Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Atomos enables large format 12-bit 4K ProRes RAW recording with Fujifilm GFX 100 (with Video)

Another day, another partner in the rapidly expanding ProRes RAW alliance. Today, Atomos and Fuji are announcing the first commercially available RAW recording capability for medium format cameras.  Here is the press release from Atomos (video below):

"Atomos are excited to announce RAW over HDMI recording with the Fujifilm GFX100 and Ninja V 5” HDR monitor-recorder. The Ninja V will record up to 4Kp30 12-bit Apple ProRes RAW video from the GFX100’s state-of-the-art large format CMOS sensor. This makes it the world’s first commercially available medium format RAW video shooting system available to buy. The GFX100, Ninja V and ProRes RAW gives filmmakers a whole new way to shoot. The look of large format video has recently become very popular in Hollywood, with the ability to use high quality lenses with different technical characteristics. This feel can now be achieved more affordably with the GFX100 and Ninja V, at the same time as fully harnessing the power of RAW. The resulting images have amazing depth, detail and the maximum latitude for post-production - optimal for HDR finishing or to give greater flexibility in SDR (Rec.709). Together the GFX100 and Ninja V create a large format camera system that is intuitive to use and light enough to hand hold, place in tight corners or mount onto gimbals. TV drama, indie films, corporate productions, documentaries and even motion pictures can now utilise the GFX100 and Ninja V to get the distinctive look that is set apart from regular full-frame shots. 
Atomos CEO Jeromy Young said: “I’m delighted that the Fujifilm GFX100 with our Ninja V delivers extraordinary large sensor RAW footage that was previously unattainable at this size and cost. It continues our mission to democratize filmmaking, giving cinematographers the option to own a RAW shooting large sensor video camera that’s in a class of its own. Our HDR technology, combined with Fujifilm’s long history of color excellence and Apple’s ProRes RAW codec are a winning combination. I look forward to seeing films, TV shows and commercials shot with this amazing setup.”
The accurate 5” 1000nit HDR high brightness display of the Ninja V allows users to view the GFX100 RAW signal in HDR in a choice of HLG and PQ (HDR10) formats, or utilise Fujifilm’s F-Log profile to draw on Fujifilm’s vast color science expertise. The monitor offers touchscreen access to tools like waveforms, magnify or engage peaking check focus for each angle and make any adjustments to get the perfect HDR or SDR shot. As an alternative to RAW the Ninja V can also record 10-bit 422 ProRes and DNx video up to 4kp60 from the HDMI output of the GFX100. For reliability and affordability, ProRes RAW or standard video files are recorded to AtomX SSD mini SATA drives in the Ninja V. The Ninja V and RAW recording also opens up the camera to the wider Atomos ecosystem for enhanced on-set HDR and SDR monitoring. A video signal can be output from the Ninja V to the Atomos Sumo19, or soon-to-be-released Neon line of production monitors, for perfect HDR viewing by directors, clients, focus-pullers or anyone else who needs access to an accurate view on-set. ProRes RAW is now firmly established as the new standard for RAW video capture with Fujifilm becoming the fifth major company to announce support for RAW over HDMI. ProRes RAW combines the visual and workflow benefits of RAW video with the incredible real-time performance of ProRes. The format gives filmmakers enormous latitude when adjusting the look of their images and extending brightness and shadow detail, making it ideal for HDR workflows. Both ProRes RAW, and the higher bandwidth, less compressed ProRes RAW HQ are supported. and manageable file sizes speed up and simplify file transfer, media management, and archiving. ProRes RAW is supported in Final Cut Pro X, Adobe Premiere and Grass Valley Edius, along with a collection of other apps including ASSIMILATE SCRATCH, Colorfront and FilmLight Baselight."
Here is some sample Ninja V ProRes RAW video shot with the GFX 100:

Fuji's 43.8mm x 32.9mm "medium format" sensor is smaller than traditional 53.4mm x 40mm medium format from Hasselblad or Pentax (as seen below) - but it is almost twice as large as 35mm full frame - with more sensitivity in low light and amazing bokeh.

Fujifilm GFX 50S Sensor Comparison
From photographylife.com

This is still a huge sensor by motion picture standards - bigger than Super 35mm Vistavision (37.72mm x 24.92mm) and almost as big as 65mm Ultra Panavision (52.6mm x 23mm) - but large format motion picture cameras cost around $100,000.  That makes the $9,999 GFX 100 with the free Fuji ProRes RAW upgrade a bargain by comparison.

With this announcement, there are now five camera brands (Nikon, Panasonic, Z CAM, Sigma and Fuji) that can record to ProRes RAW with the Ninja V. I'm guessing we will see other brands announced in the future.

This is a very impressive list - especially when compared to only two brands (Blackmagic and Sigma) that can record to Blackmagic RAW today.  If Atomos can get Canon and Sony into the ProRes RAW alliance, that will effectively isolate Blackmagic and put pressure on their sales of both cameras and post-production software.  It will be interesting to see the response from Blackmagic Design.

Fujifilm GFX 100 and Atomos Ninja V on gimbal

All of that said, this is a very exciting announcement and another step towards the democratization of high end motion picture production.  Until today, large sensor cinema has been the exclusive province of Hollywood.  Now, anyone with a $15,000 camera budget can pick up a GXF 100 hybrid still/video mirrorless camera, a Ninja V plus a gimbal and a GF lens and start shooting smooth, "Vistavision plus" RAW cinema.

Welcome to the next phase of the Hybrid Camera Revolution. 

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. This costs you nothing extra. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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