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2K BlackMagic Pocket Cinema Camera, active m43, $995
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  • @HenryO Sorry, but IMHO no camera is really neutral, they all have their 'look'. Canon for example tends to over-saturate reds, and Sony has a bad separation between different shades of strong reds.

    Alexa has beautiful skin tones, but lacks some differentiation in the blue to cyan range instead.

    It is very difficult to translate RGB filtering into human tri-stimulus perception and there are always some decisions by taste involved. But since RAW grades very well, you can always work into another direction.

  • @HenryO

    I agree with you. I saw the blue-brown haze/grit from day one with the Blackmagic camera. I don't like it, either. Over at Blackmagic Camera Users, Kholi has been working on a LUT to overcome it. I don't believe he's released it yet, though.

  • I for one think that this footage looks great, though we've only seen Vimeo compressions. Still haven't spotted any signs of moire, the rolling shutter seems to be less than expected, and the low light is better than I had feared. I haven't noticed the blue-brown but I'll go back and look for it.

  • Well, that video pretty much seals the deal for me. Not that I was really going back and forth on this camera but damn, really nice looking stuff and the Pany 12-35 looks damn great on it too!!

  • @Nomad. I understand that really I do. But perhaps I should expand in a totally subjective way - just my observation and opinion. Now this is all subtle stuff by the way not massive that most consumers would care about I am sure if they saw your flick. Anyhow, it seems to get a purish white, clean greens, clear cyan blues is the domain of other cameras not Blackmagic. That is why the others are sometimes criticised for being too clean. The Newly released F55 shows this off so well. The sensors are almost noiseless - in fact the F3 started off the really clean trend. Yes they are Sony colours but with S-Log you can see that one, the image is very neutral and two there is so much more colour in there and you can move it in various directions without everything leaning towards a hue. Even 8 bit F3 footage still capture so many hues and colours. Basically looks like high quality DSLR footage but moving. And although the other cameras have a punchy look in other colours they still have the ability to be flatish in the cine/s-log modes. The Blackmagic cameras are RAW and you would think that means they had tonnes of colour that could be massaged in a similar way and although having a nice falt film like quality they have a hazy, gritty, noisy blue browny image N.B at a low level on everything. I have played with source RAW CDNG files in Cineform Firstlight and I can make other footage translate into other colours so much easier. There is detail in there, but the colour seems a little hard to make look like a candy pop video ala Katy Perry. Filmic drama - perfect; clean and colourfully vibrant - not so much. Yes other cameras saturate in certain ranges but there is an overall leaning to blue brown with Blackmagic footage. Some say that makes it look more filmic and I agree. But I was asking whether it can be overcome because I have only seen about two videos from that cam that look cleanish and I wonder what they did right. Perhaps it is a colour grading thing. I have downloaded Kholi's RAW footage ( the jeans short

    ) and with the indoor scenes I struggled to pull colour out of them. Getting a good white balance is the most important thing with this camera and perhaps that is part of the problem. I have watched every single BMCC released on Vimeo religiously. At first you don't see it but after about a hundred videos you get to see the leaning on everything. Sometimes I have been fooled by 5D footage looking like a RED, or F3 looking like Alexa until I look at the tags. But I have never thought a BMCC was something else. I can see it quite easily now. Perhaps everyone grades in Davinci and makes similar lut choices. There was the hoover AD with the tiger and that matched very well with ALexa so perhaps it is post issues. Perhaps it is a lighting thing. Perhaps it's a noisy sensor thing. Don't know for sure but I know I would rather have a cleaner image. Perhaps its an aliasing thing or moire related thing. Is it a deal breaker - gosh no - I pre-ordered the day it was announced at NAB and I am so stoked that this quality is filtering down. Just curious if anyone else had seen it hence the question

  • Yes i have noticed the blue / orangey tint to a lot of the footage. It reminds me of the Cinema picture style for Canon cameras, which is a deliberate creative choice, or even the two-strip film look.

    It appears pleasing to me, but of course I hope it's not a baked in characteristic of the sensor.

  • Thanks for the post @ntsan. There's some really interesting looking footage there.

