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Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K

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The Nikon Z6 is very tempting for me right now. Throw on one of those $150 original atomos recorders and you get 1080p 10 bit prores 422 full frame. Once the P4k gets Braw(I had thought Black magic confirmed this?) I'll be very tempted. Raw with small files would just be awesome. 

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9 hours ago, Davide Roveri said:

A very interesting video about how to optimise exposure on the BMPCC4K from one of the best channels about filmmaking and cameras on YT (IMHO), hope you guys will find it useful! 🙂

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g8hHFt3ChZ8

^^^This one is very useful and informative.

It shows in great detail just how different P4K is to the earlier Blackmagic products ISO performance-wise.

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On 1/20/2019 at 9:57 PM, Davide Roveri said:

A very interesting video about how to optimise exposure on the BMPCC4K from one of the best channels about filmmaking and cameras on YT (IMHO), hope you guys will find it useful! 🙂

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g8hHFt3ChZ8

It only describes exposure using the 'middle grey' method which may not be the best approach with this or any digital camera.

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5 hours ago, Shirozina said:

It only describes exposure using the 'middle grey' method which may not be the best approach with this or any digital camera.

What's wrong with that? Surely the best method is using False Colour to set exposure with middle grey for reference? (Most of the time).

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41 minutes ago, AlexTrinder96 said:

What's wrong with that? Surely the best method is using False Colour to set exposure with middle grey for reference? (Most of the time).

Depends on what your subject matter is, what the contrast ratio of the scene is and what the DR and profile of your camera is. 'Middle grey' was a method for exposing for film stock.

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2 minutes ago, Shirozina said:

Depends on what your subject matter is, what the contrast ratio of the scene is and what the DR and profile of your camera is. 'Middle grey' was a method for exposing for film stock.

Well we're talking about the pocket 4k, I have not seen any evidence to suggest a better way to expose? ETTR doesn't seem to be necessary in this camera.

 

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So I've seen some derision about Pocket4K regarding it crashing or behaving erratically, as well as issues with the batteries. I thought I'd share my experiences with these.

 

Short version: The battery that comes with the Pocket is utter, utter shit. Use original Canons instead and you'll see way less issues.

 

Long version:

That battery really is shit. I really can't overemphasize how shit it is.

So, for me Pocket 4K was a no-brainer because I already had a lot of it's necessities lying around - Cfast2-cards, tons of compatible batteries. So, the latter has meant that I've been able to run the Pocket with not just the battery it comes with, but with a couple of relatively fresh (2-year old) OG Canon batteries as well as a few different off-brand ones (4-5 years old). So here's a short summary on how they have performed:

 

Original Canon LP-E6:

- No problems, can be charged in-camera or with my canon rechargers. Displays remaining battery accurately. No surprise shutoffs.

- Drains the slowest of all the batteries I've tested. Still pretty fast, but quite manageable. Usually end up using 1-2 batteries a shooting day (b-cam).

 

Off-brand LP-E6:

- Like Canon, can be charged anywhere.

- Depending on the off-brand battery, might or might not display the remaining charge accurately.

- Can go from 40% to empty in seconds. So the 0-40% range is a bit of a wild card. May be due to inaccurate charge display or these might just be plain old and tired.

- Drains faster than the Canon.

 

The Blackmagic... thing:

- Can't be charged with Canon chargers, causes them to enter fault mode (continuous blinking.) Occurs with both my chargers. Googling the issue has led me to find others with same experiences. Can only be charged through the camera.

- Charge display is just whatever. Can go from over half-full to camera shutdown in seconds.

- Sometimes works like an off-brand one. At worst, from full charge, lasted me around 3 minutes of recording before the first shutdown.

- And notice the above? "First shutdown"? That was today. So, apparently the blackmagic battery is prone to just dying momentarily when there's a large power drain present. So what happened was, I set the camera to record, with battery at around 75-80%, and after a few seconds the battery meter goes haywire and the camera shuts down. Then it boots up again, and the battery shows up at 75%. Guess what happens when I hit record? Rinse and repeat. That was the moment I chucked the battery. Switched to Canon originals and the rest of the day went without a hitch.

