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BlackMagic: Official $2,995 raw cinema camera topic
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  • Just saw both the FS700 and black magic at Broadcast Asia. Both are interesting cameras, initial impressions: FS700 seems to have retained the image quality of its predecessor, but skin tone looks better. It's signature Sony. The Black Magic is more an unknown quantity, saw the images live on a full HD monitor, fairly flat imagery, which is great for colour grading. But one can only say so much about a showroom test. Has anyone taken it for a walk in the park? Would love to see it being stretched in all the different conditions, just to see if the 13 stops are functional, especially when you pan from outdoors to indoors. For US$2995, it looks quite decent. Thinking of ordering one already

  • Please correct me if I'm wrong here, but it seems that the resolution difference between BM camera and GH13 or Gh2 is not too much.

    My Panasonic GH13 records at 1920x1080

    BM specs:

    Sensor Resolution: 2592 x 2192

    Raw Resolution: 12-bit RAW files recorded at 2432 x 1366

    Shooting Resolutions 2.5K RAW at 2432 x 1366, compressed at 1920 x 1080

  • One way to compare accurately is to look at every file through something like a stream parser. Resolution is not the only thing you'd consider when buying a camera or choosing a format

  • Resolution is not the only consideration for good image quality. The bit depth, dynamic range, and compression quality (Raw to HQ in this case) are what most people are excited about, and contribute greatly to the overall image.

  • @yeehaanow - I appreciate that, and of course there's a whole myriad of other factors, but I was talking specifically about the RESOLUTION. Now... am I correct in assuming that GH13 is not too far off from being called "2K"?

  • In that sense, resolution-wise GH13 which is almost 2K is not too far from BM's 2.5K. Right?

  • From a purely video pixel point of view @kronstadt yes, there's not 'that' much difference.

    However, resolution when applied to camera sensors is folly. Photosites don't map one to one.

    The word itself 'resolution' is the definition of how much can it 'resolve'. While that might work on a monitor where a graphic card maps pixels 1:1 over DVI/HDMI etc, it doesn't on a bayer sensor CMOS sensor.

    The Canon 5D Mk II has the same amount of pixels in it's outputted video format, but to say the resolve the same amount of detail is way off the mark. The GH2 is a good performer though, so I wouldn't expect the BMDCC to resolve that much more detail in adequate lighting though.

  • @itimjim Thank you. That simple "yes" is what I wanted to know. But you also say:

    I wouldn't expect the BMDCC to resolve that much more detail in adequate lighting though.

    How so? Isn't BM capturing 4:4:4 and in RAW, as opposed to GH13's and GH2's 4:2:2 ? Does that not also mean that BM captures a whole lot more information than GH2?

    When BM comes out what I would love is to see a Zacuto-Shootout-2010 style very detailed comparrison between GH13, GH2, BM and Red. So that those who have been shooting for a while decide whether it's worth for their given project to upgrade to BM or Red, or to stick with GH13 and GH2.

  • @kronstadt If you separate out the channels I would suspect you would see a difference, especially in red and blue. The BM does capture a tonne more information, but in terms of how that maps to perceivable detail, I expect in adequate lighting it will be difficult to see. One things for sure, you'll be able to grade the footage much more before it breaks apart.

    Who knows what AA filter BM are applying to their CMOS sensor, it could even be softer with slight less detail....although I greatly doubt it.

  • @itimjim Thanks. So, basically, if you light your scene properly, you wouldn't see that much difference even on an IMAX cinema screen 22m×16.1m in fesivals. Correct?

  • @kronstadt Not having had the experience to pitch GH2 1080p content on such a large format, I can't really say. The GH2 in terms of resolution and detail has been proven by some posters on here, to hold its own against 2k RED, so I would 'guess' that you wouldn't see 'that' much difference between the BM and the GH2, but it'll certainly be there.

  • @itimjim thanks. That's good to know! The trouble (I mean their trouble, not ours) with those IMAX screens which are now a standard at film feslivals, is that while they were built for a theoretical 12K resolution, they are still being mostly projected with 2K projectors, which is good news for us who shoot in GH13 and GH2 - it means that if scenes are properly lit and Color Correction is not overdone, the difference (when compared to BM or RED) when projected onto a large cinema screen during festival screenings should not be as significant as to distract the audiences from the content of the story. And it should look (almost) just as beautiful too.

    If that's the case, I think I'll be sticking with GH13 and GH2 for the near future, mostly because of BM's very stupid choice of not offering the M4/3 mount (see above my list of pros and cons).

    My aim, as you probably guessed, is to enter a bunch of film festivals. So it's better to know in advance what to expect.

  • @kronstadt like many of us, you're on a budget, and it seems a tight one. You won't find any better value than the GH1/2 cameras. Not just the camera, but the system you can build around it. Stick with it, and you'll be fine.

    If you start producing good work, and you are capable in the business side of things (or hook up with someone that is) then you'll likely start getting some funding and can think of moving on from there. There's a big leap in cost to the next level because the GHx series offers such astounding quality, due to the amazing work of Vitaliy, Nick, Lee, Chris and others have done.

  • Please, do not turn this into another "GH2 rulez" topic, ok? This one is about BMC.

  • for what it's worth

    We shall see, I'm still wondering how long before it's really ready. The 5DmkII wasn't ready on release, the RED ONE wasn't ready either. I've been talking to some friends in the tech press, and they seem to think, that it won't even be ready to ship on time. That it could be months still before those who pre-ordered get one. They can ill afford to have this thing fail epically upon release.

