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George Ebersole

XL2 or XL-H1

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Just an FYI, I produced a little video with a shot Satsuki graciously sent and a bunch of other C300 shots and of course pocket camera shots.

 

I'm making a super high quality .h264 file and will have that PLUS a Pro Res HQ file available. I have a shoot all day monday and tuesday, so we'll see when I have the time to post them.

 

I lifted the blacks just a tiny bit on the MPEG files and they fell apart immediately. Yet lifted blacks on the pro res files from the Pocket, were perfect. I also did a 4X zoom test on each shot to highlight the MPEG noise even further. Doing the 4X test on the pocket camera is silly because it's just nice grain particles like film would be. This is not the first time I've compared cameras this way and every time I do, I'm always amazed by the quality of the Pocket Camera. Sure, you aren't going to get the field of view that a S35 imager gives you, that's a given. Yet, in a lot of ways that little feature costs quite a bit of money to do right and can be very difficult to post process as well.

 

Anyway, my "I hate Mpeg" video is coming soon! :)

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Thanks Satsuki, an explanation was eventually given with a reference in the little red book. It was just a frustration I had at the time with an aspect of being trained on the job. Not a big deal, and it was years ago.

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Just an FYI, I produced a little video with a shot Satsuki graciously sent and a bunch of other C300 shots and of course pocket camera shots.

 

 

It's important to remember that the C300 is 8 bit and is commonly used on prodictions that go through very little or even no colour correction in post. On some productions you don't want to give in log etc, because the people don't have the post production resources to handle it.

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Someone's telling me that a Ninja can make a C100 do 4:2:2. I'm guessing a Ninja is several hundred as an addon, and works differently from a Shogun, which gather more light, not necessarily color.

 

The Ninja is just Atomos's cheaper Prores recorder that only does HD. I guess there is an HDMI version and an SDI version. You'd want the HDMI version if using it with the C100. The Atomos Shogun does 4K Prores and raw recording from some cameras. It also has both SDI and HDMI inputs in the same unit. The C100 works great with the Ninja, I highly recommend it if you want to do any grading later. I did a project recently with this combo recording to Prores HQ and was able to do primary and secondary corrections including chroma keys, tracking, power windows, and saturation boosts and swings of selected colors with very little problem.

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Just an FYI, I produced a little video with a shot Satsuki graciously sent and a bunch of other C300 shots and of course pocket camera shots.

 

I'm making a super high quality .h264 file and will have that PLUS a Pro Res HQ file available. I have a shoot all day monday and tuesday, so we'll see when I have the time to post them.

 

I lifted the blacks just a tiny bit on the MPEG files and they fell apart immediately. Yet lifted blacks on the pro res files from the Pocket, were perfect. I also did a 4X zoom test on each shot to highlight the MPEG noise even further. Doing the 4X test on the pocket camera is silly because it's just nice grain particles like film would be. This is not the first time I've compared cameras this way and every time I do, I'm always amazed by the quality of the Pocket Camera. Sure, you aren't going to get the field of view that a S35 imager gives you, that's a given. Yet, in a lot of ways that little feature costs quite a bit of money to do right and can be very difficult to post process as well.

 

Anyway, my "I hate Mpeg" video is coming soon! :)

 

 

I've also frequently been blown away by the resilience of the original Blackmagic Cinema imager. Though I do think that for a lot of what people are doing for the web, the C100s are great cameras. Coupled with external recorders, even better.

Edited by Kenny N Suleimanagich

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Despite it all, I'd still say a GH4 with a Atomos Ninja Flame (or if you only need 1080p from the camera right now, a $300 Ninja) and a descent lens or two would produce as good looking of image in the right hands as most other camera's not in the Alexa/Amira/Epic range. The C100 is a great camera and all, but it's fairly limited for it's price tag. Without a lens, you're looking at $2,500 for a C100 body, and even if you get a Ninja on it's still only 8-bit. For a YouTube project, I'm sure 8-bit 4:2:0 is fine, but WHY limit yourself to that? At least with a GH4 you can choose to shoot in 1080p, get up to 96 frames per second doing - or if your project calls for it, shoot anything up to Cinema 4K. Combined with a $1,000 recorder, you'll get 4K 10-bit 4:2:2 footage which will be much more grade able in post than 8-bit 4:2:0 or even 8-bit 4:2:2.

