films and TV shows from Sony Pictures, Red Bull Media House, and ESPN Xgames. Plus, a wide assortment of indie films, short films, and clips from indie studios and cinematographers like Howard Hall Productions, Go Films, and Stance Films gives consumers a varied and unique assortment of fun, colorful, and engaging content to watch.
4K Movies & Shows on the 4K Media Player
These films, TV shows and more, are now available in 4K Ultra HD on Video Unlimited.
For Cinematographers, distributors, and content owners, the platform offers a way to monetize their 4K resolution content through revenue share splits on content sales and rental. With support for 4K trailers/ previews/stills and a simple on-boarding process, the service has proven to minimize level of effort required of content owners to participate. And for content owners looking more for exposure, the service offers consumers the ability to download free content as well. Content owners interested in participating must simply submit 3840x2160 DPX files at 24p or 30p, WAV files at 48K, 16 bit, and metadata to populate the storefront with content title, runtime, release year, etc. and, pending quality control approval, within weeks the content will be posted to the storefront for consumers to browse.
Yes, the platform delivers content shot on non-Sony product, but Sony is particularly interested in making sure that users of Sonyâ€™s F5, F55, F65, FS-700 or other 4K capable cameras have a way to get their beautiful shots into consumersâ€™ homes. If you are shooting in 4K, monetize your content by distributing to 4K TVs via the worldâ€™s first 4K video service, Video Unlimited 4K. For details, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
MATCHING the Sony F55 with FUJINON CABRIO ZOOMS for EFP SHOOTING How the Combo Performed in Capturing Football, Volleyball, and Sand Jeeping
By Steve Gibby
The Challenge of Mobile EFP-Style Productions Mobile EFP-style field productions are loaded with a wide variety of equipment and logistics nuances. The very nature of mobile, small crew, non-hardlined EFP field production calls for lightly accessorized camera setups, internal ND filtering, very good zoom lenses equipped with powered servos, lightweight but strong tripods, excellent fluid heads, and strongbacked shooters that have the skill sets to quickly use the equipment in smoothly tracking fast moving people and objects. If all those ducks aren’t lined up in a row, then the challenge factors of mobile EFP field production multiply exponentially — and the end product inevitably suffers. Choosing and combining the right cameras and accessories for each mobile EFP production goes a long way in ensuring successful field production, and ultimately happy sponsors, clients, and TV networks.
The Venues Throughout a recent single weekend, our crew had the great opportunity and challenge of shooting college football, college volleyball, and Jeeps careening through sand dunes! For the college football coverage, we chose the final home game of the Dixie State University Red Raiders in Saint George, Utah. For the indoor volleyball coverage we chose a women’s volleyball match at the same school. For the adventure travel Jeep® sequence we chose the stunning, salmon-colored sand dunes of Sand Hollow State Park, just a short distance from Saint George. That’s a lot of mobile production in a short period of time, in both artificial and natural lighting.
Left: The color of Southwest Utah sand stuns the eyes — it looks almost good enough to eat! Ben Braten perched precariously on top of a sandstone knoll while tracking speeding Jeeps in 4K using the F55/Fujinon Cabrio 85-300/Miller Arrow 55 combination.
The Challenges – And Our Mobile 4K Solutions We knew that we needed to be hyper-mobile, use a variety of shoulder-held and tripod techniques, and shoot nearly everything in 4K (we also needed to shoot some high frame rate 2K). In sports and adventure travel filming, the good shot sequences appear quickly and disappear just as fast. Shooters really need gear that can be operated as fast as possible — without compromising the quality of the shots. Though I have an extensive background in 4K field productions, especially using Red Digital Cinema cameras, I knew the needs of that weekend’s production would call for a unibody EFPstyle camera system that would easily enable EFP-style shooting. Adding those two factors together, the gear list we chose included a Sony PMW-F55 camera, Fujinon® Cabrio 19-90mm and 85300mm zooms (both featuring powered servos), a Miller Arrow 55 head on Miller Heavy Duty CF legs, and Clik Elite Contrejour 40 backpacks. This combination of gear turned out to be an excellent choice all around. As we frequently say in this industry: “Horses for courses.”
The Crew Because my home base is in the mountains of Southwest Utah, and I had some time away from my other television productions, I chose to team up with a highly capable team from the Center for Media Innovation (CMI) at Dixie State University. As a producer and cinematographer I teamed up with CMI producer Phil Tuckett, a multiple Emmy Award-winning veteran of NFL Films, CMI Director/DP Ben Braden, an industry veteran, and a select group of CMI/DSU students. Beyond my work as a producer, I also personally shot various action sequences of football and sand Jeeps. Hands-on camera work has always been my core passion in this industry, so even if Iâ€™m producing or directing I almost always find the time to personally shoot some sequences during a project.
Producer and EmmyÂŽ Award winner Phil Tuckett
Pictued from left to right: CMI director / DP Ben Braden and producer / cinematographer Steve Gibby
Matching the Sony F55
Matching the Sony F55
How It All Went The football sequences were shot at night under the stadium lights, the volleyball sequences under indoor arena lighting, and the sand Jeep sequences under beautiful outdoor natural morning light. The F55 is a very intuitive camera to use for any shooter used to the balance, feel, and location of controls on a traditional mobile EFP/ENG camera system. The F55 is versatile too. It can also be used for cine-style setups. The Fujinon Cabrio zooms, with their powered servos (including rocker levers), filled our mobile EFP needs. We did a lot of shoulderheld shooting and found that both of the Cabrio zooms balanced really well on the F55, providing a natural feel and quick reframing and following of action via the powered servos. We rarely zoom during shot sequences, but the powered zooms gave us the capability of quickly re-framing between shots using the rocker levers on the servo units, then to simply hit the servo unit Record button for the next shot. In other words, we essentially use the zooms as variable primes. When we went to shooting by tripod, the Miller Arrow 55 head/HD CF legs combo gave us solid support and very smooth pans and tilts. The F55 provided the Super 35mm 4K (4096×2160) imaging capability we sought. We added in the Sony AXS-R5 recorder, sporting Sony AXSM memory cards, onto the rear of the camera. That enabled 16-bit 4K RAW at 60 fps, in S-Log2 and S-Gamut profiles, with the added bonus (along with an IDX brick on the back of the rig) of easily counterbalancing each of the Fujinon Cabrio zooms. The rig turned out to be in perfect balance for shoulder-held work. Highframe-rate shot sequences for slow-motion are a staple of mobile EFP-style shooting of sports, adventure travel, and wildlife, and the F55 delivered that quite nicely. That’s me tracking football action with the Cabrio 85-300 via the powered servo unit. The Fujinon remote handle servo wasn’t on the Arrow 55 tripod handle in this photo, but shortly thereafter I installed it on the handle. That gave record and zoom functions to my right hand and rack-focus function to my left hand — exactly the way I prefer to work while tracking fast-moving subjects while using a tripod.
D.P. Ben Braden’s take on the XAVC™ codec: “The XAVC codec is astonishingly clean. It’s free of noise and artifacts.”
Even though a camera system delivers 4K resolution (we also shot some 2K RAW 240 fps sequences), broad dynamic range, and high frame rates, all that is a waste of time unless the lenses you put in front of the camera maximize those values. In essence you need lenses that “dance” well with the camera. We were very pleased to find that the Fujinon Cabrio zooms not only operated intuitively, but perfectly enhanced the 4K raw images generated by the camera. Both the PL-mount Fujinon 19-90 T2.9 Cabrio zoom and 85-300 T2.8-T3.8 Cabrio zoom cover a 31.5mm image circle, feature power and control connections to the camera, digital servo 16-bit encoding, macro functions, LDS and /I lens metadata with the camera, wired and wireless control, and a lot more. With the Fujinon servo attached, the 19-90 weighs just less than 6 pounds, and — even more surprising — the longer focal length 85-300, weighs around 6 and a half pounds. Fujinon did some serious engineering to retain the compactness of these zooms! Beyond their relatively small size, the Cabrio zooms proved to be very sharp (think prime sharp), and have great contrast and edge-to-edge clarity. In short, the Cabrios were a perfect match for the F55 for the EFP style of shooting we wanted to do. The cool thing is that if we then wanted to do a commercial or feature film, the Cabrios would still be a great lens choice. You’d simply remove the powered servo, attach cine-style accessories (matte box, follow focus, FIZ style zoom motors, etc.) and you’d be ready to shoot cine style. The lens barrels are long throw, and markings are the norm for cine work.
“In short, the Cabrios were a perfect match for the F55 for the EFP style of shooting we wanted to do.”
The rig shouldered easily and felt very balanced, and the powered servo on the Cabrio 19-90 was exactly the ticket for Ben’s tracking of the women’s volleyball action. The wide-angle lens I used on my 5D to take this shot makes the rig look way bigger than it actually is. It only weighed 22 pounds — a very easy rig weight load for experienced shoulder-held EFP/ENG-style shooters to handle.
