If you have just updated your FX6 firmware and are now finding that there is an exclamation mark ! next to the LUT or base look name what this is telling you is that the LUT cannot be saved using the new Embedded LUT feature.
In previous firmware versions the camera used to save LUT’s internally using a format that would not be compatible with most edit or grading applications when saved in the cameras metadata as an embedded LUT. So, old LUTs loaded in previous firmware versions will show a ! before the LUT name. The LUT should still work, you just won’t be able to save it as an embedded LUT.
The only way to resolve this is to delete the LUT from the camera and then reload it from the original source. LUTs for the FX6 should be 33x cube LUTs.
Announced earlier in the year, Sony has now released their version 4 update for the FX6. This is a very nice upgrade for the camera adding several very useful features, some of which have been available on the FX30 and FX3 for some time.
I recommend you do this update, there is no need to go via version 3 if you are still on version 2, you can go direct to version 4.
Place the downloaded BODYDATA.DAT file on an SD card that you previously formatted in the camera. Do NOT put the file inside any other folder on the SD card then put the card in the lower of the cameras 2 SD card slots and from the full menu go to Maintenance/Version/Version Up. Like many of Sony’s camera firmware updates the camera will appear to stop functioning and the LCD screen will go blank during the update process, the only clue that it is actually progressing will be the flashing red LED next to the upper SD card slot. The update doesn’t take long, around 5 mins, but whatever you do don’t panic when you see the LCD go blank. Just wait for the update to complete at which point the camera will restart.
Benefits and Improvements
Adds support for Movie file names in the Camera ID + Reel# format
Adds a function that displays De-squeeze (2.0x, 1.3x) in the viewfinder and HDMI output
Adds more AF frame rates during Slow & Quick Motion
Adds support for Flexible ISO and Cine EI Quick in shooting mode:
Allows you to record S-Log3 content with exposure settings by adjusting the ISO sensitivity
Allows you to record at a base ISO setting the same as Cine EI, with the base ISO adjusted automatically in conjunction with EI value
When the shooting mode is set to Flexible ISO, Cine EI, or Cine EI Quick, adds support for recording a 3D LUT file to the same memory card with the base look used during shooting as the shooting data, at the same time
Flexible ISO allows you to shoot using S-Log3 while monitoring via a LUT, but it is NOT a CineEI or Exposure Index mode. In this mode when you raise the ISO above the base ISO of 800 or 12800 you actually add digital gain to the S-Log3 recordings, making them brighter (and noisier). The camera isn’t becoming more sensitive, this is just a gain increase (alternately you can add gain in post and the result is broadly similar). DO be aware that there can be a loss of dynamic range whenever you are shooting above the cameras base ISO. This will normally be a decrease in the highlight range. But, I would imagine that most people that are using this mode will be doing so because they don’t have enough light for 800 ISO. So, a loss of highlight range is perhaps unlikely to be an issue. As with CineEI you can monitor via a LUT and when exposing via the s709 LUT you should use the same levels as when shooting using CineEI (middle grey 44%, white card/white paper 78%, pale skin tones 60-65%).
CINE EI QUICK
This is the CineEI mode I use the most. It works the same as normal CineEI except in this mode the camera will automatically raise the base ISO to the high base ISO to 12800 ISO as you go above 2500 EI and then lower the base ISO back down to 800 ISO as you drop the EI below 3200 EI. I find this helps avoid ending up at a very high EI or very low EI (relative to the base ISO) by mistake and makes it quicker to work in changing light conditions.
Enabling Embedded LUT (Full Menu/CineEI/Flex ISO Set/Embedded LUT File) allows the camera to save the LUT that you are using within the metadata on the SD card. This helps keep the footage and the LUT together in the same place which can assist post production ensure the correct LUT is used. Of course – when you do your back ups you need to make sure you copy the entire contents of the card (which is best practice anyway).
