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Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K

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There's a very subjective opinion as to what people consider "usable" but there are basic things which you need for the camera to function properly that always aren't attached to the body.

Ok.  Let's make this easier.  Let's assume you're now a DP on a new TV show for FOX or NBC.  For some magical reason you only have $10K which you are going to purchase a camera that you can use for a single-camera series and it will be the only camera used to shoot the entire production.  That means no RAW recording, no 4K without approval, and a camera that won't cause a lot of hassle if you decide to pick something new.  Which cameras under $10K are now usable?

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3 minutes ago, IronFilm said:

Only C300mk2 and RED Raven

Nope, I got that double wrong. Which makes a right! ha

The C300mk2 is one dollar under $10K

And the RED Raven is under, but with the expander back it puts it a few hundred dollars over, which is close but debatable as to if the Raven counts or not. 

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In that scenario, I would say the AJA cion is usable, but the images might not hold up.

He listed dozens of cameras, but I would say every single one has some sort of limitation that would prevent you from choosing it as a main camera.  If you ignore the images, then AJA Cion, URSA are also usable.

Kinefinity MAVO is usable too, but that camera is not easy to get a hold of and is still very Beta in terms of firmware.

If we make it super easy and then define a "usable" camera as a 4:4:4 shooting camera that has timecode and at least 2 SDI outputs, then it's quite easy to figure out which cameras work or do not.  And let's for clarity say it has to shoot 1080p and 4K full sensor because you cannot always shoot 4K.

Then if we start putting subjective rules about how much dynamic range and what kind of images the camera produces, that list shrinks to a very small number.

Then you run into the debate of two cameras using the same sensor (AJA Cion, Ursa Mini 4K, etc.) If one of them produces a superior image, is the other one automatically disqualified as well since there's no point?

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I don’t think you guys get it. 

From a TV drama point of view there is little appetite for RAW. No one wants it aside from a DP maybe.

It doesn’t matter if you think it’s better or the workflow can be worked around. 

DP’s don’t really get to make this choice alone you realise ?

And most productions want multiple cameras.

Lets imagine Mavo.  If I wanted to shoot Mavo on the show I’m on now I’d have to convince a rental company to get 8 bodies and kit them out.  Tell me a rental company that will do that and then get a couple of spares as backup.

in fact show me any rental company anywhere I can get 8 kinefinity anything cameras from... 

I’d have to convince a director of the creative reasons, and SHOW it was better. I’d have to convince a studio that hates varying anything from the templates of how they do things.  

It’s not going to happen.  You don’t understand how it works and the theorising over specs without actually referencing the pragmatic reality is just playground taunting.

These cameras are in fringe for many reasons. The pictures are only part of that story. (And yeah I’m talking about the C200 as much as Mavo)

JB

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That makes a lot of sense.  If the director and DP both like a particular camera and it shoots prores 4:4:4 then there are mostly no reasons you cant use it (assuming you can get the right number of bodies)?

I only was theorizing specs because unlike subjective opinions and politics around convincing a particular studio that something is better, these are hard data that can immediately render a particular camera useless.

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10 hours ago, mercer said:

Raw in the C200 is advertised at 15 stops. CLog3 is 13-14. So same or better. 

With that being said, the Ursa Pro, C200, and EVA1 are all fine cameras. I assume the P4K will follow suit and be an amazing tool for any low/Micro budget filmmaker and most likely will continue with the moniker as a baby Alexa. 

So pick your poison and go and tell a great story, they’re all capable tools. 

Raw is a box ticking excersise on the C200 to make it appear powerful than it actually is. In fact raw probably gets more use with students, artists, enthusiasts and Magic Lantern users than it does in professional film and television.

C200 is clearly an FS5 competitor for low-end rental market and obviously crippled to make sure film and TV go for the C700 or C300 II. Makes no sense for Canon to sell a lower-profit-margin camera to these people.

That is why the Ursa Mini Pro is far closer a competitor to the Alexa than the FS5 or C200. It should be a lot more expensive than it actually is, and some of that technology is trickling down to the Pocket Cinema Camera 4K.

That to me is a much more interesting strategy to keep an eye on than what is going on at Canon, which is enough to give anybody narcolepsy.

The one advantage of the C200, personally speaking, would be the very economical power requirements, small battery, low weight and of course Dual Pixel AF. I hope in future iterations, a camera appears between the Pocket and UMP from Blackmagic which has a low weight and C200 size battery, but all the benefits of the UMP form factor and features.

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4 minutes ago, Andrew Reid said:

Raw is a box ticking excersise on the C200 to make it appear powerful than it actually is. In fact raw probably gets more use with students, artists, enthusiasts and Magic Lantern users than it does in professional film and television.

C200 is clearly an FS5 competitor for low-end rental market and obviously crippled to make sure film and TV go for the C700 or C300 II. Makes no sense for Canon to sell a lower-profit-margin camera to these people.

That is why the Ursa Mini Pro is far closer a competitor to the Alexa than the FS5 or C200. It should be a lot more expensive than it actually is, and some of that technology is trickling down to the Pocket Cinema Camera 4K.

That to me is a much more interesting strategy to keep an eye on than what is going on at Canon, which is enough to give anybody narcolepsy.

The one advantage of the C200, personally speaking, would be the very economical power requirements, small battery, low weight and of course Dual Pixel AF. I hope in future iterations, a camera appears between the Pocket and UMP from Blackmagic which has a low weight and C200 size battery, but all the benefits of the UMP form factor and features.