Matching the Sony F55
Matching the Sony F55
In the words of D.P. Braden: “Love the Fujinon Cabrio zooms — they’re extraordinary lenses. Great sharpness, contrast, clean throughout the frame, and very lightweight. Wonderful for handheld or on sticks.” I also shot various sequences with the lenses, and I definitely second Ben’s opinion of them. The F55 head itself weighs just 5 pounds. With the addition of the EVF, AXS recorder, a brick, and a few other small accessories the total rig weight was just around 22 pounds. That’s an easy shoulder load weight, and just as easy to quickly carry around from setup to setup. The Miller Arrow 55 fluid head supports loads ranging from 22 to 55 pounds, so we were on the bottom end of the head’s load rating. But the head only weighs 7 pounds, sports a +90 / -75 degree tilt range, has 7 selectable fluid drag positions + 0, and, combined with the Heavy Duty CF legs, it gave us a big, solid head/legs combo that weighed just around 15 pounds but provided glass-smooth pans and tilts with the F55/Fujinon Cabrio setup. The Clik Elite Contrejour 40 backpacks turned out to be an excellent choice. They’re spacious, comfortable as you walk, and have the many compartments and features a mobile cinematographer, videographer, or still photographer is looking for. The interior dividers can be quickly re-arranged for whatever cameras and accessories you’re using on each production. Beyond that, they just look like a nice hiker’s backpack, thus lowering the security risk for small crews doing real mobile production. They were a key element in our kits. Mobile production can be a total nightmare if you’re stuck using badly designed or uncomfortable backpacks. Fortunately the Clik Contrejour packs made our super-mobile fieldwork even more enjoyable. Me tracking speeding Jeeps in 4K/60 fps using the powered servo on the Cabrio 19-90. For decades now, I’ve shot tons of this kind of footage for various sports television networks, and this F55/Cabrio zoom rig was as comfortable as any setup I’ve ever used. Being in the foreground, the Clik backpack looks large, but in reality it’s just medium-sized and way comfortable.
In post, the 4K and 2K sequences we shot were converted to ProRes 422 HQ through the Sony RAW Clip Viewer. It was exported out as flat S-Log 2 with S-Gamut color, graded and edited in Adobe Premiere Pro, and finished off using FilmConvert to get the exact “look” we wanted in the pieces. 104
In Retrospect… There are many things that can go wrong on mobile EFP-style production, and you depend on your equipment to deliver as planned. I’m happy to report that our football, volleyball, and Jeep productions basically went like clockwork. The venues were good, the crew was cohesive and, as icing on the cake, each part of our equipment list performed very well. The final edited pieces definitely reflect that — smooth football sequences, clean volleyball pieces, and dynamic Jeep sand dune footage. The Sony F55 is a great entry into the 4K RAW (and 2K RAW shooting arena – very lightweight, intuitive ergonomics and layout, quite modular, clean codec, wide dynamic range, good price point, etc. The Fujinon Cabrio zooms are amazingly lightweight, optically very crisp and clean, with the great bonus of offering powered servos for EFP-style work (or cine-style work without them). The Miller Arrow 55 tripod supported the rig perfectly, and enabled very smooth pans and tilts. The Clik backpacks then helped us to quickly and comfortably transition from one location to another. As a producer who is also a director, DP, and cinematographer, I always appreciate it deeply when the planned equipment works as it’s supposed to. Happily, that’s exactly the way these productions went. My kudos to Sony, Fujinon, Miller, Clik, Adobe, and FilmConvert for creating the diverse products that danced together so well for these productions. The bottom line is that in the field we were able to quickly generate the high quality, filmic-looking images we needed, and then in post create exactly the edited pieces that we’d envisioned! We simply and effectively picked the right horses for courses to be run on that weekend. Steve Gibby is a multiple Emmy Award winning producer, director, DP and cinematographer who’s contributed to several hundred international and national television programs that aired on 18 different broadcast and cable television networks. 105
Matching the Sony F55
Gearing up for 240 FRAMES PER SECOND By Ben Braten
Like most enjoyable things in life, this early morning shoot was last-second, seat-ofour-pants and totally sleep deprived. Our production team at DSU rented Sony’s F55 for the weekend, and after having shot hours of sporting events, I thought it might be fun to try out the F55’s RAW 240 fps capabilities in a more suitable context: our Southern Utah backyard. I called upon the services of a couple of Jeep® “enthusiasts” and well before the roosters could crow we were on our way to a nearby stretch of dunes.
We stationed ourselves on a rocky upthrust in the middle of an expanse of dunes and went to work. The enthusiasts/maniacs were hotdogging all over the place, so with a couple twists of the dial I’d switched over to Cine EI shooting mode. I watched the AXSM spring to life, cranked up the frame rate and proceeded to shoot, shoot, shoot. Just to clarify, I’m not a slow-motion junkie. It has its place, and, like everything else, people tend to get carried away with it. 108
Gearing up for 240 frames per second
That said, there’s something about 240 fps that can take an ordinary Jeep kickin’ up rooster tails and turn it into something visually exhilarating. That’s the beauty of overcranking: the ability to take something that most people wouldn’t give a second thought to and bring out all the subtleties and nuances that are lost in real time. But I digress…
True to form, it wasn’t 30 minutes before the leader of this band of 4-wheelin’ ruffians thought it would be a good idea to start jumping their Jeeps over a nearby sand-ridge. After watching him do it, I agreed with him: it was a great idea.
Thanks to our colleague, Steve Gibby, I’d coupled the F55 with Fujinon’s Cabrio 85-300mm and Cabrio 19-90mm. With these lenses attached, the camera really is an EFP dream come true. The weight In order to get the positioning I needed in the is completely manageable, the ergonomics are sand, I had to take the camera off the sticks. I good, and the viewfinder...that viewfinder. Terrific. didn’t have any support gear, Combine that with the I’m not even going to mention but due to the aforementioned built-in ND filters and 14+ 4K RAW and XAVC because that ergonomic friendliness, it stops of DR, and you’ve just wouldn’t be fair. Did I already wasn’t a problem. I just threw got yourself an Alexa at a fraction of the cost, a mention it has built in ND? Ooops. it on my shoulder and worked everything from the Cabrio fraction of the weight and I’m gushing. handle. Super comfortable? with the added benefit of Not really. I’d definitely recommend a shoulder RAW capabilities without a hefty CODEX add-on. mount if you’re going to be shooting for extended I’m not even going to mention 4K RAW and XAVC periods of time, if for no other reason than to because that just wouldn’t be fair. Did I already ensure a level horizon. mention it has built in ND? Ooops. I’m gushing.
However, in those situations where you have to make do, the bare camera works just fine. Additionally, handling it from the Cabrio demonstrated the rock-solid strength of the included FZ-PL mount. It handled the 85-300mm without additional support and without so much as a whimper. The bottom line is, the camera just lets you shoot. Not to excuse poor exposure management, but there’s so much dynamic range and so much latitude, that you find yourself worrying less and shooting more. There’s a simplicity to it that is so
refreshing. Cliched as it may sound, I dare say it makes shooting fun again. My primary camera for the past several years has been the PMW-F3. It’s a fabulous camera and to this day it continues to amaze me. However, after a couple hours with the all-inclusive, streamlined power and efficiency of the F55, some rather adulterous feelings were bubbling to the surface. 110
“I’d coupled the F55 with Fujinon’s Cabrio 85-300mm and Cabrio 19-90mm. With these lenses attached, the camera really is an EFP dream come true.”
Gearing up for 240 frames per second Those philanderous leanings only grew when I took the footage into post. I’ve dealt with a wide variety of RAW digital cinema data, but never Sony’s, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I downloaded Sony’s RAW Viewer and imported the footage. Scrubbing through the footage I was horrified. Everything was heinously overexposed. What the…? Ok, not so fast. It turned out the default monitoring LUT was set to a REC 709 profile. I turned that off and set everything to S-Log2 using the S-Gamut profile for color. And there it was. Beautiful. An insanely flat image with oodles of detail throughout. I didn’t have time to do a grade in the RAW Viewer, so I exported everything as ProRes 422 HQ files with the S-Log2 and S-Gamut profiles still enabled. I supposed I could’ve used a ProRes 444 profile or a Cineform codec, but I’d been really happy with the latitude in 422 HQ before, and I didn’t want to dedicate half a terabyte to something intended for the web (so I’m a storage miser, fire me!). Other than having to reexport one clip due to an error, the process was surprisingly quick and pain free. Not much of a learning curve. The pixel peeper in me did notice some moire issues in some of the finer details. However, I didn’t have access to Sony’s Optical Low Pass Filter, which evidently clears all of that up. Slight moireing aside (and I do mean slight), the images were terrific. I slapped together a quick edit in Premiere CC and, rather than spending long hours grading each clip, I added an adjustment layer and applied FilmConvert Pro 2 to that layer. Fiddling with the settings for about 5 minutes I finally settled on a Kodak® 5207 stock. FilmConvert doesn’t have a profile added for any of Sony’s professional cameras, so I used the Black Magic Cinema Camera profile. Extremely fast, kinda lazy, but pretty darn good looking (and I really can’t take any credit for it). And there it was. From acquisition to delivery, the process had been a rush: a torrid weekend romance with some of the best that digital cinema has to offer. After I shipped the camera back, I put on my figurative wedding ring and went back to my F3. 112
It’s not cold. IT’S BLOODY FREEZING! By Alister Chapman
very year I travel to Norway to shoot the Northern lights using a combination of DSLRâ€™s for time-lapse and a video camera for interviews. Iâ€™m working on a long term project to tell some of the traditional folklore that surrounds the Northern Lights or Aurora Borealis. As well as shooting the Aurora this involves shooting interviews with the Sami people that inhabit the very North of Norway.