In addition Black Magic design have just release the public beta of DaVinci Resolve 18.5. With this update you can now use the Raw controls in the Grading room to control the ISO/White Balance/Tint etc of S-Log3 footage from the FX series cameras. This makes it so easy to adjust for any exposure offsets. https://www.blackmagicdesign.com/support/family/davinci-resolve-and-fusion
Sony have just released new firmware for the Sony FX3 and FX30 cameras that adds the ability to shoot 24P DCI 4K and in addition adds 1.3x and 2x desqueeze for the LCD screen and HDMI output.
For the FX3 this is firmware version 3.00 and for the FX30 it is version 2.00.
This new firmware also makes some changes to the way the sensor in the FX3 is readout, eliminating the crop that used to occur when shooting using 4K DCI.
I have had a beta copy of the firmware for a few weeks, but unfortunately it came at a time when I have been extremely busy working on some special shooting techniques for a Warner Brothers feature film as well as running Venice workshops across the Middle East. So I didn’t really get as much time as I would have liked to play with it.
What I can say is it is a very welcome update. The 24P 4K DCI mode is a special fixed recoding mode that uses the XAVC-SI codec and the anamorphic desqueeze is found under the monitor options. There are only 1.3x and 2x desqueeze options, so it’s only going to work correctly with lenses designed for these squeeze ratios. Because the sensor and shooting scan modes remain fixed to 16:9 or 17:9, if you use anything with more squeeze than 1.3x you will end up with an extremely wide final aspect ratio compared to the normal 2.39:1 unless you crop a lot off the sides of the image. Some might like this, but for me it really does seem to be a bit of a waste having an ultra wide aspect ratio with screens and displays that are designed for 16:9.
As well as the above the update includes support for Sony’s new “Creators App” which will replace the Imaging Edge app. In addition you can assign the ability to switch between the normal movie shooting mode and the S&Q mode to one of the custom keys.
DO NOTE FOR THE FX30 that if the camera is on Version 1.02 or earlier that you will first need to update to version 1.05 before doing the version 2 update.
I’ll try to upload some anamorphic footage shot with my FX30 very soon. The older Sirui 1.35x anamorphic lenses are a great match for the FX30’s super35 sized sensor. The cameras 6K down sampled to 4K means that the footage is packed with texture and detail and the 1.3x squeeze gives a 2.39:1 final aspect ratio without needed additional cropping or re-sizing (although if you use the 4K DCI mode you will need to make a very small side crop if you want 2.39:1).
These are mainly stability releases that fix some minor bugs, but if you have an FX3 on the original version 1 firmware then this version adds the CineEI mode and LUTs. It is a major update that is well worth having.
Before attempting to update the camera you should insert a fully charged battery
The FX3 is updated via a computer application. While there is a Mac application it is a complete pain in the rear end to get it to work and I would urge you to find a windows PC to do the update, it is far simpler and far more likely to be successful. The good news is that once you have updated to version 2.02 future updates can be done by uploading the update file to an SD card and initiating the update from the camera like the FX30.
The FX30 is updated by placing the downloaded BODYDATA.DAT file on to an SD card that was previously formatted in the camera. Then place the card in the camera and go down to the SETUP – SETUP OPTION – VERSION page of the menu. Here you should see the cameras current firmware version plus a “SOFTWARE UPDATE” button. Press (select) the software update button.
On the next page it will say “Update ?” and show the old firmware version and the new firmware version. Then just below this is a box where it says “Please follow these precautions until the very end”.
What isn’t clear at this step is that you need to scroll down inside that box and read the full list of precautions before the camera will allow you to do the update.
Scroll down until you get to “This update may take several minutes, device automatically reboots when complete”. If you don’t scroll down and just press the “Execute” button you get a large popup telling you to “Follow the precautions to the very end” and pressing “OK” simply takes you will go back to the previous page. So do make sure you scroll down through the full list of precautions before you press execute. Once the update starts the screen will go blank, the only clue that the update is happening will be the slow flash of the media LED on the back of the camera. The update takes about 10 minutes to complete and the camera will reboot when it’s done.
