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Old November 29th, 2013, 12:38 PM   #1
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Should I get the BMCC or the Sony FS100?

Hello!

As you could probably tell from the title of this post, I am torn between the BMCC and the Sony FS100. I would truly appreciate any insight that any of you might be able to provide in helping me make this decision.

Why am I purchasing a new camera? My current primary camera is the JVC HM700. It works great and I love it. It just isn't the right tool for every job. More frequently I find myself doing film style shoots where the shots are carefully planned, blocked out, and lit. I am really starting to feel the limitations of the JVC for these shoots. With its small sensors, achieving shallow depth of field is a significant challenge. Its 8 bit codec results in noisy shadow areas and there is very little latitude for color grading.

So I want to get a camera that is better suited for controlling depth of field and records to a stronger codec that will handle color grading a bit better. Unfortunately, I can not seem to decide between the BMCC or the Sony FS100 with an external recorder.

I like that the Sony has a super 35 sensor and the depth of field control that it offers. I like the layout of the controls, the ability to use an external recorder with HDMI, and a lot of the projects I have seen shot with this camera look great to me. I also like that I have the option to go straight from the camera to edit and skip color grading when needed for quick turn around projects.

I have some concerns with the Sony though- I have read that the uncompressed HDMI output is still only 8 bit. I am not sure how well uncompressed 8 bit will hold up when color grading. I also am concerned about the highlight handling. Many of the videos I have seen online from this camera have very harsh highlights. Users on the FS100 board have assured me that highlight handling can be controlled via the camera's picutre profiles.

With the BMCC I like that it records to an SSD, the ability to shoot ProRes or RAW, and how well the material holds up to color grading. I also like the price.

My concerns with the BMCC include the sensor size. Having barely ever shot on a camera that uses anything larger than a 2/3" sensor I really don't have a good feel for how big of a sensor I really need for good DOF control. Is the BMCC sensor large enough to offer me a good level of DOF control, or is that still going to be a challenge?

I am also concerned with the BMCC when it comes to workflow. Though my primary goal with this camera purchase is to get a camera that shoots filmic images that hold up well under color grading, it would also be nice to use that same camera for fast turn around projects where I don't have time to do large amounts of color grading. The BMCC seems to be a camera designed for colorists, and though I think that is great, it does concern me a bit when I consider that not 100% of my projects are that high paying or have that much time.

In an ideal world, the camera I think I would like is the BM Production 4K camera. I don't really need the 4k resolution, but the super35 sensor and global shutter are very appealing. It doesn't seem like that camera is shipping yet though, and I have projects coming up at the end of January that I would like to have a new camera for.

So.... any thoughts anyone has that might help enlighten me would be highly appreciated. Every time I think I have decided on which camera I want, something makes me change my mind. So... help....
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Old November 29th, 2013, 04:35 PM   #2
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Re: Should I get the BMCC or the Sony FS100?

I have an FS100 and shoot corporate video as well as documentaries and narrative work. My films have been shown in festivals and look great on the big screens. I shoot things pretty much the way I want in camera, but on a recent 30 minute short I did a lot of color grading for different effects. I didn't have any problems. You will, of course, see posts from people who believe they have to have raw or a different codec to do that, but that's a bit reminiscent of people who said you couldn't key HDV back when it first came out. You light properly and you can key it with no trouble at all.

The Black Magic Cinema Camera has, I believe, the S16 size chip, which is about the same size as the 2/3" chip broadcast cameras. If you get fast lenses (ie., f1.2, f1.4) and shoot pretty tight, then you can control your DOF to a fairly decent degree. Just remember than many of the cheaper lenses aren't always as sharp as they should be wide open, so it would be good to get quality lenses if you're going to work with them wide open a lot. Also, since the camera is built the way it is, it's a lot like shooting with a DSLR. You'll need a rig, probably an EVF like the Zacuto EVF/Z-finder, if you are doing lots of outdoor work, or something similar. I have seen some nice footage come out of that camera. For my purposes, I prefer the big chip of the FS100 and the quality of its' 24p HD footage is perfectly good enough for the work I do. I've never lost any work or had any film turned down at a festival because of the camera I use or the codec it uses.