Shooting Aurora Borealis
o get away from the city lights and to get an authentic feel to the interviews I travel to the town of Karasjok, the Sami capital. I stay at some remote cabins only accessible by snow scooter. This introduces a limit to how much equipment I can take with me, so the size and weight of every piece of kit has to be considered and only the essentials can be taken. This year I took a pair of Sony NEX5 stills cameras for timelapse as well as my PMW-F5 with R5 recorder to shoot 4K RAW video. The week before departure from the UK, I was watching the weather forecasts for Karasjok. On one day the temperature dropped well below -30ºC. I hoped it wasn’t going to get that cold when I was there, -20 to -25ºC is normal for the area and I’ve dealt with this before, but -30ºC is harder to deal with. The long term forecast for the two weeks of the shoot hinted that the temperature would be around average at about -22ºC, a forecast that would turn out to be rather incorrect.
Initially I flew from London to Tromso in Norway. The first night in Tromso was spent shooting time-lapse of the Aurora, the next day I had to make the drive from Tromso to Karasjok. As the crow flies it’s a distance of about 250 miles, but because there are so few roads in the area the drive is about 350 miles and takes 7 hours. About 2 hours from Karasjok the vans windshield started to ice up even with the heater going full blast. At a gas station I noted that the temperature was about -24ºC, but now it was even colder. Eventually I arrived at my pre-arranged rendezvous just outside Karasjok where I hooked up with a couple of locals, Oskar who owns the cabins I would use and Jan Helmer, a local cameraman and drone pilot. Together we drove by snow scooter the 20km up to the cabins.
On the first night the Aurora put on a good show and I shot around 3,000 still frames on the NEX5’s to later turn into time-lapse clips.
FIRST NIGHT: -26ºC. The first night at the cabins was a chilly -26ºC. One of the issues with working with any camera in this kind of environment is condensation. If you are outside even for just a few minutes the camera will get cold. Bring that cold camera inside into the warmth of the cabins and condensation will form both on the outside as well as on the inside of the camera. This isn’t healthy for the camera and means you can’t shoot anything until the camera has warmed up and dried out. This can take hours, so the best thing is to just leave the camera outside. So that’s where the F5 was going to spend most of it’s time. If you do bring a camera inside, wrapping it in a sealed plastic bag will reduce the condensation build up, but you still need to wait for the camera to warm up before you can use it. On the first night the Aurora put on a good show and I shot around 3,000 still frames on the NEX5’s to later turn into time-lapse clips. 116
Shooting Aurora Borealis
DAY 2: -30ยบC. When I woke up on the 2nd day at the cabins I knew immediately that it was cold. The log fire in the cabin had gone out overnight and while my body was warm and cosy underneath a really thick quilt, my ears and nose were freezing. A quick glance at the temperature gauge confirmed my suspicion, -30ยบC and falling. Damn, this was going to be a challenging day. This far north of the Arctic Circle in mid January the sun only just rises above the horizon, but that means you have golden hour 117
light all day and the sun rises are spectacular. To capture the sunrise I set up my F5/R5 up on a small rise above the cabins. I decided to use S&Q motion to capture the sunrise as a time-lapse sequence. By shooting at 1 fps I can easily create a 4K (or 2k/HD) clip where time is sped up by 24 times (for a 24 fps final clip). An hour of shooting results in a 2.5 minute clip that I can then speed up still further in post if I choose. The cameras wide dynamic range really helps with sun rises and sun sets, especially if shooting RAW.
This far north of the Arctic circle in mid-January the sun only just rises above the horizon, but that means you have golden hour light all day and the sun rises are spectacular.
For this shoot I used the cameras Cine-EI mode shooting 4K RAW on the R5 and HD Mpeg2 (XDCAM® HD422) internally on the SxS cards. To get nice clean and noise free images I used Cine-EI to rate the camera at 800 ISO. I find that I still get plenty of over exposure headroom at 800 ISO and after grading the images have less noise. To make exposure easier I use the 709 (800%) LUT on the viewfinder output as this is easy to expose by eye. Basically if it looks right in the viewfinder the RAW will be right. I also use the cameras waveform monitor for checking my exposure levels, I have this assigned to the number 3 assignable button so I can pop it on and off as desired. At -30ºC the camera was still working well. I have the LCD viewfinder and this was getting a little sluggish and the pictures in the VF a little smeary, but I knew from experience that this is normal and to be expected. The only other issue was the hinge on the flip up part of the viewfinder would make a quite noticeable creaking noise when moved. But other than that all was good. 118
Shooting Aurora Borealis
NIGHT 2: -36ºC On the second night the Aurora was visible once more. I had the two NEX5’s up on a small hill shooting time-lapse through some trees. When the Aurora was bright enough I would use the F5 to shoot the Aurora at 12 fps using S&Q motion. 12 fps allows me to turn the shutter off and get an exposure of 1/12th of a second. Combine this with a fast lens and the F5 is sensitive enough to video the Aurora. Play the clip back at half speed and you get an extremely rare real-time view of the Aurora not normally seen. As the temperature dropped all kinds of problems started to hit, the temperature would eventually get down to -36ºC. The batteries for the NEX5’s are so small that when you put them inside the extremely cold camera they would lose their capacity in just a few minutes. Meanwhile the F5 just kept going, largely shrugging off the cold. While the camera did well my lenses faired less well. I had a mix of Samyang® and Nikon® lenses and the lubricants in the lenses were freezing up making focus and aperture changes almost impossible. I had started out the evening using a normal rain cover on the camera to provide some protection from the elements, but the clear plastic panels in the cover had become brittle in the cold and were on the verge of shattering. So I carefully removed the rain cover and replaced it with an old fleece thermal cover for a shoulder mount camera. This helped keep some of the cold off, but even so I noticed the edges of the viewfinder LCD screen starting to turn blue. This is a sign that the LCD is close to freezing. If it freezes it can crack. But the aurora was putting on a good show, so I continued shooting, staying out in the cold until 1am. 119
Once happy, I then made a backup copy of the rushes on to a 2.5" USB3.0 drive. The 2.5" drives are much slower than the 3.5" drives, so it can take over an hour to make the second copy. But I can easily carry quite a lot of 2.5" drives in my carryon baggage when flying, so they work well as a backup when your not in a hurry. From the third day the weather warmed up a bit, typically hovering between -28ºC and -30ºC. It’s amazing how big a difference 6 degrees makes, but once we were back above -30ºC a lot of our problems went away.
Each morning I would set up my laptop, a 15" Retina® MacBook Pro® to check through the material from the night before. I used the Sony AXS-CR1 card reader to transfer the RAW footage to a 3TB 3.5" USB3.0 hard drive. It takes around 30 minutes to off load a full 512GB AXS card this way. Once on the 3.5" drive I would check through the clips using Sony’s RAW Viewer or Adobe® Premiere CC.
Around the camp there were various interviews to shoot with the local Sami people. It was decided to shoot one of these inside a Lavuu, a traditional Sami tent. The only light came from the camp fire in the center of the tent, but the F5 is a very sensitive camera and handled this very well. This is one of the great things about the F5. It is such a versatile and compact camera that can be used to shoot so many different things without compromise.
The only light came from the camp fire in the center of the tent, but the F5 is a very sensitive camera and handled this very well. This is one of the great things about the F5. It is such a versatile and compact camera that can be used to shoot so many different things without compromise.
