The 1 – Shooting a short with the BMC Pocket and much coffee

2 Weeks ago Lukas Schuler of AB-GEDREHT asked me, if I would like to DP a short film for him, on his BM Pocket camera. He got his hands on one of the first devices, and want to do a test shot, but something different than flowers and dogs in the backyard. It was a bad timing, since I already was booked at this time.

But Lukas and the guys where able to shift their schedule for me, so I was able to jump on the bandwagon.  We saw plenty of great footage from Phillip Bloom,  John Brawley, Peter Moon and some others – mostly handheld, available light stuff – that’s what the Pocket was made for, right? But our goal was to see how it behaves in a typical narrative production environment. With lights and flags and a rig and all the bells and whistles.

I was really curious since I don’t have a BM-Pocket Camera, nor did I even touched one before. Also I saw all the panic going on on the forums, regarding black spots and white orbs.

Our camera wasn’t re-calibrated yet, but I was pretty confident, that I will be able to work around those gotchas.

Location scouting

After asking in about any gas station  around here, Lukas was finally able to get hold of one, we can shoot in for 2 nights.

We met there and had some coffee, while checking the location. Looked pretty good to me, not too new, a bit gritty, dirty light of all sorts, temperatures  and flavors – just how I like it.


Day one

12:20 – On location at the gas station – having coffee.

We had accessed from midnight till about 5 in the morning (needless to say, that I had a jet-lag after that).

After some more coffee, while the art department redressed the gas station and covered all logos (so I can track on a generic brand name on it in post), we sat up the camera for our first shot.


The classic wide establishing shot from a crane. Luckily it was raining cats and dogs, so we didn’t have to wet down the street, just the part of the gas station, that has a roof over the pumps.

We had a few more shots outside and two wide shots inside and everything went well, so we called it a day around 5 and had some more coffee.

I mainly used the Samyang 24,35 and 85mm and also a Nikon 50mm f1.4 AIS – all of them, with and without Metabones Speedbooster. For one shot (behind the cigarettes) we used a 14mm Lumix.

Lighting was two 5bank and 3 2bank FloLights, some flags and a 4×4 diffusion. For the outdoor shots we also had Cycloramas to light up the buildings and background a bit.

The BMCPocket was in a Tilta cage with a TVLogic monitor. I think we used 2 or 3 batteries per night. At the end of the second night we also hooked up V-mount, to power the camera, since one of the aftermarket batteries didn’t charge.

Day two

Arrived at the station and had some coffees.  At this night we had a ton of dialog. The problem was, in the gas station are about a dozen cooling shelves and fridges, every one makes a different hum and noise. Unfortunately we where not allowed to switch them off – bad news for the sound department.

Shooting went quite good, and we had a wrap just before the station opens.


On the next day I got up super late. First thing I did, was some fresh coffee, and a look at the material, while having even more coffee.  Even though it’s “only HD” and “only ProRes” (compared to the 2.5k uncompressed raw material, I usually get from my BMCs),  it looked much better than I thought.


A few days later, Lukas had done the editing and we did the color-grading together. While ProRes it’s not exactly as flexible as raw, it grades just fine and we where super happy with the look.

Than came the thing I was really scared of, audio with freezer hum and fan.

It was bad, and I mean like in really, really bad.

The audio we took outside was great- and yes we recorded all audio in the PocketCam, using a JuicedLink BMC366 preamp and a Rode NTG3 (Oktava hyper indoors) – . I don’t think the Pocket has an audio problem, as many say.

But the indoor takes where sheer horror because of the hum.  I’m not an a pro audio guy, so I was sending the material to a friend in a recording studio and asked him, if he could do something about it.

After listening to the tracks, he called me, and told me there is not much, that he can do withou really hurting the dialog. Damn! So I was back on square one.


I bit the bullet, made me some coffee and tried it myself. I did my best, but it is still far from a good audio track.

