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DevonChris

Camera to shoot stock video?

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Hi

I am thinking about shooting stock video footage. Most of it will be outdoors, but I might extend into interior shots such as food, where I can control the lighting.

My thoughts are to aim for 4K 10 bit 4:2:2 delivery so the GH5 looks ideal.

I am considering either a GH4/Atomos Inferno or GH5 internal 10 bit to get started. Should I be considering something else?

I currently use Fujifilm XT2's for photography but there are no 10 bit recording capabilities with these.

Thanks, for your thoughts.

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Interesting question. I’ve thought about the same thing a few times. And I would go with as big of a sensor I could afford. I would think for static shots something like the a7iii would be a good camera, or a D850... 4K does make sense though, so I’m sure the GH5 would work great for it as well. 

I imagine anything would be fine though. I think someone recently said, maybe @Damphousse that he  still sells some stock shots from his t3i, so maybe test the waters with something you already own?

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Thanks for your comment. I'm doing a lot of research into this and it seems that new footage really needs to be 4K now.

I think a competitive advantage can be gained by supplying 10 bit 4:2:2 content which is broadcast safe so that it does meet broadcast standards (BBC) as well as being used for the web.

There is also the thought about whether to supply just log files, slightly graded or finished graded clips, but that is another matter!

 

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Yeah I think with stock footage you want to get the best possible quality since it will allow for much wider compatibility with other systems. 

If you go through the trouble of shooting stock footage then 10bit 4K 4:2:2 is a good start. GH4 is fine, but GH5 or even GH5s should give much better colors. Another possibility is the BM micro studio with an external recorder. 

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If you go through the trouble of shooting stock footage then 10bit 4K 4:2:2 is a good start. GH4 is fine, but GH5 or even GH5s should give much better colors. Another possibility is the BM micro studio with an external recorder. 

Thanks. I would rather not use an external recorder for portability, which is why the GH5 is so attractive for this. Though that Ninja V looks killer :)

I hadn't thought about the BM Micro studio so I'll look into that too. Thanks for the suggestion.

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13 minutes ago, Don Kotlos said:

The BMMicroStudio unfortunately needs an external recorder. Of course if you can wait the new pocket would be your best choice. 

Yep - long waiting list. I want to crack on with this before Christmas, but that is a great suggestion :)

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1 hour ago, DevonChris said:

Thanks for your comment. I'm doing a lot of research into this and it seems that new footage really needs to be 4K now.

I think a competitive advantage can be gained by supplying 10 bit 4:2:2 content which is broadcast safe so that it does meet broadcast standards (BBC) as well as being used for the web.

There is also the thought about whether to supply just log files, slightly graded or finished graded clips, but that is another matter!

 

Interesting... I think I just have a different mentality than a lot of people around here. Content is content in my mind. 4K, 2K, 1080p...

In almost every job I have done, there is the best way to do it and the best budget way to do it... often they're synonymous in the end. Now I agree, 4K is probably important, as your research has shown. But unless you know exactly how much revenue your stock footage can generate, buying a new camera for this specific task puts you in a hole right from the outset.

It's okay to swing for the fences, but a lot of times you may end up striking out... whereas a nice grounder up the middle will get you on base.

I would be more interested in a Raw or ProRes 1080p image from a BMPCC or BMMCC than another shot of a sunset from the GH5... I would think it would set you apart.

Anyway, you've seemed to have done your research, I would just consider the overall cost in equipment, media and time before jumping head first into a $2000 camera that requires $200 cards for the best codec and a really fast computer to edit, render and deliver the content...

Just a thought.

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When you are specifying 4K 10 bit 4:2:2 delivery you have narrowed down the field to what is even remotely affordable to very few cameras. And I can understand the requirement. Broadcast Capable.

You have not stated a budget, but it looks to me the GH5, GH5s is the only player in the field other than a few BM offerings. Not the worse choice by far overall.

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For personal work, I don't care about 4k or 10bit. But for stock footage I think you do want to shoot 4k bare minimum. Beyond that, just do a cost/benefit analysis if something even higher end will improve your client base. I don't think you need to worry too much about bit depth, though...