Shooting Aurora Borealis
In the evening, narrow bands of clouds started to roll in. This is not good news for aurora filming, but does help make a good sunset. So I set the F5 up to shoot a time-lapse of the setting sun. To do this I once again used S&Q motion, this time setting the frame rate to 1 fps and leaving the shutter on. I then turned off my viewfinder LUT so that I could see the log recording levels. For the sunset shot I pushed my exposure as bright as I dare. Using the cameras waveform display to see when the picture was starting to clip, just backing off the exposure very slightly. By exposing nice and bright at the start of the sunset I can get a useable exposure for as long as possible without having to further adjust the iris during the shot. As I’m shooting RAW I don’t need to worry about knee or highlight roll off, all I need to do ensure the shot isn’t clipped. For the next couple of nights clouds prevented me from getting any more aurora footage. But great things were still to come.
Amazingly as I looked up into the sky the clouds parted and a brilliant, dancing aurora could be seen flashing across the sky. It was then a mad scramble to get all the cameras rolling.
On the 7th night of the trip, I was sitting in the warm and cozy main cabin as it had been cloudy all evening, watching an internet feed of some real time data about the solar wind. Suddenly the data in the feed started jumping around wildly. I dashed outside to see if I could see anything through the cloud. Amazingly as I looked up into the sky the clouds parted and a brilliant, dancing aurora could be seen flashing across the sky. It was then a mad scramble to get all the cameras rolling. I set the NEX5’s shooting time-lapse, and the F5 shooting real time. This was the best display of the trip. Unexpected and on a previously cloudy night we were getting a really wonderful light show as the sky filled with green, yellow and purple Aurora. You never know how long the Aurora will last. Sometimes it will go on all night, sometimes for just a few minutes.
By the end of my two weeks in Norway I had shot over 3 hours of 4K RAW Aurora footage with the F5. Filmed another couple of hours of background footage and interviews and shot a staggering 30,000 still frames. Now I’m in the process of starting to put together the footage as a 10 minute short film. I’m editing using the F5 RAW files in Adobe Premiere CC. Once the edit is complete I will export an XML file which I will then use to import the edit in to DaVinci Resolve for grading. After grading in Resolve I, will render out the graded clips using Apple® ProRes HQ and go back to Premiere to finish off the edit adding captions, effects and other graphics.
CINE PHOTO GRAPHY
with the F55
By Jeff Berlin Photographer, Cinematographer and Director
Sony Artisan Jeff Berlin shoots with the F55 CineAlta速 camera for still images.
few months ago, I was hanging out the side of an airplane, 3,000 feet above the ground, speeding at almost 150 miles per hour. It’s not my favorite place to be, careening through the sky sticking out of a plane, but I had good reason, and I’d been there before. This time, I was shooting 4K video of an air show pilot flying with us in close formation. The swinging prop of his flying hot rod, clawing the air at roughly 2,500 RPM, was barely more than ten feet from my head. And while I’m glad we had smooth air, this was also just another day at the office. I was using one of Sony’s new 4K camcorders, and once back on terra firma and sitting in front of my Mac®, the footage looked amazing. So good in fact, that when I screened some footage on a 4K display, I felt like I could reach into the television and run my hand along the smooth, composite wing.
Cinephotography with the F55
or most of my career, I’ve been a still photographer, specializing in celebrity portraits, fashion, beauty, aviation and rodeo. But in the past couple years, I’ve also transitioned to moving pictures, and last autumn was DP on my first low-budget indie feature, which I shot in 4K RAW on the Sony F55. When I delivered the final short film to the air show pilot, I also sent him a few beautiful still shots that I rendered from the footage. These still frames looked as good as any shot from a professional DSLR, but with slightly greater depth of field owing to the camera’s small sensor and ENG-style design. But still, it got me thinking. I now wanted to shoot a fashion or beauty story with a motion picture camera, with the specific intent of pulling only stills. But I didn’t want to do this with the FDR-AX1, the camcorder with which I shot the airplane project. No, I wanted to shoot next with the large-sensor Sony F55 in 4K RAW, and capitalize on the quality of image inherent to that format, i.e. dynamic range and exposure latitude, bit depth and color space — S-gamut and S-Log2, shallow depth of field, etc…
As we know, 4K resolution for the Sony F55 is 4096 x 2160. When I compared this to the resolution of my 10 megapixel Leica D-LUX 3, 4224 x 2376, I thought this would likely be enough resolution to pull stills of sufficient quality to run in magazines, especially with a little goosing in Photoshop.
As we know, 4K resolution for the Sony F55 is 4096 x 2160. When I compared this to the resolution of my 10 megapixel Leica® D-LUX 3, 4224 x 2376, I thought this would likely be enough resolution to pull stills of sufficient quality to run in magazines, especially with a little goosing in Photoshop. And the idea of shooting at 24 frames per second was interesting. Talk about capturing that decisive moment. It was like I would be shooting with a superfast, continuous motor drive. Indeed, the motor drive on my fastest camera, the Sony a77 DSLR, maxes out at a speedy 12 fps, which isn’t too shabby for a DSLR. Thing is, one doesn’t just mash down the shutter button and spray away. That 12 fps is a burst speed due to buffer size and write speed limitations. I also have been shooting long enough to remember when I loaded my cameras with film, by the roll or sheet. So even with my transition to digital, and now shooting to cards with hundreds or thousands of available exposures, I still consider each exposure and shoot very deliberately, never just spraying and praying, as some call it. Lately, more and more of my clients are requesting motion content in addition to still photographs. In fact, it’s now rare that a still photo shoot is just a still photo shoot. This convergence of stills and motion for guys like me is relatively new and for many, was ushered in with Canon’s 5DM2 and its ability to shoot both high quality stills and cinematic-style video. This camera was disruptive to the industry and changed the game for us photographers. Nevertheless, as of this writing, DSLR cameras from the big three, Sony, Canon® and Nikon® all shoot motion at 1920 x 1080, (not including the Canon 1DC), so pulling still frames fit for publication from their video files is not really an option.
Cinephotography with the F55
he F55 takes this convergence of still and video to the next level, even though it is, really, a dedicated digital motion picture camera. No matter, I’ve found it allows me to not only shoot the highest quality 4K footage, but it allows me to then pull stills of sufficient resolution, directly from the video files, that I could then publish in a magazine. This isn’t possible with any DSLR. You might be thinking, but wait, the resolution of the F55’s sensor equates to only about 10 MP, apples to apples. Perhaps, but a few years back when I was still shooting Kodak® film for work, my only digital camera was the small Leica point and shoot mentioned above. It wasn’t unusual for me, though, to submit files from that camera to magazines. And not once did I receive a complaint; they reproduced onto the printed page just fine. So with that established, I needed to get down to the nuts and bolts of this experiment, so I organized a camera test with the F55 to photograph a model from LA Models. I also did some research on the interwebs before my shoot, and spoke to some friends, and learned that what I’m doing is called Cinephotography and it’s a thing.
The F55 takes this convergence of still and video to the next level, even though it is, really, a dedicated digital motion picture camera.
It seems a handful of photographers have used various models of digital cinema cameras to capture still images, or have rendered stills for print use from the footage they were generating for commercials and other projects.
Since I also was booked to shoot a fashion story for a magazine here in LA, I thought it would be cool to use the F55 for that also. So one sunny Monday afternoon at my loft in Downtown Los Angeles, I fired up the F55 with the sole intent of pulling still frames. Naturally, I shot in 4K RAW for all the aforementioned benefits that shooting RAW affords. During my transition from DSLR to shooting with a full-fledged cinema camera like the F55, shooting in RAW was one of the most directly translatable and easy-to-understand, concepts.
I also wanted to limit motion blur and capture clear, defined images as I directed my model, Carly, through a series of attitudes, movements and poses. A 180 degree shutter I decided, wouldn’t cut it so instead, I dialed in a 45 degree shutter, which would equate to 1/200th of a second in relation to my 24 fps frame rate. That shutter angle would be fast enough to limit blur, yet still slow enough to show a bit of motion in moving hair. With the new firmware update, version 3.0, the F55 is no longer locked at an exposure index of 1,250 ISO when shooting RAW. Nevertheless, 1,250 is the sensor’s native ISO and affords me an ideal exposure latitude and dynamic range for shooting in my sun-drenched loft. To that end, the F55’s two internal ND filters also came in handy, and once dialed in, allowed me to open up to somewhere between wide open and T2.8 on the 85mm T2 Sony PL-mount lens. I also set the monitor LUT to Rec.709 Type A, which is also new to firmware version 3 and seems pretty good for skintones and saturation. Zebra at 70% and white focus peaking selected, I was ready to go.
DPX file open in Adobe Photoshop
As I was rolling on Carly, and directing her to give me the expressions and body positions I was looking for, I remained mindful to shoot quick; so to speak, since I was clocking data to the F55’s AXS memory card at about 1 Gigabit per second. With my experience last autumn shooting the feature on the F55, I was not at all concerned about workflow and file sizes while shooting RAW, and I knew I had a Mac with enough horsepower to review, grade and render the selects. Still, I wanted to shoot concisely and only ever told my model to hold for a second or three when I knew she hit a sweet spot.
