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David Peterson

Tips for shooting a feature with an F5 and a7S mk2 together in 4K?

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About to start shooting a vampire comedy feature film with both the F5 and a7S mk2 together in 4K, the a7S mk2 is for the purpose of a smaller gimbal camera.

Any particular tips/suggestions I should be aware of beforehand?

For instance I am thinking it is probably best they both use slog2 rather than slog3? As the slog3 could be too much of a stretch for the a7S's 8bit codec. So use slog2 with the a7S and thus do the same with the F5 as well to help match it better.

 

Also, when I think ahead to when we get distribution (well.... hopefully!!), would they prefer 23.976fps or 24fps?

Edited by David Peterson

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On a closely related point, what is (roughly generally speaking) the prefered aspect ratio by distributors? 2.35:1 , 2.39:1 , 1.85:1 , or something else?

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Haven't used the A7.. but i have an F5.. I wonder if you have to shoot the same Slog2.. generally the newer Slog3.cine is a"better " choice from my own experience and what I,ve read of the 2 Slogs.or heard from graders...Im never asked to shoot Slog2 its always Slog3.cine now.. easier to grade as the primaries line up with 709.. but yes it seems Slog2 is recommended for the 8 bit stills/video cam,s

 

The menu,s of the F5 is quite complicated .. be very careful you are not recording any monitor LUT,s you might be using.. seems to be a common mistake with the F5/55.. or have an AC who is familiar with the camera..

Edited by Robin R Probyn

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You should do a variety of camera tests and make sure you can grade the two cameras together so they intercut well. You will likely want to develop a couple looks that put both cameras in matching neutral worlds so that you can use the same grade on both without to much fussing. But I am sure its doable, people have been mixing vastly different cameras on films for a long time. Just gotta do your prep work to iron out any issues before you are on your set and burning money.

 

EDIT: I believe the current 2.4 actual ratio is 2.39:1 and 1.85:1. But in this day and age just choose what works for you. In your case it would probably be best to shoot 1.85:1 with 2.39:1 guides in your frame so you have a little room to fudge the frame if needed in post.

Edited by Shawn Sagady

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Why not just output the a7s to a 4k 4:2:2 recorder? Then one image isn't capped out at 8bit.

The hdmi output is still 8-bit. 4:2:2 is a compression ratio and has nothing to do with bit depth.

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EDIT: I believe the current 2.4 actual ratio is 2.39:1 and 1.85:1. But in this day and age just choose what works for you. In your case it would probably be best to shoot 1.85:1 with 2.39:1 guides in your frame so you have a little room to fudge the frame if needed in post.

I had a shoot recently that needed 16-9 and a "fake" 2.4.. rather than go with the VF guid lines in the VF.. giving too much head room on your 16-9.. we went for a common top of frame.. you do of course have to check your bottom of frame not to crop out anything important.. but saves having to adjust your headroom all the time.. which is always very noticeable

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The hdmi output is still 8-bit. 4:2:2 is a compression ratio and has nothing to do with bit depth.

Seriously? It only outputs 8-bit? I never thought a new digital camera couldn't output 10-bit considering the feature's been out for so long.

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***ALL*** mirrorless/DSLRs output at 8bit, with the one exception of the Panasonic GH4 that does 10bit output.

As yeah, capturing an 8bit stream inside a 10bit wrapper is a bit pointless aside from chewing up more harddrive space during the shoot.

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The hdmi output is still 8-bit. 4:2:2 is a compression ratio and has nothing to do with bit depth.

 

Hmmm.. the thought did occur to me, maybe it might be worth using an external recorder anyway so as to get the 8bit 422 over the 8bit 420 internal?

 

Although, it would cost a little bit more to rent an a7Smk1 with an external 4K recorder than to rent just an a7Smk2 by itself.

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Hmmm.. the thought did occur to me, maybe it might be worth using an external recorder anyway so as to get the 8bit 422 over the 8bit 420 internal?

 

Although, it would cost a little bit more to rent an a7Smk1 with an external 4K recorder than to rent just an a7Smk2 by itself.

At that point, I'd compare the pricing to renting an FS7 or FS5 as your Bcam rather than a DSLR w recorder? I've found the FS7 to be a great match to the F5 or F55.

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Are you shooting raw on the F5? I'd push for it if you can (even if only 2k raw) as it gives you full access to all of the camera's frame rates. If you can't shoot raw, then I'd go for SR444 followed by 4k XAVC.

I'd recommend Sgamut3.cine/SLOG3 for the F5 (it's going to yield the best results colour-wise), and then match up the 8-bit stuff from the A7 camera as best you can (may be that it's better to shoot SLOG2 vs SLOG3 with that, due to the banding issues.

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At that point, I'd compare the pricing to renting an FS7 or FS5 as your Bcam rather than a DSLR w recorder? I've found the FS7 to be a great match to the F5 or F55.