If you really want or need raw recording, you might wait until that new Panasonic GH4 (rumored) comes out. It allegedly will shoot raw and 4K for about the same price as the BMPC, which was supposed to be shipping months ago but hasn't done so yet. There's also the Ikonoscop which has the S16 sensor and it''s pretty spectacular for using a chip that size. It costs more than the BM I think.

There's no one single camera that's perfect for everything. What makes sense to me is to put money into good lenses, then get the camera that will do the job for most of what you need without going overboard. Then if you get a high paying job that requires 4K or raw, build the rental cost into your price and rent the camera for that project.
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Old November 29th, 2013, 11:47 PM   #3
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Re: Should I get the BMCC or the Sony FS100?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Pryor View Post
I have an FS100 and shoot corporate video as well as documentaries and narrative work. My films have been shown in festivals and look great on the big screens. I shoot things pretty much the way I want in camera, but on a recent 30 minute short I did a lot of color grading for different effects. I didn't have any problems. You will, of course, see posts from people who believe they have to have raw or a different codec to do that, but that's a bit reminiscent of people who said you couldn't key HDV back when it first came out. You light properly and you can key it with no trouble at all.

The Black Magic Cinema Camera has, I believe, the S16 size chip, which is about the same size as the 2/3" chip broadcast cameras. If you get fast lenses (ie., f1.2, f1.4) and shoot pretty tight, then you can control your DOF to a fairly decent degree. Just remember than many of the cheaper lenses aren't always as sharp as they should be wide open, so it would be good to get quality lenses if you're going to work with them wide open a lot. Also, since the camera is built the way it is, it's a lot like shooting with a DSLR. You'll need a rig, probably an EVF like the Zacuto EVF/Z-finder, if you are doing lots of outdoor work, or something similar. I have seen some nice footage come out of that camera. For my purposes, I prefer the big chip of the FS100 and the quality of its' 24p HD footage is perfectly good enough for the work I do. I've never lost any work or had any film turned down at a festival because of the camera I use or the codec it uses.

If you really want or need raw recording, you might wait until that new Panasonic GH4 (rumored) comes out. It allegedly will shoot raw and 4K for about the same price as the BMPC, which was supposed to be shipping months ago but hasn't done so yet. There's also the Ikonoscop which has the S16 sensor and it''s pretty spectacular for using a chip that size. It costs more than the BM I think.

There's no one single camera that's perfect for everything. What makes sense to me is to put money into good lenses, then get the camera that will do the job for most of what you need without going overboard. Then if you get a high paying job that requires 4K or raw, build the rental cost into your price and rent the camera for that project.
Wow Bill, thanks for all the information. This was exactly the kind of feedback I was looking for.

To be honest, I don't know if I really need RAW recording. I do basic color grading at time, and I know the footage from my JVC HM700 doesn't hold up well at all under grading, but I don't know if I will have jump into RAW to get anything better. Honestly, I would rather shoot something a bit compressed to make archiving easier.

Just a couple questions though- You mentioned that the sensor in the BMCC is about the same size as super 16, which is not that far off from the 2/3" chip cameras I have used in the past. I was under the impression that the BMCC used an APS-C sized sensor, which I thought was quite a bit larger than super 16, though not quite as large as super 35.

If it is true that the sensor in the BMCC isn't much larger than what I would have with a 2/3" chip camera, I think this goes a long way to helping me make my decision. I definitely want greater control over DOF than what a 2/3" inch chip offers.

You also mentioned that you recently did a 30 second spot with the FS100 with a decent amount of color grading. Is this online anywhere that I could possible check it out?

Finally, when you shoot with your FS100, do you tend to record to memory cards, or do you use an external recorder over HDMI?

Thanks!
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Old November 30th, 2013, 02:20 AM   #4
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Re: Should I get the BMCC or the Sony FS100?

Some wrong info from Bill, sorry to say.

As I recall, compared to a full frame camera like the Canon 5d, the FS100 has about 1.6 crop factor with sensor close to size of an APC sensor, which in turn is close to cinema 35mm. That means a 28mm lens would have an angle of coverage the same as a a 44 mm or so lens on a full 35mm still camera. The depth of field does not change and 28 mm lenses have a deeper depth of field than say a 50 mm lens. Fstop also effect depth of field with lower fstop on a given focal length providing shallower depth of field. Because you have to employ lower focal length lenses to achieve a similar angle of view as sensor size reduces, we end up have deeper depths of field.

