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Blackmagic Micro Cinema Camera

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On 3/31/2018 at 6:02 PM, mercer said:

This was shot handheld with a 14mm f/2.5 on the Pocket... no rig... no Speedbooster... just the Pocket and a native lens... I don’t even think he used an IR filter...

 


Impressive for this being handheld!

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On 31/03/2018 at 1:02 PM, mercer said:

Yeah they really are special cameras. Every time I read too much discussion about 4K this or 4K that, I go back to my Vimeo favorites and watch some videos from the Pocket, the Micro or some ML Raw.

I wouldn't be too down on 4K...  Think about it like this - we like things like high DR, higher-bit-depths, higher resolutions, lack of over sharpening, etc.  If you think about it, except for DR, all of those are related to compression.  Bit-depth is colour value quantisation and resolution is about image detail quantisation (over sharpening creates artefacts similar to JPG compression and is related to the distortion of high-frequency image information) but all of these are related to throwing away information.  Assuming the camera manufacturers allocate the bitrate in a sensible way, which they are pretty good at doing (ie, not 480p with 30-bit colour depth or 8K with 3-bit colour depth), then image quality will be roughly proportional to bitrate.

If we look at a few random cameras, this plays out:
My Canon 700D natively outputs <50Mbit 1080, but ML can do ~300Mbit.
The Canon 5DIII natively outputs <50Mbit 1080, but ML is something like 500Mbit? (I'm not sure on this but it's a lot)
My Canon XC10 records 1080p25 in 35Mbit, 1080p50 in 50Mbit (which is 25Mbps when conformed to 25p) and 305Mbit in 4k25
IIRC the GH5 records 1080 in 100Mbps and 4k60 in 400Mbps (166Mbps when conformed to 25p)

The BMPCC records 1080 at 230Mbps in Prores and 569Mbit in RAW.

When you look at IQ like this it makes sense about why the BMPCC and other models in the range still stack up.  It also makes sense why people are drawn to 4K recording modes, and why despite lacking 4K TVs have looked fine for decades.  I don't know what the signal-noise ratios of analog television was, but the combination of a good signal, high DR TV and a darkened room would have represented a high bitrate, as would film.

With a few exceptions, 4K is the only way to get high bitrates out of the 'stars' of the DSLR revolution.

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23 hours ago, mercer said:

@anonim yeah that looks fantastic... even at 720p... even on my phone. I’ve been saying for the past year that as soon as used prices for the BMCC hit the $600 mark or less, I will most likely buy one in the EF mount.


Sub $600? Already happened. 

 

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Blackmagic-Design-Cinema-Camera-Camcorder-Body-Only-with-EF-Mount-/152876830724

 

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9 hours ago, mercer said:

I read the comments and it looks like it may have been shot in ProRes. I would have guessed Raw.

When I was shooting the pocket I found little difference between RAW and ProRes once the exposure and WB were correct. Thats what I really liked about it, the amazing quality of the compressed codec. Beautiful grain & color without any compression artifacts. 

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3 hours ago, kye said:

I wouldn't be too down on 4K...  Think about it like this - we like things like high DR, higher-bit-depths, higher resolutions, lack of over sharpening, etc.  If you think about it, except for DR, all of those are related to compression.  Bit-depth is colour value quantisation and resolution is about image detail quantisation (over sharpening creates artefacts similar to JPG compression and is related to the distortion of high-frequency image information) but all of these are related to throwing away information.  Assuming the camera manufacturers allocate the bitrate in a sensible way, which they are pretty good at doing (ie, not 480p with 30-bit colour depth or 8K with 3-bit colour depth), then image quality will be roughly proportional to bitrate.

If we look at a few random cameras, this plays out:
My Canon 700D natively outputs <50Mbit 1080, but ML can do ~300Mbit.
The Canon 5DIII natively outputs <50Mbit 1080, but ML is something like 500Mbit? (I'm not sure on this but it's a lot)
My Canon XC10 records 1080p25 in 35Mbit, 1080p50 in 50Mbit (which is 25Mbps when conformed to 25p) and 305Mbit in 4k25
IIRC the GH5 records 1080 in 100Mbps and 4k60 in 400Mbps (166Mbps when conformed to 25p)

The BMPCC records 1080 at 230Mbps in Prores and 569Mbit in RAW.

