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Case Study: From Super16 to 4K Capability: A Year of Change at NYU’s Advanced Undergraduate Programs


At NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, the advanced level undergraduate production programs needed to make a change. The camera choice for students in these advanced programs was limited to either Super16 film cameras or Sony EX1 cameras.

While the Arri Super16 cameras offered invaluable experience, the students wanted a high-quality digital cinema camera that offered a shallow depth of field. Most students ended up renting cameras from outside facilities or tried to use DSLR rigs to get the look they needed.


The Tisch faculty and staff knew that something had to change. It didn’t seem right to keep using technology that didn’t really fit these advanced programs. However, at the start of the fall 2012 semester, there wasn’t an obvious solution in the marketplace.

Sony’s introduction of the PMW-F5 and PMW-F55 later that fall came just in time. AbelCine’s Sales and Education teams worked with the Tisch staff and faculty to figure out how to get as many of these cameras into the students’ hands by the fall of 2013. Over a six-month period, AbelCine offered various combinations of long-term rentals, outright sales and lease financing. Tisch ultimately chose to purchase twelve PMW-F5 cameras and eleven complete production kits that included Zeiss Compact Prime lenses, Arri matteboxes and follow focuses, TVLogic on-camera monitors and Flanders Scientific director’s monitors. The students won’t be recording in 4K this year, but the addition of a Sony 4K Raw Recorder is always an option for the future.

AbelCine set up a fully outfitted F5 with all of the specific accessories, including custom designed cases for the NYU staff to inspect in person. Seemingly small details like using CineCoil cables to connect the cameras to the monitors were added as a result of this process.

This September, the Tisch students will have a state-of-the-art production package ready to use for their advanced projects, minimizing the need for rentals and standardizing the tool set for the different disciplines of Narrative, Experimental and Documentary production.


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