 

Honestly, as great as the lower-cost camera options are, you will not find a perfect options in this price range. The GH4 has it's issues, no one is doubting that - but for it's price, the features cannot be beat. If you shoot the thing in V-log, you'll get 12-stops of range, almost identical to a Black Magic Pocket, only with a bigger sensor and the ability to do 4K in the future. 10-bit 4:2:2 is just as good as RAW in most instances, and you'll only be able to tell a difference when doing some pretty major correction work, or trying to pull a poorly lit key. For all the Pocket camera has going for it, shooting pro-res on it (which most people do since they can't afford the RAW post) will also only net you 10-bit 4:2:2, same as the GH4 using an Atomos.

 

Sure there are some higher priced camera's that fall under the Epic/Alexa range that are good, but many of them are Blackmagic Cameras, which all have issues. The 'Production camera' still has fixed noise pattern which carried over to the URSA. The new URSA and URSA Mini 4.6k sensor is showing terrible magenta cast that they are yet to fix. The Cinema Camera and the pocket camera both feature off-standard sensor sizes that makes lens selection a chore....

 

I'll leave you with this nice little short film shot by Nick Driftwood on the GH4 with kit lenses in native 8-bit 4:2:0. Watch the whole thing, and you'll see that the camera is perfectly capable in brights and even in low-light, practical situations. Throw in an external recorder, v-log, and a better lens than a kit lens and the quality can only improve over this. Also keep in mind that this is ungraded, camera footage (at least according to driftwood):

 

https://vimeo.com/93427556

Edited by Landon D. Parks

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It's important to remember that the C300 is 8 bit and is commonly used on prodictions that go through very little or even no colour correction in post. On some productions you don't want to give in log etc, because the people don't have the post production resources to handle it.

The files out of the C100/C300/C500 don't work in any of my editing programs.

 

Avid? Needed to "import" which takes a long time

Premiere? Transcoded on import, which it does in the background, but the files don't playback in real time until that job is done.

Final Cut X? Nothing, doesn't recognize at all.

DaVinci? Nothing, doesn't recognize at all.

 

So to say you shoot on the C300 for quick editing for NO post is kinda silly. Since Long GOP MPEG files are incompatible with pretty much any software NATIVELY, it becomes a huge problem. At leas the few cameras that record .mov long GOP MPEG's, can playback in quicktime, they are very resource hungry so unless your computer is ultra powerful, you're stuck.

 

By contrast, the 10 bit Pro Res files that come out of the blackmagic playback in every single program I have natively. The workflow I use for "log" shooting which is what I do almost all the time, works great with Pro Res. With Avid, I can literally drag a corrector over the entire sequence and have a "base" color applied to everything as I edit. Then when I'm done with the edit, I can take the whole project into DaVinci and with ONE CLICK apply a LUT. Since Pro Res is a multi-threaded codec, it encodes very fast with a multi-core CPU and with a decent graphics card, the GPU tasks of manipulating the color, are done in far greater then real time. So a 30 minute show can be rendered in a matter of minutes. If you can't wait THAT long for PROPER color correction, you've got a bigger problem.

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I've never graded C100+ footage, but why would Resolve (of all programs) not be able to import it? You only have the options of MP4 and AVCHD, both of which are pretty standard codecs that should be able to playback in any modern day editor without transcoding. Leads me to believe their is something wrong with a ) workflow or b ) the files you're working with.

 

Wanna real pain? Try working with H.265 footage like I'm doing now in working on coloring a short film... That crap be nasty to work with. Primary reason why I'd never touch an NX1.

Edited by Landon D. Parks

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I've also frequently been blown away by the resilience of the original Blackmagic Cinema imager. Though I do think that for a lot of what people are doing for the web, the C100s are great cameras. Coupled with external recorders, even better.

Well few things... One of which is the C100 looks like a video camera. So when you take it places, people will know you're shooting video. However, the pocket camera, looks like a still camera. So when you can get into places that don't allow you to shoot video, without any problem. Also, if you're out shooting things gorilla style for your youtube series, people won't be thinking you're some sort of big production. The moment you bring a bigger "video" looking camera out, you will have more attention put on you.

 

External recorder helps greatly, no doubt. However, now your package price has increased substantially AND you aren't really getting BETTER quality, you're just getting a DIFFERENT look. The Pocket on RAW mode blows the doors off any of those Canon cameras, with the fancy recorders. The latitude for adjusting in post production is unsurpassed by any standard recording format.

