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Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera: does it make sense to buy it now?

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Thank you all.

After a couple of days testing it I'm really impressed by the final quality of the files.
Unfortunately the workflow is (at least for me) not ideal as the GH4's one.

I can live without 60p (even if I hope in a future firmware update), but I find very hard to work with that display and I don't like the way I have to search ISO, shutter angle, WB etc... in a sub-menu.

If you all have some advices for simplifying the Pocket's workflow it would be great! :)
And if you have some tips to match the GH4 slow motion files with the ProRes 422HQ you are more then welcome! ;)

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Thank you all.

After a couple of days testing it I'm really impressed by the final quality of the files.
Unfortunately the workflow is (at least for me) not ideal as the GH4's one.

I can live without 60p (even if I hope in a future firmware update), but I find very hard to work with that display and I don't like the way I have to search ISO, shutter angle, WB etc... in a sub-menu.

If you all have some advices for simplifying the Pocket's workflow it would be great! :)
And if you have some tips to match the GH4 slow motion files with the ProRes 422HQ you are more then welcome! ;)

How often do you change the shutter angle, ISO and wb? I get the inconvenience of sub menus... My main camera right now is an EOS-M, everything is touchscreen menu selection and my NEX has horrible menu controls... ironically my Pentax Q7 is the best with buttons on the camera body, but I rarely find the need to change too many of those options anyway. 

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Of course the lcd is a major issue and you aren't the first person I have heard who have had issue with it. Like I said, I don't have one... So is the issue it is just too dark in general or due to the angle you hold the camera makes the screen too dark?

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If you all have some advices for simplifying the Pocket's workflow it would be great! :)

​> use only ProRes-flavors

> use only Menu >Recording >Dynamic Range >Film

> use only Menu >Display >Dynamic Range >Video

> use exclusively ISO 800, no matter what

> use 180° degree shutter in standard situations (for 24p with 60 Hz power frequency, for PAL countries then 172,5°)

> use bigger shutter angles in lowlight for slow moving motifs, up to 360° (doubles exposure w/o more noise or worse DR through ISO 1600)

> use smaller shutter angles for slomos (down to 11,25°). Twixtor and the like don't handle motion blur well

> roughly guess the right color temperature, i.e. 3200 for Tungsten, 5600 for daylight. You have to grade anyway

> buy the Zacuto loupe if you want to see anything

> buy a camera grip with remote, like this, not a big cage, rods, mattebox and these gadgets

> if you need s.th. like an external monitor, beware! Not all will show an image. Lilliput has a compatibility table (1080p through HDMI)

> during recording, leave focus peaking on always (since latest FW update, it stays on after power off-on)

> rely on 95% zebra ("ETTR"). It gives better results than trying to get a wide range in the histogram, in my experience

> if there is no zebra, it means you don't 'fill the well' because the location is lit too poorly. This ain't the A7s!

> therefore: search the sun! or light the scene! High contrasts, backlight: that's where the Pocket's DR shines

> use an IR-cut filter

> use externally recorded audio (built-in audio only to sychronize it). Or this (resp. it's successor)

> use an app that allows to load LUTs (i.e. the free Resolve lite). Try Captain Hooks LUTs, here (download), from this site (starting point for your grade)

> don't grade too flat. One gets used to flat looking images very quickly. But others don't.

> To quote Stu Maschwitz: plan your shoot, then shoot your plan! Follow the suggestions above, then make a small doc, no cats, no flowers, no landscapes

 

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> use externally recorded audio (built-in audio only to sychronize it). Or this (resp. it's successor)

The successor would be this (139 €). In the image you also see a good way to operate this camera handheld. 

With a heavier lens and the speedbooster, it's better to move the grip to the side, horizontally. My DIY solution:

Remote.jpg

Pocket-Griff2.jpg

Had there been the Lanparte-Remote then, I would've used this. Mine isn't that elegant. But it was ~$ 15 ...

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Of course the lcd is a major issue and you aren't the first person I have heard who have had issue with it. Like I said, I don't have one... So is the issue it is just too dark in general or due to the angle you hold the camera makes the screen too dark?