  • @shian, thanks, that's a great article.

    It's very much an affirmation for me :) Late in the aftrenoon, the day the camera was announced, I made three calls. 1. To Vizcom, the dealer, to place an order. 2. the, to my partner/missus to ask permission ;o) 3. To a singer from a band to advise her I was delaying the video clip until 3 weeks after I receive the BMD camera. .. the clip is planned as a keying exercise.

    It's one of my main reasons, I am heading down the virtual path. I have money invested in 3D apps, which I am experimenting with as time is available Have just signed the paper work to build a office/studio at the side of the house. It's going to be a box, internally, 4.5m x 14m x an average ceiling height of 14 foot .. it's an angled roof. Internal walls will be timber frames erected by me.

    I am really looking forward to this camera, for precisely the reason outlined in the article.

    Regarding Black magic delivering on time, I am confident. I have pre-ordered 4 products all have reached me with a week of shipment announcement. None have been late. That's my experience over last 18 months.

  • @kavadni That's a fine point, as BM have a history of releasing and shipping almost always on time, and to specification. There have been some reports from some preorders that sensor calibration is still a way off, which I think has got a few people nervous. It's all speculation though, but I'll be personally waiting until the reviews start coming in. I can easily see my GH2 becoming B-Cam though :-)

    @shian Thanks for the article.

  • Too bad it always comes down to "my cam is better than yours (and btw yours is not even on the market yet, :p x 100)" .

    After reading a lot of various film subjects, technical aspects....i dare to have a different opinion.

    I think in the very near future, most profesionnal videographers (clips, documentary, fiction short/feature) won't bother fighting the GH2 vs BMC vs 5D vs VG20...... since all these cameras happen to be "cheap" (don't forget where we come from, the first time i heard of a professional digital camera, it was the red One at 40,000 $ without any accessories)... i believe that these videographers will simply own a set of cameras. Each camera being the best at one specific job. For example :

    • BMC for chromakeying (if the above editorial article turns out to be verified in practical situations)
    • Hacked GH2 for very detailed scenes (like water, nature and so on)
    • Something with a global shutter for quick movements (sports, action) - EDIT : could be GoPro, but i mean something that can record at least 12 min in a shot.
    • 5D Mk3 (or competitor) for low-light shots

    These four cameras together, in a 2K workflow, could cost around 10,000 $, which is the price of the red Scarlet (without accessories again).

    Key problem will be lens compatibility... if the manufacturers could talk to one another and design a compatible lens system (like m43 between panasonic and olympus), this could be the real future of videography.

    And debates would be a lot more objective, because each participant would compare cameras in a specific job-field, and not just "mine is better than yours".

  • Great breakdown .. the four scenarios @Zeko

  • @itimjim, with regards to the GH2 becoming B-Cam .. I think based on @Zeko's four scenarios, there might be room for both to have days as A-Cam, depending on circumstance

  • I don't think the scenario above is practical. You are talking about very different fov camera, with drastically different look that would be horrible to match. I think some camera will give you 90% of the above and you will just have to rent for very specific need.

    For example there is a camera that is very very close to your list. It is the fs-700. The only downside is the DR which is about 11.5 stop. In fact it is completely manufacturer crippled. All these Sony exmor sensor give a good 13+ stop DR, in photo or video cam. It is like the F3 with and without the Slog. Which in fact is a software that just to bypass the crippled picture profile in those camera. As proof, the FS100 has the same sensor than the F3 and is criticized by everyone for its DR (highlight roll-off). For the fs700 the big question will be the external recorder. Because at raw level they won't be able to cripple it, but at what price.

    What I hope is that this black magic camera is a huge success to the point that it forces those big companies to react. They have the tech, it is just that they just want to play the slow incremental upgrade path.

  • You can improve on the highlight roll-off in the FS100 with custom profiles like A-B range (Abel Cine).

  • Update:

    Just this weekend I received a more final version of the Blackmagic Cinema Camera. This version has a huge number of improvements. For one thing, there’s now no more dead pixels ! They are getting close to finishing the sensor calibration process. A lot of other features are starting to be enabled as well.

    The other exciting thing is that ProRes is now active and I’ve started shooting some ProRes tests. I have to say, it looks really great. From a workflow point of view as well, it’s really nice to be able to play right of the SSD some beautiful ProRes 422HQ clips. They look very nice even ungraded.

  • The problem with early days is

    1. we have seen some clips done up by John Brawley, but they were produced by a prototype camera. BM defends the allegedly mediocre looking footage as work in progress. So how much more calibration needs be done to the sensor before the camera can unleash its full potential? Can buyers make informed decisions based on half-baked samples?

    2. no one has tasted a "proper" workflow. With the canon 5D mk 2 and 7D, there were heating problems, and recording would stop after a while. Do we know if the BM behaves similarly? Internal batteries are scary to use. Are there viable alternatives right now?

    I would love to gloss over quite a few of the reservations that others hve listed here, and embrace the fact the camera has 2.5k and is bundled with an awesome colour grading software. But assuming I already have Da Vinci, what then is the attraction for me?

    2.5k RAW squeezed into that body that boasts a sensor smaller than m4/3 sounds more like a risky compromise than a breakthrough for now. And what’s with EF lenses? So what happens to the rest of us who have ZF glass and mounts of all other kinds?

  • @Macalincag I thought the BM's image was 4:4:4. Are you sure that it's 4:2:2 ? like GH13?

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