Above, grading and rendering files in Sony RAW Viewer
Cinephotography with the F55
ilm in the can, I dumped the card onto my USB 3.0 RAID and opened the files for review in Sony RAW Viewer, available free for Mac and PC. As I scrubbed through shots and combed frame by frame through select sequences, I started to feel that there’s a fine balance between the ability to capture the perfect moment, over and over at 24 fps, and overkill. I think the key is to not overshoot — to keep your model moving and, as I mentioned a few minutes ago, to pause ever so slightly at those key moments to ensure you got “the shot.” All in all, on my camera test with Carly I shot a total of 178 GB of footage. Once I made my selects, I gave them a quick grade in Sony’s RAW Viewer software, fiddling with density, color, contrast and other variables to give me a good start on my final image. I then marked each single frame as both “in” and “out” point and processed them as DPX files. Each DPX file sized out to just over 53 MB and is recognized by, and opens right up in, Adobe® Photoshop®. After a proper retouch, I’ll save a TIFF as my final for submission to the client and a smaller JPEG for social media and other use. I’ll also save a graded version of the DPX to file as my digital negative of sorts. Photoshop saves DPX as Cineon files. This motion to stills workflow was very similar in steps to the process I normally use for post on a photo job. In that instance, I import the RAW files from my Sony a7R into my Mac, edit and grade the RAW image files in a program called Capture One by Phase One, and then render those files to high resolution TIFFs for further refinement and retouching in Photoshop. Satisfied with the results from my camera test with Carly, I again a few days later fired up the F55 at the Mack Sennett Studios in Silver Lake, a hipster enclave a stone’s throw from Downtown. The studio has its roots in Old Hollywood and the silent film era and dates back to 1916; it’s where they shot The Keystone Cops.
Now shooting with a larger crew of editors, hair and makeup, clothing stylists and assorted assistants buzzing about, there was a lot more activity than during the camera test a few days before. I also built up the camera with a full complement of accessories… OLED viewfinder, Sony’s 7 inch Full HD monitor, and compliments of Digital Film Studios, a terrific production facility near Burbank, follow focus, matte 129
Rendering selected frames from the F55 in Sony RAW Viewer
box and a sturdy camera support. Beyond that I also connected to the F55 an Atomos Samurai Blade monitor / recorder / playback deck. Since the magazine also likes to run behind-the-scenes short films of their shoots, the footage from the Samurai Blade, taken from my exact shooting perspective, would integrate perfectly with the BTS footage one of my assistants was capturing on a DSLR. One thing that became more top of mind when working with my model on this fashion shoot was that when the camera is rolling, unlike when Iâ€™m shooting with my stills cameras, there is no click of the shutter. My model direction, I found, had to be continuous and even more specific than it usually is. Many models rely on the click of the shutter for everything from affirmation to pace and momentum. Without the feedback of that click, I was in a constant monologue with my girl and I could see, for her, it was an adjustment that took a short while. 130
Cinephotography with the F55
astly, since these images were for a client, besides shooting with the F55 that day, I backed myself up with my a7R as insurance. During these tests I found that shooting full-figure fashion on a cinema camera, as opposed to shooting beauty or a portrait, is still, even at 10 MP, pushing the lower boundary of what I’m willing to accept and submit to a magazine. With the horizontal orientation of the camera, the model is just too small a part of the frame to crop in and pull a still with the resolution and detail that I need. And yet as I say this, I just received an email from the magazine with the Creative Director’s selects for the layout. As I scroll through the pages, I see it — page six, my coltish thoroughbred model, Wylie Hays of Next Models, seated on an apple box, demure and confident, a long white coat draped over her shoulders. It is without doubt the best frame from that outfit. It’s my first choice. And it was shot on the F55. It is, I dare say, a perfect moment. I’m looking forward to shooting more often with the F55 with the specific intent of pulling stills. For beauty and portraits where the subject fills much more sensor and screen real estate, the resolution and quality is more than enough to pull high quality stills. And it’s great to be able to capture the exact moment, the exact angle, the exact expression, the perfect frame… though too many good shots might also complicate selecting a final image. At any rate, I see Cinephotography becoming more popular and another option for photographers seeking to take the convergence of stills and motion to the next level, for the technology is finally here.
At any rate, I see Cinephotography becoming more popular and another option for photographers seeking to take the convergence of stills and motion to the next level, for the technology is finally here.
Selected frame from F55 for fashion story.
CINEALTA CAMERAS not just for HOLLYWOOD 速
By Rebekah Burns
Crews Control INC. represents hundreds of production companies and directors of photography who own cameras all over the world. Founder and CEO Andrea Keating said “I started Crews Control over 25 years ago to give producers a cost savings option to traveling their local DP and crew for a location shoot. Our crews represent the very best talent in each city and are handpicked for each project based on their shooting style, areas of expertise, and equipment. We have grown to become the leader in the industry and now manage shoots for thousands of clients all over the world.” Our clients are corporate inhouse video departments, production companies, government agencies, educational institutions, nonprofits, advertising agencies, public relations firms, and broadcasters. There are four significantly different workflows within our client base. All four groups are forced to make hard decisions balancing image, workflow, and budget. Corporations, the government, and universities tend to own
cameras and shoot a lot of content for themselves and their clients, citizens, and students. They need small files that integrate with their NLE and asset management software. Due to budgetary constraints they are often locked into workflows for a decade. Agencies and PR firms work on a per project basis depending on the client and of course their budget, they are able to choose cameras based on the storyboard. Agencies are flexible with workflow and choose post houses that can ingest pretty much anything. Then you have the broadcasters, this group is so visible that manufactures tailor cameras to their workflow then revise it later for everyone else. Production companies and independent camera operators live and die by their gear, with camera selections as large as their wallets and patience will allow. Franks Hanes, President and Owner of Big Shoulders, has been represented by Crews
Control just under twenty years. His full service production company is faced with the challenges of meeting the needs of a variety of client types. “We had been waiting for the F55 for a while. We purposely passed on the RED and the C300/ C500 phase. I have been shooting with the F55 for almost a year now and I love it. Since last spring we have been shooting a concert series which we literally shoot in the dark with some of the highest contrast ratios imaginable. I was blown away by the results. I never want to go back. We capture in 4K and down convert and the quality is unbelievable. If you had told me 3 years ago we would have a 4K camera with this kind of sensitivity and latitude for the price, I would have been skeptical. But now it’s a reality and we have it on our tripods and shoulders all day, every day. The workflow with our Avids has made our post department fans of the camera as well. They love the ease and speed at which the footage is ingested. For us, the true test is our customers, and once we shoot for them on the F55 they too never want to go back.” says Frank Hanes. 134
What I love “about the F55
for ENG is that it gives you a film look with the usability of an ENG style camera. It looks absolutely beautiful.
- Brian Hajik
Recently, Big Shoulders shot a red carpet and panel discussion event for NBC Universal’s Chicago Fire and Chicago PD where creator Dick Wolf presented. Like so many shoots that Crews Control manages, this Big Shoulders production demanded a camera that could capture crisp hand-held shots of the red carpet and record a panel discussion from the back of a large conference room. This is a good example of using the 4K imager to deliver stunning HD files, 1920 x 1080 at a 23.98 frame rate. The lean crew, Director of Photography, Brian Hajik and Audio 135
Engineer, Jeremy Stark, maintained a small footprint while producing a fantastic product. DP Brian Hajik said “In terms of workflow as well as operationally, it’s very similar to what ENG shooters are accustomed to. The camera I used had a zoom lens (Fuji 19-90mm) which gave me decent range…I was able to get the depth of field look, which is really nice.” The Sony VCT-FSA5 shoulder mount accessory transforms the F55’s modular form factor into a hand-held camera necessary for red carpet shoots. It is crucial to have a constant power source for long format shoots like
Not just for Hollywood
panel discussions. “A standard Anton Bauer brick powers the camera a lot longer than it powers a standard ENG camera” said Brian. “DP’s don’t always have the desired amount of control over lighting for conferences the Sony F55 gives the operator… the ability to really crank up the ISO before you lose any quality,” Brian added. “What I love about the F55 for ENG is that it gives you a film look with the usability of an ENG style camera. It looks absolutely beautiful.” said Hajik. 136
Not just for Hollywood
Larry Evey with F3 and FigRig
Long time Crews Control DP in Michigan, Larry Evey’s go-to camera is the Sony F3 with the Sony 18-252mm zoom lens. He chose this lens because of the optical image stabilization that works well with Manfrotto’s Fig Rig camera stabilizer. “The camera is never on my shoulder, so the F3’s placement of viewfinder and monitor is ideal. The Nipros ST1 adapter plate on the camera secures to Sony’s quick-release tripod adapter. This allows for fast connections between my O’Connor tripod, Dana Dolly, and Fig Rig” says Larry. Corporate video productions almost always consist of interviews and B-roll. Crews Control’s marketing client working for one of the top oil refineries at a leading manufacturing facility requested the XDCAM® EX format. Larry’s deliverable to the client was 35Mbps, MPEG-2 MP@HL files at 23.98p. He transferred the files from his SxS cards to a hard drive onsite with his Mac® laptop using ShotPut Pro™ software from Imagine Products for file verification. This is a very typical workflow for most of Crews Control’s video shoots.
