I know this very particular Pocket Cinema Camera I have in my hands may have some weird internal noise, but when using an external mic it actually sounds pretty darn good. Yesterday I had a few hours to play with the BlackMagic Pocket Cinema Camera, but I decided to try something different.
I had a Rode VideoMic Pro connected to the Pocket Cinema Camera and BOTH Audio & VIDEO were captured from the HDMI output directly to the Atomos Ninja 2. I did not use an SDXC card in the camera. I also only wanted to use Micro Four Thirds lenses instead of adapting larger Canon/Nikon lenses.
(somewhere in this mess is a Pocket Cinema Camera)
First problem, I have no spare batteries for this camera. Any current Pocket Cinema Camera owner will tell you how poor a single battery is. You'll be lucky to get 20 minutes of run time out of it. So I DIY'd my own battery cable to connect to my Tekkeon Battery Pack as an external power source. I was able to run all day and my Tekkeon didn't even take a hit. So that's why I needed rails to mount my battery.
I didn't have enough SD card storage, so I decided to bring out the Atomos. With a 240GB Solid State Drive, I could capture hours of footage. Plus I was curious how capturing from the HDMI would turn out.
It looks ugly I know. Believe me, I never want to use this camera in this configuration, but I am waiting for extra gear to use this camera.
Now that I had all of this extra weight, I added a Top Handle with an LCD Mount. The rig was heavy enough that I needed to bring out a heavier duty tripod. In the future, I simply plan on just stocking up on a dozen batteries so that I don't have to mount a power source to the camera. If I can get enough SDHC / SDXC media cards, then I can get rid of the Atomos Ninja.
Without all the extra junk, I can get rid of the rails, carry a smaller Tripod, and finally make it a truly pocketable Cinema Camera. Moral of this story - get a lot of batteries and SD cards if you want to stay pocketable.
Shooting Parrots with Panasonic 45-150mm
So here's some footage I shot yesterday while making plenty of mistakes. Focusing was difficult on the LCD Screen especially in bright daylight. I tried to rely on the built in Focus Peaking feature (green lines) but I can tell many of the shots were out of focus.
The on screen Zebra lines helped let me know what was blown out, but there was no indicator if the shadows were being clipped. At times I would use the false color feature on the Atomos to help judge, but even that screen in daylight was difficult to use. An LCD View Finder or external EVF will definitely help when working with this camera.
I couldn't use my ND Filters on these Lenses. Panasonic 7-14mm & Rokinon 7.5mm Fisheye
I carried two very wide lenses a Panasonic 7-14mm & Rokinon 7.5mm fisheye. These lenses are sharper at a wider aperture, but because these don't come with a threaded mount, I could not use an ND Filter. I tried stopping down the aperture to F/22 but in the end the footage was very soft. I guess to use these lenses, you'll need to carry around a Matte Box.
The Audio in this video was from a Rode VideoMic Pro (no preamp) directly into the BlackMagic Pocket Cinema Camera (set to 0). The audio was sent over the HDMI and recorded into the Atomos Ninja 2. I thought it sounded pretty darn good for no preamp. If you see closeup footage in the video that's typically from the Panasonic 35-100mm F/2.8, or Panasonic 45-150mm. The wider shots are on the Panasonic 7-14mm and Rokinon 8mm Fisheye. I definitely need more practice working with this camera.
Rode VideoMic Pro
Atomos Ninja 2
I'm currently using a rode mic pro straight into a black magic pocket, and i keep getting a ringing sound when i playback. was wondering can you help me figure out how to fix it?
Thanks for the info!
Would you mind sharing your mic and bmpcc audio settings?
@Mitchell - Here's probably a close example of it in use: httpss://cheesycam.com/steadicam-smoothee-modified-baby-merlin/
Do you think this lens would work well for steadicam purposes?
I guess the digital equivalent to halation is called "sensor bloom".
These sample shots seem to show a great deal of harsh halation around overexposed specular highlights... I wonder if the camera they sent was irregular in some way. You can especially see it at 0:11, 0:53, and especially at 0:42 where as soon as the sun's reflection appears on the sunglasses, large hard-edged halation pops on instantly. Did you notice the same thing when using other lenses at a more open aperture? Anyone else notice this on other sample clips around the internedtz? Generally speaking with film stock, the smaller the gauge, the more noticeable the halation like this... it's particularly noticeable on super 8, probably partly due to the pressure plate being cheapish (part of the cartridge). I kinda like how it reminds me of small gauge film because of that... though that is definitely more of a specialty look.
