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Sony XAVC PMW-F5 / F55 CineAlta
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Old July 29th, 2013, 01:40 PM   #1
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F5/55 Camera DIT questions

Some DIT questions have arisen for an impending F5 or F55 shoot and I wanted to see if I could get some clear answers and perspective on the current camera capabilities and post workflow that people have implemented and are using.

As of the Ver 1.2 firmware upgrade,

* What are the internal SxS recording capabilities of each camera?
* Is 4K raw recording available on SxS and at what frame rates?
* Is XAVC implemented yet and at what frame rates?
* Is the dockable raw recorder available yet?
* Any relevant DIT-specific tips for processing dailies and transfers?

For Post:

* What are the file formats for 1080 HD, and raw 4096 4K?
* Which NLE systems support which files natively
* Does transcoding need to be done for NLE ingest?
* Can Resolve ingest Sony 4K files natively and allow grading?
* What types of proxy files work best generated on-set for dailies
* General dailies and file copying do's and don'ts for Sony 4K files

I realize these are a lot of questions to ask at once, but I'm trying to prep without a thorough knowledge of what the camera(s) are capable of currently vs what is yet to come with firmware updates. I don't expect any one person to have a handle on every one of these questions, but I'll gladly take any information/gotchas on any of them - including information on any part of this I have failed to ask about.

Thanks for any and all inputs on this.
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Old July 29th, 2013, 03:12 PM   #2
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Re: F5/55 Camera DIT questions

Just a few questions then!

Both cameras can record
XAVC up to 60fps in HD
XDCAM HD up to 30fps.
SStP 422 YCbCr and 444 RGB (HDCAM SR) to 30fps.
In addition the F55 can record 4K XAVC up to 60fps.

In all cases these are MXF files.

With the R5 recorder (available since March) you can record 4K raw up to 60fps, MXF.

Most people are using the XDCAM HD files as proxies for the raw, you can record both at once (or XAVC + raw).

Currently when shooting raw 4096x2160 17:9, the HD 16:9 HD recordings contain the 17:9 material letterboxed.

The latest versions of Resolve support all the formats that the camera produces including the raw.
The raw can be edited in Premiere CC via a sony plugin.
There is a HD XAVC AMA plugin for AVID, HD & 4K plugin for FCP-X and XAVC is fully supported in Premiere CC.

A single 512GB AXS card holds 66 mins of 4K raw at 24fps. A 64GB SxS card holds about an hour of 4K XAVC. The read speed of a AXS card is about 2.5Gb/s so you can transfer 1 hour of 4K raw in about 30 mins via the readers USB3 interface.
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Old July 29th, 2013, 04:57 PM   #3
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Re: F5/55 Camera DIT questions

Hey Bruce,

In addition, the F55 camera (and only the F55) can record internal mpeg proxy files at the same time as 4k XAVC to the same SXS card. So if you don't shoot RAW and decide to go with XAVC this could save you a lot of time from having to transcode all your footage on a daily basis.

Should you decide to create your own dailies for whatever reason I am using Davinci Resolve as part of my workflow for creating dailies and round-trip grading from Premiere - > Resolve and back to Premiere. (As I don't prefer to output the final edit from Resolve since the Resolve NLE does not fully support all the functions you might have used in Premiere ie. color mattes, titles, post crops/zooms, etc..) I wrote step by step instructions on how to create dailies through Davinci Resolve you might find useful: Dailies Programs for XAVC - Sony Community

The free version of Resolve will import 4k F5/F55, RED, etc.. footage but the output is limited to HD only. I have an old PC that out performs my 2012 macbook pro when it comes to rendering times and generally renders at a rate of about 10/fps. Note that the latest release of Resolve will now support Radeon cards provided you are running at least OS X to 10.8.3 should you be using the Apple platform.

I have been grading a lot of 4k XAVC footage from the F55 shot in 10-bit 422 slog/sgamut and if you expose it "properly" you have lots of room in post for cc and grading and smoothing out the highlights to remove that "video" look. You should do you own tests based on the project, but saving 40% of your diskspace might be worth it to shoot 4k XAVC over 4k RAW.

Speaking of disk space or transfers, definitely factor in the number of cards you need to keep shooting while cards are dumping. Sure you can get large cards but dumping will take that much longer once they fill up. I have liked using smaller cards for XAVC but more of them.

By the way a 64GB SXS card will only hold 32 minutes of 4k XAVC footage, not an hour,.

Last edited by Dennis Hingsberg; July 29th, 2013 at 06:05 PM.
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Old July 29th, 2013, 08:21 PM   #4
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Re: F5/55 Camera DIT questions

Great info Alister & Dennis,

We will be shooting 4K raw, so that is what I wanted to find out about the most. The XDCAM proxies are good to know about, but will have to be transcoded to ProRes for dailies. I am primarily interested in the complete 4K raw workflow - camera to post at this point.