Sony released a minor update for the FX3 and FX30 cameras but almost immediately withdrew the firmware. If you have already downloaded the update package I recommend you do not install it. There may be a bug in the firmware. Sony are investigating to understand whether there is a bug or something else causing an issues that some users have reported. So for now, don’t do the FX30 version 1.01 or the FX3 version 2.01 update, wait until Sony have had a chance to look into the situation. It remains safe to continue to update version 1 FX3 cameras to Version 2.00, it is only FX3 version 2.01 and FX30 version 1.01 that is affected.
Sony have released the version 4 firmware update for the FX9. This update adds a number of new features related to their C3 Cloud Portal such as cloud management of LUT’s. One of the new features is included in the image above, can you spot it?
To bring the FX9 in line with the FX30, FX3 and FR7 Cinema Line cameras it gains the ability to automatically store the LUT you use when shooting in the CineEI mode on the XQD card along with the existing metadata about the EI used. This then allows the LUT to be applied to your footage automatically and with the correct exposure offset in post production. HOWEVER the only application that currently supports this is Sony’s Catalyst Browse. We can only hope that other edit and grading manufacturers will make use of the embedded LUT and metadata to do the same in future updates as it makes the post production process very easy, especially for fast turn around jobs or when handing the footage over to clients.
One issue addressed in this update is that when using proxies if you switch to S&Q recording, as before, proxy recording will stop. But now when you come back out of S&Q the proxy recording will resume automatically.
And we now get assignable buttons that light up when the function attached to them is enabled. Not every function will cause them to light up, but as an example if you enable S&Q button 1 now lights up. I have cache record assigned to button 8 and when enabled, button 8 lights up orange as in the image above. It’s a nice feature, but why has it taken so long to enable it?
As with previous FX9 firmware updates the update process can be a little nerve wracking as the LCD screen will go blank for quite a few minutes, giving the impression it may have stopped and this update sat at 57% for a very long time before continuing. Whatever you do don’t turn the camera off, WAIT. It can take up to an hour for the update to complete. See this video on how to do an FX9 update.
Whats included in Version 4 for the FX9. – C3 Portal integration improvements Cloud service management of 3D LUT files is supported. Cloud service management of ALL files is supported. Uploading an original file automatically is supported. – Shooting workflow improvements LUT data (Cube data) can now be recorded as metadata. – Audio level meter CH1/CH2 and CH3/CH4 indicator switching support – Assignable button support for switching the audio monitor channel – Assignable button flashing indication support – Changes to proxy recording control when switching Slow & Quick Motion settings
The smallest camera in Sony’s Cinema Line, the FX3 has a new, massive firmware update. Firmware version 2 adds a conventional CineEI mode as well as a “quick” CineEI mode (automatically switches the base ISO depending on the chosen EI value) for shooting S-Log3 and raw with the ability to monitor using custom LUTs. Additionally, if you wish you can also bake in you favourite LUT to your recordings. The firmware update also makes it possible to input timecode by using an special adapter cable that plugs into the cameras usb/multifunction port.
In the movie shooting mode the cameras on screen overlays are now moved above and below the main image area so that the images you are shooting are not obstructed by text or icons. This is really nice touch.
This update brings the FX3 into much closer functional alignment with the rest of the cinema line. Two make it all work the menu system has also been overhauled and a function menu can be quickly accessed by swiping the cameras touch screen.
Do not that this firmware does remove S-Log2 and that the camera will be reset to it’s factory defaults when the upgrade is performed. As far as I know the A7S3 will not get a similar update as this is not part of the Cinema Line. The firmware update is available for download from the Sony website. https://www.sony.co.uk/electronics/support/interchangeable-lens-camcorders-ilme-series/ilme-fx3/downloads
Coming soon, very soon is the version 2 firmware update for the FX6. Like the recently released version 3 update for the FX9 this update is a significant upgrade for the FX6 adding lots of new and very useful features.
