I was asked if I could come up with a Log style profile for the sony FS-100. Well here are the settings for a very flat almost log look. Grading will be essential:
Gamma Cinematone 1
Black Level: -1
Black Gamma: High, +7
Color Mode: Standard, -3
Color Level -4
One important bit of news from IBC. There will be a FREE firmware update for the FS100 to allow 30P etc on a 25P model and vice versa. So after the update, as far as I know, it will do 24P (23.98) 25P, 30P, 50i, 60i, 50P, 60P. Impressive! Now what I don’t know is whether the end user will be able to apply the update, or whether you’ll have to get it done by a dealer or Sony, in which case there may be a charge. I was not given a timeframe, but I would imagine it will be before the end f the year.
According to Phil Bloom the FS100 is to get a free firmware update later in the year that will turn it into a mult-frame rate world camera. I had heard rumours of this, but wasn’t sure if it was going to be free or chargeable. This is good news indeed.
There have been a number of threads in various forums about the way the images from the new Sony FS100 appear to judder or stutter when shooting at 25P or 24P. Most of the complaints appear to be coming from PAL areas where shooting 25P is common. This is not an issue unique to the FS100, in fact motion judder is often more noticeable with video cameras than film cameras even though the frame rates and shutter speeds may be exactly the same. Why is this?
One of the key issues here and I believe a very strong clue to what is going on is that most complain that the issue is most pronounced in areas of high contrast.
Our visual system picks up edges and other areas of high contrast to detect motion, in areas of high contrast any non-smoothness of the images motion will be more noticeable. The higher the resolution/contrast or more precisely the higher the MTF of the camera system the more we will notice judder and stutter. Just take fast motion in an Imax film as an example, it stutters like crazy.
The FS100 and similar high contrast/resolution cameras will appear to stutter at low frame rates more than a low contrast/low resolution camera. Edges in film are almost never instant changes from black to white, there is almost always some smoothing or dithering caused by the grain structure of film. So when you consider the FS100′s near complete lack of noise, which through it’s random nature will help mask judder and stutter and you have a worst case scenario. A camera with sharp edges and no noise.
Another strong contributing factor is the use of detail correction that adds a very definite, hard, non-motion blurred black or white edge around any areas of medium to high contrast, so unlike the very slightly dithered edges we would see in film we have instant light to dark or dark to light transitions occurring over a single pixel. In the case of a pan that hard edge is going to step uniformly from one position to the next, it won’t have any motion blur and it will increase edge contrast compounding the images judder as our visual system will notice these hard edges jumping from one place to the next.
The PMW-F3 although it uses the same sensor is less prone to this effect as it has a more sophisticated DSP and uses less detail correction and more aperture correction for image sharpening. Aperture correction blurs with motion as it is a type of high frequency boost and as you pan the camera the motion blur of the image reduces high frequencies so the amount of correction also drops thus helping smooth edges as you pan.
You also need to consider the results of watching 25fps video on a computer monitor typically running at 60hz. You will get judder as 25 does not go into 60 evenly, this helps explain why this “issue” is getting more airtime in Europe than in the US where 24P with pull up to 30P is common and of course 30P will display on a 60Hz monitor with no additional problems.
So in the case of the FS100 (or other cameras exhibiting this effect), I would suggest turning off the detail correction circuits or at the very least reducing the detail level if you are shooting high contrast images or anything with a lot of motion. It would also be interesting to compare similar pans at different speeds with some gain added to see if that helps.
I don’t think this is, as claimed by some, to be camera fault, more likely a result of a very clean, detail corrected image. Even an EX1 or EX3 will do similar things if your detail settings are too high. It’s not unique to the FS100, just one of those things that can happen when you have sharp pictures. When I watched the Sony F65 4k demo film “The Arrival” I noticed a similar increase in motion judder compared to film, again I put this down to high edge sharpness catching my eye and making me notice the cameras motion more acutely. Ohh that F65 stuff looked stunning!
The Berlin Duran Duran shoot was quite an adventure that twisted and turned this way and that. The plan was to shoot a Duran Duran concert using a range of Sony Super 35mm camcorders, however in the days running up to the shoot the band had been forced to postpone some other gigs due to illness. On the Monday before the shoot we were all sat at home waiting for the go – no-go phone call from the producers. The call came at 9pm, we were go, so first thing Tuesday I was off to the airport with 75kg of kit to fly out to Berlin with the very real threat of either Heathrow airport or Berlin airport getting shut down by Volcanic ash from Iceland. In the end my flight left 20 mins early and the plane was even backing away from the gate well before everyone had taken their seats in a mad dash to get to Berlin before airspace got closed.
