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Blackmagic Micro Cinema Super Guide and Why It Still Matters


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On 5/8/2021 at 4:33 PM, kye said:

Although that doesn't explain why the cheapest functioning Alexa Classic is still more expensive second-hand than a brand new Komodo, Canon R5, Zcam E2-F6, Canon C70, etc.

Because ARRI is a trusted known, vs an unknown. 

That alone makes an Alexa Classic still very valuable. Let alone all the technical reasons why it is worth buying. 

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1 hour ago, IronFilm said:

I'm on a prime time tv drama series currently (in their sound department though of course), and GoPros have been used for this. (mainly is 3x Panasonic Varicam LT though, plus a bit of Panasonic EVA1 for when a 4th camera is needed on big days, or for splinter unit. Also a few times ARRI AMIRA, I think simply because they can't source any more Varicams for when they need five cameras all at once)

WHY is a GoPro still used on this type of show? Because it is "there", they've got it hand, and because it already by default waterproof and easy to use with zero hassle. 

Don't think using a BMMCC crossed the DoP's mind for even half a second. He's got bigger things to worry about than that maybe two second shot it might have been used in, out of the entire tv series. 

For a 2s shot, yeah, use a GoPro, or someones phone for that matter.

1 hour ago, IronFilm said:

Because ARRI is a trusted known, vs an unknown. 

That alone makes an Alexa Classic still very valuable. Let alone all the technical reasons why it is worth buying. 

Absolutely.  Reliability is critical when you have so much at stake.  The cost of running a real set is many/tens/hundreds thousands of dollars an hour.

Ironically, once again it's something other than image quality coming into the picture.  This time I can understand, but when it's marketing, or the extra pixels that aren't really that visible, then it's a source of greater frustration 🙂 

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@IronFilmC70 should do well though in regards to reliability I would assume. I would love to see some BMMCC or BMPCC with glorious character C-mount lenses shot by our forum friends. I know some of you are piling up beautiful footage on your hard drives, such as @TheRenaissanceMan has proven in the Sony PMW F3 thread, old gold from one of his shoots. So please start hunting for your own gems, friends. 🙂

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On 5/10/2021 at 1:42 PM, PannySVHS said:

@IronFilmC70 should do well though in regards to reliability I would assume. I would love to see some BMMCC or BMPCC with glorious character C-mount lenses shot by our forum friends. I know some of you are piling up beautiful footage on your hard drives, such as @TheRenaissanceMan has proven in the Sony PMW F3 thread, old gold from one of his shoots. So please start hunting for your own gems, friends. 🙂

This was filmed on BMMCC with Zeiss Superspeeds (the ones with the rollei aperture, no less!)
It's what sold me on the camera years ago:

 

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3 hours ago, Andrew Calvetti said:

This was filmed on BMMCC with Zeiss Superspeeds (the ones with the rollei aperture, no less!)
It's what sold me on the camera years ago:

 

Simply gorgeous image...  and it was shot in Prores 422, not even HQ!  

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I was about to sell mine, but this thread brought me back to the reality that the BMPCC and BMMCC footage is simply so much more gorgeous than the 4k. I would sell the 4k, but need it for work since we use the URSA Mini Pro and it marries well there. Like everyone, I wish BM would bring some of this old mojo back!

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3 hours ago, graphicnatured said:

I was about to sell mine, but this thread brought me back to the reality that the BMPCC and BMMCC footage is simply so much more gorgeous than the 4k. I would sell the 4k, but need it for work since we use the URSA Mini Pro and it marries well there. Like everyone, I wish BM would bring some of this old mojo back!

I do like my BMMCC a lot, it is an awesome and really capable camera with a stunning image, but I wouldn´t call it "much more gorgeous than the 4K. My 4K is a beast, with great colors and a lot of resolution. I found that controlling the sharpness is a big part of making the 4K look more pleasing and organic. But even owning both cameras, I won´t sell the Micro, it still delivers and is incredibly versatile.

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I shot a short film with a BMMCC and three Kern Switar primes in 2019. This was when the cards needed to record raw were simply not available, so we shot in ProRes. I enjoyed working with the camera and generally like the soft, retro look we were able to achieve. Some shots looked better than others. I ultimately decided to sell it and put the money towards a Red One MX, which I think is much more in line with my personal aesthetic. But I do sometimes miss the small size and softness of the BMMCC. Hoping to get back to short films once the pandemic has eased up a little more.

I can't share the whole film yet because it's still in its festival run, but here's a teaser.

 

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On 5/15/2021 at 5:23 AM, QuickHitRecord said:

I shot a short film with a BMMCC and three Kern Switar primes in 2019. This was when the cards needed to record raw were simply not available, so we shot in ProRes. I enjoyed working with the camera and generally like the soft, retro look we were able to achieve. Some shots looked better than others. I ultimately decided to sell it and put the money towards a Red One MX, which I think is much more in line with my personal aesthetic. But I do sometimes miss the small size and softness of the BMMCC. Hoping to get back to short films once the pandemic has eased up a little more.

I can't share the whole film yet because it's still in its festival run, but here's a teaser.

 

Wonderful!

On 5/15/2021 at 3:46 AM, Mr. Freeze said:

I do like my BMMCC a lot, it is an awesome and really capable camera with a stunning image, but I wouldn´t call it "much more gorgeous than the 4K. My 4K is a beast, with great colors and a lot of resolution. I found that controlling the sharpness is a big part of making the 4K look more pleasing and organic. But even owning both cameras, I won´t sell the Micro, it still delivers and is incredibly versatile.