Blackmagic power requirements won't improve unless they switch to using an ASIC and use something other than Peltier cooling.  I don't think either of those will happen, but their current cameras are optimized well enough that their batteries last fairly long for the features they have.

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34 minutes ago, John Brawley said:

 

Lets imagine Mavo.  If I wanted to shoot Mavo on the show I’m on now I’d have to convince a rental company to get 8 bodies and kit them out.  Tell me a rental company that will do that and then get a couple of spares as backup.

in fact show me any rental company anywhere I can get 8 kinefinity anything cameras from... 

Agreed, Kinefinity needs to first scale up to be able to provide ONE or two rental bodies at a time, there is too few places that do that. Before giving six or eight bodies at once. 

 

14 minutes ago, Andrew Reid said:

Raw is a box ticking excersise on the C200 to make it appear powerful than it actually is. In fact raw probably gets more use with students, artists, enthusiasts and Magic Lantern users than it does in professional film and television.

 

Yeah C200 is in a weird space that it can appeal to the low end but can't go up from there even though it was raw because it has way way too many other missing gaps

15 minutes ago, Andrew Reid said:

The one advantage of the C200, personally speaking, would be the very economical power requirements, small battery, low weight and of course Dual Pixel AF. I hope in future iterations, a camera appears between the Pocket and UMP from Blackmagic which has a low weight and C200 size battery, but all the benefits of the UMP form factor and features.

I  hold my fingers crossed for an URSA Micro Pro!

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I am currently doing sound on a daily broadcast episodic series, we use 2 FS7mkII. Imagine if you had to shoot Raw for this!

Reality is a lot different than hypothetical specs on forums.

My take on the C200, is that is an overpriced C100mkIII. It ia very difficult to fit it between the C100mkII and the C300mkII. Those 2 cameras seem more appropriate for their intended market groups, the C200 is somehow lost in space (and in price, in Europe is much more expensive that it should). The only times we used a C200, we could have been using an C100mkII, and when we needed something upper tier, then we went straight to C300mkII.

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21 minutes ago, Andrew Reid said:

In fact raw probably gets more use with students, artists, enthusiasts and Magic Lantern users than it does in professional film and television.

 

42 minutes ago, John Brawley said:

From a TV drama point of view there is little appetite for RAW. No one wants it aside from a DP maybe.

Don't Netflix require Raw for their original shows and movies? Or am I thinking of log?

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30 minutes ago, Kisaha said:

I am currently doing sound on a daily broadcast episodic series, we use 2 FS7mkII. Imagine if you had to shoot Raw for this!

Reality is a lot different than hypothetical specs on forums.

Indeed, I'm constantly seeing such a big gap between what is said on forums vs reality. 

But even then I know my own "reality" I see is only a teeny tiny slice of the whole picture, but now and then I day play on even bigger shows and I get a peek behind the curtain at the next stages up from me.

27 minutes ago, Savannah Miller said:

To be fair if you emailed kinefinity and told them you were interested in shooting a major network TV on their cameras they would give you 8 bodies and all the support in the world.

You'd hope so! But not sure.... I have however messaged personally the founder of Kinefinity and encouraged him he should chat more to JB and others like him to see what they want/need :-) 

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1 hour ago, Savannah Miller said:

To be fair if you emailed kinefinity and told them you were interested in shooting a major network TV on their cameras they would give you 8 bodies and all the support in the world.

You’d think so.....

Ive never been able to get any kinefininty camera to even test.

JB

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Well my comment about the C200 wasn’t meant as a suggestion to replace anything on network television. I merely was stating that according to advertised specs, Savannah Miller was wrong when he/she stated that the Ursa has more dynamic range. 

Honestly, the fact that we’re even discussing sub $10,000 cameras on a network television show is amazing. And the fact that JB can illustrate to his directors and producers that an Ursa Pro and BMMCC are viable tools against an Alexa Mini is a credit to what BM has done.

There’s also the story about the director of Lights Out sneaking off set, at lunch, with an actor to get some pick up shots with his BMPCC. In the editing room, the editor had no idea those shots weren’t from an Alexa.

With that being said, I would assume the vast majority of Ursa Pro users aren’t shooting network television or Hollywood movies with it. So at the price point, there are other options that may be more suitable and preferable to those shooters. I’d choose a C200 over an Ursa Pro for the type of stuff I do. But I’d also choose a 5D3 over the P4K and in all honesty, since I don’t need the 4K, I’d choose the Micro over the P4K as well. I originally thought the M4/3 sensor was a huge benefit, but since I don’t use a speedbooster, I’d rather have the option to shoot with vintage c-mount lenses that I already own.

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1 hour ago, John Brawley said:

You’d think so.....

Ive never been able to get any kinefininty camera to even test.

JB

I was offered a test recently but didn't have the time. Could put you in touch? Only problem is I think the distributor are based in Berlin.

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According to advertised specs, the Blackmagic Ursa Mini Pro claims 15 stops of dynamic range.  The C200 claims 13, and they advertise that when shooting RAW lite you can produce up to 15 stops of dynamic range.  That sounds more like when RED claims such ludicrous 16.5+ stops of DR.  Sure it's all there if you frame-average 10+ frames together, denoise and crank up your ISO to 512,000.  

1 hour ago, John Brawley said:

You’d think so.....

Ive never been able to get any kinefininty camera to even test.

JB

I don't think you're missing out on anything.

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