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2K BlackMagic Pocket Cinema Camera, active m43, $995
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  • 800 ISO native + SpeedBooster seems like a winning combo compared to RED, no? I'm working with some 1000-1200 ISO Epic footage that's surprisingly noisy, and not in a pleasing "film grain" sort of way.

  • Of course you can put Zeiss Superspeeds on a Red, but it's true, before Dragon Red cameras were no low-light cameras either. But I always liked the structure of the grain, if it's bad there must have been too much compression. OTOH 4K is a good starting point for Neatvideo. A colleague has shot a nationwide commercial with a Red One at night with nearly no additional light, which was processed with NV, scaled and broadcast in HD. Client was very happy.

    For low-light, get something like a Canon 5D MK III, a C300, Sony FS100 or an Alexa if you can.

  • The BMPCC/BMCC could beat the stop of any lense you cared to pair with a RED once you've got the Metabones in the mix so it comes down to ISO performance.

    In midtones the texture with the Epic can reasonably pass for grain at speed. Not on a still. It's 100% digital looking, especially when you lift up the blacks checking the edges of mattes, etc., it's pure digital, regular and horizontally biased, and looks very close to GH2 footage in this respect. Of course the GH2 gets uglier faster to be sure.

    This is 4K 7.5:1 (REDcode 42). What's curious is the digital noise look is fully maintained through to 2K linearized footage where I would have expected some of it to be filtered away. It must be an order-of-operations thing with Redcine-X or perhaps their scaling method just needs to be improved.

  • 800 ISO native has to be taken with a grain of salt with the Pocket (and other Blackmagic cameras) recording raw, since you're not exposing for 18% grey, but exposing to the right. Which in most cases means that your image will be 1-2 stops visually overexposed and pulled down in post for correct visual exposure. This effectively reduces the native ISO of the Pocket to 200-400 ISO by conventional photographic standards.

  • @cantsin Pardon my ignorance but could you expound on that? Say, for example, I am filming someone sitting in an armchair in a livingroom, the scene is lit, and I take an incident reading with a light meter which tells me that at ISO800 at 180° shutter the aperture should be set at f/4. Why, with the bmpcc, do I have to open up to f/2.8 or 2 if I'm shooting in RAW?

  • @spacewig It's called ETTR. Here's more information about it. The idea is to expose the digital sensor to the maximum before highlights clip, and this way maximize dynamic range and minimize noise. The overexposure zebras of all Blackmagic cameras recording ProRes in Film log mode or RAW are calibrated for ETTR, not for conventional film exposure.

    If you're working with your light meter the conventional way without maxing out exposure on the camera, you're throwing away much of its quality advantages such as dynamic range. For example, if you conventionally expose but still have two stops headroom before clipping, it means that you're throwing away 2 of the 13 stops dynamic range of the camera.

  • And this would also be true for 800 ISO native digital raw cameras like RED and Alexa. Those factors being equal you're not going to be optically faster on either camera compared with what's easily attainable (though not always practical in every instance) with a speed-boosted Blackmagic. Like I said. Not even other speed-boosted MFT cameras are as optically fast as the same lenses on the Blackmagic cameras with the Blackmagic model Speedboosters.

    And all of this is still significantly advantageous versus film and 500 speed being the most common for "low light" photography in motion pictures and lenses topping out at T1.2 or so, but you'll have to borrow an AC from Fincher to pull focus at even that speed, which is "stopped down" in the Speedbooster paradigm.

  • @nomad Thats true, I remember watching "The Social Network" in a theater and the night exteriors were really terrible, blocky (that was Red One with the misterium demo sensor I guess). Didn´t look like a Fincher movie at all... Than I watched the bluray and it was very clean and smooth.

  • My issue with smaller aperture is the loss of DOF. I know this is celebrated with the DLSR crowd but I feel 90% of their videos are out of focus. Somehow, due to earlier video cam's lack of DOF, it has become anathema to have any kind of deep focus even though most movies that were shot pre-millennium have no instance of this unless it is a close-up shot, and even then it is not always the case. That's not to say it never happened but when it did it seemed to be a deliberate choice that contributed to the story.

