Readers are advised this article is quite heavy on what Xisca (my partner) calls ‘The camera settings!’. If that’s not your cup of tea, you are most welcome to skip all the text and watch the videos instead.
Recently I’ve been experimenting with solutions to utilise the raw image output capability of my Sony PXW-FS5. While I love the cameras form factor and image characteristics, its internal recording capability in 4K mode is restrictive to the point of inhibitive. This has not been a huge issue for me in the past because I shoot a lot of content in High Definition and the 10 bit 4:2:2 colour sampling is more than sufficient in most cases. In 4K UHD mode though, you are limited to 8 bit 4:2:0 colour sampling. Far from ideal if you want to do significant colour correction or any form of colour grading.
For a recent shoot I rented an external recorder, the Atomos Shogun, from my friends at VideoCraft. The test shots featured in the above video were captured on the streets around my office. I’m thrilled with the results. The dynamic range and depth of colour far surpasses anything I have experienced with the FS5’s internal recording. I also appreciate the slight increase in horizontal resolution as 4K DCI is wider than 4K UHD.
I used this recorder on a recent shoot for Tactica’s M250 hex drive toolkit. All the product close ups in the Kickstarter campaign video, produced by Burning House, were shot by me on the Sony PXW-FS5 paired with the Atomos Shogun. I love the way the external recorder helped capture expanded dynamic range; from the deep blacks in the material to the specular highlights reflecting off the metal.