Nikon has published a new short film and behind-the-scenes video that is designed to showcase the camera’s newly-updated video prowess. The film was shot in 8K at 60 frames per second in 12-bit RAW.
The Nikon Z9, which the company recently claimed was the top-selling camera in its category so far in 2022, launched in December 2021 with a list of high-end specifications that either matched or outpaced other cameras on the market. But that did not appear to be enough for Nikon, as the company published a firmware update on April 13 that dramatically increased its video performance.
The update was so substantial it very well could have constituted a new camera, yet Nikon published it for Z9 owners for free. This update brought the ability for the camera to record 12-bit RAW at up to 8.3K resolution and 60 frames per second.
N-RAW footage is captured at up to 8.3K (8256 × 4644 pixels) which allows for export in UHD or DCI 8K aspect ratios. Nikon says that N-RAW (which appears as a .NEV file) contains all the depth and detail of a 12-bit RAW video and crams it into a file that’s half the size of equivalent ProRes RAW HQ files. This capability is likely made possible thanks to Nikon’s integration of TicoRAW.
This month, the company published a short film by Anthony Arendt that showcases what could be created with these features. Arendt is a cinematographer and Director of Photography and tasked it with capturing dancers in various environments, many of the backlit. Most if not all of the video was shot using the camera’s autofocus. Arendt eschewed the typical large camera rigs found in Hollywood for a much smaller rig around the Z9, and in the behind-the-scenes video can be seen using the camera without a cage on top of tripods, sliders, or attached to a small gimbal.
In one scene, the Z9 was attached to what the film crew refers to as a “racing drone.” It’s not a traditional cinema attachment but appears to be a small tripod head attached to the top of a tiny drone with eight total blades (for wings, two blades per wing). It’s much smaller than something like the Sony Airpeak and works surprisingly well.
The large number of locations and shooting environments captured in the film is not only visually enticing but also goes a long way to show that the Z9 is capable of working in a range of lighting conditions.