Medium Format Video is slowly becoming a thing, as anyone with an attentive eye walking the floor of Photokina 2016 this past week could tell you. After numerous talks with medium format camera manufacturers at the show, I can certainly see a pattern evolving. We also managed to get some clean footage from the Phase One XF camera with the new IQ3 module. Is Medium Format Video Coming? Of all the current trends in digital cinematography, one of the most interesting is the shift towards larger sensors. We can also observe this in the photo segment, and as photo and video move closer and closer together, Photokina 2016 proved to be a very important show indeed. In the case of the Phase One XF camera, it seems almost like a déjà-vu from the time when we started cinema5D, back when the Canon 5D Mark II came out. Back then, Canon and Nikon were clueless that they had created an entirely new tool that caused a revolution and blurred the border between high end cinema and entry level video shooting. A similar transformation of the market seems to be in progress on the medium format front. Phase One XF and the IQ3 camera back Upon showing up with an Atomos Shogun Flame at the Phase One booth at Photokina, everyone seemed quite confused. We wanted to do was capture the HDMI stream from their new medium format camera. Of course, they focus on the kind of high-end photography that their expensive cameras really excel at, so they have little interest in video at all. But they didn’t seem to suspect that, with a few tweaks, this system could become a valuable asset for video shooting photographers and filmmakers alike. Unfortunately, many manufacturers today are often looking at their existing user base and sometimes miss an opportunity like this. I’m certain that in the not too distant future medium format video will be a standard in these cameras, likely in 8K, just like 4K is now a standard in every new mirrorless photo camera that comes out. Atomos Shogun Flame connected to Phase One XF via HDMI As you can see in the video we shot, the video capabilities of the Phase One XF with IQ3 back is still taking baby steps. In fact, it looks like the clean HDMI output with manual controls that we were able to record with the Atomos Shogun Flame is more a coincidence than a conscious decision. We really hope Phase One will take this functionality further and add some kind of log gamma output or a reduced contrast mode allowing for capture of the full dynamic range of the output, because the footage surely looks very very nice. The bokeh was soft like butter the way that only a medium format camera can capture, and the quality was very nice, without any noticeable aliasing or noise. Just an external, clean HDMI output in 4K would certainly make a big difference. Why is large format video a thing? Read our popular article: Full Frame and Beyond – Large Sensor Digital Cinema Who Else is Doing Medium Format Video? As mentioned, there are a few medium format companies that are on the brink of incorporating usable video functionality in their cameras. I believe none of them realise the potential for filmmakers. Fujifilm GFX 50S The Fujifilm GFX 50S presented at Photokina 2016 is a compact medium format camera that introduces a new lens mount and lens family altogether. The Fujifilm GFX 50S has a 51.4-megapixel resolution (8256 x 6192) and is confirmed to shoot video internally. We had a talk with Fujifilm general manager Theo Georghiades, but unfortunately our microphone system died during this video interview. In short, there will be no 4K in this camera, but we’re looking forward to the HD footage this new medium format will produce. Hasselblad H6D-100c This camera was introduced in April of this year and brings with it 4K RAW video. At Photokina 2016, the people from Hasselblad showed us the first 4K footage from this camera and it looked amazing. Like others, they mostly pointed at the photo functionality and see this merely as a bonus for photographers. We hope to review this camera soon. Hasselblad X1D-50c Then there’s the X series. The Hasselblad X1D-50c medium format camera will also capture HD video at 25fps (?) and in an H.264 format. Leica S (Typ 007) Then there’s the Leica S (Typ 007) of course, which captures 4K DCI at 4:2:2, but does so with a S35 crop of the sensor. Sinar S30|45 Digital Back [Update:] As cinema5D reader Josh Evans pointed out, Swiss camera manufacturer Sinar also just released a digital camera back that records 4K video internally. The Sinarback S30|45 has a Leica CMOS-sensor and Leica Maestro II image processor. This camera back is specifically designed to shoot both stills and video. What’s next? Clearly the medium format camera manufacturers have some more work to do if they want to make these cameras also fit the needs of filmmakers, but these first steps are a good start and give us something to look forward to. Among filmmakers, large format is starting to make a comeback: Arri took an important step with the Arri ALEXA 65 to establish a larger digital sensor size, just like the Phantom 65, Panavision DXL or RED’s VistaVision 8K camera. What do you think? Where are we heading with medium format video? Are we likely to see 4K or even 8K video on medium format cameras anytime soon? Would you adopt it? Let the camera manufacturers know. Some are still listening.Read more
Canon is displaying their prototype of 8K camera at Photokina 2016. This crazy setup shows a complete working 8K solution from start to finish. The Canon 8K Cinema EOS camera presented here is part of Canon’s complete demonstration of their vision of an 8K future. The camera is hooked up to a prototype 10″ 4K on-camera display and an 8K monitor as well as an 8K printing solution for stills. The camera body of this 8K prototype is actually a slightly modified C300 mark II body with an 8K super35mm sensor developed by Canon. It is connected to a prototype debayering box that distributes 4K signals to 4 Convergent Design Odyssey recorders for high quality recording. Canon 8K Camera Prototype at Photokina 2016 Compared to the RED Helium solution, Canon’s current setup is huge and will most definitely not look like that as a final product. As cameras get smaller and smaller, we might see all that technology packed into a camera body similar in size to the Canon C300 or recent Canon C700 we talked about during IBC. At this moment, the Canon 8K camera prototype has no internal recording. The current recording format is 8K RAW 60fps. This results in over 10TB of data for every hour of footage. Surely this is not the end of development, but rather the beginning of what lies ahead in the 8K area for Canon cameras. Like many other companies, they have recently been focusing on providing solutions instead of products, and we’re curious to see where exactly will Canon be taking this technology 4 years down the road. Do we need 8K? Certainly not (yet). But as technology progresses further and we see storage and speeds of systems increase by the month, we might see a working 8K workflow in the not too distant future that can certainly open up greater possibilities in post production, flexibility in live boradcast and more, even though as an end format we might not need that 8K too soon. Companies are certainly pushing in that direction. The question is: will they convince us to go along?Read more
We had a chance to look at the new RED Weapon Helium 8K camera at IBC 2016 for the first time since it was announced in July. Here’s a run through of what we’ve been told at the show floor and what we know so far. The RED Helium 8K is a new sensor that will be introduced in October 2016 in the RED Weapon and RED Epic W cameras. A limited number of special edition white RED Weapon Helium 8K cameras have been produced, one of which we found at the IBC show. Specs of the RED Helium 8K (according to nofilmschool.com) According to this spec sheet, most features should be comparable to those of the original RED Weapon camera, like slow motion in 2K crop mode at up to 240fps and Apple ProRes Proxy recording. The most important thing to know: this is the first 8K sensor with a super35 sensor size, meaning that the pixels are now twice as dense as before, with 3.65 microns per pixel. According to early user reports, the lowlight performance is good and the camera is usable at ISO 3200 and possibly beyond, though this certainly has to be tested. It is promising to get this kind of quality and resolution, accessible to many professionals in the near future. A word about storage requirements in 8K: apparently, each recorded minute will produce 10 to 15 gigabytes of data (i.e.: 4x size of 4K at 5:1 RAW recording), so you will roughly need 1 terabyte for each hour of footage. Subscribe to our newsletter to be notified when the October announcement is here.Read more
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