In the BMCC EF the crop factor rises to around 2.2 or 2.3. Thus when you shoot a normal aangle view, you will encounter a little deeper depth of field. However, there is still plenty of shallow depth capabity in the format. The MFt version may differ depending on its effective sensor area to.

However, both cinema cameras still have much shallower field depth at a given angle of view than a a 2/3 or 16mm sensor. You can research differences in sensor sizes and look ar sensor comparison chart to get an ua better understanding of sensor size. you can also get phone apps that help.

Only things I will say about about Black Magic cinema is that raw is fantastic to work with in post, and the camera is super simple to shoot. Automation is very limited, but that is in keeping with simple cinema camera shooting. When shooting with it you concentrate on proper exposure and focus, and all the rest is done in post.
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Old November 30th, 2013, 08:06 AM   #5
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Re: Should I get the BMCC or the Sony FS100?

Adam, will you need audio? The FS100 has two XLR inputs. I know for me, that's a necessity. The BMPC doesn't have XLRs, but it does have the 3.5mm audio input. I've used such an input on my old VG10, and it worked on my wireless.
According to the BM website, the BMPC has a Super 16 size sensor.
Will you need an EVF? If so, that's another thing you're going to have to add to the BMPC, along with the rig to put it on. Personally, I have to have an EVF. That's what happens when your eyes get old.
I don't know about the BMPC, but the FS100 doesn't have ND filters. Believe me, in daytime shooting, you'll need them. I bought a screw-on variable ND filter.

I can tell you that I did a lot of shoots with my FS100, and it certainly paid for itself. But the BMPC is so inexpensive, it might be good just to buy one and try it out. I suggest renting one for a few days, see what you think. Lensrentals.com rents one for $75 for 5 days.

I'm just the opposite of you, Adam. I find I need the shoulder-mount, B4 zoom lens type camera, with true broadcast connectors. I'm probably going to sell my FS100, as my business is geared more toward broadcast shoots. I need time code in/out and SDI more than the large sensor, and my budget isn't at the F5 or C300 level just yet. 1/3" to 2/3" is good for me.
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Old November 30th, 2013, 09:10 AM   #6
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Re: Should I get the BMCC or the Sony FS100?

Hi Adam - there's no need to worry about getting "cinematic" shallow depth of field with the BMCC. Here are Dante St. James' "Outtakes", shot with the BMCC and a Samyang 35mm f1.4:




I'd get the $1995 BMCC for its lower price, 2.5K resolution, RAW and the "free" copy of the full version of Resolve, which would otherwise cost $945.

And you'll save yourself $2000 over a body only FS100.

There's a reason people who shoot digital in Hollywood shoot RAW and grade with Resolve.

Yes, RAW is more work than AVCHD, and the BMCC is harder to rig than the FS100, but the results on the screen are worth it.

And you'll still have your HM700 for run and gun :)

Good luck with your decision!

Bill
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Old November 30th, 2013, 01:53 PM   #7
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Re: Should I get the BMCC or the Sony FS100?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Barcellos View Post
However, both cinema cameras still have much shallower field depth at a given angle of view than a a 2/3 or 16mm sensor.
This is very good to know! Having not shot on anything larger than 2/3" in the past, I'm not sure how big I need to go to get a good level of control over DOF. Not every shot I do is going to require super shallow depth of field. Having a paper thin focal plane could be challenging in many situations, so I don't necessarily want that.

What I do want is the ability to make creative choices regarding DOF. To have the option of going with a shallower focus on a shot or not.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Glen Vandermolen View Post
Adam, will you need audio? The FS100 has two XLR inputs. I know for me, that's a necessity. The BMPC doesn't have XLRs, but it does have the 3.5mm audio input. I've used such an input on my old VG10, and it worked on my wireless.
According to the BM website, the BMPC has a Super 16 size sensor.
Will you need an EVF? If so, that's another thing you're going to have to add to the BMPC, along with the rig to put it on. Personally, I have to have an EVF. That's what happens when your eyes get old.
I don't know about the BMPC, but the FS100 doesn't have ND filters. Believe me, in daytime shooting, you'll need them. I bought a screw-on variable ND filter.

