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Matthew Hartman

Some Guidance Please...

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Alright gang, I'm seriously thinking of going into the Blackmagic world and would like to hear from this community, specfically if you have or had experience with the NX1. 

So as one does when they're looking at new systems you go online and research the living hell out of something and sometimes you end up more perplexed than you were going into it. 

I know this. When it comes to Blackmagic, even the pocket version, it's image fits my asthetic, or what I consider "cinematic". Something about how it records motion and depth feels very filmic to me. I can get this with my NX1, but only after considerable modifications and work arounds.

I'm not saying the NX1 has a bad image, not even close, but something about BM cams and it's motion feels more "emulsive". Knowing I will have to move on from the NX1 eventually, I'm trying to figure out what is out there that speaks to me and doesnt cost 20k plus. 

Right now, I see the most value in the ursa mini 4.6k.  The 4.6 pro is nice, but I really dont need all the extra SDI connections for my purposes. Or do I? 

I'm not terribly happy about the 4.6k's rolling shutter as opposed to the v1, production cam and pocket cam, and don't quite understand why BM would go that direction when clearly ppl prefer global shutter. But from what I can see it doesn't seem as pronounced as my NX1 or other cams even some REDs for example.

Rolling shutter totally removes me from the cinematic look and feel, even more than clipped highlights. It looks like someone is having vertigo. 😂

Also, is it me or does the image look different in the 4.6k than the rest? Slightly more digitally sharp with more magenta? Nothing that can't be managed, just curious. 

I'm open to the production cam 4k and the ursa mini v1 as well. I'll of course lose 4k slowmo, and those 15 stops of DR, but the older cams still produce a milky image. 

Not worried about low light, I light my scenes and I don't do run and gun. 

Help me work through this mental exercise. I'll have a budget of about $7k very shortly. The fact that I can spend that much and get near-Alexa quality within broadcast standards blows my mind. 

Also, naturally I'll be looking for a fast/fixed zoom covering a good focal range on the EF mount too. I have two fast Canon FD lens' and a Helios 44 to get me started. 

From what I understand the PL mount is a bolt on system? I could see myself renting some proper PL mount cine primes for features. 

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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

I am not too sure with the C200 and the Panny EVA1 out now that I would go Ursa mini 4.6k for near the same money. Wow I am glad I am not in your shoes. I mean there is the Sony FS7 in there also. Heck nearly C300 mkII territory. Hell nearly a used Arri Alexa. Yikes.

I guess it would depend on what ISO's you would be happy shooting with. The production cam 4k is not known for raving reviews. Price is right, but that is probably the reason! PL lenses are a ton to buy, and well true, there probably is a lot of them to rent. I mean All the above cameras I would consider to be Cine cameras, and able to look Filmic, Cinematic.

The C200 with DPAF is pretty amazing as a one man band. EVA1 has a damn good Dual ISO thingy, and a Varicam 35 look to it, and Raw is coming for it. I am not too sure these older cameras are the way to go now that we have a new crop pf stuff out. Heck the GH5s I think is going to prove to be a crazy good camera down the road. I think it looks more Cine looking than the GH5. Other than Raw I don't see anything missing it it unless you Need IBIS. Well the AF I guess is not great either, but other than Canon cameras with DPAF, none of the other ones are great either, even the Ursa Mini 4.6.

But I don't know crap about the NX1, so others have to chime in on that. I think it has been eclipsed by several new cameras out now. But probably not for the money it cost in reality.

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15 hours ago, Matthew Hartman said:

Right now, I see the most value in the ursa mini 4.6k.  The 4.6 pro is nice, but I really dont need all the extra SDI connections for my purposes. Or do I? 


The built in ND filters (let alone all the other improvements) is enough to make the URSA Mini Pro an automatic no brainer buy over the original 4.6K

The only reason to go with the older URSA Mini 4.6K is if you find an amazing secondhand deal.  (because secondhand deals on the newer URSA Mini Pro can still be scarce on the ground)

 

 

15 hours ago, Matthew Hartman said:

Help me work through this mental exercise. I'll have a budget of about $7k very shortly. The fact that I can spend that much and get near-Alexa quality within broadcast standards blows my mind. 

