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Philippe Orlando

Is there anything better than the BMCC

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I have a GH4 that I love. But the more I watch footage from the BMCC I think that nothing below $ 10 000 is capable of creating such a beautiful image. Am I the only one to believe this? Now the BMCC MFT mount can be found on ebay for around $ 800 and I'm extremely tempted. My original plan was to save and go with the GH5s, since I have all the lenses and a focal reducer, but the low light capability is not enough for me to make the jump as I simply can't fathom creating a story, whether it's a short or a longer piece without the appropriate lighting. I don't understand the craziness over low light capabilities of a cam, must be coming from people who are not interested in fiction where the environment is entirely controlled. So when you compare footage from that already "old" camera, the BMCC and the GH5s, do you see what I'm seeing, the BMCC is so much better, or am I the only one to see this?
Thanks for your comments

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I've been having similar thoughts. I've been working with AF-100s (please, it's not polite to snicker) and have accumulated a fair number of lenses, most of which are actually Nikon mount with adapters. I've been looking at the BMCC off and on (along with the JVC GY LS300) as a useful alternative.

 

The conventional wisdom on the BMCC that I've seen says:

• The camera's screen is useless when working outdoors

• Beware of odd dropped frames

• Beware of pointing it at a strong light source, which I would also assume means don't change lenses in bright light

• It has crummy audio control

• No internal ND filters

 

All of these could be incorrect or exaggerated. On the audio topic, does it work well with a line-level feed from a field mixer, or is an external recorder necessary?

 

Thanks.

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The Blackmagic Cinema Camera makes really, really nice pictures. The rolling shutter is terrible, it's a strange sensor size and the form factor is - er - odd, but the pictures are extremely good. Really extremely good, and I can see people looking at a GH5 and then at a Cinema Camera and going "hmm, this isn't a very clear choice."

 

Unless you need 4K.

 

P

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Yes, but the rolling shutter should only be felt during panning, correct? I was not aware of dropped frames. As far as audio, I always record separately. The ND filter belongs to the lens! :)

In a controlled environment, I think it might be the right tools. As far as needing 4K, I'm not sure. If I understand well, many blockbusters in the last 2 years have still been mastered in 2.5K, right? Can somebody confirm this?

I think next time I see a BMCC for around 800 bucks I'm going to go for it

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To be honest; at this point, i would look into getting into the URSA Mini line from BM-- probably the MiniPro as it just provides more versatility out of the box without the need to build out the camera while still keeping the BM image which is very nice. The 2.5K was, when it came out, very fine, but I think it's time is well past.

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Adrian, I understand your point but you're talking about a totally different beast from a financial point of view. 800 bucks for the BMCC on ebay vs $ 6000 for the Ursa mini.

Keep in mind, I was comparing the BMCC to a GH5 which is around $2500.

Now as the time of the BMCC to be over, I'm not sure what it means since the quality of the image is still better than any DSLR coming out today, including the GH5.

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The quality is there; yes, (though the GH5 is no slouch) but it's getting harder and harder to use non-4K Cameras as most productions, even if they don't need to deliver in 4K quite enjoy the over-sampling and ability to punch in if/when need be. I only mention the MiniPros as your first post mentions sub-10K$ cameras, and in such case, I think the Mini-Pro takes the cake. And the $800 is rather misleading for the BMCC as you'll need to add on external monitors, batteries, cage system, matte box, and NDIR filters at least and SSDs which'll inflate you up quite a bit to something really workable-- I haven't priced it out recently but I"d expect the need to add at least $3K to the camera to get a really usable rig (mostly in batteries and SSDs). The Gh5 benefits from much lower power consumption. We just had one out in the desert for a spec spot and didn't need to change batteries once in the whole 7 hour day. That can't be said of the BMCC.

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Sure, all valid points, but I do have the rig, the same one I used for my GH4, all the lenses, and speedboosters to adapt Nikon lenses as for the SSDs, they're not that bad! I guess it might be worth noting that you might be a professional, somebody making a living with cinematography? I assume? I'm not! I do shorts and I guess it's, for now, a hobby!

Edited by Philippe Orlando

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Shh don't let the IRS in on my secret. Very valid points. For SSDs, btw highly recommend only the Sandisks. They're the only ones i'm really positive work on that system. Check out the blackmagic forums as they'll have a better idea. Also don't overlook the batteries, the internal doesn't last, at all, so you'll want to look into a V Mount of AB mount system. Some folks go with cheaper lead acid batteries with a pig tail to the 2.5 input on the BMCC but the V Mount and AB Mount systems out there will be something more of an investment which you can bring to any subsequent camera system.