Because for stock footage I don't think the requirements are as exacting as you think. BBC specs are for the A camera. B cameras can be whatever. No studio is going to reject a lone clip of stock footage because it's 8 bit instead of 10 bit, that would be insane. The difference between the two is usually invisible anyway, except for HDR or with thin codecs or poorly exposed images. It's only if the image doesn't hold up subjectively that a client would turn it down. In fact, the bigger question is what database you're on. Some networks won't use Pond5 because their clearance system isn't rigorous enough.

I worked on a Netflix show and the footage itself was all 4k raw but the stock footage was whatever worked, like anything HD would be fine. I remember on Wolf of Wall Street (which I didn't work on, I wish I could have!) they used iPhone 5 footage for a shot. I never noticed in the theater. Some of the drone footage was also 1080p 8 bit (C500 but without an internal recorder). I didn't notice. Others here with keener eyes surely did, but for bigger clients usually the technical image quality is less of a concern.

Most of us here are aiming for significantly higher technical image quality than Wolf of Wall Street on our personal work, I get this this forum prides itself in delivering the utmost image quality without a lot of money, but it doesn't mean most clients care. That said, with stock footage there's a good change your client will be zooming in on, grading, compositing, or manipulating your footage pretty heavily, so any extra resolution is good and log files aren't a bad idea. But I would be very surprised if they even looked at the bit depth. 

Personal work is obviously another story.

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Interesting... I think I just have a different mentality than a lot of people around here. Content is content in my mind. 4K, 2K, 1080p...

Actually, I totally agree with you. From everything I am learning about stock footage, it is important to create content that is difficult for others to produce.  The world does not need yet another shot of a sunset, so the trick is to create footage that is more unique.

I live in an area of great historical interest and natural beauty so it is a short drive for me to get some unique footage, that others can’t. The problem is that this is a bit niche, so I will be looking for wider content opportunities.

So content is definitely king!

However, like any commercial venture I am shooting footage to sell, so whereas I personally would love to shoot 1080 RAW, it would have more saleability if it was 4K. As @HockeyFan12 wisely says, I may be aiming too high to start with, which is great as I can just use my XT’s and get started.

<edit>Though my thinking is that if I am investing time and effort (and money!) in acquiring the footage, then it makes sense, to me, to create as high quality footage as possible, hence my thoughts about 10 bit 4:2:2 which can be used in broadcast as well as less demanding productions</edit>

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1 hour ago, jonpais said:

Is this sarcasm? 

Not at all. I wrote technical image quality. (We might also aim for a better image aesthetically, but I suspect no one here is getting close to that!)

It makes sense. On a bigger production you have massive lighting set ups to reduce your need for dynamic range in the camera. And generally your output is 2k DCP on a feature for a (low contrast) movie projector and then maybe a blu ray for tv, where that's all you need. 35mm film is less sharp than an Alexa which is less sharp than a GH4, let alone a GH5 or A6300. Just look at some film scans from blu rays, and that's with post sharpening. Red made this fuss about how film is "3.2k" but that was 20% MTF on 50D film shot perfectly and scanned and sharpened and I think they still fudged it. With 500T film you're not getting close, particularly with Fuji (which aesthetically is gorgeous). Whereas the Alexa might be 100% mtf to 2k, and overall that looks a lot sharper because the integral of the area under the mtf curve is greater than film's, where it slopes toward lower mtf values sooner even if extinction might be a little later.

On a desktop monitor (particularly with HDR) you benefit more from a sharper, higher resolution image–often desktop displays are in excess of UHD–and with better dynamic range. I suspect there's a reason Netflix is 4k and network tv isn't (though some shows are starting to be finished in 4k due to the popularity of streaming services, which I suspect is why Arri released the LF). Desktop displays are sharper and closer to the eyes than tvs or projectors so you need a lot more resolution.

This is why I was rightly made fun of for saying 1080p was enough for my YouTube vlog. It is for me because I can't justify spending more on a camera, but that isn't to say it is for everyone!

1 hour ago, DevonChris said:

<edit>Though my thinking is that if I am investing time and effort (and money!) in acquiring the footage, then it makes sense, to me, to create as high quality footage as possible, hence my thoughts about 10 bit 4:2:2 which can be used in broadcast as well as less demanding productions</edit>

The broadcast specs are for the A camera. I've worked on a lot of broadcast shows (in a very minor role) and there is a lot of go pro footage and stock footage in them and it's often 1080p or worse. If 4k were available the client would have paid a premium for it, but as long as it's properly exposed HD, you've got a better image than you need.