 


That is almost enough to literally buy an Arri Alexa Classic secondhand. Seriously.

In your budget level, as well as the URSA Mini Pro (and Arri Alexa, if you don't mind the weight! Which is very substantial) then I'd consider:

Panasonic EVA1
Sony FS7 (mk1 or mk2, obviously mk2 is better but better bargains to be found with the mk1 which is almost kinda the same)
Kinefinity Terra 4K (perhaps my favourite choice right now at this price point, at least until the next NAB rolls around and BMD announces another amazing new camera...)
Sony PMW-F5 (if super super lucky looking around secondhand and you stretch your budget a teeny bit... if so, it then becomes my favourite choice!)
Panasonic GH5S (and spend all the saved money on lights/audio/lenses/holiday!)

(I did not mention C200 as I think it is dumb it lacks a "middle codec"!)

15 hours ago, Matthew Hartman said:

Also, naturally I'll be looking for a fast/fixed zoom covering a good focal range on the EF mount too. I have two fast Canon FD lens' and a Helios 44 to get me started. 

 


Is new lenses within your mentioned $7K budget, or is there extra budget for this?

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3 hours ago, IronFilm said:

That is almost enough to literally buy an Arri Alexa Classic secondhand. Seriously.

In your budget level, as well as the URSA Mini Pro (and Arri Alexa, if you don't mind the weight! Which is very substantial) then I'd consider:

Panasonic EVA1
Sony FS7 (mk1 or mk2, obviously mk2 is better but better bargains to be found with the mk1 which is almost kinda the same)
Kinefinity Terra 4K (perhaps my favourite choice right now at this price point, at least until the next NAB rolls around and BMD announces another amazing new camera...)
Sony PMW-F5 (if super super lucky looking around secondhand and you stretch your budget a teeny bit... if so, it then becomes my favourite choice!)
Panasonic GH5S (and spend all the saved money on lights/audio/lenses/holiday!)

(I did not mention C200 as I think it is dumb it lacks a "middle codec"!)


Is new lenses within your mentioned $7K budget, or is there extra budget for this?

I'll have to look into the Alexa Classic. God help my back. 

I know the ursa mini is not really "mini" in terms of other smaller offerings and it does concearn me. It also means I'll have to get a bigger 3 axis stabilizer (eventually) like a Ronin, which I'm not exactly "thrilled" about. I appreciate the smaller workflow of my NX1. 

Panasonic EVA1 / VariCam / GH5

Great feature set, ergonomics, don't like the image. Too digital and flat for my taste.  

Sony FS7 / Sony PMW-F5

Again, has a very digital image, not my cup of tea. Sony also seems to have a hard time with skin tones. Would rather not have to constantly tweak that in post.  

Canon

I no longer largely support Canon. I think they need a kick in ass to get with the future instead of rely on legacy and bullshit product cycles. The best way to deliver that message is with my wallet. I have no doubts Canon will be the last manufacturer to get with the times, and it will be through the guise of desperation rather than an innovative spirit. 

I think their color science is glorious, and AF tech tops. But others will soon match or surpass it. 

My NX1 is no slouch in either of these categories. The camera was released in 2014. 

Kinefinity

Seriously a contender. Love the smaller form factor, frame rates/formats, and 15 stops of DR, are all super impressive. I would really like to see more about the Terra 5k, (because of the option for global shutter) but I can't find any example footage whatsoever.

To me, the image on their other models is closer to BM, Arri and RED than Panasonic and Sony. But that rolling shutter is not pleasant. I hate pronounced rolling shutter. 

I'm also concearned about broad support and longevity. Being an NX1 user I know firsthand how brutal and dismisive the industry can be towards newcomers. Kinefinity is quite often (and foolishly) left out of camera comparison  reviews that compare your usual suspects. The industry needs some disruption to break up the strangle hold that the big boys squeeze on us. Kinefinity, given enough chance, could be part of this effort. 

