Dan Beecham of Underwater Video Services, Cape Town, South Africa has shared some underwater footage shot with the Sony F55 camera. He has found that the ability to shoot Sony RAW without a compression ratio and its color rendering make it an excellent camera for underwater use. This is interesting, since Sony’s color rendering has been a challenge for underwater use on many of its other recent cameras.
Underwater Video Services South Africa have been shooting with the Sony F55 underwater since we received our housing last August. These are some of the first footage highlights, filmed on local dives around the Cape.
Working with the RAW files from the Sony F55 is a dream come true for underwater cinematography. It feels that the Sony RAW truly is RAW in the way we have associated RAW to be on a stills camera for so many years – capturing an enormous amount of data, and giving tremendous flexibility in post. One of the obvious benefits regarding underwater work being the luxury of being able to select white balance in the edit.
With the F55 you do not have the option to set a compression ratio like with do with the RED, which some may see as a hindrance because of the enormous files that are produced with the F55 – but having seen what you can achieve with them in post, I can say it’s a sacrifice worth making. Of course with the F55 we also have the option to shoot 4K in XAVC using Slog2, which still retains the great dynamic range of the camera.
The colorimetry of the F55 is also astounding for underwater work. We have shot underwater scenes such as kelp forests that I have honestly never seen captured so truthfully in terms of the color reproduction. The footage has an immersive, ethereal quality, which I think simply comes from the amount of detail the F55 captures – it really now feels that we are getting closer to people experiencing for themselves the sights we get to experience on our dives because of the immersive nature of the footage…and we all thought HD pictures looked good!
Our rig has been used for capturing sequences for blue-chip natural history programming, a drama series, TV commercials, as well as material for our extensive stock footage library. All of the material in this edit was shot with the Tokina 11-16mm, but we have domes, extensions and guide-bars to accommodate lenses such as the Sigma 17-70mm, Nikon 105mm macro and others.
- Sony F55 & AXSR5 RAW recorder.
- Gates Underwater Products housing.
- Tokina 11-16mm lens with MTF Services adapter.
- RAW and XAVC material converted to ProRes using Sony RAW Viewer then edited in Adobe Premier Pro CC.