Have it your way, Tyler. You can continue to rant on about how useless Sony cameras are. I'm sure there are a few people here who will take your opinion as fact without further investigation. It's not the first time you've ranted about poor quality imagery that has to be 'saved' in post by a heroic colorist (You), and I doubt that it will be the last.
I use these cameras regularly, as do many of my contemporaries, and none of us ever seem to have a problem. Make of that what you will, but remember, it's a poor workman who blames his tools.
Have it your way, Tyler. You can continue to rant on about how useless Sony cameras are.
It's not about how useless they are, it's about how people flock to something because "It's a Sony".
I'm sure there are a few people here who will take your opinion as fact without further investigation.
I hope they open their eyes to the alternatives, instead of being blinded by name brand.
It's not the first time you've ranted about poor quality imagery that has to be 'saved' in post by a heroic colorist (You), and I doubt that it will be the last.
For 100 years, filmmakers have been putting film into cameras, lighting properly and projecting it onto the big screen, without much correction. I don't see why digital cinema cameras have to be treated any differently. Why do you think big productions have a STAFF of people just in charge of color on set?
Make of that what you will, but remember, it's a poor workman who blames his tools.
I shoot with a 1982 built, Aaton LTR with 2nd generation Optar glass, an old rubber Arri mattebox, some old glass filters from the 70's and a tripod. I love that package, it's light, mobile, no ancillary things that make it challenging to work with, and the results are always perfect.
I shoot with a blackmagic pocket camera rig, 1080p, Rokinon primes which are never very clean, a junk tripod and some scratched up filtration. Yet I seem to always have great results.
I have five lights, three of them work. I have some gels I collected over the years. I don't have any c stands, I don't have any flags, I don't have an HMI either. I light with tungsten and change gels to compensate for color temp. Yet my results are always good.
When I rent equipment, Red, alexa, canon, 5 ton grip truck with all the lights you can imagine, the image is always good! Sure, I think some modern equipment is expensive for no reason, but I generally get satisfactory results and my clients are always happy.
Yet here I am, I've shot 3 times with 3 different SONY cameras, FS7, F5, F55 and all three times, the results have been below the threshold of what I'm use to. I color Sony cameras all the time from other filmmakers and I'm always fighting the image. Where the RED, Alexa, Blackmagic and even C300MKII, they simply fall into place perfectly when coloring. I do a little tweak here and there, apply that LUT across the board as my base corrector and I'm ready to start coloring the show.
I feel like I'm trying to build a race car engine with woodworking tools when I use the Sony cameras. I don't understand their terminology, I don't understand the menu system, I don't understand the cameras built-in limitations put there clearly to cover their own asses. I don't understand the high cost vs performance either. I don't get any of it and I'm not the only one, there are MANY of us out there on other forums and who I've met in person, people who agree with me straight up. Are we ALL bad cinematographers or is there something inherently wrong with these cameras that Sony fanboys are unwilling to admit because they're "good enough" for their specific needs.
I will 100% admit the Blackmagic cameras have their flaws, I know them and I've talked about them quite a bit. Yet the cost vs performance level is off the chart. I recommend the cameras to filmmakers, who like myself need something to make their own creations with. But when people come up with flaws they find, I will agree with them and even suggest another course of action to help them get through the issues.
Yet when I come on here and complain about Sony's, the result I get are a bunch of fanboys who don't offer solutions, just give me the same ol' line about I must be doing something wrong. Sorry guys, but I'm not doing anything wrong, the cameras have problems and I can go through a break-down list of everything I've seen with these cameras over the years, far more then my current complaint. I just don't like them and all I expect from other people who work with them is to admit there are issues.
I think, Tyler, with all respect, it comes down to "i don't understand" in this case. And I think it's incumbent upon us when we are working with a camera to understand it's way of working (and conversely whether or not it's the right tool for the job). Admittedly, when it comes to video systems, Sony is my favorite, because I came up with them and understand them (as opposed to Canon and Panasonic which I can use and will when appropriate though I don't particularly like them). But, this isn't to say I'm a fan-boy of any kind, because frankly I don't really care. But, even with limited understanding of the F55 and it's menus when I picked it up; using a MLUT on it, we got the exact look the director was after easily with plenty of room later on to sweeten the images to be even better than what was originally envisioned.
