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Blackmagic Micro Cinema Super Guide and Why It Still Matters


crevice
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1 hour ago, PannySVHS said:

Hey, so I received my Blackmagic Micro with the Rawlite Oplf. Dang, that beauty puts out a beautiful image! But quirky it is. So here are my questions. How do I get battery status and running time for the SD card? Both won´t show on my blackmagic video assist. By the way, when the battery is empty, the small tally blinks. So how to I get this beauty to show battery and SD card status on the monitor?

This camera is easy to grade. But I think the Rawlite Oplf seems an obligation. I graded IR poluted material from the mini 4.6K. Prores 4444 material which was worse to grade than an A7s2 SLOG2 shot at night. I am not kidding! With the OPLF I shot without ND. But colors looked so overwhelmingly beautyful that I assume the OPLF with IR cut was working its wonders, even without testing it with NDs. My S1 seems hard to grade compared to the BMMCC. Though S1 is very impressive in HLG when filmed in lowlight and with lit scenes I must say.

I'd have to check to make sure and it may take a couple days for me to get around to it, but if my memory serves me... make sure you turn off the overlays on your monitor and have the in camera ones turned on. I've found trusting the camera's tools work better than using the monitor's. YMMV.

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EOSHD Pro Color 5 for Sony cameras EOSHD Z LOG for Nikon CamerasEOSHD C-LOG and Film Profiles for All Canon DSLRs
10 hours ago, mercer said:

recommend buying an NPF Bridge

No longer available, although the website will take your money. The person who designed and made these must either be dead or in hiding; I've never had any response and never received my order; I've heard the same from several other people.

The best alternative I've found is Dmitry Shijjan's battery module, which will power the Micro for hours. See https://lavky.com/handmade/home-and-hobby/electronics-and-circuitry/18650-battery-enclosure/?product=UW590888

If you prefer NPF, I'd go for the Tilta NPF adapter over the plastic one from SmallRig; I have both and the Tilta is much better made. But mounting it on the micro can be tricky/awkward, which is why I much prefer using Dmitry Shijan's battery module.

Congrats on getting your Micro! I have two of them and have no plans to buy anything else for video; the only drawbacks are poor low-light performance (these are cinema cameras, so that's par for the course; they're meant to be used in controlled-lighting situations) and those godawful buttons for navigating the menu.

The One Little Remote, no longer made but likely still available on the used market, is a good way to avoid having to use the menu buttons, but you'll still need them to set date/time before every shoot. Note that you can't use the One Little Remote (without internal modifications) if you use Dmitry's battery module as it can't handle the voltage and will shut down your camera randomly while filming.

You may still want to use ND filters in any brighter light situations, because you really don't want your aperture to go above 5.6 or 8 at the most; after that you start getting very noticeable diffraction softening. When I first got my Pocket I had been a stills photographer for decades and was used to taking landscape photos at f16 or even f22; I quickly learned that it doesn't work on small-sensor cameras like this, my images got very soft and not in a good way.

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On 11/10/2021 at 1:57 AM, mercer said:

Also @PannySVHS I recommend buying an NPF Bridge for the camera so you can use Sony NP-F batteries with the camera without adding too much bulk...

 

Thanks, that´s a great recommendation. I got one with the package, also a control port breakout box, so could feed the cam with external power, if I understand it right. HDMI clamp, also from radioprotektor (Dmitry), came with it as well and the beautiful Rawlite filter. @bjohn I got my test footage withing the necessities of shooting from f8 to f2 at native iso

Now, hopefully testing with overlays from camera will give my battery status and recording time. If not, questions needs to be answered by you guys:) I will upload my test footage in two weeks. Right now too much things to do. But what a beautiful camera indeed! My tests includ some improvised belly jib contstruction. Was filming some film buddies messing with cameras. What a great leisure time acitivity! Oh, @mercer, used the beautiful 12mm Fujinon for my first test shots. First time on its original Super16 crop. Finally and awesome!:)

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On 11/10/2021 at 7:37 AM, PannySVHS said:

Hey, so I received my Blackmagic Micro with the Rawlite Oplf. Dang, that beauty puts out a beautiful image!

<snip>

My S1 seems hard to grade compared to the BMMCC. Though S1 is very impressive in HLG when filmed in lowlight and with lit scenes I must say.

Yes, the grading experience is fundamentally different isn't it!

It's an odd thing to describe, especially to someone who might have gotten an S1 or equivalent and where that footage is much nicer to grade than other things they've been using.  I guess it's pretty hard to describe how a $1K 1080p camera from a decade ago can be one (or two) steps above the latest multi-thousand dollar FF 6K beasts, but it is.

