“Trip to Mexico” – a new Blackmagic Cinema Camera short

by planetMitch12 Comments

“Trip to Mexico” is not only a new Blackmagic Cinema Camera short, but it is one of the Vimeo Staff Picks – so it is getting a lot of attention – so we had to bring it to your attention too.

We'd love to hear your thoughts on this video? Cinematic? Fabulous dynamic range? Does this still look like “video tape” to you?

Trip to Mexico

[tentblogger-vimeo 55887965]

Interesting question and feedback

Here's an interesting Blackmagic Cinema Camera question in the comment section on vimeo:

mike drew 17 hours ago

Hi Andrew, great piece!!
I'm seeing a lot of praise for the black magic camera but I'm curious as to what you think is better about it compared to a dslr?? I know there's more meat in the raw files but its pretty hard to tell on Vimeo. I don't mean this as any kind of criticism, your work is gorgeous. But I've yet to see anything shot on the bmcc that's really blowing me away. I hope you understand what I'm asking. Not trying to troll or anything.

Andrew Julian Plus 11 hours ago

I totally understand your question. First, web video definitely levels the playing field. It can make Red Epic footage look about as good as dslr footage which of course isn't the case. The bmcc is SO much sharper than my 5d mark iii.

Resolution is great, but having such a fat uncompressed raw file is really the key IMO. I don't like to grade dslr footage too much because the image falls about quickly. Dslr footage can look great when you nail the look in camera. With the bmcc the file just has so much latitude and color information. It gives you the ability to complete the look in post. You just have to try grading some files from the camera to really understand, but trust me it's a completely different experience with quality way beyond any dslr I've used. It's similar to jpeg vs raw in stills cameras, only high quality jpeg is a better format than compressed h.264 IMO.

Download the 1080p version to get a better look at the footage.

Vimeo Description

I brought my new Blackmagic Cinema Camera with me on a recent trip with my wife to the Bahia de Banderas area of Mexico. We stayed in Mismaloya, about 20km south of Puerto Vallarta. If I had it my way, the camera would have been glued to my hands for the entire trip, but considering it's not water-proof, I had to leave it at the hotel quite a bit.

We did a day trip north of Puerto Vallarta and explored towns, beaches, and did a small jungle hike. In Valle De Banderas, they were celebrating their town's anniversary, or at least I think that's what a banner said. At any rate there were many people out celebrating.

I love shooting with the BMCC! Little issues aside, it is an amazing camera! I love how it makes me slow down while shooting. Considering I'm getting about 25 minutes of raw footage on each 240gb SSD, and the fact that you can't delete clips or format the drive from the camera, makes me feel as if I'm shooting film. On this trip I had no way of downloading footage or formatting the drives. It felt like having an old slr film camera with me and just a couple rolls of film.

I shot all raw and processed the images in Lightroom. I had thought to take Resolve for a spin, but my main workstation stopped working and Resolve won't run on my laptop. I used a calibrated HP monitor.

I experimented with different color grades and you will see different styles in this film. There's even a single random BW shot in there. Uncompressed raw and 13 stops of dynamic range is a powerful mix. Being able to process the raw images in a variety of programs is freeing, and re-processing old footage with new color correction tools is something I look forward to.

Download the original if you want to see the full quality. Not much else to say really. It's good this camera will be shipping in larger quantities soon. Sorry to use an already over used phrase, but this camera is a game changer and needs to be in more people's hands! I can't wait to see what people shoot with it, and what the other camera manufacturers come up with to compete.

P.S. The reality of owning a camera called the Blackmagic Cinema Camera is at times a bit awkward. I'm finding myself saying things like, “No, I'll use the Black Magic.” which tends to make strangers in the vicinity raise an eyebrow. Oh well. It's a small price to pay.

Music: I Wanna Go by Summer Heart

Gear used:

Blackmagic Cinema Camera
Blackbird Stabilizer
Manfrotto Monopod
Sigma 8-16mm
Canon 24-70mm (no iris control yet, so all wide open at f2.8)
Canon 70-200mm 2.8 IS Mark II
B+W ND Filters

[source: facebook]

(cover photo credit: snap from the video)


chief astronomer at planet5D LLC
Mitch "planetMitch" Aunger is the creator and mastermind behind planet5D.com

He's incredibly happy running planet5D and sharing so much joy of photography and filmmaking with his readers.


