Magazine article American Cinematographer

Sony's F65 Makes Debut with the Arrival

Magazine article American Cinematographer

Sony's F65 Makes Debut with the Arrival

Article excerpt

Directed and shot by Curtís Clark, ASC, The Arrival is the first project to be photographed with Sony's F65, the company's soon-tobe-released 4K digital motion-picture camera. The movie is a modern film noir set in downtown Los Angeles, and Clark describes it as "an effective test of the F65's performance in production."

Clark chairs the ASC Technology Committee, and he confesses that prior to the committee's involvement in the ASC-PGA Camera Assessment Series ^AC June and Sept. ?9), he was "not a fan of so-called digital-cinema cameras," even though he'd been following their evolution dosely. "For me, the issue was that most of those cameras were too restrictive in their tonal latitude and color gamut because of their reliance on HD-video parameters," he says. The limitations were exacerbated by post workflows that frequently took place in a Ree 709 environment that "tended to accentuate an HD-video look," he adds.

But Clark was intrigued by how closely Sony's F35, configured with S-Log and S-Gamut, was able to match images from the film cameras that were used as benchmarks for the CAS, and this led him to more in-depth conversations with the Sony development team. Eventually, he became a consultant for the company, advising on an advanced motion-picture workflow for their next-generation highresolution camera. Sony, he says, was eager to gei the input of working cinematographers, and Clark felt it was essential to help them get it.

He was also becoming increasingly aware of the work the Academy's Science and Technology Council was doing on the Image Interchange Framework/Academy Color Encoding Specification, a workflow architecture whose components are designed to preserve the widest possible image information from production through post, exhibition and archiving, using a standardized, non-proprietary set of transforms and file formats (AC March '11).

"Those two things started to converge," says Clark. "I became the focal point for the convergence in that I brought Sony into the mix by making them aware of IIF/ACES." Sony became committed to designing the F65 as a true digital motion-picture camera that would support IIF/ACES.

Sony's major goals for the camera included:

* Spatiai resolution: Unequivocal 4K, 4096x2160, using a singie 20-megapixel CMOS sensor.

* Dynamic range: The target is more than 14 stops without the use of blended-exposure techniques or electronic-gain increase to extend dynamic range. "It's a single-frame exposure, just like film, so there are no motion artifacts from shooting blended exposures ?? get a wider dynamic range," explains Clark.

* Color reproduction: The camera was to have not only significantly wider color space, but also "the emotional quality of how film reproduces color and contrast," says Clark. "It had to be able to replicate a cinematic film look and feel."

Planning to introduce the F65 at this year's NAB conference, Sony wanted to present footage that would demonstrate how the camera had reached all of these goals. So, in December 2010, Clark began conferring with Toshitaka lkumo, Sony Electronics' businessdevelopment manager of digital motion-picture production, about what the NAB presentation should include. Clark recommended a short, dramatic narrative thai would not be based on a collection of majestic landscapes or beautiful vistas, which are often used in camera demos. "I knew a travelogue of picture-postcard vistas or glitzy commercial images wouldn't grab filmmakers' imaginations," he observes. "Toshitaka agreed, and said, 'Can you come up with a story?'"

Clark began thinking of a story thai could îap into classical film history. His imagination was sparked by the Bradbury Building, a Los Angeles landmark famous as a location in Blade Runner and many other movies. He conceived a modern film noir that would take place in the Bradbury Building and in other iconic downtown sites, including Union Station and the Los Angeles Theater, a French Baroque movie palace on Broadway that was built in 1931. …

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