 

I'm a little upset because I'm starting a 3 month project in a few weeks and I have to spend the next few weeks prepping for it. So I don't have the time to do this test. But I'd love to test 4 cameras: the C100 or C300, Pocket camera, A7SII and GH4. Using the same glass, same situations, everything. No external anything!!! Lens, camera body, tripod, that's it. I've always wanted to prove just how good the pocket is and that test would end it all because as I said earlier, I color material from the MPEG cameras every day and I'm floored how bad they are. Doesn't matter if you shoot S-Log at all, the Long GOP MPEG noise floor is so high, sure your highlights are protected but your blacks aren't.

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I've never graded C100+ footage, but why would Resolve (of all programs) not be able to import it? You only have the options of MP4 and AVCHD, both of which are pretty standard codecs that should be able to playback in any modern day editor without transcoding. Leads me to believe their is something wrong with a ) workflow or b ) the files you're working with.

The C100/C300 records MTS files, which are unrecognizable by most programs. This is because they use the older codec encoding package.

 

The newer cameras use the much better AVCHD codec, which can be wrapped many ways, most of them have a more native MOV option. I haven't had any problems getting A7S or GH4 material to playback. Though I still find them clunky to playback, which means I'm still having to transcode at some point. Once you can record Intraframe MPEG, the problems go away. It's only the LONG GOP cameras which have the issues.

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But I'd love to test 4 cameras: the C100 or C300, Pocket camera, A7SII and GH4. Using the same glass, same situations, everything. No external anything!!! Lens, camera body, tripod, that's it. I've always wanted to prove just how good the pocket is and that test would end it all because as I said earlier, I color material from the MPEG cameras every day and I'm floored how bad they are. Doesn't matter if you shoot S-Log at all, the Long GOP MPEG noise floor is so high, sure your highlights are protected but your blacks aren't.

 

Well, that wouldn't really be a fair test though. Naturally, the Pocket by itself will grade better and have more pleasing colors out of the box. The only way such a test would be proper is to match all cameras to the lower common denominator of the set. Meaning if you're including the C100, you cannot shot any camera more than 8-bit 4:2:2.

 

So the only way to perform such a test fairly is to get a Atomos recorder and jack it to each camera, recording at the same 8-bit 4:2:2 codec. Of course, I can tell you right off the bat that a C100/C300 will fail at the color grading test, since it's limited to 8-bit 4:2:2. The GH4 and Pocket should perform equally, considering you shoot both 10-bit 4:2:2 prores. However, the GH4 should show less alias and moire (as evidenced in the below video)

 

The A7S is an okay camera, but it's basically limited to 8-bit as well, and I'm not a fan of Sony camera's or their color science.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-zuzXW663jI

Edited by Landon D. Parks

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It all comes down to money and if 10 bit 4:2:2 is THAT much better, then why would anyone invest in a camera that shoots 8 bit 4:2:0. Heck, why would anyone invest in a camera that has limited bitrate to begin with? The camera manufacturers piss me off because all they need to do is pay for a license and put a better processor in the stupid camera and bam, they'd have all the other codec's. I'm actually OK with 10 bit 4:2:2 Intraframe MPEG, it doesn't look that bad. But I'm NOT OK with 8 bit 4:2:0 Long GOP, it's NOT an editing codec because it doesn't have actual frames. To get frames out of it requires very intelligent software which extrapolates on the fly, which takes up CPU and GPU power that your computer COULD be doing something else with.

 

So if you've got a choice.. $1000 10 bit 4:2:2 Pro Res camera or $1000 8 bit 4:2:0 Long GOP camera, why would anyone in their right mind buy the camera with the non-editing friendly codec and limited bit rate/bit depth?

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The C100/C300 records MTS files, which are unrecognizable by most programs. This is because they use the older codec encoding package.

 

Another reason why I don't like Canon. Fixing that would be as simple as a firmware upgrade, yet you'll probably never see one from them. They have this habit of releasing camera's that do most things right yet fail in a few key areas, and then don't bother fixing it. Much like Blackmagic Design, actually.

 

Cannot say what the MTS files are doing, but I can tell you if they are as much a pain as dealing with H265, I feel you.

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Here is a link to the mp4 version of my demo

 

https://www.dropbox.com/s/t3mapobsp5kcp73/Canon_V_BMPCC.mp4?dl=0

 

The 220Mbps Pro Res HQ version will take a little while longer to upload

 

If you want to see quality, hit the download button in the upper right and save it to your disk. It should playback on most computers fine in 1080p, but it's high bitrate.

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So if you've got a choice.. $1000 10 bit 4:2:2 Pro Res camera or $1000 8 bit 4:2:0 Long GOP camera, why would anyone in their right mind buy the camera with the non-editing friendly codec and limited bit rate/bit depth?