When you look at IQ like this it makes sense about why the BMPCC and other models in the range still stack up.  It also makes sense why people are drawn to 4K recording modes, and why despite lacking 4K TVs have looked fine for decades.  I don't know what the signal-noise ratios of analog television was, but the combination of a good signal, high DR TV and a darkened room would have represented a high bitrate, as would film.

With a few exceptions, 4K is the only way to get high bitrates out of the 'stars' of the DSLR revolution.

That’s true on some level, although I think ProRes HQ out of the Pocket and Micro has a higher bitrate than that. But your 4K examples aren’t the price point I am referring to. In the sub $1000 market, 4K bitrates hover around 100mbps, so really not that much higher than the 90mbps all-i 1080p out of the 80D. With that being said, I don’t hate 4K, I just feel consumer 4K is often thin and brittle and oversharpened with too heavy of noise reduction. For $500 used in ProRes and Raw you are getting a purer, thicker image, with a better basis for cinematic grading.

1 hour ago, IronFilm said:

The cheapest I’ve seen is $7-800. It’s pretty crazy that you can get a camera that shoots 2.5K Raw for around $500. I know the camera has its quirks but for smaller projects, that is a steal. And since I am slowly building my EF lenses, the EF version is exactly what I would want. 

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23 minutes ago, Don Kotlos said:

When I was shooting the pocket I found little difference between RAW and ProRes once the exposure and WB were correct. Thats what I really liked about it, the amazing quality of the compressed codec. Beautiful grain & color without any compression artifacts. 

Yeah, the ProRes is gorgeous. I started shooting ProRes when I had my Micro and I was astonished by how clean it was. But I did notice a slight difference with textures. I live on the edge of the woods, so trees are prevalent in a lot of my shots and the Raw footage definitely would pick up the texture of the bark a little better than the ProRes would, but moire isn’t as bad with ProRes, so that is what I mostly used... not to mention better storage. Plus I edit on FCPX, so it was great to just copy the files or bring them right into FC without any transcoding.

I had the opportunity to buy another Micro right before Christmas for $450. The guy only used it once. I am kind of annoyed that I didn’t. I am very happy with my 5D3, but I wouldn’t mind some slow motion ProRes/Raw options for the toolbox, for various projects.

I am not that great of a colorist, and the Micro was the first time I shot with a camera (other than my old Canon days) where I knew what it was like to get a cinematic image. I think I might be on the lookout for a used one and try to build a manageable rig for less than a grand... hopefully way less.

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14 minutes ago, kuban said:

thanks

Thanks for sharing it.

16 hours ago, kuban said:

This was shot entirely on the pocket.

 

Would you mind sharing some of your workflow? How big of a rig did you use? Lenses? ProRes or Raw? Etc...?

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All shot ProRes, I used micro four third lenses throughout, chiefly the Lumix 24mm 1.4 and a couple of shots with the  Olympus pro 12-40mm lens.

No filters, no lights, all natural lighting, and no handheld stuff either as it's impossible to get usable stuff like that with the pocket, so everything is tripod mounted with very slow pans.

The rig has heft as I use the VF Contineo cage, which is sweet, as if it's an alexa, sadly the company no longer exists, I then rig it up with the Atomos Ninja 2 used as a monitor and everything is balanced with two Sony batteries on an adapter mounted onto a battery plate.

In post, I'm more an AFX person, but I did edit it in Premiere and then open it all up in After Effects for grading and titles. where I use a few adjustment layers adding curves and colour correction as I go along.

Surprisingly the Audio was recorded off the camera, I hocked up a rode mic, obviously the audio was really unusable and in came Adobe CC Audition, I can't praise it enough, it saved my skin and what you hear is the audio recorded in camera but saved with this incredible software.

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1 hour ago, kuban said:

Surprisingly the Audio was recorded off the camera, I hocked up a rode mic, obviously the audio was really unusable and in came Adobe CC Audition, I can't praise it enough, it saved my skin and what you hear is the audio recorded in camera but saved with this incredible software.

I'm assuming lots of EQ and NR, but can you describe your Audition process for these files? I would never even think to use the audio from that cam. Would be interested to learn what you did in case I'm ever in a pinch.

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14 minutes ago, graphicnatured said:

I'm assuming lots of EQ and NR, but can you describe your Audition process for these files? I would never even think to use the audio from that cam. Would be interested to learn what you did in case I'm ever in a pinch.

