The World of the Developing Digital Cinema

A scene from a movie filmed with Helium8K. Skin texture and tone are impressive
In the world of cinema production, a rapid paradigm shift is occuring. At first, the idea that “movies need to be shot using film” was in the back of my mind. So when the production workflow changed to digital, I tried to find a way to “retain a film-like quality” during shooting. Even now, the quality of film hasn’t changed, but since DCP’s digital production has become mainstream in cinema production, and digital cameras are dramatically improving, most people no longer discuss the issue of “film vs digital.”
In this issue, I report on two kinds of cameras that represent this paradigm shift; “RED WEAPON 8K S35,” which has made it possible to shoot ‘another world’ with 8K/60P, and Canon “EOS C200,” which has RAW recording capability in camera at less than 100,000 yen.


Another world with 8K/60P

A scene from an 8K movie. Though they’re before color correction, with less noise, their expressiveness is the same as still’s. Beautiful
RED Digital Cinema Camera Company is the pioneer of digital cinema, and leads the industry in the technical field. This company’s Helium censor can record 8K/60P with RAW (R3D), and its brief and effective workflow of post production is acclaimed in cinema production. Although most other camera makers have had to repeat the process of trial and error when it comes to 8K movies, RED has succeeded in recording movies with 60P, which means it has captured ‘another world.’ RED said even when you cut a shot out of a movie, its quality is the same as a still’s. The resolution of 8921 x 4320 is totally amazing.’
On set with RED Helium8K – Everything is compact, including the crew and the camera

A combination with SIGMA’s full-frame cine lens

SIGMA’s full-frame cine lenses. FF High Speed Prime Line. Its descriptive power works at 8K. Seven lenses from 14mm to 135mm
It’s difficult to select a lens when you are shooting 8K. This is because the lens requires the descriptive power that has to match the Helium sensor. This time, I mounted SIGMA’s newly released full-frame cine lens to RED.
Including the cost performance, the power of SIGMA’s latest cinema lenses is top-notch. Having a full-frame image circle, the full-frame cine lens is available for an EF mount and is easy to use because of its 180-degree viewing angle. Since it has a quite sharp description, it performed expressively when shooing at 8K. Although Canon’s EF lenses contribute significantly to digital cinema, as do the tried-and-tested PL mount lenses, things are quite different when it comes to the 8K world. SIGMA’s cine lens; in comparison, can be used without in-camera correction. That’s the big difference compared to other lenses.

Environment of post production, paralleling to the PC’s development

Editing with Adobe Premiere Pro. Arranged environment along with machine spec even in 8K/60P
Let’s look at post production. You can develop in the latest debayer, which has own software called “REDCINE-X PRO.” Also, you can easily edit RED’s RAW materials with “Adobe Premiere Pro.” If you down-convert the 8K resolution in play to R3D, which is wavelet compression, the native format matches to “Adobe Premiere Pro’s Mercury Playback Engine.” So you can edit easily along with each machine spec. If using the “DaVinci Resolve,” HDR editing will be a breeze.

8K shooting is still developing

However, focusing while 8K shooting is amazingly difficult. Even it at 4K, it is still hard. Thus, we can’t assume 8K shooting is like an advanced version of 4K because the workflow itself hasn’t been fully developed yet. In reality, it would be impossible to output from an 8K monitor on set, and usual system is to use HD monitors, especially for RED. Despite utilizing assistance in focusing, such as the expanded focus or focus peaking, it’s still hard to get ‘in perfect focus’ even for veteran camera operators. If you want to emphasize the resolution when using a cinema lens, you can’t use the auto focus function. The fine focus can change at the tap of a finger, so you have to approach it carefully and check the monitor shot by shot. In fact, 8K shooting is still in its early stages.

EOS C200/C200B

Finally record RAW in camera – EOS C200 gets expectations

EOS C200 series, released this July. Thinking about pricing and specs, are they able to enter the new age of Cinema EOS?
This July, Cinema EOS’s new lineup “EOS C200” and “EOS C200B” were released from Canon. They can be called the representatives for this era and can be expected to lead the way in the future of digital cinema.
They are high performance digital cameras with 4K resolution. They can record the latest Canon’s RAW format, but still the price is less than 100,000 yen. Plus, if you set DCI 4K with 30P, then you get 12bit, and if it’s with 60P, you get 10bit of compressed RAW. So, we can say their cost performance is high. AF is also excellent. You can use Dual Pixel CMOS AF, which is synonymous with the Cinema EOS, and automatically controls the focus, even in 4K resolution. Because it has accurate face detection, you can chase anything when you set it as a target. As to the focus guide during the manual focus, it is a vast improvement over the EOS C300 MK II.
Utilizing AF, you can focus precisely even with a hand-held

Latest RAW format; Cinema RAW Light

The latest RAW format, called Cinema RAW Light, can be developed with “DaVinci Resolve” or Canon’s own software “Camera RAW Development.” But since shooting parameters are too much for “DaVinci Resolve” to handle, you have to process them prior to editing. For example, you should export DPX in “Camera RAW Light” first, and then, edit the color or others in your favorite software. I think that’s the best workflow to make use of the original materials for now (Aug. 2017). Because “Camera RAW Development” is still new, lots of editing software will support the format.

Possible to record RAW with 1/3 or 1/5 data of the past

On set with C200. Easy to use an EF lens, and no problem even as a one-man operation
Editing with Camera RAW Development. Easy to use, and fast to export to DPX
A scene from the movie. Just beautiful because of the Cinema EOS. Since it’s recorded in RAW, there is a wide range of color to edit in post production
Because Cinema RAW Light is 1/3rd or 1/5th the data of the usual RAW, you can record with CFast 2.0. The Bitrate is about 1Gpbs, so it’s a tractable size to handle as RAW. This means that you can shoot RAW with Canon’s unique cinema look ‘in camera recording.’ Up until now, the RAW recording of the Cinema EOS series required another company’s external and expensive recording system; however, since internal recording in camera is now possible, it’s comfortable to shoot with the Canon Log and have the workflow of HDR.
For post production, I used the editing software, ‘Camera RAW Development,’ and exported it to 10bitDPX by Wide DR gamma of REC.709’s color space. Using ‘Adobe After Effects,’ I edited the color correction of the middle files. The consistent RGB workflow retained the quality of the material we shot, and made the beautiful movie that C200 captured a reality.

MP4 is the best to speedy 4K shooting

A screenshot of the editing process using Adobe After Effect. Editing with 10bitRGB is secure. Unexpectedly, the gradation of the dark area had a wide range
A scene from the movie in MP4. Still beautiful. Including versatility and operability, the MP4 will be useful for many users

EOS C200 can record 4K (UHD) in MP4. By using an SD card, digital cinema production will be even more rapid. Many people might think the resolution will be low because of the reputation of the old MP4. But, when I actually went out and shot, I was a bit surprised by its effectiveness and versatility, and by its solid 4K resolution. As for grading, you will feel a difference compared to RAW, but it works and results in the best workflow when you use shooting materials without editing or when you’re shooting a documentary.
Editing: before and after

It’s amazing how quickly digital cinema technology is developing. Along with the development of equipment such as drones or gimbals, the way we shoot is changing. From video to digital cinema, a new stage in the movies has finally arrived.