Author Topic: Black Magic Cinema Camera: Brief thoughts  (Read 6910 times)

Offline Nick Pasquariello

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Black Magic Cinema Camera: Brief thoughts
« on: April 23, 2013, 09:47:36 PM »
I figure very few have had their hands on the Black Magic Cinema Camera for an actual shoot yet, so here are some brief thoughts from my hands on.

I got to DIT a 2 day shoot for 2 of these, the first iteration (2.5k sensor), about 3 weeks ago.

We shot straight to ProRes, so I can't comment on the RAW workflow.  It's pretty much exactly as straight forward as you could imagine: records ProRes files right to the root folder of the standard issue SSD that sits inside the camera.  Pop the SSD out of the camera and then into a 2.5" drive dock.  At the time of the shoot (and still, I think, though new firmware should fix this soon) the 1/8" audio inputs weren't turned on.  So audio syncing, of course, is a concern.

The image looked better than I expected.  The depth of field was also shallower than I expected, given the small sensor.  The shoot was inside a factory that makes pasta, and given the limitations of what lights and gear you can get into certain areas that process and create food, the image quality was pretty great.  The only hiccup from the two days was one shot where the DP took the camera and pointed it at the horizon as they rode down the highway, and the sun was so bright that it HARD CLIPPED into black pixels.  Not a huge issue or concern (and depending on how it occurs in the frame, it could be easy to track and replace), just know that it happens to SUPER BRIGHT elements in frame.  Like a sun.  Through a lens with a wide open aperture.

Workflow was pretty simple: I'd get 2 SSDs from the AC, and then set about transferring and checksumming.  Once I was done with both, we'd swap.  Even with less than ideal transfer rates (hard drives from production didn't match.  One was USB and one was Firewire.  Also, need to update my gear, so I'm on a 2010 MBP, limited by Firewire) and a drive that spontaneously disconnected and had to be synced the hard way, I stayed pretty much on pace with the rate of shooting.  Camera rap 5PM, DIT wrap 6PM.  2 days of shooting 2 cameras to ProRes was about 700GB (4 45-minute interviews and a LOT of "How It's Made" style shots of the manufacturing process).  A 240GB SSD is supposed to hold almost 30 minutes of RAW from the camera, so make sure you've got the transfer speeds and storage to accomodate that if that's what's wanted.  And again, this is the 2.5k version.  4K raw should take up much more hard drive.

Personally, the camera feels like it solves a lot of the idiosyncrasies of using a Canon 5D as a video camera.  Of course, it also presents it's own.  But the image looked great, and looked like a champ when pulled into Resolve and pushed and pulled a little.

Offline Matthew J Hicks

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Re: Black Magic Cinema Camera: Brief thoughts
« Reply #1 on: April 28, 2013, 09:05:27 PM »
Thanks for posting such a great write up of the camera. It's not one I've had any opportunity to use and obviously the new Super35 4K version got a lot of press at NAB recently so I dare say we are going to see more from this camera. I guess essentially the 2.5K one is like a GH2 with built in ProRes/DNxHD recorder. I'm interested to know if you know of a way of getting a LOG LUT into the camera to get the most out of the dynamic range, any ideas?
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Offline Nick Pasquariello

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Re: Black Magic Cinema Camera: Brief thoughts
« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2013, 12:21:34 AM »
The camer menus were pretty basic.  Which is good for usability, but nothing jumped out in terms of LUTs.  Though, I never actually had it in my hands, so I can't be sure.

What I do know, is that while recording in LOG, it displays it in what looked like Rec709.  So client monitors and the back of the BMCC itself looked nice and saturated, but the files I got off the SSD were definitely LOG not LIN.

So, I don't think you can set a "custom" look as far as I could tell, but at least it records LOG and shows the client a "non washed out" image.