8 Paul Woodd-Walker . Kit
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The Sony F55 Overview
Importing Rushes
The Look / Gamma
Tech & Links
Dry Hire

The Sony F55

Sony F55

I’ve been shooting on the Sony F55 since Spring 2013 and had my own since the summer.
From the outset I liked it but now having shot Polar Bears in The Arctic from boats, Landscapes in Scotland from Helicopters, Drama Dialogue in Luton on Russian Arms, The Costa Concordia being raised at night from a long long way away, drama with Tilt shift lenses on sliders, Survivors from Typhoon Hyan on motorbikes, Hitler’s Toilet near New york in the snow we have become very good friends.

With the constant upgrades the camera is still evolving and getting better.
At present the most exciting things are:

• Full HD up to 180 fps
• Multiple formats from MPEG2 HD422, MPEG 4, XAVC to RAW
• A choice of S LOG curves giving the widest choice in the grade (also RAW option)
• Centre scan for Super16mm lenses (or change the optical output of 35mm lenses)

The Digital Bolex

Digital Bolex

One of the more interesting ways I’ve bought a camera. It started with kickstarter in 2012 and was delivered Easter 2014 after a very open forum of discussion and developement between developers and investors.

Based on the original Bolex design with a S16mm CCD Kodak sensor (not CMOS therefore eliminating rolling shutter – see aliasing and moire below). This is a 2k camera with no processing done in camera giving huge latitude in the grade as well as huge files! At present I am in the process of testing with PL mounted lenses but it seems it will be perfect second unit camera for all the places the F55 can’t reach and for fill a similar function to the 5D has done whilst recording sound through XLR ports, no rolling shutter (great for car mount), and increased latitude in the grade.

For more info visit: www.digitalbolex.com and to see the spec sheet click here.

Go Pro Hero 3+

GoPro Hero 3+

GoPro is a well-known brand now. As part of its collection it has released the Hero 3+ which gives a better quality image, has a longer lasting battery and is a bit smaller. Also you can see the image on an i-phone or i-pad through a wifi connection.

Visit: http://gopro.com/cameras/hd-hero3-black-edition if you want to know more. With the use of the correct mount it can still offer an original and surprising perspective.

Also see here: http://gopro.com/channel


Optimo DP 30-80

Optimo DP 30-80 and DP 16-42

These two lenses cover the majority of my needs and although I love to work with primes these 2 lenses compete with primes. On docs although they don’t have the range the old ENG lenses had they offer great versatility with a a whole new level of image. Being 35mm lenses when they are put on the Bolex the focal length roughly doubles, as does it on S16 scan on the F55. Here are some facts:

• Extremely fast aperture of T2.8 with no ramping
• 320° focus rotation with over 20 precise focus witness marks and no breathing
• Optical design optimized for today’s large format single sensor cameras
• Calibrated focus marks in feet or meters


Dedolight DLED

I heard rumor of these lights, which only draw 450w but pump out 2k whilst remaining soft (like a diffused HMI). Rumor soon switched into “investment” - I had bought both the Cineo HS and LS plus a chimera for the HS.

With these two and my little light panel I have a compact yet versatile lighting package good for documentary set-ups whilst complimenting bigger packages needed on dramas.

For more info see: http://www.cineolighting.com/index.php/pages/product_hs/89

Cineo HS TruColor

A set of Dedolight DLED 4.1’s lights: two bi-colours and one daylight package with all the accessories gives a versatile set-up for both documentary and Drama. The Bi-colour option helps with the speed of set-up and the subtly of colour (with perfect colour rendering qualities) in lighting whereas the daylight version gives the extra kick when needed and can always be gelled to match the bi-colours.

They work very similarly to the original Dedos but can be battery powered, have a wider focus range, run cooler in conjunction with the accessories including a softbox, projector, gobos, grip etc. this package has the versatility to add chiaroscuro, colour, texture, and shape wherever it is needed.