I can tell you that I did a lot of shoots with my FS100, and it certainly paid for itself. But the BMPC is so inexpensive, it might be good just to buy one and try it out. I suggest renting one for a few days, see what you think. Lensrentals.com rents one for $75 for 5 days.

I'm just the opposite of you, Adam. I find I need the shoulder-mount, B4 zoom lens type camera, with true broadcast connectors. I'm probably going to sell my FS100, as my business is geared more toward broadcast shoots. I need time code in/out and SDI more than the large sensor, and my budget isn't at the F5 or C300 level just yet. 1/3" to 2/3" is good for me.
Thanks so much for the reply Glen. I don't anticipate recording audio in camera. Already for several of my shoots with my HM700, which has XLR inputs, I am still running dual system. I like being able to record multiple sources to a multi-track recorder and mix all those tracks later. I also enjoy the freedom of not having the camera tethered to the audio person. Whatever camera I get, I will probably continue to handle audio the same way.

Just to be clear, I am looking at the BMCC, not the Pocket Cinema Camera. For me the $1000 price difference between the two cameras isn't that great. The slightly larger sensor of the BMCC, combined with a built in SSD drive and 2.5K resolution makes it so if I do go with Blackmagic, it will likely be the cinema camera that I get.

And I wouldn't say we are opposite in our needs. Most of my income still is from work I do with my JVC ENG style camera, with a broadcast lens, SDI, and timecode in/out. A lot of my work is multi-camera live-to-disc event video. This requires me to run cameras that have SDI and genlock.

However, the amount of work I am doing that requires 'film style' shooting is growing. For these jobs I am really feeling the limitations of my JVC. I feel it is reaching the point where this work can support the purchase of another camera that is better suited for this shooting and post production style.

The cost savings of the BMCC over the Sony is definitely something I am aware of and will factor into my decision. Also, as I watch more projects shot with the BMCC on Vimeo I am becoming more comfortable with the DOF control it offers.

Still, I am having a tough time with this decision. I am still very tempted by the fast workflow options with the FS100. The ability to white balance as I do with my ENG cameras, go straight to edit and then deliver without having to color grade is tempting.

I have downloaded RAW material from the BMCC to play around with different workflows. I have an extremely fast PC that handles the RAW material very well, but it is still a more time consuming workflow.

It is true that I will still have my JVC for projects that require faster turnarounds, but the ease of workflow with the FS100 is still tempting.

Every time I think I have made a decision, I keep changing my mind. I think I may be leaning more towards the BMCC now, based on what I have seen and read recently, but I am still far from sure.
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Old November 30th, 2013, 02:53 PM   #8
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Re: Should I get the BMCC or the Sony FS100?

Just a few more thoughts to confuse things:

1. I have the SonyVG20, and have use a Black Magic Shtuttle to record. The problem with the VG 20 was that you had no real control of image. It is a great camera, recording the same files as the FS 100, but without the controls available on the FS100 for contrast, saturation, etc. I did have a friend who had an FS100 for a while, but he sold it very soon after he got it. It seemed more complex than it needed to be, and the little VG20 was compact and much more user friendly. The FS 100 had a kind of funky design that seemed to concentrate on being different, rather than user friendly. The VG 20 is a traditional camcorder. I always felt Sony would have had a winner putting the controls of the FS100 on the compact little VG20-30 line, but they did not in order to protect the more pro FS 100 line. As a result, I think the FS100 flounders a bit, especially with the coming of the Black Magic EF and MFT line.s

2. Speaking of funky, I think the BLack Magic line is also a funky design. In seems that in in an effort to be different, they also ignored the time tested design of traditional camcorders to get their product notices. The result is a need to strap on a lot of things to make it functional, depending on your needs. I paid the $ 3k price tag for the camera, and feel it was worth. Weeks after receipt, Black Magic dropped price to $1999.00, including a copy of Resolve, which is a high end professional color correction editing system, that sells for as much as $ 1000 itself. The full version does not come with the black magic pocket version, so you can realistically argue you are getting the full size cinema camera now for the same price as the pocket version. Depending on you need to look super cool and have pretty red and blue plastic handles and knobs, the EF and MTF can be modified in many ways to make the camera more friendly to the user. Here are some things I have done because I am the geeky type, and don't shoot professionally and don't have to impress clients:



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Old November 30th, 2013, 05:24 PM   #9
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Re: Should I get the BMCC or the Sony FS100?

