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Matias Goinheix

4k frenzy and BMPCC

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Hello,

 

This year started with some new 4k consumer cameras releases and 4k projectors, TVs etc. I'm not an expert, but it seems that this 4k thing is not close to become the standard yet. It took years to get 1080p RAW and once that it hit the market, they released the 4k, but it seems rushed.

 

Now, I'm writing a script for a feature, which I'd like to shoot with my own gear. For that I am planning on buying a BMPCC+speedbooster. That is a major upgrade from my T2i.

 

My question is:

Is it a bad investment to get the BMPCC now, or is it wiser to wait and see what the market brings in mid 2014?

 

Thank you

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There's always the risk of feeling buyer's remorse with technology but, realistically, your film won't be any better or worse off no matter the decision you make.  4K isn't something most folks should be concerned about.  It's no guarantee of a better looking film if it was projected in a theater and if it's not being projected in a theater it's pretty much a waste of money and resources and effort that could be used elsewhere.  

 

Most theatrical films are still finished 2K (regardless of origination) unless a director has the juice to force production to pony up for a 4K finish.  You would think that for $100+ million dollar blockbusters this would just be a given, since they're already spending a mint but that isn't the case.  It's still quite rare.  Not as rare as even a year ago but it's not standard practice to finish 4K.

 

Making your own feature, either putting up your own money or getting some from investors, you should save yourself the headache.  Spend the money that might be needed for extra storage or an upgrade to your editorial on something like catering, being able to bump your key talent's per diem a bit or the wrap party (or wrap gifts...I didn't understand the importance of these my first indie).

 

And make sure you even really need to upgrade your camera, considering it's an asset you already own.  $1500 goes a long way on an independent feature.  I admit I never thought much about the T2i but that was before seeing Kendy's stuff...

 

 

 

 

...I'm a GH2 guy and know it's technically a better camera but operator talent (along with the quality of the content) can render technical jibber jabber and megabits rather meaningless.

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I really value your advice, it makes complete sense. You are right about investing the money in what's needed the most. Renting is out of the question, here the prices are too high. I really like what I see about the BMPCC, Andrew's review was very good. I think I will probably get it, but I will wait, priorities will fall into place with time.

Thank you very much for your insights.

Cheers

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Yeah, it looks to be a dynamite little camera and it or the MFT BMCC are my first choice for upgrades for my GH2, even before Metabones introduced the BMD specific SpeedBooster models.  

 

Our last feature was very low budget and I just remember every dollar counting.  Small luxuries made a major impact and if I'd spent the money in the beginning to get me a new camera it would have been felt elsewhere.  We would have been without something, I don't know what, but it wouldn't have just been absorbed.   A few months out before the actual budget was put together that would have been different, and then the new camera would have been included in the list of "existing assets".

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Wow, I can't believe that's a T2i in seeing that Kendy used. That is ready for the big screen. I now realize 4k doesn't matter as long as you light the scenes appropriately and have great talented actors delivering the goods. It took 20 years for almost everyone to afford a computer for their homes. And the key word being "almost". With that being said I know I'm not buying a 4k tv anytime soon and theaters don't benefit from upgrading their screens cause Hollywood keeps all the revenue from the ticket sales because of their greed. The theater only makes money from popcorn and other concession stand items. So I don't see them spending their profit for it and Hollywood damn sure will not buy the screens for the theaters. 2k it will remain for our entire life time. Take a look at my new feature film Trailer I shot on Canon Dslr's

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On the original question I don't think it's a bad investment.

 

Don't fuss over capture resolution, when it comes to making a features i's the least of your worries really.

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there are some good articles over at no film school and especially this one at Redshark

http://www.redsharknews.com/post/item/1710-how-to-make-hd-look-like-4k

 

I love my BMPCC and I can't imagine moving away from it anytime soon. Like you I moved from 550D (euro name) and have never regretted the decision

 

Excellent article.

 

I occupied myself intensively with the correlations of resolution, image size, perceived sharpness and - to introduce the Holy-Grail-term that combines all those parameters - glory, both professionally and personally virtually all my life.

 

There was an ancient german textbook on cinematography, considered The Bible at german filmschools, but I always found it to be unbearably dogmatic (it recommended, for instance, never to use sDoF and always to use 3-point-lighting). But it had a good, an indeed very good chapter on framing, on composing an image, using the french term cadrage.