    I noticed @1:14 in the fast movements of the basketball game some motion blur weirdness and was hoping @ntsan, you could comment: There seems to be some triple imaging going on in each frame. Do the frames out of the camera look like this too? Could you post some?

    Here's what I am talking about. Watch the ball, as he accelerates the ball it becomes a triple image. This gives moments of weirdness when played back. Is it like this out of the camera, from your NLE settings or Vimeo?

    1 Screen Shot 2013-07-20 at 3.12.16 PM.png
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    2 Screen Shot 2013-07-20 at 3.12.20 PM.png
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    3 Screen Shot 2013-07-20 at 3.12.23 PM.png
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    4 Screen Shot 2013-07-20 at 3.12.27 PM.png
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  • I noticed some weird motion stuff too but was praying it was just Vimeo.

  • That motion artifact is most likely due to incorrect settings in the NLE. I can duplicate that in Sony Vegas when I forget to check a certain setting. just messed me up. Now that you mention it...I do see what you mean.

  • Sure, it's there. Even a Red is not as good in colors as an Alexa. Insiders tell me that Red is using industrial sensor (up to now, the Dragon is supposed to be made for them from scratch). I'm quite sure BM is doing the same.

    So, at this price tag we can't expect the colors to be perfect. But to me it has a certain look that reminds me of old Agfa film…

  • Okay for those who are interested.... I have made some 3DLuts for this annoying blue brown thing. This bothered me into action. I have just discovered that it is mostly in the grade guys. I think a lot of folk are just tied into the Davinci Resolve way of doing things and perhaps don't dig deeper into the program and all it has to offer. Anyway - fired up my trusty Iridas Speedgrade and had a play with the latest video and some old ones and was able to mitigate the browny blue colour somewhat even on the mp4 transcoded to Cineform. Furthermore there is definitely deeper colour that is masked by the brown blue thing. The luts I have made are 64 X 64 X 64 look files. You can use these in the latest versions of Photoshop and After effects as well I think. But for me I use them with Cineform Firstlight. To install, just double click on them if you have one of the Cineform versions installed - There is a lean towards a cooler greener image so use the white balance sliders to get your picture back to neutral. They do need a touch of saturation and contrast perhaps. The sweet preset has some Alexa magic in it - may get some reds go pink but hey - kinda cute. White balance, contrast and saturation may be the only sliders you need and the HI power one could invoke the lift slider, just drop it until you are happy. Nothings perfect but they certainly punch a lot cleaner now.

  • for the price... this is bloody sexy.

  • @HenryO Thanks for looking into it. I saw one video of the BMPCC that didn't have that cast so I was thinking it might be the grade. Just auto shit people are doing in Davinci, so to speak.

    Can you post some before and after stills of footage or even stills from the normal grade we have been seeing compared to what you did?

  • I noticed @1:14 in the fast movements of the basketball game some motion blur weirdness and was hoping @ntsan, you could comment: There seems to be some triple imaging going on in each frame.

    It's flicker from the lighting.

  • @HenryO

    Some clarification: white balanced RAW isn't that important, and at least by my testing it hasn't shown to be any different no matter where you start or where you end up. What IS important is balancing the entire Blackmagic Camera image FIRST, which has nuances just like every other camera.

    Until you're working with the camera directly in various situations, it's hard to pinpoint what that overall "blue-grey" look is. Like Ralph said, I've spent the last two weeks working on a LUT to rip it out.

    I've actually regraded that entire short because I thought the "color work" (if you wanna call it that) was ugly to begin with, but that was also the very first thing I had ever shot on the camera, and there was a lot to learn:

    1. IR ND at all times.
    2. Under and Overexposure, how does it affect the image.
    3. ISO 200, 400/800, and 1600 are not the same (yes in RAW)
    4. What are BV1's nuances and how do we escape them from the start, if they are not to taste. (For instance, that green lean thing? That's not a CIneform thing, that's a Blackmagic thing overall)
    5. How does chroma noise in the image affect color depth, and how does removing it change that?
    6. Moire, it's everywhere, how does this affect color, appearance of sharpness, etc.
    7. What do we do about internal flare?

    There's a ton, a lot of us are still figuring this stuff out and I think we're just about to hit the turning point. Especially now that Mosaic has responded to the community RE: moire/OLPF, and as Blackmagic makes advancements through trial and error.