My self and Den Lennie (of F-Stop Academy) in the advanced party got into Berlin OK and spent Tuesday collecting some of the rented and borrowed kit and getting it in to the venue.
However by the Wednesday morning the whole shoot was turning into a serious challenge as Berlin airport was closed by the Ash cloud from the Iceland volcano just as key members of the crew including Gavin the director and James the producer were due to fly in. They ended up going to Dusseldorf and getting the train up to Berlin. In addition some of our rented kit was delayed as well as the stage and rigging crew, so everyone was running behind, frantically trying to source more kit locally. We have to say a BIG thank you to FGV Schmidle in Berlin who went out of their way to help us out.
We had 6 F3′s, 2 FS100′s the SRW9000PL and an EX3. The EX3 was going to be used on the back of a Canon HJ21x7.5 Cinestyle lens with a 2x extender from the back of the venue to get some close up shots that we just could not get with any of the PL mount lenses we had on the 35mm sensor cameras. Long, fast 35mm lenses are few and far between.
To get the look that we wanted the cameras were all set up with custom picture profiles. I designed a picture profile for the F3′s that would give maximum latitude to help handle the high contrast range that the concert lightning would bring as well as de-saturating the image to prevent the coloured lights from clipping and thus give more scope for grading and post work. Detail correction was set up to give a small amount of very fine detail boost to keep the images crisp without looking like video.
Two of the Sony PMW-F3′s were kitted out with Angenieux Optimo 24-290 T2.8 lenses and Pre-Production Zacuto EVF’s. What a gorgeous lens, the EVF’s aren’t bad either! Hopefully I’ll get more time to play with both of these in the future and a review of the EVF’s should come soon. The Optimo’s allowed us to get beautiful mid and close up shots from the venue sides with nice bokeh and super shallow DoF. At the rear of the venue as well as the EX3 we had an F3 with an Angenieux Optimo 15-40 on a track to shoot wide shots of the stage through the crowds. The remaining F3′s were to be used with Nikon DSLR lenses in the 75 to 300mm range via MTF adapters (thanks Mike) and a prototype Adaptimax adapter (Thanks Steve). The other F3′s were going to go on tracks at the front of the stage or on the stage wings to pick off close ups of instruments and band members. We also had a pair of Sony MC1P mini-cams but we could not rig these until the stage crew arrived and we weren’t expecting them until early on Thursday morning, the day of the shoot. The FS100′s would be on stage, hand held and on tracks using prototype Birger mounts and Canon L series lenses.
Then the bombshell dropped. The event was postponed. The lead singer Simon LeBon has been suffering from Laryngitis and he still wasn’t well enough to sing. So the remainder of the evening was spent packing all the kit away and rebooking flights and schedules. The concert will now be held on the 8th of June, again in Berlin. I’m going to be flying back to London from Cinegear and a 3D event at Samy’s cameras on the 6th, passing through London ( 3 hours between flights) on the 7th where I will pick up my F3 kit and then travel on the Berlin, where we will once again try to complete the shoot. Photo’s and more gear porn to follow.
AbelCine have announced that the FS100 will be available from the end of May for just $4999 USD for the body only and $5599 with the 18-200mm lens. This is sooner and cheaper than I expected.
I’m presenting a couple of 35mm world sessions at the BPV Northern Expo at Haydock Park on May 12th. These are free sessions, around 90mins each. They will focus on the Sony F3 and FS100, but will also touch on the f65 and f35. The aim is to take a look at the pro’s and con’s of shooting with a camera with a Super35mm sensor as well as to give an understanding of which cameras are appropriate for which jobs. Hopefully we will have an interesting discussion session at the end of each workshop and the chance to get hands on the FS100 and F3. More details here: http://www.bpv.org.uk/
Here is a set of 6 frame grabs from the FS100, F3 shoot. The FS100 grabs are taken from the ProResHQ files and the F3 grabs are taken from the re-wrapped .mov’s.
If you find this download useful a small donation to help cover hosting costs would be appreciated.
