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Sony NXCAM NEX-FS100 CineAlta
An interchangeable lens AVCHD camcorder using E-Mount lenses.


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Old December 24th, 2013, 12:39 PM   #1
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fs100 + atomos samurai blade-what is the current consensus (if any)

fs100 + atomos samurai blade-what is the current consensus (if any)

i have a fs100 and am seriously looking at the atomos samurai blade as a pro res recorder AND an on-camera monitor with scopes.

i'm looking for any real-world experiences with the above combo.

thanks in advance to those who care to share.

be well.

rob
smalltalk productions/nyc
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Old December 27th, 2013, 11:12 AM   #2
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Re: fs100 + atomos samurai blade-what is the current consensus (if any)

I own several Sony cameras but I purchased a Blade for my EX1r. I use it mostly with SDI but I did get the Atomos SDI to HDMI converter too for possible FS100 use.

I have done some testing with my FS100 and I'm pretty happy with it. The AVCHD codec chipset on the FS100 is pretty damn good. It's easily the best implementation of AVCHD that I have seen on any Sony camera so far. I don't know what they are doing with it but it's better than the compression used on Sony's CX760, VG20, NX70 and FAR better than Sony's new RX10. (the worst AVCHD I have seen yet from Sony)

So here is my experience with the Blade and FS100:

With the FS100 at 24p, the Blade needs to do a 3:2 pulldown to make a true 24p file. The Blade does this perfectly. Just wave your hand and the Blade will detect and lock onto the field cadence and boom!,..perfect 24p Preres or DNxHD. You can use any shutter speed that you want on the camera.

With the FS100 set at 29.97p (30p) you will need a 2:2 pulldown on the Blade. Again, this works perfectly. No movement is needed for this, it's a simple field combine process. You can use any shutter speed that you want on the camera.

Here comes the tricky part.......

With the FS100 set at 60p or 60i....something very different happens. When shooting at these two modes, depending on your camera shutter speed, you will get different results on the Blade files. If you are using a 1/30 shutter speed, you will get a nice progressive image on the Blade with 2:2 pulldown. However, once you change your shutter to 1/60 or faster, you will notice interlaced fields creep into your image on fast motion areas. The Blade does not "de interlace" it only "combines" them. It's does not "blend" or "interpolate" the fields. It seems that the FS100 outputs a true 60i on it's HDMI. So when the FS100 is set at "60i" and yes, even 60p"...you are NOT getting 30p PSF output. It's true 60i with each field being a separate moment in time.

So that is what I have found. I normally shoot at 29.97p (30p) with an occasional 24p for low light shooting. So, the Atomos Samurai Blade works fine for my projects.

I really got to hand it to Sony on the FS100 codec. That codec is tough and durable! Just to play around, I have taken that AVCHD and stretched and pulled the heck out it. I have applied crazy gamma curves and doused it with goofy amounts of saturation in post. I'm very surprised at how well it holds up. You would expect it to break down and fall apart long before it actually does.

Anybody else have these results?

CT

Edit: One thing I forgot to mention; Noise reduction! Sony appears to have implemented it's noise reduction into the onboard codec. The HDMI output recorded on the Atomos Blade compared to the same AVCHD files have noticeably less noise reduction applied. The noise difference starts to appear very slightly at +9db and as you step up higher and higher, the noise grain gets more and more noticeable. The HDMI also has a touch more contrast than the internal AVCHD codec.

I'm still trying to wrap my head around why the AVCHD codec records at 60 progressive frames a second yet somehow still outputs true 60 interlaced fields at the same time. (not 30 PSF inside 60i...it's true 60i????)

