Delivering The Goods

Sony SR-R4 Data Recorder

A typical 4K sensor (with Bayer pattern filter) has 4096×2160 resolution, or 8.8 million pixels. One of the problems is that a 4K Bayer array has difficulty creating a true 4K RGB image and has to go through a de-Bayering process that has to estimate two out of three color values for each pixel, falling short of true 4K resolution. The F65 doesn’t use a typical Bayer pattern filter, and because of its higher pixel density (20 million photosites), Sony created a unique "Zig-Zag" sampling structure that essentially gives you sharper images.

"The F65 has full 4K sampling of the green layer, which is the most important, and how you define resolution," explains Clark. "It’s the very definition of the luminance channel, and then with twice the blue and red, as opposed to other Bayer-pattern CMOS sensors that have half the green and a quarter of the red and blue, the interpolation stretch becomes less speculative. Hence, the F65 has considerably less of a stretch to get to a true 4096 4K image."

Sony 256 GB SRMemory

For postproduction, one of the hottest topics these days is the IIF-ACES (Image Interchange Framework, Academy Color Encoding Specification) workflow. In a nutshell, IIF-ACES, kick-started by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, is a workflow that helps to eliminate ambiguities that exist in the digital pipeline regarding transforms, color space and file formats. In terms of color gamut, the F65 uses a new color filter array that uses Sony’s proprietary S-Gamut, which has a wider color space than 35mm film. With S-Gamut, you can then create 16-bit linear, S-Log, DCI and Rec. 709 workflows.

"Sony has actively participated in the development of IIF-ACES," says Crithary, "and the design of the F65 has taken into account all of the color specifications established by AMPAS. This is the reason Sony has implemented 16-bit linear raw in the F65—to be the best match for the IIF-ACES workflow."

In order to capture 16-bit linear raw, Sony also releases a new dockable field recorder, the SR-R4 data recorder, which lets you capture raw files to new SRMemory cards that can perform at sustained speeds of up to 5 Gb/s, are smaller than a smartphone and have a storage capacity of up to 1 TB. Although you can still capture to SR tape with the F65, in order to enable raw capture or higher frame rates, SRMemory cards are required. The SR-R4 will record to the SR codec as a data file at 220 Mb/s, 440 Mb/s and 880 Mb/s in 4:2:2 and 4:4:4 RGB modes and will be supported by Final Cut Pro 7 using Sony’s free plug-in and Avid via its AMA plug-in. For DI and finishing, the SR codec is natively supported in DaVinci Resolve and FilmLight’s Baselight systems.

DP Paul Babin recently shot a short film of a flamenco dance performance with the F65. What impressed him the most about the camera was its 14 stops of latitude. He lit musicians in the background 31⁄2 to 4 stops under and said the image retained fine detail even underexposed.

Another feature that Sony will be offering is a new Rotary Shutter F65 that will deal with some of the negative effects of rolling shutter, such as the notorious "Jell-O Cam" effect, which can sometimes be seen when capturing very fast motion. The Rotary Shutter can be continuously adjusted from 11.4 to 180 degrees and has a number of internal filters, including neutral density, clear, dousing cap for black adjustment and high frame rates. The Rotary Shutter is an optional feature that’s best used for difficult shooting conditions.


Sony premiered the F65 at an event at the Directors Guild of America in Hollywood last September and screened three films that were shot with the camera. For one of the films, cinematographer Paul Babin shot a flamenco dancer performing in a studio with several musicians. Babin had only one crewmember, a camera assistant, who helped set up lights and grip equipment based on what they thought the dancer would do. Babin’s first impression of the F65 was that it was a camera designed for cinematographers with features you’d find on a professional system, such as being able to view the menu on the AC’s side, as well as obtaining fine focus detail on the camera’s onboard monitor. The thing that most impressed him was the F65’s 14 stops of latitude. Babin lit the musicians in the background 31⁄2 to 4 stops under and says that the image retained fine detail even underexposed.