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Sony XAVC PMW-F5 / F55 CineAlta
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Old March 14th, 2017, 09:41 AM   #1
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Airshow shot with F55

This is a sampling of some stock footage I shot last Friday at the 2017 Valiant Air Command & TICO Warbirds Airshow in Titusville, Florida

Camera: Sony PMW-F55
Lens: Canon 200-400mm f/4 lens
Tripod: O'Connor 1030D head and 35L legs
Codec: Sony 4K RAW, 2K RAW, and XAVC-HD
Gamma: S-LOG2
Edited with Adobe Premiere and graded in DaVinci Resolve on a MacBook Pro

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Old March 17th, 2017, 12:44 PM   #2
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Re: Airshow shot with F55

Very nice looking shots, Doug.

Although, in all honesty, if you said you shot these with a Sony A7s-II, A7r-II or A6500, I would have completely believed you.

There is no way a viewer would ever know unless you state your camera like you did.

Again, very nice work.

CT
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Old March 19th, 2017, 09:35 AM   #3
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Re: Airshow shot with F55

Hi Cliff, I appreciate the compliments on the footage. I totally disagree with comments that the camera doesn't matter. With all due respect, this constant theme that the equipment doesn't matter just shows how little some folks know about what it takes to shoot professional video. There is no way in hell, no way in hell, that my airshow video could have been shot on one of Sony's mirrorless cameras by me or anyone else. Not even close. The viewfinders aren't adequate, the ergonomics don't allow the range of motion required, those cameras can't do slow-motion over 60 fps, they don't have the necessary dynamic range, they shoot with an 8-bit codec, they have severe rolling shutter problems that would ruin a lot of the shots, and the list goes on and on why the camera DOES matter. People really lose a lot of respect with their constant harping that the camera doesn't matter. In fact, they sound like someone trying to convince themselves that it is true.
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Old March 19th, 2017, 01:26 PM   #4
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Re: Airshow shot with F55

Absolutely magnificent shots Doug!

...It is SO refreshing to see hi-res, high quality aircraft footage not accompanied by comical rolling shutter 'curvy' propeller shots...

Maybe one day those of us amateurs - who are currently stuck with using ancient CCD camcorders to avoid the horrors of rolling shutters - will be able to afford a CMOS sensor camcorder with a global shutter?...

I'm not holding my breath though....
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Old March 19th, 2017, 02:42 PM   #5
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Re: Airshow shot with F55

Really really beautiful Doug.
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Old March 19th, 2017, 02:54 PM   #6
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Re: Airshow shot with F55

Great work.
Did you shoot slow mo in camera or was this done in the edit?
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Old March 19th, 2017, 03:35 PM   #7
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Re: Airshow shot with F55

Camera doesn't matter? I never said that.

No, I'm simply saying that if you had said you shot these on Sony A series cameras, I would have beloved you, that's all. I'm only saying that the current breed of A series camera's are remarkable and in the right hands, I have seen incredibly gorgeous 4k imagery from them.

Maybe you have never looked at them closely but allot of guys are doing great work with them. Look at Brandon Li or Phillip Bloom or jeez,....hundreds of other great content creators out there. Absolutely superb imagery in every way.

High frame rate? Alphas can shot at 120p. Ergonomics? Sure, they are terrible in that regard and it takes a patient shooter to work with them. Rolling shutter? No doubt, they suck in that regard on certain scenes. Dynamic range? Umm....dont know if you know this but the A7s and A7R both come in at 13-14 stops with that A6500 not too far behind. So, they do have fantastic DR. Signal to noise ratio? I can say without a doubt that the A7s, A7r and A63000/6500 SMOKES a camera like the FS5 in noise performance. The resolving power and detail in these cameras is also phenomenal....which is something Sony will tell you themselves. Low light ability? I hate to say this but the A7s-II will destroy an Fs700, Fs5, Fs7, F5 and F55 in extreme low light shooting. This is no competition here....not at ANY price. Yes, Sony put one of the most sensitive image sensors they have ever created inside an "Apha" and that image sensor is truly mind blowing buy all consumer AND professional standards. Yes, even the very top industry professionals are astounded by it!

8Bit vs 10bit? Although I use to swear on my life that 10bit was far, FAR superior to 8bit color sampling, in the past year I have begun to soften my belief in this. I have done allot of 10it vs 8bit testing using ProRes instead of H.264. Over and over, I have found that 8bit ProRes HQ grades only "slightly" worse than the same test scenes in 10bit ProRes. I'm learning that 8bit MPEG is a big cause of banding but 8bit ProRes HQ will hold up "almost" (but not quite) as good as 10bit ProRes HQ. I have done this over and over again because I refused to believe it but after enough times seeing the same results I now have more respect for 8 bit than I ever used to. When H.264 gets stressed is certainly seems to "round off" bit depths to save bandwidth while ProRes doesn't seem to do this.