I also think it's a major disservice to try to speak authoritatively about a system which later you admit, you don't understand because those who really are in the dark (lol) about these things will often take our word as gospel. There's nothing wrong with saying this camera doesn't work for me for these reasons in these situations, that's very helpful. However, it's a different world to blame that on the camera proper without further clarification about where and how it does work well.
Yet when I come on here and complain about Sony's, the result I get are a bunch of fanboys who don't offer solutions, just give me the same ol' line about I must be doing something wrong.
I just don't like them and all I expect from other people who work with them is to admit there are issues.
I am not a fanboy or a cheerleader for any make of camera. I use Sony cameras, just like I use Arri, Canon or Panasonic. If I had issues with them, I wouldn't use them.
For 100 years, filmmakers have been putting film into cameras, lighting properly and projecting it onto the big screen, without much correction. I don't see why digital cinema cameras have to be treated any differently.
They don't have to be treated differently. I could show you F55 frame grabs direct from dailies that have had nothing more than a REC709 LUT applied, and which look great.
Again, if your technique does not get you the results you want, then you need to change your technique, or change your camera. Either is fine, but don't blame the camera.
- Harsh clipping The F5 and F55 are better then the FS7 when it comes to this, but I've found these and specifically other Sony cameras, to suffer from harsh clipping. An example of this would be reflections from sunlight during day shooting or simply bright lights hitting the lens from anything really, when shooting at night. Instead of a smooth gradual roll-off in the highlights, it simply clips. I find myself constantly having to protect these highlights more then any other camera I've worked with, whilst shooting on set. I'm a stickler for blown out highlights, I refuse to accept them.
- Noisy blacks Again, the F5 and F55 are better then the FS7 in this, but I've noticed the Sony cameras have a very particular noise in the mid's that I haven't seen in other cameras. The camera's happy spot is around 2000 ISO, that's where it appears to have the best dynamic range. Yet no matter where I set the ISO, the blacks are always noisy and muddy. The only way to solve that problem is to over-expose, which leads to the highlights being an issue. Other cameras you'd just raise the ISO and watch the noise disappear.
- Menu system As talked about above, Sony's menu system is atrocious. The F5 and F55's side menu control is great, but it's lacking the critical functions that were a big issue with the standard menu structure. So whilst it's awesome to be able to dial in a majority of critical things right on the side of the camera, I find the regular menu's to be still atrocious and I'm always going in there to make minor tweaks.
- Card compatibility and monopoly on manufacturing This is really an FS7 issue, but I'll say it here. There is a huge problem with the QXD cards and readers. First off, some cards and some readers are incompatible with one another. We recorded to cards that wouldn't read in a newer revision reader, but read fine in an older revision reader. We found some of the aftermarket cards had checksum errors whilst copying data as well. The SXS cards are far more stable, but that's because there isn't an aftermarket for them. Sure, there are aftermarket readers, but Sony is the only manufacturer of cards. This means they control pricing and that really sucks. So over-all, either the QXD card issues or the SXS card issues (cost) you're kinda screwed either way you go.
- Lying to customers on performance Sony has been doing this for years and I've ignored it because years ago I was a Sony fanboy. Today however, they claim the FS7, F5 and F55 can do things, they can't do without expensive updates/upgrades, or at all. If you read the press releases, if you visit conventions, if you talk to reps, everyone makes the same claim. It's a way to get people into buying a product and spend more money on accessories before it doing what they were told it will do. I dislike manufacturers who do this. RED makes no such claims, they tell customers up front the camera has nothing and needs the following accessories to work, they even have bundles on their website. Arri makes no such a claim either, they make it abundantly clear the camera records Pro Res stock and it costs more money to get ArriRaw. Canon, Blackmagic even AJA's Cion, these guys let consumers know if there is something they will need.
Can you explain your problems with F55 rolling shutter..? F65 is not an 8K recording camera .. if you are getting this info off their website I doubt you have ever used it.. can you really say you have actually shot with this camera on a production.. not seen it in a box in a rental house..