I just hacked at it till I got ut to what you hear now, never used the software before then and just tried and experimented, nothing scientific about it, it just came together, if anything it seems a little loud now

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16 hours ago, mercer said:

That’s true on some level, although I think ProRes HQ out of the Pocket and Micro has a higher bitrate than that. But your 4K examples aren’t the price point I am referring to. In the sub $1000 market, 4K bitrates hover around 100mbps, so really not that much higher than the 90mbps all-i 1080p out of the 80D. With that being said, I don’t hate 4K, I just feel consumer 4K is often thin and brittle and oversharpened with too heavy of noise reduction. For $500 used in ProRes and Raw you are getting a purer, thicker image, with a better basis for cinematic grading.

Interesting.  I remember back in the day I compared the quality of a 720p file and a SD file of the same bitrate and the 720p definitely had more information in it, but perhaps this isn't what it you are looking for.  I've been playing with ML on my 700D and trying to work out if I should bother, and if so, what the benefit was over 300Mbps 8-bit 4K.  I had in mind that perhaps the colour was what people were liking about it, and 'a purer, thicker image' might be a good way of describing it, with 'thin and brittle' perhaps being the opposite.  If you're going to grade heavily afterwards then putting more data into colour bit-depth wold make sense as well.

Regardless, the high bit-depth / bitrate of cameras like the BMPCC can't hurt, is difficult to find at any price-point us mortals can afford, and is almost unrivalled in such a compact package.

The BMPCC made the top 3 when I was buying the XC10 - it was the non-IQ related aspects like battery life and poor sound quality that meant I didn't end up with one.

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17 hours ago, mercer said:

But I did notice a slight difference with textures. I live on the edge of the woods, so trees are prevalent in a lot of my shots and the Raw footage definitely would pick up the texture of the bark a little better than the ProRes would.

I had exactly the same experience - I'd even call difference more than slight, but it is likely just subjective meaning - more details, or more "texture", in result, I think, means or significantly contribute to more depth or "thickness" (or even DR impression) in the look... More important, from the same reason, here concerned earlier BM cameras are for me still today interesting "just" or exclusively because of raw workflow and that "fullness" of data and, consequently, impression, that's not so easy achievable out of codec-restricted material.

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1 hour ago, Snowfun said:

Something I’ve never understood - how do you preserve that additional “detail” in the deliverable format? 

Usage of codec inside the camera processing while capturing and outside of computer in delivery process are not the same. Bluray distributed movies often have no more than 20-30 Mbps - do you think that result will be the same if footages had been captured at the same bitrate?

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17 hours ago, kuban said:

All shot ProRes, I used micro four third lenses throughout, chiefly the Lumix 24mm 1.4 and a couple of shots with the  Olympus pro 12-40mm lens.

No filters, no lights, all natural lighting, and no handheld stuff either as it's impossible to get usable stuff like that with the pocket, so everything is tripod mounted with very slow pans.

The rig has heft as I use the VF Contineo cage, which is sweet, as if it's an alexa, sadly the company no longer exists, I then rig it up with the Atomos Ninja 2 used as a monitor and everything is balanced with two Sony batteries on an adapter mounted onto a battery plate.

In post, I'm more an AFX person, but I did edit it in Premiere and then open it all up in After Effects for grading and titles. where I use a few adjustment layers adding curves and colour correction as I go along.

Surprisingly the Audio was recorded off the camera, I hocked up a rode mic, obviously the audio was really unusable and in came Adobe CC Audition, I can't praise it enough, it saved my skin and what you hear is the audio recorded in camera but saved with this incredible software.

There is a blue tonality and coolness that you often see in certain 16mm film present in your work which I really like. The images from the pocket are really hit and miss for me. This is one of the better examples. At it's best it really rivals the digital bolex. But at its worst the blue channel can be a bit funky. Do you find it is easier to get good color with prores straight from sensor or manipulating the raw? What kind of results do you get from each?     

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2 hours ago, anonim said:

Usage of codec inside the camera processing while capturing and outside of computer in delivery process are not the same. Bluray distributed movies often have no more than 20-30 Mbps - do you think that result will be the same if footages had been captured at the same bitrate?

So to repeat the question... how do you preserve the detail? What’s the best work flow to get from the raw to the Blu-ray? 

I have 2 micros and shoot a lot of raw (which looks good on my Mac screen). But I don’t have the knowledge of how to optimise the distribution - either for Vimeo or Blu-ray. Hence the question.

No - I don’t think the result will be the same if footages (sic) had been captured at the same bitrate.