​It's way dark in general. At least, a lot more then the one on the Panasonic G6 or GH4. 

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How often do you change the shutter angle, ISO and wb? I get the inconvenience of sub menus... My main camera right now is an EOS-M, everything is touchscreen menu selection and my NEX has horrible menu controls... ironically my Pentax Q7 is the best with buttons on the camera body, but I rarely find the need to change too many of those options anyway. 

​Not often after I see what is best for the scene. If I shoot in natural light I can bet the K, but if I'm wrong I have to enter again in the menu. Nothing super bad, just annoying. 
With GH4 I can see the differences while changing ISO, shutter angles and WB.
Of course is something acceptable for the great images it gives back :)

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​> use only ProRes-flavors

> use only Menu >Recording >Dynamic Range >Film

> use only Menu >Display >Dynamic Range >Video

> use exclusively ISO 800, no matter what

> use 180° degree shutter in standard situations (for 24p with 60 Hz power frequency, for PAL countries then 172,5°)

> use bigger shutter angles in lowlight for slow moving motifs, up to 360° (doubles exposure w/o more noise or worse DR through ISO 1600)

> use smaller shutter angles for slomos (down to 11,25°). Twixtor and the like don't handle motion blur well

> roughly guess the right color temperature, i.e. 3200 for Tungsten, 5600 for daylight. You have to grade anyway

> buy the Zacuto loupe if you want to see anything

> buy a camera grip with remote, like this, not a big cage, rods, mattebox and these gadgets

> if you need s.th. like an external monitor, beware! Not all will show an image. Lilliput has a compatibility table (1080p through HDMI)

> during recording, leave focus peaking on always (since latest FW update, it stays on after power off-on)

> rely on 95% zebra ("ETTR"). It gives better results than trying to get a wide range in the histogram, in my experience

> if there is no zebra, it means you don't 'fill the well' because the location is lit too poorly. This ain't the A7s!

> therefore: search the sun! or light the scene! High contrasts, backlight: that's where the Pocket's DR shines

> use an IR-cut filter

> use externally recorded audio (built-in audio only to sychronize it). Or this (resp. it's successor)

> use an app that allows to load LUTs (i.e. the free Resolve lite). Try Captain Hooks LUTs, here (download), from this site (starting point for your grade)

> don't grade too flat. One gets used to flat looking images very quickly. But others don't.

> To quote Stu Maschwitz: plan your shoot, then shoot your plan! Follow the suggestions above, then make a small doc, no cats, no flowers, no landscapes

 

​WOW! 

Vielen Dank, Axel!
Or, as we say in Tuscany: GRAZIE MILLE! ;)

Really really appreciated! 
 

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​Is the 14 wide and good enough for normal work? 
Unfortunately I can't buy the Pocket online, because I want to give back the 12mm Olympus and the G6 (or a big Manfrotto tripod) to the shop.

Is the aliasing and moire very strong on the Pocket?

Thank you! :)

​Sorry for the late reply! It's coming in tomorrow I think. When I get it I can tell you the answer. I think 14mm x 2.88 crop factor will be around 40mm which is wide but not ultra wide. 

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​Not often after I see what is best for the scene. If I shoot in natural light I can bet the K, but if I'm wrong I have to enter again in the menu. Nothing super bad, just annoying. With GH4 I can see the differences while changing ISO, shutter angles and WB.
Of course is something acceptable for the great images it gives back :)

I gotcha, yeah that must be annoying not to be able to see the changes on the screen as your changing it... Didn't think of that.

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​It's way dark in general. At least, a lot more then the one on the Panasonic G6 or GH4. 

I guess you need a loupe. I think there are some inexpensive ones on eBay... like that cowboystudio loupe. It gets pretty good reviews for a low budget accessory. 

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​I wouldn't use RAW on the Pocket, very bad moire and aliasing..... Compressed modes is much better for this simple fact. Unfortunately though Blackmagic Pocket Camera cannot be used due to lack of higher frame rates. Sony A7s is a much better overall camera imo with very impressive dynamic range (12) and insane low light/high iso capabilities.

