by Olaf von Voss | 9th August 2016
Sony has just announced another milestone in their lineup of external recording devices. This time, the buzz is about the successor to the AXS-R5 recorder, which is designed to be used with the Sony PMW-F5 or F55. The AXS-R7 recorder module has a unique new feature in addition to the pre-existing linear 16Bit RAW capabilities: it is able to record a new 16-bit X-OCN compressed RAW format. The Sony AXS-R7 and its Original Camera Negative Format Evolution tends to produce strange effects, indeed. Not long ago, RAW was the buzzword when it came to high quality acquisition. Being able to record unaltered, well, “RAW” information straight from the sensor just seemed to be the holy grail in terms of image quality. The downsides? Well, the resulting massive file sizes significantly slow down the workflow in post. Shoot, edit, deliver? Better forget that unless you have access to some kind of supercomputer. Sony’s new X-OCN is short for eXtended tonal range Original Camera Negative. Now, that is certainly a clunky term, but the underlying technology promises to produce a raw sensor-level quality just as you would expect from a RAW file, but packed into significantly smaller files (read: lower bitrate) and therefore, greater ease of use in your given post workflow. It’s actually pretty much the same as what RED is doing with its REDcode compressed RAW format. The Sony AXS-R7 recording module It comes in two flavors: ST (standard) and LT (lite), and both of them only differ in the bitrates used while maintaining the full 16Bit latitude of the incoming sensor data stream. The ST flavour promises to be visually indistinguishable from the company’s RAW format. The LT version aims for fast-paced workflows while still maintaining the sensor’s full latitude. note: The X-OCN ST bitrate is only about 70% of the RAW bitrate State of Play It all sounds pretty awesome, but there have to be some downsides, right? Well, of course! First of all, there’s the price tag, which hasn’t been published as of yet. Its predecessor, the AXS-R5 retails for $5,350, so don’t expect the AXS-R7 to be any cheaper than that. Plus, you’ll need AXS type storage media, which also comes at a price. A 512 GB AXS card will dig a $1,800 hole in your wallet. Please refer to the chart below to see which media is needed for different resolutions and frame rates: The other major downside is that the new X-OCN format is only available in the PMW-F5 and F55 with the AXS-R7 recording module attached. It’s a highly integrated hardware upgrade and certainly not something you could pimp your existing Sony camera with. Conclusion The lesson is clear: Sony takes aim at the signature RED workflow with the introduction of the AXS-R7 recording module. It certainly comes at a price, but maybe we’ll see the fruits of this development in other cameras down the road. The concept of getting the most of the RAW sensor data while maintaining reasonable file sizes is certainly welcome! At least as long as these file sizes are requesting tremendous amounts of computing power. you’ll need AXS media in order to record the new X-OCN format with the AXS-R7 recording module The AXS-R7 is not here yet, but will be available in September at the latest. There will be an update for Sony’s RAW viewer software in order to support the new format, and I’m sure many of the major color grading software developers, such as DaVinci Resolve, will follow. What do you think? Are you enjoying editing RAW files or do you prefer already processed data like ProRes? Could this new RED-like compressed RAW workflow be an alternative that works for you? For more information, please refer to Sony’s official site.Read more
by Kevin Alexander | 24th March 2015
Compressed RAW recording has finally come to the original 2.5K Blackmagic Cinema Camera. While the other cameras have had the ability to record compressed RAW, the original version of the camera has lagged behind… until now. The 2.1 Firmware update for Blackmagic Cinema Cameras is now available for download, giving original BMCC users the flexibility of recording RAW while increasing recording times. How much does it save? After updating my camera I wanted to see the difference in recording time. I shoot onto a 240GB drive, which when shooting uncompressed RAW at 23.976 fps gives me about 30 minutes. But set to compressed RAW I now have about 46 minutes. That’s a nice little boost. And to be clear, compressed RAW has replaced uncompressed RAW as a recording option. You can’t select between the two. But compressed RAW recording isn’t the only new feature in the firmware update. One significantly useful feature is the expanded frame guide options. We may instinctively be able to tell where our action safe and title safe guidelines are, but when shooting on more cinematic formats, like 2.35:1, it may be not as instinctive. The new frame guide options include: Thirds, HDTV, 4:3, 2.40:1, 2.39:1, 2.35:1, and 1.85:1. You can also adjust the opacity of the guides as well. So if you’d like, you can completely black out areas outside of the frame. Here’s a complete look at all of the updates for the 2.K camera: New Blackmagic Camera Setup software Adds lossless compressed RAW support Adds support for more frame guide options Holding down MENU will bypass the Dashboard Peaking state is remembered after power cycle But other cameras received updates as well. Here’s the list of new features on other Blackmagic Cameras: Improvements for the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera: New Blackmagic Camera Setup software Adds support for more frame guide options Adds Japanese and Chinese language menu support Holding down MENU will bypass Dashboard and go straight into settings Peaking state is remembered after power cycle Improvements for the Blackmagic URSA: New Blackmagic Camera Setup software Improved media formatting performance To download and install the firmware updates visit: blackmagicdesign.com/support/.Read more
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