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The Blackmagic Cinema camera, so this is the 1st gen 2.5k camera in that stupid box... has a few major issues

 

1) The built-in battery doesn't work, period. It also has a tendency to fail and melt the camera without being in use.

2) The screen has no way of being adapted to work, so you need a viewfinder to really use it anywhere but in the darkest of environments.

3) Handheld what? Basically it's as worthless to work with as the Canon C series cameras, just a flat-out bogus design.

4) The imager has serious FPN issues that come in at around 800 ISO.

 

Blackmagic fixed nearly all of the issues with the Pocket camera. I've shot A LOT with both cameras, and where the cinema camera does look good when lit right (400iso ish) it kinda falls apart, even at it's native ISO sometimes. The rig you need to make it "work" is huge and annoying and costly and not worth it.

 

I guess the pro's are that it's super cheap, it has a decent looking imager and great codec's. It also uses SSD storage, which is great and fast as well. So for studio-only work, lit well and the camera plugged into AC power all the time, it maybe a something worthwhile to pursue if you don't have much money. However, I wouldn't do much with it after that.

 

I will say, having shot with the GH4 and recently the GH5 quite a bit for a documentary series where the filmmaker owns the equipment and wants consistency, I don't care AT ALL for the Panasonic imager. Forget the atrocious menu's, forget difficulty at making small changes and the "consumer" aspects of the cameras like the shitty codec and such. I frankly don't like the image and when I grade it, I'm always completely unsatisfied with the result. It's really unfortunate for me because I have to shoot with them and it's like pulling my hair out. I'm not interested in a "realistic" looking image, I'm interested in a "cinematic" image, something that's more akin to film, with the nice soft layer between my subject and my audience. This is why I went with the pocket camera... for some reason, it just looks great without doing anything really. Yes, you do have to grade the pocket, but it has this very filmic layer that so many cameras don't have. The cinema camera does have that same look, but none of the Panasonic or Sony cameras in the same price range do. The Canon C series like the C300MKII does look good tho.

 

I'd personally put the pocket on top of the Blackmagic Cinema Camera any day of the week. Smaller, lighter, easier to use, removable batteries, cheaper storage, no "rig" necessary for hand holding or any shooting for that matter. I also think it has less FPN at higher ISO which is nice as well. It's funny, I'm doing a camera comparison video right now with the Epic, F55, Ursa 4k, a7sMKII and Pocket. I'm not shocked at all how good the pocket looks compared to all the other cameras outside of the Epic, which just blows the doors off all the other cameras. The URSA 4k has more dynamic range then the rest tho, which was a very very very interesting unexpected side effect! Anyway, I'll post the test when we're finished with it!

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Tyler,

Thank you so much for your input, extremely appreciated here. I really appreciate anybody trying to keep me from making a mistake. I'm going to seriously look into the pocket. Running to work, so I won't be able to answer right away, but will later. Thanks again

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Tyler I think you've confused the 2.5K and the 4K, the 4K Cinema is the one whose 400 native with the bad FPN. Haven't really noticed FPN on the 2.5K imager, which is of the same family as the pocket (so native 800 and not all too bad).

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Tyler I think you've confused the 2.5K and the 4K, the 4K Cinema is the one whose 400 native with the bad FPN. Haven't really noticed FPN on the 2.5K imager, which is of the same family as the pocket (so native 800 and not all too bad).

Maybe, I have shot a lot with the 4k version too. However, I always light, so I personally never have an issue with it. I've just seen people who push the cameras pretty hard, get pissed off.

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on the 2.5 you basically have to stick it @ 800 and it'll be pretty nice (and over-exposing it a stop is also pretty helpful, though i'd found under-rating it (to 400) doesn't help as much) and on the 4K it's 400 only and prayer.

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If you already own a lot of m43 support equipment, look into the GH5s. It's got a 10mp sensor, which means it should have some of the best low-light performance in a non-full frame camera.

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I have a GH4 that I love. But the more I watch footage from the BMCC I think that nothing below $ 10 000 is capable of creating such a beautiful image.

 

post-10433-0-45026900-1517464252_thumb.jpg

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Super 8? That is pretty much a downgrade to any HD digital footage. I suppose if you can deal with the extreme grain, flicker - and well, lack of good low-light - then by all means. Super 8 has pretty much always been the 'home video' format for a reason - while it does achieve the film look, the overall appearance of super 8 is extremely amateur, and your paying for that film look with a lack of resolution and audio-sync nightmares.