I know I'm not going to retain the ease of my NX1 workflow, but Samsung pretty much decided that for me and others by jumping ship in 2016. I'm not even entertaining the thought of trying to regain that through another system at this point and time. The NX1 was ahead of its time in many regards, that it will be a couple years for others to catch up in certain areas, I get that. Other NX1 users will get that.  

At the end of the day, I'm willing (not happy) to work through some inconveniences to gain image quality. I beleive that's what most of us are trying to acheive in one way or another. Of course, it's subjective.

Not to shit on other brands, I personally like how BM records motion and depth and handles rolloff. Also 15-stops of DR is very welcome as is the ability for 12bit RAW. The image is what I think when I envision the word "cinematic" or "filmic" and is a few stops away in clipping (left and right) from an Alexa in my opinion. That's damn impressive to me considering the price difference between the two company's products. It has me questioning how long Arri and RED will be able to justify their astronomical prices as the gap in image quality narrows. I'm sure they'll come up with some lame justification and ppl will lap it up. 

Can someone here confirm that a firmware update has added the ability for custom white balance in the ursa mini 4.6k model? (I already know pro version does) 

 

 

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3 hours ago, webrunner5 said:

Not sure if you have seen this video or not, but a damn good hands on review of the Mini 4.6. But the Pro is not cheap.

 

Seen it. I've been following Curtis' channel for years. He does execellent reviews on the products he decides to review. His dry deamenor fits the intention of his content well. 

My only issue with him (and many well known reviewers) is he tends to look at only mainstream camera systems. Which is odd as he takes on plenty of "underground" audio gear quite frequently. My guess here is he's entering into contracts to keep access to loaner gear to review.  

My view is if you're going to be the "go to" source for all that is video/audio, you owe it to your viewers to be familiar with everything currently on the market and to keep a vigilant eye on things coming down the pipe. Otherwise, I could do that work myself. 

A lot of these guys/gals are very partial to one mainstream brand or another. Which is great if you are also partial to their partiality, it's a singing choir to that end. Shit pratically buys itself. 

However, not so great if you're a person that's more brand agnostic that likes to truly comparative shop, and be informed about what is currently accessible. Thank God for the Googles. 

5 hours ago, IronFilm said:

Is new lenses within your mentioned $7K budget, or is there extra budget for this?

Yes, because I'm looking at second-hand products that include some BM accessories.  

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I know it has been said 100 times on here, and by me. IF you Don't need 4k I don't see how you can not look hard at a Sony PMW F3. It is just a beautiful camera output and controls wise. And they are giving them away!  I just don't see how a person can do much better than Maybe a used Canon C300. I see those 2 cameras maybe not as good as it can get, but about as good as you need cameras for 1080p.

I mean how many of us Really need to output in 4k? 4k is far from some minimum requirement. Sure down sampling from 4k to 1080p is a good thing. But the Canon C300 is already doing that in camera, and the F3 is well, it is a F3, about as good as it gets.

It is worth looking into I think. I know you are not a big Sony, Canon lover but hell reality is these 2 cameras have shot a shit pot full of stuff that have made people, hell some, millions of Dollars. Are they wrong, ehh I don't think so. These are two bargain basement Cine cameras with a proven record.

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11 minutes ago, webrunner5 said:

I know it has been said 100 times on here, and by me. IF you Don't need 4k I don't see how you can not look hard at a Sony PMW F3. It is just a beautiful camera output and controls wise. And they are giving them away!  I just don't see how a person can do much better than Maybe a used Canon C300. I see those 2 cameras maybe not as good as it can get, but about as good as you need cameras for 1080p.

I mean how many of us Really need to output in 4k? 4k is far from some minimum requirement. Sure down sampling from 4k to 1080p is a good thing. But the Canon C300 is already doing that in camera, and the F3 is well, it is a F3, about as good as it gets. It is worth looking into I think. I know you are not a big Sony, Canon lover but hell reality is these 2 cameras have shot a shit pot full of stuff that have made people, hell some, millions of Dollars. Are they wrong, ehh I don't think so.