Edit II: After testing some more, I think I might know what the FS100 is doing. When recording 60p internally to AVCHD, it sends those 60 frames to HDMI by slicing the top field from frame 1 and the bottom field from frame 2. This is why they don't mesh into a smooth progressive frame. (unless your shutter speed is 1/30)

Last edited by Cliff Totten; December 28th, 2013 at 09:59 AM.
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Old December 29th, 2013, 04:55 PM   #3
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Re: fs100 + atomos samurai blade-what is the current consensus (if any)

cliff-

thank you for the very well thought out response.

very helpful.

be well.

rob
smalltalk productions/nyc
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Old December 30th, 2013, 10:15 AM   #4
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Re: fs100 + atomos samurai blade-what is the current consensus (if any)

I've also found that Sony's AVCHD is excellent. I do a lot of chroma keying and get a perfect key a lot easier than I did with .mov files when shooting with a 5DII. Unless I'm doing some strange effects, my color grading is usually minimal. I like to get the shot in camera as close to the way I want it as I can. The picture profile I use the most is relatively flat and about half the shots usually require dropping the pedestal a bit, and often that's the only correction I do. However even when I've done more, everything seems to hold up fine. My dayjob work is mostly corporate training video, but I do some short narrative films and documentaries for fun, and they often get shown on theatrical screens at festivals. The stuff looks great on a big screen. I know lots of people who think you have to have raw or 4K to make a movie, but that's not really true if you light and compose decently. Naturally better codecs and higher resolutions are going to be better, but the difference is marginal. My FS100 footage has been intercut with C300 footage with no noticeable difference in the end result from an edited master with 2K theatrical projection.
So I don't need a Blade.
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Old February 1st, 2014, 11:32 AM   #5
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Re: fs100 + atomos samurai blade-what is the current consensus (if any)

I have an FS 100 and a Ninja and I would reckon that this would be a better solution out of the fs100 because you will have a cabling conundrum to deal with, with all that extra HDMI and HD-SDI stuff and the blade will show a bit of lag behind the picture of the fs 100 as the picture gets converted.

In terms of picture quality I did some tests when I first got the combo and although there isn't much in it for normal work, there are more artifacts on movement, which can only really be seen by looking at the stuff pixel by pixel. Have a look at this
or take a look at my blog for pictures side by side NEX FS 100 and FS 700 with the Atomos Ninja 2: Settings, settings...

What I like about the Ninja (2) is that I can put a 1Tb disc into it, and record for over 15 hours continuously. Then pick the disc up, slot it into the computer and be editing straight away. No ingest. In terms of work flow it's a real winner.
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Old February 8th, 2014, 05:51 PM   #6
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Re: fs100 + atomos samurai blade-what is the current consensus (if any)

I've shot 2 features with an FS100 and Ninja now and swear by it... just got the Blade and it's also very very good.

Here's some footage with grading and chroma key work:

Sean J Vincent Blog: 'Making Of' Video for 'Seven Cases'

Last edited by Sean Vincent; February 8th, 2014 at 05:52 PM. Reason: Missed a bit
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Old April 8th, 2014, 07:27 PM   #7
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Re: fs100 + atomos samurai blade-what is the current consensus (if any)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sean Vincent View Post
I've shot 2 features with an FS100 and Ninja now and swear by it... just got the Blade and it's also very very good.

Here's some footage with grading and chroma key work:

Sean J Vincent Blog: 'Making Of' Video for 'Seven Cases'
very impressive!
do you mind sharing your camera setting?
seem like you used a good PP.
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Old April 13th, 2014, 10:27 AM   #8
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Re: fs100 + atomos samurai blade-what is the current consensus (if any)

I have two Ninja's version one and version two. I have used both and find that like others the AVCHD codec in the camera is excellent. Having a Ninja pro res recording is useful since I edit with FCP7 and don't have to transcode footage as well as being able to do long recordings on some shoots. Lately however, I have considered selling them and moving to a Blade now that I have a PMW300 as well but will probably just buy an HDMI to SDI converter. Unless I am in a hurry to get something out or the client wants a 4.2.2 file I stick with the camera files since its just less hanging off the camera when I am working and the quality is definitely there. Can't wait to see the XAVC when the firmware upgrade comes out for the PMW300.
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