BlackMagic Pocket Cinema Camera

People's Champ ,
Sep 12, 2013 Sep 12, 2013

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I got a call from a shooter yesterday saying he plans to get

one of these cameras (because he can use the lenses from his 16mm).

He was asking for my opinion, and I couldn't offer one.

Does anyone have any direct experience with this camera?

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/964117-REG/blackmagic_design_blackmagic_pocket_cinema_camera.h...

http://www.blackmagicdesign.com/products/blackmagicpocketcinemacamera

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Guide ,
Sep 22, 2013 Sep 22, 2013

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fuzz.. you hear anything about the unit itself ? I read some reviews etc.. but haven't talked to a real person about their impressions.

Someone said the ssd or hd sometimes doesnt wanna 'release' ... no clue whats up with that. I wont use it for sound so dont care about delay etc.

DO care about the basic sturdiness of the unit and connections ( especially the wanky hdmi as opposed to bnc type stuff ).

??

will probably wanna use a cardellini clamp or something on it... to put it somewhere near the camera off the head.

??

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Guest
Sep 22, 2013 Sep 22, 2013

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I haven't used it by myself, 'cos it wouldn't fit any standard camera housing, hence I can't share any first-hand experience. Yes, HDMI connection sounds slimsy... However, you know the cure:

http://www.browntapeproducts.com/DMICatalog/thumbnails/gaffer%20tape.jpg

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Guide ,
Sep 22, 2013 Sep 22, 2013

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not to mention sash cord, hot glue, trick line and surgical tubing !

hehe..

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People's Champ ,
Sep 22, 2013 Sep 22, 2013

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Fuzzy,

I just meant that ProRes has been popular with the Mac side of the house, whereas there are other codecs, like the Avid, that have been popular on the PC side. Although the line has gotten pretty blurry lately.

I like the Cineform workflow myself. Always have.

I just don't see the need to capture to 4:2:2 if the footage has already been compressed anyway. I can understand the desire to have the 4:2:2 for color correction but Cineform transcodes to a 10 bit codec without having to capture it that way. So no extra hardware required.

artofzootography.com

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Guide ,
Sep 22, 2013 Sep 22, 2013

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steve,

dont know if this info will help..but maybe.

the hdmi out is directly from the chip, not compressed. there are various 'recorders' that can be used to get that hdmi output...some of which are really really expensive. also, of the recorders available, there is a wide variety of formats that can be used... from uncompressed to very compressed.. a full range of choices.

my nikon is only 420 so I gain nothing color wise to capture 422 in terms of what my camera sees. however, the sd card uses a mov wrapper and h264 compression, which is very highly compressed and is basically good for viewing video. It's only been the past 4-5 years that computers have become powerful enough to actually edit that without the absolute neccessity of transcoding ( like cineform ).

If I choose to get a recorder and use the hdmi out , I am getting an uncompressed stream and in the case of the little ninja 2 ( if I get that ), it will record straight from the chip and save it as either prores or avid at 422...which is easier for my pig computer to edit...and better for effects and color corrections and so on...The bit rates are in fuzzy post and the type of GOP stuff... whatever.

It saves me the time of using something like cineform to transcode ( and is better quality cause it was never compressed with h264 to begin with ... etc etc.

You already know all of this... and I'm not trying to talk you into liking it... but thought I'd explain my point of view

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People's Champ ,
Sep 22, 2013 Sep 22, 2013

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If I choose to get a recorder and use the hdmi out , I am getting an uncompressed stream ...

So I see.

I did some research... http://www.bythom.com/hdmivideo.htm

I get it now. Cool.

Edit: You might want to read this too... http://philipbloom.net/forum/threads/gh3s-hdmi-output.11442/

artofzootography.com

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Guide ,
Sep 22, 2013 Sep 22, 2013

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Guest
Sep 23, 2013 Sep 23, 2013

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I get it now. Cool.

