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Thomas Loeschnigg

Bmpcc - First tests disappointed - please help

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Hi!

 

I have a new bmpcc and do not know what to think about this camera. I bought the camera because of the many good youtube videos. The colors of prores hq are very special.

 

But now on the first test i am a little bit disappointed.

I also own the sony rx-100 v and the gh5. In my first tests, there is not so much difference.

 

What do you all mean? Are the colors really so great out of the camera? Or its the grading in post?

I don't now if I should keep the camera. How was your beginning with the camera?

 

Thanks!

Thomas

 

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Well, it's a $1000 camera. If you have a $2000 GH5, then you wouldn't need a pocket camera. The GH5 is 10 bit 4:2:2 as well, so there really is no reason to own a pocket.

 

I love the pocket because it's so simple, the menu's are simple, the operation is simple, it's such a EASY camera to run compared to the GH5, which is overly complicated because it also doubles as an expresso machine. LOL :P

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I believe the GH5 is without a doubt worth the extra cash. From a consensus view; probably because it does 10bit 4k with far better low light performance than the GH4.

 

 

 

From my view; it has real physical buttons that let you change the sensor settings without hopping into a menu away from the camera's view.

 

Also yes, you do need to run it through resolve to color it. Otherwise, the footage will always look flat and de-saturated

Edited by Macks Fiiod

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Any camera is only as good as what you're shooting and whose working with it. The Pocket is great, when thrown in with all the other things you need to make a cinematic image, from lenses, to lights, to post, and production design.

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I use to own a BMPCC, then owned a GH4 (process of selling), now own a GH5. My experience with the BMPCC was a little, ehh, lackluster. I mean, the image it could produce was fine (but not really any better than a GH4 with 10-bit 4:2:2 into an Atomos). For pixel-peepers there might well be a stop or two more dynamic range on the pocket than most DSLR-type cameras, but then you also have the tradeoff of being stuck in 1080p, which is not even a DCP format. If you make a film you want to take to a festival, your going to have to jinx the output to 2048 wide, or sidebox the 2048, which looks weird to me.

 

The great thing about the GH5 is that it shoots 10-bit 4:2:2 in Cinema 4k format. Even if you don't need 4k, downsampling the 4k to 2k reduced artifacts and image noise by 4x, resulting in a clean, sharp 2k image which you can push higher in ISO since the noise is going to be reduced when shrinking the frame.

 

Dynamic range is still an issue on the GH line of cameras, with my test of the GH5 with VLOG reaching 12 stops (only 1 stop less than the pocket). Some people don't like Panasonic colors, and think Blackmagic has a better color science; which is all up to personal opinion, and after post work probably amounts to nil. But the GH4 has a larger sensor, which means more ability to play with DOF. Plus, native M43 lenses are native, unlike with the pocket, where you have a crop factor for pretty much every type of lens except for a true Super16mm film lens (2-8x the cost of the camera). The pocket is a lot simpler than the GH line of cameras, having very few menu options - but it's not like you HAVE to use all the menu options on the GH5. Once the camera is set to C4k and VLOG profile, I don't need to really touch the menus at all. ISO and shutter speed are adjustable via button, and I have shortcut buttons active for most things like white balance set.

 

Ultimately, its down to what you want out of your camera. Any of these cameras can produce perfectly fine quality images, and can mostly be matched in post. The reality of the matter is, a GH5 will not produce an image much different from an Arri Alexa. The real reason cameras like the Alexa are made is for the tough riggers of a film set, and a dedicated professional workflow.

 

PS) The rack focus setting on the GH5 is amazing. If you are doing a steady shot with two actors you want to bring in and out of focus, you can nail perfect focus pulls every time. Other than that, the autofocus on the GH5 sucks, so it's pretty much manual focus only if you want quality results.

Edited by Landon D. Parks

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Ohh and for people who have Super 16 cameras, the pocket allows them to re-use that wonderful old school glass. That's partially why I haven't bothered buying anything else, I have over $30k worth of S16 glass that works great for a camera the size of two iphones.

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Ohh and for people who have Super 16 cameras, the pocket allows them to re-use that wonderful old school glass. That's partially why I haven't bothered buying anything else, I have over $30k worth of S16 glass that works great for a camera the size of two iphones.

 

Yep. I have a PL adapter on the BMPCC and use my Zeiss 12-120 zoom on it from my S16 SR2. Basically the BMPCC is a decent sensor for my S16 glass.

 

Like all Blackmagic cameras it's all about the post. It's designed so you spend time in Resolve getting it to look like what you want. The generally low contrast image out of the "film" mode is nice to work with...but you're still dealing with an HD image; not 4k.