 

Nah, no budget for an FS7/FS5 :(

Personally I kinda lean towards it not being too wise to even be renting an a7Smk2, and going the "free" option (as I own one) of a BMPCC for the gimbal camera is smarter for the production than renting an a7Smk2. But the director really wants 4K, and it is his call in the end :)

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Are you shooting raw on the F5? I'd push for it if you can (even if only 2k raw) as it gives you full access to all of the camera's frame rates. If you can't shoot raw, then I'd go for SR444 followed by 4k XAVC.

 

I was shooting 16bit 4K raw today on the F5 for a doco on eSports, yikes! Not by choice though. Kinda forced into it as in a rush this morning.

 

We are certainly not doing 16bit 4K raw for the vampire feature film :( As our budget is so extremely tiny we couldn't even afford all the harddrives and backups that would require!!

 

I think if we're doing 4K (as per Director's wishes), then 23.98p 4K XAVC YCbCr S-Gamut3.Cine/S-Log3 is my only (realistic) option for the F5.

 

 

I'd recommend Sgamut3.cine/SLOG3 for the F5 (it's going to yield the best results colour-wise), and then match up the 8-bit stuff from the A7 camera as best you can (may be that it's better to shoot SLOG2 vs SLOG3 with that, due to the banding issues.

 

Then the a7Smk2 is 4K XAVCS 23.98p and either slog2 or slog3 depending on which I decide very soon on over the next day or two. Hmmmm

 

 

Edited by David Peterson

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From what Ive read on the Sony forums..even the die hard Slog3.cine people (I also agree this would be best for the F5) recommend Slog2 for the Alpha series camera,s.. because of the 8 bit recording..

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I'm coloring a show right now that's mixed FS7 and A7SMKII. We shot SLog2 with both cameras and I made a home-made LUT for the A7SMKII because the cinematographer's exposure was all over the map. I'm pretty happy with the results, but its been a lot of work and it's just talking heads. I can't imagine dealing with the sun or anything outside of a closed environment with a larger dynamic range camera is necessary. The FS7 material looks MUCH better and the F5 in my opinion is TWICE the quality of the FS7. We did some tests with an external recorder and one of the shots in the final project is Pro Res origination. Honestly, it was the worst looking of the shots, don't know why, but it needed the most work and has the most noise. Not sure if the HDMI output is noisy or not, but perhaps it is.

 

Honestly it really depends on how you shoot it, that's going to be the key. I've done quite a bit of A7SMKII work recently for one of my clients and in certain limited dynamic range situations, the camera looks OK. Where it fails in my view is it's lack of dynamic range and it's just not very colorful. Almost all of my corrections include heavy saturation gains, even on top of the LUT. The color science of the F5 is MUCH better, it's a very good looking camera. I've colored lots of F5 material, most of it recorded in Pro Res and even when you underexpose, you can get something out of it. Over exposing on ANY Sony camera is death to your shot, they have very little tolerance compared to the more "cinema" specific cameras like the Alexa SXS and Red Dragon.

 

I personally don't think you can match'em very well, even if you use the same glass.

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Over exposing on ANY Sony camera is death to your shot, they have very little tolerance compared to the more "cinema" specific cameras like the Alexa SXS and Red Dragon.

 

Sony cameras are noisy at their native ISO, so you pretty much have to overexpose them to get a clean image. I've just finished a feature shooting with F55 and F5, rating both cameras at 800 iso, and I'm very pleased with how they looked.

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Sony cameras are noisy at their native ISO, so you pretty much have to overexpose them to get a clean image. I've just finished a feature shooting with F55 and F5, rating both cameras at 800 iso, and I'm very pleased with how they looked.

Yep, they sure are! You do have to push them a tiny bit in order to reduce the noise, that's 100% accurate. The only problem is when you do that, you're limiting how much excess range you have. This is why a camera that isn't noisy, where you CAN underexpose a tiny bit to retain better highlight levels, will be a lot better.

 

This is for sure one the reasons I discount Sony cameras... that AND the cost v features... they tend to be expensive for what they are, thanks to the proprietary accessories.

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This is why a camera that isn't noisy, where you CAN underexpose a tiny bit to retain better highlight levels, will be a lot better.

 

That doesn't really refer to any currently available cameras. Even the Alexa, which is good at 800 ISO, is better, noise wise, at 400. Sony cameras, upwards of the F5, are fine and have been used to shoot many high end features.

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Hi Tyler

 

But the Fs7 is the best bang for the buck on the market..! 3rd party accessories are all fine.. its SDI or HDMI.. Zacuto /Vocus and Arri cheese plates and rigs all work with Fs7/F5/F55.. even the Fs5.. I have not one single Sony accessories on my F5.. all Vocus or Zacuto.. and TV logic on board..

 

In Cine EI you can easily push it 1 stop.. even 2.. most scenes can handle 1 or 2 stops of a 6 stop headroom.. for a better SN.. there is very little worry of protecting highlights .. its the opposite if anything.. there is a toe is the shadows but above grey its a straight line.. equal data for each stop.. Slog3 is almost identical to Arri LogC.. as far as over exposure goes they are almost the same..so an Alexa would be also the same .. Cinema specific might only be in the day rental charge of the Alexa :).. color science is different but the Log C and Slog3 are almost identical

Edited by Robin R Probyn
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Maybe your footage was shot in Custom mode.. then yes you have to protect your high lights ,.. but LOG its the opposite.. you never want to under expose log.. I dont see how you would ever want to under expose LOG "just a little bit".. there is no compression of highlights in log.. its a straight line.. equal data for each stop .. above grey anyway.. the shadows will give you noise problems..