AF Touch Tracking:
The big feature that almost every FX6 user has been wanting since the day it was launched is touch tracking AF. This feature allows you to touch the LCD screen where you want the camera to focus. The touch tracking AF works in conjunction with the cameras face detection AF to provide what Sony are calling “Advanced AI based AF”. If you touch on a face for example, that face is then prioritised and tracked by the AF. If the person turns away from the camera so the face can no longer be seen then the AF will track the side or back of the persons face. If they leave the shot and then come back into the shot, provided the AF can see their facial features the AF will pick up and focus on that face again. When touching on an object that isn’t a face the camera will focus on the touched object as it moves around within the frame. Touch AF makes it very easy to perform perfect pull focusses between different objects or characters within a shot or scene. It’s a very clever system and a welcome addition to the FX6.
Another new feature that will be of assistance when using the AF is the addition of the Breathing Compensation feature first seen in the Sony A7IV. This feature works by electronically adjusting the size of the recorded frame to minimise any any lens breathing while changing the focus distance. This helps to mask and hide focus changes made during a shot. It is a nice feature, but I will say that sometimes when you pull focus for example, that slight change in the image size can be nice as it re-enforces the focus change and gives the viewer a visual clue that something about the shot has been changed. If the only thing that changes in a shot is the point of focus, sometimes it can look odd or perhaps electronic rather than the more natural focus changes we are used to seeing. Of course the feature can be turned on or off, so you are free to decide whether to use it or not depending on what you are shooting.
The breathing compensation only works with certain Sony lenses, mostly GM lenses and a few G series lenses. The lenses include: SEL14F18GM, SEL20F18G, SEL24F14GM, SEL35F14GM, SEL50F12GM, SEL85F14GM, SEL135F18GM, SEL1224GM, SEL1224G, SEL1635GM, SEL2470GM, SEL24105G, SEL28135G, SEL70200GM (NOT with a teleconverter), SEL70200GM2, SEL100F28GM (NOT when the macro switching ring is set to “0.57m–1.0m.”).
While I’m on the optics, another change is what Sony are calling “Bokeh Control” . You have already been able to do this on most of Sonys cameras with the variable ND filter by turning on the auto gain/ISO function while using the auto ND filter. Set this way when you change the aperture, the ND filter and auto gain/ISO will maintain a constant image brightness allowing you to use the aperture as a bokeh and DoF control. This is now all rolled into a dedicated new feature to make it easier to achieve the same result, so it’s not really new, but it is now easier to do. The brightness of the image is held constant as you change the aperture, so the aperture becomes a bokeh and DoF control. This works best with the Sony lenses that have a stepless aperture ring. A word of warning however is that you will need to keep a close eye on what the ISO/Gain is doing to avoid an excessively noisy image if you don’t have sufficient light for the aperture you are using as the camera will add lots of gain and the images will become noisy very quickly if you are not careful. In practice, while I do like the concept behind this it is only really useful when you have lots of light as you want the ND filter to be doing the work, not the auto gain/ISO so this tends to limit you to exteriors or when using the FX6’s high base ISO which is already a bit noisier than low base.
Cache record in both normal modes and S&Q. This is a great new feature. You now have a recording cache that can be used in both normal modes and S&Q motion. The recording cache allows you to capture things that have happened prior to the moment you press the cameras record button. Of course the camera has to actually be pointing in the right direction, but this allows you to capture unexpected events such as lightning in a thunderstorm. I often find cache recording useful for interviews in case the interviewee suddenly starts talking when you are not expecting it. For many applications this will be a very useful function. Depending on the resolution and frame rate you get a cache period of up to 31 seconds available by selecting short/medium/long and max.
4 Audio Meters:
This is something almost everyone asked for from day one. You can now monitor channels 1 & 2 as well as 3 & 4 on the LCD when shooting. Hooray!
Raw out via HDMI.
As well as outputting raw via SDI you can now output the raw signal via HDMI. This will be very useful for those that already use the HDMI raw out from their FX3/A7S3 etc as now you won’t need to have the extra SDI adapter for the Ninja V. You will need to update the firmware for your Ninja V or Ninja V+ and the update from Atomos is already available for download.
SR-Live HDR workflow.