One of the reasons this is such a confusing job, is you have to sort through all kinds of
misinformation (both from well intentioned people trying to help you online, as well as the
'marketing' info that is put out by each camera manufacturer,) Yes, the BMCC has a
bigger chip than a 2/3 camera, but on the same token it is smaller than the FS100.
Significantly smaller. Take a look at this chart:

Blackmagic Cinema Camera Sensor Size RED Dragon Rentals Worldwide

BMCC is close to S16 but far smaller than S35. It seems to me that it would have been better
to just make it S16 so all the S16 lenses out there could have been used on it. The nonstandard
chip size is not my favorite thing about it that's for sure. So as usual, you have to weigh the
pros and cons of each camera system. How important is having a bigger sensor? How important
is Raw recording? How important is smaller file sizes (I for one LOVE being able to archive
a couple hours of footage onto a 25 gig blu ray disc! Not something you can do with Raw).
But Raw gives you better flexibility in grading.....at the cost of a good amount of time.
They are all tradeoffs. I had an FS100 and loved it. One of my friends had a BMCC. I sold my
FS100 so I could upgrade to a FS700 and have the ability to shoot higher quality footage (10 and
12 bit as well as Raw 2K and 4K if needed), but still I almost always use the built in AVCHD as it is
very good, way better than most of my clients need in fact. My friend sold his BMCC as it was such
a pain to work with in some ways. I personally can't stand touch screen controls (seems 'consumerish'
to me) and I MUCH prefer physical switches and controls on the camera body to change things like
ISO, iris, white balance, shutter speed, and so on. Others don't like all the controls on the body of
the FS100 and say it's 'too complicated'. I am fairly interested in seeing what the new S35 Black
Magic 4K cinema camera will bring to the party....that one would be more interesting to me personally.
But yeah, it's not an easy decision. Here is a TV spot shot entirely on the FS100 and graded a
decent amount in post. As an aside, I just went to the 'Hunger Games' movie with my wife, and
the fire department had paid for this spot to be playing up on the big screen during the previews
before the movie (because of course the movie was sold out well in advance).
It looked really good, even on the huge theatre screen....

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Old December 1st, 2013, 12:03 AM   #10
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Re: Should I get the BMCC or the Sony FS100?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Barcellos View Post
Just a few more thoughts to confuse things:

1. I have the SonyVG20, and have use a Black Magic Shtuttle to record. The problem with the VG 20 was that you had no real control of image. It is a great camera, recording the same files as the FS 100, but without the controls available on the FS100 for contrast, saturation, etc. I did have a friend who had an FS100 for a while, but he sold it very soon after he got it. It seemed more complex than it needed to be, and the little VG20 was compact and much more user friendly. The FS 100 had a kind of funky design that seemed to concentrate on being different, rather than user friendly. The VG 20 is a traditional camcorder. I always felt Sony would have had a winner putting the controls of the FS100 on the compact little VG20-30 line, but they did not in order to protect the more pro FS 100 line. As a result, I think the FS100 flounders a bit, especially with the coming of the Black Magic EF and MFT line.s

2. Speaking of funky, I think the BLack Magic line is also a funky design. In seems that in in an effort to be different, they also ignored the time tested design of traditional camcorders to get their product notices. The result is a need to strap on a lot of things to make it functional, depending on your needs. I paid the $ 3k price tag for the camera, and feel it was worth. Weeks after receipt, Black Magic dropped price to $1999.00, including a copy of Resolve, which is a high end professional color correction editing system, that sells for as much as $ 1000 itself. The full version does not come with the black magic pocket version, so you can realistically argue you are getting the full size cinema camera now for the same price as the pocket version. Depending on you need to look super cool and have pretty red and blue plastic handles and knobs, the EF and MTF can be modified in many ways to make the camera more friendly to the user. Here are some things I have done because I am the geeky type, and don't shoot professionally and don't have to impress clients:

Rigging a Black Magic Cinema Camera - YouTube

Wide Angle Adapter Test With Black Magic Cinema Camera. - YouTube

Demonstrationof DIY Auxilliary Battery Source for Black Magic Cinema Camera - YouTube
Thanks for the info Chris, and the videos. Whatever camera I decide on, I will definitely be rigging it out to make it more usable. I am already planning on purchasing the Letus Anamorphix adapter and some sort of V-mount battery plate. I have already invested in several V-mount batteries and wish to keep using them in the future.

