Under a volcano in Costa Rica with the first Sony F65 digital motion picture camera on a major feature: Director M. Night Shyamalan and cinematographer Peter Suschitzky, ASC, BSC. “After Earth,” starring Will and Jaden Smith, is about a father and son who crash-land on planet Earth after it has long been abandoned. The crew recently wrapped Costa Rica location shooting (see Shyamalan’s Whosay blog for pictures of cameras, creepy-crawly spiders and snakes), and is now working on the East coast.
The F65 camera and camera equipment comes from the Hollywood Rental House of Otto Nemenz International. In the photo above by unit photographer Frank Masi, the Sony F65 is outfitted with, from front to rear: Cinematography Electronics Cine Tape, Angenieux 17-80 mm Zoom Lens, OConnor Head, Nemenz custom accessories and finder support. Prime lenses (not in photo) are Cooke S4/i. The choice of lenses puts to rest the notion that existing film lenses don’t work on the 8K/4K Sony camera. In fact, it confirms what one distinguished lens designer told me, “Legacy lenses may actually look better in 4K than 2K, just as they do on better and finer-grain film stocks.”
M. Night Shyamalan added, “I couldn’t be any happier with the F-65, which is amazing since I’m a ‘film guy’ and I thought I’d die a ‘film guy.’ It’s digital media that’s warm and has humanity in it which is obviously the most important thing to me.”
Peter Suschitzky said, “The F65 is like a great leap forward. As soon as I did testing of the F65, I was immensely impressed by the amount of detail it captures, by its incredible flexibility, from low lights to high lights, and its great contrast range. It really is a camera for the future and I’m going to use it again on a number of films.”
The camera crew includes Mitch Dubin, SOC and Buzz Moyer (camera operators), Steven Cueva, John Kairis, David O’Brien, Jozo Zovko (camera assistants).
Sony began worldwide deliveries of the F65 camera in January 2012. Around 400 units were pre-ordered. Several other big productions are prepping to shooting with the F65.
My friend Alec Shapiro, senior vice president at Sony Electronics said, “This movie is the perfect first project for the F65. The combination of an innovative moviemaker and a script with incredibly high production values will test the limits of this camera and its powerful feature set. The result is sure to be a unique and visually immersive entertainment experience for the movie-going consumer.”
Otto Nemenz and Fritz Heinzle must have held their collective breaths as the multiple F65 cameras were rapidly prepped and shipped to a hostile environment for their inaugural immersion. “We didn’t even have time to build all the usual custom accessories we usually do for new cameras,” Otto said. “But Sony did their homework, and everything worked well.”
The F65 camera’s 8K image sensor, with approximately 20 total megapixels, outputs 16-bit Linear RAW Files directly to SRMemory Cards on its onboard SR-R4 Memory Recorder for a streamlined shoot-to-screen 4K file-based mastering workflow.
More articles to come on workflow, data management and an F65 Jumpstart Guide in our April NAB issue of FDTimes.