Steven, I hope that means, you eventually realised that recording to a production codec via HDMI has nothing to do with transcoding highly compressed footage to a production codec, and, therefore, I don't need to comment on this one:

I just don't see the need to capture to 4:2:2 if the footage has already been compressed anyway. I can understand the desire to have the 4:2:2 for color correction but Cineform transcodes to a 10 bit codec without having to capture it that way. So no extra hardware required.

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People's Champ ,
Sep 23, 2013 Sep 23, 2013

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Fuzzy,

Steven, I hope that means, you eventually realised that recording to a production codec via HDMI has nothing to do with transcoding highly compressed footage to a production codec, and, therefore, I don't need to comment on this one:

What I didn't know was if the compression took place before the HDMI output. Apparently it doesn't. So he is good to go. If it had, then making a silk purse out of a cow's ear is not useless, you still get a purse, but not as good as starting with silk.

artofzootography.com

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Guide ,
Sep 23, 2013 Sep 23, 2013

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THANK YOU JOE !

( I got points !   )

time for a new thread... so I can get MORE

( this is proof positive that you get more with a smile than you do with a frown )

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Guest
Sep 23, 2013 Sep 23, 2013

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If it had, then making a silk purse out of a cow's ear is not useless, you still get a purse, but not as good as starting with silk.

Steven, if it had, I wouldn't post my comment: there are plenty threads in both PrPro and AE Forums, including my conversation with Rick Gerard, in which I try my best to explain and provide evidence that converting compressed footage into an intermediate encoded with a production codec doesn't yield better quality.

Well, I don't expect that seasoned participants read every single thread, but that subject was just discussing so often...

By the way, I guess you realise that issues described in your second link were caused by ignorance of those posters, who hadn't bothered with reading user manuals. Especially fstopper, who was so brave to blame the gadget, while too coward to publish a retraction with a new proper test...

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Guide ,
Sep 23, 2013 Sep 23, 2013

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Fuzzy,

For the nikon d800 the camera settings necessary to just 'view' full HD on a screen via hdmi requires some things those posters seemed to be missing or confused about and I kinda had to speed read the thing to make sure I wasnt missing something cool.  I don't think the link choice was given much thought really.. just happened to be about the same subject sorta. A more thorough review of whats on internet about the hdmi output would probably have led Steve to realize he can do similar with the panasonic GH3, if he wanted to avoid the avdhd and h264 he can choose.  However, his is cooler than mine, in that he can record to SD at the same time as the hdmi output ( mine has to have the storage cards OUT of the camera or it defaults to 720p ).

I think because I've seen pro cameras using HD SDI out ( bnc cables mostly ) so often on sets , that I kinda got curious a while back about what was going on with that.. not just for DIT and video playback, but for recording as well...  So using an output on a camera ( if available ) is not very weird to me.  It is probably new to Steve.  He certainly has been learning a ton of stuff in the past 6 months... and testing and researching.. so that is a really cool thing...

I tip my hat to you all, as I prepare to go get milk and BEER !  YIPEE !

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People's Champ ,
Sep 23, 2013 Sep 23, 2013

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A more thorough review of whats on internet about the hdmi output would probably have led Steve to realize he can do similar with the panasonic GH3, if he wanted to avoid the avdhd and h264 he can choose.  However, his is cooler than mine, in that he can record to SD at the same time as the hdmi output ( mine has to have the storage cards OUT of the camera or it defaults to 720p ).

I remember the conversations about my camera before it was released. Would it? Wouldn't it? Etc.

I can't forsee a time when I would "need" that quality. It is certainly nice to know that it is possible. I suppose that shooting a TVC or Documentary for broadcast, it would make sense. If you have an external monitor, and many of the trappings of a professional setup, but want to use a DSLR (or Mirrorless), then go for the best quality you can get. 

While that isn't even close to being on my RADAR, I have to wonder if there are people with a GH3 that are shooting professonal videos. Seems like there couldn't be that many, but what the heck? Could be a few.