Maybe we can do an ADR session later, but I load it up anyway, so you guys can see at least the image quality, you can expect from the Pocket in a typical narrative situation, and that was the reason for the test anyway.

And yeah, if anybody has the appetite, to try to fix the audio, I gladly provide a download link. Would love to see it with a better track, I think the images definitely deserve that.


Lee from DuckSound was so nice and cleaned up the dialog track, so I can upload a new version soon.


Here are the new version with better audio track and some minor tweaks and – since I got a ton of requests, a Splitscreen version, before and after color grading and postproduction.



Official Making Of The One


29 thoughts on “The 1 – Shooting a short with the BMC Pocket and much coffee

Add yours

  1. Hi Frank, thats a nice short film and the image quality from the bmpcc looks amazing. I´ve been wondering on getting the bmcc. I want to ask you, is there a really big difference, about the image quality, between the bmcc and the bmpcc? Does the bmcc worth the extra thousands over the bmpcc? Thanks in advance.

    Kind regards.

  2. For me personally – I prefer 2.5k resolution. But If you shoot only for web or TV, the Pocket is an amazing device.

    1. where do you deliver to that uses the full resolution? Right now the extra resolution is truly more beneficial to the post process more than the viewing process, so with that. The pocket is fine for ANY kind of shooting, you just have to keep in mind 1080 is all you have to play with. This camera ISN”T for everyone, just as the BMCC isn’t for everyone. And I know you said “personally” but I’m just curious if you Do actually deliver all your project to 2.5, uploading to web and otherwise.

  3. Frank I kind of underestimated your talent. This is truely the best stuff I’ve seen on the BMPCC and probably will do for some time. Jimmykorea (the one and only)

  4. Pingback: The1 | BMCC.TV
  5. Looks very good! Can you tell more about how you graded? Did you have encoding problems due to fine grain? Any chance of a download link for the ProRes version?

  6. Really? Amazing? Awesome?
    How about actually getting someone who has an ear for dialogue. The story is non-existent. The video is flat as hell. Looks like a soap opera.
    The pocket camera did a better job than the people involved. Why go thru all this effort if you have nothing to say?

    1. Mate! You sound like a Hater. How the hell does this project look like a soap!! the overall look is cinematic. Far from a soap TV Look which is flat. You can hardly call this work flat you cheek git. What work have you produced with this camera? Iv been looking for similar footage from others so far there are no others who can show me this kind of quality footage shot on the BMPCC so unless you can show me better I think its best if you just shut da F up and if you don’t have anything positive to say then say nothing and if you must say something how about you produce something similar with the BMPCC and let your work do all the talking..Dick head!!

  7. Hi Frank,

    Can you tell me what lens is that on the big Pocket close-up?

    I’m puzzled on what it is, because it has teeth wheels for focus and stop. My guess is it’s the Samyang 85mm, but it must be a cine type or something.

  8. As I didn’t know the Samyang/Rokinon cine types, I googled and found this interesting discussion:

    Then I also found a whole list of Rokinon cine lenses sold by B&H:

    As I just bought my Pocket and should be arriving soon, I’m beginning to see what to get for it. The coming lenses are just two zooms and the Speedbooster: Sigma 17-50 f/2.8 and Lumix 14-45. The latter to be able to use the Pocket OIS, which wouldn’t be available on the Sigma.

    The idea is to get some primes later on, particularly second hand Nikon primes I may find in Brazil or Argentina, where I live.

    But those Rokinons look interesting if they are any good. Now let’s look for feedback from people that may have used them.

    There’s a comment on the discussion that got my attention, which is Zeiss lenses being a rip-off (which I think they are) and Korean lenses being more interesting (metal particularly) than Japanese. Even if the guy might be Korean, it does sound like a valid argument. Rokinon are Korean, aren’t they?

  9. Groovy that comparison!

    I wonder if there were any other chances you could play with the Pocket, and using which lenses.

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