Aside to having enough batteries for a days filming I have 2 “Solarpods” which can power my Truecolor LS but also many other lights meaning that when on remote locations aren’t solely reliant on ambient light. It also adds:

• Back-up power supply for laptops and hard drives
• Charge station for production mobiles, walkie-talkies, go pros, stills etc.
• Direct power supply for cameras if recording time-lapses etc.

For more info see: http://solarpod.org/solarpod-range/solarpod-240

Importing Rushes

The F55 in XDCAM HD or XAVC modes records to SxS cards. You will need to install drivers on your laptop before it will recognise SxS cards.
Got to: Sony's XDCAM Downloads Page. (Click on the tab; Applications, Plugins and Device Drivers)

For Mac Click Here
For PC Click Here

NOTE: Scroll to bottom and click 'Agree' - download, unzip and follow instructions.

Reviewing Rushes

To review footage on a computer you will need Content Browser If you are only shooting XDCAM HD, all you need is version 1.1 which is free here. If you are shooting XAVC as well then you will need version 2, which requires a small fee.

Recording Times

The F55 in RAW mode records the generic exFAT file format, so your laptop does not need special drivers.
Record-times on my 2 x 128GB SxS Pro + Cards:

• XAVC 4K mode: 2GB per minute = 2hrs.
• XAVC HD mode: 1GB per minute = 4.3hrs.
• XDCAM HD mode: 500MB per minute = 9hrs.

The Look

Recommeded Settings.

On the Digital Bolex there is only one option: RAW so this is simple but a grade is essential.
The F55 offers 3 categories of gammas*: Standard, HyperGamma, and Slog.

Here are my basic thoughts:

• Standard: Not intended for a Grade, so for fast turn around projects (ENG) (STD5)
• Hypergamma: A burnt in “look” which can still be graded but gives a good start point (HG4, 7 or 8)
• S-Log: A flat image, similar to Log C, in a dedicated grading suite, by a full-time colourist

NOTE: For the less experienced, S-Log 3 is probably preferable.

Standard Gamma
When you want "the blacks 0%, and the highlights 100%", straight out of the camera. Pros: it gives you legal (>= 100%) tv signal with no grading. Cons: there is much less room for manoeuver to change the look / correct exposure errors. Higlights are less natural.

• STD1: DVW camcorder equivalent. Has lowest slope near black (for low noise and black-crushing).
• STD2: x4. Somewhere between STD1 and STD2
• STD3: x3.5
• STD4: 240M
• STD5: R709 Rec709 is the most commonly used gamma; it's the default HDTV standard gamma.
• STD6: x5.0

Hyper Gamma
Sony do eight HyperGamma curves, two of which are optimised for 100% white clip in a TV workflow (HG 1 and 2), and four for the 109% white clip generally used in traditional film style workflow (HG 3 to 8). Having chosen your white clip point, two curves are available to either optimise for maximum highlight handling (HG 2 and 4) or for low light conditions (HG 1 and 3).

• HG1 3250G36: Good for low-light: brighter mid-tones.
• HG2 4600G30: Where extra dynamic range is more important.
• HG3 3259G40: Good for low-light: brighter mid-tones.
• HG4 4609G33: Where extra dynamic range is more important.
• HG7 8009G40: 800% range. Good for low-light: brighter mid-tones.
• HG8 8009G33: 800% range. Where extra dynamic range is more important.

NOTE: How to read these hypergamma codes: eg "8009G33" breaks down as:
• 800 means 800% range of exposure is captured
• 9 means it clips at 109%, giving you 9% more latitude. 0 clips at 100%
• G33 means you should expose an 18% reflectance gray-card at 33% on the vectorscope.

S-Log 1: Exploits the full range of the F55 chip.

S-Log 2: is said to have 1300% dynamic range, capturing 14 stops of latitude. (REC709 captures about 5 stops.) S-Log2 places 18% gray at 32%. It will record 108% in the hi lights

S-Log 3: also has 1300% dynamic range, capturing 14 stops of latitude but places Grey at about 45% and white at about 72% giving a more accepted exposure. It will only record at 90% white so although easier to expose it is not so forgiving in post in the highlights.

