4K is a hot topic in video production and playback equipment. Sony saw it coming and has been hard at work preparing a complete environment for production and consumption, from shooting to editing to viewing. Currently in the limelight among video production pros is the F65. It's the pinnacle of 4K CineAlta cameras.
Oka: 4K is one of a few popular terms that has finally become an industry standard. In digital cinema specifications, 4K refers to 4096x2160 pixels—a high resolution about four times greater than full HD. One look at beautiful, richly detailed 4K footage, and anyone would concede that the shift from full HD to 4K is inevitable.
Anticipating this, Sony has pioneered the development and practical use of the technology. In 4K viewing environments, you can see examples in Sony digital cinema projectors at movie theaters everywhere, not to mention the world's first 4K home theater projector.* In 4K production environments as well, we have developed and released a recording format, and we continue to work with the companies that are early adopters. Sony's first real foray into 4K production is the F65 CineAlta camera.
CineAlta camera development began in 2000 with the HDW-F900. It was designed with Hollywood in mind, and it sparked a surge in digital cinema production. This model was followed by the F23 and F35. Many movies, television series, and commercials have been shot with these cameras. We're proud to have helped establish digital video production and streamline workflows.
The CineAlta heritage is clear in the F65, our new flagship developed to offer the industry's highest image quality. It produces more striking video, at ultra-high 4K resolution, from an 8K (Super 35 mm-equivalent) single-chip CMOS image sensor. The atmosphere and sense of depth is breathtaking. Without a doubt, it expands video production pros' creative horizons tremendously.
Another highlight of the camera is that it records to newly developed solid-state memory cards, which avoids problems from limitations of conventional tape media. There's no long wait for ingest to a server before editing, and specific scenes can be accessed directly. Now that file-based workflows are possible, processes from ingest to editing to playback are streamlined and accelerated. These advances promise much greater production efficiency and may help popularize 4K video, with all the beauty and impact this format offers.
*As of October 2011, according to Sony research
Maeyama: Many people who now use digital cinema cameras have been working since everyone shot on film. Over time, their physical familiarity with camera controls and filming techniques has enabled them to master shooting. To make digital cinema cameras easier for them to use, we designed the F23 and F35 through a careful study of film cameras and practical operator needs. That's why each detail seems absolutely necessary and compelling. We were committed to remaining true to this ideal as we approached product design for the F65.
Central in design was our desire to respect past ideals while refining the camera to make it even easier to use, as a tool of the trade. To do it, we analyzed feedback on current models and went out into the field to observe the cameras in use. Requests that emerged from our talks with camera operators and movie directors were addressed in design.
First, we enlarged the subdisplay on the side. This makes it easier to grasp relevant information at a glance and enables faster, more reliable camera setup. Meanwhile, we added a new shoulder pad and cheek rest. These reduce the time and effort needed to deal with attachments when switching from tripod to shoulder-mounted shooting, or from shoulder-mounted to dolly shooting. We also allowed more freedom in attaching accessories on the top surface. A range of accessories are supported, including a viewfinder, Wi-Fi adapter, handle, and standard rods. This flexibility is a great asset on the set or on location where settings must be adjusted for each scene.
Our challenge lay in how to incorporate these refinements while retaining the level of usability established with the F23. If enlarging the body were acceptable, our work would be easy, but this was not an option. Shooting may often call for holding the camera almost flush against a wall, or in narrow spaces. Adding a shoulder pad could not excuse us for making the body bigger. Neither could we ignore ergonomic considerations in how the viewfinder-and the operator's eyes-and the operator's shoulder are positioned, relative to each other. Refining the body took some trial and error with our engineers, as we sought a very compact body that was also easy to use when held. Another practical matter was where cables are connected. We moved these connectors away from where they might interfere with more permanent accessories, such as the recorder. Here, we went back to the drawing board again and again, tweaking prototypes as we tried to reconcile the goal of easy access to cable ports and easy disconnection with the goal of preventing cables from coming out accidentally. Ultimately, we struck the right balance between these kinds of conflicting needs, whether they involved cooling, airflow, or other issues, as we found inevitable solutions. As a result, the body inherits the compelling, easy-to-use design of past CineAlta cameras with no excuses or compromises.