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NETFLIX: Which 4K Cameras Can You Use to Shoot Original Content? (missing F5! WTH?!?)

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http://www.4kshooters.net/2017/07/25/netflix-which-4k-cameras-can-you-use-to-shoot-original-content/

Not just the F5 is missing (which is weird when the F55 & FS7 is included!)

But also the FS700 isn't there. Which I reckon odd when the C500 is on the list (as like the FS700, the C500 can't do 4K internally, only via 4K raw output. Same as the FS700. So if the C500 is on the list, so should the FS700!)

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Not allowing the Amira and standard Alexa is straight up moronic. The upscaled 4K in it thrashes the pants of plenty of native 4K sensors in terms of look and detail. I've had them side by side plenty of times.

Looking through the list and numbers and so on, the word that comes to mind is "arbitrary"

Also demanding Alexa 65 with Arriraw as the only acceptable Arri format when nearly every feature film is shot on Arri... and plenty on Alexa ProRes... it seems more like a political alliance with other manufacturers against Arri dominance than much else.

Which is silly, they're dominant because their product is the best. Thought the Varicam is arguablly as good if it gets the uptake.

 

 

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Weird that Blackmagic 4k was skipped too.

Anyone know if or think they would accept a film shot on film? (If scanned to their liking I guess)

I can't find what Blue Jay was shot on, that was a netflix original, sort of, from just recently.. maybe you can pull some strings if Netflix isn't the full owner of your film? Which, any filmmaker can put the name "Michael Productions" or whatever on their film I would think.. Or maybe their guidelines weren't quite official by this film's release. For some reason I don't feel like it was shot in 4k

 

Edit: turns out it was shot on that 4 million iso camera canon recently came out with, weirdly.. so not to these standards

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"It is worth to note that the above list applies only to Netflix original programming, not acquired product"

They'll build the costs of these cameras into the budget of the show. If I was going to make something for Netflix, they'd be paying all this bills, so I'll use whatever camera the want me to. If I was going to shoot a documentary independently, then sell it to Netflix, I could use any camera I wanted because it's not their production, so long as the final product is of a high standard. 

That's nothing new though. If you're shooting a wedding and they request 4K - shoot 4K. If you're making a corporate video and they want B&W, make it B&W. The only difference with Netflix is they're recommending specific cameras, that are tried and tested. There's also more than likely some sort of partnership/deal going on with the manufacturers, but that of course, will stay behind closed doors.

In my opinion, this list is pretty useless in the public domain and only serves as publicity for the cameras on it, making people think they need the few models listed in the hopes of producing content. - furthering the theory of some kind of deal between NF and the camera makers.

 

In short - pay no attention to this list UNLESS you're in negotiations with Netflix about making original content for them... anyone here doing that? Can I help?

 

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A lot of broadcasting companies have these kind of lists of what cameras to use aswell, but no ones gotten in trouble for using different ones ever. As long as the bitrates good enough and the quality is up to speed then choice of camera doesn't matter.

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It does matter to Netflix for original content, they will not allow any camera that doesn't shoot native 4K period. The reasoning I have heard for this is that they advertise that all of their original content is 4k. They don't want to deal with any issues that may arise from using upscaled to 4K material. Technically they could get hit with a class action lawsuit if they say all of their original content is all 4k but some of it was actually not 4k and upscaled. While I find this to be unlikely it is not outside the realm of possiblity. Again this is only for their orginal content, for anything else it doesn't matter.

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1 hour ago, sondreg said:

A lot of broadcasting companies have these kind of lists of what cameras to use aswell, but no ones gotten in trouble for using different ones ever. As long as the bitrates good enough and the quality is up to speed then choice of camera doesn't matter.

And it of course depends on the content.

If I want to be on the local news reserve list they will demand that I have a camera that live up to their standards.

If Im a regular dude that calls them and say I have footage of Donald Trump making out with a cow.. then it could be shot on super-8 for all they care.

And everything in between.

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To my knowledge there's at least two different types of "Netflix Originals".

  • The first being a product where Netflix themselves produces, or have a very close relation to the production.
  • The same denomination is also put on products where netflix gets monopoly on on-demand streaming, i.e Better Call Saul etc.

In my eyes, the article seem to be about the former, where it has already been stated in this thread, that it doesn't really matter if you are "forced" to use a certain camera.

My point being; you should be able to score a "Netflix Original" without said camera restrictions.

I might be wrong though. 

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Here is why.

A big selling point of Netflix is a library of 4K HDR content. HDR demands a high camera dynamic range, as well as a large color gamut. Those 3 things--4K+ resolution, high DR, and wide color space--are therefore important requirements for Netflix's premium commissioned content.