Not just for Hollywood
the F55, even “inWith the MPEG-2 HD mode, the quality is so much better than what they would expect from a more traditional HD camera.
A New York City public relations firm, Finn Partners, captured a new public school initiative with the Sony PMW-F55. This required going into the classroom to record interviews and B-roll. Crews Control represented DP and contributing blogger Adam Shanker, says this about his camera for this project. “Setting the F55 in HD in the MPEG-2 XDCAM mode we can have manageable file sizes while achieving high quality. The record format is 1920 x 1080p, frame rate of 29.97, with an angle shutter at 180 degrees. The HG gamma setting is set at number 3. The detail level is brought down to -7, and the aperture level 139
to -10. I’ve got an OLED viewfinder and Arri bracket support for the viewfinder cable, an Arri top plate for mounting attachments, like the Sony DVF-L700 fly away Progressive LCD monitor. A Switronix Jet pack allows use of Anton Bauer® batteries, and the base rig is Element Technica’s Micron with an Arri follow focus.” If there is one thing that Adam loves to talk about more than his cameras, it is his glass. For this project he is using a set of Leica R primes for the interviews and a Fuji Cabrio 19-90mm for B-roll. To complete the refined look of this project a Dana Dolly adds movement to keep the viewer engaged.
The footage is recorded on 128GB SxS™ cards then transferred to a hard drive by Adam’s trusted soundman, Barry Weisblat, who is also the media manager on-site. He uses Sony’s Content Browser to view clips and verify the data transfer. Finn Partners will cut the project in-house on a Mac 10.6.8 with 2 x 2.4 GHz Quad-Core Intel® Xeon® processors using FCP 7.0.3. Adam sees himself as a quality ambassador while keeping an eye on the bottom line. “Much of my work is for high end corporate clients. Budgets are
almost always a factor. One of my jobs is to show my clients how we can improve the production value on their projects, while keeping the budgets in-line. With the F55, even in the MPEG-2 HD mode, the quality is so much better than what they would expect from a more traditional HD camera. Often we use the Sony F800’s as second and third unit cameras, as they have the same file structure as the F55 in MPEG-2 HD mode. That can offer us the best of both worlds, a shallow focus look cine camera, along with a full size HD camera.”
We alternated “between shooting
4K and then down sampling to HD in camera and switching to center scan sampling...
Tom Brunstetter is a Crews Control represented DP in Florida. He owns both the Sony F5 and the F55 among other cameras. Recently he was asked to shoot a fast-pasted run and gun sporting event that needed to be high quality and low cost. Tom decided the best fit for this project was the Sony F5 camera with Sony’s LA-FZB1 lens mount adapter for Fujinon 4.5 – 59mm broadcast servo ENG lens. The recently introduced B4 to FZ mount adapter allows 2.6x optical conversion from 2/3" to super 35mm and still allows you to control the zoom and iris. Tom said “We alternated between shooting 4K and then down sampling to HD in camera and switching to center scan sampling in order to double the focal 141
length without a loss of quality and the need to stop and change lenses. I set up a special all reset/ preset for fast non menu switching.” Tom also recorded some sit down interviews for this client. For the more controlled environment, he went with Sigma’s Art series lenses which includes 18-35mm F1.8 and 70-200mm F2.8. “In order to match a broadcast lens and the higher quality still lenses… I created a convenient preset to change the aperture setting in the menu which in essence changes the detail of the camera. I increased the detail for broadcast lenses and created another preset for innately sharper still lenses by slightly decreasing the aperture setting” said Brunstetter.
Not just for Hollywood
Moving into a 4K world means that big decisions need to be made about image, workflow, and budget. Most of Crews Controlâ€™s clients havenâ€™t moved into shooting 4K consistently, but an increasing number do demand the quality of a Super 35mm sensor. These example shoots demonstrate that there are plenty of cameras and support gear to achieve a high quality look with current workflows. Where content requires future proofing, clients can use the Sony F55 or the F5 with the AXS-R5 recorder. No matter what workflow is used by your company it is possible to develop a scalable plan to integrate new camera technologies and workflow into your organization. 142
CHOICES By Robert Alberino
Executive Producer, San Francisco 49ers www.49ers.com
Story produced by Mike DesRoches
Robert Alberino (centered) and the San Francisco 49ers Studios production crew.
e all have to make them on large and small scales. However, the choices that truly count are the ones whose repercussions and rewards are felt long after the choice is made and it becomes a distant memory. In May 2013, I accepted a position as the Executive Producer of the San Francisco 49ers, a choice that would change the way I thought, created and produced. I have worked in the National Football League for nearly two decades as a part of NFL Films under American Film icon, Steve Sabol. In addition, I moved on to work for historic franchises, the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles. With those experiences, I have had the distinct advantage of seeing professional football from multiple angles. In those experiences, I also had the ability to make choices. With both the Chiefs and Eagles, I was given the responsibility to create and foster in-house production groups that excelled and became widely known as elite production departments.
Sony’s F55 4K Cameras were the cameras of choice...
Taking on the task of creating a team’s in-house production group meant not only assembling the right personnel and conceiving a game plan for success, it meant acquiring the proper gear for today, and maybe more importantly, for tomorrow. It all goes back to choices. As my latest endeavor in Northern California became a reality, I was faced with creating my latest production outlet. It required a specific mission and critical pieces of gear on both the post and production side. The hardware we acquired became the backbone of newly formed, 49ers Studios. The choices made allowed us to create content for three extremely different properties. 144
Those properties began with the team’s website — a league leader in all things digital and video — and our window to the world for the 49ers Faithful, our global fan base. Next, content would be created for two new television broadcasts that will debut in September of 2014, Forty Niners Way and The Faithful. Lastly, and perhaps most visibly, content was needed for 1.4 billion dollar, Levi’s Stadium, the future home of the 49ers. The stadium, set to open in 2014, is widely touted as the most technologically sound stadium on the planet. It also boasts two of the largest outdoor boards in the NFL and will host events above and beyond just 49ers games; Super Bowl L and Wrestlemania 31 to name a few. These three entities call for exceptional production with versatile and dependable gear that my team could grow with. There was one simple choice for the franchise and that was to work with Sony Cameras and make Sony the bulk of our hardware as well. 145
With the commitment from Sony to make the purchases work beyond expectation for the 49ers, our new production workflow was born. Sony’s F55 4K cameras were the cameras of choice (we initially purchased three) and, prior to the 2013 football season, we would be one of the pioneers in North American professional sports to take this plunge. The extreme versatility of the cameras afforded my producers and editors to shoot in multiple formats of HD, gorgeous slow motion, 4K internally (at 10-bit) or 4K RAW externally (at 16-bit), and even 4K XAVC and 1080p simultaneously to the same SxS card. This allowed us to immediately use 1080p footage off of the SxS cards while also recording 4K for archive purposes, flexibility in post, and future-proofing. Our goal is to eventually move exclusively into the 4K world of post production, but the opportunity to work without stoppage while game planning for such lofty goals was a blessing.
The North end zone at Levi’s® Stadium boasts a Daktronics® HD13 board measuring in at 200' x 48' with a pixel count of 4648 x 1120.
For more information on Levi's Stadium click here 146
The camera offered more than just the latest in 4K technology to say the least. With its native FZ mount, not being constrained by a more rigid lens mount and therefore adapting to the lens of our choice is a massive benefit. In addition, each camera arrives equipped with a PL adapter. With the expertise of the folks at AbelCine in Los Angeles, we tested a number of lens options and ultimately made the premier sports rig for our 147
gameday shooters. The flexibility of using familiar 2/3" ENG lenses (we purchased two Canon 22x lenses) with adapters such as AbleCineâ€™s HDx35 allowed my team to not miss a beat when planning for action on the field. For shooting the 4K content, we went with the Fujinon Cabrio 19-90mm servo lens, which communicated beautifully through the PL adapter. Having the option to mix cameras shooting high frame rate (HFR) in XAVC HD, while
others shot 4K RAW allowed us to capture imagery we never were able to in the past. The cameras presented all of the tools at our disposal from easy access to menus and audio functions, to time lapse-like features and quick clip management. Because the camera has been in heavy demand not only from our group but also from many others, firmware updates were happening often and version 3 added a 2K center cut mode â€” essentially
doubling the length of lenses when recording in HD. That not only is a major plus for our editors, but it means less lenses to lug around. From what Iâ€™m hearing, version 4 in April will add both interval recording as well as picture cache. The idea of potentially shooting the melt on the fly, at this level of quality, simply blows my mind.
