A few days ago, Blackmagic contacted me, and asked, if I would like to give their new Cinema Camera a test ride.
Of course I want. This here will be a diary of my findings and opinions.
So if you are curious in that camera, stop by frequently and read the latest updates.
DAY 1. – THE EAGLE HAS LANDED
The friendly UPS guy just dropped this on my doorstep.
Unfortunately I still have to edit this commercial, so I don’t have much time to play with the BMC today.
But during a little render pause, I slapped an Nikon adapter and a 35mm Samjang on it, and gave it a first glance.
What really stroked me, when I looked at that few seconds I shot, was the DOF.
Having the sensor size in mind, I was prepared for much deeper DOF, like 16mm film.
But when you come from Super 35 and not from a FF-sensor, the difference is much less, than I thought.
Even at f2.8 or f4, it’s still very nice, and not any videoish.
FOR THE RECORD:
This is my first and last unboxing video ever …. I mean it, really.
I did it just because I had a ton of requests bombing my mailbox.
Have fun with it guys.
DAY 2 – Breaking out the big guns
As you might know, I have a nice set of vintage (late 1960s) Zeiss primes.
I think they complement the BMCC very well, if you are out for an organic look.
Here is a quick and dirty low light test between two thunderstorms.
800 ISO on a Tokina 12-24 f4 at 12mm (hence the muddy edges).
If you want to play with it, here is the DNG frame:http://www.eoshd.com/comments/topic/1196-frank-glencairn-blackmagic-low-light-test/
Bunch of DNGs to play with.
Download here: http://www.filedropper.com/dng
Prepping for a lowlight (candles, oil lamps and skintone) shootout between BMC and FS100.
And yeah, I know this is cruel, but I guess a lot of you guys want to know how the BMC holds up against the official “Queen of the Night”
BMCC vs FS100 Lowlight Shootout
Sorry for the shaky footage at the FS100 part, but it started raining and I just grabbed the Fs100 and shot the rest hand held in a rush.
I used a Samyang 35mm f1.4 at f2.8 and a Heliopan IR/UV filter.
Lighting was the oil lamp on the table, a oil lamp about 8 ft away on the wall and a garden torch in the background.
Changing the ISO on raw, doesn’t make any difference, it`s just metadata (that`s the reason I just used 800 ISO), but makes a difference while ProRes recording.
Of course I could have gone way higher with the ISO on the FS100, but why compare ISO 16000 to ISO 800?
Regarding the speed of the camera, the FS100 wins hands down because of way higher usable ISO. It’s the queen of the night, period.
But the BMC gets a way nicer image out of 800 ISO, than the FS100.
The grading was done pretty rudimentary. If I had used masks and secondary grading, I could have get even more out of it.
But this is just to give you guys an idea, what to expect.
Here we go:
Edit: just saw it looks awful on Youtube. I make the file downloadable and also try Vimeo.
Vimeo version sould be online any minute: http://vimeo.com/48407841
I recommend to download the original file there
And here are some of the original frames, when you want to play with that:
Split window comparison.
As you can see, the BMC holds the highlight of the oil lamp much better, than the FS100.
Whereby the Sony can see the dark blue sky. Skintones a bit nicer on the BMC though.
DAY 5 Country Fair
Played with a 12-24 f4 Tokina and a 50mm 1.2 Nikon today.
I really like the “richness” of the color, I can get out of the BMCC.
Grading was a breeze.
But I found, that handholding this camera is not for me.
A lot of the material I shot today, is pretty shaky.
It really needs some sort of tripod, slider, cinebag, crane or at least a well balanced shoulder rig IMHO.
DAY 6 – Are you listening? Audio and the BMCC
Since I had a ton of requests regarding audio.
Q: Can I just plug in my mic?
A: Yup, but you dont get stelar audio that way. You need at least a powered mic like the Rode NTG2.
Q: Can I just plug in my NTG2 powered mic?
A: Yup, but having a external field mixer or at least a low noise pre amp like the JuicedLink RA333 Riggy Assist or Micro, would give you a much better signal.
Q Since the BMCC has no VU meters (yet), how do I see what my levels are?
A: You need a outboard monitor anyway, so get one, that has build in VU meters. Even if BM updates the camera with VU meters, they are still on the build in monitor, where they are hard to see under certain lighting conditions.
Q: do I want an external recorder.
A: External recorders do work, but why go through all that extra time and trouble of syncing everything in your NLE, when the BMCC records a superb signal?
In fact it records a better signal (48kHz at 24bit uncompressed) than most, more expensive cameras (typical 44.1kHz at 16bit). All you need is a low noise field mixer or pre-amp.
DAY 8 – A new rig and more audio.
When I came home from shooting, two – eagerly awaited – packages arrived.
there is some new updated and very important information regarding audio available now, make sure to check this article http://frankglencairn.wordpress.com/2012/11/13/bmc-and-audio-juice-up-your-blackmagic-cinema-camera/ before you made any decicions regarding audio.
DAY 9 – Bavaria Rain (Blackmagic Remake)
Made a remake of “Bavarian Rain” – my first test with the FS100 (https://vimeo.com/25007209), but this time with the Black Magic Camera. Sorry for the shaky motion, I wanted to go lightweight and had total sub par tripod with me and it was pretty windy.
Glass was my vintage Vivitar Series 1 zoom 35-85mm 2.8. This is from the first batch, that was still made by Kino Precision.
Recorded in raw – transcoded to CineformRaw – dropped into Premiere Timeline and a quick grade with Colorista.
Make sure you download the original file from my Vimeo channel.
Heads up – regarding SSD drives
During some steadicam tests yesterday, I run into dropped frames the first time.
Since I was watching the steadycam monitor, and not the BMC monitor, that shows dropping frames by a blinking “rec” icon, I found out, when I loaded the material into Resolve.
Usually on your SSD is a folder for every take, that contains a wave file and a all the DNGs .
When you load those into Resolve, you don’t see the folders, but the material appears as single clips in the Resolve browser.
What I saw (I shot two takes) was the usual clip icon and – lo and behold – a folder full of DNGs.
Though I was able to import those, but they came in as single frames and super short clips with some images totally missing aka dropped frames.
The second take I took was just fine.
So I looked into the SSD, which is a Kingston 240GB SSDnow 200 V+ – I shot most of my BMC material on this drive and it never gave any trouble.
After reading a bit into the nature of the SSD beasts, I formated the drive and it was fine after that.
Long story short: Just dumping and deleting files only works for a while – you need to format it now and than.
To be safe, you may want to format the SSD every time (or maybe every other time) after dumping your footy.
Actually that’s the same, what most guys do with SD cards. A little extra step, that can save your butt.
…to be continued.