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Tested Sony FX9 ProRes RAW and Noise Reduction still works

Tested Sony FX9 ProRes RAW and Noise Reduction still works

Elvis Ripley

Over this holiday down time I rented an XDCA-FX9 raw back to do some Sony FX9 tests. I was surprised to find that the noise suppression as well as the distortion correction and shading compensation still worked on the raw out feed. 

Maybe this is due to the 6K to 4K downsample happening early in the chain and the noise reduction is all part of the downsample to a 4K bayer image. So unlike most cameras it isn't really a 'raw' file but a processed 16 bit bayer pattern image.

This is a great and welcome surprise. The 12 bit log raw files recorded by the Shogun 7 are a huge bump in quality over the internal XAVC and with a little noise reduction they are even better. This also changes my feelings on when I would use a Venice. I have been doing internal XAVC for normal jobs, SDI to Shogun 7 recording ProResHQ for jobs with a lot of post and Venice for the highest end. Now I think I would rather have 4000 ISO and variable ND with the FX9 if I can apply a bit of denoise in camera.

I wanted to do a write up about my experience because I haven't heard of anyone mentioning this anywhere but not many people are doing RAW from an FX9 because of the expensive back needed. Let me know if I am totally wrong or if you want to see anything else. 

My workflow...
To do these tests I underexposed plenty to make sure the noise was easily visible as part of the image.
Used Final Cut Pro to convert the ProRes RAW files to ProRes4444 S-Log3/S-Gamut3 files so they could be brought into Resolve for testing and ACES.

Here is an S-Log3/S-Gamut3 to sRGB version of the shot with no adjustment to show how low the exposure was.

Then in Resolve in an ACEScct timeline I massively boosted the offset and contrast for these images to make sure the differences made it through to CML. On the uncompressed files it is easier to see in motion than these stills.

This is a strip on the MacBook lid behind the ColorChecker. 

Looking at this color spectrum noise chart the differences are easy to see. This is Off->Low->Med->High on a loop.

And here is the noise present in the original image that isn't present in the High noise suppression setting.

Here is a link to a ProRes RAW clip where I just cycle through Low, Mid and High Noise Suppression settings as well as the same clip converted to ProRes 4444 with S-Log3 S-Gamut3 gamma and gamut if you want to check it out. 

Elvis Ripley
Director/DP Tulsa, OK

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