For the most part 4K acquisition has been relegated towards cinematic style production. The majority of professional 4K cameras on the market are “cinema” cameras that utilize interchangeable lenses and have Super35mm (or similar) sized sensors. There has been very little traction in implementing 4K in traditional television production with classic acquisition tools like studio cameras, ENG-style cameras, or hand-held integrated lens camcorders. Sony is aiming to start the shift towards 4K in all forms of video production.
Before NAB Sony already had several good options including the X70, the Z150, and the Z100. All include an integrated powered zoom lens. All of these camcorders have a single sensor image system. The X70 & Z150 use a 1″ sensor and the Z100, the oldest of the group, a 1/2″ sensor. At NAB this year Sony is debuting several new cameras including the new PXW-Z450. The Z450 is based off of the same body as the PXW-X400. This gives users the first Sony traditional ENG shoulder mount form factor camera that offers 4K acquisition. Sony has intentionally stuck with a 2/3″ sensor design for the Z450 so that it will be fully compatible with all of the existing 2/3″ B4 broadcast ENG servo powered zoom lenses that are already in the field. Interestingly it appears that the Z450 uses a single 2/3″ sensor. Additionally, there is an upgrade kit for owners of the 1080p X400 camera. If you currently have an X400, or buy an X400 in the future, and decide you need 4K, you can send your camera to Sony and the camera will be converted to a Z450 for a fee.
Finally, in the studio space, Sony is introducing the HDC4800 studio camera. This is very interesting as this will have a newly designed single Super35mm 4K sensor. The sensor can generate up to 480fps in 4K. Yes, thats 8x slow motion in 4K. This is incredible. The camera has a native PL lens mount meaning that you will need some of the hig-end cine servo glass, like a Fujinon Cabrio, to use the camera in 4K. The HDC4800 has another trick up its sleeve. In the promo video for the camera Sony shows it’s PL lens mount being adapted to a B4 2/3″ mount. When the camera is in 1080p mode it can utilize a 2/3″ crop of the sensor, thus allowing it to be fully compatible with stadium or large studio style box lenses. Also, when in 1080p the maximum frame rate jumps to 16x normal, or 960fps for 60p countries. Imagine a sports game where a couple of these cameras are mounted onto large box lenses with 40x zoom magnifications as your primary cameras and the 4K super slow-mo camera is on the sidelines for close-ups using a 4.5x Fujinon Cabrio 19-90. The HDC4800 is also designed to integrate well with the 4K studio camera Sony introduced last NAB, the HDC4300. The HDC4300 uses 3x 2/3″ 4K image sensors and has a maximum frame rate of 60p in 4K or 480p in 1080p. Both cameras have matched colorimetry for ideal compatibility.
The Sony Fs5 has received a new free firmware 2.0 update. One of the key features is an auto Neutral Density filter function changes the strength of the electronically controlled variable N.D. filter. This is an excellent use of Sony’s amazing new electronic N.D. By adjusting the N.D. the user is allowed to adjust exposure without affecting aperture, shutter speed, or gain values. This translates to all elements of the image such as depth of field, motion blur, and noise, being unchanged while simultaneously adjusting exposure values of the image. Other additions include expanded zebra functions as well as GPS capability.
Ever since the camera was announced Sony has alluded to the coming capability of RAW recording. For those who wish to record RAW with the FS5 you must acquire the newly announced RAW upgrade option for 600 dollars, model number CBKZ-FS5RIF. This then allows, though the 3G-SDI connector, continuous output of DCI 4K 60p and up to 240p RAW in 1080p. If you have right recorder you can then record 12-bit RAW video or you can also choose to convert this to Apple ProRes for recording. This workflow has proved popular with FS7 users who pair the camera with the Convergent Design Odyssey 7Q+. Unlike the FS7 however, the FS5 has an extra trick. It can also record DCI 4K at up to 120 fps for up to 4 second bursts. It does this by using the internal cache recording function of the camera. The images are buffered in camera and then played out of the 3G-SDI port at a regular frame rate for recording, once image capture has finished. This system will be familiar to anyone who has the FS-Raw option on the FS700 which features the same ability. Both the free and the paid firmware updates will be available in June.
As they always do Blackmagic Design has announced a whole bunch of new products at NAB. Over 16 new models to be exact. I’ll touch on a few here.
FROM BLACKMAGIC: URSA Studio Viewfinder: The Blackmagic Studio Viewfinder completely transforms the URSA into a professional studio camera. It looks amazing and it simply plugs into where the normal viewfinder would connect on the front of the camera. The ergonomics of the viewfinder were designed for maximum comfort which is vital when working on shoots where the camera team can be standing for hours at a time. When we designed this viewfinder the number 1 feature we worked on was to make the best articulated mounting we had seen on any viewfinder at any cost. These joints have an amazing range of tension adjustment so you can set them to the perfect resistance you need. So what this means is you can pan and tilt the viewfinder to the position you need, which is vital when the camera is high up and you need to tilt it down. There are knobs for controlling brightness and contrast and also a knob for focus peaking so you can set the level you need. There’s a menu dial for navigating viewfinder settings, plus 3 assignable function buttons. There is a sun shield included and a tally indicator under the sun shield as well as above the sun shield for the camera operator.
