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BlackMagic Cinema Camera
EF & MFT lens mount / 2.5K CinemaDNG RAW


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Old December 17th, 2013, 09:17 PM   #1
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Picking a camera

After waiting for long time for the BM Pocket to be available, I was a bit frustrated for the short time you can get (20 minutes) for RAW DNG video.

This limitation makes the camera not very useful for documentary stuff, particularly long interviews and similar.

There doesn't seem to be a way yet to output RAW stream and record on an external recorder.

So I went back to the BM 2.5K, which does record a lot longer. But... (there has to be a but) I am not sure the 2.5K can pass as a photographic camera for Brazilian customs. You see: we pay no taxes if we enter with a photo camera, any type, but you do pay (50% tax) for a video camera. By the way: the BM Pocket does resemble a photo camera, and would be fine, that's why I'm frustrated with it.

The question is which other photo camera presently equals the image quality, price and else of the BMCC. Any suggestions? .
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Old December 18th, 2013, 06:03 PM   #2
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Re: Picking a camera

My personal opinion but people overestimate the importance of RAW over ProRes. Shoot ProRes on 128GB Sandisk Extreme Card. ProRes already has much more flexibility in post than AVCHD/H.264. You'd have to be doing some serious grading and compositing to shot RAW especially for a documentary. People shoot broadcast work on Alexa in ProRes.
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Old December 18th, 2013, 06:52 PM   #3
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Re: Picking a camera

You might be right, particularly on shooting a documentary on RAW.

It still I don't think quite qualifies the Pocket as a main camera on the recording time issue.

But one thing is clear: I do have to know well what I'm buying and where the compromises are.

About the differences between Prores and RAW, I'm not so sure if they are overestimated in favor of RAW. But you have to pay a high price for it, both during shooting and on post-production.

I still would like to have a RAW video out on the Pocket, to record on an external recorder. If they provide that I might consider it again.
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Old December 18th, 2013, 07:12 PM   #4
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Re: Picking a camera

If a $995 camera shooting to $120 SDXC cards is a "high price?" You can get about 77 minutes of ProRes on a 128GB card. That's more than I got on miniDV or BetaSP tapes and a major improvement in quality due to the codec and the camera.

You could buy an Alexa. You could buy a Sony FS700 with its External RAW Recorder for around $12,000.
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Old December 19th, 2013, 02:46 AM   #5
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Re: Picking a camera

Please let's away from comments such as "you could buy XXX for these high dollars" or similar. I'm sure they don't serve me or any other who had doubts similar to mine.

The option I'm considering is the BMCC 2.5K, as I think it improves on the Pocket. And you don't have to pay a lot of cash more for it.

I'm still recording on HDV, so my comparisons are not with SD quality anymore, and I do want to make a step towards a card or SSD based system. So I do expect at least one hour recording time.
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Old December 19th, 2013, 03:10 AM   #6
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Re: Picking a camera

If I understand you right you are mainly going to do documentary and long interviews? Is there a reason why you want a Black magic camera beside the look for custom tax reasons?
There are several other options available that might be better suitable for your purposes.
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Old December 19th, 2013, 03:22 AM   #7
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Re: Picking a camera

Here's a example of a great looking docu that contains a bit of everything you mentioned (docu/interviews), it's in French but it shows that a gh3 coupled with some fast all manual glass (you need to get extra lenses for a bmc camera as well) you can get great looking and sounding footage. The panasonic gh3 has a great codec to work with and better possibilities to monitor your audio compared to a pocketcam and batterylife is also much longer. Don't underestimate the impact of raw on your workflow, it would mean upgrading your pc and having tons of harddrive space. There's no denying raw has better grading possibilities and wider latitude but you have to ask yourself if that is the right tool for documentaries.

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Old December 19th, 2013, 03:53 AM   #8
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Re: Picking a camera

I'm already shooting a documentary in HDV, where I would make the new camera the main one. But this is not my first or will be my last production.

These are theater feature documentaries we are talking about, so the image quality needs to allow an 8-meter wide screen at least. HDV can do that up to a point, but not on wide scenes.

OTOS, on medium size shots you still get no differential focus, which now demands some post masking and all that. The known 1/3" sensor problem.

Until recently, my favorite camera was the Sony FS100. Which as I mentioned would require high customs taxes to be paid, as any video camera. There's the Canon C100 too, which does look a bit like a photo camera, and I believe is a serious contender for the FS100. Unfortunately support for other cameras than Sony in this region is none, and that should be valid for the Blackmagic too.

So looking for more affordable options are a must.

The Panasonic GH2 (hacked) was an option I did look into, and I might have got one if I could. But it was replaced with the GH3, which is not NTSC & PAL, and that is a must for me. The Panasonics have a problematic AVCHD codec for Avid and Windows though, and that was something I investigated very much.

When the Pocket was announced in Vegas, I thought it would be the answer to this, as it very much resembled the GH models, with a much better codec.

But, as on the Panasonic, there's still the question if the Pocket can stand blowing up to film theater screen.

RAW recording, now available on several Canon cameras and on the Pocket, thrilled me as a fantastic way to improve resolution. But the Pocket's time constraints were a cold shower to that. I don't know how that works on the Canon 5D with the internal card, but you can use an external recorder.