One of the primary differences between the F5 and F55 is the color filter array, which is "wide gamut" on the F55 and "optimised for r.709" on the F5. Thus the F5's disqualification.

The Alexa/Amira are very crisp cameras, but not native 4K+. Thus they are not included.

This only applies to content produced/commissioned by Netflix; content they acquire after the fact is not subject to these limitations.

There are many excellent cameras on that list. I'm actually somewhat grateful for these edicts, as they've pushed the new Varicam into the limelight as the new narrative television workhorse.

You don't have to like it, but their reasoning in this matter is completely transparent.

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8 hours ago, Liam said:

Weird that Blackmagic 4k was skipped too.

Anyone know if or think they would accept a film shot on film? (If scanned to their liking I guess)

I can't find what Blue Jay was shot on, that was a netflix original, sort of, from just recently.. maybe you can pull some strings if Netflix isn't the full owner of your film? Which, any filmmaker can put the name "Michael Productions" or whatever on their film I would think.. Or maybe their guidelines weren't quite official by this film's release. For some reason I don't feel like it was shot in 4k

 

Edit: turns out it was shot on that 4 million iso camera canon recently came out with, weirdly.. so not to these standards

IMO Blackmagic 4k definitely does not have an image up to Netflix standards. Gnarly fixed pattern noise, aliasing, poor dynamic range, etc. keep it away from serious use. If you are getting great images with it, more power to you, and it has its place. But I would rate that image quite low, below the 2.5k even and nowhere near what Netflix is looking for. The 4.6k is pretty good, though! I would expect they'd include it. Anyhow if you have any tips on getting a better image out of the BM4k I would be glad to hear them because I do use one from time to time and am admittedly a frustrated novice with it.

Marketing, not image quality, is definitely behind the Alexa's exclusion, imo. But yeah, technically the Alexa 4k is a little softer than the F55. The noise pattern feels a little wide, there's some hints of unsharp mask. It's great from a subjective perspective and would be my choice every time, but in the lab it would fail to meet their standards. But the thing is it doesn't matter unless Netflix is producing the show. They'll buy originals (tv shows and movies alike) that are shot at 1080p. So they would acquire a feature shot on the Alexa but not produce one. They'd acquire one shot on film but would not produce one. So feel free to shoot on film... if you're footing the bill and hoping Netflix will pick it up later, which they very well might.

Does the F55 have a different RAW output than the F5? Maybe it is the wide gamut BFA. That makes a lot of sense. When I first used the F5 (a month or two after its release so the firmware was early and you could tell) I thought the image was awful, but I used it again later with the Kodak emulation LUT a few years later and it's way better than it once was. I was recently working on a Netflix show that was shot on F55 RAW and again was not impressed with the image from a technical perspective or even the color didn't blow my mind but it did seem a lot better than the F5 (which I still dislike). Now that the footage is out there and I see the graded footage online, I think the footage looks very good, so the colorist did a good job and I was wrong about the F55 I think. It's possible Netflix knows what it's talking about, but I'm still surprised by how well the F55 holds up. (I would place it way above any Black Magic camera except maybe the newest 4.6k, for instance, but worse than the Alexa or Varicam and yet it seems to look just as good in the final product. F55 RAW is surprisingly good.)

Likewise, I rate the C500 poorly but above the F5 and FS700. But... at that point you're sort of picking arbitrarily. The C500 is sharper, cleaner, better color, slightly worse DR, maybe more aliasing? Not dramatically better by any means. Maybe it has the wide gamut BFA array they need and it's as simple as that.

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10 hours ago, IronFilm said:

http://www.4kshooters.net/2017/07/25/netflix-which-4k-cameras-can-you-use-to-shoot-original-content/

Not just the F5 is missing (which is weird when the F55 & FS7 is included!)

But also the FS700 isn't there. Which I reckon odd when the C500 is on the list (as like the FS700, the C500 can't do 4K internally, only via 4K raw output. Same as the FS700. So if the C500 is on the list, so should the FS700!)

Maybe the FS700 isn't on the list because of aliasing and chroma artifacts, and perhaps skintone color science isn't up to the other cameras? Might also be related to having to use 3rd party devices to get 4K. While we were able to get decent skintones and color from the FS700 (and the slomo was great), it was hit or miss, and so we went back to Canon when we acquired our next professional-level camera: C300 II instead of FS7. While the FS7 has improved color science and overall image quality compared to the FS700, the C300 II still has nicer skin tones with less effort. Even if the FS7 had matching image/color quality, C300 II still wins for native EF lens support and usable AF. With the C300 II set up with ARRI settings, ARRI LUTs can be used and it's like using an Alexa with AF! Is the Alexa still superior in DR and total image quality- absolutely, even though the C300 II is "4K" (which it really isn't- it's less than 4K and aliases!).