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@Snowfun are you having issues preserving quality exporting from Resolve as a ProRes master file?

Now this is slightly irrelevant, but I have noticed a lot of the higher end creators use Parallel Uploader on Vimeo... do you or anyone else know if there is a reason. I keep meaning to research it but I have so many other things on my plate, I haven’t gotten around to it.

5 hours ago, anonim said:

I had exactly the same experience - I'd even call difference more than slight, but it is likely just subjective meaning - more details, or more "texture", in result, I think, means or significantly contribute to more depth or "thickness" (or even DR impression) in the look... More important, from the same reason, here concerned earlier BM cameras are for me still today interesting "just" or exclusively because of raw workflow and that "fullness" of data and, consequently, impression, that's not so easy achievable out of codec-restricted material.

Yeah, I would agree it’s more than slight, but I also think I, or people like us, are the only people that would notice or care. And with the benefits of shooting ProRes instead of Raw on BM cameras, one really needs to weigh if that gain is worth it... especially if you’re an FCPX user.

6 hours ago, kye said:

Interesting.  I remember back in the day I compared the quality of a 720p file and a SD file of the same bitrate and the 720p definitely had more information in it, but perhaps this isn't what it you are looking for.  I've been playing with ML on my 700D and trying to work out if I should bother, and if so, what the benefit was over 300Mbps 8-bit 4K.  I had in mind that perhaps the colour was what people were liking about it, and 'a purer, thicker image' might be a good way of describing it, with 'thin and brittle' perhaps being the opposite.  If you're going to grade heavily afterwards then putting more data into colour bit-depth wold make sense as well.

Regardless, the high bit-depth / bitrate of cameras like the BMPCC can't hurt, is difficult to find at any price-point us mortals can afford, and is almost unrivalled in such a compact package.

The BMPCC made the top 3 when I was buying the XC10 - it was the non-IQ related aspects like battery life and poor sound quality that meant I didn't end up with one.

Good points and something worth considering. I went from the BMMCC to the XC10 so I understand why you chose the way you did. But I only tested the 4K on that camera and mostly worked with the 1080p C-Log... so I am not the norm of most of the people on this forum. My opinion with most of this stuff is based on my very specific needs and thoughts. 

20 hours ago, kuban said:

All shot ProRes, I used micro four third lenses throughout, chiefly the Lumix 24mm 1.4 and a couple of shots with the  Olympus pro 12-40mm lens.

No filters, no lights, all natural lighting, and no handheld stuff either as it's impossible to get usable stuff like that with the pocket, so everything is tripod mounted with very slow pans.

The rig has heft as I use the VF Contineo cage, which is sweet, as if it's an alexa, sadly the company no longer exists, I then rig it up with the Atomos Ninja 2 used as a monitor and everything is balanced with two Sony batteries on an adapter mounted onto a battery plate.

In post, I'm more an AFX person, but I did edit it in Premiere and then open it all up in After Effects for grading and titles. where I use a few adjustment layers adding curves and colour correction as I go along.

Surprisingly the Audio was recorded off the camera, I hocked up a rode mic, obviously the audio was really unusable and in came Adobe CC Audition, I can't praise it enough, it saved my skin and what you hear is the audio recorded in camera but saved with this incredible software.

Pretty nice color work, especially considering you didn’t use an IR filter. I attempted to go handheld with the Pocket and the 12-35mm and the 14-45mm and found it possible but limited and probably only works in bare bones setups.

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36 minutes ago, mercer said:

Yeah, I would agree it’s more than slight, but I also think I, or people like us, are the only people that would notice or care. And with the benefits of shooting ProRes instead of Raw on BM cameras, one really needs to weigh if that gain is worth it... especially if you’re an FCPX user.

What I remember from days of using BM, is that raw file provide, at least for my eyes, an (important?) bit or two of more clarity in image reproduction. Very likely it is simply sum of all mentioned (indeed minuscule especially in a case of Prores HQ) differences in detail-ness. But - unwilling to be just impressionistic commentator, maybe something similar could be seen in this comparison:

 

Edit:

This little distinction imo actually may be crucial for achieving fantastic results of BM cameras as quite close to top cinema cameras... Because it is not matter of artificial sharpening, but of amount of details that BMPCC or BMMCC really can achieve. For examples, in one of the my most favorite clips from BMPCC there's - for me - missing of just that little bit of crispeness that would make experience as naturally stunning-real as from modern theater production

 

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