 

URSA MINI looks very good though, the main problem I still see though is max 1600 iso. They need to seriously get that up to 3200 iso, if I can get 3200 iso then I feel it would be perfect. 

​oh common now we said same think abut every camera that come out since ever.

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You can go blue in the face looking for perfect camera there is no such thing I bought Red one MX 4.5k pro camera with all the trimmings and sold it why? because its big and takes shit load of post work to get it nice. I bought Pocket camera with metaboone and i love it is it perfect camera it is for me. Can you shoot nice videos films or music videos? sure you can

 

This short shoot all  on BMPCC really good work

 

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You can go blue in the face looking for perfect camera there is no such thing I bought Red one MX 4.5k pro camera with all the trimmings and sold it why? because its big and takes shit load of post work to get it nice. I bought Pocket camera with metaboone and i love it is it perfect camera it is for me. Can you shoot nice videos films or music videos? sure you can

 

This short shoot all  on BMPCC really good work

 

​That's the point, Enny! 

Great!! Thank you! 

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​Sorry for the late reply! It's coming in tomorrow I think. When I get it I can tell you the answer. I think 14mm x 2.88 crop factor will be around 40mm which is wide but not ultra wide. 

​Thank you Escapist! :) 
If you have other kind of lenses (like Canon FD, Zeiss M42 etc...) I'm curious if it's simple to match them :)

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This short shoot all  on BMPCC really good work​

Indeed. Reminds me of Terrence Malick.

In german/french public broadcaster ARTE there was a series of five docs called Schätze Südostasiens (Treasures Of South-East-Asia). 

 

It was shot with two cameras: All copter shots were GoPro Hero 4 on Phantom, everything else was BMPCC. They accepted the GoPro shots (though, being 8-bit, they didn't meet the technical requirements). 

1279-bus-artedoku_bus.jpg

For my taste, they should have boosted the colors more. Also, I think you agree, the GoPro stuff looks sharper.

Like in the TV doc Life! (about people from Morocco, who are torn between a better life in Europe and their friends in their beautiful country) - shot completely on BMPCC with speedbooster. 

 

I personally like the Pocket because it's about as cumbersome as my old analog Bolex, and the images can be great. It's way easier with other cams (I own some), and at first sight they seem to be 'better'. But there always had been some images impossible to achieve with any DSLR (with the exception of EOS with ML Raw, but THAT'S cumbersome!), and I'm just trying to make every shot that special.

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Indeed. Reminds me of Terrence Malick.

In german/french public broadcaster ARTE there was a series of five docs called Schätze Südostasiens (Treasures Of South-East-Asia). 

 

It was shot with two cameras: All copter shots were GoPro Hero 4 on Phantom, everything else was BMPCC. They accepted the GoPro shots (though, being 8-bit, they didn't meet the technical requirements). 

1279-bus-artedoku_bus.jpg

For my taste, they should have boosted the colors more. Also, I think you agree, the GoPro stuff looks sharper.

Like in the TV doc Life! (about people from Morocco, who are torn between a better life in Europe and their friends in their beautiful country) - shot completely on BMPCC with speedbooster. 

 

I personally like the Pocket because it's about as cumbersome as my old analog Bolex, and the images can be great. It's way easier with other cams (I own some), and at first sight they seem to be 'better'. But there always had been some images impossible to achieve with any DSLR (with the exception of EOS with ML Raw, but THAT'S cumbersome!), and I'm just trying to make every shot that special.

​Yes, in this two days I tested the Pocket I started to questioning my normal workflow and I started to look at this little camera like a "teacher": I have to plan more before shooting and to be more pragmatic in the exact moment I have to shoot. That's good, because limitations always push me to better results and to be more creative.

Of course the Pocket is something I have to get used to, but I'll start using for some personal projects, then I'll try to use it for the works I normally use GH4.

Thank you very much Alex (and all you guys!) :)

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hey guys, do you think BM will release a new ver of the BMPCC or BMCC any time sooner? i found the 2 new models too much into studio shooting which is not what a enthusiast consumer wants. I am just waiting for a new ver of one of these and i am wondering how much do i have to wait:) cheers.

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