 

Depth of field is a consideration as well. If you're used to DSLRs and large sensors the BMPCC is an adjustment. It is certainly a good and inexpensive tool to have at your disposal. My only issue with it is it's unnatural consumption of batteries. External power is a must.

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Does anyone know how the Sony a7s compares with the BMPCC? Maybe there's no comparison for serious filmmakers (I've no idea at this stage). I found this footage and to me it looks great. Yes, it's using an anamorphic lens but it made me sit up and take notice, which I usually only do with film. Taken with an a7s:

 

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the 8 bit on the Sonys is a real limiting factor-- but the ability of low light and depth of field control it offers you blows the pocket away (and easier to find wide lenses for).

Of the two; the pocket is often more of an insert camera on bigger shows where you need it's small size and ability to work with the color-workflow of say an alexa, whereas the sony's are fine for smaller lower budget web and narrative, or in such situations you're using Slog cameras or need superior low light performance.

In the end it comes down to who is behind the camera.

 

Also, if you need higher than HD resolution, you're kinda only in Sony territory.

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Thank you. Could the a7s potentially be used as main camera for a cinema release documentary film? eg. is the image quality high enough? Sure, ideally something better could be selected, but .... I may sound pretentious but my curiosity sometimes gets the better of me.

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I guess you could use it.. people use iPhones .. but for ease of use/TC /Audio etc and to have 10 bit..in HD anyway I believe .. then you could go for an Fs5.. also very small form factor and not much more exp.. as pointed out I think the 8 bit is a limiting factor for grading.. and you wouldn't want to really shoot Log 8 bit.. and it is of course a very good stills camera, that can shoot video.. which will always have its short comings.. if its your A camera.. I,d always go for a camera designed to shoot video..

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Correct. To me, not a huge issue. This guy seems to be out for image quality as opposed to portability.

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Does anyone know how the Sony a7s compares with the BMPCC? Maybe there's no comparison for serious filmmakers (I've no idea at this stage). I found this footage and to me it looks great. Yes, it's using an anamorphic lens but it made me sit up and take notice, which I usually only do with film. Taken with an a7s:

 

 

Jon, what you're probably liking on that footage is the depth of field. BMPCC footage would not look like that with the same focal length lenses. As far as "quality"... you can achieve excellent quality on the BMPCC, especially with the RAW setting but you have to know your way around Resolve to get the most out of it.

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you can use anything as an a camera. A feature which I got some talk about; good and bad i'm sure, we used gopros as the a-camera along with some canon xa20s (i think? been awhile)-- but that was part and parcel of the style of the show, akin to how Tangerine used the iPhone and Cloverfield the HVX200 and ViperFilmStream or the Hobbit with the Epics (I think it was Epics).

To paraphrase Jurassic Park, the question isn't whether or not you could, it's whether or not you should. There is no real work for EVERY situation camera, and I get that's not what you're really asking, but you need to start to formulate, think, the mindset of picking the appropriate tools for the job at hand given the limiting factors you're faced with as well as personal preferences.
Now, you're looking at documentary; and in that world I wouldn't be thinking of a pocket or an a7 as a main camera as you're limited on both ergonomics and battery. The best would be something like an FS7 (in my mind as I particularly like that camera's deisgn) or any other good quality video camera which can give you long record and run times on batteries, not to mention the ability to shoot good-enough audio without having a bunch of breakout boxes. It also won't overheat! (an issue for vDSLRs and in the pocket inasmuch as you can get hot pixels if it's been on for too long).

But that advice is only as good as what my idea of the realities of your doc are. Many docs have been lensed on lesser cameras, and greater, but they were arrived at after careful consideration of the nature of their particular production.

Lets take a hypothetical doc I might do on boarder crossings.

 

In that case I might be looking into using a A7s (at night) as well as some kind of camera (probably sony) which offers IR or Night Shooting (so as not to give away positions etc) and possibly a FS5 or FS7 as the main, daytime, run and gun/interview camera.

 

Now if i'm about to do a doc on say retro fashion in Paris which will be mostly beauty shooting in well lit studios, I might want to pick up an Amira or an Alexa Mini (Probably an Amira) for it's great color rendition, slow motion, and "cinematic" feel paired with some "vintage" lenses.

 

Image quality is also not a great rubric on which to judge a film as something like Iraq In Fragments, from 2006, was nominated for best documentary, looks damned good, and was recorded SD on the DVX100 series of cameras to MiniDV Tape. I can betcha that image quality, while an aspect, wasn't the primary motivation to use DVX cameras.

