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Andrew Reid

First ProRes files from the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera released

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One thing I think these clips do show is decent DR. It can't be coincidence that there is direct sunlight hitting white objects in each shot, at the same time there are dark objects in the shadows.

 

And the resolution looks fine to me. The shot of the street taken at 45 degees looks quite detailed to me.  I think if there was more consistent lighting you'd be able to see more contrast within the different objects in the shots. The broad range of lighting makes it hard to make any of the images nice and contrasty without either crushing the shadows or blowing out the highlights. 

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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

So if these really are straight-from-camera clips, I see what the deal is...BMD have given their customers a very "today" look out of the box. The colors are desaturated and the grain is even more desaturated, and fine enough to look "filmic." That's fine and it would save me about 30 seconds post work per project.

 

But I also see what a well-respected DP just noted over on one of the Dragon threads..."The BMCC has the worst highlight roll-off of any of the digital cine cameras." Wow it's just clamped and hard-clipped...these highlights are simply unrecoverable. There's nothing that can be done with them. I had to leave them as is and just preserve the clip through post.

 

That really sucks. I hate to say it yet again but it is the elephant in the room. The footage from yesterday's full-sun EXT DAY shoot on C100/Canon log/Ninja 2 had very broad DR and I was able to recover far more highlights than I thought possible in 8 bit. It was like working RAW. This BMPocket footage is no better for highlights than cheap compact camera video. Check it on a waveform scope.

 

It also leads me to theorize what's going on here. When I use quick & dirty LUT products (which is only in a rush) I often get this clamping/clipping problem on the highlights and blacks. What I think BMD have done to make their camera appealing to their target demographic is pre-process the image in a similar way to how most experienced pro's post-process it. So to get their in-camera "look" at least for ProRes they are probably doing a combination of quick & dirty noise reduction, LUTing, and grain simulation, with the results having the unfortunate effect of clipping the highlights and tying your hands in post to their look. They leave the contrast "flat" but really don't have to...that's also a marketing thing to make you think there's more DR there than typical cheap video cams, but I don't see that there is. Not on the highlight end certainly!


I also didn't find the image much sharper than 5D3 footage. They are probably having to blur things either optically or digitally to cut down on the aliasing a native res sensor is prone to. But decent sharpness could be recovered...but that fights against the grain thing they are doing. When you work in post, you can sharpen before the addition of grain, which is a much better way of doing business. Not here.

 

I really couldn't do much with the image (clip sized for the 500K limit attached), a little sharpening, some added saturation as I am tired of the austere Scandi look, and an attempt at correcting the contrast curve but with no ability to touch the highlights and make the image pop.

 

Makes me wonder how cooked the RAW is. If we ever get to see the RAW. All of these same processes could be quietly done to RGGB and marketed as "RAW" but in no way a lossless record of what came down from the sensor.

 

Anyway I once again thank John Brawley. He does a nice job of quietly letting pro's know to laugh the BMD products off but also make them appealing and rewarding to the target hobbyist.

 

[attachment=603:BMPC Test.jpg]

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But I also see what a well-respected DP just noted over on one of the Dragon threads..."The BMCC has the worst highlight roll-off of any of the digital cine cameras." Wow it's just clamped and hard-clipped...these highlights are simply unrecoverable. There's nothing that can be done with them. I had to leave them as is and just preserve the clip through post.

 

 

This has been my experience with the BMCC actually. Image looks great as long as one is very mindful of the highlights, because once they go, they really go and look very noticeable even to a non-video person.

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This has been my experience with the BMCC actually. Image looks great as long as one is very mindful of the highlights, because once they go, they really go and look very noticeable even to a non-video person.

 

I agree that once they go, they go, especially in PRORES.  But if you know what you are doing with the camera, you have to be a complete mutton-head to lose them. Expose to the right and use peaking at 95%. It's not the camera's fault if the operator leaves the lens cap on. 

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With a bit of curves, the highlights look quite nice. When filming it would be good to just keep in mind that you have to expose for the highlights (just like the GH2), and recover the detail from the shadows in post. All of these clips are a little overexposed, really, for the subject at hand (which is why most of the grades people have posted are darker). Anyway, here's my cinamatic take. Grades rather nicely.

 

itqj.png

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I agree that once they go, they go, especially in PRORES.  But if you know what you are doing with the camera, you have to be a complete mutton-head to lose them. Expose to the right and use peaking at 95%. It's not the camera's fault if the operator leaves the lens cap on.


Looking at the luma waveform, I couldn't understand where the highlights disappeared. They appeared so typically clipped. The shadows Brawley did in one instance expose in such a way that they start at 20. Am I wrong to suspect that this takes away dynamic range? Must be several stops. The first BMCC demos by Brawley also had crushed blacks, also the music video linked above.

For most of the 8-bit monitor people (or the ones who grade for vimeo) crushed blacks mean the opposite of high dynamic range. I admit though, that they are a very special cinematic style.

How about sorting things out?

Does the Pocket have good DR with ProRes alone? Or later with raw? How do you prevent wrong exposure when using the camera only? Is it actually easy through a kind of histogram and Brawley just belongs to those who 'leave the cap on'? Can you change the aperture easily with MFT system lenses? What do you think is the resolution comparable to? 5DM3? Lower? Higher? How sensible is the peaking for focussing? And so on.

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Axel, I was talking about the BMCC, not the pocket camera in response to Kays.