So far, I have many many hours of shooting time dedicated to stills, and about two hours of video. If that ratio ever shifts toward video that is more than just the video equivalent of a snapshot, I will remember this conversation.

artofzootography.com

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Guide ,
Sep 23, 2013 Sep 23, 2013

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=========

So far, I have many many hours of shooting time dedicated to stills, and about two hours of video. If that ratio ever shifts toward video that is more than just the video equivalent of a snapshot, I will remember this conversation.

======

Not only THAT.. BUT .... it helps regarding your potential to help OTHERS even though you are not personally using the " features" available on your own camera. For example, you may hear of someone shooting with a red camera who is not happy with the time limit on the hard drive they are using for redraw ( fill in the mode of your choice here ).. and YOU would know that using the HD SDI out from the camera would allow them to record stuff from the chip. You would also know, with further study , that using one HD SDI out would give them 422 and using 2 HD SDI outputs would give them 444...

Basically the hdmi output from your camera and the outputs from OTHER cameras become somewhat related if considered with the 'process' in mind ( not just the particulars ).

The heights that you reach with knowing more and your ability to help others is not always based on what you can personally do with your own equipment at the moment... it is one reason why this revolution of digital stuff is so exciting ....things are changing very fast....don't you think ??

Next year your panasonic GH5 version will probably have a full chip and a crop setting for your old lenses, and HD SDI BNC outputs...and a tiny little SD card ( about 3000 Terabytes )...and a recorder will only cost about $ 5.00

how cool !

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Guide ,
Sep 23, 2013 Sep 23, 2013

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===========

While that isn't even close to being on my RADAR, I have to wonder if there are people with a GH3 that are shooting professonal videos.

==========

Furthermore... let us finally once and for all " define " the word " professional "...

For all of those here who are confused about this I'd like to say something straight out and to the point.....

'professional' means you are getting paid. Period. Amateur means you are NOT getting paid. Professional athletes used to be banned from competing in the olympics. That meant those who got paid. Prostitutes are professionals... they get paid. You can be a hobbyist and get paid for something you did.. and you are now a professional.  You can be a professional and get FIRED and NOT PAID and now you are a hasbeen.  The word professional has NOTHING TO DO WITH EQUIPMENT !!!!!

GET IT ?

hehe...I could use a bolex wind up 16mm camera to shoot some clip used in " GONE WITH THE WIND ".. and that doesn't make that bolex a professional camera.  It only make ME a professional.  Or YOU.  Lets get real here....

For those of you all messed up about making a living in film and shooting etc.... being in a union doesnt make ME a professional....anymore than YOU are an amateur because you are NOT good enough to be in the union....( oh oh, now it's getting hazy )...  unions have nothing to do with professional except that they provide the workers with health care, retirement benefits and a long term committment to staying in the craft and arts to make a stupid living.

so if you can please stop using the word " professional " , STEVEN, in such an arbitrary way, I would appreciate it.

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People's Champ ,
Sep 23, 2013 Sep 23, 2013

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OK, fair enough. I meant video for broadcast.

People get paid to shoot weddings, but I doubt the need to capture using HDMI. The desire now and then, perhaps, but not the need.

People get paid for a lot of stuff. Heck, even I have been paid for my stuff. But my telecommunications classes will never make it to television or to a movie theater near you.

I have a YouTube video that has been watched, at least in part, over 475,000 times. It will never see broadcast television nor is it very "professional" and would not count as such even if I had monetized it to allow ads.

I admit that I like really clean video, but I am perfectly happy shooting at 50Mb/s or 72Mb/s All I-Frame.  I shoot that way, and edit it natively, without Cineform. Because my PC is powerful enough to handle it. As is your Pig, but if I needed to move between Premiere Pro and some other program, I might want to use Cineform to help me.

artofzootography.com

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People's Champ ,
Sep 23, 2013 Sep 23, 2013

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By the way, I guess you realise that issues described in your second link were caused by ignorance of those posters, who hadn't bothered with reading user manuals. Especially fstopper, who was so brave to blame the gadget, while too coward to publish a retraction with a new proper test...

