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Andrew Reid

SlashCAM conclude Blackmagic Cinema Camera review, compares to Canon C300

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A fabulously thorough and well thought out piece.
1) "It is interesting that whilst Canon, Sony and Panasonic battle each other for the $3000-$6000 segment of the market with their C100, FS100 and AF100 – Blackmagic Design quietly sit there with zero competition. The Japanese divided that market between 3. Blackmagic could take it all for one and one for all."
More intresting is that this VERY argument was made by RED Digital six years ago, and yet RED is suffering from loss of 'niche'. No. The 'big three are already cosolidating and when they figure out that the way to beat the BMCC is by pooling thier resources and eliminating duplication of effort, BMCC will be past history, just as I fear, that RED shall be shortly.
2) The BMCC is a great deal  for cinematic caliber capture and workflow and indeed a Scarlet/C300/C100 killer. ProRes is a great CODEC and a wise choice. So was the genius of direct to SSD capture. Bundling Resolve and calling it a '$1000 freebie' is disengenious- however. Further, I fear that when the SSD form-factor/capacity connundrum is bested by smaller denser media (SD/CF etc), the 'other' BMCC advantage will have been lost.
3) There are numerous reasons why the BMCC is risky and while $3K is indeed small change for earning film-makers, it's an investment for hobbyists. Allow me to enumerate these key shorcommings :

[list]
[*]As I mentioned, the storage platform of SSD is likely to to be superceded by smaller/denser media, resulting in camera obsolescence and thus, devaluation.
[*]The current body design and data connectivity of the BMCC is too 'protoype-like' to enure the test of time. Buttons in the wrong places, missing XLR adapter and most fearsome of all, heavy reliance on touch screen UI rather than button/dial based SUI. Not knowing the MTF of the touchscreen- the customer has no way to compare that to traditional SUI button/dial interfaces that have a pretty good history of reliability. Then again, perhaps a three year 'shelf-life' is enough ?
[*]BMCC's choice of sensor size was poor. S35 would have put the BMCC right where it would be 'future proof' untill about 2016, when who knows what the dominant sensor technology will be at that time.
[*]A whole lot more 'bread and butter' shooting is becoming dependent on small unobtrustive mirrorless cams like the Panasonic GH series and similar DSLRs. Sure, we know their many shortcoming vis a vis CODEC artifacts, limited post color space etc.etc. But as much more end-user consumption moves in the direction of mobile hand-helds and tablets, the value of cinamatic low arifact delivery of 2k-4k to the silver screen will diminish considerably!
[*]The most easily dismissed feature of the Sony Sub $15K cameras is slo mo. Though a fad in 2012, slow motion ( and time lapse) will figure more prominantly in the future, not only for TVC's of food, cars and lifestyle pieces, but also in the fastest growing segment of the consumer user domain- action sports.
While I respect the author's scope in reporting for 'Cinematic' Shooters, it's important to bear in mind that the big three hybrid camera Co's that he cited, Panasonic, Canon and Sony can eat BMCC's 'lunch' if they can only devise a way to make the uncompressed HD workflow easier and more accessible. The 'big three' are focused on cash-flow and survival.
BlackMagic had better do the same or they will be 'roadkill'.
[/list]

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EOSHD Pro Color for Sony cameras EOSHD Pro LOG for Sony CamerasEOSHD C-LOG and Film Profiles for All Canon DSLRs

Please excuse me but I'm going to ask what most would probably think is a dumb question -

however hope someone knows the answer. 

For all those who would love to use their full frame glass on a BMCC and actually get the FF angle of view and DOF characteristics. 

Would it be possible to use a Letus Extreme?

I've never used one - but I'm curious what the image would look like focussed off ground glass and all.

Thanks for not laughing too loudly!

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Thanks for your comments.

