Doesn’t. Needs. It.
nnnNNNNN. Not. Strictly. NNnnn. Neccessary.
Just the thing to jump start my porn career!
OK so I own a Blackmagic Pocket and love it. I use it all the time on the work I do.
That having been said, BM’s offerings are really fun to watch but not for the faint of heart. The firmware is rocky and feels unfinished and there are a lot of workarounds. These are not all in one consumer devices - the sound on the Pocket, for example, is absolutely atrocious, and most BM cameras require several hundred (or thousand) dollars’ worth of accessories to take full advantage of what you’re buying. And that’s before you get to editing the footage, which in Prores HQ is so huge that you need serious horsepower and drive space to even work with it, and the images come out ultraflat so you have to know color correction. RAW is even more intensive.
So these are GREAT cameras for low budget filmmakers who know what they’re doing and know how to tease great images from them and have the money and patience to work with them. If I were kickstartering a feature I might consider buying an Ursa instead of renting an Alexa package. For hobbyists though, a solid DSLR and a good lens is a better choice than even the Pocket, which is…ornery. IMO.
The best comparison for me with the Pocket is it’s like working with an old 16mm film camera. You get what you get and hope it comes out ok, and if you know what you’re doing you can make something really amazing with it. It really is like shooting on film.
As for the Ursa, it looks fabulous, but I’m interested in seeing some reviews and handson experiences. The CFast cards it uses for data are expensive as hell (up to 2K for a decently sized one that can handle the 4k RAW output) and the camera itself weighs 16lbs without the lens, which means it’s definitely a two-plus operator camera. The lack of a viewfinder loupe might trouble veteran cinematographers who are used to working with one, and the 10" screen is nice but who knows if that’ll be useful in the field?
Of the new devices the broadcast one looks the most disruptive. A new web series looking to do things like talk shows, etc could really benefit from low cost broadcast-quality cameras like this designed for live TV. But again, it depends on how bare bones the camera is when it ships. You can’t buy three of these and expect to make stuff out of the box, you need lenses, tripods, headsets, control rooms and gear. So we’ll see, but it’s really exciting to see these product come out and challenge the status quo of overpriced hardware, licenses and rental fees, and camera companies who cater only to David Fincher and not to everyone else.
you need lenses, tripods, headsets, control rooms and gear.
Is there anything that doesn’t? Serious question.
The new Digital Bolex, which is $3k, is a more “grab it and shoot” package than the blackmagics. It’s even just the right size, heft and shape to feel right handheld. Throw on a $50 c mount 35mm lens, go go gadget indie filmmaking.
Thanks for the head’s up. Found your post on it:
A lot of consumer camcorders and DSLRS have built in or kit lenses. When you buy a DSLR you typically get a not-terrible-but-not-great lens that can do certain types of pictures and then at some point when you want to you upgrade to better glass.
With stuff like Ursa, typical consumer tripods are not strong enough or robust enough. You need to put it on serious legs. And with the Broadcast, the tripods are special with remote controls on the pan handles and pneumatic or hydraulic (not sure which) controls to smoothly raise and lower the camera quickly. Some broadcast cameras have all these things built in. Not BM.
In general people underestimate how ready out of the box the Blackmagic cameras are. The regular BMCC and BMPCC seem like they’re already ready to go, but they’re really not. You need a 100 dollar SD card just to shoot Raw on BMPCC, or an expensive SSD on the BMCC. You need some sort of tripod for the BMCC as it’s very difficult to hold on its own. BMPCC generally needs a cage with mounting points if you want to use traditional follow focuses, etc.
They’re not camcorders or all-in-one solutions is all I’m saying.
The D16 is a GORGEOUS camera, but it’s not a heavy performer like BMPCC. It’s only really ISO 200 whereas BMPCC goes up to 1600, and is thus really tough in low light. There’s a terrible LCD on the top of the camera that’s almost useless, and no viewfinder to frame your shot (getting a Zacuto EVF works beautifully to correct this but is hella expensive). That having been said it has a lot more out of the box features than the pocket, such as a built in hard drive, XLR inputs, and a handle with trigger. It’s not as perfectly adaptable to mounts and rigs due to its weird shape. I’d rather take the D16 out on its own, but I’d rather take the BMPCC out on a shoot with gear, etc.
Yeah, I kind of think the Digital Bolex is slightly too expensive with the BMCC stuff now significantly cheaper. But I’m glad it exists and want it to succeed big.
Sony has some stuff in this zone (the VG and RX models), but it’s always kinda feature-limited, presumably to avoid cannibalizing its pro gear.
That said, the RX10 is probably the gadget you’re looking for right now if you just want to spend a grand or so and go shoot a movie without thinking about SSDs, SD cards, lenses, battery packs, rigs and all that bullshit, but want footage that you can grade to get ＴＨＥ ＬＯＯＫ
I’m not gonna lie, if I had the scratch I’d buy a D16 immediately. And that new D16M, which is a ridiculous purchase as it’s more expensive and only shoots B/W, tickles my gear lust in a way nothing else does.
I picked the BMPCC with a Metabones Speedbooster so I could use my gorgeous Nikon glass on a cinema camera. The BMPCC with the Sigma 18-35 and the speedbooster is unreal beautiful. But I’m also a semi-pro who teaches young people filmmaking, so my needs are different than a lot of peoples’. The RX10 is super nice. I like Panasonic’s GH3 as well, I think it’s just lovely and the GH4 is super exciting.
$3000 for a blackmagic that shoots 4K is insane. It was only 10 years ago that we were buying miniDV cameras for more than that.
“You’ll still need to bring your own lenses and SSDs.”
Not on the broadcast camera - it doesn’t have any built in recording features; you need to send the video signal to a control panel (called a “ATEM Live Production Switcher”) and have it do stuff with the signal. You do need to bring your own lenses though.
That said, you can now set up a full two camera HD broadcast kit for around US$6,000, which is pretty remarkable.
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