Yes. Just a cautionary tale. Would not want to make the same mistakes.

artofzootography.com

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LEGEND ,
Sep 12, 2013 Sep 12, 2013

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There are some flaws with the camera that may not make it suitable for all situations.

1. No time remaining indicator.  That's right, there's absolutely no way to know how much record time is left on the card.  And the time display only shows you the record time for the current clip, not all clips, so you can't even do the math and figure out how much record time is left.  It's pure guesswork, and entirely possible to run out of record time without any warning.

2. No audio meters.  Yep, again a wholly unforgivable oversight on the part of BM.  There is absolutely no way to know what level you're recording at.  You can plug in a set of headphones and listen to make sure it isn't overmodulating, but that's hardly a precise method for professional use.

3. Small batteries.  The Pocket Cinema Camera uses a standard Nikon battery, but not a very large one, and you only get 20 to 30 minutes of time out of any given battery.  That means you may need a couple dozen to carry around if you're in the field without power.

4. Black Hole Sun.  There is a sensor flaw in the camera which creates a sort of 'black hole' in any area of severely overexposed highlights.  This may not be a big deal if you always have control over lighting, but can be an issue when you don't and have to overexpose a part of the frame in order to properly expose the subject.

5. Bad audio.  You will definitely want to use double-system audio with this camera.  The built-in mics are pretty anemic, but even when a good mic is plugged in, the sound is still sub-par and not very usable.  Plan on picking up a Zoom or Tascam for use with this camera.

Those are the factual 'flaws' with the camera.  But in my research, there is a subjective 'flaw' as well.  While the image is quite filmlike, it is very much a 16mm film look (perhaps befitting the Super 16 sized sensor), not a Hollywood film look.  Ignoring dynamic range, I feel the GH2 actually produces a more detailed, higher quality image.  The BMPCC produces a soft, almost de-focused looking image by comparison.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ocp_ewJyOVU

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cLjy5jTvjn4

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People's Champ ,
Sep 12, 2013 Sep 12, 2013

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Thanks, Jim.

I have passed all of this along to the shooter.

I also left the impression that I came up with all of this info on my own.

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People's Champ ,
Sep 24, 2013 Sep 24, 2013

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People's Champ ,
Sep 24, 2013 Sep 24, 2013

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These videos were shot with the Blackmagic.

http://www.youtube.com/user/FriendlysRestaurant?feature=watch

Captured to a SSD card, connected to a laptop for monitoring the scopes, RAW files to Resolve to ProRes for the edit, brought back the EDL for the color work.

Resolve's 3D tracker to help make the eyes pop without using a key.

(Post Magazine article from June issue.

artofzootography.com

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People's Champ ,
Sep 24, 2013 Sep 24, 2013

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Thanks!

I have forwarded your links to the shooter.

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People's Champ ,
Sep 24, 2013 Sep 24, 2013

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Get this...

I just heard back from the shooter, and he has scrapped the idea

of getting the BlackMagic Camera, and bought a GH3 instead.

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Guide ,
Sep 24, 2013 Sep 24, 2013

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sound choice.. cheaper body, can get more lenses etc.

hey, Joe, I'm curious.. u got any suggestions re: this...

I'm gonna start learning speedgrade a little bit...using cs6 creative suite...

am thinking I can do edit roughcut in ppro, then render as dpx to speedgrade, then go back to ppro if needed ...does that sound smart to you?

My problem i think will be transistions if I do those before going to speedgrade.. what do you think ??

??

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People's Champ ,
Sep 24, 2013 Sep 24, 2013

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I have yet to utilize SpeedGrade... but I've seen it on TV:

Adobe Premiere Pro Help / Working with Adobe SpeedGrade

http://helpx.adobe.com/premiere-pro/using/speedgrade.html

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