I do desire 4k, especially if I'm investing in systems that need to hold me for 4-6 years. I also enjoy the advatanges 4k gives you when your distribution is 2.5/2/1080.  The ability is reframe, pan, "dolly" in/out gives me 2-cam like abilities. Also, sometimes noise gets crunched as well. 

Do I NEED 4k? No. Hardly anyone does at this current time. Will 4k become the new distribution standard soon? I believe so.  

Regardless, thanks for your suggestions. 

And BTW, I dont judge a camera on who has shot what with them. "Tangerine", an acclaimed film was shot on an iPhone 6. Beides, DP/ACs are not shooting my content for me. At the end of the day I have to be in love with the image, and if Im not I will 100% obsess about it. I know this much about me. 

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Well, I've already narrowed my search to the following:

BMD Usra Mini 4.6k (Pro version too) 

BMD Production Camera 4k (Mainly for the size, SSD, global shutter, RAW) 

Kinefinity Terra 4k/5k/6k (mainly 5k version) 

The other systems mentioned are great systems for various reasons, but I'm not personally attracted to their image characteristics. For me its not about brand prestige rather than getting the look I've always strived for and obsessed about since forever. BMD offers this at a price point I can actually afford, so it seems pretty clear to me. My issue is amoung the BDM product offerings in the 4k space, which one? I have to make my investments count. 

 

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Why would you consider the BMD Production Camera 4k over the BMD URSA Mini 4K Digital Cinema Camera? I would consider the Production camera, more of a studio camera, inferior to the Ursa Mini 4k, that is more of a Cine camera.. And the Mini 4k is nearly as cheap?

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2 minutes ago, webrunner5 said:

Why would you consider the BMD Production Camera 4k over the BMD URSA Mini 4K Digital Cinema Camera? I would consider the Production camera, more of a studio camera, inferior to the Ursa Mimi 4k, that is more of a Cine camera.. And the Mini 4k is nearly as cheap?

I wouldnt say "over" is accurate. It's being considered with the ursa 4.k definitely leading the pack. 

Again, I can't stress this enough, my main criteria is image look. Image and image quality are seperate to me. One means the look and feel of the footage, and the other means resolution. Obviously, the 4.6k offers both, with two more stops of effective DR, and that would be ideal. 

The BDM Production Camera 4k still offers that look I'm after at marginally lower resolution as the ursa, and no 4k 60fps. The advantages here (as with Kinefinity) are smaller footprint, global shutter, and it will work with a lot of my current kit.

All the rest of it, as in battery, storage, low ISO, etc. is noise to me. I'm not ENG, and have no plans to be.

I'm a resourceful and inventive person, I grew up filfthy poor, and know how to turn a little into a lot to get the best bang out of my buck. If that means going with technology introduced in 2014, so be it. Just because something is newer doesn't automatically make it better. 

 

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Well no doubt the Media is cheaper for the Production 4k. And it is, and can be a lot smaller footprint.

Well when I was considering maybe buying a used BM Mini 4k I ran across this video, and well I decided ehh, maybe not. And at the time the 4.6 was, and still is way out of my budget, So end of that.

I  still toy with buying a BMCC mft model but just can't seem to push the"Buy Now" button!

 

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I agree with @Ironfilm....several things  I like, though I don't own one, about the UMPro,  but most of all the Mount system which I believe is owner changeable and I read they are, or have come out with a Nikon mount too...So it's like the Kinefinity, which also has an appealing mount system. The value I build up long term in my gear, lies in my lenses (not my cameras which tend to come and go) a decent mount is first....to really make the right image you have to light....THAT'S really where the beauty comes from....so in reality any of the cameras mentioned daily on this forum and certainly any of the BMD cameras will give you that....there is however no LUT to light a set for you...you can also use a Cfast to SSD adapter on the Pro  and shoot to SSD media which is much more affordable and then the built in  ND of course is huge!....these are 3  things about this camera for me....lastly there's a member who shoots on a 4.6K...he shoots really great looking footage @AaronChicago so you can get an idea where the 4.6 or 4.6 pro can get you to.