To see the video scroll down to the next blog entry.
The main aim of the shoot was to see how the FS100 held up against the F3. We shot on a bright sunny day by the River Thames and again in the evening in a typically lit living room. There were no big surprises. The FS100 is remarkably close to the F3. You would have no problems cutting between the two of them in a project.
I did find that the FS100 LCD appeared less sharp and not quite as good as the F3′s even though they both use the same underlying panel. This is probably down to the additional layers required for touch screen operation on the FS100. I also did not like the 18-200mm f5.6 kit lens. There was too much lag in the focus and iris controls, but the beauty of this camera is that you can use a multitude of lenses. For the evening shoot I used a Nikon 50mm f1.8 which was so much nicer to use. On reviewing the footage I did find that we were tending to over expose the FS100 by half a stop to a stop, this does make making accurate comparisons difficult and I apologise for this. I believe this was down to the slightly different images we were seeing on the LCD’s. I did use the histograms on both cameras to try to ensure even exposure, but even so there is a difference. A small part of this is also likely down to the very slightly different contrast ranges of the two cameras.
Oe thing we discovered, not mentioned in the video is that when you use a full frame lens, like the Nikon 50mm. You must ensure that the E-Mount adapter you use has an internal baffle or choke. If it doesn’t you will suffer from excessive flare. The adapter I had did not have a baffle and some shots (not used) were spoilt by flare. The adapter I have from MTF for the F3 has a baffle as do MTF’s E-Mount adapters, so these should not suffer from this issue.
The FS100 performance is so very close to that of the F3′s (at 8 bit 4:2:0, 35Mb/s) that it is hard to tell the two apart. I believe the F3′s images are just a tiny bit richer, with about half a stop more dynamic range, in most cases it takes a direct side by side comparison to show up the differences.
The range of camera settings and adjustments on the FS100 is not quite as extensive as on the F3, nor do the adjustments have such a broad range. However there is plenty of flexibility for most productions.
If you don’t need 10 bit 4:2:2 then it is hard to justify the additional cost of the F3, both cameras really are very good. Despite some other reports else where I felt the build quality to be very good and the buttons, while small, are big enough and well placed. If you do want autofocus then you will be pleased to know that it actually works pretty well on the FS100 with only minimal hunting (of course you must use an AF compatible lens).
I did also record the HDMI output to one of my NanoFlashes at 100Mb/s. Comparing these side by side it is extremely hard to see any difference. It is only when you start to heavily grade the material that the advantage of the higher bit rate Nanoflash material becomes apparent. There is less mosquito noise in the NanoFlash material. I was really impressed by the AVCHD material. The lack of noise in the images really helps.
The FS100 really is the F3′s little brother. The pictures are remarkably close, which they should be as they share the same sensor. The FS100 packs down into a remarkably small size for transport. The loan camera from Sony was actually packed in a case designed for the MC1P mini-cam, about 15″x10″x5″ so very compact indeed. The F3 is considerably larger and bulkier, in part due to the extra space taken up by the built in ND filters.
The lack of ND filters does need to be considered. There are some clever solutions in the pipelines from various manufacturers as well as existing solutions such as vari ND’s, screw on ND’s and a Matte Box with ND’s, so it’s not a deal breaker
I think there is every chance that the FS100 will be the first NXCAM camera that I will purchase. It will be a good companion to my F3. It’s modular design will allow me to get shots that are not possible with the F3. I felt that the FS100 (with the 18-200mm lens that I don’t like) was better suited to “run and gun” than my F3 with either manual DSLR lenses or PL glass. You can, with the FS100 simply point the camera at your subject and hit the one push auto focus and auto iris and have an in-focus, correctly exposed shot. This is much more like a traditional small sensor camcorder in this respect. The long zoom range also makes this more like a conventional camcorder, although there is no servo for the zoom.
In conclusion, in my opinion, for “run and gun” or quick and dirty setups the FS100 with the 18-200mm lens has an edge over the F3 due to the fast auto focus and auto iris one-push controls. For more precise work and shallow DoF your going to want a different lens, something with manual control and calibrated focus and iris scales. For more demanding shoots then the F3 is probably the better choice with it’s slightly improved dynamic range and the ability to use S-Log and 4:4:4. In either case these cameras can produce highly cinematic pictures and I see no reason why you could not shoot a great looking feature with either.
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