At NAB 2016, Sony announced the free version 2.0 firmware upgrade for the FS5 and the paid RAW update. This will enable 4K 60fps RAW and 1080/240fps RAW via 3G SDI to the Odyssey 7Q+ external recorder.
I don’t use FCPX as my editor, and why should I use it to transcode media when we have Compressor for that?
The answer may surprise you…
This is an early look for now, my unit has only just arrived!! I will be posting some ProRes samples in 4K from the A7S later this weekend.
This is a device that’s set to unleash total magic from the Sony A7S in 4K. It also offers a way for Panasonic GH4 users to record 4K in 10bit to ProRes rather than heavily compressed 8bit 4:2:0 H.264. For the Samsung NX1 it is also compelling, offering us a way to bypass the compression of H.265 altogether (and the lengthy transcoding stage), instead going straight to 4K ProRes in various flavours.
It’s also an IPS 1920×1200 field monitor, so detailed you can nail focus on without even having to dive into the focus assists. The monitoring function is ably assisted by one of the best touch screen user interfaces on the market and recording can be triggered from the camera (the A7S does this already while the GH4 awaits a firmware update in January for it).
It’s a tantalising prospect, so let’s take it out of the box and get acquainted with it!
Three of the most exciting cameras of the year, the Sony A7S, Panasonic GH4 and Samsung NX1 are about to go into a different league as far as video quality and monitoring go. The Atomos Shogun 4K monitor / recorder is now shipping ($1995 / £1220 + VAT) and one is on the way to me, scheduled to arrive this week. I plan to put it to use with all 3 of the aforementioned cameras. I’ll do a shootout comparing them. We’re unlocking as yet unexploited features like 4K mode on the A7S and 10bit 422 on the GH4. For the NX1 it will be useful to record straight to an editable format for a quick turnaround rather than having to transcode from H.265. I’m also expecting image quality gains across the board.
Picture (“Buddy”) courtesy of James Miller, inset – the CYP 4K HDMI scaler
The picture above (click for 1080p original) is from the 4K full frame sensor inside the Sony A7S (ISO 3200, S-LOG2).
Internally the camera does a simple downscale of the 4K signal to 2K for standard 1080p XAVC or HDMI recording – but James discovered adding a hardware scaler on the end of the 4K HDMI signal results in a more detailed 1080p image which is light and day different. The great news is this scaler is only £167 in the UK.
Add to that an Atomos Ninja Blade or Ninja Star for taking the image from the scaler and recording it to ProRes – and you have one of the best 1080p images available at any price.
A few days ago Thomas Worth of Rarevision (5DToRGB and RAWMagic) asked me for some original files from the GH4 so he could develop an experimental app he had in mind. The result is an embryonic new command-line app for the Mac, which takes 8bit 4:2:0 4K H.264 files from the GH4 and resamples them to 10bit 4:4:4 in 2K DPX format.
The GH4’s internally recorded 4K files can be converted to a chunky 2K 10bit ProRes 4444 image which grades extremely well.
To test this theory I call on colourists to have a go at it.
Arri Alexa ProRes files are available from their FTP server. Details below.