16bit Raw Video in the New Sony A7S III!
Recording in PRORES RAW is coming for users who pair the new Sony A7 S III with the ATOMOS Ninja V
Waiting, sometimes years, to buy the next generation of digital cameras usually pays dividends - fewer frustrations with 'intermediate' formats, half-baked form factors and most importantly costly mistakes about which glass (lenses) to buy. For once it appears that jumping straight in will pay benefits. The new Sony A7S III offers a video acquisition system that rivals the image quality of cameras used just a few years ago to shoot theatrical release motion pictures!
For filmmakers the excitement will come when using the new codec to push the incredible G Master lens lineup to the max. The early results online look absolutely stunning and the reviewers appear to be universal in their aclaim for this affordable system for the advanced hobbyist and professional alike. It can't be long before we see the first indy film project produced with the camera.
For video editors the good news is two-fold. First, the A7S III shoots in the new PRORES RAW format. Color grading and correction while shooting S-Log was game changing when it was introduced - but PRORES RAW promises an order of magnitude improvement in accessing the broadast spectrum of the video signal. For those who regularly cross from RAW still format shooting to S-Log video for projects, PRORES RAW is much closer to the still image RAW experience. Second, this new format does NOT appear to come at the price of demand for a whole new editing system, new gigantic hard drive arrays and the like. Reports are that editors are using their current systems (mostly) without problems.
This is how I expect to shoot everything in the near future - as soon as the new camera ships and when ATOMOS releases the new Ninja V firmware update. Special thanks to DP Review and CineD for their great written and video reviews.
Without attaching the external HDMI ATOMOS recorder the A7S III records uncompressed 10bit 120p4k, which in itself is an important step forward from the prior 8bit recording in earlier Alpha cameras. 10bit is a giant leap when color grading in programs like DaVinci, or even in FCPX. In a press release Sony says that they camera was only released when the company was sure that it would "exceed expectations" - job done.