Like the FX9 the FX6 gains the ability to change the viewfinder monitoring mode when shooting with HLG. Using Viewfinder Display Gamma Assist and monitoring in SDR the image in the viewfinder can have a dB offset applied. This offset allows you to expose the HLG such that it is fully optimised for HDR viewing while seeing a correctly exposed SDR image. The details of the offset are stored in the cameras metadata and then in post production as well as your already optimised HDR stream you add the same dB offset to the HLG to gain a stream that will look much better in SDR than it would do without any offset. This way it becomes much easier to deliver great looking and better optimised content for both HDR and SDR audiences.
Other new features:
The A and B recording slots can be individually assigned to the record buttons on the camera handle and body record button so that each button controls the recording of one slot. This allows you to record some shots to one slot and other shots to the other slot depending on which record button you press, or by pressing both buttons you can record to both slots.
The Multi-Function dial settings can be assigned to the hand grip dial so that the hand grip dial behaves in the same way as the muti-function dial.
FTP transfer speeds are improved.
More functions can be controlled via the touch screen.
Increased control functionality when used with Content Browser Mobile version 3.6 (you won’t be able to use earlier versions of CBM with the version 2 firmware). Content Browser Mobile version 3.6 is already available for download.
This new version 2 firmware update is out just yet, but it will be available by the end of January.
Sony have today release the version 3 update for the FX9. This is a significant upgrade for the FX9 and I highly recommend all users update their cameras.
The update process is robust and provided you follow the instructions in the PDF guide that is included in the update download package you should not have any problems.
EDIT: I WILL SAY THIS AGAIN – YOU MUST FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS INCLUDED IN THE DOWNLOAD PACKAGE. DO NOT SKIP ANY OF THE STEPS IN THE INSTRUCTIONS. I’m seeing lots of people with failed updates because they are formatting their SD cards on their computer or not turning off the cameras network functions. It’s all in the instructions, the instructions are there to help you, please follow them to the letter. The “root” of a card is the very, very bottom of the cards file structure. It is NOT a folder, anything on the “root” of a card will not be inside a folder of any sort, the root is the bit of the card where the first folders will be, in the case of an SD card formatted in the FX9 the root is where you will find the “PRIVATE” folder. The “root” is NOT the XDROOT folder. And if something does go wrong the instructions tell you how to recover.
Do be aware that when you start the update process the cameras LCD screen will go blank for around 10 minutes and the only clue that all is good will be a flashing red tally light. Just leave the camera alone, go and do something else and come back an hour later. The upgrade will also appear to stall at around the 80% mark. Again, just be patient and wait for the update complete message before turning off the camera.
There are a lot of new features in version 3 but the three that I think most are going to like the most are the Real-Time tracking AF (aka touch tracking), the Anamorphic monitoring modes and the Super 16mm 2K scan mode.
REAL TIME TRACKING AF
The Real Time tracking allows you to use the viewfinders touch screen to touch where you want the camera to focus. A white box will appear where you touch and then the camera will track the touched object while it stays with the frame. To cancel the touch tracking touch on the grey cancel box that appears in the top left of the viewfinder.
In the image above the camera is in Face/Eye priority mode. As the real time tracking AF over-rides the other AF modes, by touching on the book on the book shelf (circled in red) the AF is now focussing on the book and will track the book if the camera pans or if the book were to move through the shot. If the book were to move out of the shot the AF will revert to Face/Eye AF.
When used in conjunction with the Face/Eye AF, if you touch on a face the AF will prioritise that face and track it. If the person is facing the camera and can be identified as an individual face, the face gets saved and a “*” will appear next to the Face AF symbol top left of the VF.
If the person turns away from the camera the focus will then track the persons head, if they turn back towards the camera it tracks their face again. It is even possible to start by touching on the back of a persons head and then as they turn towards the camera the face/eye AF takes over.
The way the camera “registers” faces is changed from previous firmware versions. As above, to save a face simply touch on a face. Touch a different face to save a different face. When a face has been saved a * will appear next the the Face/Eye AF symbol.
In the image below the face has been selected by touching on it and is now saved (note the * symbol circled in red). Not also the tracking symbol indicating that BOTH Face/Eye AF and Tracking are in use.
