On the eve of the release of After Earth, the first theatrical picture shot with Sony's F65, its cinematographer has given the camera a unanimous thumbs up.
Peter Suschitzky, ASC, BSC, said: “To my eye the F65 image is much more detailed than any other current digital camera I have encountered. It records perceptibly more detail and is superior in contrast ratio to 35mm film. The F65 gives me all that I have been striving for on film and never imagined possible.”
He continued: “I know that film projected on film can be beautiful, but today's reality is that if you shoot on film the film will be digitised and there is a loss of quality that occurs in this process.
“I've done direct comparisons between digitised film and original digital images and it's immediately obvious that film loses out by comparison in terms of detail and with shadow areas becoming clogged up.
“I am interested in capturing at the best resolution possible and see it as an advantage to have more information at the beginning of the process. You can always degrade the images afterwards, but you can't improve it upwards after the event. If the resulting digital image is too sharp then you can alter it by adding filters or using older lenses which offer a gentler look.”
The post production costs of processing, rendering and storing and transferring 4K are, it seems, still dissuading producers from either going for a full 4K DI to finish and instead shooting 4K with a 2K post route, or putting them in two minds about originating on RAW 4K in the first place.
“The cost of dealing with RAW files is sometimes a problem for the cinematographer when preparing a movie in that the producers sometimes fear that it will all be too expensive,” he said. “The choice of shooting Pro Res is a cheaper if not such a good one. Shooting RAW costs more than ProRes and 4K will cost even more than RAW, but if the budget can reach to it then the results will be better.”
The 4K workflow for After Earth was established between Colorworks (Sony Pictures Entertainment's digital intermediate facility), colour management and grading developer FilmLight, camera supplier Otto Nemenz, production services company The Creative-Cartel, and post production provider Technicolor.
M. Night Shyamalan's sci-fi drama was shot in Costa Rica and Philadelphia, stars Will Smith and is released on in the UK on 7 June.
By Adrian Pennington