The Sony F65 CineAlta Digital Cinema Camera
COW Library : Cinematography : Debra Kaufman : The Sony F65 CineAlta Digital Cinema Camera
Sony is taking orders for the F65 CineAlta starting at IBC 2011, and plans to deliver the camera in January 2012. As an added enticement, Sony is offering a promotional deal worth $20,000 for anyone who places a pre-order for the $85,000 package before the end of the calendar year.
"You'll get a file transfer memory data unit, storage media and the rotary shutter option," says Shapiro. "The F65 is the only CMOS character of its type that has a rotary shutter." Rotary shutters allow the camera operator to control the amount of motion blur. In Hollywood, Otto Nemenz has signed on to be the first rental company to take delivery of the F65.
Delivery of the camera in January will also coincide with the opening of a Sony Digital Cinema Production Center somewhere in the Hollywood/Los Angeles area. "We're going to have a place for a showroom, for demos, training and hosting seminars," says Shapiro.
To recap the features of the Sony F65, the unique 8K image sensor, with approximately 20 total megapixels, offers higher image fidelity than any other digital cinema production camera; half of which are sensitive to green and the other half are equally shared by red and blue pixels. According to Sony, this is the first sensor in the industry that provides a dedicated green photosite for each pixel in the 4K (4096x2160) output image. The green channel is the most significant in creating the Y (or Luminance) signal and thus twice the amount of green photosites offers better resolution than the typical 4K Bayer pattern sensors.
Sony F65 CineAlta™ Digital Motion Picture Camera. Click for larger view.
"Imagers are a core competency of Sony's, which produces them for everything from our consumer cameras to the professional ones," says Shapiro, who notes the camera has a 16-bit linear RAW file output capability. "It's an open platform, and we're working with a large number of companies so they can support the RAW file output. We'll also create an MXF HD file recording, which would be useful for TV productions." The F65 is also built from the ground up to support the Academy IIF-ACES Image Interface Framework and Academy Color Encoding Specification that enables a significantly wider color space, dynamic range and other processing.
Working from the original CineAlta platform, the F65 benefits also from Sony's close working relationship with the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) and its members. "We've been working very closely with ASC members on the camera," says Shapiro. "We've been listening to filmmakers." One feature that was developed out of that listening is WiFi operation for remote control from both the Sony Android-based tablet and the Apple iPad.
Three cinematographers--Kees Van Oostrom, ASC; Brad Ohlund, ASC; and Paul Babin--shot shorts designed to show off different attributes of the camera: resolution, 14 stops of dynamic range and the wider color gamut. These shorts were shown at the ASC Clubhouse on September 6, one day prior to the camera's general release for pre-orders.
Shapiro notes how the F65 CineAlta is the realization of the dream inspired by Akio Morita, co-founder of Sony and a fan of Hollywood. "It was his dream to design a motion picture camera that had all the qualities of a 35mm camera but retained the capabilities and function of digital," says Shapiro. "We've been at this for along time. The F900 started this. It wasn't a digital motion picture camera although it was used as such by George Lucas and others, and became a staple for primetime dramatic TV. Then we came out with film-style cameras, the F23 and the F35.
"We've learned a lot over the years about how to produce this type of camera and worked with a lot of people to do so," he says.
Sony is also announcing a change to the CineAlta logo to one that resembles the symbol for infinity, for use with all Sony system components enabling digital imaging up to 8K. "We're also changing the logo because we're moving from a proprietary workflow to an open one," says Shapiro. "The F65 and the people we're working with on workflow have infinite potential."
The Academy has made CTL available through an open source license, and is making additional IIF components available through a limited source license. ©2011 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.