For handheld run and gun stuff I will still be using my JVC HM700. This new camera I'm buying will mainly be on a tripod, slider, jib, or glidecam. So not being a traditional camcorder form factor isn't that much of a concern to me.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Gabe Strong View Post
One of the reasons this is such a confusing job, is you have to sort through all kinds of
misinformation (both from well intentioned people trying to help you online, as well as the
'marketing' info that is put out by each camera manufacturer,) Yes, the BMCC has a
bigger chip than a 2/3 camera, but on the same token it is smaller than the FS100.
Significantly smaller. Take a look at this chart:

Blackmagic Cinema Camera Sensor Size RED Dragon Rentals Worldwide

BMCC is close to S16 but far smaller than S35. It seems to me that it would have been better
to just make it S16 so all the S16 lenses out there could have been used on it. The nonstandard
chip size is not my favorite thing about it that's for sure. So as usual, you have to weigh the
pros and cons of each camera system. How important is having a bigger sensor? How important
is Raw recording? How important is smaller file sizes (I for one LOVE being able to archive
a couple hours of footage onto a 25 gig blu ray disc! Not something you can do with Raw).
But Raw gives you better flexibility in grading.....at the cost of a good amount of time.
They are all tradeoffs. I had an FS100 and loved it. One of my friends had a BMCC. I sold my
FS100 so I could upgrade to a FS700 and have the ability to shoot higher quality footage (10 and
12 bit as well as Raw 2K and 4K if needed), but still I almost always use the built in AVCHD as it is
very good, way better than most of my clients need in fact. My friend sold his BMCC as it was such
a pain to work with in some ways. I personally can't stand touch screen controls (seems 'consumerish'
to me) and I MUCH prefer physical switches and controls on the camera body to change things like
ISO, iris, white balance, shutter speed, and so on. Others don't like all the controls on the body of
the FS100 and say it's 'too complicated'. I am fairly interested in seeing what the new S35 Black
Magic 4K cinema camera will bring to the party....that one would be more interesting to me personally.
But yeah, it's not an easy decision. Here is a TV spot shot entirely on the FS100 and graded a
decent amount in post. As an aside, I just went to the 'Hunger Games' movie with my wife, and
the fire department had paid for this spot to be playing up on the big screen during the previews
before the movie (because of course the movie was sold out well in advance).
It looked really good, even on the huge theatre screen....

Capital City Fire & Rescue Volunteers on Vimeo
Thank you so much Gabe for the reply. You are absolutely correct that it is difficult to sort fact from fiction when researching these cameras and being able to read between the lines of the manufacturer's advertising copy.

Honestly, I don't know if I need or want a sensor much larger than Super 16mm. Maybe the sensor size on the BMCC will be perfect for me. I know what kind of DOF control I can get with a 2/3" camera and I want more. And I can look at graphics comparing sensor sizes to see how the size of the BMCC sensor stacks up against others. What it doesn't show me though is a DOF comparison. I am kind of thinking that since a 2/3" camera offers some DOF control, just not at the level I want, that it is highly probably a super 16 or larger sensor will be enough for me.

At this point I am kind of leaning towards the Blackmagic, though I am very likely to go back and forth and change my mind several times before I make a decision.

The whole reason I want a knew camera is to have something that offers better control of DOF than my JVC and records in a format that lends itself more to color grading. The Blackmagic camera does this. Though I have truly amazing work from both cameras, I like the highlight handling of the BMCC a bit better than the Sony. Though it does look like, with the right picture profiles, the highlight handing can be improved on the Sony.

The main benefits to the Sony, as I see it, are shallower depth of field, XLR inputs, and easier to manage files for editing. However, I don't need super shallow DOF all the time. It looks like I will likely be able to get good enough DOF control with the BMCC to accomplish my tasks. XLR inputs also aren't that necessary for me. My JVC has XLR inputs, but already I am shooting dual system for most of the kind of shoots I will be doing with this new camera.

