Alec Shapiro, President of the Digital Motion Picture Center. Photo credit: Sony/Kelley Rich
Left to right, Sony DMPC Dean Curtis Clark, ASC, MTI Film Vice President of Product Development David McClure, and Sony DMPC Vice President Satoshi Kanemura
On Wednesday, June 6, the Sony Digital Motion Picture Center (DMPC)
, housed in Studio 7 on the Sony Pictures
lot, held its first all-day workshop on the F65
camera and its workflow. "The camera is beautiful but it's also very much about the workflow," says Alec Shapiro, President of the Digital Motion Picture Center. "This is the only place under one roof where you can shoot 4K pictures, process them with a variety of post production tools and project them in 4K." Shapiro was just named president of Sony Professional Solutions of America, replacing Toshihiko Ohnishi, who is now deputy president of the Professional Solutions Group based in Japan.
Before June 6, the Sony Digital Motion Picture Center hosted a series of workshops for the International Cinematographers Guild Local 600
. With yesterday's opening to the industry at large, the Sony DMPC will hold the weekly free Wednesday workshops for the next two years; contact information for registration is on the website. Members of Local 600 can contact Joanna Mousseau, ICG Events Coordinator at Joanna.Mousseau@ipgla.com
. Anybody else in the industry can contact the Center directly at DMPC@am.sony.com
Instructors include Sony DMPC Dean Curtis Clark, ASC, Sony DMPC Vice President Satoshi Kanemura, and Chief Engineer Dhanendra Patel. Director Rob Willox was there, as well as MTI Film
Vice President of Product Development David McClure was also there to demonstrate the company's new Cortex family of products, Cortex::Capture, Cortex::Convey and Cortex::ControlDailies.
Curtis Clark, ASC has been involved since Sony's debut of the F35. "The Camera Assessment series in January 2009 was my personal epiphany," says Clark. "It was a revelation. Digital cameras were just emerging, and I was very cynical at the time about them being able to come close to matching everything film could do. I was taken with what the F35 did."
|Curtis Clark, ASC (above and title image) has been involved since Sony's debut of the F35.|
DMPC lighting and set
Since then, Clark has become a consultant to Sony, working with the company to bring the F65 to market. "There was an affinity," he says about the relationship with Sony. "They had magnificent engineering skills and were very responsive. At that point, I was also involved with the Academy's ACES
project, so I saw the confluence."
Production designer Tom Walsh, who is also President of the Art Directors Guild
, designed the set, with feedback from Clark. "I worked closely with him on the design," says Clark. "We had to have a set that had some visual interest and flexibility with angles of shooting but could also support shooting both wide dynamic range and fine resolution with the detail on the set." The set also supports the ability to shoot under various lighting conditions including neon.
"Also the color palette went from extremely saturated colors to the more subtle pastels, all in one environment," says Clark. One of the challenges was figuring out what to put outside the set's windows. "We knew a painted exterior would be too fake," he says. "We had long discussions with JC Backings
over the interesting issue of how much resolution we'd need in a backing. All these issues are still under review."
After an overview of the camera and a hands-on look at its features and functions, the Sony DMPC team gives an overview of look management. The workshop attendees are divided into two groups to shoot the set from two different directions. Then the images they shoot are ingested as raw data into FilmLight Baselight
. "Then we have a session where we look at the material and play around with the grading, analyzing the implications of how they did what they did," says Clark. The group then watches a screening of Clark's El Dorado
, a short film shot in 4K and completed with a 16-bit workflow.
|DMPC Screening Room|
Dave McClure, left and right, with MTI Film group
To demonstrate the F65 workflow, Sony's DMPC partners are ASSIMILATE
(with Scratch), Avid
(with Symphony), Blackmagic Design
(with Resolve), Codex Digital
(with Vault), Colorfront
(with ODS), Filmlight (with Truelight and Baselight), Fujifilm
(with CCbox), MTI Film (with Cortex), and Yoyotta
"My mantra has always been to expand the possibilities of digital cameras as far as we could go," he says. "I knew we were going to 4K, even back in 2009. With the F65, Sony has arrived at a true, indisputable 4K camera.
"I think both Sony and Sony Pictures understand the importance of members of the industry learning how to use the F65 to get the best of what it can do," says Clark. "Like everything is today, the cameras are only as good as their workflow."
The Board of Advisors for the DMPC is comprised of Ray Feeney, AMPAS
Chair of IIF (ACES) project; Michael Goi, President, American Society of Cinematographers
; Tom Walsh, President, Art Directors Guild; Hawk Koch, President, Producers Guild of America
; Elizabeth Daley, Dean of USC School of Cinematic Arts
; Steven Poster, President, International Cinematographers Guild; Leon Silverman, President, Hollywood Post Alliance
; and Gary Martin, President of Production Administration and Sony Pictures Studio Operations
Committing to a free education about the F65 and its workflow is a canny move by Sony. Hundreds of film/TV industry professionals will gladly go to the Sony DMPC to get an up-close-and-personal look (and touch) at the new camera, and in the process feel that much more knowledgeable about a viable choice of digital camera for their next project.
But the move isn't entirely marketing driven; Sony, along with a handful of other companies in our industry, realizes that - as Curtis Clark, ASC said - "the camera is only as good as the workflow." You can expand that quote to include every production being only as good as its workflow. Anyone who helps demystify part of the process is sharing in the work of getting the big picture.