I think there's a few interesting points here.  

Firstly, I disagree when you say the OG isn't more gorgeous than the 4K.

There's a view that because they all shoot RAW that they're the same because you can make RAW look like anything, but that's simply not true.  For example, even in colourist circles the ability for Steve Yedlin to emulate film is often viewed as practically impossible, and Steve even says in his blog that it's not possible with the limited tools available (referring to Resolve and Baselight) and he had to write his own custom software to do it.
But setting aside professional colourists for a second and getting to the people who would realistically buy a BM pocket cinema camera (P2K, P4K, P6K, or P6KP), these people aren't likely to be able to grade the P4K to look like the P2K, or vice versa (and let's be honest - a great proportion of them only go as far as applying a LUT).  So while in theory the P2K isn't more gorgeous than the P4K, it is in practice when the average user has next to no ability to colour grade.

Moving into the comments about resolution and sharpness, I think this is something that relates to marketing and to ability to colour grade as well.

It relates to marketing in a couple of ways.  
Firstly, people often pick up the P2K for a retro look, because they're been brainwashed by TV companies to think that more resolution is more modern, when in reality most cinemas still project in 2K.  In addition to this they often pair the P2K with vintage lenses, which of course give a vintage look, which lacks sharpness.  However, in fact the P2K and BMMCC can just as easily be paired with modern cinema glass, and is by people who aren't after a vintage look.
Secondly, as people watch more and more content from YouTube rather than content shot on Alexas and graded by professional colourists, people get used to a sharper look as the default look.  Once again, this is marketing because the default look is over sharpened because the TV manufacturer who made your camera is baking that look into the camera in order to manipulate you into wanting a HD FHD 4K 8K TV.

Sharpness also comes down to colour grading, and this is something that I am experimenting with at the moment.  The P2K and BMMCC are very soft straight out of camera, which is fine if you know what you're doing, but alas, these files aren't being graded by professional colourists, they're being graded by people who don't even understand how LUTs work.  On top of this, sharpening is a whole art form but is almost never discussed and there are basically no tutorials.  Why?  Because your TV manufacturer camera oversharpens rather than under sharpens, and instead of learning to sharpen in post you learned to use vintage lenses and diffusion filters to get a sensible level of sharpness.

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There are a lot of people who think that the pocket or micro with the small super16 means retro look. But that is not true. What makes the old blackmagic cameras special is the sensor. The sensor is equipped with large photosite and a dual-gain architecture (the same as ALEV sensor).The development of such sensors took place at that time for arri. The goal at that time was to keep the analog Arri look, with the digtal sensor. And the fairchild sensor is the same, only in small (pocket and micro, super16), large photosite with 6.5microns, dual gain and strangely the image is also very close to the arri.

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5 hours ago, osmanovic said:

There are a lot of people who think that the pocket or micro with the small super16 means retro look. But that is not true. What makes the old blackmagic cameras special is the sensor. The sensor is equipped with large photosite and a dual-gain architecture (the same as ALEV sensor).The development of such sensors took place at that time for arri. The goal at that time was to keep the analog Arri look, with the digtal sensor. And the fairchild sensor is the same, only in small (pocket and micro, super16), large photosite with 6.5microns, dual gain and strangely the image is also very close to the arri.

Do you have any links outlining the dual-gain architecture of the sensor?

Some time ago I looked for more information on that aspect and couldn't find anything, and am curious to read more about it 🙂 

I definitely agree that small sensor doesn't have to mean vintage look.  Lots of wider aperture lenses are able to give a decent amount of background separation.  If anyone isn't clear on this, then the following might be of interest: http://www.yedlin.net/NerdyFilmTechStuff/MatchLensBlur.html

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4 hours ago, osmanovic said:

By the way. The only problem with the sensor is moiré. And the only good solution is rawlite olpf https://rawlite.com/

Apparently Hans Hijmering (the creator of the Rawlite OLPF) made some tweaks to his design of the Rawlite OLPF for original BMPCC and BMMCC last year and the new version doesn't soften the image as much as the old one did. I have Rawlite OLPFs in my two BMMCCs but not in my original Pocket and I'm tempted to get one now...although i'm also hesitant to invest more money in my old BMPCC; I've noticed some frame drops lately using media that always recorded reliably in the past and can't tell whether it's the camera's fault or the SD cards.

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The SD cards slow down over time or it comes dropped frames. The solution was to first do an LLF (LowLevelFormat) on the card and then format it in the camera. Try it. 

Sometimes it was enough just to reformat the SD card in the camera again.

We purchased angelbird SD cards some time ago. But these are very expensive. Then a colleague told us that the Canvas Select Plus (white green sticker) works just as well. We tested at 30fps raw (for an hour) and there were no drpped frames. 

If we had another alternative to og-bmpcc, we would certainly not buy rawlite, but another camera. But we chose it because og-bmpcc is still a great camera. 🙂 

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50 minutes ago, osmanovic said:

We purchased angelbird SD cards some time ago. But these are very expensive. Then a colleague told us that the Canvas Select Plus (white green sticker) works just as well. We tested at 30fps raw (for an hour) and there were no drpped frames. 

I used a Kingston Canvas Select Plus card and it did indeed record up to 30fps raw but the card died completely after about a year. SD cards should last 10-25 years based on their specs so this was a disappointment. I bought two Angelbird cards and so far those have been performing well. No dropped frames yet!

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