Description image

Sony F55 Film 'Dig' is a Must-Watch Example of What the 4K Camera Can Do

11.30.12 @ 6:30PM Tags : , , , ,

While it seems like it has been all Sony around here, it’s really because the news and videos have been trickling out slowly, rather than in one burst after the recent presentation. We already saw what the Sony F55 with its global shutter could do with one crew, now we’ve got the opportunity to see it in the hands of another. Dig, written/directed by Martin Scanlan and shot by Steve Lawes, premiered at the Camerimage Film Festival in Poland, and was part of the European launch for the F55. Check out the full film below.

Thanks again to Cinester for finding this. Be sure to download the film from Vimeo to check out the full 1080p file in better quality:

Here is a frame grab that really gives you a sense of the depth of the image and the latitude (click for larger):

This is the kind of video I’ve been looking for as an example of what this camera can do. The other video we shared, Mahout, is great, no question, but with the deep depth of field, strong grade, and blurred motion, it was not the easiest sample to judge the camera by. Content aside, the grade that we’re seeing in Dig is much closer to a traditional narrative film. We have rich colors at times, and more subdued tones when the scene calls for it. Even in a compressed web form, it’s clear that the 4K image delivers a tremendous amount of clarity. I’m also extremely impressed with the dynamic range from this video. This shot in particular is one that stood out to me showing that Sony is not underestimating the 14 stops of latitude:

On the content side this film is more my style, but everyone has their preferences. I think the lack of dialogue actually drew me in more, and helped sell the payoff at the end. Cinematic is certainly an intangible word for most people when it relates to the image they can get out of a particular camera, but it’s one of the reasons I have tended to prefer a lot of the material shot on RED or Alexa up until this point. This short gave me that same feeling, I’m sure in no small part to the excellent dynamic range.

I’m definitely curious to see more samples, especially some that are more flat in their grade, but I think this image is going to please lots of shooters. If the workflow is there, and the actual rigs end looking as simple has they have so far, I think this is going to be a real competitor for the productions that normally would have chosen EPIC or Alexa.

What do you think of the footage? How about the dynamic range? Did this impress you as much as it impressed me, or do you still feel that something is off with the footage?

Link: Dig – Sony F55 — Vimeo


We’re all here for the same reason: to better ourselves as writers, directors, cinematographers, producers, photographers... whatever our creative pursuit. Criticism is valuable as long as it is constructive, but personal attacks are grounds for deletion; you don't have to agree with us to learn something. We’re all here to help each other, so thank you for adding to the conversation!

Description image 84 COMMENTS

  • what an amazing use of audiovisual narrative. From the growing tension in the music, to the use of sound design (i could feel the eye blinking in the macro of the eye ’cause the use of sound there), and expressive camera work, working for the story being told… and the actors! how hard it is to tell a story just with body and facial expression! Chaplin used to say that the talkies killed universal cinema… this, being a no talkie is like ‘pure cinema’ as hitchcock used to say.

    and i may be wrong, but the image is gorgeous, not too sharp, none of the excessive detail that could have take me away from the story. great short!

  • Yeah this is alot better then the previous, more creative in my tastes. Glad to have more competition in this industry, the more the better.

  • Wow, that looks amazing. So much better than the first video. The DR is very impressive.

  • I’d say that looks PLENTY filmic. Dynamic range seems amazing. Would love to see a bts of the post work on this piece. Far better example of what this can is capable of than the first film released. Good show!

  • Every body still think the camera has no place in narratives?

  • Where do you have the 14 stops of dynamic range number from???

    • That what sony is promoting for both the F5/55, 14stops of DR.

      • ah, thanks.
        I didn’t know that number.
        now that I do I must say that’s a big surprise! Watching the few samples of F55 I wouldn’t have thought it was anywhere near that I must say.

  • Man, that was a much better use of the F55 than the first, no doubt.

  • Frederik O. on 11.30.12 @ 7:21PM

    Come on guys, are you serious? It looks extremely videoish and uncinematic. If we compare it to the first Red Epic short ‘Tattoo’ (which is much more organic, in terms of dynamic range and resolution), I am not very impressed. Ok, it is more cinematic than the first attempt, but nothing special.

  • Great short- Although I feel like it would look the same if shot with a 5d or bmcc. The film seems to have lighting and lenses. just a thought.. I still want to shoot with 4k / F55 ASAP. Just curious about the budget for this.