The post workflow offered by the Sony is its biggest advantage, at least as I see it. However, I downloaded some BMCC ProRes files and were able to edit them just fine in Adobe Premiere. Basic color grading was easy enough right inside premier as well- Just tweaking the luma curve a bit and some three way color correction produced very decent results. So, when needed, it doesn't seem as if the extra workflow requirements of the BMCC will slow me down that much.

Anyway, this is what I am thinking right now. Is there anything else I should be considering in making my choice? The insights I have got from those of you who have used these cameras is extremely valuable.
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Old December 1st, 2013, 12:50 AM   #11
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Re: Should I get the BMCC or the Sony FS100?

I had a fs100, and I am getting a bmcc 2.5k

Fs100 is easy to use, with a lot of features that save you a lot to rig up the bmcc.
Bmcc has very good image quality (after grading) but it is missing a lot of features that you will expect from a video camera, you just need to expect that. And it's not run and gun, as u said you mainly do setup shoots, that will be fine

Personally I choose a bmcc because it's just $2k, you only need a 480gb ssd and external battery (I bought a ikan battery adaptor so I can still use my sony fs100 battery) total addon is $400, it's still cheaper than fs100 $4000. I use zoom H1 as audio source instead of build in mic

Even you rig it up, it's still cheaper than fs100
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Old December 1st, 2013, 01:53 AM   #12
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Re: Should I get the BMCC or the Sony FS100?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam Grunseth View Post
Thanks for the info Chris, and the videos. Whatever camera I decide on, I will definitely be rigging it out to make it more usable. I am already planning on purchasing the Letus Anamorphix adapter and some sort of V-mount battery plate. I have already invested in several V-mount batteries and wish to keep using them in the future.

For handheld run and gun stuff I will still be using my JVC HM700. This new camera I'm buying will mainly be on a tripod, slider, jib, or glidecam. So not being a traditional camcorder form factor isn't that much of a concern to me.




Thank you so much Gabe for the reply. You are absolutely correct that it is difficult to sort fact from fiction when researching these cameras and being able to read between the lines of the manufacturer's advertising copy.

Honestly, I don't know if I need or want a sensor much larger than Super 16mm. Maybe the sensor size on the BMCC will be perfect for me. I know what kind of DOF control I can get with a 2/3" camera and I want more. And I can look at graphics comparing sensor sizes to see how the size of the BMCC sensor stacks up against others. What it doesn't show me though is a DOF comparison. I am kind of thinking that since a 2/3" camera offers some DOF control, just not at the level I want, that it is highly probably a super 16 or larger sensor will be enough for me.

At this point I am kind of leaning towards the Blackmagic, though I am very likely to go back and forth and change my mind several times before I make a decision.

The whole reason I want a knew camera is to have something that offers better control of DOF than my JVC and records in a format that lends itself more to color grading. The Blackmagic camera does this. Though I have truly amazing work from both cameras, I like the highlight handling of the BMCC a bit better than the Sony. Though it does look like, with the right picture profiles, the highlight handing can be improved on the Sony.

The main benefits to the Sony, as I see it, are shallower depth of field, XLR inputs, and easier to manage files for editing. However, I don't need super shallow DOF all the time. It looks like I will likely be able to get good enough DOF control with the BMCC to accomplish my tasks. XLR inputs also aren't that necessary for me. My JVC has XLR inputs, but already I am shooting dual system for most of the kind of shoots I will be doing with this new camera.

The post workflow offered by the Sony is its biggest advantage, at least as I see it. However, I downloaded some BMCC ProRes files and were able to edit them just fine in Adobe Premiere. Basic color grading was easy enough right inside premier as well- Just tweaking the luma curve a bit and some three way color correction produced very decent results. So, when needed, it doesn't seem as if the extra workflow requirements of the BMCC will slow me down that much.

Anyway, this is what I am thinking right now. Is there anything else I should be considering in making my choice? The insights I have got from those of you who have used these cameras is extremely valuable.
I'd say if you are interested in doing a ton of grading, the BMCC is going to jump into the lead.
I have been very pleased with the ability to grade the FS100 and FS700, it's much better than
I thought, for such a low bitrate codec. I had one instance where I was recording a wedding on
top of a glacier on a sunny day, and my highlights were totally blown. It was such a busy day
and run and gun shoot that somehow I missed it. Except....I really didn't. I had kept my highlights
lower than 109 on my histogram, and so I was able to totally recover them, they looked totally blown
out on the monitor, but I had kept them below 109 and totally could save them in post.
However all this said, the BMCC is what you want if you are going to be doing a lot of grading.
Listening to you, I think the BMCC might be more up your ally, but you do need to think about
how you are going to archive this footage. I had to deal with this when I upgraded to a 'card
based' workflow when I bought the FS100.