Anyhoo....you have a great looking video. I'm not saying that the F55 is not a far superior camera to any Sony A series model, I agree that would be silly. I'm only saying that based on how good the Sony Alphas are today, I would have believed you if you said you shot it on an Alpha rig.

The industry is changing FAST. Today, Sony and even Panasonic are putting capabilities and extremely cutting edge technologies into their "consumer" cameras that they NEVER would have allowed even 5 years ago.

We are living in a very weird camera technology and marketing time right now..

I suspect the next Sony Alpha release is going to be a huge "next generation" leap ahead and will shock the crap out us all. NAB 2017?

CT
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Old March 19th, 2017, 04:33 PM   #8
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Re: Airshow shot with F55

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Originally Posted by Cliff Totten View Post
There is no way a viewer would ever know unless you state your camera like you did.
Do the Sony models you mentioned in your post have global shutters as well?..I thought it was only the F55

If those models do have rolling shutters, then it would be really easy to see the difference...

Rotating aircraft propellers and rolling shutters are not a happy combination... more like a comedy act usually!
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Old March 19th, 2017, 06:48 PM   #9
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Re: Airshow shot with F55

Global shutter? No way, they roll like crazy. The A7s and A7r are not "too" bad but the A6500's amazing sensor is clocked very low in order to control heat. The A6300 and 6500 takes about 39 mileseconds to scan from the first line to the last line on the sensor. Thats very slow. In contrast, the Fs7 does it in about 15 mileseconds.

I constantly shoot allot of ceiling fans in my work so I cant use my A6300 for that. I also use allot of "whip pans" in my work. (I love the look of jerking my camera left and right really fast) So for those, I like to shoot with an Fs700, raw with an Odyssey. Darn rolling shutter always ruin my whip left/right style.

CT :-)
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Old March 20th, 2017, 02:39 PM   #10
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Re: Airshow shot with F55

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Originally Posted by Roger Shore View Post
Absolutely magnificent shots Doug!

...It is SO refreshing to see hi-res, high quality aircraft footage not accompanied by comical rolling shutter 'curvy' propeller shots... Maybe one day those of us amateurs - who are currently stuck with using ancient CCD camcorders to avoid the horrors of rolling shutters - will be able to afford a CMOS sensor camcorder with a global shutter?... I'm not holding my breath though....
I'm glad you liked the video. And I have good news for you! You don't need a global shutter to get decent looking action. Take a look at last year's airshow:


Do you see any objectionable global shutter issue with the propellers or anything else? I don't. But yet that video was shot with my FS7 which does not have a global shutter. And my FS5 and Z150 don't have global shutters either but you'd be hard pressed to ever see any rolling shutter on them. I won't say never, but I've never seen it.

The fact is that Sony's pro VIDEO cameras do an excellent job of minimizing rolling shutter. I've never seen rolling shutter to be an issue on any their pro video cameras from the top of the line to the cheapest model they sell. But cameras like the A7 series and DSLRs are NOT video cameras. They are still cameras that happen to have video shooting modes. That does not make them a video camera. You can pound a nail with a screwdriver but that doesn't make it a hammer. Obviously there are many situations, especially wide angle shots, where a DSLR or mirrorless camera like the A7s can produce excellent results. But they are not video cameras and their rolling shutter problems are awful.

So my point is that you don't need an expensive, top of the line, pro video camera with global shutter to shoot an airshow. But you do need a REAL video camera and not a still camera pretending to be a video camera. That is a very important point to understand. If you want to shoot professional video, in all types of shooting scenarios, there is no substitute for a real video camera. An A7 might be nice to have in the tool bag for occasional use, but it's not the hammer you need day in and day out.
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Old March 20th, 2017, 02:41 PM   #11
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Re: Airshow shot with F55

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Originally Posted by Kevin Langdon View Post
Great work.
Did you shoot slow mo in camera or was this done in the edit?
@ Patrick Thanks!

@ Kevin
All slow-mo was done in camera. In my opinion, slow-mo done in post never looks very good.
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Old March 20th, 2017, 03:52 PM   #12
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Re: Airshow shot with F55

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......... You don't need a global shutter to get decent looking action.
I stand corrected..... I certainly can't see any rolling shutter artifacts to speak of in your excellent 2016 footage.

As you say, with their 'proper' video cameras, Sony (and presumably other manufacturers?) have taken steps to deal with the problem of rolling shutters....and judging by your example there, with great success.

I am guessing that the decision to introduce a global shutter into the F55 was not taken for fun though?... so presumably there is an intention to do away with rolling shutters again -- eventually!

