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Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K


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He answered many times on various forums that it's basically smaller and lighter so you can handhold it and get the shots you want.  Alexa is a huge camera and hard to wield.  Alexa Mini is smaller than Ursa Mini/Pro but it's a nightmare in terms of ergonomics so you have to rig it and then it's larger.  So it's more/less a matter of which camera is easier to use to get the shots you need.

He does use Olympus EM-1 Mark II as well on the show.

Actually sometimes the Ursa Mini Pro is actually a BETTER camera image-wise too.  It has much more shadow dynamic range vs the Alexa so it tends to look better in low-light.  I'd also say it has slightly more FPN if you have to lift the blacks of your image (which you never do), but in the upper and midrange it's a cleaner image.  In the scene he linked of Nevin and Hawkins privately chatting in one of the rooms, the Ursa Mini likely performs better than the Alexa would in the same situation.

 

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5 minutes ago, mercer said:

B&H still has the Pocket up for sale at its original price.

Nice promo. It’s amazing how well these BM cameras intercut with an Alexa.

So, it makes sense when you would use the Micro or the Pocket, but what makes you decide to use the Ursa over the Alexa? Is it a matter of crew size on the call sheet for certain days? Are you given carte blanche which camera you use, when you want to, or does the line producer have a say?

Sorry for all the questions, but it isn’t often I get the opportunity to pick the brain of an established cinematographer.

Btw, have you been able to use an Olympus on the show?

I think you’ll find the pocket is EOL. 

I have a few different camera builds for different jobs. 

Ursa gets used when we need to be hyper intimate with the actors.  It’s smaller build means you can go inside the acting space.  It gives you more intimate and more reactive coverage. I call this visual jazz.

A scene like the two hander with the leads conspiring together is perfect for this.  The operating is very improvised.  I do multiple takes with very short reset times.  On each pass I emphasise different story telling beats, taking my cues from the actors themselves. Between each setup, often without cutting I tell the actors what I’m hoping to catch and then we dance.  Each take has a different story beat emphasis.  I try to build in the insert shots (like the phone) and also build in trades between the cast to emphasise story moments.

Sometimes you’ll do a regular pass with three cameras, all Alexa.  This tends to be more conventional storytelling coverage.  Then we do a “football” pass with the Ursa at the end in the manner I listed above.  A first started calling it a football because that’s about the size of the camera and the way I tend to hold it.  

I have used the Olympus a little, but not much on the Resident.  I tend to use the EM1 for its stabiliser and small size.injust did a pilot where we used it a bit.  

JB

 

 

 

 

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On 5/4/2018 at 5:37 PM, TwoScoops said:

I agree with not comparing it to a new 4k camera, but this is the best I've seen from that sensor (BMMCC tho)
@mercer "The beauty of the Pocket/Micro is that it can look however you like. Throw on one of those Veydras or Leicas you like so much and you can have a crisp modern look. Throw on a cheap lens and you can have a soft vintage look."

So, once more hommage, BMPCC and Sigma 18-35, 3 years ago... Funny story is understandable, I think/hope, without translation -

 

Refrain "I do not burn the engine, I have nothing to do with life. I'm sitting alone and meditating... I do not miss the gold, carats nor the ounces.. But all I'm missing is she, my sun... I miss her laughing, her signs of love... My God, where is she now?" :)

 

 

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15 hours ago, John Brawley said:

I think you’ll find the pocket is EOL. 

I have a few different camera builds for different jobs. 

Ursa gets used when we need to be hyper intimate with the actors.  It’s smaller build means you can go inside the acting space.  It gives you more intimate and more reactive coverage. I call this visual jazz.

A scene like the two hander with the leads conspiring together is perfect for this.  The operating is very improvised.  I do multiple takes with very short reset times.  On each pass I emphasise different story telling beats, taking my cues from the actors themselves. Between each setup, often without cutting I tell the actors what I’m hoping to catch and then we dance.  Each take has a different story beat emphasis.  I try to build in the insert shots (like the phone) and also build in trades between the cast to emphasise story moments.

Sometimes you’ll do a regular pass with three cameras, all Alexa.  This tends to be more conventional storytelling coverage.  Then we do a “football” pass with the Ursa at the end in the manner I listed above.  A first started calling it a football because that’s about the size of the camera and the way I tend to hold it.  

I have used the Olympus a little, but not much on the Resident.  I tend to use the EM1 for its stabiliser and small size.injust did a pilot where we used it a bit.  

JB

 

 

 

 

I never realized the Ursa was so small and ergonomic. Very interesting to learn a little about your process. The “football pass” seems like a great way to get some impromptu camera and acting moments that basic coverage doesn’t always allow.

It’s a shame the original Pocket is EOL, a price reduction could keep that camera relevant for a few more years. Or I’d love to see BM release a mini Pocket that expands on the S16 original with multiple frame rate 1080p or 2.5K. At $750, that camera could be a huge success... but I guess we live in a 4K world now... ugh.

Btw, are The Resident’s Ursa shots recorded in 4K and then downsized to match the Alexa? Or do you just shoot in 1080p on the Ursa?

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5 hours ago, mercer said:

I never realized the Ursa was so small and ergonomic. Very interesting to learn a little about your process. The “football pass” seems like a great way to get some impromptu camera and acting moments that basic coverage doesn’t always allow.