  1. I’ve heard that mentioned on the DCP podcast, that it looks like videotape, which I personally don’t understand. When you guys say that, is it because of the sharpness of the picture, because that particular video featured a narrow depth of field? Define looks like video tape.

    1. Author

      Hey Steve! Thanks for listening! It comes from my old age I guess. I come from the days when TV was switching over broadcasting everything from video tape – you could tell the difference as it looked much more vivid and just about everything was in focus all the time. Some people also call it the “soap opera” syndrome – where they used to shoot at 30fps and everything on the screen is in focus. Does that help?

  2. Hey Mitch,

    Does it help, not really! We’re pretty much the same age, and I know what you’re talking about when it comes to watching a Soap opera on TV -vs- a movie on TV that was shot on film…big difference, however, when it comes to this camera, I personally don’t see a video look at all. Not only that but if this was shot at 24p or 30p I couldn’t tell the difference viewing it via the internet and I highly doubt anyone could with any degree of absolute certainty. I’ve said it before and I will say it again, this big senor in a box is the future for those videographers wanting to shoot video exclusively. The BMCC is only the beginning of what’s to come from other companies with a very similar format. It wouldn’t surprise me one bit if GOPRO someday soon enters the arena with a full sized camera for professional use.

    1. Hey Steve! Maybe it doesn’t quite look as obvious as the ‘soap opera’ look, but i wouldn’t call this a ‘big sensor’ – the Blackmagic Cinema Camera is bigger than a Super 16, but smaller than RED, 4/3, super 35 etc. No doubt they’ll probably put bigger sensors in new models, but they’ll also likely cost more. Yes, it is sharp, yes it has dynamic range, but I still haven’t been a total convert. There will be some great uses for this camera, but it isn’t the ‘perfect camera’ (will there ever be?)

  3. Hey Mitch,

    As compared to the sensor in a traditional video camera, yes, it is a big sensor. As compared to a full frame sensor in a DSLR, no it isn’t. I’m not all that sure that a bigger sensor is better, I’m still on the fence on that one. And when I say bigger, I’m talking about MFT to a full frame. Is a full frame sensor that much better than a MFT? Sure better in low light, but over-all is it better? I’m not a total convert of it either, but the fantastic images I see from it are undeniable.

    1. Well, is it ok for me to disagree? I have seen a couple of Blackmagic Cinema Camera vids that I like, but the vast majority have looked like video or HDR photos – which I don’t care for. None of them I would call fantastic.

    2. No bigger sensor is not necessarily better. I think though BMC has CCD, which is a real plus

  4. Well of course it’s okay for you to disagree! It’s all good brother, we all have our opinions and that’s what makes the world go round. Happy Holidays, Mitch, take care!!

  5. the qualities the BMC is reputed to have can’t be appreciated on vimeo/youtube. However it still looks great, but so would many other cameras on vimeo

    I’m sure BMC would be stunning at the cimema.

  6. Hi Mitch. I couldn’t agree more. It absolutely looks like video. I’d even say it looks more like video than video. I was watching this mexico video on Vimeo the other day thinking wow everything is in focus, everything. I’ve had a lot of dedicated video cameras before switching to DSLR but I never had one where so much was in focus.

    I also watched a seminar on Vimeo on the BMCC that ran almost an hour and a half and almost the whole thing was talking about compromises. The one aspect of the camera that was a positive was the raw and they then shot that down after going into detail about 30 min raw per hard drive etc. I thought I could see all the drawbacks of this camera just by going over the specs but having watched that I’m amazed they released it so soon.

    If it didn’t have the word CINEMA in the name half the people out there wouldn’t be interested. I guess they didn’t think BlackMagic Television Camera had the same ring to it ;)

    P.s. Thats a tiny sensor no matter which way you look at it.

  7. They old saying: “it is not the camera but the camera person.” The other thing I can tell you is that like in music when engineers spend 7 hours to place a drumbeat because they know their piers will be listening, in film and video it is the same, the audience will let you know if they have a problem about what you shot. Tell the story.

  8. Interesting comments, and all good ones. It’s truly amazing how the DSLR has changed the video business, I remember not 8 years ago experimenting with our Beta-cam trying to get a shallow depth of field with filtration. It didn’t work all that well, sensor in those cameras are just way to small. Fast forward to today and an MFT is considered small by today’s standards. 8 years ago, you showed someone a MFT sensor and that would be enormous.

Leave a Comment