Blackmagic Cinema Camera is your answer to 'filmic'

by planetmatt19 Comments

Let me spare you soft mushy detail, muddy color, compression artifacts and aliasing/moire that our beloved DSLR manufacturers still push our way. Watch this beautiful piece done by Jon Carr who works with Vincent Laforet.


A Week With The Blackmagic Cinema Camera (1080P)

If you fail to notice the sharpness, detail, smooth highlight roll off, immaculate color and proper motion – I suppose there is not much I can do for you. But I'm guessing you will see why the Blackmagic Cinema Camera is simply killer at image quality, color rendition and detail. Not to mention the nice wide angles that can be achieved from an 18mm Zeiss Distagon f3.5 ZE.

More of Jon's workflow with Adobe After Effects and Davinci Resolve can be found on his write up review. If you want to shoot RAW (you want to!) and edit in an NLE, you will need to conform your footage. This is simple with Davinci Resolve: just export proxies with a light grade and ingest into your NLE. Then link the EDL back to Resolve when you are finished editing and conform to your RAW files within Resolve.

Grade.

Then export from Resolve to your desired medium.

Now, read if you dare, but I need to get a little technical on you here. You will need some CUDA empowered GPU's for proper performance. On my Hackintosh, a Nvidia GTX 285 is my workhorse but I recently purchased a GTX 480 for cheap ($199 currently). Using both of these cards with my OC'd 6 core (24GB OC'd RAM) will smoke any current Mac Pro without decent CUDA GPU's. If you want a fairly cheap Nvidia card in current production, I also recommend the GTX 570. It is *almost* as fast as a GTX 480 but uses less power. I like that the GTX 480 has more RAM.

The GTX 580 is the top dog for CUDA processing and you may as well buy the 3GB version (linked), but this card has increased in price due to demand. As you can see, you can buy TWO GTX 480's for the price of one GTX 580 3GB model.

The Nvidia 6XX series are wonderfully powerful at playing the latest games, but even with TWICE the CUDA cores, they still are not faster than a GTX 580 at processing computations (which Davinci Resolve needs as well as Adobe Premiere and After Effects).

Now, those links I linked to are great if you have a PC that can handle those power hungry cards or a Hackintosh. If you have a Mac Pro however, you will need to flash those cards or buy from ebay Mac Video Cards – this guy is great and writes a lot on Davinci forums, video forums and knows what you need to grade properly. For me, I have been more than happy I made the scary but good choice to build my own Hackintosh in 2011.

There is no reason that RAW 2.5k from your Blackmagic should be a hog – with some cheap solutions from Nvidia and fast hard drives, you will be good to go!

Another news worthy piece of info is that shortly after Philip Bloom's review of the Blackmagic Cinema Camera, Blackmagic took heed and officially is releasing a Micro Four Thirds Mount (MFT) version that should be shipping in December. This is passive (no electronic control) but is perfectly fine with manual lenses. You can have PL, M, Nikon, Canon and C mount options now. This opens the door to some amazing lens choices such as the Voigtlanders!

What really impresses me however, is that Blackmagic is listening. They are eager to work on this exciting product, hear our reviews and revise as needed. As Philip points out in his video review below, there are some needed areas of improvement with the firmware. But I am confident that Blackmagic is on it! They have proven that image quality and bringing professional RAW workflow to the indie market is possible today. No other offerings are around doing this.

This is an exciting time to be a filmmaker.

Now please note with Mr. Bloom – he points out a lot of issues that need to be addressed, but they are firmware issues. Remember how the 5dmkII didn't even allow us to shoot video in manual mode? The ability to see audio levels, f stops, erase/format the SSD are going to be addressed – especially since Blackmagic already addressed the mount issue.

(cover photo credit: snap from the video)


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Comments

  1. Dan McComb

    My only fear about the BMC is that it won’t be available for many months. If it were shipping today, I’d be shooting with it already! Can’t wait to get my hands on this camera.

  2. Adam

    What will the conform process be like for those of us working off laptops? (MacBook Pros with 8-16gb of RAM)

    In your opinion, will a modified CPU be required for “proper performance” within the BMCC 2.5K RAW workflow?

    Thanks!

  3. Carlos

    Absolutely fantastic. The only shot I clearly saw noise on was at 1:08, I don´t know if the shadows were pushed too far on post. But nevertheless this clip sold me on getting one!

    1. Jon Carr

      I did push that one pretty far. The nice thing about the noise, is that it has a pleasing quality about it. Some would call it film like.

  4. Ced

    Im scared that I won’t like it….I hate shooting on a Canon crop sensor so it’ll be difficult….50mm = 100mm <—- thats scary

  5. craig

    Can FCPx handle the RAW footage from the Blackmagic camera?
    what would the workflow be if I chose to use FCP x ?

    Looks great.

    1. Author
      planetMatt

      At this moment, no NLE is going to ingest 12 bit RAW 2.5 k natively. Even in PPro 6, the plug in converts it to 8 bit. The best mentality is to think of DNG as what the acronym stands for: digital negative.

      When scanning film how do you ingest it to NLE’s? You take low res. proxies edit, then conform back to the original or high res. color graded stock via edl.

      Now, just use Resolve to render quick proxies and relink back to your original footage later.

      Other workflows include CIneform, importing into Adobe AE or simply rendering ProRes from Resolve and then editing natively with the ProRes. For me, I bought the camera for RAW and 2.5 k but certainly ProRes or other options are great when needing fast turn arounds.

        1. Author
          planetMatt

          Do you mind clarifying what you mean? I have no way to really understand your comment. Working with Arri or RED requires workflow like this.

  6. amband

    looks like video with dark shiny glass.

    Now hear this! If you want a film look, use film

  7. Alex Bee

    It’s the first video shot on a sub $3500 camera that I can watch in full screen without cringing. And that’s impressive.

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