 

Well, to be fair - we need to compare the pocket at 1080 to a GH4 at 1080... And at 1080 on the GH4, one can shoot 200mbps All-Intra rather than Long GOP at 8-bit 4:2:0.

 

The real reason why the GH4 is a better bet than the Pocket is not price, it's in sensor size, ability to do 4k, and ease of native lenses - none of which the pocket can offer.

 

In fact, the bare minimum setup for a GH4 should include a Ninja Star at least (which is about $200), which will allow you to record 10-bit 4:2:2 Prores. The GH4 can even downsample the 4k footage to 1080p on output, so you can take advantage of the 4k sensor while reocrding to 1080p in Prores 10-bit 4:2:2, and the cost would still only be about $1,200 for the GH4 body + Ninja Star. The $99 vlog upgrade is not much to write home about in terms of price, but will get you an equal DR to the pocket.

 

The $1,000 pocket camera is NOT ready to shoot (none of the BM camera's are). You'll need to find a lens to fit it's quirky sensor size, you'll then need some sort of battery solution for recording, you'll then need an expensive $100+ SD card to shoot RAW (unless you're shooting Prores, then your simply recording 10-bit 4:2:2 and loosing any advantage the Pocket has in dynamic range).

 

I can shoot 2 hours on my GH4 with a single battery.... Try that with the pocket and it's 30 minute max. Sure the Shogun uses batteries like they are going out of style, but I would expect it to given the quality it's giving me. A Ninja Star in comparison would consume little battery.

 

The only real complaint I hear about the GH4 vs. bmpcc is the colors on the BM tend to be more filmic out of the box... But by the time you apply a grade to either, I can match colors spot on between either camera. As for grain, I'd much rather shoot 4k and downconvert to 2k to eliminate any noise and then add 'film grain' in post with Film Convert. While the Pocket 'noise' may look more like film grain, it's still an artifact.

Edited by Landon D. Parks

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Well, to be fair - we need to compare the pocket at 1080 to a GH4 at 1080... And at 1080 on the GH4, one can shoot 200mbps All-Intra rather than Long GOP at 8-bit 4:2:2.

Ahh yes, HD @ 200Mbps. I kinda negated that because then you've got baked in 8 bit 4:2:0. At least with your concept of shooting 4k and scaling it to 2k, you absolutely fix most of the color issues. Again, one would think 4k mode would shoot 200Mbps Intraframe.

 

The $1,000 pocket camera is NOT ready to shoot (none of the BM camera's are). You'll need to find a lens to fit it's quirky sensor size, you'll then need some sort of battery solution for recording, you'll then need an expensive $100+ SD card to shoot RAW (unless you're shooting Prores, then your simply recording 10-bit 4:2:2 and loosing any advantage the Pocket has in dynamic range).

I use 100% standard canon mount cinema primes from Rokinon. Yes I do have a set of S16 cine primes, but I didn't buy them for the pocket, I got them for my Aaton and I have yet to shoot anything with them but some test footage.

 

The "expensive" 94MBps 64gb SD cards are $48 dollars. They last 42 minutes on Pro Res HQ 220Mbps mode.

 

The battery problem isn't a problem if you hit record and let the camera capture. I also didn't give up when the batteries died. I just did my research and found out WHY they die and adjusted my use of the camera to compensate. Yes, there have been times where it's been annoying, but dude the batteries are $12 dollars. You can buy A LOT of batteries for not much money.

 

Pro Res in flat mode looks WAY BETTER then MPEG2 in flat mode. I've only shot RAW with my pocket camera ONCE and that was a green screen shoot where I needed the dynamic range. Everything I shoot is Pro Res and I'll be honest, most recently I've been using Pro Res Lite which is half the bandwidth of standard pro res and it looks totally fine for talking heads and youtube video's.

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Ahh yes, HD @ 200Mbps. I kinda negated that because then you've got baked in 8 bit 4:2:0. At least with your concept of shooting 4k and scaling it to 2k, you absolutely fix most of the color issues. Again, one would think 4k mode would shoot 200Mbps Intraframe.

 

---

Pro Res in flat mode looks WAY BETTER then MPEG2 in flat mode. I've only shot RAW with my pocket camera ONCE and that was a green screen shoot where I needed the dynamic range. Everything I shoot is Pro Res and I'll be honest, most recently I've been using Pro Res Lite which is half the bandwidth of standard pro res and it looks totally fine for talking heads and youtube video's.

