In less than a week, the Sony F5 4K hack (more-like) “mod” discovered by experienced UK cameraman called Paul Ream became a a topic of hot debate over the state of modern digital cinema cameras, the future of 4K acquisition, and the ethics of manufacturers limiting the internal capabilities of their professional camcorders came into question.
Yesterday we did a post detailing the particulars of the internal 4K recording modification on the Sony F5, which according to the man who discovered it was really a .txt manipulation of camera settings. Nonetheless, in discovering the internal 4K capabilities of the Sony F5, Paul Ream spent a considerable amount of time painstakingly trying out different lines in the ALLFiles camera preferences file in order to arrive at the magical line 150 where the “4K magic” happens. The actual implementation may seem like a piece of cake, but arriving at it took a lot of work, for which Paul Ream deserves all the credit in the world.
Once the cat was out of the bag, and the his detailed write up on what exactly needs to be done in order for it to work circled the internet, it was just a matter of time before someone else tried it out on their F5 and did a video guide/tutorial on how it’s done.
And this is what DP Brian Hallett from Pro Video Coalition just did. Check out his informative video on how to enable the internal 4K XAVC recording on the Sony F5:
As mentioned before, the so-called “4K hack” caused quite a stir online, and as F5 owners and possible future owners rejoiced at the new life their camera can possibly have, concerned F55 owners felt threatened and demanded Sony give them an answer and protect that their $29,000+ investment. Surprisingly (to me at least) Sony’s official response, despite coming as a standard corporate “oh we don’t approve this, so if you break your camera, you may void your warranty” exercise, and although they’d be hard pressed to enforce the warranty clause in such an event, the mere fact that they responded so quick speaks volumes.
Sony have a lot invested in the #TheNewF PMW-F5/F55 line of camcorders with a hefty firmware roadmap already lined-out long before this “Internal 4K mod” business. And there a lot of professional cinematographers, rental houses, and production companies heavily invested in the F5/F55 CineAlta line 0f high-end digital cinema cameras. The next step up is the top dog flagship F65, which is as rare as an IMAX camera nowadays and it costs that much too (thereabouts).
I certainly hope that Sony’s response to the Internal 4K mod is signal that they are actively pursuing viable options to appease/make good with F5/F55 customers who have vested interests in owning these cameras for many years to come, and not just an attempt to put a lid on the whole thing and close the “loophole” with the next round of firmware on the F5.
It would make sense for them to try and stop it, but at the same time, they need to come up with a way to let people upgrade “legally” to a Sony approved internal 4K on their F5’s or as discussed in my previous post – let them upgrade to an F55 at a reasonable price.
Earlier yesterday Paul Ream posted this photo on his twitter feed:
For all we know from this photo, it may be possible to even output the internal 4K out of the SDI to a monitor or external recorder. Definitely a functionality bound to bridge the gap between the F5 and F55 even more. Certainly exciting times await ahead, and we’ll keep you posted in time.
In closing, Brian also shared some amazing footage shot internally in 4K XAVC on his Sony F5. Enjoy it!
So, what do you guys think of the whole F5 internal 4K hack/mod? What should Sony do? Let us know in the comments below.
[Full write-up, screen grabs and more – Link: Pro Video Coalition]
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