The Sony F3 has quickly become a popular high-end digital solution for cinematographers who want broad format support for file-based workflows. That includes RGB 4:4:4 baseband output with S-Log gamma for external recording, an important feature for customers requiring an HDCAM-SR workflow.
But recent tests point to Cinedeck as a viable alternative to SR tape. Cinedeck reported that the Chicago-based boutique digital creative agency Evolve IMG -- which works closely with ESPN and the ESPN SportsCenter show -- has completed extensive testing of the Sony F3 with the Cinedeck EXTREME in preparation for an ESPN shoot. The results of the tests have indicated that the EXTREME is a higher-value, lower cost alternative to SR with more functionality.
In its tests, Evolve IMG focused on recording, file format and rigging support with the Sony F3 and the Cinedeck EXTREME. Evolve IMG Films' cinematographer/technical director Joel Edwards says he was able to confirm "numerous file-based workflow enhancing benefits for the Sony F3 for filmmakers and production crews," especially using the Cinedeck EXTREME's workflow when shooting S-Log/444 mode with the Sony F3.
"High-end RGB 444 recording off the Sony F3's sensor is a game changer for filmmakers," says Edwards. "Cinedeck EXTREME makes it simple with so many options to fit your workflow, taking the technical stress out of a shoot." Edwards said he quickly learned "how Cinedeck EXTREME can take the F3's functionality so much further.
"When shooting in S-Log/444 mode, we discovered the third SDI port and HDMI out of the F3 no longer work in all frame rates," he says. "This is where Cinedeck saved the day: we were able to use the Cinedeck EXTREME's outputs for EVF monitoring. This is an awesome feature that's crucial for the crew, producers and clients. This feature alone is worth the price of admission."
Edwards also emphasized that Cinedeck EXTREME gave him so many recording options for the RGB 444 stream, "another one of those really nice options to have," he said. "That's very compelling, especially when space is limited or the highest end codec is not required. For example, we discovered we could use ProRes HQ and still get the 14 stops of dynamic range S-Log output quality without mastering to true 444."
None of this comes as a surprise to Cinedeck CEO Alan Hoff, who has gotten feedback from numerous cinematographers about the Cinedeck EXTREME. "What they tell us is that the images they are attaining are 'A' camera quality," he says. "These are images they're able to be put up against the images from rigs that are many times more expensive. For that reason and others, we believe we're providing a significant workflow advantage for F3 users."
"Cinedeck EXTREME unlocks the power of the Sony F3 S-Log firmware by providing unsurpassed 444 recording choice: ProRes, CineForm, uncompressed or even the space efficient DNxHD when 422 is enough," Hoff continues. "Our customers are using the F3/Cinedeck combo at all levels of production: 444 for independent documentary, and 422 for television episodics."
Other Cinedeck EXTREME features include cinema-grade S-Log recording; simple RGB 444; 3G single link BNC; Dual-link HDSDI BNC; live output of Cinedeck EXTREME feeds EVF; support for a wide variety of codes; and flexible arm mounting. Additionally, Cinedeck EXTREME natively supports numerous edit-ready formats: Avid DNxHD (MXF wrapped); Apple ProRes (including 4444); CineForm Digital Intermediate; Uncompressed 422 (.mov); and Uncompressed 444 (.mov).
Pricing for Cinedeck EXTREME starts at $8495.
Cinedeck LLC will demonstrate support for the Sony F3 camera with its portable, affordable camera-mountable cinema-grade recording and monitoring device, Cinedeck EXTREME at IBC, in the Oxygen stand (Hall 10, Stand B44) and the Avid stand (Hall 7, Stand J20).
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