A winning combination of talent and support - (from left to right) Scott Kegley, Mike DesRoches (Sony), Robert Alberino, Michael Blevins Liz Davis (AbelCine), Wil Blackwell, Michael Horton.
All of this and support from a Sony crew that we have grown very close with means we are scoring on and off the field. In our first year of operation, and with new cameras on our producer’s shoulders, the first phase of our plan — digital video and 49ers.com – skyrocketed to the top of the NFL charts. 49ers.com ranked No. 1 on the NFL platform at video in content, traffic and engagement. That video also meant huge numbers on our social media platforms as people flocked from our Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts to view video (all of it shot with the F55s). It also made us the No. 1 team in the NFL in site visits from social media. The way we produced and shot the content really resonated with our audience as we experienced a 361% increase from last year, three times better than the league's team average.
We aren’t foolish enough to think that cameras and gear alone will help a team or company achieve and exceed their goals — that accolade is more about the user than the gear, but having top flight equipment inspires, assists and is a huge part of the successes the 49ers franchise experienced in the first six months of owning Sony’s F55s. As the product continually gets fine-tuned and firmware updates answer the users’ needs and challenges, our crews plot and plan for 2014. Knowing full well that the F55s will be a part of our arsenal for the foreseeable future and beyond, we have already invested in a half dozen more cameras. This way our stadium show can share in the growth that our production team realized over the past year.
Acquiring SONY GEAR is a choice I would gladly make AGAIN. To see San Francisco 49ers footage shot with the F55 click here 150
TECHNOLOGY HIGHLIGHTS Choices
Sony PMW-F55 • 8.9MP Super 35mm CMOS Image Sensor • Internal 4K/2K/HD Recording • Electronic Global Shutter • Highly Modular Design • Optional 4K/2K RAW Recorder • Up 240 fps 2K with Optional AXS-R5 • Native FZ-Mount and PL-Mount Adapter • Dynamic Range Rated at 14 Stops • Wider Color Gamut than Film • SxS Pro+ Media Cards
AbelCine HDx35 Mark II The HDx35 is an optical adapter that enables B4-mount 2/3" HD video lenses to work with most 35mm format large sensor cameras. Pair with the new Universal Mount System (UMS) for Canon EF, Nikon F, MFT and Sony E Mount.
Sony DVFL350 viewfinder • Large 3.5" LCD Screen • Dedicated Digital VF Interface •L CD screen offers 1000:1 contrast ratio; 10x higher contrast than previous similar size LCD panels. • Bright, 270cd/m2 screen • Flip-up mechanism for direct monitoring •B uilt-in Contrast, Image reversal and Focus Magnification function controls •S upplied Flexible positioning arm for most comfortable operation.
Fujinon Cabrio 19-90mm servo lens • PL Mount 19-90mm Zoom Lens • T2.9 Maximum Aperture with 9 Iris Blades • 31.5mm Diameter Image Circle • Removable ENG-style Digital Drive • Standard 0.8 Film Pitch Gears • Power and Control Connections to Camera • LDS and /i Technology Lens Data • 200 Degree Focus Rotation • Macro Focus Function • Flange Focal Distance Adjustment
IMAGING IN 4K By William N. Lange Advanced Imaging and Visualization Laboratory Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
oods Hole Oceanographic Institution is the largest private non-profit oceanographic research institution in the world and home for nearly 2 decades to the Advanced Imaging and Visualization Lab (AIVL). AIVL has been at the forefront of high quality optical imaging in the deep ocean since its inception. An early adopter of High Definition for underwater use, AIVL has become widely known for some of the first stunning images of hydrothermal vents and most notably from the shipwreck RMS Titanic.
Deep Water Imaging in 4K
rom the beginning AIVL has recognized that images coming back from a journey of scientific discovery and exploration are not only costly to acquire, but are frequently the most critical data set for scientists engaged. With this in mind AIVL has partnered with Sony over the years to develop numerous imaging systems constantly striving for better signal to noise, crisper blacks, greater sensitivity and more accurate color fidelity. The stunning results have been seen in nearly every significant documentary on the deep ocean, but most importantly to AIVL and the scientific community they serve, AIVL was able to give eyes to scientists in the inky darkness miles below. For the first time the images they saw with cameras were becoming better than the ones they could see through the view ports of the submarine with their own eyes and science has not been the same since. 15 years later AIVL still has numerous HD camera systems in the field, and although the novelty of HD has gone away it has become the workhorse of the community for high quality imaging.
As good as HD has been for science, the need for more resolution has never diminished. Just like Hollywood needs to be able to blow their images up to massive movie screens, scientist have the need to present high resolution images for print in scientific journals. In fact scientific journals are the life blood for scientists trying to gather new understandings and observations of the world we live in. Although the words are important — imagery is what makes the covers, imagery is what inspires young children, and imagery as data is what often brings in the next round of understanding, questions and eventually funding. And as we all know there is one big problem when you start pulling stills from video and trying to print then — they just don’t look very good when compared to a good still photo. Out of this frustration for scientists’ needs AIVL once again partnered with Sony to begin their “Beyond HD” program for scientific imaging.
Deep Water Imaging in 4K
ony’s first foray into 4K (although technically 8K) imaging that AIVL worked with was the F65. This is a beautiful camera, with incredible dynamic range and color, but for those of us at AIVL trying to take it underwater there is one major problem — for underwater applications it is huge! Typically the scenario for us developing a new camera for science use is to test it on land and make sure we like what we see on the charts. Next it goes into one of our generic housings where we pair up sensor, optics (traditionally Fujinon) and dome viewports, add one of the many control telemetries developed at AIVL and then send it out for test dives. Only then do we decide if we take it all the way through the pipeline where we completely disassemble and rebuild the cameras for deep sea. Getting the F65 into the water was no easy task. To begin with we liked what we saw on land and decided it was worth testing in the water. Unfortunately to get it in the water without completely disassembling and modifying the camera required a housing that was 16" in diameter and about 28" long made out of delrin which created one very large air space. Even with all the weight of the camera, lens, and an Anton Bauer VCLX battery packs in the housing, we still needed nearly 140lbs of lead to sink the test housing. Since we didn’t have a large test budget we brought the camera out on a 3D measurement and mosaic job on shipwrecks out in the Great Lakes. We spent one day in the pool working on “trim” for the camera — unfortunately for a camera that size on a testing budget, trim consisted of bricks of lead strapped around the housing! The lead belts were definitely not ideal, but OK for the pool and the short test dive in 22' of fresh water off Milwaukee the following day. For our tests we lucked out with some clean clear water and nice ambient light. With fiber run to the housing we had full lens and camera control and proceeded to shoot a series of in-water shots where we pushed ISO, exposure, mechanical and electronic shutter along with onboard RAW recording. We are always interested to see how things hold up under ideal water conditions (like this spot) and less than ideal where there is low light, heavy attenuation and thick particulate. 157
WE SPENT ONE DAY IN THE POOL WORKING ON “TRIM” FOR THE CAMERA — UNFORTUNATELY FOR A CAMERA THAT SIZE ON A TESTING BUDGET, TRIM CONSISTED OF BRICKS OF LEAD STRAPPED AROUND THE HOUSING!
Deep Water Imaging in 4K
n general we liked what we saw, but after the tests it was decided that the F65 would take considerably more effort and funding to shrink it for underwater use on the deep submergence vehicles we planned on using. We did, however, improve the overall system and use it for shallow water science work. The first major job for the new and improved F65 system was during a coral health study among small remote islands in the Pacific nation of Micronesia. During this cruise, scientists drilled coral over 8' in diameter which actually can give them a sample of what the ocean climate was like over the past 400 years, thus giving an incredibly accurate baseline for Industrial age ocean temperatures and acidification â€” not to mention overall coral health. The F65 was deployed in an 159
effort to document some of these last pristine coral reefs and was incredibly successful in capturing the reefs and scientists like never before. A little skeptical at first due the size, the chief scientists were huge fans by the end as they saw the product that materialized and are already planning further trips for Cuba and China. The F65 still to this day continues its underwater role in shallow water and future panoramic imaging projects. Fortunately for us, Sony had just released one of our favorite cameras to date, the F55. One of the great things about working with an imaging lab that specializes in building systems for hostile environments is that we usually get to take these systems to the â€œhostileâ€œ environment.
ONE OF THE GREAT THINGS ABOUT WORKING WITH AN IMAGING LAB THAT SPECIALIZES IN BUILDING SYSTEMS FOR HOSTILE ENVIRONMENTS IS THAT WE USUALLY GET TO TAKE THESE SYSTEMS TO THE “HOSTILE“ ENVIRONMENT.
