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


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#1 David Peterson

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Posted 29 August 2016 - 09:39 AM

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, 29 August 2016 - 09:44 AM.

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#2 David Peterson

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Posted 29 August 2016 - 10:04 AM

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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#3 Robin R Probyn

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Posted 29 August 2016 - 10:10 AM

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, 29 August 2016 - 10:12 AM.

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#4 Shawn Sagady

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Posted 29 August 2016 - 11:19 AM

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, 29 August 2016 - 11:20 AM.

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#5 Macks Fiiod

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Posted 29 August 2016 - 12:10 PM

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


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#6 Shawn Sagady

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Posted 29 August 2016 - 02:46 PM

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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#7 Robin R Probyn

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Posted 29 August 2016 - 07:33 PM

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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#8 Macks Fiiod

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Posted 29 August 2016 - 07:54 PM

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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#9 David Peterson

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Posted 30 August 2016 - 12:12 AM

***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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#10 David Peterson

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Posted 30 August 2016 - 09:39 AM

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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#11 Michael LaVoie

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Posted 30 August 2016 - 06:00 PM

 

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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#12 Mark Kenfield

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Posted 31 August 2016 - 12:20 AM

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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#13 David Peterson

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Posted 31 August 2016 - 01:51 AM

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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#14 David Peterson

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Posted 31 August 2016 - 02:01 AM

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, 31 August 2016 - 02:02 AM.

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#15 Robin R Probyn

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Posted 31 August 2016 - 03:12 AM

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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#16 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 31 August 2016 - 04:06 PM

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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#17 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 31 August 2016 - 04:45 PM

 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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#18 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 31 August 2016 - 06:37 PM

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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#19 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 31 August 2016 - 06:51 PM

 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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#20 Robin R Probyn

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Posted 31 August 2016 - 06:53 PM

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, 31 August 2016 - 06:55 PM.

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