I find that if you don't care about the dates on the files on the card, you can have manual lenses and a vND and you just set the camera to the desired frame rate, codec, and shutter speed, and then you don't have to navigate the menus ever - just change the vND for exposure, and aperture and focus and hit record/stop at the right times.

It's also worth testing if you prefer focus peaking from the camera or your monitor.  You can even use the menu overlays from the camera and the peaking on your monitor, but it will highlight all the overlays as well as your image, but you can get used to that pretty easily.

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7 hours ago, kye said:

Yes, the grading experience is fundamentally different isn't it!

It's an odd thing to describe, especially to someone who might have gotten an S1 or equivalent and where that footage is much nicer to grade than other things they've been using.  I guess it's pretty hard to describe how a $1K 1080p camera from a decade ago can be one (or two) steps above the latest multi-thousand dollar FF 6K beasts, but it is.

I find that if you don't care about the dates on the files on the card, you can have manual lenses and a vND and you just set the camera to the desired frame rate, codec, and shutter speed, and then you don't have to navigate the menus ever - just change the vND for exposure, and aperture and focus and hit record/stop at the right times.

It's also worth testing if you prefer focus peaking from the camera or your monitor.  You can even use the menu overlays from the camera and the peaking on your monitor, but it will highlight all the overlays as well as your image, but you can get used to that pretty easily.

Exactly. It’s the closest feeling to grading flat color negative film. It’s like paint. 
 

I agree with avoiding the menus. I use the pocket with manual lenses, hard stop NDs and a light meter. Throw a 4 stop on there and rate it at ASA50. Just use the LCD for framing and ignore it for judging exposure.

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Agreed that if you shoot CDNG raw or even 3:1 raw (which is what I usually use; I've never experienced any downside to the compression) you rarely need to touch the buttons. I do like having accurate dates and times, so I do go in and set those, and occasionally I will change the shutter angle, especially when shooting stationary objects indoors under less than ideal lighting conditions (I did some of that in Brittany a few years ago, shooting statues in an old church on a rainy day and it worked out very well; I opened the shutter angle angle all the way to 360 degrees and was able to avoid underexposing).

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On 11/12/2021 at 7:00 AM, BenEricson said:

Exactly. It’s the closest feeling to grading flat color negative film. It’s like paint. 
 

I agree with avoiding the menus. I use the pocket with manual lenses, hard stop NDs and a light meter. Throw a 4 stop on there and rate it at ASA50. Just use the LCD for framing and ignore it for judging exposure.

Like paint, exactely. Like oil paint. "Native color temperature" for the sensor is at 5600K, right? I know, that Panny hybrid cameras love Tungsten. And BM 2.5K performed awesome under HMI, which I used as a gaffer. Itś amazing how pricey the small part from smallrig are. Guess I have to pay the good money for the tiny monitor swivel.

One thing comes to mind regarding focussing motors for C-mount lenses. Seems like it could be necessary to glue the MFT adapter onto the lenses wo it wont become loose from using the focussing gear.

Lets make a challenge without being challenging but being engaging and inspiring. Inspiring, what an overused word it is.:) Anyway, would love to see BMMCC BMPCC OG footage from all of you, @BenEricson@kye@mercer@bjohn and anyone! cheers:)

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19 hours ago, PannySVHS said:

Like paint, exactely. Like oil paint. "Native color temperature" for the sensor is at 5600K, right? I know, that Panny hybrid cameras love Tungsten. And BM 2.5K performed awesome under HMI, which I used as a gaffer. Itś amazing how pricey the small part from smallrig are. Guess I have to pay the good money for the tiny monitor swivel.

One thing comes to mind regarding focussing motors for C-mount lenses. Seems like it could be necessary to glue the MFT adapter onto the lenses wo it wont become loose from using the focussing gear.

Lets make a challenge without being challenging but being engaging and inspiring. Inspiring, what an overused word it is.:) Anyway, would love to see BMMCC BMPCC OG footage from all of you, @BenEricson@kye@mercer@bjohn and anyone! cheers:)

This video (posted previously) is really the only thing I've shot with the Micro that is edited nicely and has been cleared for general distribution by the boss...

As lovely as these cameras are (BMMCC and OG BMPCC) they're too finicky / slow for most of what I do, which is why I've gotten my GX85 and am now playing with that.

For reference, I shot a little video of my wife and I riding down to the beach and looking at the sunset, similar to this video, but many shots were filmed while we were riding and my main concern was not falling off while filming and riding one-handed through patches of sand while the pedal-assist on the e-bike was rather abruptly turning its helping on and off.  Situations like that aren't really the use-cases for a cinema camera!

