PXW-FS5 and PXW-Z150 to get Hybrid Log Gamma for direct HDR production.

For the full details please see the official Sony announcement: https://www.sony.co.uk/pro/press/pr-sony-expands-hdr-production-capabilities

The PXW-FS5 and PXW-Z150 will both get a free firmware update some time around June that will add the ability to shoot using a special gamma curve called “Hybrid Log Gamma” or HLG.

In the case of the FS5 this will be added through an additional picture profile, PP10. As well as HLG the camera will also have the ability to record using Rec2020 color. As a result the camera will become compatible with the new Rec2100 standard for HDR television.

In addition the FS5 will get the ability to change the base ISO for S-Log2 and S-Log3 from 3200 ISO to 2000 ISO. This will help produce cleaner images that are easier to grade. On top of that via a paid firmware update you will be able to shoot continuously at up to 120fps in full HD, no need to use the Super Slow Motion memory cache function.

These are all great upgrades for this little highly versatile camera.

By selecting Picture Profile 10  the camera will shooting using Hybrid Log Gamma. If you were to plug the camera into an HDR TV that supports HLG then what you would see on the TV would be a HDR image with an extended dynamic range. This should give brighter more realistic highlights and a quite noticeable increase in overall contrast compared to SDR (Standard Dynamic Range). There will be no need to grade the footage to get a perfectly watchable vibrant HDR image. The real beauty of HLG (developed by the BBC and NHK) is that it is backwards compatible with normal SDR (Standard Dynamic Range) TV’s. So feed the very same signal into a conventional SDR TV and it will look just fine. Skin tones will be a touch darker than with Rec709 and  it won’t be HDR, but it will be perfectly watchable picture and most people won’t realise it’s anything different to normal SDR TV.

So HLG provides a simple very fast, direct HDR workflow that is backwards compatible with SDR TV’s. As a result you don’t need any special monitors to shoot with it, you can just monitor with existing SDR monitors, although it would be beneficial to have an HDR monitor to check the HDR aspect of the signal. HLG isn’t designed to be graded, although a little bit of post production tweaking can be applied, just as with Rec709.  Bottom line is it’s quick and easy, no special monitors or skills needed – simples.

If you want the very best possible HDR then you should shoot with S-Log2/S-Log3 or raw and then grade the material in post using an HDR capable monitor.  But that takes time and large HDR monitors are not cheap (for a small monitor you could use an Atomos Flame or Inferno).  The FS5 will give you the ability to work either way. HLG for simple and quick, S-Log for the best possible image quality.

Hopefully we will see HLG rolled out to other cameras in the near future.

18 thoughts on “PXW-FS5 and PXW-Z150 to get Hybrid Log Gamma for direct HDR production.”

  1. The only disappointing thing: No comment on advancing the somewhat ‘crippled’ 4k capabilities of the FS5 to internal 4k/10 bit color, at least for 25/30p. Should be easily possible with faster SD cards now available.

  2. Shooting a lot of content for UHD HDR-grades with the F55. What about the Wide Colour Gamut? The Bayer-filtering isn’t suited for proper HDR? The contrast might be in check, but the colours?

    1. F55 and FS5 are both bayer. Bayer is fine. The F55 has a larger gamut that is closer to Rec2020 than the FS5 but both exceed Rec-709. In reality there are not that many natural colours outside of Rec-709. The F55 will of course deliver a better result, but there is also the question of how many displays can actually show all of Rec-2020. Even the benchmark Sony X300 can’t show all of Rec-2020. So whether the end viewer will be able to tell the difference between the larger gamut of the F55 and the FS5’s smaller gamut is open to debate.

      1. Hi Alister, I am buying two FS7 and one FS5 for a little studio that we are building. I am at loss to find the right monitor for future HDR grading. Do yo have any suggestions?

  3. Since the Z150 is 8-bit in 4K, it would seem possible to extend HLG to the Z’s kid (HD) brother, the HXR-NX100, as well. Maybe others?

    1. Hopefully this will get HLG too in the future. But the best HDR workflow is to shoot S-log2 or S-log3 and then grade to HLG or PQ.

  4. Hi Alister,
    Would you are to speculate, over a cup of coffee, what this might mean for the Z150? Will it get something like an S log boost to its root so impressive dynamic range?

    Best wishes

    1. It’s not going to increase the dynamic range of the camera, that’s a sensor limitation. Plus it should also be noted that HLG is not a curve well suited to grading and heavy post manipulation like log. It’s really just designed as a way to get a bigger highlight range onto a suitable monitor that can show that extra range.

    1. It will still be 14 stops, only at a lower equivalent sensitivity which should mean a little less noise.

  5. Allister – Thank you, as always, for your outstanding coverage of the FS5. Do you think the Hybrid Log Gamma will be made available as an additional Picture Profile via firmware upgrade to the Sony a6500 and a6300 at any time in the near future? I currently own a Sony FS5 (which I will upgrade in July when this new gamma is available), and I also use a Sonya6300 as my B camera. I shoot a lot of multi-cam, so I want to add an a6500 as my B cam, with the a6300 becoming a C cam. Thus, I will want to shoot in the new PP10 (HLG) in all three cameras. Is this likely to become possible? Thanks!

    1. Possibly. If I had to guess I would say no however. Do also consider that an important factor in HDR is metadata. So in a multicam environment you will need a way to inject the HLG/Rec2020 metadata flags into the output to ensure that any HDR TV’s switch to the correct settings. It’s not always possible to manually set the correct gamma in the display.

      1. Thank you very much for this helpful advice. I did not think of that, but will do so now. You are a treasure, sir; a real mentor to so many of us!

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