Btw, are The Resident’s Ursa shots recorded in 4K and then downsized to match the Alexa? Or do you just shoot in 1080p on the Ursa?

The Resident is “only” shot 1920, but it’s 444ProRes, so 12 bit.  

Fox only air in 720 remember !  I’d say the majority of TV production in the US is still 1920 ProRes.  They’re not interested AT ALL in 4K.

JB

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44 minutes ago, John Brawley said:

The Resident is “only” shot 1920, but it’s 444ProRes, so 12 bit.  

Fox only air in 720 remember !  I’d say the majority of TV production in the US is still 1920 ProRes.  They’re not interested AT ALL in 4K.

JB

Funnily enough, I’m only interested in 1080p as well. The show looks gorgeous and I can’t imagine it would look any better in 4K. Hell sometimes I see movies on my 1080p TV and it looks better than my eyes normally see the world.

Btw, thanks for being so open about the production. 

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Yeah I would also just just go for 1080p but only if it is artifact free. Thats why for me the best feature of the new pocket is that it can downsample the 4K in camera to 1080p. Hopefully the rolling shutter is similar to the original pocket (maybe @John Brawley can verify that?) and that makes it an amazing 1080p camera. 

 

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3 hours ago, Don Kotlos said:

Yeah I would also just just go for 1080p but only if it is artifact free. Thats why for me the best feature of the new pocket is that it can downsample the 4K in camera to 1080p. Hopefully the rolling shutter is similar to the original pocket (maybe @John Brawley can verify that?) and that makes it an amazing 1080p camera. 

 

If it's a customized variant of gh5s and terra 4K sensor then rolling shutter should be very fast.  GH5s is around 10.5ms and the Terra 4K is 8ms.  That's a top-of-the-line performance for any camera of that size, and honestly better than most bigger cinema cams too.  Newer RED 8K cams are quite slow sensor readout times and so are the really large Mostro/Vistavision sensors as well.

There's actually very few cameras that match that performance.

4K VFX is actually very slow.  The way our pipline typically works is we ingest reels of shots directly from the show and then generate the plates ourselves from original camera files and edl/xml data.  Shows not shot on Alexa maybe things are different, but this is the general workflow.  4K dpx frames are around 50mb each, so with 20 people all accessing a server requesting these large files, it's noticeably slower.  We have insanely fast workstations, but that doesn't make a difference when you're server can't keep up.

Only 4K shows that I do are netflix/hulu and occasionally there's a lower budget show that shoots on RED and they tend to do 4K post.  But I think they master at 1080.  Everything generally takes about 2x longer with 4K, but I have tricks that I can still work fast.

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1 hour ago, Savannah Miller said:

If it's a customized variant of gh5s and terra 4K sensor then rolling shutter should be very fast.

Apparently we won't see any rolling shutter - Although I guess if you swing the camera around trying to see it, you will see it.

image.thumb.png.1f3cbc6100ced747f0e08514cebffd44.png

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3 hours ago, Anaconda_ said:

Apparently we won't see any rolling shutter - Although I guess if you swing the camera around trying to see it, you will see it.

image.thumb.png.1f3cbc6100ced747f0e08514cebffd44.png

Yes.  Latest Blackmagic releases no longer have rolling shutter problems.  Ursa Mini 4.6K/Pro is decently fast.  So is the new micro cinema camera.  When they switched to 4K+ cameras aliasing/moire largely went away too.

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This thread suddenly got very useful!!

7 hours ago, Anaconda_ said:

Apparently we won't see any rolling shutter - Although I guess if you swing the camera around trying to see it, you will see it.

 

4 hours ago, Savannah Miller said:

Yes.  Latest Blackmagic releases no longer have rolling shutter problems.  Ursa Mini 4.6K/Pro is decently fast.  So is the new micro cinema camera.  When they switched to 4K+ cameras aliasing/moire largely went away too.

and the BMPCC4K seems to just get better and better with more information released...!

 

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@mercer yeah kind of an overlooked camera.. the BMPC4K also has that exact same sensor and can be picked up second hand even cheaper like around $1600.. not bad for 4K Super 35mm Sensor with Global Shutter, ProRes/Raw, 12 stops, SSD, 5" touch screen & SDI outs!

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Dynamic range of the 4K model is pretty weak.  If you compare it to they Sony F55 which is also global shutter, the performance is much worse.  So I think the 4K global shutter model was a big step backwards in image quality compared to other Blackmagic cams.  But because it was 4K global shutter, Aliasing/moire/rolling shutter artifacts were mostly gone so at the time it seemed better.  Now looking at Ursa Mini 4.6K images you can see a clear difference in the fairchild sensors vs cmosis.

Ursa mini 4k/BMPC/full size ursa are not relevant anymore with the pocket 4K coming out soon.

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2 hours ago, Django said:

@mercer yeah kind of an overlooked camera.. the BMPC4K also has that exact same sensor and can be picked up second hand even cheaper like around $1600.. not bad for 4K Super 35mm Sensor with Global Shutter, ProRes/Raw, 12 stops, SSD, 5" touch screen & SDI outs!

Actually the difference between the 4k and 4.6k sensor was HUGE. 3 stops (or more) of dynamic range difference. And hence the 2k price difference (maybe more now?). 

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