 

A fabulously thorough and well thought out piece.
1) "It is interesting that whilst Canon, Sony and Panasonic battle each other for the $3000-$6000 segment of the market with their C100, FS100 and AF100 – Blackmagic Design quietly sit there with zero competition. The Japanese divided that market between 3. Blackmagic could take it all for one and one for all."
More intresting is that this VERY argument was made by RED Digital six years ago, and yet RED is suffering from loss of 'niche'. No. The 'big three are already cosolidating and when they figure out that the way to beat the BMCC is by pooling thier resources and eliminating duplication of effort, BMCC will be past history, just as I fear, that RED shall be shortly.

 

Looking at the balance sheets all the signs are that it is Sony who are closer to elimination than Red or BMCC at the moment. Sad but true I'm afraid. And why would they pool their resources? They're competitors. There's enough room for plenty of competition, but first you have to enter the game. They haven't yet got an answer to the BMCC at $3000.

 


2) The BMCC is a great deal  for cinematic caliber capture and workflow and indeed a Scarlet/C300/C100 killer. ProRes is a great CODEC and a wise choice. So was the genius of direct to SSD capture. Bundling Resolve and calling it a '$1000 freebie' is disengenious- however.

 

Why is it disingenuous? Sorry I don't understand. Resolve is free with the camera and is of industry leading calibre. Their standard of software is key to this whole thing. Canon or Panasonic literally don't have the people, IP or market share to offer the same thing with their cameras. DaVinci Resolve was a large part of my decision to order the camera. It is amazing for my work.

 

Further, I fear that when the SSD form-factor/capacity connundrum is bested by smaller denser media (SD/CF etc), the 'other' BMCC advantage will have been lost.
3) There are numerous reasons why the BMCC is risky and while $3K is indeed small change for earning film-makers, it's an investment for hobbyists. Allow me to enumerate these key shorcommings :

[list]
[*]As I mentioned, the storage platform of SSD is likely to to be superceded by smaller/denser media, resulting in camera obsolescence and thus, devaluation.
[/list]

 

I can assure you 2.5" SSD is going nowhere. First they are a PC industry standard and fresh on the market. They're not a camera standard. It will likely take 10 years for the desktop PC industry to use denser media. How long have 3.5" hard drives been around? 25 years? The need for smaller drives is relevant for tablets, surface PCs and laptops but not for desktops and they will be with us for a while yet. When the denser SSD media does arrive, it will likely be adaptable to the SATA interface, just smaller. Therefore, with a simple adapter plate it will still be usable in the camera. By the time this happens, we'll likely be on the Blackmagic Cinema Camera Pro Mark IV!

 

[list]
[*]The current body design and data connectivity of the BMCC is too 'protoype-like' to enure the test of time. Buttons in the wrong places, missing XLR adapter and most fearsome of all, heavy reliance on touch screen UI rather than button/dial based SUI. Not knowing the MTF of the touchscreen- the customer has no way to compare that to traditional SUI button/dial interfaces that have a pretty good history of reliability. Then again, perhaps a three year 'shelf-life' is enough ?
[/list]

 

Yes a 3 year shelf life is enough for many, remember this is a version 1.0 product but this is so unlikely to be an issue anyway. I've seen iPhone touch screens which work flawlessly with smashed glass!. They don't degrade with physical wear, they are long lasting components and a mature technology so I don't see it as a risk. The usability of that screen is superb, so quick to use and so little do you need to be fiddling with the menus on this camera, it really is a case of minimalism and it allows you to just get on with the shoot. FS100 is far worse ergonomically. You need fewer physical controls on a raw camera than for an 8bit camcorder or a DSLR. ISO for example is almost redundant, as is picture profile - because all that stuff is done in post. The shutter angle is also pretty much always on 180 degrees for most shoots. The menus are really to set up the monitor or the recording format.

 

[list]
[*]BMCC's choice of sensor size was poor. S35 would have put the BMCC right where it would be 'future proof' untill about 2016, when who knows what the dominant sensor technology will be at that time.
[/list]

 

It is larger than S16mm and S16mm has been around for 40 years! Major motion pictures ("Moonrise Kingdom") this year shot on it.

 

Saying certain sensor sizes will go obsolete is like saying the colour blue may begin to disappear from the artist's palette and get superseded by orange. We filmmakers need the choice of aesthetic.