    Now if you take a lens that is f/2 and you slap a speed-booster in front of it you get this ridiculously razor thin DOF that for some reason is considered "cinematic". OK, well, please, can someone post examples of all these classic movies that have such a shallow DOF? I have not seen them.

  • @cantsin Thank you kindly for the link and elaboration. Makes a lot of sense. Seems like the rule would be to be equipped with adequate lighting to make up for the need to step up the aperture (and by this I mean opening up the iris) without sacrificing too much DOF, as per my previous email. I understand that this is a challenge for indie filmmakers.

  • Nieuw November 2013 @markr041 I cannot properly run Resolve light on my current computer and will first have to invest in a new one...

    Yup. Here's RAW 4 PRO vs Resolve comparison:

    In short, RAW 4 PRO runs on any computer, not much in terms of system requirements.

  • I know there's been some discussion of moire issues for Pocket camera. Does anyone know how bad the moire on the Pocket is relative to the moire on the GH2?

  • It's much worse than on the GH2 if you have a modern, sharp lens on the camera, but not as bad as with APS-C Canon DSLRs.

  • For me the moire is a little worse on the BMPCC but aliasing a little better as compared to GH2.

  • Both BMCC and BMPCC exhibit moire. To me, it's a very small price to pay for the tremendous resolution these cameras provide.

    Fix: in post, selectively apply slight blur just to the area of the moire in the frame. (I much prefer this to the permanently installed OLPF in-camera, which cannot be undone...)

    Voila - the best of both worlds; sharp image, yet no more moire.

  • @mo7ies That sounds like a great solution. Is the added blur noticeable on larger screens (60" TV sceeens and big theater screens)?

  • Chromo NR.

  • Thanks - sounds like easy solution. Gotta get my hands on a Pocket and start test shooting! Not sure what beats it at $995.

  • In Resolve you can easily separate luma and chroma and apply blur to the chroma only.

  • Cool. Thanks for tips guys. Good to hear moire easily dealt with.

  • @mo7ies thank you for pointing me to Alex's work, I was one of the sponsors of his project so I meanwhile received his amazing Raw 4 Pro software, unfortunately I still have to find the time to start using it........ but my old computer is no longer any issue in relation to using the BMPCC and I am quite happy about that....

  • Don't get me wrong: moiré is not easily dealt with!

    You can reduce it a bit but never completely get rid of it. The full solution would be an OLPF in camera.

  • @nomad Thanks for additional clarification. I will do tests once I get a hold of a Pocket to check moire levels.

  • For example, if you conventionally expose but still have two stops headroom before clipping, it means that you're throwing away 2 of the 13 stops dynamic range of the camera.

    Don't think this is quite right. For shooting which is more like still photography -- landscapes, skylines, etc. -- it may make sense to ETTR, since this will give you the least noise if your raise the shadows in post and the most DR. However, under controlled conditions, if a metered object isn't the brightest thing in the frame, then obviously you're not "throwing away" stops if there's headroom.

    If the metered object is the brightest object in the frame, then you have to ask yourself if you want your subject just below clipping. If it's a face, the answer is probably no. And having headroom doesn't necessarily mean you're "throwing away" stops, though the shot may be noisier than if you had ETTR.

    It seems to make sense to overexposure this camera, maybe a stop or so, but there are other considerations in motion (as opposed to still) photography, where you need consistency from shot to shot.

  • So I'm contemplating either purchasing a Tilta BMPCC cage then adding an offset should pad to the back and lanparte handles to the front but am also considering the Zacuto Marauder. Both would be used with the zacuto z-finder for the bmpcc. I have a budget of around $700. I am looking for something that I can easily use for narrative and documentary filmmaking. I'd like it to be stable enough to walk with. Is there a benefit of having the support system sit on my shoulder as opposed to being pressed up against it? Also if anybody has experience with either of these set ups with the BMPCC I'd like your opinion. Thanks