 

So, taking from this, I think some of the reported erratic behavior can be traced to the completely all over the place quality of the original battery. Having the camera reboot itself during recording is something that could be blamed on the camera if you have no way to troubleshoot and find the real culprit - which was the blackmagic battery. Maybe there are good ones too, but to stay on the safe side, I'd recommend just using it as a last resort backup at most, and sticking to Canon originals or maybe some higher-quality off-brand ones.

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5 minutes ago, AlexTrinder96 said:

Well we're talking about the pocket 4k, I have not seen any evidence to suggest a better way to expose? ETTR doesn't seem to be necessary in this camera.

I asked the pro colourists if I should ETTR with the 10-bit footage on the GH5 and they said it wasn't necessary and it would be better to expose as normal.  I thought that people used ETTR to get better signal:noise in 8-bit, so anything 10-bit or more should be fine.

Although, the exposure video from Filmmaker IQ wasn't talking about ETTR as much as adjusting where the DR was around your middle-grey.

It would be interesting for someone to do some tests with setting skin-tone by exposure levels at the various ISOs and seeing how the different shots grade in Resolve.

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7 minutes ago, kye said:

I asked the pro colourists if I should ETTR with the 10-bit footage on the GH5 and they said it wasn't necessary and it would be better to expose as normal.  I thought that people used ETTR to get better signal:noise in 8-bit, so anything 10-bit or more should be fine.

Digital is becoming film with these new toys around.

- E : -)

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ETTR is just one among many exposure tools. It depends on the circumstances as to if it's the best tool. There are no scopes on the P4K and the zebras are not accurate and change with ISO so there is quite a bit of experience needed to get the best out of it in a contrasty lighting situation. As a result of some tests today I'd advise only using ISO 400-1000 and 3200-8000 in ProRes and be wary of what the zebras are telling you if you go off 400 or 3200 ISO.

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Does anyone know where skintones should sit on the BMD Film curve? As long as you know that, you can use false color and either hit them dead on or go up a stop or so?

But it sounds like a 2 iso camera and that’s how I would treat it. 

I think, @BTM_Pix burns in his LUTS, so I imagine he is hitting his exposure dead on. How’s the noise?

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7 minutes ago, mercer said:

Does anyone know where skintones should sit on the BMD Film curve? As long as you know that, you can use false color and either hit them dead on or go up a stop or so?

But it sounds like a 2 iso camera and that’s how I would treat it. 

I'd go 1 stop over for Caucasian and closer to middle grey for darker skin!

 

 

111.JPG

222.JPG

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2 minutes ago, AlexTrinder96 said:

I'd go 1 stop over for Caucasian and closer to middle grey for darker skin!

 

 

111.JPG

222.JPG

Wow they give you a lot of information... was that in the manual or do they have a white page published somewhere? Shit they even give you where 80% zebras hit... which I assume is an important zebra setting if they’re including it in this graphic. Has anyone tried to ETTR skin tones at 80% zebra level and then let everything else fall where it may?

Can you assign FC to a function button and toggle it on and off? How about while recording?

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12 minutes ago, mercer said:

Can you assign FC to a function button and toggle it on and off? How about while recording?

Out of the box, FC is on F1, LUT on F2 and Guides on F3. You can toogle them on and off as much as you want during and off recording.

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1 hour ago, mercer said:

I think, @BTM_Pix burns in his LUTS, so I imagine he is hitting his exposure dead on. How’s the noise?

Don't drag me into it ;)

99% of my time with this camera has been spent writing a controller for it rather than using it to make actual images so I can't really chime in with anything anywhere near authoritative on it as yet.

I'm watching this closely though, as if enough consensus builds then I might actually add an option to interactively lock the ranges so that if you go from ISO1000 on the camera or the app it automatically goes to ISO3200 instead of ISO1250 and the same on the way down from ISO3200 to ISO1000.

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