  • It just proves that a good story with good editing is king. I was really drawn in by this. It has a beautiful rythmn and I was compelled by the desire to know why he was digging.

    For months I’ve been so obsessed by camera specs and the technology I use and what the next camera I should buy is, but recently I’ve begun to realise something which was staring me in the face. It wasn’t confirmed by this short, but certainly reinforced.

    It doesn’t matter to me if this was shot on the F55 or not.

    However, the fact that it was (and seems to be being used to promote the camera) actually gives more credibility to Sony.

    It doesn’t linger for the sake of pixel peeping, it shows you enough to tell the story.

  • Soosan Khanoom on 11.30.12 @ 8:41PM

    What the f**k do some people mean by saying that ‘Dig’ could be shot with a 5d or BMCC? The F55 maybe nowhere near the Alexa but it is far ahead of the DSLRs and the BMCC.

  • Beautiful stuff!

    BMCC? Perhaps though the low light stuff would be highly doubtful.

    5D? Not a snowballs chance in f@cking hell!!!

  • Its a big price jump. $25,000 about? Think about that, does it look like a $25,000 improvement over RED? Not to me. I think the progress in the ability for digital to mimic film may have hit a plateau.

  • Digital doesn’t have to mimic film. The new generation of movie goers think that “film” looks old. Digital simply looks better to them.

    • “Filmic” means natural color reproduction, decent latitude, highlight rolloff and microcontrast. Motion picture film looks organic to your eye.

  • 14 stops indeed, quite filmic. This is no joke.

  • Fine work here. Great IQ and dynamic range. Love the grade on both these shorts.

  • Much better film. Still only an ok camera. Let’s see what it rents for.

  • Extraordinary! What a beautiful piece.

    Dynamic range is stellar, and even though it’s only 1080p it’s still tack sharp.

    Very nice.

  • Martin Scanlan on 12.1.12 @ 6:36AM

    Hi all, sorry the video’s gone private, we’ve been asked by Sony to take it offline for a while. We’ll try to get it back up soon.

    Thanks and apologies.


  • This the absolute pinnacle of video it is 14 stops of linear dynamic range. It is detailed and very clear. You can do whatever you want with this material. This camera is so good that I think people will start using softfilters on it to dumb down the picture. I am pretty shure that if you put a softfilter on it and added some grain that it would look more cinematic. When it comes to Color there seems to be some work left but I mean it took red 2 years to get decent color out of their camera so I would cut sony some slack.

  • What is the password to the video?

  • Martin Scanlan on 12.1.12 @ 8:50AM

    Back up again, sorry for the blip

  • It’s strange isn’t it how some footage just doesn’t chime with us. Tattoo left me highly unimpressed but I shot epic with Hawk anamorphics for my last short and it was gorgeous. Not filmic at all, something entirely different. That was always the nice thing about the Red One, it didn’t look filmic but it had its own really pleasant signature. We just shot a music video last weekend on fs700 and fs100 at the weekend, in the forest with our artist digging holes so I have a direct frame of reference and what we’re getting looks more traditionally filmic than this felt. Whether that’s down to the grade or not I couldn’t tell you but certainly Sony cams traditionally make you work harder to find their sweet spots which can be a bit frustrating. Certainly what we’re seeing from BMCC is given greater context by footage from these much more expensive cameras. It’s pretty impressive. Whatever you do it’s certainly going to be important to do your homework in setting the camera up before you shoot with it.

  • Okay camera? you have to be kidding right. The footage was tack sharp, and beautifully rendered and light with incredible detail, gradation and tonality in all scenes even though there was a black and and a white woman with varying background grades.. this was the best digital footage I have ever seen. (P.S I downloaded the file)

  • Wow, I’m really surprised by the comments here. The only reason why the Epic is not eating more into Alexa rentals at least from a producer prospective is because the workflow is not as simple and quick. Now there is an option that will rent for half price, and can easily record any bitrate you want plus optional raw and 4k and has the same dynamic range and great color. Audiences can’t tell the difference between epic and alexa, and they won’t be able to tell the difference between f55 and alexa, so if its half price, similar look, why would filmmakers not adopt? Plan and simple Epic, f55, and Alexa all pass a “is it a high end digital cinema camera?” test. You’re choice among the three is what the project calls for. Some of you guys are living in a dream world where magically every production has a limitless budget and Alexas hang from trees. Lets be real here, realistically for a budget conscious production, the f55 will be a much smaller line item. Itll make its way into productions whether you like it or not.