Whenever you stop the real time tracking the saved face is removed from the camera.
If you are using Face/Eye ONLY AF then normally the camera will only focus on faces/eyes, but if you touch on an object that isn’t a face then the camera will focus on this object. If you touch on a face then the camera will only focus on that particular face and the AF will halt if the camera can’t see that particular face until you stop the real time tracking AF.
As well as the tracking stop button (top left of the VF, look like a grey box) If you have AF assist enabled, turning the focus ring on the lens will stop the tracking AF. Real-time tracking AF will also stop when a touched object that is not a face leaves the frame or when a button assigned with the Push AF/Push MF function is pressed.
Real-time tracking can also be used when the cameras AF switch is set to MF. If in the menu, under shooting settings, focus, the “Touch Function in MF” setting is set to ON, The real-time touch tracking auto focus will also work when the AF switch on the side of the camera is set to MF. This allows you to use an autofocus lens to focus manually but then instantly switch to real time tracking AF simply by touching the LCD screen. For this to work if the lens has an AF/MF switch the switch on the lens must be set to AF. If using the 28-135mm lense the focus ring must be in the forwards position.
Real time tracking works across the entire frame regardless of the chosen AF frame area. Any objects being tracked must be distinct from the background. Textured, coloured or detailed objects are tracked more easily than plain objects. When using Face/Eye AF not all faces can be saved. To successfully save a face it needs to be facing the camera directly and sufficiently distinct that the camera can identify the eyes, nose and mouth.
The anamorphic mode is a basic anamorphic monitoring mode for the LCD viewfinder. It has no effect on the recorded files or the SDI/HDMI outputs.
It provides a 1.3x or 2x de-squeeze. The 2x desqueeze function is tailored for 2x anamorphic lenses designed to be used with 35mm film. To use these lenses the camera must be set to 6K Full Frame scan to gain the correct sensor height. This means that when you use a 2x 35mm film anamorphic lens the sensor scan is wider than it really needs to be so there will be some vignetting at the sides of the frame. The 2x de-squeeze function takes this into account and not only de-squeezes the image but also crops the sides to emulate how the footage will look after post production.
If you are using 1.3x lenses then you can use either the Full Frame 6K scan, the FF 5k crop or the S35 4K scan modes, but for 2x anamorphic lenses you will need to use FF 6K scan.
S16 2K Crop.
The S16 2K crop mode allows you to use just the center Super 16mm sized 2K scan area. This mode is actually very useful for shooting at high frame rates above 60fps because unlike the FF 2K or S35 2K scan modes, this mode is using every single pixel within the scan area. As a result there are none of the image artefacts common when shooting at high frame rates using FF 2K or S35 2K. The 2.5x crop (compared to FF) does mean that for wide shots you will need a very wide lens. But where you can use it, this mode is great for better quality slow motion.
The other use for this scan mode is with Super 16mm lenses or with B4 2/3″ ENG lenses via suitable adapters. The image quality in this mode on the FX9 is a little better than the similar mode on the FS7. But you do need to remember that this is a 2K scan, so you will have a little under HD resolution. In addition the cameras noise appears worse in this mode because you are enlarging fewer pixels to fill the screen, so the noise isn’t as fine or refined as in FF 6K or S35 4K. So where possible you want to make sure you use a nice bright exposure for the best results.
The images below were shot with the same 16x ENG zoom lens at its widest and longest focal lengths.
Here is the full list of new features:
S700 Protocol over Ethernet
B4 lens support – S16 scanning mode (up to FHD 180fps) – B4 lens control using with LA-EB1 – ALAC (Auto Lens Aberration Correction) function
Assignable Center Scan
Anamorphic lens support
Clip Naming (Cam ID + Reel#)
Real-time Tracking (touch tracking auto focus)
Additional items can be modified in the Status Screen
SR Live for HDR metadata support
Recording Proxy Clip Real-time Transfer
Camcorder Network Setup using Smartphone App
Remote control using smartphone over USB tethering
USB tethering activated using iOS14 iPhone and iPad
*Network feature above also support C3 Portal (only available in specific countries)
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