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1 hour ago, webrunner5 said:

Well no doubt the Media is cheaper for the Production 4k. And it is, and can be a lot smaller footprint.

Well when I was considering maybe buying a used BM Mini 4k I ran across this video, and well I decided ehh, maybe not. And at the time the 4.6 was, and still is way out of my budget, So end of that.

I  still toy with buying a BMCC mft model but just can't seem to push the"Buy Now" button!

 

Yeah, I saw this the other day. I was not impressed with that magenta cast on one hand, but impressed with the specular rolloff 15 stops of DR on the other. My understanding is that BMD has addressed the magenta cast in firmware?  

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50 minutes ago, Fritz Pierre said:

I agree with @Ironfilm....several things  I like, though I don't own one, about the UMPro,  but most of all the Mount system which I believe is owner changeable and I read they are, or have come out with a Nikon mount too...So it's like the Kinefinity, which also has an appealing mount system. The value I build up long term in my gear, lies in my lenses (not my cameras which tend to come and go) a decent mount is first....to really make the right image you have to light....THAT'S really where the beauty comes from....so in reality any of the cameras mentioned daily on this forum and certainly any of the BMD cameras will give you that....there is however no LUT to light a set for you...you can also use a Cfast to SSD adapter on the Pro  and shoot to SSD media which is much more affordable and then the built in  ND of course is huge!....these are 3  things about this camera for me....lastly there's a member who shoots on a 4.6K...he shoots really great looking footage @AaronChicago so you can get an idea where the 4.6 or 4.6 pro can get you to.

Excellent points. Trust me, I know very well what good glass and good lighting gives you both artistically and production wise, and I'm definitely not looking or miscalculating that this is replaceable with any camera. The goal here for me is to enhance those processes. 

A camera can't setup up depth and contrast ratios in your scene, only record what you set up in front of it. 

I have seen smartphone footage that would blow your mind and no one would ever guess a smartphone produced it. So this is the mentality I'm coming from. I do not think any camera is a silver bullet. No mature audience is going to enjoy watching a sterile bowl of fruit regardless what it's being filmed with. The camera is one tool in a batch of others that all create the look and feel of the frame. That being said, BMD products give you a good jump on that for a relatively affordable price. 

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7 hours ago, Matthew Hartman said:

Can someone here confirm that a firmware update has added the ability for custom white balance in the ursa mini 4.6k model? (I already know pro version does) 

Blackmagic forums should be able to help you here also re "4.6k image looking more digital ? than other BMs"

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Prob of no help to you and your current decision... but here anyway

This if from a Few years ago this guy was using the URSA MAJOR (the big boy) and those can be had for 2k ish

 

Im in similar situation but on a smaller scale.

I got a super cheap BMPCC ($120) a year ago and now that viltrox has released a cheap Active MF3 speedbooster  ($150-$200)  https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B077VZN6F8/ref=ox_sc_sfl_title_8?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=A125U71SFEYM45

I hear it works great on gh5's but no word on BMPCC yet.

Im thinking about selling or trading my NX 50-150 S Lens to get my hands on an EF Sigma 18-35 and build up from there.  Learn and work with a real raw workflow,  get about 3-4 ef Lenses (mostly Sigma) and Ill seemingly have the option to go anywhere as the defacto mount seems to be Canon on all cameras.

I get your point about BM cameras sometimes I take the BMPCC with me when shooting on NX1 and just shoot a few sec raw... Then  grade that and make a look and use that as a template to match my NX-1 footage too

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10 hours ago, Matthew Hartman said:

I'll have to look into the Alexa Classic. God help my back. 

I'll prepare now your back's eulogy.

Have shot a fair amount with a RED ONE (which is kinda similar ish size), and OUCH

 

10 hours ago, Matthew Hartman said:

I know the ursa mini is not really "mini" in terms of other smaller offerings and it does concearn me. It also means I'll have to get a bigger 3 axis stabilizer (eventually) like a Ronin, which I'm not exactly "thrilled" about. I appreciate the smaller workflow of my NX1. 