 

Large sensors are not THE deciding factor of image quality anyway. It is damaging to have so many misconceptions out there because it leads to marketing lead decisions about products rather than focussing on the things which are actually most important. Look at the Sony NEX VG-900. Full frame sensor but it's crap!

 

[list]
[*]A whole lot more 'bread and butter' shooting is becoming dependent on small unobtrustive mirrorless cams like the Panasonic GH series and similar DSLRs. Sure, we know their many shortcoming vis a vis CODEC artifacts, limited post color space etc.etc. But as much more end-user consumption moves in the direction of mobile hand-helds and tablets, the value of cinamatic low arifact delivery of 2k-4k to the silver screen will diminish considerably!
[/list]

 

Hahahaaaa. I cannot tell you how little I care about end user consumption. There will ALWAYS be a demand for high end viewing experiences and as an artist I want my films to provide for the like-minded. Let these dummies watch their feature films on their crappy phones when they could be watching it in a cinema or a home cinema. C'mon which is the better experience? Squinting at an iPad or iPhone? No thanks. I'll continue to watch mine on the big screen. Totally different experience. And also, given this logic James Cameron should downgrade his camera to suit the iPad screen. Why shoot 4K or 3D?

 

[list]
[*]The most easily dismissed feature of the Sony Sub $15K cameras is slo mo. Though a fad in 2012, slow motion ( and time lapse) will figure more prominantly in the future, not only for TVC's of food, cars and lifestyle pieces, but also in the fastest growing segment of the consumer user domain- action sports.
While I respect the author's scope in reporting for 'Cinematic' Shooters, it's important to bear in mind that the big three hybrid camera Co's that he cited, Panasonic, Canon and Sony can eat BMCC's 'lunch' if they can only devise a way to make the uncompressed HD workflow easier and more accessible. The 'big three' are focused on cash-flow and survival.
BlackMagic had better do the same or they will be 'roadkill'.
[/list]

 

 

It is exactly because the big three are so focussed on cash-flow instead of the product that they are failing.

 

Again, cinematic shooters are who matter to me on EOSHD. I don't really care what the fastest growing segment of consumer whatever is and if that is GoPro / action sports, then good for them. Why would this impact cinema? They co-exist peacefully, room for both. You tend to find that it is trends like slow-mo and timelapse that peak and then settle back to their intended more sparse use, and that the cinematic experience is timeless.

 

But I appreciate your counterpoints, even if they are quite far off the mark in my opinion sir.

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[list]
[*]A whole lot more 'bread and butter' shooting is becoming dependent on small unobtrustive mirrorless cams like the Panasonic GH series and similar DSLRs. Sure, we know their many shortcoming vis a vis CODEC artifacts, limited post color space etc.etc. But as much more end-user consumption moves in the direction of mobile hand-helds and tablets, the value of cinamatic low arifact delivery of 2k-4k to the silver screen will diminish considerably!
[/list]

 

I will quote David Lynch... No, I'll do one better then that...

 

[url="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wKiIroiCvZ0"]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wKiIroiCvZ0[/url]

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What Lynch says is always springing to mind. How about this from the Hollywood Reporter... It's another gem...

 

 

 

"I think part of the reason ideas haven’t come in [for a new Lynch feature film] is that the world of cinema is changing so drastically, and in a weird way, feature films I think have become cheap. Everything is kind of throwaway.  It’s experienced and then forgotten. It goes really fast. And you have to do those things you are just in love with. There is that expression, “Man has control of action alone, never the fruit of the action.” So you better enjoy the doing of a thing and not worry about the outcome. And I think that somewhere along the line, ideas will start coming and I may make a feature film. But I don’t hold out any hope for an audience. I just make it because I’m in love."

 

 

This is so true. As soon as your heart is not in what you do and you are more concerned with what people will think of the outcome, and the more you try and focus on controlling the outcome rather than focus on the film itself, you are done for.

 

In today's Hollywood a paycheck without inspiration is all too easy.

