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New Camera for Feature Length Film


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#1 Ernie Zahn

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Posted 13 October 2013 - 10:03 AM

I've been shooting on the 550D, 7D, D700, and other DSLRs. I definitely enjoy shooting on them but I'm working on an indie film soon. 

 

I was looking at getting the RED Scarlett-X. But it's a big jump in price even though it is the more affordable of the REDs. 

 

So I'm wondering, what's between the DSLR world and the RED? I was looking at the Blackmagic 4k Cinema Camera but I keep hearing over and over again that it's best feature is the price. Additionally I keep hearing that it's better suited for things like documentaries and the like. I don't want to upgrade to 4k if the blackmagic camera is pretty much my DSLR in terms of limitations. 

 

My main issue with DSLRs is the H.264 compression for recording, which creates bitrate and color space woes. It looks fine on Vimeo but when I project on 15 feet or larger, it tends to look displeasing. Especially with shots that have a lot of different AE filters on them.

 

Though I hear the Blackmagic camera records in ProRes which is fine with me, even if it's not raw video. Is this camera my middle category between DSLR and the RED?

 

Thanks in advance!  


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#2 Oron Cohen

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Posted 13 October 2013 - 10:27 AM

 

Though I hear the Blackmagic camera records in ProRes which is fine with me, even if it's not raw video. Is this camera my middle category between DSLR and the RED?

 

Thanks in advance!  

 

Hi Ernie, 

 

I'm a big fan of RED Cameras, I love the fact that they're versatile and you can configure them in many ways, I also think RED compression is smart. 

 

As for jumping from DSLR, If you're not making money day in day out from your equipment, I'll suggest to go with something cheaper. With RED Scarlet, it doesn't end with the brain, for a decent package you'll need to spend around 20K, maybe more...

 

As for Blackmagic, no one has even seen footage from the 4K, I've made some tests with the 2.5K Cinema Camera(there are many tests online), and I think it looks great, much better than DSLR, and it shoots RAW, real RAW not only Prores. Depth of field is not super35, but I think it still looks really nice! much cleaner than DSLR.  the price is also fair ($2000), why not consider that? maybe you should go to a rental house and rent one for a day, and see how you feel with it. you could use some PL glass with the MFT mount version and adapter.

 

Hope I helped a bit :-) 


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#3 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 13 October 2013 - 10:29 AM

The Blackmagic records either ProRes HQ (10-bit Log) or it records Raw (12-bit CinemaDNG files) and either would be better than 8-bit 4:2:0 Rec.709 in a DSLR.  

 

The Blackmagic was the next jump in price/quality until that Magic Lantern raw hack for the Canon 5D Mk.III came out, but I'm not sure how easy it would be to shoot a whole feature using that hack, or how stable it is, etc. See: 

http://www.eoshd.com...non-5d-mark-iii

http://fstoppers.com...c-cinema-camera

 

 

I guess the other jump up would be the Canon C100, which is a $7000 body, though internal C-Log recording would still be 8-bit, and until you jump to the C300, I think 24 Mb/sec is the best you can record internally.

 

There are also used Red Ones now at those price ranges.

 

People are still getting good results with the hacked Panasonic GH2 but that's just an improvement in the compression rate, I don't think there is a hack that allows raw recording.


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#4 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 13 October 2013 - 11:10 AM

Based only on the way the images look, I'd take any Blackmagic over an old Red. The first Red cameras were... well. Not great.


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#5 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 13 October 2013 - 11:14 AM

The Red Ones with the MX sensor would produce images similar to a current Epic camera -- part of the look comes from the sensor and part from the color science, which has improved since the early days.  After all, "The Social Network" was shot with a MX Red One and got an Oscar nomination for Best Cinematography, so it's hard to buy the notion that the image quality is not good enough for an independent feature today.


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#6 Oron Cohen

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Posted 13 October 2013 - 04:48 PM

I think David idea about a used RED ONE MX is actually great for a feature. still, even a basic functional ONE MX will be around 8-10K, but its a great camera, better than Blackmagic picture wise. However, its big(was killing my back while on the shoulder) so he'll need to get a heavy duty tripod head and other heavy duty stuff, it's better off to go with a smaller camera if one is on a budget, also with a smaller camera you can "steal" those shots needed...(on the train, public spaces etc).
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#7 Ernie Zahn

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Posted 13 October 2013 - 08:32 PM

Thanks for all the feedback. 

 

 

As for jumping from DSLR, If you're not making money day in day out from your equipment, I'll suggest to go with something cheaper. With RED Scarlet, it doesn't end with the brain, for a decent package you'll need to spend around 20K, maybe more...

 

 

 

Yeah, I noticed that:-/ The more research I did as to what I'd need, the higher the price got. 

 

The Red Ones with the MX sensor would produce images similar to a current Epic camera -- part of the look comes from the sensor and part from the color science, which has improved since the early days.  After all, "The Social Network" was shot with a MX Red One and got an Oscar nomination for Best Cinematography, so it's hard to buy the notion that the image quality is not good enough for an independent feature today.

 

Cool. Yeah I noticed that they go for about $10-$15k depending on what's with it. I'm definitely considering it. 

 

What are your thoughts on the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera? It's only 1080p but the Blackmagic site says it records in RAW and ProRes. I think I could live with the resolution since the bitrate and color will still much better than my DSLR. Though it doesn't shoot at 60fps. I might be willing to use my DSLR specifically for slow mo shots. 

 

The thing that interests me about this pocket camera is that I can buy two and have a lot of budget for lenses. The used RED ONE pretty much hits the ceiling with my camera budget for this project. 

 

Despite it also being 1080p, is this a great jump? Or should I try out the 2.5k Cinema Camera? 


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#8 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 14 October 2013 - 08:25 AM

Pocket is a nice camera. I picked one up. I like it more than the cinema camera, personally since it's smaller/lighter. and i can change out batteries. I find the image more pleasing, even if it is "only" 1080p.. or better put 1920, -v- 2500 (some odd) of the cinema.

Also I find the MFT lens mount more versatile and lenses are easier to get for the pocket-- between the MFT lenses out there, and all the adapters.


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#9 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 14 October 2013 - 09:37 AM

Tend to agree with Mr. Sierkowski's analysis.

 

Can't see why, if you were particularly dedicated to buying a camera for a show, you wouldn't look at Blackmagic, a modded 5D3 (which apparently is reliable enough for a big show, but only apparently), or rent something. The price to performance ratios on some of this very recent stuff is galactic.


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#10 Oron Cohen

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Posted 14 October 2013 - 10:51 AM

I didn't try the pocket yet (really looking forward), but I think a good combo could be MFT 2.5K Cinema Camera + Metabones Speed Booster. check out some tests online, you basically gain about a stop in sensitivity and also shallower DOF and better sharpness...for about $6000 you can have a nice BMCC package.  


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