What this means to me is that if the footage is to be graded by a known colourist I would stick with S-Log2 otherwise S-Log3.
Also in Low light scenarios use S-Log 3.


Click here for info on editing using Avid, FCP, Premiere etc. Sony are releasing camera upgrades through 2013, and Adobe etc have released support for XAVC. Meanwhile I'm gathering info on post workflows. Little bit more information:

Gamma and Log: recommended settings.

"Minimum Focus" PL Lens Test on my Canon Zoom and Sony Primes; I wanted to establish "What's the smallest object I can fill the frame with, with my lenses at minimum focus distance?"

Excellent 2-part video overview from Andy Shipsides at Abelcine.

F55 brochure Sony's marketing material.

Technical Q&A  Discussions on tech questions, moderated by Peter Crithary from Sony Production.

Record-format options Flow-charts to illustrate multiple Combination Recording capabilities: eg the F55 can simultaneously record 4K XAVC (master) and 50mbs 4:2:2 (offline) to the same internal SxS card.

Other Tech

High Frame Rates
Being able to shoot at upto 150 fps if shooting 25p or 180 fps if you’re shooting 23.98p, 24p, 29.97 or 59.94 at full HD and 2K means you can know add Slow Mo with no compromise in quality meaning ramping in the edit has no compromise as oppose to previously on many camera when you had to shoot 720 at just 50fps.

Aliasing and Moire
These effects are seen is a rainbow pattern across a repeating pattern or straight lines becoming distorted especially on things like brick walls and fast moving objects. In essence for both the Bolex and the F55 this shouldn’t be a major problem as its really associated with CMOS sensor cameras like the F5 or C300 to a greater or less extent.

If you want to know more visit Allistair Chapmans site Here.

Centre Scan mode for S16
This means you can use S16mm lenses but also if selected with 35mm acts as a digital doubler when shooting up to 2k as it’s a 4k chip.

These are useful when shooting a flat image (RAW or S-LOG) as it gives a “look” on the view finder and / or on a monitor which often ehlps clients to understand what they are getting or potential grade options. In AVID these can be switched on or off as an easy start point for grading.


For more detailed information visit Allister Chapman’s Website here.
Alternatively you can also try Sony’s community website here.

Dry Hire

I do rent my kit out to individuals and production companies but I will need proof of insurance and a reference, contact me to discuss.

. . .

Full Kit List

Camera Body & Power
1x Sony F-55 35mm Digital Film Camera
1x Digital Bolex (D16) S16 Digital Film camera
1x Go Pro Hero 3+
1x 4 x IDX Battery Charger
5x Batteries An easy days filming with no charge.
1x ANGENIEUX OPTIMO DP Compact Zoom 16-42mm Film compact zoom
1x ANGENIEUX OPTIMO DP Compact Zoom 30-80mm Film compact zoom
Grip & Lighting
1x TruColor HS LED soft lighting (2k soft) Click Here for more info
1x Trucolor LS LED soft lighting (1.2k) Click Here for more info
1x Dedo 4.1 LED package 3 light package
1x Mini Litepanel with Battery
2x Lightweight Stands
1x Sandbags
1x Reflector
2x Magic Arms plus clamps Large & Small
* Fulling insured with £2 million public liability.
1x TV Logic VFM- 056W HD 5.6”LCD Monitor
1x TV Logic case + strap + magic arm for on camera  
Head & Legs
1x F4 FLUID Head on 3 Stage carbon Fibre Satchler legs Heavyweight Tripod & Fluid Head
Camera Support
1x ARRI MMB Matte Box
1x ARRI FF5 Follow Focus
1x MCS-B002 Moosebars
3x TIFFEN S/E ND Grad 0.3 / 0.6 / 0.9 Filters 6x4
1x TIFFEN Pola Filters 6x4
1x 18" MacBook Pro with Thunderbolt Laptop Computer
1x Thunderbolt Sonnet SxS Card Reader
2x 128GB SxS Cards 4 hours filming on XAVC codec (7hrs on MPEG)
1x Sennheiser 416 Top Mic
1x Micron Radio Mic
1x BMW 320 Estate Transport