    It's not "autoshit" I'd say, Resolve is one complicated portion of the puzzle, another is actually learning the camera -- many of you will go through less of a learning curve because guys like Captain Hook, Frank, and a few others have done the work up front with BV1, and lastly the Resolve Operator.

    The camera has a unique sort of look, especially when you use glass non-specific to the format i.e. Canon Lenses, Nikon, Zeiss primes. These lenses flare the sensor often, which also creates a sort of "washed out blue" lower-mid-to-blacks look. However, Zeiss Primes tend to look the best to my eyes, and then PL glass.

    It's also people adding "blue" to shadows, because they're attracted to that look after seeing it so much. They've also been told by other blogger-colorists that blue in the shadows seems more cinematic. I'm not disagreeing or agreeing, just offering some thoughts. Sometimes it's overdone, yet it's very difficult to know when because a lot of us aren't working with professionally calibrated monitors. The lack of control panels for Resolve ALSO makes things really difficult.

    I can't adjust my primaries simultaneously with a mouse. =T

    As we learn more, it gets better, a lot of us are really putting in work to figure it out, though.

    None of us are claiming to be experts, though, and we're just trying to figure it out to help the community.

    Hope that opens the conversation a bit more. xD

  • People making too much of a big deal about the issues of the cameras. Some of the best footage has been people not even using filters handheld striaght out of the box. And the actual best stuff ive seen was with a non IR .9 ND. People always looking for an excuse for their lack of filmaking/visual talent and want to obsess over pixels. I thought these cameras would change that, I guess not.

  • For all those thinking that raw will make their image better, I hope they go and look at people that have had raw imagery for nearly a decade and see how good.... sorry how ugly it is. Just go and look at photography website, you won't see more that 10% that is any good.

    So for those that think shooting raw will make a big difference to their footage; that it will be Hollywood imagery at a push of a button, then good luck to you. For the more sensible one, you should take your time and money to go and learn a basics of the craft.

  • @danyyyel I've not seen a single example of that in here. Folks want RAW because they've been trying to paint Rembrandt with a toilet brush (8-bit, 6-7 stops).

    Look at someone like @shian who is pretty much a master with said toilet brushes and also wonderfully transparent with how he achieves his results. Have you seen the hoops he jumps through to keep everything under 6:1?

    Now RAW certainly won't turn someone into a master craftsman, but for those that know what they are doing, they'll be able to concentrate on creating great images, not controlling the limitations of the toilet brush.

  • Any ideas so far about an electronic viewfinder? Any accessory came up?

  • @Kholi thanks for your input. I know you have had a lot of experience with the cam. Perhaps I need to clarify that when I said white balance I meant in post not at capture as I do understand that white balance is a none issue with raw. Even in cineform's grading suite proper white balance was able to mitigate it somewhat so I agree that it is the whole image affected. Anyway await your hints and tips in the future.....and your lut

    @vicharris Examples coming soon

  • @CFreak, it wasn't ntsan who made this, it was this guy: (another Aucklander like myself, NZ represent! :-P )

  • Side note on white balance - one of the most critical things when you have the ability to shoot raw - there is no tint adjustment in camera, hence a "lean" towards green when shooting prores, and even raw if you don't adjust the WB tint in your suite... Of course this gets baked into the prores, even when shooting Log as a bias. Not a complaint, just an observation, but it would be great to have granular adjustment of WB and Tint.

  • If you select "as shot" in the DNG settings, it should show you the meta for the tint as BMD sees it for each white balance setting. I'm likely looking at it wrong, but it always shows exactly what the tint is for that setting.

    If you select a white balance setting in resolve, it's BMD's CDNG white balance, which may or may not have a tint. But, they aren't the same as the camera white balance.

    The IR glass over the sensor leans green, I've never actually asked if this is the reason why a lot of the footage from BV1 is balanced green from the start, though.

  • Right, what I am saying is that the camera does not let you set tint in-Cam.

    Even though it's metadata when shooting raw, it's not when shooting prores, and there is no adjustment of that tint in camera when shooting.

    That tint makes a big difference.