    And about the BMC, you cannot compare this camera and the BMC, you can’t shoot a big budget production on BMC, theres no genlock, no proxy recording, theres no way to see your f stop, come on guys, its a small to no budget camera, not a big budget A cam, just please save the “my camera is better than every other camera ever” until you have the camera in your hands. The I’ve seen web footage that looks better is getting really old, you’ve never seen it on a TV, you’ve never seen it on the big screen, you’ve never shot with the camera. Such immutable unfounded advocacy sounds stupid.

    • Frederik O. on 12.1.12 @ 12:55PM

      Haha, the audience can’t tell the difference between an 2.8k Alexa and an 5k Epic on a 4k projector? Are you serious? We all know what the Alexa and Epic look on the big screen, and the F55 will also look good. Of course everybody knows that the 5D and the F55 cannot be compared, because F55 is 4K. Although the dynamic range is impressive (and the sharpness), the images feels 5D -ish and uncinematic.

      Youtube cancelled the 4k support. The hobbit is released in 2k 3D. I think I definitely need a 4k camera.

      Theres not one notable feature film, that has been shot with the F65. So the camera is in a good tradition.

      • thank you for addressing nothing

      • F55 will not make it’s way into big cinema productions for sure, TV is another thing and it could well be used there.
        Big screen cinema – nope, count on it!

        • did you see the f55 on 4k projection at the sony event?

        • Frederik O. on 12.1.12 @ 2:05PM

          For TV Productions the camera has definitely a future. And the soap opera look (with enhanced dynamic range of course) of the camera makes it the perfect TV production camera.

          I pity all the dudes that just bought a F65.. Life span.. 8 months…

          It will sit next the the f35 and f23 gathering dust in the back of rental houses….

          You would think that a lot of people would have learned there lesson the first 2 times.

          I think if you go Sony now… they will have something out again in the next 6 to 12 months. Boom.. another dust collector.

          • i agree with tv / soap look. this could be great for shows like that…sharpness and limited resolution is what u want.

  • this is the the most impressive footage if have seen from any camera. i mean i would grade it other ways but it´s so sharp and without any noise. i think this cam is maybe the best you can get these days. forget about arri, red and BM.

  • wow pure passion in these comments. Hell yea – that’s what its all about!

  • Now that I’ve viewed this footage on a properly calibrated monitor, I’ve changed my mind about it. I feel it is very filmic and creates a superb image. In the right hands, this camera can dazzle an audience. The versatility of this camera is fantastic. So at this point have we only seen the 4k raw as examples? I’m very interested in seeing some of the 2k XAVC footage as well for comparison. Good short too!

  • Went to the recent opening for the F5 and F55 at the SONY DMPC in Los Angeles. Was not an impressive event. It started when the Baselight crashed during one of the films. Well let’s be real, Baselight did not crash the storage just couldn’t keep up with the DPX files. Anyway on top of that it appeared like the screen was not calibrated before the event. The blacks where looking raised. Overall the image quality so so on each film they showed but I blame this one SONY not prepping the theatre correctly.
    So I moved over to a DI room at colorworks where I sat and watched some of the final conform of these F55 films. Color looked good, but the motion was terrible. In any shot where the live action moved one way and the camera was moving in the opposite direction you got that video “stutter” in the motion. It’s looked absolutely unacceptable for any cinematic piece long or short. Im not the only one who saw this. Must have been 10 of us noticing this. Sony said nothing about it. I have no idea why. I heard everything from bad render to bad focus. Whatever it was I hope SSONY will invite us back to DMPC so we can bring in an DIT system and possible conform some of this material from these camera’s and see what exactly is going on. In the meantime I look forward to heading over to Canon next week and working on the C500.
    Don’t get me wrong I am huge into the F65 and SONY in general. But the vent was just a plain let down.

  • Beautiful short, though I find it bizarre anyone expected this camera would be capable of producing anything less than stunning images.

    We really have to get over “better” we just need to establish when something crosses the capable of producing fantastic imagery threshold.

  • Martin Scanlan on 12.2.12 @ 1:53PM

    Just wanted to say thanks for all the great comments and glad we’re helping the debate.