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21 hours ago, PannySVHS said:

Anyway, would love to see BMMCC BMPCC OG footage from all of you

Here's some footage I shot with the Micro in Brittany a few years ago. Mostly shot with the SLR Magic 10mm; the clip of the church with the sun star was with the Panasonic 12-35/2.8, which was pretty much unusable on the micro due to focus issues (I'd set focus, then hit record, and the lens would immediately shift out of focus; I now use only manual lenses on this camera). The opening clip is terribly graded; I need to redo that one, but I'm pretty happy with the others. I've been slowly working on a documentary that takes place in Brittany, Québec, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia; still quite a bit of shooting to do but with luck it'll be done sometime in the next five years.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • Super Members

For anyone buying a Pocket or Micro for the first time - as well as those who already own them - there has been a challenge for a while now around buying new memory cards that actually work with them.

I've been using a specific Sony one that is reliable but very pricey and not always readily available but I had some Kingston ones recommended to me that apparently fit the bill so I ordered one to try it out.

212656684_ScreenShot2021-11-25at17_51_29.png.a955fcefc173d464dac6899774d74725.png

EDIT >>

Happy to report that it worked in ProRes and RAW without any dropped frames on both cameras, including the 3:1 RAW at 60fps on the Micro.

Happy to report that it worked in ProRes and RAW without any dropped frames on both cameras in standard frame rates, but begins dropping frames at the 3:1 RAW at 60fps on the Micro but is OK at 50fps.

<< EDIT 

They are reasonably priced (sub €40 for the 256GB) and readily available from Amazon in different sizes up to 512GB.

https://www.amazon.es/Kingston-Canvas-Select-Plus-SD/dp/B07YGYCR3V

IMPORTANT > Please see @bjohn post following this one regarding long term reliability.

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17 hours ago, BTM_Pix said:

Happy to report that it worked in ProRes and RAW without any dropped frames on both cameras, including the 3:1 RAW at 60fps on the Micro.

That's interesting: I had this same model but the 128 gb version, and it wouldn't record anything above 30fps without dropped frames after a few minutes of shooting. The card also died completely a little more than a year after I bought it. I wonder if these 256gb ones have different specs and are better made?

I ended up buying a couple of the Angelbird ones that were tested for BMPCC and BMMCC and those have been flawless, but they are much more expensive than the Kingstons.

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Confirming @bjohn experience with the Kingston Canvas Select SD card, further testing showed dropped frames at 60fps 3:1 RAW after a few minutes on the Micro.

50fps didn't suffer from the same problems though so if that is the limit of your requirements frame rate wise with the Micro (it is for me) or, obviously, if you only want to use it with the Pocket then it is still an option.

Although, again deferring to @bjohn longer term experience regarding reliability, then its still cautionary.

I've edited the original post accordingly.

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2 hours ago, BTM_Pix said:

longer term experience regarding reliability

Keeping in mind that I was reporting a sample size of one! It's possible that I got a bad card, but all of my other SD cards (I have lots, mostly SanDisk but also a couple of the Angelbird 128 gig cards that were tested for BMPCC) have worked flawlessly; some of my SanDisk cards are going on six years of use now and have been reformatted dozens of times each. The Kingstons are a great deal for the price and I hope it works out for you in terms of reliability.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Bmmcc was introduced in spring 2015 and actual availability was in 2016. Was sure crevice had a typo there.:) Anyway, this thread is a highly recommended read for anyone starting with their bmmcc journey. Just got myself a Zeiss Tevidon 18-90 f2 lens for it. But that beauty will take longer to find the right adapter(s) for.

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Yes, I had 2016 as the start date for this camera. I'm digging in and sticking with my two BMMCCs (plus an original Pocket). After years of hunting and a few near successes, I finally got a near-mint 1970s Angénieux 17.5-70 zoom complete with PL to MFT adapter and step-up ring for my filters and can't wait to start using it. The few indoor tests I've done so far look very promising; it is parfocal but the focus breathing is extreme, more than on any other lens I've used. Not the end of the world, as the rendering and bokeh are worth it.

Another lens that really looks amazing with this camera is the Zeiss "Classic" 35/1.4 Distagon T; I have the Nikon-mount ZF.2 version but the Contax-Yashica would be excellent too and apparently has a bit more microcontrast. I'm using mine with a Metabones Speedbooster for the BMD Super 16 cameras; this Zeiss is the closest thing I've seen to the old Zeiss Superspeed look (minus the triangular OOF highlights of course) but much more affordable.

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