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Doesn't Seem Like You Need a "Cinema" Camera to Get "Cinematic" Quality Anymore


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I have been looking at a lot of sample footage online lately trying to get an idea of the gains in video quality by going up the ladder in terms of cameras and video codecs.   I was especially looking at Nikon Z6 and Z7 out of camera, graded flat, graded N-log, and graded ProRes Raw.  I started seeing out of camera material that actually looked better than some of the higher bitrate graded material.  Then I started comparing footage to Blackmagic PCC4K and 6K.  I remember a time when Blackmagic camera material was night and day more cinematic that anything a DSLR could produce, even when viewing highly compressed online material.  With today's cameras, it looks like the gap has closed so much, that unless the cinema camera grading is stellar, the end result doesn't necessarily look better than well shot, properly exposed mirrorless camera material.  In fact, in some cases I preferred the mirrorless camera material.

Let me know what your thoughts are.

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i think it comes down to personal preferences. Perhaps what you have used before or what you currently use. Presumably cameras have gotten closer to being cinematic. But that cinematic look is very subjective and varies between users. I also think it depends on the influencers you follow and i think that might be more of an unconscious influence than people can admit. Certainly the original pocket almost had (dare i say it ) a cult like following. I jumped ship from a canon (which i never took a video with )  with no preconceptions other than i liked the early vids from bm and others who had early cameras, also the price was fairly affordable for me, i ended up preordering the pk4 and have been pretty happy with it. Technically 4k is overrated in this country, only three commercial stations have hd everything else is 575i or whatever it is. The tv stations could use a kick up the ass for dragging their feet as lots of people bought hd or 4k tv's that cant really be appreciated for what they were purchased for. Aside from those few percent of users that have hd/4k cinema cameras. But maybe thats just me.

edit : i should add that there are probably plenty of good cinema camera choices out there, whatever a person ends up with. It shouldn't really be about the camera rather the result. My results are still pretty ordinary 😁  Do realize there are some shallow people about sadly

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@Michael1 I agree.

I see three factors in play:

The first is that cameras bitrates and DR and processing has improved to the point that 4K h264/h265 isn't that much worse (on well lit material) than 1080 RAW, especially if the compressed codec is 10-bit or more.

The second is that the in-camera profiles are the result of a huge investment in Colour Science and processing by very skilled technicians, much more skilled than most colourists.

The third is when using in-camera profiles the compression is applied after the adjustments have been made rather than before it.  This matters because most compression schemes are optimised for hiding the data loss in areas of the image we don't look at much or are less important, however if we record in a flat profile then it might be that when we process the flat gamma curve that we're pulling parts of the image from where the compression was a bit more severe into the parts of the resulting rec709 image that we're more sensitive to.

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