PMW-200??

Is the PMW-200 the next big thing by Sony due to be released in the next few days?? Rumors are flying around and I saw a PDF with some interesting information that if true could prove to be a new camera in the XDCam line up. It will, if true, offer 1/2 inch EXmor CMOS FullHD sensors and HD422 in 50Mbps.
A big big dealer in Europe actually has the camera up on its website, I saw it for myself, reachable from a search engine URL.
Anyhoooo, rumors or not, We’ll know what Sony has in store soon enough… 🙂

Matching ENG setup

In the process of matching 2 ENG cameras for a sports shoot tomorrow.
Always fun, especially one SD and one HD camera, both shooting SD…. Using 2 XDCam’s one PDW-530 and one PDW-700.

Using 1 monitor, recording a clip on one camera and painting the second camera toggling between playback (from camera 1) and live view of camera 2. Using a bit of black wrap on the monitor to make a hood helps. If matching HD, On a small monitor like this detail/focus is tough and really needs a bigger monitor. (if you match the 2 same cameras more than once just check on big monitor and make a note for next time… )
This is a Quick and easy way of getting close. Skin tone is always nice to check as well as white.
Obviously this is Not the way of doing it for anything higher end/critical work, but for this sports 2 camera shoot tomorrow, it will work great. 🙂

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FS700 vs F3 talking head

Today I shot a “talking head” comparison between the Sony NEX-FS700 and the Sony F3.  My interest is to see if the the FS700 will be a good B-cam for our F3 shoots, especially color/contrast wise.

First inital reaction is Yes.  Footage looks very good and looks easy enough to match to the F3.  All footage shot to a PIX240 in Prores 422HQ.  Both cameras are white balanced in the Key light.  Both read 3000K, but there is a distinct difference in the red wall.  Both cameras are shot in STANDARD out-of-the-box-setting. One camera comes very close to the actual color of the wall and that is…… the FS700.  The F3 has quite a bit more yellow in there.  Skin tones are more alike than the wall.   Shot on a Nikon 85mm, 1,4G lens  wide open using the Novoflex adapter. (The F3 might be at F1.8 since its a tad faster).  NOTE the the Novoflex adapter DOES NOT lock into the camera like for example Metabones does.  If you turn the lens too hard the adapter will come loose. It also does not allow for exact F-stops readings since the iris ring has a very short and unmarked throw.

Setup. 1 Key, neg fill, back light, and 3 lights on the back wall.

 

New side-by-side of FS700 and F3 without blockiness. Uncompressed Tiffs below.

 

Uncompressed  Ungraded TIFF files from Prores 422 HQ file. FS700

 

Uncompressed Ungraded TIFF files from Prores 422 HQ file. Sony F3

 

We also shot using Cinegammas and S-log (for the F3) and I’ll try and do a more complete comparison in the next couple of weeks.

One thing to watch out for.  Display information is passed out through the SDI port by default is seems, so watch out as ALL your information including Zebra, TC etc will be recorded onto your external recorder.  We had a monitor on the loop through AFTER our Pix240 and saw this, but if you use a AJA KiPro mini for example and don’t use an on-board monitor you could end up recording an image with all your OSD info…   I am sure there is an option to turn all CHAR OFF on SDI output, I didn’t play with this though.

 

Disclaimer: Another comparison for my own interest. No connection to Sony other than being a long time customer.

FS700 test footage

Here are a few shots from my first test with the Sony NEX FS-700. I borrowed the camera from our local dealer (Scandinavian Photo, Malmö) and went down to the local skate park. Spent about 20 min there asking a few kids to participate. No external monitor, no meter, exposing from what I saw on the camera screen helped out by zebra. To be honest , without a sun shade or proper monitor, I was just happy to be able to frame using the camera monitor. 🙂

Footage shot at 200 fps using the MetaBones adaptor and a 16-35mm Canon L lens. The camera delivers full raster 1920×1080 HD at 200 fps.
Cine Gamma 1 was set in camera. There is clipping in a few places but I think it holds highlights pretty well considering slight over exposure here and there.

8 bit AVCHD at 4:2:0, and those .MTS files is a terrible in camera codec I think, would have loved to see the XDCam EX but I understand the competing product lines.  It does seem to hold up fairly well considering the compressed codec chosen in camera, especially highlights.  It is confirmed by a few users that its possible to take an uncompressed stream of the slow motion footage, which will certainly be a welcome option for high(er) end work.
Footage was transcoded (Prores) and editing in Final Cut. No grading or color correction of any kind. Compressed to 10Mbit/s H264 and uploaded to Vimeo.

I always think its hard to judge test footage on Vimeo or Youtube.  Compression is always in the middle.  In this case the footage is shot in 8 bit AVCHD 420, transcoded to 10 bit Prores, editied, Compressed to 10Mbit/s H264 and then uploaded to Vimeo where its, yet again, compressed to Vimeo Format…  So take it for what it is, slow motion images. 🙂

 

Sony FS700 SLOWMO TEST UnGraded from Marcus Skogstrom on Vimeo.

FS700-First thoughts 1/2

Today I finally got to test the FS700. I will try and write a more detailed post in the coming week but here some “first-thoughts”.
Slow motion is the main attraction here. 240 fps in full HD. Up to 800 fps with reduced resolution. It’s a 4k (later upgrade option) super 35 sensor, with a wide choice of lens choices.

The FS700 offers a mid size sort of awkward body, but once you add a cheese plate and all your gizmos and such it will look like any other camera system. A small smart brain with a sensor somewhere hidden underneath a myriad of add ons.

