Bertone Visuals Sony F55.
The CineAlta Sony F55 is the latest addition to our cine camera department. It has been accessorized in great detail to be highly flexible and friendly toward First ACs and Camera Operators.
Indeed, we selected mechanical accessories from Vocas a manufacturer from Netherlands that makes solid parts with a great design and also a pleasant overall aesthetic.
Although not visible in the pictures above, at Bertone Visuals we are very satisfied about the hand-held style configuration that we came up because it features nice wooden handle with a start & stop button together with adjustable metallic arms connecting to the camera plate with robust “rosette” joints. For those customers that might not like to have the articulated extension arms connected directly with the base plate, we also offer, as an alternative, a “rosette” support piece that mounts on the light weight 15mm rods. In doing so the position of the handles it is shifted more forward and the distance from operator’s chest is much more increased and comfortable.
For this camera package we envisioned an usage on the fluid head with the 19mm studio rods or with the 15mm studio rods although this last solution requires an additional Arri Quick Release on the bottom.
As official follow focus for the package we recommend the O’Connor CFF-1 since it is accurate, solid and mainly offers the possibility to be mounted on 19mm rods as well as on 15mm rods with an adaptor.
When the camera is in studio mode with 19mm rods we offer the Arri Matte Box MB28 that comes with a rich kit of adaptor rings, hard matte mask and barn doors. When the camera is used hand-held style with the light weight mini 15mm rods we suggest our light weight clip-on Matte Box Arri LMB15 which also comes with a rich kit of accessories.
The last, but not least important mechanical accessory for this F55 package is the MTF lens adaptor. This mount adaptor allows to mount Canon EF lenses on a camera that normally features a PL mount. At Bertone Visuals we have a full set of six Canon Cinema CN-E primes that besides being 4K certified lenses they also have 11 iris blades for nice circular bokhe. However, the PL mount is always an option if DPs want to go for our Zeiss CP2 or our Cooke S4i or for the phenomenal Leica Summilux-C.
For on board monitoring we have a wide variety of choices: TVLogic 5.6”, Transvideo Rainbow HD 7”, Leader LV5330, SmallHD AC7 or the SmallHD DP7 that has the possibility to render the Sony S-Log, besides many other advanced features like “high brightness” (it doesn’t need a sun hood) and preview LUTs.
One key accessory of our Sony F55 is the Switronix JetPack that not only converts a V-lock mount to an Anton Bauer Gold Mount, but it also offers multiple kinds of power plugs to provide juice to accessories via two P-Taps, one 5V Lemo, one 7.2 V Lemo, and one 12V Lemo. With the Jetpack by Switronix it is easy to add to the F55 a Cine Tape, powering a monitor if you don’t want to use batteries and you have plenty of options for lens control devices such as the Preston FI+Z, or the single channel Axis 1 by Hocus products.
Finally, the JetPack has a USB power out port that becomes extremely useful when you have to power wireless HD transmitter such as the Paralinx ArrowPlus, the Paralinx Tomahawk or the Teradek Bolt Pro. With the diffusion of the Mōvi M10 these new SDI and HDMI video transmitters and receivers became very popular also on hand-held camera set-ups and with a piece of Velcro and a USB port or a P-Tap the DP the First AC and the Director can see the video feed on a SmallHD DP7 with handles and a X-Port on the back of it.
The X-Port is a new product for power management introduced at NAB 2014 by SmallHD manufacturer of on board monitors.
To complete this discussion about “power” we recommend to use with the Sony F55 the Anton Bauer VCLX CA2 as block batteries and the PAG Gold Mount as on board batteries.
The very cool aspect about these british expensive batteries, PAG, is that they are “stackable”! Which means that you can pile them up on the rear of the camera or on the recharger itself. For instance, If you have only two slots available on the battery recharger (Anton Bauer T2) you can stuck-up them on top of each other up to four batteries per channel and a dual re-charger turns into a eight batteries re-charger!
Now they are my favorite batteries and accordingly to their yellow stickers they have no restrictions on flights differently from the Anton Bauer HCX batteries.
The Sony CineAlta F55, differently from the Sony F5 and the Red Epic features a global shutter, that although is not comparable to a rotative mechanical shutter like the one on the Sony F65 it is a very useful addition because it prevents artifacts and jello effect when for any reason the camera has to be panned or tilted abruptly. Another important positive aspect of the F55 is its small foot print and light weight that makes it suitable for a new gimbal such as the new Free Fly System Mōvi M15.
This camera can record compressed footage in camera via SXS pro+ media cards using the new XAVC Sony codec. However, for theatrical releases where color depth and resolution comes very handy, we recommend to use the Sony AXS-R5 16 bit raw recorder that records .mxf footage in 2K and 4K up to 240 frames per second. Differently from other cameras, the transcoding to HD for the editor is not mandatory anymore, because if the non linear editing workstation is powerful enough the .mxf 4K footage can be imported directly on the time line of Premiere CS6/CC or Avid Media Composer. In January I shot two HFR (high frame rate) productions in cinema 4K resolution (not UltraHDTV) and the editing was executed smoothly natively in 4K at Bertone Visuals with Adobe Premiere CS6 on a old generation Apple Mac Pro 3.3Ghz with 32GB of RAM and a 6G SAS raid 5 connected to it. Sony makes available online a free plugin for Premiere CS6/CC and Avid Media Composer to import .mxf Sony raw clips coming from F65, F55, F5 and Nex FS-700 with AXS-R5 4K/2K Raw recorders. Finally, Sony also offers a free Raw Viewer that allows to set up looks, save LUTs, export a CDL and it also transcodes 4K .mxf Raw into an Apple ProRes Codec, or in a DPX sequence if needed.
Finally, with the Sony F55 is possible to shoot using the new Log curve S-Log 3 Cine and also with the more traditional S-Log 2 curve to maintain compatibility with the Sony F65 that is in the process to be upgraded to this new Log curve after firmware 4.0. Basically, the S-Log 3 cine curve is less steep on the graph than the S-Log 2 and the blacks get expanded in a way that gives more options in a color correction session.
Hope you found this blog post informational about the potential of the Sony F55, but if you still have questions please do not hesitate to contact me by email with questions.
In the meanwhile good luck to DP Richard Vialet who is shooting here in LA his six weeks feature with our Sony F65 as A camera and our Sony F55 as B camera. Definitely a great Sony 4K cinema production environment similar to the one that Claudio Miranda ASC used on his last Disney feature Tomorrowland (Sony F65 + Sony F55).