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I don't use a meter when shooting digitally, I use a histogram and zebra set at 70. So I'm just use to protecting my highlights, probably a bit more then most people. "LOG" doesn't make enough of a difference. It actually makes the MPEG noise much stronger because it decreases the signal to noise ratio. I've worked quite a bit with raw recently, just to keep myself up to date on the coloring aspects of it. Even with RAW, I'd rather use a lower ISO and under expose a tiny bit, just when the 70% zebra's are starting to show up, that's the cap of my highlights. So I ignore the cameras native ISO rating and shoot like film. This gives less grain/noise, even when you punch it up. This trick works flawlessly on every camera I've worked with, outside of Sony. The Sony cameras don't like it, but then again, I despise Sony. I'll say this much, the C300MKII stuff I shot, looks perfect, with zero grain/artifacts. Yet the stuff our "cinematographer" shot has been noisy, he shot 2000 ISO outside in broad daylight with 1/64 ND.

 

With film, I work just the opposite, I use a meter and I saturate the living crap out of it because I know there will be data in the highlights no matter what. I generally run a full stop over exposed on film, sometimes even setting my meter to compensate. Obviously there are occasions when you don't want that look, but generally I prefer the "pop" look it delivers.

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I don't use a meter when shooting digitally, I use a histogram and zebra set at 70. So I'm just use to protecting my highlights, probably a bit more then most people. "LOG" doesn't make enough of a difference. It actually makes the MPEG noise much stronger because it decreases the signal to noise ratio. I've worked quite a bit with raw recently, just to keep myself up to date on the coloring aspects of it. Even with RAW, I'd rather use a lower ISO and under expose a tiny bit, just when the 70% zebra's are starting to show up, that's the cap of my highlights. So I ignore the cameras native ISO rating and shoot like film. This gives less grain/noise, even when you punch it up. This trick works flawlessly on every camera I've worked with, outside of Sony. The Sony cameras don't like it, but then again, I despise Sony. I'll say this much, the C300MKII stuff I shot, looks perfect, with zero grain/artifacts. Yet the stuff our "cinematographer" shot has been noisy, he shot 2000 ISO outside in broad daylight with 1/64 ND.

 

Was he shooting raw with the F5 perhaps?

As I'm looking at the raw F5 footage I did yesterday and thinking it looks kinda noisy, but wondering if maybe that is because it is raw without any noise reduction at all built in.

I'll see how XAVC-I looks tonight.

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I don't use a meter when shooting digitally, I use a histogram and zebra set at 70. So I'm just use to protecting my highlights, probably a bit more then most people. "LOG" doesn't make enough of a difference. It actually makes the MPEG noise much stronger because it decreases the signal to noise ratio. I've worked quite a bit with raw recently, just to keep myself up to date on the coloring aspects of it. Even with RAW, I'd rather use a lower ISO and under expose a tiny bit, just when the 70% zebra's are starting to show up, that's the cap of my highlights. So I ignore the cameras native ISO rating and shoot like film. This gives less grain/noise, even when you punch it up. This trick works flawlessly on every camera I've worked with, outside of Sony. The Sony cameras don't like it, but then again, I despise Sony. I'll say this much, the C300MKII stuff I shot, looks perfect, with zero grain/artifacts. Yet the stuff our "cinematographer" shot has been noisy, he shot 2000 ISO outside in broad daylight with 1/64 ND.

 

With film, I work just the opposite, I use a meter and I saturate the living crap out of it because I know there will be data in the highlights no matter what. I generally run a full stop over exposed on film, sometimes even setting my meter to compensate. Obviously there are occasions when you don't want that look, but generally I prefer the "pop" look it delivers.

I'm confused here. You're talking about MPEG noise when these cameras don't necessarily record in an MPEG codec. Then you say you use a lower ISO (overexpose), but underexpose your images (which makes no sense), ignore the ISO and expose like film.

 

Next paragraph, you say you work the opposite with film.

 

What exactly are you trying to say?

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Tyler

 

So your not shooting in Cine EI mode.. nor shooting XAVC .. your shooting custom XDCAM 8 bit..?.. or even worse your shooting LOG in 8 bit XDCAM.. and under exposing it.. Yikes.. the other guy is shooting ISO2000 as thats the native ISO of the F5.. plus in Cine EI its locked to that too.. sorry but it does seem yet again you don't know the Sony camera,s or understand LOG curves at all and so you are having troubles.. you cap your highlights at 70% ?.. thats ok but your advising others with out any knowledge of the camera or LOG set ups.. Arri log.. Canon log all work the same its not a Sony thing.. and the other guys footage always seems to be crap.. ?

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