We have seen a few examples of what the new Sony F55 is capable of, but there aren't really many samples showing what its similar-looking sibling, the F5, can do. A group of students over at USC produced a recent project called The Contract that was shot exclusively with the new camera, and they wanted to explore just how - the camera was and how it would perform in mixed-light situations. Check out the movie, written and directed by Rodney Hooks, below.
There is some NSFW language:
Here is a bit of the process that went into the movie:
The opening Car scene is shot handheld from the backseat with a 50mm lens set at T2. On the hood of the car is a Lite Panel Mini with a remote dimmer attached to the top of my camera so I can ride the key light on the actors “to taste”. I found this to be wonderfully liberating and allowed me to participate in the creative process even more intimately.
The scene as they pull up and sit in front of the house is where the Plasma lights came in. We were able to light from across the street with no cabling or generator. Each lamp was powered by its own battery belt that sustained it for hours. All the lights were gelled and softened to some degree and we still had plenty of stop with the cameras very sensitive ISO.
The “argument” in front of the house is shot with 650w lamps bounced off of board and a 1k through a 4x4 silk. All this is plugged into the locations house power. We utilized 75mm and 100mm lenses shot at T2. I think the skin tones turned out marvelous.
Color Timing all these scenes at Shapeshifter under the supervision of Randy Coonfield was a revelation and joy. We discovered enormous dynamic range. The files had a gentle sensitivity to them that allowed for subtle color correction and adjustment. Having done my own color and black and white printing of still photographs for many years I enjoyed this aspect of our process tremendously.
The “fireplace” sequence was one of our dynamic range tests. Again we used small instruments bounced off of boards with a 400w lamp gelled with 216 and CTB edging our actors. The fire was reading around T22 in a scene that was shot at T2. The waveform monitor built into the Sony Monitor was starting to peak out past legal yet we sustained color and some detail in this beautiful effect.
Our “ Garage” scene was filmed late at night but of course lit to play as morning. Again the Plasma lights came into play to create the “Sun” coming through the slightly frosted windows. It was set to be very hot, almost “”out of control” to give the scene a sense of realism. These lamps are naturally daylight balanced and I left it raw while using tungsten lamps on the additional lighting. I love to mix color temperatures and feel the Camera captured the mood and quality I was working for.
We haven't talked too much about Hive lighting, but the company makes plasma lights similar to the technology in the Zacuto light, but much more concentrated and more like a traditional Tungsten head. These are the most efficient lights per watt in terms of their output currently available, and they obviously proved to be extremely helpful on the shoot.
As far as the camera is concerned, they rated the it at 1200 ISO and shot in XAVC HD, but S-Log was not implemented in the camera yet. There is a ton of dynamic range in the camera, but whether it's as much as the F55 remains to be seen -- though they are both rated at 14-stops. Some of you will surely say just like the other shorts that the images don't seem as cinematic as some other cameras (namely Arri and RED), but I think we're getting to a point where digital is digital, and the looks are going to be more accepted as we move away from film. Even watching this on Vimeo it's clear that the encoder and the down-scaler is doing an incredible job. It's too bad Sony couldn't have released this camera instead of the F3, as it literally takes everything that was good about that camera, and multiplies it by 10, without adding all that much to the cost -- but I guess that's the march forward of technology and everything gets better.
Head on over to the Sony forum to read more about the production.
What do you think of the short? How about the actual performance of the camera itself?