 

Unfortunately the 2nd page of his interview is behind a paywall :)

 

[url="http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/david-lynch-feature-films-have-395849"]http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/david-lynch-feature-films-have-395849[/url]

 

A couple of examples from my own experience really relate to what he's saying. If suddenly a format that I didn't like became incredibly popular with readers of EOSHD, would I start using it and blogging about it? I would not. It has to come from your passion, your interests. Another example... The reason EOSHD carries no advertising despite 500,000 visits per month is because I'm dispassionate about it. To do something well you have to believe in it. I believe in the books and my own filmmaking. Everything else is not concerned with the "action" as David puts it, or the love of it, but for the fruit of the action. I believe if the emphasis is placed in the action that the fruit of the action follows naturally. This is my advice for all filmmakers. Just focus on the action and only do something if you're passionately in love with it. You can make a quick buck with no passion or inspiration, but you'd have to be insane to put so much energy and effort and time into something you're not interested in.

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Well, alot of people have become spoiled with how technology has made things so easy. Top quality images for the price of 3K, that still boggles my mind! Its incredible! Yet people still complain, of course pointing out one flaw that needs improvement is fine, but then to say its no C300/Alexa/RED Epic? That doesnt make any sense... I didnt know the C300/Alexa/Epic was only 3000 dollars. Thats when I throw their statements out the window, because they clearly dont realize these are in totally different market prices. The BMC isnt the end all be all camera, it has flaws, but for 3K? I can live with that. SSD are to expensive? Remember when people had to buy film? Digital can be rewritten over. Buy a few SSD's, you have infinite film real equivalent. RAW to hard in post, well you also have 10-bit proress, now your just being stubborn.

 

Crop factor, yes it is important, but not a deal breaker. Like what Andrew mentioned before, use wider lense. Not wide enough? Mount it outside the car, if you need the shot, you will find a way to make it happen. Spending upwards 8K plus for a camera on one shot alone? Doesnt seem plausible sacrificing image quality of the entirety of your film for one single shot if your on a budget, but thats just my opinion, do what works for you.

 

Sports shooting, weddings, If this is your goal then look else where. Black Magic "Cinema Camera" is aimed more towards the narrative aspect. Its aimed at the lower level price market of up-and-coming indie film makers, doesnt mean you cant use it to shoot a wedding but it wasnt designed for that type of shooting scenario, you'd want an FS100/700.

 

One again, these are only my opinion :)

What you shoot on is your decision, we are all creative in our own way and thats whats so great. Some scenarios are best with a small GoPro then an Arri Alexa. ;)

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Thanks for the topic... Perhaps the [u]silent killer[/u] in this article is the pixel resolution and the color space values of the cinema camera with the 1.5x anamorphic adapter? It makes me wonder if it is Imax worthy...

 

Been thinking a lot about how important of a purchase the cinema camera really is. For now, since the camera isn't shipping, it seems like the perfect opportunity to study up on DaVinci Resolve. After all, our most important statement will be in the image.

 

Myself, I am practicing/preparing for a raw camera by shooting raw photos as well as working professionally with AVCHD on a GH2. For me, when I compare an 8-bit image to a 12-bit image I know that I really truly do have the power to expose and compose. The 12-bit images constantly remind me that great filmmakers truly rely on great image quality to tell their story. In a way, I feel like I'm letting myself down by shooting 8-bit videos.

 

It's a great article that a lot of videographers and cinema photographers are going to look back on... Great stuff Andrew and SlashCAM.

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 There is that expression, “Man has control of action alone, never the fruit of the action.”

Love David Lynch - that sentiment comes from Eastern philosophies like Vedanta. Perform your duties but do not be attached to the results of your actions (karma yoga). 

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I made a mistake in posting my Looong prior post, to which Andrew so graciously responded. A mistake because my 'mommy' wants me off the forums alltogether. No sleep for me these days.She has allowed to me to say "thanks"  to Andrew and to warn him that I have archived his response page (along with my comments) for future analysis.
One of us will owe the other a round of drinks in 2016 ;)

Finally....