 

As for the Pocket Camera, In the test footage we got yesterday, there was a huge difference in brightness between the highlights and the shadows. As I mentioned earlier, it's almost as if it was intentionally done that way. Even with film type DR you would have trouble not clipping or crushing, no?

 

I doubt JB has a ton of experience with the camera and I doubt he is using a monitor with a waveform, so some hit and miss is forgivable. 

 

This is ironic, more than a year ago i was getting flamed on this site for smack talking Brawley's handling of the BMCC. 

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Let's not forget that we all have seen better graded sample footage from the BMPC before this ones. In addition, let's not forget other John Brawley's contributions in this process.

 

https://vimeo.com/67562461

https://vimeo.com/66955436

And more recently: Auckland In My Pocket - Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera

https://vimeo.com/70676876

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This footage is good.  It shows you what you get straight out of the camera on the street in normal light with no stabilisation and no extra lighting.   That is what you want from a camera sample!

 

Over produced graded footage is pointless.

 

The image is what I expected.  This was never going to be an ultra sharp camera and looking at the previous videos full screen showed that plainly.  The sensor is like a 100% crop of a 18 megapixel full frame camera.  Get a full resolution still sample from a 1dx or 5d shot at 1/50th a second and zoom in to 100% and tell me if it looks sharp.

 

I don't understand the people saying were is the dynamic range and that the highlights aren't recoverable.

The computer i'm on now doesn't have video editing software but all I did was play the files in quicktime, take a screen grab and open in photoshop.  Looking at the histogram on a levels adjustment layer shows loads of room above and bellow the data.  Its all there. (On second look the highlights are clipped but displayed at less than white, but if you leave them alone they are gradual enough)  Just move the left slider to choose the black level and all the highlights are maintained.  The only other thing I did with this frame is increase the saturation by 25% and apply 80% very low radius 0 threshold sharpening to his face using a mask.  sharpening the whole image exaggerates the noise.You probably wouldn't bother doing the sharpening for video, but I think this shows it is good enough for still images.

 

http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/9453075099/sizes/o/in/photostream/

 

No colour correction was needed for this naturalistic grade.  So if this is straight from camera then the pocket cam outputs very balanced colour.  No green tinge like its big brother.

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It looks good for shooting out of the pocket, will look better in a controlled environment but I see no reason to ditch the GH2 just yet. On my Vimeo feed the gh2 footage holds up just as good as anything else out there. (just about anyway) If I end up with a pocket camera (have an order in on one) I'm looking to shoot RAW with a slew of vintage glass. I'm collecting some pieces now. I'm loving the authenticity of the image using vintage glass. We if we get close to a S16 image in such a small form factor I'll be happy. Hell, it's only a 1,000 bucks for a RAW shooter. I think the BMPC 4k will show us what direction BM is headed. Hope they ship soon...thanks

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This footage is good.  It shows you what you get straight out of the camera on the street in normal light with no stabilisation and no extra lighting.   That is what you want from a camera sample!
 
Over produced graded footage is pointless.
 
The image is what I expected.  This was never going to be an ultra sharp camera and looking at the previous videos full screen showed that plainly.  The sensor is like a 100% crop of a 18 megapixel full frame camera.  Get a full resolution still sample from a 1dx or 5d shot at 1/50th a second and zoom in to 100% and tell me if it looks sharp.
 
I don't understand the people saying were is the dynamic range and that the highlights aren't recoverable.
The computer i'm on now doesn't have video editing software but all I did was play the files in quicktime, take a screen grab and open in photoshop.  Looking at the histogram on a levels adjustment layer shows loads of room above and bellow the data.  Its all there. (On second look the highlights are clipped but displayed at less than white, but if you leave them alone they are gradual enough)  Just move the left slider to choose the black level and all the highlights are maintained.  The only other thing I did with this frame is increase the saturation by 25% and apply 80% very low radius 0 threshold sharpening to his face using a mask.  sharpening the whole image exaggerates the noise.You probably wouldn't bother doing the sharpening for video, but I think this shows it is good enough for still images.
 
http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/9453075099/sizes/o/in/photostream/
 
No colour correction was needed for this naturalistic grade.  So if this is straight from camera then the pocket cam outputs very balanced colour.  No green tinge like its big brother.

Yes. My grading yielded a very similar look.it certainly handled the range well, even though there's some crushing /clipping of deepest readable shadows (the gent's jackets and the street sign). Not to much noise in the shadows.

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Well at the moment I'm gonna buy the Cinema Camera, I was excited about the Pocket camera, but now I am a little disappointed. And now with the BMCC price drop to $1995, the BMPC is pointless. At least for me.


I think it is too early to say much on pq vs original bmcc, but there are of course several advantages to go with the bmcc which may or may not matter to you. The bmpcc's only(?) Advantage is active mft mount. (And portability I suppose)

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Good DR, colour etc. The highlights are hard clipped like a Canon EOS though. I miss the C300/Alexa soft rolloff! It's cheap though, so hey ho!

 

Reason 6 here is where it falls down. It wins in many other ways though. http://nofilmschool.com/2013/05/1080p-better-4k-canon-c100-ryan-e-walters/

 

Where did this awful form factor come from though?  It should be a tube like a camcorder.

 

It's not a stills camera, but they designed a stills body. Definitely not Apple style innovation, despite the aluminium.

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