 

Good framing, according to the book, always results in an image that has great *pithiness*. This was illustrated by putting grids over great, well-known paintings, thereby retracing the way the artists guided the viewer's attention from there to there, creating either harmony or dynamic (or, for that matter, a tension between harmony and disharmony). Furthermore, there was a debate on how detail contributed to pithiness - or on the contrary, confused it. And there was a crucial distinction between texture detail and motif detail.

 

Texture detail will always need sufficient resolution (relative to the image's size) to depict the pattern (grass, skin, fabrics), but it has no postive effect on pithiness (but may interfere with it). Motif detail is not so much about resolution, it is, interestingly, about *time*. 

 

Because to take in important motif detail within a film frame, you need time.

 

Take this painting from Pieter Brueghel the Elder (The Procession to Calvary, 1564):

800px-Pieter_Bruegel_d._%C3%84._007.jpg

(EDIT: Resolution is about size. You can't recognize all the interlocking scenes, because the resolution is 800px)

 

Polish filmmaker Lech Majewski made a feature-lengh film of all the little actions put into this painting (which clearly is meant to be watched for quite a while), The Mill & The Cross:

 

Every single of the awesome GH4 demos we saw so far either have no pithiness of the image (users are tempted to 'show off' meaningless High-Res and shoot the naked chaos) or they are resolution-independant. One could as well say, higher resolutions don't add any information to the image, they just allow to blow it up more. But then again, as the article says, we saw the latest blockbusters, including Godzilla, in meagre 2k (856 x 2046 pixels), and nobody complained.

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It's only been out a few weeks. Give it time. :)

 

As a matter of fact, I believe this '>test' shows that the GH4 is no less capable in the right hands. Chaos of detail? My god! In fact, it is the unbelievable attention to detail in Breughel's canvas that fascinates me, as well as that of so many other painters of the Northern Renaissance, like the geniuses Hubert and Jan van Eyck. 

 

/edit/And I would argue that even the threads visible in the fabric of the garments add to my emotional response to the painting. The eye can roam for days over something like the Ghent Altarpiece, admiring the superhuman effort that went into it, and not for one moment does that detail detract from one's appreciation of this timeless masterpiece of art. And at no time, as I stood transfixed before this sublime work, did I think to myself, 'if only it had less detail'.

 

/edit2/I think it goes back to what what Andrew was saying, talking about Kendy Ty's videos: something to the effect that he was hiding the camera's faults. (sorry, I couldn't find the citation!). And with the GH4, you have the option of choosing just how much detail you want to reveal.

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As a matter of fact, I believe this '>test' shows that the GH4 is no less capable in the right hands. Chaos of detail? My god! In fact, it is the unbelievable attention to detail in Breughel's canvas that fascinates me, as well as that of so many other painters of the Northern Renaissance, like the geniuses Hubert and Jan van Eyck.

 

Nonetheless, the resolution of the famous van Eyck paintings would not surpass 2 MP, probably less. The textured surfaces are resolved well enough to represent the materials, from a supposed viewing distance. This painting has a size of 23 x 32 inches:

561px-Van_Eyck_-_Arnolfini_Portrait.jpg

 

... so you can do the maths and acknowledge that there are no brush hairs fine enough to render i.e. the hairs of the fur.

 

Also, this is a good example of motif detail. Famously, this painting is a tricky self portrait of Jan van Eyck. His reflection can be seen in the round mirror in the background:

VanEyck_TheArnolfiniMarriage,detail.jpg

 

You can see the brush strokes ("pixels") in this enlargement. You usually would see the painting from 3-4 feet distance, but you'd have to come closer to see the reflected scene. 

 

The same is true for another well known painting by Jan Vermeer which he did as a 'spec shot' (without assignment) called The Art of Painting:

644px-Jan_Vermeer_van_Delft_011.jpg

 

The painting is too small (43 x 51 inches) to really depict fine texture detail, but it gives the impression of high resolution. 

 

Note also the framing and lighting (looks natural, but had an incredibly long 'exposure time' - months!).

 

These paintings have high dynamic range, something that doesn't exactly strike you in the GH4-library clip, where the daylight from the windows clips videoishly. They should have put some ND gels on the panes or bounce the room or use an ND grade. At least they should have softened the fall-off by some mist filter. Not the fault of the camera though.