 

You'll need a very very big gimbal indeed!

Basically of the ones I listed, the only "small" cameras are: GH5S/EVA1/Terra. 
The rest of them you'll need to take a totally different approach to how you'd do it with a NX1. 

 

10 hours ago, Matthew Hartman said:

Panasonic EVA1 / VariCam / GH5


Note I said GH5S, not GH5

 

10 hours ago, Matthew Hartman said:

Great feature set, ergonomics, don't like the image. Too digital and flat for my taste.  


Really?! I reckon Varicam perhaps has the "best" image right now. (and EVA1/GH5S is somewhat inspired by that)

 

10 hours ago, Matthew Hartman said:

Sony FS7 / Sony PMW-F5

Again, has a very digital image, not my cup of tea. Sony also seems to have a hard time with skin tones. Would rather not have to constantly tweak that in post.  


Maybe  you haven't watched enough camera tests of them? Here you go, watch this:
 


Anywho.....  a bit more seriously, I think their image gets a bit underrated. Look into the LC709A LUT, and hang out on dvxuser (because the F5, and even FS7, only very rarely gets discussed here as EOSHD is a different market niche) before making a final decision on Sony.

http://www.dvxuser.com/V6/forumdisplay.php?219-PMW-Cameras-(-amp-temp-FS7-FS5)

http://www.hingsberg.com/2014/06/f55-matches-arri-alexas-color/

https://www.sony.fi/pro/support/attachment/1237494271390/1237494271399/sony-look-profiles-summary.pdf

https://www.provideocoalition.com/lutcalc-trials-and-errors-plus-a-free-lut/

https://cameramanben.github.io/LUTCalc/

 

 

 

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10 hours ago, Matthew Hartman said:

Kinefinity

Seriously a contender. Love the smaller form factor, frame rates/formats, and 15 stops of DR, are all super impressive. I would really like to see more about the Terra 5k, (because of the option for global shutter) but I can't find any example footage whatsoever.

They announced a while ago the Terra 5K is indefinitely on hold due to supplier issues. (likely running into the same issues BMD had when they tried to release simultaneous global/rolling shutter sensor?)

I feel the Kinefinity Terra 4K is the most interesting of theirs (it is also the camera which is potentially most similar to DSLR/mirrorless size. With Panasonic EVA1 being the 2nd smallest). Also a new uber camera of these is meant to be announced in only a few more weeks or so.

 

 

 

10 hours ago, Matthew Hartman said:

I'm also concearned about broad support and longevity. Being an NX1 user I know firsthand how brutal and dismisive the industry can be towards newcomers. Kinefinity is quite often (and foolishly) left out of camera comparison  reviews that compare your usual suspects. The industry needs some disruption to break up the strangle hold that the big boys squeeze on us. Kinefinity, given enough chance, could be part of this effort. 


Well Kinefinity has a tonne of lens options: Sony E mount, MFT, EF, Nikon, & PL! (probably more I've forgotten)

Thus even if Kinefinity folded the day after you started shooting with your new camera, that wouldn't be such a big deal as you wouldn't be stuck with a dead ecosystem to the same extent as what happened with Kinefinity.

 

10 hours ago, Matthew Hartman said:

It has me questioning how long Arri and RED will be able to justify their astronomical prices as the gap in image quality narrows. I'm sure they'll come up with some lame justification and ppl will lap it up. 

"Industry Standard"

 

 

10 hours ago, Matthew Hartman said:

Which is odd as he takes on plenty of "underground" audio gear quite frequently.

He doesn't. He just reviews low end audio gear (generally, not always. But the ratio is heavily skewed to low end over pro gear), thus I suppose it gives the "underground" feel??? I dunno, it has never ever felt like that to me. 


And the reason is mostly reviews low end audio gear, is because he is first a videographer. Thus naturally it is consistent with his channel that he reviews low end audio gear that is targeted to and appropriate for a videographer. He is however a very good videographer, thus takes sound more seriously than many other videographers out there. 

 

 

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