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AJA Video 4k camera - Cion


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#61 James Martin

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Posted 05 November 2015 - 12:47 PM

I could be wrong, but I would say the Cion seems like the most disastrous camera in modern times. Given the price of it, and the experience of the company behind it, the camera's uptake has been shockingly poor. I haven't heard anyone actually enthusiastic about it.


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#62 Will Barber

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Posted 05 November 2015 - 01:25 PM

Everyone who touches it at my school is very disappointed. I predicted at the beginning of the year that no one besides me would be able to make it work for them, because I'm the only one who actually read up and was able to avoid the flaws of the camera. Even then, I wish I had been able to capture my lighting efforts more accurately, and should've just used the FS700 for the whole thing. 


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#63 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 05 November 2015 - 01:44 PM

I could be wrong, but I would say the Cion seems like the most disastrous camera in modern times. Given the price of it, and the experience of the company behind it, the camera's uptake has been shockingly poor. I haven't heard anyone actually enthusiastic about it.


Hence why they are literally giving them away for free. I know several people who have them on semi-permanent loan. AJA is probably hoping to use the footage shot with those cameras to build their reel online and attract more customers. However, I don't see that strategy paying off unless they can somehow significantly improve the dynamic range and specifically the highlight clipping and roll off. I'll take a highly compressed HD codec with good highlight handling any day over 4K Prores with highlights that clip hard the minute you point the lens at anything white.
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#64 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 28 November 2015 - 03:10 AM

Just gave the Cion a second chance on a webisode. Updating my thoughts to say the camera's lack of dynamic range is still highly problematic but with the right camera settings I found it workable as long as you carry enough lighting and grip to compensate. In that sense, it's sort of like going back to shooting reversal film.

 

I went with Expanded Gamma, Color Correction Normal, EI 500-800, and Prores HQ 1080p. Found in my prep that I much preferred the camera with a bloomy diffusion filter on the lens to cut some of the contrast and improve highlight rolloff. I ended up using a Tiffen Pearlescent 1/4, Mitomo True NDs 1.2 and 1.8, a Sapphire Blue SE 2 Grad, and Antique Suede SE 2,3 Grads to control the highlights as much as possible.

 

Cake_Walk_010.jpg

Cake_Walk_020.jpg

Cake_Walk_030.jpg

 

Even so, it was quite a bit more work to shoot day exteriors than I think many of us have become used to. Here, I had a 12x12 Ultrabounce on frame right, two grips flying a 4x4 Half Soft Frost on camera left over the talent, and a beadboard just under the lens for more fill. There is a Blue Grad on this shot to hold the sky - this is all one shot and there was no opportunity to slide the grad out during the shot. The actors' faces are a little down, the grad is probably why. I exposed for the highlights and brought up the shadows in post.

 

Cake_Walk_0120.jpg

 

For the reverse, we flipped the 12x12 to a silk and used a 4x4 shiny board direct for fill. A lot of younger actors are not used to having this much light blasted at them and it can be challenging to make them physically comfortable while still getting the exposure that you need. The global shutter was a nice benefit, no flash banding effect.

 

Cake_Walk_040.jpg

 

Here you can see what happens if you overexpose the same setup by one stop for "correct" exposure on skintones, highlights gone. I did pull the grad for this shot so that might have been part of the problem.

 

Cake_Walk_050.jpg

Cake_Walk_060.jpg

 

Here, I had the 12x12 Ultrabounce on frame right, a shiny board on frame left for the wide, and 4 filters stacked. Pearlescent 1/4, ND1.8, with Antique Suede 2 and 3 taped together to the front of the matte box. I feel like applying that much 'force' to the image in order to keep some detail in the highlights results in an unavoidably stylized image, but it was appropriate for this particular project. Roger Deakins would probably hate it.

 

Cake_Walk_070.jpg

Cake_Walk_080.jpg

Cake_Walk_090.jpg

 

Just a note, I was not happy with the lighting on the man's coverage. Ideally, the key would be coming from frame left so I would have tried to bounce with a shiny board from futher away and then maybe soften it. However it was one of those weird angles where it was impossible to get a bounce angle so my gaffer put it in the only place he could catch a bit of sunlight. Wish I had ordered a 1200w HMI. For the woman's coverage I used a Bag-It plastic rain cover over the shiny board to at least diffuse it a bit.

 

Anyway, the camera is fairly nice to operate other than not being able to control menus through the viewfinder, scrolling through menu pages on the little side panel is frustrating. The 60fps over-cranking is nice. We did have one shot with corrupted frames, not sure why. Luckily it was a shot we had coverage for, but it made me think twice about using the camera on a bigger job. I do appreciate the smart placement and selection of ports and the design of the accessories. There's really no extra rigging required anywhere, other than adding a viewfinder with a 15mm mount like the Wooden Camera UVF system. The battery run-time is not bad at all, but boot up time is in Red One territory. I still think the amount of grip, lighting, and filtration required to produce a comparably well-exposed image on other similarly-priced camera systems is a deal-breaker though.


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#65 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 28 November 2015 - 10:48 AM

Yes, glow is the last refuge of a scoundrel in regard to over-hot skies.

 

Having shot day exteriors on Cion, I can't imagine how much fill you must have added to make it look like that!

 

P


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#66 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 19 April 2016 - 03:42 AM

According to AJA at NAB:

 

“Our new firmware update and promo were created in direct response to community feedback. CION v1.3 offers a more gentle roll off of highlights, and a greater level of detail in the blacks, while the new promo makes the camera even more accessible to shooters looking to capture stunning footage,” said Nick Rashby, President, AJA Video Systems. “We’ve seen great adoption of CION from the commercial and industrial production community and we look forward to getting this update into our customers’ hands.”


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#67 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 20 April 2016 - 05:52 AM

The new V1.3 gamma modes can be seen here: https://www.aja.com/en/products/cion

 

A Video

 


Edited by Brian Drysdale, 20 April 2016 - 06:04 AM.

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#68 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 13 June 2016 - 06:20 AM

Part of tests on the Cion.

 

 

 


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#69 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 03 November 2016 - 08:47 AM

Report on the test on Cion V1.2

 

http://www.imago.org...view-tests.html


Edited by Brian Drysdale, 03 November 2016 - 08:53 AM.

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