Today’s first test was totally unscientific. First a liquid pour with a Nikon 70-200. Quick quick setup, 2 lights. Then some exterior shots, a 16-35 Canon lens, no monitor, outside and exposing on a whim only helped by zebras on the sun lit screen shooting some rollerblading and skateboarding. Makes for nice slow motion right… Yes it does! 🙂
From what I’ve seen so far, only in camera, and on a Mac Book Pro it looks really nice. CINE 1 gamma holds the high lights nicely. Can’t wait to watch it on a proper monitor. 🙂

I must say I am not crazy about the choice of AVCHD and those .mts files. 8bit AvCHD is not ideal but seems to hold up reasonably well from what I quickly saw on my Mac. Transcoding is a must and I would have loved to see the trusted EX codec instead. Competing product lines I suspect.

My next interest is how well this camera plays with the bigger brother Sony F3. I can definitely see this camera as a B Cam to our F3.
Lots of testing left but so far very exciting. More to come, for sure.

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New Black Magic Camera

Yet another camera. This time it’s Black Magic Design who’ve entered the camera market, by releasing a 2,5K uncompressed RAW camera. Price: $3000!! Yes you heard right. $3000!!!

The camera will record to an internal SSD drive, controlled by large touch screen on the back and accept EF or ZF mount lenses. It will record in 12 bit RAW CineDNG files and is said to have 13 stops of dynamic resolution!

http://bit.ly/HImie0

Not a bad first camera… 🙂

2012 – The year for 4K??

A lot of things this year heading into NAB seems to be associated with 4K. External recorders, new cameras and all the talk in the world. There are lots of ways of looking at this. A couple are: 1: production will of course move toward 4K (image re frame- stabilization , future proof etc etc. 2: The home viewers are still moving over to 1080p screens and I think 4k displays are more than a few years away…

Everyone is waiting for Arri to release a 4K camera, and this will be big!
Earlier this week, Sony announced another (F65 is already here) 4K ready camera, NEX-FS700 at the $10 000 price range doing 240fps slow motion.

Today Canon introduced 2 cameras. The C500 and the Eos 1D E–. The C500, list priced at $30 000 aimed at higher end/cinema market, is built onto the same body as the C300, with full 10 bit 444 output in 4K to an external recorder.
Then there is the $15 000 EOS 1D C, recording 8bit, 422, 4K motion Jpeg in camera, all built into a DSLR body…

I think a $15 000, DSLR body camera with HMDI out (1080P only) recording in-camera 8!!! bit, 422 4K files will be a hard sell. It is somewhere in the middle being not too good or not too bad. Marketing will drive a concept such as 4K only so far….

I always think it’s exciting with new cameras but it seems like the 4K hype is just going crazy right now and I bet the next iPhone will probably be 4K ready….

Nikon D4 on location

I’ve had the D4 for about 10 days now and here are some quick thoughts.  (I will write a more thorough review as soon as time allows)

Since I got my hand on this camera I’ve shot mostly video – for a commercial where the camera acted as B-cam mounted inside/outside a car as well as a few specialty shots. We chose to record in 1080/25P to internal CF cards.  Main camera on the spot was a Sony F3 with S-log.

Inverted D4 mounted inside car for Driver shot
Mounted on car
Mounted to cheese plate outside car

 

There was one shot we wanted to get from above an ice climber wanting to believe he was hundreds of meter up in the air.  This was a perfect shot for a DSRL looking straight down with very shallow depth of field.  I put a 70-200 VRII on the D4 and got some amazing shots.

Shooting straight down leaning into a harness

 

There were also a few other short shots we captures with the D4.  I was sitting on a snow mobile with a gyro attached to the camera (14-24 and 70-200).  We got both wide angle speed shots as well as steady closeup with this setup.

14-24 and gyro
70-200 VRII with gyro attached

All in all as a first shoot I am very happy with the results. The body is on the heavy side for mounting, the D800 will be a better choice for that. I found that adding one more point of attachment, using hot shoe, was a good way of keeping the rig solid. I am working on getting a release for some frame grabs and will post as soon as I know.  On the other hand the bigger body makes for much easier hand holding IMHO, especially with a 70-200 attached.

On the still photography side (I also shot some stills for the ad campaign) they’ve added some really cool new buttons and an extra grip-pad to the body. This really is nice and makes for easier handling, especially in vertical mode. AF is blazing fast and spot on.    More sooooon.

 

Canon 5D mark III – at last

At last, after a long long wait, lots of speculations, rumors and more speculations it is finally here; the new Canon 5D mark III.  The camera is updated with a vastly improved Autofocus (AF) system with 61 point AF compared to the old 9. It has an updated sensor and new DIGIC 5+ processor, 6 frames per second.

As for the video bit it has been updated with the new option of I-frame compression, which means each frame is individually compressed.  This will make for cleaner video images as well as easier editing without having to transcode.  This is great news.

Canon decided to add Timecode (TC) which is great news for video/film work where you want to incorporate this camera into a multi camera environment.  This is something Nikon failed to add this year.

On the other hand Canon has left out something Nikon added this year, CLEAN UNCOMPRESSED HD out of the HDMI port.  So you are still limited to the onboard codec which is a shame, should you want a higher quality/bitrate image.  This is, I am sure, a marketing strategy on Canons part. They now have the wonderful C300 which will give you uncompressed HDSDI out so why add the same feature to a camera costing $8-10 000 less…

Another thing not mentioned on the Canon 5D mark III, which is a big plus for Nikon, is the Crop mode in video, which will allow you to zoom into the sensor extending the focal length without changing the aperture on the lens. I would have like to see this on the Canon as well.

I am sure this camera will be a great sucess both in still and video photography. 22,3MP with improved AF and image processor and better on board video, headphone jack, audio level adjustment while recording and TC support.

On my part I think I made the correct choice going with Nikon considering I want the clean HD signal out of the camera and I think the crop mode will serve as a great feature.

As always: To each his own… 🙂

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