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Mario Bosanac

BM 4k camera vs Red or Arri

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Compare/contrast a BlackMagic 4K camera and a Red Dragon

I have worked with both but not enough with either of them to determine which one is better for the project I'm doing.

It’s a thriller feature. I'm planning on getting Rokinon's Xeen lenses. We plan to shoot in either 2 or 4K I believe.

I want to convince the producers and director that the BlackMagic 4K is ok to use so addl money doesn't have to be spent on a Red Dragon IF it's truly not necessary. They prefer to have a Red Dragon or an Arri camera of some kind because of the type of quality and the name behind it. I understand that the BlackMagic 4k does have less dynamic range than the Red Dragon. So that's understandable, but as far as Colorscience, other factors of image quality, could I possibly make an equivalent image on the BlackMagic 4k than I could on a Red Dragon?

I understand this might be a vague question so let me know if I can make it any more specific?

Edited by Mario Bosanac

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It will depend on the requirements on the script. If you're shooting night exteriors etc and the resources you have for such work.

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I personally wouldn't buy anything but the URSA Mini Pro 4.6k. I think the older 4k imager isn't very good, it has a lot of issues.

 

The big difference between the URSA Mini Pro 4.6k and an Alexa or even Dragon, is really the width of acceptable operational conditions.

 

For example, the URSA likes to be at 800 ISO all the time, where you can push the Alexa and newer Red's pretty high and they look good. To me, that's the biggest difference, all of the other things can be overcome.

 

The Xeen's are pretty darn good, I have a set of them and I'm very impressed for the price. They're soft under F2, so be aware of that right away, they ain't gonna work well all the way open. But if you can accept that, you'll be in good shape.

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And here is where Tyler and I disagree. I think the older 4K sensor looks far better than the 4.6K sensor. But the reality is that you need to be able to support shooting at its native 400 iso, which most people are not.

 

Rolling shutter on the 4.6K sensor, and global shutter on the 4K.

 

However you also must take into the entirely new color pipeline in the new firmware. Its great when matching to Alexa color, but if you have an older firmware only Blackmagic camera, and one that runs the newer firmware, you'll have a terrible time matching.

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The older 4k imager has been tossed aside because it was too noisy. Blackmagic developed their own imager and that's the 4.6k imager. It's FAR more versatile, with broader dynamic range, less noise over-all. Plus the newer electronics are a lot better. I don't know why people complain about the Ursa 4.6k imager, I've never had any issues with it.

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That's no evidence that anything's particularly good or bad. If something in the frame is overexposed that you'd like to not be overexposed, stop down!

 

The 4K camera has perhaps eleven and a half stops of dynamic range. This is essentially the same dynamic range as the Viper, which everyone thought was wonderful.

 

More is more, of course, but let's not get too overexcited about it. I like the Blackmagic 4K because it has a global shutter and that's a damn fine thing - and rare, these days.

 

The imager in the Blackmagic 4K cameras is likely to be the Cmosis CMV12000, which was designed as a machine vision camera and therefore had global shutter as a core feature; the fact that they've got it this good is laudable.

 

P

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Thank you all for the responses! I'm glad to get more in-depth opinions!

I did notice that some of you were referring to the URSA. I was referring the BM Production 4k camera. NOT the URSA

Edited by Mario Bosanac

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Thank you all for the responses! I'm glad to get more in-depth opinions!

I did notice that some of you were referring to the URSA. I was referring the BM Production 4k camera. NOT the URSA

There is little to no comparison between a first generation 4k Production camera and a Dragon or Alexa. The Production camera is a real toy, the 2.5k version had a decent imager which was it's only saving grace. The 4k imager is REALLY BAD and I've done back to back tests of them.

 

My advice, stay away from "low cost" cameras like the Production cameras.

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To be fair, I did a shoot with racing go-karts, where we rigged multiple Blackmagic 4k Cinema Cameras to the karts (just inches from the ground in some cases). And we straight-up could not of captured the action with any other cameras. The BM 4k camera was the only compact global shutter available (still is I believe), and anything with a rolling shutter (Arri, Red or otherwise) would have turned to complete jello under such intense vibrations.

 

And I actually quite like the images from the 4k camera, they grade up nicely (in spite of the lower dynamic range).

 

But for all the Blackmagic cameras, there's a pretty simple, common explanation for their performance - namely that you get what you pay for. They all (and the new 'Pro' modeal in particular) have great specs for the money. But at the end of the day you can't escape the fact that 'for the money' aspect. They're built to a price, and it shows.

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The 4.6K is considerably better, picture-wise, than anything they've done before.

 

I don't think the 4K camera needs anyone to make excuses for it. Everyone wanted it to be the 2.5K, only global shutter and twice the resolution. It was never going to be that, but like you, I like the pictures from the 4K and I really like the global shutter.