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Also, tangental; but one of the books i've read in my time which really made me change the way in which I think about film has been Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. I personally find the Metaphysics of Quality quite interesting to apply to the projects on which I work.

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That's some excellent information everybody, especially Adrian. I will indeed check out Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. I'm interested in it. The company I work for occasionally makes 90 minute films for DVD. Some are shown one or two nights at cinemas in the US so that's why I ask about that. If we made something here it would be mostly daylight exteriors, a lot of shots in natural settings, some wide landscape shots, and some sit down interviews 'in the office', maybe with green screen. I would like to use a camera that I'd be interested to use for my own films. I'd like to use anamorphic for my own work which I've now worked out I can afford. So if I used a Sony f3 with similar lenses I could get shots looking just like the anamorphic ones I posted above shot on a mirrorless pocket camera? I appreciate that it's who's behind the camera, plus it's that particular lens. The issue about overheating is an important one, so small pocket cameras lose out there.

 

I'm very interested in a camera with sensor the same size as or as close as possible to 4-perf 35. Call me a traditionalist I guess.

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Sorry if I've derailed this thread. I didn't want to start a new one. It's all relevant to the original poster's question, though, as he did ask about Sony and BM pocket cameras. Plus I researched a lot on the BMPCC.

Edited by Jon O'Brien

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I'm also a bit open-ended with A-cams and think it's cool when an unexpected one is used. However, gopros?, it at least has to have interchangeable lenses.

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found footage styled feature-- but given the premise of the script (reality survivor man type tv host surviving zombies) actually made some sort of sense.

 

Also i think the sony a7s would overheat substantially more than a pocket.

 

As for anamorphic, you'll need to find a 4x3 sensor camera to use 2x anamorphic lenses. A F3 won't allow you to do that; though you could use 1.3X lenses, they generally don't have the same anamorphic feeling as a 2x does.

I think some of the GH series offer a 4x3 mode in the vDSLR world; but I'm not positive on that.

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Would like to make a zombie film :) Or a vampire film with lots of candles but that might need a low light camera.

 

Yes, maybe a full size sensor has a lot of advantages over 4x3 or Super 35. The a7s can I think change between full-size and Super 35. The answer to all this is, as often said, there's no one camera for everything.

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Would like to make a zombie film :) Or a vampire film with lots of candles but that might need a low light camera.

Then what you get is candles that look super over-exposed because the dynamic range of super sensitive cameras is generally weak at the higher ISO's.

 

If Kubrick shot Barry Lyndon without high speed stock, we can do the same. Fast glass, fast "enough" camera and you're fine. I've shot with my pocket camera in near pitch black situations and it comes out fine.

 

Yes, maybe a full size sensor has a lot of advantages over 4x3 or Super 35. The a7s can I think change between full-size and Super 35. The answer to all this is, as often said, there's no one camera for everything.

I don't like swiss army knife cameras, that try to be everything to everyone, the A7SII is a great example of that. I actually just used one today on a shoot and ya know what, totally dissatisfied. I was just playing around with it, but making it look good was like nearly impossible, both in still and video mode. I couldn't get any warmth out of the image, I also found the auto focus almost too sensitive and had to set focus manually which bothered me quite a bit. I wasn't happy with the display that can come out all sorts of odd angles, I got it caught on a few things just carrying it around. The controls are OK I guess, the mode knob works nicely, so does the power and separate video record mode. But yet again, the camera does so much, it has so much going on, it's almost too much ya know? If I go out and shoot video, I want a video camera... I will take stills with my iPhone. If I'm out shooting stills, I always have my iPhone to capture video. I don't need both ever and what kills me is how many manufacturers to this day, haven't gone the blackmagic route and said **(obscenity removed)** it, lets just make a video camera because there is a HUGE market for it. Sony and Panasonic still both make hybrids and it's a real shame. The A7SII and GH4/GH5 are all "still" cameras first, with the "option" to shoot video. They function like a still camera, not a video camera. Where the pocket camera functions like a video camera straight up, it's got nothing else but video on it's mind. Ohh and sure, you can make a video camera take "screen grabs" from your imager and store them as JPEG's. So theoretically, any video camera could capture stills without the manufacturers necessarily focusing on the still aspects first.

 

The whole imager thing is a nightmare because very few non-professional cameras use the full imager for video anyway. So it's kind of a moot point until you take that out of the equation. The pocket uses the full imager, but it maybe the only one. Not sure the answer on that one, it's just a guess.

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