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Black Magic Pocket Cinema Camera

Okay, so I fell into the sales trap for the 50% off BMPCC.  They went fast, very very fast.  Given that I just purchased a new house, getting ready to break ground for the Video/Photography studio, timing couldn’t have been worse.  The bottom line, what I’ve seen with the camera definitely has many pros and cons, but overall I’m excited to shoot with it.  So I’ll go over my setup at a high level because there are so many deep divers who provided some really great reviews, so no need to duplicate efforts.  My shooting style is definitely going to be different than lots of other folks, but in the end, I think I have increased the production quality quite a bit with this 16mm sensor.  Let’s do this…

pcc

The Black Magic Pocket Cinema Camera allows you to film using Micro Four Thirds Lenses.  That’s cool because with the adapter, I can use my older Canon FD Prime lenses as well as my deep 80-200mm Zoom lens (For nature and with a tripod only)  The picture quality when the camera is setup up correctly is very nice.  You need an ND filter shooting during the day if you want any kind of depth of field.  The battery life sucks but they are inexpensive to add more.  The memory cards are $100 for 64 Gigs AND you better bring a laptop to your shoot to offload that data because let me tell you, shooting RAW fills that memory card up like nothing you’ve ever seen before.

I doubt a lot of professionals would use this as an A camera, probably not even a B camera just because of the data and cost of the cards.  The outfitting of the camera, well lets just say the camera body is only a PART of a setup, not the whole.  Stabilization and audio are necessary; something like a fluid head tripod, slider and a Zoom audio recorder are absolutely necessary to use with this thing.

 

 

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All that said, I have 2 adapters for both Canon EOS lenses and Canon FD lenses.  I still retain a shallow depth of field with my 1.4 primes, not as much as on the APS-C 60D, but the image is quite beautiful.

What I really dig is that you can take these lenses, open them all the way up in low light, at ASA (ISO) 800 in not nicely lit room, capture some footage and when you go into edit say in AE, you can import and while doing so, you get Camera RAW as your initial window for input.  That to me is absolutely incredible.

Exposure, detail, clarity, highs/lows, saturation, sharpness, white balance..  You adjust the first frame and import as a clip and you’re off to the races.  Davinci Resolve Lite comes with the camera, but so far, I’m not a fan.  Probably the only reason I’m not a fan is because I don’t yet know what the hell I’m doing with it.

In Camera Raw you can save out presets and apply it to all the clips from a particular scene and they’ll all match.  The challenge thus far, I haven’t filmed enough with the camera to offer a solid opinion either way to answer the basic question, was it worth $450 and change?  The only way to know is to film.  I plan on making a short this week and then I’ll let you know.  I’m not going bare bones on this, I’m bringing my laptop, lights, lenses, slider(s) and jib.  I’ve had a story idea that hopefully I can get shot this week and edit it next week and then, then I’ll know.

Anyway, if you have specific questions there are a lot of resources out there that I found to be really helpful but if I can help answer them, let me know.  Cheers!

 

 

 

 

Despondent Release

You can now watch “Despondent” via Vimeo VOD.  It’s worth every penny, effective and looks great!  Hope you enjoy it.

despondent-vod

Studio Necessities

I was doing some audio review of some recent takes I did from an audio standpoint, voice over work mostly, and I noticed that some of my previous takes using an XLR setup actually sounded much better.  I have 3 kinds of setups, one is your standard 3.5mm plug, an XLR that connects via USB to my PC, and a Zoom H1.  Now for doing field work, the Zoom H1 is hard to beat for the price at less that $100.  I can monitor it with a blutooth setup that I have up to 30 feet in real time and help whomever is holding the pole to adjust.  OR, in fact, let them just use the blutooth headset to monitor.

However, for studio work, the XLR setup is nice but I am still getting noise on the line.  It requires cleanup after each take instead of 1 or two layers of mastering.  When you remove noise, hum, hiss etc., you can always tell if the audio voice you are using is singular (no background noise).  If you have background noise that you’ll add in post, it’s not too bad but you still don’t capture that umph!  Sound is so so so very important, and I’ve learned this the hard way by buying cheap microphones and setups that should have worked, but instead cost me hours and hours of post processing time that in the end, it was only minimally usable.

badaax usb

I have decided to add another mic to my arsenal, a BADAAX USB, with a boom arm.  This should allow me to work a situation, even with reading without having to look down and keep my face away because this mic is designed for this.  While not the best mic by far, cost wise and time wise, it should be a good investment.  When I finish doing a reading, I’ll let you know how it goes and give it a solid review either in writing, in video or both.

 

Cheers!

The Objective II

For some time, I’ve wanted to do another Battlefield Movie.  It only seems right that given the successes of previous installments, we stick with a known title (at least it USED to be).  Times are a changin.  To tie into the storyline of “The Objective”, our old squad is back and stronger than ever.

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Into the Lions Den

So, here we are at the start and ending of this little series, most likely…  we are going to take advantage of the Battlefield 4 engine with the spectator mode.  This has already proven difficult and without a true battlerecorder, we can only hope this will be completed in both a timely fashion, as well as without many problems.

The main challenges are, no play back, no camera changes.  This was a non issue in BF2 because you could record multiple camera angles for the same scene; something I didn’t find out about until I was hired by EA for the Armored Fury trailers.   Well, now without that feature, we’ll have to do multiple takes for stunts or certain events and if they are part of the scripting on a certain map or mode, we’ll have to restart the round, get to the point of execution by the point system to capture it, AND HOPE to get it.

The other thing we’ll be doing, or I should say I’ll be doing since we’re from all over the planet, is adding ‘live action’ footage for the film.  Something I’m not quite sure yet how I’m going to pull off, but I did a test in this video, yes, there is live action in one scene (Can you guess where it is?)  Anyway, fingers crossed, prayers have been said.  The time is now.  Cheers!