Arri chose SxS for internal rec on Alexa.. yes they are expensive.. but they are most likely the most robust and sophisticated card out there.. power goes.. you "restore media" in the same camera and the controller finishes the clip right there ..
What do you mean after market cards.. check sum errors.. ?
It sort of seems you are trying to validity the very low budget fringe part of the industry you work in.. where crew,gear and know how just dont always seem to be up to par.. yes good gear is expensive.. because when you know how to use it it produces good results.. its not just to waste money..yes good crew are expensive.. even AC,s that you have complained about in the past getting paid $100 a day !.. if you can get a really fantastic footage from a $4,000 camera in REC 709.. good for you.. and Im sure its good enough for your productions.. but its just madness to say that a Sony F55 is crap just because you dont seem have the skills to use it properly .. again not doing yourself any favors .. ..
Edited by Robin R Probyn, 05 March 2017 - 08:09 PM.
I've almost exclusively have been using the Alexa for the past seven years, so I don't have much personal experience with the others. I keep asking other DP's how their shows are going when they are using other brands, models, just to keep in the loop.
So without first-hand experience, I mainly go by how the images look on the screen. Up until "The Crown", however, I hadn't seen anything shot on the Sony F55 that made me excited for the camera (unlike the projects shot on the Sony F65, many of which have left me envious...) "The Crown" is hands-down gorgeous.
I feel that the Sony F55 needs a bit of an overhaul to keep up with the competition -- the Panasonic Varicam, for example, has more appealing features to it. I'm not keen on only having three color temp presets with the Sony F55, similar to the Sony F35. If I don't have a DIT creating looks on set, I'm very fond of playing with color temp settings on the Alexa, and sometimes a shift of a few hundred degrees can help match two cameras with different types of lenses on them.
A few directors I've worked with who have done projects with the Sony F55 weren't exactly fans but for reasons that are unclear. One complained about "noise" but I think they meant fan noise, not image noise. Anyway, I'm looking forward to the next generation of the Sony F55, especially if gets closer to what the F65 offers. In the past, I liked the look of the Sony F35 images, by the way.
I do run into new fans of the Panasonic Varicam all the time.
I'm still waiting for the dust to settle on the Red Dragon vs. Helium debate, though most people seem to love the VistaVision Dragon sensor images.
I used the Alexa Mini in 3.2K ProRes mode for a UHD/HDR finish last fall and was pretty happy with the results.
The BlackMagic 4.6K interests me as a potential owner but I have yet to see any major projects shot on one.
I shot recently with the Varicam LT in V log.. even the LT is pretty big size wise.. alot bigger /heavier than the F55.. the movable LCD was not bad.. of course this is just the LT.. the main problem was the endless reboot..for just about anything.. although I guess this could be rectified in future firmware up dates..?
Yes I also mentioned The Crown earlier on in this thread.. as a very clear example of the fact that the F55.. can produce very nice footage.. when you have people who know what they are doing.. Im not saying its a great camera compared to others.. but for Tyler to just say its a rubbish camera because someone, even of his awesome reputation,history and knowledge in the film world..cant do so.. is plainly incorrect.. and needs to be answered ..god forbid someone new actually believes his posts..
F55 fan can be switched to OFF in rec.. Ive never had a problem with it myself.. or heard of it as a thing.. Like any digital sensor they like light and most people do set EI up 1 or 2 stops.. very rarely a problem with Slog for highlights..
On the Sony F5/F55 site ..there s actually a posting now where a guy shot and graded RAW footage from Alexa/F55 and F5.. his wife loaded the footage in Resolve so he had idea which was which when grading to have no bias .. and then showed them to ASC members and an Arri person.. and ask them to pick which was which.. 1.2.3.. very few people got it right.. the Arri guy didnt.. and most people actually picked the F5 footage as Alexa.. !!
Im not a Sony fanboy or share holder .. Ive had Panasonic camera,s and loved the look.. but blatant user error has be addressed on a supposedly professional site.. end of defense of F55 rant.. Im going to tinker with my Aston Martin now..