Of course, if you're shooting rather generic footage, image quality will be a better differentiating factor since there's already a lot of cityscapes, etc. If you're shooting a shark attack, less so, because there's less supply there and more demand. There might be a whole new market emerging for 120p 4k 15+ stop HDR-ready stock, one that presumably would pay a huge premium, but that seems like a steep cost of entry. 

To caveat that, I see VFX elements at 6k+ being sold online sometimes, and the higher the resolution there, the more they cost. So for vfx elements where they might be heavily scaled and manipulated, you might want higher resolutions and frame rates. But the BBC specs are for the A camera, it's not a big deal for stock footage if you don't meet them.

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If you are trying to break into this industry, or make a living doing it, you sure as hell better have a camera that is broadcast 4k ready. Good 1080p is a thing of the past, not down the road

I am not saying your footage may be down sampled to 1080p, but you better have a better master than that to submit.

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For stock footage, a RAW video camera really makes sense, because it makes your footage future-proof for codecs and standards that may not exist yet.

For example, if you bought a Blackmagic Cinema Camera in 2012 and backed up your camera files from that time, it would be no problem to render the footage as HDR video today.

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9 minutes ago, webrunner5 said:

If you are trying to break into this industry, or make a living doing it, you sure as hell better have a camera that is broadcast 4k ready. Good 1080p is a thing of the past, not down the road

I could not disagree more strongly. Look at what gets into Sundance and only about 20% of it is shot in 4k+, probably less, and even that which is shot at higher resolution sees a 2K DPC finish 99% of the time. I can't think of one Sundance feature that was finished at 4k.

I get that Sundance is on the low end of the industry since it's mostly indie, but even in broadcast, there isn't any demand for 4k yet. Chances are there won't be. The infrastructure to switch to 1080p was enormous and costly, and streaming services are supplanting broadcast anyway. There is demand for 4k on streaming services, and a LOT of it, but those clients (Netflix, Amazon, etc.) will tell you up front what they want and give you the budget to rent any camera you need. The Netflix shows I've worked on include originals purchased outright from 1080p masters and those that Neflix themselves produced used HD stock footage freely (with a 4k A camera, but again, rented, so who cares what you own).

5 minutes ago, cantsin said:

For stock footage, a RAW video camera really makes sense, because it makes your footage future-proof for codecs and standards that may not exist yet.

For example, if you bought a Blackmagic Cinema Camera in 2012 and backed up your camera files from that time, it would be no problem to render the footage as HDR video today.

The black magic cinema camera barely has 12 stops of dynamic range, though, and HDR requires 15+. The Ursa 4.6k perhaps is another story, but any file from the 4k BCC would be rejected by QC for excessive noise (for HDR). 

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9 minutes ago, HockeyFan12 said:

I could not disagree more strongly. Look at what gets into Sundance and only about 20% of it is shot in 4k+, probably less, and even that which is shot at higher resolution sees a 2K DPC finish 99% of the time.

I get that Sundance is on the low end of the industry since it's mostly indie, but even in broadcast, there isn't any demand for 4k yet. Chances are there won't be. The infrastructure to switch to 1080p was enormous and costly, and streaming services are supplanting broadcast anyway. There is demand for streaming services, but those clients (Netflix, Amazon, etc.) will tell you up front what they want and give you the budget to rent it.

This is 2018, not 2010. Times are changing fast as hell. I can damn near shoot a full fledged 4K movie on a iPhone 10 in this day and age! A wiz kid in this time frame can hand my ass, your ass to you if they want.

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6 minutes ago, webrunner5 said:

This is 2018, not 2010. Times are changing fast as hell.

Those Netflix originals (and the most recent Sundance feature I worked) were released last year. Things are moving fast, but large professional markets are the slowest to catch up. And frankly, most festival features don't have the budget to finish at 4k.

I'm just offering my experience, maybe elsewhere things are different. For stock footage I totally agree you want 4k bare minimum, fwiw.

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