 

Yes, you'd think the GH4 could do a better job at 4k recording. It probably has to do more with protecting their professional camera division. After all, if you make a $1,000 GH4 capable of beating the Vericam, then it's probably a bad business decision on their part.

 

---

 

Yes, Prores ANYTHING looks better than MPEG compression. Even not color graded. I would never argue that point. That is exactly why I never suggest shooting internally on a GH4 (or any camera that records 8-bit 4:2:0 to a lossy codec like MPEG). Really, given that a Ninja Star recorder can be had for less than $200 now, there is no reason to not get one with the GH4. With that recorder, you can still collect 10-bit 4:2:2 Prores. In addition to this, if you buy the cheap $100 vlog update, you can get 12 stops of DR recorded to that same codec. Essentially, this setup alone is about equal to what the pocket will give you (Prores, 10 bit, 4:2:2, log), and will have cost you about $300 more than the Pocket. So why pay $300 more? Because of the expand-ability. I don't need to buy a whole new camera if I want 4k at some point. Plus I can get a more pleasing shallow depth of field on a mf3 sensor than I can 16mm sensor.

 

Plus like I mentioned earlier, if you use a Ninja Star with the GH4, it may well only be 1080p, but the GH4 will super-sample a 4k image to 1080p out the HDMI for recording. Essentially, this means you get a super-sampled 1080p image from 4k without the need to deal with 4k in post or recording, you get 10-bit 4:2:2 in a good codec like Prores, AND you get that in LOG with 12 stops of DR, and all for change. By doing the super-sampled option, you eliminate some of the issues shooting 1080p native on the GH4, like pixel binning, while recording 1080p (if that is your workflow option).

 

Or I can shoot C4K at 200mbps Prores 10-bit 4:2:2 in log if I desire... Something that cannot happen with the pocket.

 

In conclusion, a GH4 out of the box may well be a toy. Properly outfitted though, it can perform with the best of the best and still stand its own. Is it an Alexa? No... then again it doesn't cost $60,000 either. And to properly outfit a GH4 is not an expensive proposition, or one that requires a lot of attachments.

Edited by Landon D. Parks

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C100 files open fine for me in Resolve and Premiere CC. Also VLC player. Maybe I should have sent you the whole folder structure?

VLC = yes.. they playback fine in VLC.

 

Try those MTS files directly in DaVinci.

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As of Resolve 12, it could not open and read MTS files natively without transcoding. I do not know if this was fixed in the 12.5 update, which carried over 1,000 improvements and 250 new features. If someone has an MTS file I would be happy to try it on 12.5.

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According to the spec sheet, DaVinci 12.5 doesn't add MTS support.

 

But that's really not the big issue, it's the fact Avid doesn't work with them, thats the killer. If you have to transcode everything for it to work, that is a HUGE issue.'

 

It's been my biggest complaint with RED cameras. They still refuse to use Pro Res XQ at 4k as a capture format. At least with a very inexpensive Red Rocket card (thanks to ebay) RED material can be transcoded VERY fast and smoothly. Plus, it's worth transcoding because it's 16 bit RAW, so yea the little wait time is worth the effort. With Long GOP 8 bit 4:2:0 transcoding, it's time consuming and seems hardly worth it when the format you transcode to is far superior to camera original.

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I was just browsing YouTube and came across a couple of videos I just had to share.... Take a look at these and then tell me how much of a toy the GH4 really is:

 

Check out the Gh4 performance in low-light. Practically noise free:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fMQqLMkp9v4

 

This next one is an overall general look that I just love. Also highlights its low-light ability, as well as shows off the striking colors and levels of DR possible with the camera:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZV2kX7ncvEk

 

This is a film look test with v-log enabled:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BUmUEGzBv_Q

 

Personally, I think these videos (and countless others) back up my claim that the GH4 is the best camera in it's price range.

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Check out the Gh4 performance in low-light. Practically noise free

Low shutter speed, looks very much like a video camera, not cinematic at all.

 

This next one is an overall general look that I just love. Also highlights its low-light ability, as well as shows off the striking colors and levels of DR possible with the camera

Much better, far more cinematic and good dynamic range. Notice how controlled everything is though, no direct sunlight, lots of "even" light throughout the piece. He clearly used bounce cards in some places to get some light on the faces in darker areas as well. To me, this piece is very flat with almost no dynamics.

 

Personally, I think these videos (and countless others) back up my claim that the GH4 is the best camera in it's price range.

If you want a video camera, I'd agree. If you want a cinema camera, I'd disagree. The Pocket camera won't look that crisp ever. The Pocket looks more filmic, it looks more "pleasing" to the eye.

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