I understand Sony has a 4K viewer out, is this something like RedCine X to de-bayer Sony raw for viewing and adding a curve for dailies?

If not, what's the best way besides Resolve to de-bayer - if there is one? I have no problem with Resolve, but with Red .rd3 files Resolve is slower than RedCine X to de-bayer. It would be good to know about any other faster way. RedCine X with a Red Rocket card is blazing fast to de-bayer .rd3 files.

(almost) lastly, what is the Sony 4K raw footage naming convention called? .mxf ? Also, do the file names increment automatically on both cameras? This is a constant problem with F3 footage, especially with multi-cam shoots. Alexa and Red handle this quite elegantly.

One firmware upgrade I haven't seen listed on the Sony timeline is the ability to load custom looks into the camera - or is this what the user gamma option is meant to do in September's upgrade?

Thanks again.

PS: Resolve 10 will have a live view / grading option like Pomfort LiveGrade. They just don't know yet whether it will be able to grade the footage or just a grabbed still at this point. Kinda strange since the release is so imminent. Looking forward to that feature to output a decent director/video village monitoring signal - and oh, they (BMD) say it will be avail in both LIte and Full versions - sweet!

Last edited by Bruce Schultz; July 29th, 2013 at 10:16 PM.
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Old July 29th, 2013, 11:03 PM   #5
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Re: F5/55 Camera DIT questions

This evening I took a couple of Alister's 4K samples (Clarke Quay & Merli-overexposed) into both Sony Raw Viewer 1.1 and Resolve 9. Quelle difference!

I got pretty lost in the Sony Raw Viewer and it looked like the only usable outputs were Raw Trim and SR. A very confusing program - needs a good tutorial to show how to use it properly I guess.

Resolve was it's usual smooth dream with these files. Graded easily and exported to ProRes without a hitch. That's the best way to do dailies as of now I am thinking - thanks for those tips.

Last edited by Bruce Schultz; July 30th, 2013 at 01:25 PM.
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Old July 30th, 2013, 10:23 AM   #6
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Re: F5/55 Camera DIT questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alister Chapman View Post
The raw can be edited in Premiere CC via a sony plugin.
If one isn't a member of the Adobe Premiere Pro CC, can he still use Adobe Premiere Pro CS6 with a specific plug in to edit all the various video formats for the F5/F55?
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Old July 30th, 2013, 10:45 AM   #7
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Re: F5/55 Camera DIT questions

Rovi makes an expensive paid $$$ plugin for CS6 to allow XAVC file editing but it did nothing but crash my computer consistently even after a 100% fresh install of Windows 7 64-bit with no other software except Adobe CS6 and Rovi plugin installed. Rovi support was unable to help me with the issue, they said they couldn't recreate it on their end.

There is Adobe RAW plugin available free for cc and CS6:
NEW Adobe RAW plugin update v1.2 - Sony Community
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Old July 30th, 2013, 12:52 PM   #8
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Re: F5/55 Camera DIT questions

Thanks Dennis for that clarification. Looks like Adobe is moving people into the clouds! So what happens if your already an air head ;-)
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Old July 30th, 2013, 01:19 PM   #9
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Re: F5/55 Camera DIT questions

It may seem like a hassle to some, but I have incorporated Davinci Resolve into my complete workflow life cycle and simply create QT files in H.264, mpg, or ProRes and edit in whatever software I already own or my client owns. It allows me to keep using the CS6 Premium Production bundle as I refuse to switch over to paid subscription based software. Also since I grade in Resolve using the original camera files - the quality of the files I edit with really don't matter, and for projects I don't edit, instead of passing 500GB of footage (3.5 hours of XAVC) I can give 80GB in QT files instead in HD and wait for an XML file to get emailed to me, then grade and output.

Of course this doesn't work for all situations, there are times you just want to shoot, edit, deliver "all in one". I'll use FCP on my mac for that.

Did I already mention how much I hate subscription based software?

Last edited by Dennis Hingsberg; July 30th, 2013 at 01:56 PM.
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Old July 30th, 2013, 01:31 PM   #10
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Re: F5/55 Camera DIT questions

Dennis, that is a great Resolve workflow that you outlined on the Sony forum. I tried it out and it worked very easily indeed. I really really like Resolve and everything it is capable of - hard to believe it's free when it cost many thousands of $$ per seat just a few years ago. It's a little sluggish with R3D Red files compared to RedCine X, but the grades look better.

Kinda strange that Sony 4K workflow is supported so many places, yet not the XAVC. Don't really get that.

Can't wait for Resolve 10 and all the new fun things in it.
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Old August 6th, 2013, 03:30 AM   #11
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Re: F5/55 Camera DIT questions

I'm trying to figure out why Adobe doesn't support the HDCAM-SR codec now that the F5/F55 are capable of recording it. I never considered SR in the past but it has been around since 2003, so I would have thought premiere would have supported it.
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