Deep Water Imaging in 4K
e have had imaging systems on observatories over 14,000 feet in the mountains all the way down 20,000 feet below the surface of our planetâ€™s great oceans, they have been attached to animals cruising through the water and been fixed to planes traveling at high speeds through the clouds. The common denominator with all these systems (yes they are often Sony products) is that they have been designed from the lens interface all through the post process work flow and tested rigorously both in the lab and 161
in the field long before they ever saw the first real science or production shoot. It is one of the reasons AIVL has been so successful over the decades. We received our first F55 early in 2013, well before NAB, and almost as soon as the camera was delivered it was installed in one of our test housings to take an ad hoc trip to the Florida Keys for field testing. We had a day or so to â€œtestâ€? in the lab before getting it in the water and although we noticed a few inconsistencies, we
AS SOON AS THE CAMERA WAS DELIVERED IT WAS INSTALLED IN ONE OF OUR TEST HOUSINGS TO TAKE AN AD HOC TRIP TO THE FLORIDA KEYS FOR FIELD TESTING.
were on our way. The test was generally a bust due to poor weather conditions but it did give us the opportunity to find some necessary software improvements and break a few things which we reported to Sony along with some of the footage. When Bill Lange (Director of AIVL) humorously related our issues and software suggestions, the first thing they said is “Why is it always you Bill??” To their credit within days software improvements were already being developed and as our long standing friendship with Sony can testify, I think they appreciate the honest feed back and the fact
that we often use their cameras in ways the design engineers don’t imagine. With the new software in hand we had a very nice shoot with the test housing and our partners at National Park Service in the Dry Tortugas. NPS has been an instrumental part of our testing over the last 5-6 years as they have been interested in finding better ways to use the technology to interpret sites and bring these sites to the public.
Deep Water Imaging in 4K
ith the Tortugas shoot finished, the footage corrected and many of our workflows worked out, we felt the camera was ready for deep submergence and use on deep ocean submarines and remotely operated vehicles (ROV). All we had to do was raise the money to build a series of these cameras for science. Simple we thought. This is exactly what science is looking for... Unfortunately for our camera development and science, budgets were at its lowest funding levels in decades and funding was not available. Even with all the testing, repackaging for the deep sea is not a cheap endeavor. The housing and dome port alone need to withstand the intense pressure of thousands upon thousands of feet of water. In many ways that is the easy part since AIVL has spearheaded housing development for years and has several designs that would already match the sensor and optics of the F55, but there is still a cost of $40-60K for the housing.
Then there is the engineering involved in taking a camera that is very happily nestled in its Sony provided squarish outer shell, tearing it out and shrinking it to fit in a cylindrical titanium tube. It quickly becomes over a $100K effort and with money tight, we waited. And waited. And waited… Not to be deterred by a lack of scientific funding and with support of a WHOI Board Member we decided that we could still move ahead with certain components and continued to build the deep prototype. We laid out the many things that would have to change and made a few calls to Sony USA and Japan for some “spare parts.” Not many questions were asked (although a few eyebrows were raised) and within a few months we had enough new designs, custom parts, a viable plan and just needed the last little bit of time and funding to make it work. Luckily for us, NGS-TV had a ship in the Pacific with a few little submarines in need of imaging support for a project they were producing. This cruise provided the incentive and urgency to complete the system and AIVL went into high gear.
THE HOUSING AND DOME PORT ALONE NEED TO WITHSTAND THE INTENSE PRESSURE OF THOUSANDS UPON THOUSANDS OF FEET OF WATER SUBJECTED TO IT.
Deep Water Imaging in 4K
or 2 weeks a small team of people worked around the clock building all the interfaces to the new camera, machining the new brackets to hold the guts of our F55 and all the other pieces to make it work on the sub. Then to top it all off, we were told that NGS-TV really wanted to have 2 4K cameras systems — one for each sub. Like an audible called right before the final play of a huge football game, Lange pulled the latest trick out his hat and Sony’s F700 magically appeared in front of the team. Unbeknownst to the team, Bill had been “secretly” building the camera for deep water use and with a little help from the team, within 2 weeks they were able to get not only one, but 2 new Sony 4K cameras capable of operating at 6,000 meters ready to send to me out in the middle of the Pacific.
Anyone who has worked in engineering development knows what prototypes are like — and typically it is not something that gets sent out to eagerly waiting clients on a ship 10,000 miles away. The cameras were hand carried by one of the team and they survived intact despite TSA’s best attempts. The 4K camera telemetry system on the sub was prepped before the cameras arrived and the install went like clock work so within a day we had 2 new Sony 4K’s ready to go. For the next 10 days the cameras performed flawlessly and despite minor issues with sub power and fiber we were able to record countless hours of footage on wrecks and sea life in this little studied area of the world. As with any prototype, there are things that need to change — the control interface was clunky, lens control off a laptop was challenging in a crowded sub, and the camera chassis itself needs a Rev 2 to allow for more versatility in lensing.
...WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM THE TEAM, WITHIN 2 WEEKS THEY WERE ABLE TO GET NOT ONLY ONE, BUT 2 NEW SONY 4K CAMERAS CAPABLE OF OPERATING AT 6,000 METERS READY TO SEND TO ME OUT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE PACIFIC…
The important part is that they worked — and worked well. Like the faint whispering heard in Field of Dreams that said “If you build it, he will come,” AIVL has worked with its partner Sony to build one the of the best new systems in deep water imaging in decades, and the science community is beginning to show up. There will undoubtedly be a plethora of startling new images — both motion and still — that scientists will bring home to study, educate and, most importantly, inspire in our children the need to understand and preserve our oceans and planet in the years to come. And for now, there is only one small thing that stands in their way — international shipping and the 6 weeks it is taking to get the cameras back from the field…
Shooting STOCK at the Top with THE F5 By Derick Rhodes Footage Content Producer at Shutterstock www.shutterstock.com 167
aving recently launched a collection of 25,000 4K footage clips (still a small part of our quickly growing library of over 1.5 million royalty-free files), Shutterstock makes a habit of tracking developments and innovations in 4K.
A quick call to a nearby rental house and a few hours later, the PMW-F5 was ready for unpacking in our office. For the purposes of doing some quick, runand-gun testing with some of our existing lenses, we had it delivered with an OptiTek adapter.
While a number of our contributors have recently impressed us with the quality of the stock footage submitted from either F55 or F5 models, we thought it would make sense to spend a few days working with one of these cameras to get a better feel for the possibilities and workflow.
After getting familiar with the menu structure and getting the viewfinder set up, we took a ride to the top of the Empire State Building (Shutterstock moved in just a month ago) to capture the view from 1,000 feet above the bustling streets of Manhattan.
While we didn’t have the best weather to work with, it became clear right away that the F5 makes it easy to capture crisp images with its 14 stops of exposure latitude. Even from 1,000 feet up, with a minimal set up and with very little tinkering, the results were beautiful – with a level of detail in the shadows and “pop” in the highlights that are frequently lacking in competing models. The F5 doesn’t have the global shutter of the F55, of course, but we were extremely impressed by the quality of the images this camera produces and the dynamic range – it was easy to see, right away, why this camera is becoming one of the workhorses of the television industry.
In the world of stock footage production, it’s imperative that shooters can set up and execute quickly. The interface on the F5 makes it easy to do so — showing off just the right amount of information without distracting from the main objective: producing fantastic footage. After this initial encounter with the F5, we can’t wait to get our hands on the F55. Doug Jensen, a Shutterstock contributor who shoots with his F55 almost exclusively, has been producing some immaculate footage over the past few years, and we’re always excited to see what he’ll upload next.
ÂŠ Shutterstock contributor Doug Jensen
While the quality of the sensor, dynamic range, and ability to capture 4K RAW with the AXS-R5 recorder are clearly what first brought this camera to our attention, we were especially impressed with the smaller touches that make life easier when you’re out shooting. One of these, the ND Filter Wheel, came in especially handy when we needed to quickly reduce the amount of light entering the lens — perfect for on-therun situations where there isn’t another way to reduce harsh sunlight. Shooting stock footage, much like other types of filmmaking, is often about trying to create the highest quality images possible within conditions beyond one’s control. The F5 is well-equipped to allow for maximum adaptation when you’re making adjustments on the fly — whether on the top of the Empire State Building or out in the field shooting wildlife. Shutterstock is actively seeking F5 and F55 shooters to contributor 4K footage clips to our collection, whether it be aerials, slow motion sports, b-roll from an indie film, or otherwise. Licensing stock footage is a great way to generate passive income while you’re busy shooting other things, and perfect for those fill-in-the-gap times where you’re between projects. Feel free to reach out to us via email@example.com with any questions about licensing your work through Shutterstock.
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Behind the Scenes CineAlta Magazine Issue 2