If Netflix really wanted to make this about 4K quality, they'd base the decision on shooting a 4K test chart. How many professional cameras actually produce a real, measurable, alias-free 4K image?

  1. Sony F65 ("8K")
  2. Red ("6/7/8K")?
  3. Alexa 65 (6.6K)?

Pre Nyquist Sampling Theory, we need 2x oversampling to fully capture a signal without aliasing. Along with an optical low-pass filter, it might be possible to get 'close enough' so aliasing is minimal/not visible with less than 2x oversampling, so a test chart is helpful.

Here the F65 rules (and maybe Red at 7K; only a 1080p output was provided):

So how does the Alexa 65 compare to the F65 and Red shooting a 4K test chart? The only camera I would put in the same league as the Alexa for color and overall look for skin is the F65 based on high-end Hollywood movies. I suspect the Alexa may be much easier to achieve great skintones and that's why the F65 isn't used as often for high-end productions (and the insane data rate of the F65).

If Netflix didn't have this 4K requirement, it would probably be dominated by Alexas, which isn't good for competition, so that's a plus in a sense (Alexa 65 is very expensive and rental only).

The C200 420 8-bit 4K won't qualify since it's not 10-bit. The 4K raw should qualify if it's log-encode (otherwise must be 16-bit linear to qualify), though it's not true 4K either- not enough photosites and both it and the C700 alias in 4K. What about the GH5 4K 10-bit? Would be interesting to see how it does on the same 4K test chart / conditions Geoff Boyle is shooting.

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The whole discussion about what camera Netflix would allow for their  projects seem a bit curious...is this like a scenario where one has just negotiated a 20 million feature that Netflix wants to produce, and then the discussion of permissible cameras come up and the director storms out lol?...it's not a quick process, getting anything greenlighted...there are multiple areas that are up for discussion...with ANY studio, and Netflix after all, is just becoming one of the largest studios in exsistance...I could give a shit if Netflix allows me to use my cameras or lenses,  if I brought them a project they want to executive produce....far more important to me would be the choice of Line Producer, DP, Production Designer, Editor and where I'd get to make the film....when somebody puts up the money to make one's project, the camera used will be decided by the DP in discussion with the Director, relative to the logistics and look and ergonomics of the project....it will almost never come down to just one make of camera, and is pretty far down the list of hurdles one has to overcome!..With anything done on a budget, the size of what Netflix could provide, if you did not already own one of the cameras on their list, production would rent what you needed and that would come out of the Film/TV series budget.

3 minutes ago, Fritz Pierre said:

 

 

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17 minutes ago, jcs said:

 

If Netflix didn't have this 4K requirement, it would probably be dominated by Alexas, which isn't good for competition, so that's a plus in a sense (Alexa 65 is very expensive and rental only).

What I am confused about is why Netflix cares - I mean if all their original content was shot on Alexa's like the majority of high budget movies, are their customers going to ditch Netflix because that Alexa 2K looks so crap compared to a RED/Sony image...  

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6 minutes ago, mat33 said:

What I am confused about is why Netflix cares - I mean if all their original content was shot on Alexa's like the majority of high budget movies, are their customers going to ditch Netflix because that Alexa 2K looks so crap compared to a RED/Sony image...  

Netflix charges more for 4K content subscription access, and thus wants more "real 4K" content. Perhaps the lawyers mucked this up so people (external lawyers, lol) wouldn't litigate? Everyone at the professional level knows that uprez'd 3.4K Alexa footage spanks most of the competition, and most consumers wouldn't care anyways, even those paying for the 4K sub since it still looks way better than 1080p when viewed on a 4K display sufficiently up close.

While a test chart would show truth, I've seen people say crazy things about test chart results, so maybe just sticking with numbers/specs gets them close enough to their 4K goal with the least drama.

24 minutes ago, fuzzynormal said:

This thread is insane. 

Lol what does this say about your post? ;) 

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47 minutes ago, jcs said:

Netflix charges more for 4K content subscription access, and thus wants more "real 4K" content. Perhaps the lawyers mucked this up so people (external lawyers, lol) wouldn't litigate? Everyone at the professional level knows that uprez'd 3.4K Alexa footage spanks most of the competition, and most consumers wouldn't care anyways, even those paying for the 4K sub since it still looks way better than 1080p when viewed on a 4K display sufficiently up close.

While a test chart would show truth, I've seen people say crazy things about test chart results, so maybe just sticking with numbers/specs gets them close enough to their 4K goal with the least drama.

Lol what does this say about your post? ;) 

I guess thats the case -it easy to advertise and promote resolution to consumers compared to better colour/motion/black levels.  If it wasn't we would't have the situation where a Pioneer Kuro from 2006 or 2008 has better motion and colour than the majority of TV's sold today.

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