That's why I reconsidered the BMCC or maybe some other photo cameras that might get 4:2:2 higher bit resolution.
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Old December 19th, 2013, 04:34 AM   #9
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Re: Picking a camera

Quote:
The Panasonics have a problematic AVCHD codec for Avid and Windows though
They have a 50mbs ipb and a 72mbs all intra codec as well.

Quote:
so the image quality needs to allow an 8-meter wide screen at least
That I don't understand? with any dslr type of camera you add a lens wide enough for the occasion so there is hardly any limit in how wide you can go.

You also might consider the new sony rx10, it is pal/ntsc switchable, has many features much more expensive camera's have and as a bonus, it looks like a photocamera :).
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Old December 19th, 2013, 04:40 AM   #10
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Re: Picking a camera

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Originally Posted by Carlos E. Martinez View Post
RAW recording, now available on several Canon cameras and on the Pocket, thrilled me as a fantastic way to improve resolution
Raw doesn't improve on resolution, a 8 bit avchd c100 image can look just as sharp as a pocketcam, the main differences is that there is much more colourinformation in raw allowing you to push it much further then you could with compressed 8bit avchd which falls apart much quicker, the question is do you need to colourcorrect or prefer to have it right from the start?
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Old December 19th, 2013, 05:22 AM   #11
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Re: Picking a camera

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Originally Posted by Noa Put View Post
They have a 50mbs ipb and a 72mbs all intra codec as well.
I am not sure if we are talking about the same thing. At the time I was seriously considering the GH2 and almost bought one, a friend of mine warned about the Avid problems in Windows with Panasonic's AVHCD codec when capturing, and it was confirmed on several forums I raised this question at. Apparently Macs and/or Adobe Premiere were the ones for that codec, and neither is my editing choice.

Quote:
That I don't understand? with any dslr type of camera you add a lens wide enough for the occasion so there is hardly any limit in how wide you can go.
I am talking about projection screen size for the video I will be showing, not the lens of the camera.

Quote:
You also might consider the new sony rx10, it is pal/ntsc switchable, has many features much more expensive camera's have and as a bonus, it looks like a photocamera :).
I am looking forward seeing some comparison tests, both with Canon 5Ds and BMs. Also including moire and rolling shutter issues.

Quote:
Raw doesn't improve on resolution, a 8 bit avchd c100 image can look just as sharp as a pocketcam, the main differences is that there is much more colourinformation in raw allowing you to push it much further then you could with compressed 8bit avchd which falls apart much quicker, the question is do you need to colourcorrect or prefer to have it right from the start?
For me the color information and the quantity of gray grades IS part of the resolution, particularly on the high and low knees. That was natural in film and I have been looking for ways to get that in video. The way I work, mainly alone and using as few light as possible, I do need to colour correct indeed. Though of course, I always try to get it right from the start.

Until now I have compromised to the limitations I have had, first in DV, then in HDV, particularly with DOF, resolution and dynamic range. I can't afford high-grade Sonys or Alexas or Reds. But I want to get as much as possible from you can get now.
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Old December 19th, 2013, 05:33 AM   #12
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Re: Picking a camera

The gh3 has 2 codecs which are not avchd, just google the camera specs and I still don't understand what you mean with "so the image quality needs to allow an 8-meter wide screen at least"?

The rx10 doesn't have any moire issues and is much sharper then a 5dIII, it only can't beat it's high iso performance and ofcourse it's full frame lens changeability but it has a very wide to full tele constant f2.8 stabilised lens, there are many pro's and con's depending on what you expect from a camera. Maybe you can get a 5dIII and shoot raw with it using the ml hack? I would never use a hacked camera on a paid shoot but if you want a versatile camera and are willing to take some risk that seems like a very useful camera as well.
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Old December 19th, 2013, 06:00 AM   #13
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Re: Picking a camera

At the time, mostly in 2012, I did Google and research about the Panasonic codec issues, which it is a type of AVCHD. In any case, I found only one person that was using the hacked GH2 and he told me the path I would have to go to capture them with Media Composer.

What I mean is I need a resolution and image quality that will hold when it's projected on an 8-meter wide theater screen.

The problem with the Canon 5D Mk III is that I think is overpriced and apparently compromised on some issues. I think Canon puts limitations to their lowest priced products so they can sell their higher priced ones. They increased 50% the price when going from Mk II to Mark III, mostly adding things that were useful in photography, not in video.

Panasonic is even worst on their policies, killing products that turn out to be better than expected. Like their DVC80 that at the moment was a better deal than their highly priced DVX100. They did that several times.

My problem is not paid shoots, as I will be shooting stuff for myself and maybe some others indies with similar needs.

As I said, I'm looking forward to see what the RX10 can do, particularly if it can improve on the Canon 5d Mk III.
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Old December 19th, 2013, 06:06 AM   #14
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Re: Picking a camera

Wait a minute: I've just seen that the Sony RX10 is a fixed lens camera.

That might work for a second camera, like the one I have now, but now for camera A.
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Old December 19th, 2013, 07:07 AM   #15
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Re: Picking a camera

As documentary images on interviews are usually static, the question is how to smooth things out. Particularly when lighting is not as sophisticated as it could be.
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