FROM BLACKMAGIC: Video Assist 4K: This new model Video Assist 4K lets you add a bright 7 inch monitor and broadcast quality recorder to any SDI or HDMI camera. By adding a Video Assist to a DLSR camera you can get a nice large screen that ensures you get perfect focus every time. Video Assist has built in focus aids such as focus peaking and focus zoom. You can also use the histogram to help set exposure. Because Video Assist has built in recorders, you can bypass the low quality video files or even tape based recorders in many cameras. The Video Assist uses high quality ProRes and DNx recording, so you get great quality and full compatibility with all editing software. You also get much longer recording times because Video Assist 4K features 2 SD card slots, so you can change cards while recording.
FROM BLACKMAGIC: URSA Mini Full Operating System User Interface 2: Next we are going to be demonstrating a whole new user interface for our URSA Mini cameras. The most visible part of the new URSA Mini operating system is the user interface of the camera and it’s now much faster to use and has also been totally redesigned. Now touching any setting on the LCD lets you directly adjust that setting without going into menus. A good example is lens control. Now you can just select iris and step though the F stops, or just slide the iris open and closed with your finger on the LCD. If you want to adjust audio level then just touch the audio meters and now you can change levels and if you rotate the audio knob, the adjustments are also displayed automatically. This new operating system adds a lot of intelligence to the camera as well. A good example of this is shutter angles. Setting shutter angles to eliminate flicker from lighting can be tricky, but now settings are recommended to eliminate flicker from lighting. You can still set any angle you want, but there are also recommendations that calculated for you. It recommends angles when you over or under crank the frame rates.
All of these great new things from Blackmagic Design are coming soon!
What is hotter then a flame? An INFERNO! Hot on the heels of Atomos shipping the new Flame series recorders they have now announced a new top-of-the-line Inferno. The Inferno appears to be similar to the Shogun Flame in most ways but the Inferno is capable of recording 4K up to 60p, HD up to 240p, and it will allow for for RAW input, and features quad SDI connectors.
As seen in the new Atomos Shogun Flame and Atomos Ninja Flame HDR is now a killer feature when shooting in flat or log profiles Atomos have introduced the AtomHDR image processing to capture with the high brightness range of your camera’s Log profile while maintaining vibrant true-to-life colors. The 10-bit monitor expands the colour range to over 1 billion colours, giving a near true reproduction, and the 1500nit brightness allows for easy monitoring of wide dynamic range scenes or in bright sunlight conditions. The Shogun Inferno will be $1,995.
Just announced are Canon’s new 18-80mm T4.4 EF Compact Servo lens and ME200S-SH Multi-Purpose camera.
Weighing in at only 2.65 lbs the 18-80mm was designed for video and is as versatile as it is compact and lightweight. It was developed with full external servo control to control zoom, focus, and iris/aperture and there is also a new optional ZSG-C10 grip to help support different shooting styles. Other features include high level 4K performance, a no step iris mechanism, accessory support, and is parfocal. There is also additional support for use with Canon Cinema EOS cameras. It supports dual pixel autofocus and the dual pixel focus guide, image stabilization, and EF communication functions. This compact servo lens will be priced at $5225.
The other announcement Canon made is for the release of their new multi-purpose camera. Built in the same vein as Canon’s 4,000,000 ISO ME20, the ME200 can be configured to tackle just about any pro video scenario such as cinema, television, surveillance, and documentary work. It weighs 2.2 lbs and has dimensions of 4”x4.6”x4.4” (LHW) which allows for numerous builds and use with various camera systems.
– Features include
Canon Super 35mm CMOS Sensor
Dual Pixel Auto Focus
12 Stops of Dynamic Range
1080p/720p Video to 60fps
3G/HD-SDI and HDMI Terminals
Locking EF Mount
One Shot Auto Focus
Built-in Motorized ND Filters
Motorized IR Cut Filter for Infrared
Push Auto Iris
Compatible w/ Select EF-mount Lenses
RS-422 Remote Control Terminal
Fuji has announced that they will introduce the Super35mm Fujinon Premier 20-120mm Cabrio XK powered servo motor zoom lens at NAB. The new lens features a constant T3.5 aperture throughout the entire zoom range and, like other Cabrio lenses, comes with a detachable servo drive unit similar to those seen on traditional ENG broadcast lenses. It also has a 200 degree focus rotation, 9 iris blades and a minimum focus distance of 1.1 m, 3′ 7″. The 20-120mm weighs in at 6.39lb. Fujinon are aiming the lens squarely at the growing number of owner/operators who are making the transition from ENG 2/3″ sensor based cameras to Super 35mm digital cinema cameras such as the Sony F5/55, Canon C300 Mark II, Panasonic Varicam LT and the ARRI Amira. With a lot of broadcast television series making the move to digital cinema cameras there has been a growing need for ENG style Super 35mm lenses that feel more familiar to operators making the transition and are quick to operate. LDS and /i Tech metadata compatibility are very useful when you need to record the position information of zoom, iris, and focus for computer animation and similar post production operations. The digital servo on this lens has 16-bit encoding, so operators can be assured that the lens data outputs are extremely accurate. The lens is set to start shipping in June of this year.