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Watch 'Mahout,' One of the First Films Shot on the Global Shutter Sony F55

11.29.12 @ 6:37PM Tags : , , , ,

Last night Sony went in-depth about their new camera offerings, the F5 and the F55, and their accompanying accessories, and also detailed the list pricing for all of those items. In addition to the presentation they showed a plethora of footage from both the F5 and the F55. Now we’ve finally got one of those samples online — from the F55 — thanks to the good people over at Stargate Studios. Click through to check out some of the first images from this camera.

Here is part of the description below the video:

Sony asked Sam Nicholson, ASC, and Stargate Studios to produce a short film to test the F55. Nicholson, along with production teams from Stargate LA and Stargate Mumbai, travelled to Sri Lanka to produce the film, hiring local talent and crew to help in the production. “Mahout” follows an orphan girl who helps a baby elephant escape an abusive owner and return to his herd in the wild. Nicholson directed and shot “Mahout” throughout the spectacular environments of Sri Lanka, from crowded urban locales to remote jungles, rivers and beaches, often struggling with monsoon rainstorms, severe humidity and unpredictable weather. “Mahout” features a young bull elephant, local Sri Lanka children, sacred stone temples and a large herd of wild elephants.

Thanks to Cinester for finding this:

Quite a bit of this footage looks like it has been shot with a more open shutter — which is unrelated to the fact that this camera has a global shutter CMOS vs. a rolling shutter CMOS sensor. For example, if the entire video was shot at 24p (which it seems like it was except for the slow motion parts), the normal shutter would be 180 degrees or 1/48 of a second, but there are a few shots, like when the girl is hiding out at night, and near the end, that have a lot more blurring in the motion — so it would stand to reason that a 1/24 of a second or 360 degree shutter was used at those times. Plenty of the film looked fine, but there were enough moments that stood out to me. It’s possible that this technique was used to gain an additional stop of exposure during certain scenes, which could also allow for shooting with a deeper depth of field.

As far as the look, it seems very similar to much of the other offerings from Sony. Watching in compressed form on Vimeo is certainly not ideal, especially since this was shown in 4K at the presentation yesterday, but one of the biggest things that is impressing me is the dynamic range. For a global shutter camera, it’s remarkable that Sony has pulled this much latitude out of the sensor. The highlight rolloff is nice in many shots — and some of the them are just downright impossible if you’re not using a camera with a lot of range. In certain places it does seem that the grade has been pushed hard, and shadows and highlights are slightly lost — but if you’re shooting RAW, it’s going to take a lot to not have a usable image with the F55.

I think the big thing with this camera will be to see how far the compressed 4K can be pushed. I have a feeling that’s going to be used quite a bit by productions because you get all of the advantages of 4K — like reframing and stabilization – without the massive data requirements of RAW (and keep in mind that Sony is also using compressed RAW with their recorder, so you are saving a little bit of space from uncompressed).

I’m interested to see how far the prices will come down when the cameras are actually delivered, since those numbers listed yesterday were just the MSRP. I would definitely like to see more samples and some RAW examples to really make any judgements about what this camera can really do, but the specs are there — it’s just going to come down to whether you personally like the look of the camera.

What do you guys think about the look so far? How about the dynamic range? Are you warming up to Sony’s offering if you were initially on the fence?

Link: Mahout – Sony F55 CineAlta 4k Camera Demo — Vimeo

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  • The footage seems to be very video-like…When Philip Bloom will test it we will have a better overview on the camera, to see if it’s a real cinema camera we need to see the footage at a 2,35:1 ratio (with real anamorphic lenses if possible) but in 1,77 (16/9) it’s definitely not cinema.. and a better color grade of course.

  • Daniel Mimura on 12.8.12 @ 11:34PM

    Wow…I read the comments before watching this, and I suspected that people were probably just tearing it apart b/c they have a Red, or they really like Alexa, or they love Canon, or they think it’s overpriced…or…whatever…you know, the usual camera factions that we see (I say “usual”, but it’s like this has popped up over the last couple years so strongly…I don’t remember bolex haters or Arri haters or Aaton haters back with film cameras…I guess those choices were mostly before internet forums.)

    …anyway…this footage is awful! What’s up with the crushed blacks? If this camera has good dynamic range (which is strongly suspect, given what many of their cheaper older lower spec cameras can do)…I didn’t see it at all b/c of the grading choices.

    (And that’s ignoring how uneven it was…there were tons of crushed blacks, followed by a random peppering of milky shots that sometimes looked like -log footage).

    And what’s up with the shutter? It’s so irritating looking at greater than 180º shutters! Sony commissions a short to show of the camera, and then makes it look like “video”. I swear, there also seemed to be some 30fps (but not projected at 24) shots in there too…like a couple tracking shots of the car as he’s looking for the elephant.

    Big fail.

    I’m not saying the camera is a failure…I’m sure it’s more camera than most of us could ever use.

  • The look and feel that some are referring to as videoish may
    be an aesthetic choice. I would have softened the image a bit,
    and give it a slightly more warm color grade (& punch up the green channel).
    But, that’s me. I feel the raw stock is already there, and with some post
    work, the responses would have been a bit more positive. But, I can’t
    really complain about it – not bad at all, really!

  • Did I mention we screened this in Austin in 4K back in February? It was a great event.

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