Luckily for me, the FS100/700 shoot in a codec that is very 'space efficient'. I shoot a ton of stuff
(corporates, talking heads, docs) and need to save all the footage. I have a cheap Mac Pro that
I bought in 2009. I ended up customizing it by adding a better CPU, a high end graphics card, a
bunch of hard drives that I made into a RAID, and an internal Blu Ray burner. Now, after I shoot
footage, I burn it to a 25 gig Blu Ray disk as a data file. Then I print on the face of the Blu Ray
the name and type of footage that is on the disk (kind of a library). Buy a 200 disk wallet at Walmart
and I can thumb through, looking for whatever footage I need, and it takes up almost no space at all.

I used to archive everything on external harddrives which are cheap. However, I no longer do
that. About 5 months ago, I bought a new 2TB external drive at Costco. I had about 1 TB of
footage on it, including 4 paying projects (worth about 9 grand total) as well as footage from
my both of my daughter's state championships in gymnastics. I dumped all the footage to the
drive when it was brand new. About 2 weeks later the drive failed and I lost everything.
It worked fine one night. and the next day I got up to transfer some footage over to my RAID to
work with it, and the drive was totally fried. I spent a bunch of money sending it to a
data recovery specialist and they took it into the 'clean room' but were unable to save anything.
I think that would be the biggest challenge to raw files from the BMCC, trying to archive the huge
amounts of data that they will present.

But for the price.....yikes the BMCC is a pretty screaming deal. Such quality from a 2 grand camera
and a copy of Resolve thrown in? You can hardly go wrong with that deal!!
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Old December 1st, 2013, 02:37 AM   #13
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Re: Should I get the BMCC or the Sony FS100?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam Grunseth View Post
...Every time I think I have made a decision, I keep changing my mind. I think I may be leaning more towards the BMCC now, based on what I have seen and read recently, but I am still far from sure.
When I find myself in this situation, I rent both cameras over a weekend. You can rent the FS100 with the 18-200 by mail for 3 days for $245 (plus deposit) from borrowlenses in California.

The BMCC costs a little less to rent, but you'll need to add a lens or two plus an SSD.

Might be worth it with such an important decision.

Again, hope this is helpful,

Bill
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Old December 1st, 2013, 10:02 AM   #14
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Re: Should I get the BMCC or the Sony FS100?

Put an add up on Craigs list or any local list that you'll buy lunch to sit down with someone and their camera.

I think you really do need to get your hands on them. I'm not a "Run and Gun" ENG type shooter but still I have to set up fast and adjust on the fly a lot as my work is not all blocked out. I've had the FS-100 for over a year now and I spent some quality time with a friends BMCC. The BMCC just didn't work out for me because of the operation and audio. It wasn't that it was a touch screen but that you had to wade through the menu to get to an adjustment and then the adjustments are some what limited compared to the FS-100. I use a H4N recorder a lot but if I had to sync all audio all the time I'd pull my hair out.

I always grade some. Sometimes a lot and sometimes just a little, depending on the picture style I used for the situation or what was planned for the look. I use Resolve lite v.10 (Free)and I believe you can come real close to the range of the BMCC's RAW by setting up the right picture style and finishing in post from the FS-100.

Like Mr. Wong, I find the FS-100 easy to use. Because of the access to controls, I find it easier than the BMCC but what you really have to weigh here is, is the ease/range of control and on board audio worth the difference in cost for what you have to do to get what you want as a finished product. It was for me but kind of hard to say it would be for you just knowing the majority of your work is blocked.
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Old December 1st, 2013, 01:12 PM   #15
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Re: Should I get the BMCC or the Sony FS100?

The moral of the story is do not count on low cost, single hard drives for backup. What I use professionally is something like Quantum LTO Tape Backup systems. We backed up footage shot for full length movies on these tapes systems. They have been used for many years in all types of large data archiving.

Alex
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