Lighting, lensing and post work, can make up for a so-so imager, electronics and codec.
So when you watch a multi-million dollar production and you like the look, remember the look comes from those three things FIRST, rather then simply the camera itself.
When I judge/gauge cameras, I take them outside into the harshest conditions possible and that's how I judge them. I could care less what they look like indoors under controlled conditions because again, you can make anything look good in those conditions.
Yeah I was about to say, does anyone know of a major feature using anything Blackmagic as an A-cam? Upcoming or anything? Even television maybe?
There have been a few features shot with the URSA 4.6k, but none of them "MAJOR" because with Red packages being so inexpensive today, why would you bother? If I 250k to play with on a feature, I'd simply get a Red Dragon. The "benefits" of cameras like the URSA mini 4.6k, are owner/operators, rather then rental houses. Honestly, what would you rent an URSA 4.6k for? $150/day? Seems hardly worth it for the rental houses.
Can you explain your problems with F55 rolling shutter..?
I never mentioned the F55 having a rolling shutter. I only mentioned the F65 having a standard mechanical shutter option.
F65 is not an 8K recording camera.
All of the Sony documentation (linked above) says the camera has an 8k imager and can record in 8k Raw.
So if the camera doesn't do this, they are lying to the customer and that's one of my HUGE beef's with them.
It sort of seems you are trying to validity the very low budget fringe part of the industry you work in..
Around 90% of all filmmakers in the word, work in the same part of the industry I do. We're hired tradesmen, brought in to do a job. We shoot and edit anything that comes our way, no matter what it is; documentary, industrial, narrative, corporate, commercial, doesn't matter. We do it all because that's how you get paid, if you can't do something, you don't get paid. Most of us don't have one client, we have dozens and we work whenever they have work for us, otherwise we don't work.
My job is to do one thing, deliver a great result for my client, the end. I'm a curious person and I like trying new things, so I went ahead and followed your advice, THREE times actually. I figured three times is a charm and I was right, it did take three times to realize I was going the wrong direction.
You can call me the fool for trying, but I tried man, I tried. I should have listened to my intuition when the only cameras the rental houses had available were Sony's, the Red's, Alexa's, Blackmagic's, Canon's, they were all on rental, but the Sony's were sitting around. I should have gone to a different house and tracked down any one of those other cameras, but I didn't because I really wanted to end this whole debate about Sony vs the world.
So yes, I'm the fool. I'm the fool for propping up the F55 to my client and letting him down. Yes I blame the camera because it's just a camera and when the switches and dials didn't allow me to make the appropriate adjustments necessary due to some inherent safety precautions, that was the final straw. I don't care how good they are for multi-million dollar productions. I guarantee you if I put an URSA mini 4.6k on a big movie and shot raw, you wouldn't see any difference. NOTHING, ZERO.
I disagree with your 90% figure.. yes we are hired in tradesmen and women ..and all of the above goes for me too.. but I would say 90% specialize in one field.. or at least that is their aim and they will do after a few years taking any job to get a foot hold.. the budgets and pay you have mentioned in the past, does really point to the very lowest funded productions .. on the very fringe of the industry..
You did actually imply the F55 had rolling shutter problems.. "compared" to the F65..you listed this in your gripe list.. I believe you didnt actually know the F55 was global shutter..
Well we have been done this road before.. .. talking about the cheap fs7,s.. but really now you blame a F55 camera !!! totally.. for not getting a good image.. could it not have something to do with your capabilities as a DP.. as you say yourself its just a camera.. its spec,s are pretty impressive by any standard.. yet you couldn't get good images.. where as so many thousands of others can.. I have.. and many others on this very forum.. in a court of law you I cant see any defense lawyer taking your case
I really dont mean to be on your case.. but its a forum that people go to for advice as well as just having a good old fashioned bicker about camera,s.. which Im all for.. but total mis information has to be called ..the F55 is not a crap camera... most people could rent this camera and get amazing results.. even just as REC709 beast..
Edited by Robin R Probyn, 06 March 2017 - 01:49 AM.