 

The 4.6K is much more the higher-resolution version of the 2.5K that everyone wanted. It is somewhat characterless, but that is not a fault. Really, the camera should not be imposing a look on the production. The great, all-conquering Alexa does that. It's quite identifiable and there is no great mystique; it has shadows which shelve off gently then crush rather abruptly to black, just like an F900 with a hypergamma curve in it, which is presumably provoked by much the same physics and the same need to crush out the noise in the very bottommost parts of the image. It also has very, very gentle highlight rolloff. It is a look designed to in some ways emulate film, and in some ways to mollify film purists. It's just a lookup table. Sony's "Rec. 709 Type-A" preset emulates Arri's standard 709 conversion fairly successfully.

 

It just happens to be a look that everyone seems to like (and I don't disagree), but it's not really a good thing. The camera should be giving us something without character. Character is the DP's job. If you want character, design an appropriate character for the production and put it in the monitoring and the grade. Blackmagic's cameras work best with that approach, and I think it's the right approach, but there are a lot of people out there who rely frankly rather heavily on Alexa making everything look like Alexa.

 

Because everyone likes Alexa, right...

 

P

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I totally agree Phil.. these guys turn up with their Arri,s ,throw up a 1x1 lite panel..press Rec and go home in their Maserati,s .. we Sony owners are the better DP,s .. as we have embraced the biblical like challenge of the "Sony Look".. we are the Bilbo Baggins of the digital world.. we are like Luke Sky Walker wandering the lonely pixel prairies seeking truth and answers .. we are the latter day James Dean strolling the Boulevard of broken codecs...

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The C200 seems a bit of an odd one.. you have a new "Canon cinema Raw light" that no edit system supports .. on one slot CF card.. or bizarrely only 8 bit 35Mbps 420 HD,or 150 Mbps 4K UHD onto SD cards.. seems an odd choice to me for a "broadcast " camera.. AFAIK..

 

No 10 bit .. only 35 Mbps HD.. these days.. with so much competition .. I think it will sell like a chocolate fire guard..

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There is some firmware up grade in 2018 talked about.. to the usual Canon codec .. but I think its limited to 8 bit in that camera.. maybe Ive missed something but why would anyone put out 35 Mbps HD in a new camera.. its not broadcast standard for HD even...or the whole market is a B cam for the C700/C300 II.. ?

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I totally agree Phil.. these guys turn up with their Arri,s ,throw up a 1x1 lite panel..press Rec and go home in their Maserati,s .. we Sony owners are the better DP,s .. as we have embraced the biblical like challenge of the "Sony Look".. we are the Bilbo Baggins of the digital world.. we are like Luke Sky Walker wandering the lonely pixel prairies seeking truth and answers .. we are the latter day James Dean strolling the Boulevard of broken codecs...

😆😂😭

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Anyone think Arri would ever release a $6000 mass produced Alexa variant?

 

of course not ;)

making their cameras cheap would mean less testing, cheaper parts and full scale mass production, instead of hand assembly + testing every single camera + careful machining etc.

it would drop their product to the "Blackmagic Design range" where cameras can fail you every now and then, have really odd problems which appear from nowhere and can't really be trusted on in a real production environment.

it would probably cost them much more than the revenue would be from a 6k mass produced indie camera.

but if they would like to try this, they could set up a subsidiary company with different name which could afford bad reputation and lost high end sales it causes :lol:

 

as for the C200, I think it would be great camera for specific kind of doc and small/mid range indie and commercial work. mainly for situations where you are shooting limited amount of material with great amount of post time and usable backup solutions for the data rate.

The sensor seems to be quite nice quality and probably it is a great handheld camera so it could be good for certain smaller uses, for example second unit /B-roll, VFX stuff, etc. But the new Panasonic camera will probably be much better multi-purpose camera for low budget work when shooting larger amount of material (just like with for example the C300Mk2 and sony FS7. the 300 to 400mbps 422 intra codecs are close to the current "sweet spot" for indie and doc use: they don't waste too much memory cards and hdd space and are relatively lightweight to edit and post process but still have good enough picture quality for serious work and allow longer recording times and easier backup solutions than a raw based camera would have )

Maybe Canon would later see the problem (may not happen) and add a mid range codec to it afterwards which would be a 422 or 444 intra codec at about 300 to 600 Mbps range... the camera's form factor, usability etc. would suffer with an external prores recorder so for the C200 a onboard solution would be the only way I think

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The C200 seems a bit of an odd one.. you have a new "Canon cinema Raw light" that no edit system supports .. on one slot CF card.. or bizarrely only 8 bit 35Mbps 420 HD,or 150 Mbps 4K UHD onto SD cards.. seems an odd choice to me for a "broadcast " camera.. AFAIK..

 

No 10 bit .. only 35 Mbps HD.. these days.. with so much competition .. I think it will sell like a chocolate fire guard..

I agree some odd choices on several counts, however, Canon c300 and c500 I think have a great look, so why not c200?. It seems as if the Raw LIght can work directly with Avid AMA , but is having to transcode footage before you can use it a big deal or deal breaker?? I think that it is a wait and see for the c200. I suspect the footage will look great, how practical and easy it is to get that remains to be seen. I like the look of the sensors that canon makes rather than blackmagic.

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Someone must be, given the enormous bash they throw at NAB every year, in which they announce all their new...

 

...er...

 

...yeah.

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