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Thanks for sharing those with us, Axel. The Flemish painters rule! To be honest, the first time I saw 4K TV was only a few weeks ago, and even though the picture was dazzling - I suppose they were clips from Sony's vast library - I had no desire to rush out and buy one. It was not at all the same as when I would upgrade my DVD collection with Blu-ray discs. The law of diminishing returns? Like many, if not most users, I will probably shoot in 4K and downscale the image for a more pristine 1080p. Does there always have to be war between Black Magic and Panasonic users?

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Thanks for sharing those with us, Axel. The Flemish painters rule! To be honest, the first time I saw 4K TV was only a few weeks ago, and even though the picture was dazzling - I suppose they were clips from Sony's vast library - I had no desire to rush out and buy one. It was not at all the same as when I would upgrade my DVD collection with Blu-ray discs. The law of diminishing returns? Like many, if not most users, I will probably shoot in 4K and downscale the image for a more pristine 1080p. Does there always have to be war between Black Magic and Panasonic users?

Jonpais, I own both BM and Panasonic cameras, and like my children, they have their talents and their annoying habits, but I love them just the same;)

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Like many, if not most users, I will probably shoot in 4K and downscale the image for a more pristine 1080p. Does there always have to be war between Black Magic and Panasonic users?

 

Jonpais, I own both BM and Panasonic cameras, and like my children, they have their talents and their annoying habits, but I love them just the same;)

 

As I see it, this thread is not about BM vs. Panasonic. For my part, I have no income with what I do, for the odd wedding I shoot I just ask for a piece of equipment as compensation. I had a GH2 for over two years, it was hyped everywhere, not least at EOSHD, and rightly so, because for me it turned out to be 'THE ONE' (title of a BMPCC short EOSHD-member Frank Glencairn shot when the camera had no RAW yet). My thumbnail still shows the GH2 with my self-built pistol grip.

 

So when I finally decided to jump to BM, I was aware that the comparatively low price of the Pocket was deceiving, and I figured I needed a lot of trial-and-error and frustration tolerance. I just didn't expect how much.

 

I can't allow myself to follow the obsolescence cycles of the industry, making every new camera a one night stand. A daunting example of where this can lead you is my video buddy who at least buys two new cameras a year, always praising their strenghts and soon becoming disappointed by their weaknesses. 

 

Once you have invested time and money and dedicated yourself, it's hard to read, well, you're no longer up to date. You can feel hurt

 

Judging from the clips we saw so far, the GH4 is a winner in almost every respect. Can't get my friend to buy one, because he thinks he can't show up with a Lumix on a professional set, took quite some time to convince him to try 5D M3 with MagicLantern RAW (which proved, btw, that one needs to have the same patience to make it work to ones expectations).

 

4k is about resolution. In this respect, the BMPCC (and also the BMCC) is tricky, to put it mildly a hundredfold. You'd be well advised not to try and show off high resolution but instead to find out the limits. 

 

On the other hand I begin mistrusting the obvious virtues of cameras, be they dynamic range and 'gradability' or high resolution. Have you noticed that almost every BM or ML-RAW clip on the net looks like some aged slide from the sixties? Have you further noticed that the best looking skintones (in the 8-bit version we see on Youtube or Vimeo), after serious CC work match (but rarely surpass) EOS skintones?

 

The sole feature of the GH4 (since it's not a noteworthy better crop factor or nicer colors) right now favors blossoms and bees. We are going to see better images with the GH4 once their owners manage to overcome the obvious virtue.

 

Everyone stay loyal to his camera of choice, in good times and bad times, until it's time to part. 

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Just wanted to chime in:  still using my GH2.  Was itching to upgrade, but I like what I'm getting out of the GH2 + Driftwood Quantum X and I know I'm only touching the surface of what it can do.  Inspired by the Kendy Ty material, I've decided to just shoot everything using one lens (25mm Voigtlander) as a challenge to myself and I think it's working great.  I did find a situation where I wish I had a wider lens last week on a shoot, but I made it work via a little contortionism.  :)  

I'd love a BMPCC and I'd certainly use one if given one, but my money right now would be better spent on a better video editing rig since my current laptop continues to overheat when doing anything intensive.  

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