Grade Test: Playing with the Sony F55

Backlot

Online we see a lot of ‘flat’ footage but without access to the original file it is hard to understand where that flat file can go in a grade without having access to the original file before recompression.

After seeing this film on Vimeo Phil Arntz kindly sent me a couple of camera files from the F55 to check out, they are 4k 10Bit MXF files shot using the new XAVCHD codec.

Ive been interested in the Sony XAVCHD format which at 100-200MBS is small enough to shoot without filling too many hard drives (unlike 1GBS raw footage) yet should offer a lot of wiggle room to produce a fine image – so how far will this codec ‘bend’ compared to the 23MBs 8bit footage coming from the cameras that I own?

Here is a shot (see original below) ‘corrected’ in Resolve – Ive gone for a bright happy realistic look – to me most grading about just making stuff look realistic so I have shiny footage for corporate clients.

The sky and high key portion of the image on the left seems to have pulled down well while the girl has lifted up and ive got a bit of colour into her.

This wide DR image with areas of interest in high and low key areas was a little tricky to grade without showing the ‘burn’ (down of the sky) too heavily, Id probably dial it back a little before delivery.

None of the post has broken the file by inducing banding or channel clipping – this is very good.

Correction Using Secondaries.

Adding an ‘artistic’ look.

Taking the grade one step further I now add an over the top ‘artistic’ look; again the file holds up very very well. Im sure Id ‘dial’ this look back (using the Key tab in Resolve) before it would ever be delivered to a client..

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An ‘exposure choice’ after the fact.

Now if I were shooting someone in the shade I would often expose for the person’s skin and let the high key areas of the file roll to white. Trying to do this in post does not really work and I guess here I am trying to go to a place you could only go with a raw file – the channel clipping has got nasty and there is not much to be done.

 

Dark

..But if we are interested in the view, but not the girl, the image does come down quite well..

Skyline

This simple image really I could not find much to do, add a bit of punch and burn down the sky, once again no banding!

 

Face

Once again I found this image, which is a kind of strange ‘choice’ of light,with full sun, basically  came out of the camera needing, and having space for, very little  movement.

For a laugh I tried to match the green/yellow tonality to a production still, again no banding..

 

Update:

I was somewhat confused about the amount of the colour in the images as they came from the camera and questioned Phil ‘are you sure you shot Slog’?

The response was thus..

“Basically I shot in SLog2, but not in SGammut. SLog2 is a much better version than the original SLog. It shows much more colour information however and holds more dynamic range than the original version. Shooting the F55/F5 in Slog2 and SGammut will give you a flatter picture, possibly with more latitude, but it will be a lot of hard work to grade it.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

written by
Sam Morgan Moore - working with cameras since 1995, stills and motion