  • Looks great. But this “global shutter” masturbation is out of control. It makes no difference in the “image” AT ALL. Nothing looks any better, or any worse. Sure it’s great to have, I guess… but let’s all be careful in over-praising what is just a natural improvement in imaging. The more praise and awe we give to “global shutters”, the more likely were going to see “global shutter” cameras with a two-zero markup on them for no reason at all…

    • Whoa, hold on there. Rolling shutters have been a DEFECT of modern cameras ever since they started using CMOS sensors. It was a step backward, period. Rolling shutters exhibit artifacts that film shutters never did. Artifacts that manifest themselves in motion…kind of a problem for a “cinema” camera (cinema getting its name from motion).

      Maybe it’s not a big deal for TV cameras, but it sure as heck is for other mediums. There is a metric crap ton of motion tracking required for most movies due to the high amount of effects work, even in non-effects centered movies. Rolling shutters crap all over attempts to track motion. So next time you say it makes no difference AT ALL, I’d like to see you donate your time and money trying to get around the problems caused by rolling shutter artifacts.

      • Gary Simmons on 12.6.12 @ 4:54PM

        Is there any way to prove what you said a link to some info on it? Because honestly I do not have a clue to how it effects the image and would like to know how it works because if its not necessary then I might as well buy the F5 because I am not concerned with working in 4K yet but want the option which I would have with the F5.

        • John Stephens on 12.8.12 @ 11:51AM

          Think of it this way: a global shutter makes each image at a discrete point in time (all the pixels cover the same time period) while a rolling shutter has different time points for different parts of the frame. In motion tracking, time points equal points in 3D space. A rolling shutter gives a matrix of 3D points which makes things an order of magnitude (2D vs. 3D) more complex.

        • Yes there is a test.

          Global shutter makes a big difference

  • NOW THAT’S HOW YOU DEMO A CAMERAS AWESOMENESS!!! WOW! I have just downloaded the720p file and the clarity and sharpness and details is..jussst…jawdropping! The colors are amazing! But disregarding all the camera specs..that shortis pretty fucking awesome. It jad no dialoige, just a powerful scoring..but a great story unfolded..and it was about love. Sigh.:) And in between all those flashback they were able to show the camera shooting at various conditions and settings (good loght, bad light, no light, craze colored lights, overcast, sunny, macro )…just awesome awesome stuff.

  • what glass was this shot on? cant tell…looks like zeiss…prime cp.2?

    • Joe Marine on 12.5.12 @ 4:38PM

      From Steve Lawes, the DP: “we shot on Cooke S4i’s. Mostly between T2 and T2.8. Two shots were on the Alura Zooms”

  • An excellent example of high-quality camera capabilities in the hands of very talented professionals.

  • Gary Simmons on 12.6.12 @ 4:57PM

    I liked everything about this film the camera is every thing I hoped for in the price range. My thanks to the talented team who made this film. I enjoyed watching it.

  • Please upload this to YouTube at 4K so we can really see what this camera can do…thanks! :-)

  • After watching this over several times I truly believe the F-5/55 will easily stand up to
    the Alexa or Epic without breaking a sweat. Yes, in the hands of such talented people
    as those who crafted this footage, anything is possible. But, given
    the technology built into this camera, this sets without question a new milestone in
    digital cinematography. The F-55 will be around for a long time producing
    beautiful images as we have witnessed here. Yes, technology can always get better, but
    I think we have reached the point of diminishing returns in cinema technology. This is effectively
    as good as it gets, and will be for long time.

  • Looks like really nice video. All the talk about dynamic range and sharpness aside, it doesn’t look like film.

  • Looks like the f-800 with shallow depth of field. Amazing that after all of this time and money and research, Sony produces nothing more than an expensive news camera. Nobody is shooting a high end movie with this camera.

  • $3000 Black Magic Cinema Camera looks more like film than this. Love the ergonomics of this camera, hate the look of the footage.

  • Steve Lawes deserves most of the praise here.

    Beautifully shot and and great use of light.
    A well written and directed short by Martin Scanlan and compelling story as well.

    The camera, very impressive as well.

  • Nice Job to Steve Lawes and his team, but to my eyes f55 looks video-ish ( I’ve seen all the available f55 footages out there. (up to this date ) )

  • I felt that this short was nice, but I could shot the same film on a dslr and got the same vibe. I just don’t feel the Sony F55 was utilized to its full potential. Personally I can only take x amount of close ups before I think the DP is being lazy. Plus why did they use shallow depth of field. You gotta milk that bitch really go wide. Shoot in pitch black and do something with a match or lighter to see its dynamic range. Why not a running spot to see its stabilization of the image.

    This is just me.