Personally, I'd say no to super-8, but to each there own. If I was gonna go through the trouble of investing in a film-based workflow, I'd probably just save up and adopt super-16 at the minimum.

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Super 8? That is pretty much a downgrade to any HD digital footage. I suppose if you can deal with the extreme grain, flicker - and well, lack of good low-light - then by all means. Super 8 has pretty much always been the 'home video' format for a reason - while it does achieve the film look, the overall appearance of super 8 is extremely amateur, and your paying for that film look with a lack of resolution and audio-sync nightmares.

 

 

 

Edited by Samuel Berger

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The BMCC was a marvellous and maddening machine. The picture (kept within its limits) is remarkably good - I used it as a B-camera to the Sony F3 on my first feature some years back, and it was incredible how closely it could match to the $20,000 F3.

Ergonomically, it's mostly a nightmare (except for crashcam-type setups, where its all-in-one style is perfect), but for a primary camera, it requires a lot of rigging to make it usable.

The rolling shutter isn't great, and it doesn't like being pushed more than about half a stop beyond it's 800 ISO rating. But if you have no money, and can find one with all the necessary rigging gack included - then it's certainly capable of delivering images that you can use.

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Those super-8 samples look fine on the small windows they shop up as here. However, I copied the link to vimeo and opened them on my 1080p 140" projector screen. Talk about fuzzyness and grain, not to mention the apparent jitter in the image from the less-than-24p frame rate. You can scan Super 8 at 4K, but that does not mean it's going to create detail that isn't there. Trying to get 4K detail from a super-8 sized scan is pushing it a bit. Hell, you might be able to pull 4K detail from a 35mm scan, but that is about it. Super8? No. Even on my 29" Ultrawide TRUE 4K monitor, it looked worse than it did on the projector at 1080p.

 

I'm not saying don't go with Super8, I'm just saying be careful using that a lot. It has it's own unique look, even from other film formats; due to its lower frame rate, larger grain, etc. The Super8 look can work, but its not appropriate for all situations, and certainly not for anything you plan to put on a large screen. There is a reason it has never really been used for professional work*...

 

* - and I don't mean it never has, I just mean its not done commonly.

Edited by Landon D. Parks

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So what the discussion ultimately says is that any camera (maybe even my AF-100), used under ideal conditions by someone who understands its strengths and limitations, can produce lovely images, or the artist can effectively feature the quirks of a given format, such as Super8 (Including references to Jules and Alba...) to produce a desired effect. Some tools are more universal that others, but those come at a price. Pick the one that works best for your kind of shooting within your budget.

 

There also the fact that newer is not necessarily better. Discussions show up here regularly about the virtues of older platforms, such as an Arri D21. It's old but still has its enthusiasts. Naturally when it comes to film, when working with quality equipment age is not a factor. Same for lenses.

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I think I'm going to narrow it down to either the BMPCC or the BMCC.

Now it's possible to find external monitors, such as the FeelWorld FW760 for the BMCC for less than $200 and I've found some switronic PB70 power base for 200 bucks on Ebay.

If I can find the BMCC for less than 800 bucks, I think I'll take a chance, still cheaper than a $2500 GH5s and the images are so much better to my eyes, still!

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You can pick up a used BMPCC for less than $800 off of Amazon right now - $700 to be exact. Honestly, I'd probably swing for this before a GH5s upgrade, but just note that the Pocket will not give you any kind of good low-light performance at all - it's simply not designed for that kind of work.

 

If you're going with the pocket, and have a little extra money, I'd go for a .58x speedbooster and a few Rokinon lenses, that way you can get a wider FOV and get your F stop down to around f.95 or so, which will help offset the camera. A speedbooster and a 3-lens Rokinon set, combined with a used Pocket and a cheap 7" monitor will still be less than the cost of a GH5s, even a GH5 - and the image quality should certainly be on par or better.

 

The longer I go, the more I'm considering giving up on the Panasonic brand (I use a GH4 vlog with Atomos right now), and really all DSLR-style cameras. Right now, I'm saving up to make a purchase of an URSA Mini Pro, and I'm actually looking forward to it.

Edited by Landon D. Parks

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Retaining the connection to the M43 mount, is anybody using the JVC GY LS300? It looks like an interesting and kind of odd camera. Far more conventional form factor, super 35 sensor but only 8 bit.

 

Same price range as a GH5s.

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