Way down the food chain (where amateurs like me live) CMOS sensors with rolling shutters came as a rude shock.

Before that - with CCD sensors - we had taken global shutters for granted - even on cheap consumer camcorders.

I think it will be a while before we see global shutters on non pro equipment again (if ever?)... Meanwhile, maybe some of the work that Sony (and others?) have put into minimising rolling shutter problems on their 'pro' kit will filter down the 'food chain' in due course?.....
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Old March 20th, 2017, 09:51 PM   #13
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Re: Airshow shot with F55

Doug, I agree with just about everything you say about true video cameras vs DSLR cameras. I myself own both, Sony ENG XDCAM camcorders, Sony NXCAM/XDCAM super35 camcorders and a Sony A7s-II and A6300 "DSLR" cameras and I work with all of them for different reasons.

My opinion has always been that 99% of your final image quality comes from a great lens, a great sensor and a great CODEC. The Sony A7s-II has one of the very best sensors that Sony has ever made. If you placed it in a "proper", active cooled camcorder body, they could double the read-out clock speed to kill the majority of the rolling shutter. If they allowed 10 bit sampling than this camera will kill every camera that Sony makes right now. Yes, it would be full frame (16x9 cropped) and "pros" dont like sensors that large, I know most guys like S35 instead. But, the video performance would be SCARY!

Sorry to tell you but 8bit has been used my "pros" for a very long time. 8bit has been used in cinema and TV broadcasting...ALLOT!

As I said before, the A7s-II was recently used by the BBC and CNN and I can confirm it's been used on Discovery's networks.

BBC -
CNN -
(fast forward to 5:01 where the BBC discusses how incredible the A7s is)

*Must watch* - National Geographic YouTube channel:

I hope everybody watches this Nat Geo "Hong Kong Strong" video above. Brandon Li shot this film on A7s'. This film is truly STUNNING and was NOT shot on a CineAlta F55 or Fs7. Can you find anything wrong with it? Nasty rolling shutter? Low dynamic range? 8 bit color artifacts? (even with YouTube's extreme compression) If Brandon told us he shot it with an F55, I'd believe him.

I'm not saying all this to put down the F55...NOT AT ALL! I'm only saying that these Sony A7s, A7r and A6300 deserve more respect from pros than they get. If you are patient enough to handle the ergonomic pain in the ass that they are....you will be rewarded with FANTASTIC image.

This is all I am saying. (I can also truly say that my As7-II rig will blow away my FS5 in 4k resolution, signal to noise ratio and low light performance. It's not even a tiny bit close.)

CT

P.S....remember that on "Hong Kong Strong", you are watching a camera that is known by "pros" as having a horrible rolling shutter! This video is absolutely as "professional" as any video I have ever seen. It's truly skillfully and SUPERBLY shot (look at his zoom/focus pulls) and edited and I defy any "pro" to criticize it as being only "consumer" quality or for his choice of camera that he used. This is what Sony Alpha camera's can do with the right DoP behind them.
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Old March 21st, 2017, 12:46 AM   #14
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Re: Airshow shot with F55

Doug,

Well done, great looking video. I was glad to hear you had lots of unusable footage, makes me feel better about my own attempts at shooting airplanes in flight. When using the FS7, it's a lot of work just hitting focus and then constantly working the zoom adjustment. In HFR mode, nothing is automatic, so maintaining exposure becomes an added task. With this kind of shooting, I think ergonomics plays a huge role. While working hard to make good images, you don't need to be fighting the camera as well. Not sure how it is on the F55, but guessing with that Canon lens, you were getting a work-out there.

Cliff,

I watched the Hong Kong video and maybe the settings weren't at highest quality for me, but it looked like what I'd expect from a dSLR. Granted, it would be great for low-light, fireworks kind of stuff, but I'm thinking I could have got better shots with the AX53/AX100. Recognized lots of the shooting spots, as I've been there about 8 times and always spend at least 2 days out shooting. Such a photogenic location really. Hope to get back there this year for a few days.

Do you have any examples of an airshow shot on the A7s? That would be more helpful for a real comparison to Doug's video.

Mark
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Old March 21st, 2017, 10:14 AM   #15
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Re: Airshow shot with F55

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Originally Posted by Cliff Totten View Post
8Bit vs 10bit? Although I use to swear on my life that 10bit was far, FAR superior to 8bit color sampling, in the past year I have begun to soften my belief in this.CT
If you don't have to grade, there is virtually no visible difference between 10-bit and 8-bit. But if you shoot LOG, as I do, the differences become very important. This is why I tell people in my training videos that if are shooting with an 8-bit codec then you better dial in a nice picture profile or scene file that gets you as close as you can to a finished image in-camera. And if you are going to shoot LOG, then you better be using at least a 10-bit codec.
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