If Sony goes bust before RED Digital, I'll eat all 12 of my favorite hats :D

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I am blown away by the image, but this statement is so true. The 2.3x crop factor is a huge draw back that very few BMC fans boys mention. 2 weeks ago, I shot a music video that took place primarily in a car. We had to use a Tokina 11-16 on an FS700. On the 16mm end, it was tough to fit both people in. With a 2.3x crop factor, it would have been impossible to get those shots. I'm not a wide angle shooter at all, in fact I generally prefer longer lenses. With that said, there have been numerous times where I had to pop on the Tokina 11-16 or else the shot just would not have worked because of crazy tight spaces.
 
I think the real revolution will come when BMC comes out with the Super 35mm version with some higher frame rates. Then the S#!T will really hit the fan. But this camera is an great start. 
 
After using the FS700 with it's high frame rates which is amazing for projects like music videos, artistic pieces, B-Roll for docs and sports, I just cannot go back to a camera that only shoots 24fps, which is fine for narrative, but 24fps is just too limiting once you've had a taste of high frame rates and the amazing drama and sexiness that is created, especially when done correctly and not gratuitously. 
 
For me, I would gladly sacrifice some image IQ for a super 35mm or wider sensor and high frame rates.


Lenses make images.
Unfortunatelly since there is no decent wide end option - thats it. Full frame or s35 give you better creative options. I do not need raw. 1dc rules.

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I made a mistake in posting my Looong prior post, to which Andrew so graciously responded. A mistake because my 'mommy' wants me off the forums alltogether. No sleep for me these days.She has allowed to me to say "thanks"  to Andrew and to warn him that I have archived his response page (along with my comments) for future analysis.
One of us will owe the other a round of drinks in 2016 ;)

Finally....

If Sony goes bust before RED Digital, I'll eat all 12 of my favorite hats :D

Sony are much more than just film cameras. Personally I think its likely Red are not making much out of this and more likely Jim Jannard will have enough of the hard reality and fierce competition that has become camera making and sell up cheaply to a company like Arriflex or maybe even BMD now that would be interesting.

 

Do you have 12 hats because you have 12 heads?

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can this thread go more childish...

my camera that i dont own is better than your camera that u dont own ....

people need a lot of talent and craft to use full potential of both cameras ...

+1 for that :)

 

Andrew, i understand you are a very passionate person, but i believe your inconditional love for the BMCC and recent hatred towards Canon is slightly biasing your comments.

That beeing said, i believe the c300 is a great camera , but not really a "cinema"  camera. With the broadcast friendly internal codecs and recording media, form factor and all, it is clearly aimed at ENG/documentary...The price is expensive, but it is for people who can make a living out of it, so not such a big deal.

 

Regarding the BMCC sensor size, it is an issue for many people whether you agree or not.

You keep refering to some great movies shot on 16mm but sorry i see  no connection with the topic at all. 

 

The BMCC is truely a revolutionary camera at a crazy price tag. But it is known that BM people were limited to that type of smaller sensor for budget & technical reasons, not artistic ones.

This camera design is extremely minimalist (which is very nice) just a sensor, disc recorder & touch screen in a box. But even then,  this is a big & heavy box, compare to say a GH2 with a similar sized sensor.

That makes one wonder how big and expensive it could have become with a S35 and the hardware to process RAW data...like a F5 for example.

 

My point is : this camera is a revolution and we should welcome it with open arms.

But those unmatching comparisons & over-heated debates are a bit pointless.

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The Canon C300 was promised to the canon 5d market and then made a camera initially with a £15000 price tag.

You can buy a damn fine car for the same money. If the GH2 could have on board most of the important technology albiet hacked and sell for £600 then the canon was about greed and greed based on marketing strategy for when later cameras come out.

 

As a company Canon went down in my estimation. Some like DV forums have promoted it and get rid of posters who say anything against it. Many buyers are now left holding overpriced bricks out flanked by newer cheaper cameras that take better pictures. They stuffed their customers with the C100 that again is overpriced and needs an outboard recorder. All in all canon have to win back the trust of those miffed and out of pocket by their clever tactics.

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