Btw, not hatin' on the BMPCC at all.
What is the mic for? Does the Sound Mixer on the project attach a little camera to the end of the boom?
@Ernesto - I have a YouTube channel which has the video as well. You can also watch it there on 1080, but the compressed versions are still not as good as the download.
Hey, Emm! Nice images. I only wish you'd upgrade the streaming video from 720p to 1080p, for those times when you can only stream to watch!
I will download the original file later when I'm on my PC, though.
Keep on posting! Very interested in your experiences with the BMCC. 🙂
@Emm - I think you did a great job being your first time out. I know personally I've been struggling with exposure on the BMCC MFT myself. It's not as easy as some make it out to be when trying to find the cameras sweet spot.
Even with a rig its extremely hard to go by what's on screen (if you can see it). Sadly, even while trying to utilize false color on the SmallHD monitors. I find I'm either over or under exposed the majority of the time. Not a good thing when the goal is max latitude. I'm not blaming the camera but myself the user. I'm still need to calibrate myself for its wants.
Regardless, thanks for taking your valuable time away from family to share your findings.
Aron J Anderson
What would you guys use for raw, 5Dmark3 or the BM pocket. I'm going over all the pluses and minuses of both and think the 5D3 might be the better option. Not taking in the price difference as a selling point. But full frame, better in low light and longer battery on the 5D3.
@J Toha - You are correct. It's still fairly flat trying to keep the highlights under and the shadows over. The ones in the park and the pier are using longer MFT lenses, so is it possible you're looking at how blurry the background is? Wide lenses will have less of that effect.
@richard - It's great for the price. I got it on sale for $199. The shots with the Parrots in the trees are from the 45-150mm, and also the end shot with the Sea Lion where he turns to face the camera are from the 45-150mm. Not super sharp, but I think good enough for the price. It's also super small and light. Much smaller than my 35-100mm. Just don't use it when it gets darker, it needs a good amount of light.
I reckon the Dynamic Range is pretty good compared to most DSLR footages. The shadow areas are not typically crushed, and some details can still be seen.
I do admit that I had thought the footage isn't too heavily graded as the overall 'flatness' is still very apparent. Perhaps you only increased the saturation and contrast slightly, Emm, but I may be wrong.
Some shots look rather 'cinematic', like the ones in the park and pier.
what do you think of the 45 -150 Panasonic lens?
Aron J Anderson
Thank you Emm for doing these test. You have helped out so much with your test and post.
@Eric - Sure, i'll try to upload some images.
@Emm - cool, thanks.
Can you elaborate on your DIY Tekkeon power cord solution?
I have a Tekkeon and would love to use it as power as well.
@omar - Between the two cameras the GH3 is easier to work with. Quality won't be as good as RAW, but who knows how long before we see RAW.
It seemed like the fisheye distortion of the Rokinon 8mm was not that apparent except for the shot at 1 minute. Did you correct for it in post?
I know this camera is a completely different tool than the GH3, but if you'd had to make a choice between the two(for filming corporate vids and commercials), which one would you choose as your go to camera?
@ben - Yes these are all graded, and no the highlights were not recoverable. It was clipped. If this camera ever gets RAW working, then we'll be able to get a wider range of highlights and shadows.
Is the Prores 10 bit? Did you grade? I'm curious if the blown out highlights are recoverable.
@getem - That's the Vimeo compression. You can download the original file from Vimeo and see there is no pixelation (although the flowers do look quite noisy).
Must be the recorder, look behind the musicians playing and you can see all of the flowers look pixelated and low res, something in the workflow is not right. You can clearly see by this example that the Pocket Came can record EXCELLENT footage.....
Emm is the HDMI interlaced (pdf) or progressive
@dave - It was hard setting exposure from the LCD, this is my first time and maybe I should be doing more underexposing to protect highlights, but also keep in mind this ProRes is recorded from the Atomos. We can't say it's directly from the camera, and I don't know if it's better or worse as far as dynamic range.
Thanks so much for your ongoing look at the BMPCC in real world use
why are the highlights so blown out in some shots? I hope you can get more dynamic range out of the internal prores.
@CarsonWA - Some of it was mid day super bright and then some at night around 8pm.
Footage looks good. Audio is much better than the on board mic sample from your last post. I like the sample imagery of color and range you picked to give some insight as to how the camera is performing. What time of day did you start filming?