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#1 Jesse Varas

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Posted 28 August 2015 - 09:34 AM

Good morning guys, 

 

For the past years I've been doing airline videos and short documentaries with my Canon 60D. It has been my faithful companion but I think it is time for a change. 

 

My budget is around 3,500 dollars and I was wondering if you guys had any suggestions. 

 

So far I'm liking a lot the Canon 5D Mark III. 

 

I would use it mostly for short docs and the odd narrative, trying to step it up a bit. 

 

God bless, 

 

Jesse Varas


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#2 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 28 August 2015 - 01:07 PM

Have you thought about an actual cinema camera or is there a reason you need/want a still camera as well?
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#3 Jesse Varas

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Posted 28 August 2015 - 02:28 PM

I love to take still on the side for fun, but I guess looking into a cinema camera would be a possibility. 

 

Based on my budget though; is there something you would recommend?


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#4 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 28 August 2015 - 03:00 PM

I spent about that much on my blackmagic pocket cameras (2 of them) including lenses. So that's why I saw your budget and was like, why spend that on a DSLR when you can buy 2 cameras for coverage on a doc/interview shoot (which is what I do). The cameras look great, they're small and have native Pro Res files. With the right (cheap) accessories, the camera is very powerful and even the sound isn't that bad.

I'm personally not a fan of the DSLR's because they really are lacking in the video department. Even with magic lantern, they still have some pretty major issues like monitoring audio, size, weight, record time (limited to buffer speed) and cost.

Here is an example of the pocket and a little video I made about it.




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#5 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 28 August 2015 - 03:11 PM

A Canon C100 is another possiblty from some supplers.


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#6 JD Hartman

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Posted 29 August 2015 - 07:14 AM

Why do you need that clunky looking viewfinder adapter?  If this was "made" for film, why would it be needed?


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#7 Lance Soltys

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Posted 29 August 2015 - 10:04 AM

Because it's really a modular camera. You're really just buying a sensor. So, while, the BMPCC has a screen on it, it's kind of useless when you're in daylight. As I'm sure you're aware, this is just a loupe so you can see the screen, very handy and light weight when you are run-and-gunning. While it is much more expensive, it's also nice to have an electric viewfinder, and keep in mind, this is no different then Alexa's and Red's, which both use, arguably, 'cluncky' external viewfinders. I own a BMPCC, and it's a great sensor, with a nice codec that can be had for a very reasonable price.

Off topic: thanks J.D. for your response and link for cabling. I guess it seems like it's a personal choice as to how to wrap cables.
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#8 JD Hartman

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Posted 29 August 2015 - 10:26 AM

Because it's really a modular camera. You're really just buying a sensor. So, while, the BMPCC has a screen on it, it's kind of useless when you're in daylight. As I'm sure you're aware, this is just a loupe so you can see the screen, very handy and light weight when you are run-and-gunning. While it is much more expensive, it's also nice to have an electric viewfinder, and keep in mind, this is no different then Alexa's and Red's, which both use, arguably, 'cluncky' external viewfinders. I own a BMPCC, and it's a great sensor, with a nice codec that can be had for a very reasonable price.

Off topic: thanks J.D. for your response and link for cabling. I guess it seems like it's a personal choice as to how to wrap cables.

 

I don't "do" camera stuff.  I can't remember what previous make/model digital camera has a similar aftermarket device, but it just makes them appear more toy like.  Why not take this very necessary feature and make it part of the camera so it doesn't look like an afterthought?

 

The cabling thing...  no it's not a personal choice thing,  On set not only do you piss off other people, the Electrics, etc., you're not going to be very popular at the rental house who will have to re-wrap all the stingers. 


Edited by JD Hartman, 29 August 2015 - 10:28 AM.

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#9 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 29 August 2015 - 01:05 PM

Why do you need that clunky looking viewfinder adapter?  If this was "made" for film, why would it be needed?

 

The camera is designed to be small, light weight and not draw attention to itself. They're proving you don't need a big box to make a cinema camera and they're spot on. Yes, it requires aftermarket accessories to make work, but what camera doesn't? RED cameras require thousands of dollars of accessories to do anything. So I'm totally OK with spending a few extra hundred dollars on a viewfinder adaptor so I can see the display in the sun. It's not an afterthought what so ever, it's the only way they could have made it. Imagine it having a little hole you push your eye into, your nose would be crushed the whole time you shot and there would be no viewfinder adaptor options. You could put a big  production monitor on the top, it has an HDMI output. 


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#10 JD Hartman

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Posted 29 August 2015 - 01:32 PM

Tyler, not trying to call you out into the dusty street for a gunfight.  You're obviously a smart guy and shoot some nice stuff. 

 

 

"light weight and not draw attention to itself."   Weight part I get, pretended I was an AC when the AC stepped off and helped get the Red onto the operators shoulder for a couple of hours.  Not draw attention to itself?   Not the Guerrilla filmakingt thing all over?

 

Just curious about the technical parts of the BM camera and other digital cameras I've seen or worked along side. The viewfinder has to be moved out of the way, every time you need to access the settings?  Basically it's like a telescope pressed against the back of the camera's built in monitor?  Just seems like poor design from a technical and aesthetics point of view. for a device that supposed to be designed as a film camera from the ground up, unlike the Cannon 5D, etc.


Edited by JD Hartman, 29 August 2015 - 01:38 PM.

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#11 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 29 August 2015 - 04:19 PM

The display isn't touch screen. The menu and function buttons are to the right of the display. So you'd look through the viewfinder adaptor and make the changes with the buttons. The viewfinder adaptor spaces the camera away from your face so you can do these adjustments without any issues. It actually works really well and the arrow keys have pre-programmed functions. I assume they'll have programmable keys over time. 

 

My favorite camera shape would be an Arri SR or something of that nature. The new URSA Mini would be a good example, but it's a bit heavy. Something with a nice big viewfinder, keeps your hands close to the lens for pulling and of course shoulder mount. The whole concept of holding a camera in front of you, it really sucks. However, since the camera weighs ounces instead of pounds, it's A LOT easier to hand hold without support by pressing the body/viewfinder adaptor against your head. I've got some amazingly stable (better then shoulder) shots using this trick AND of course a monopod. DSLR's weigh so much more, it's almost impossible to hold them steady even with the viewfinder adaptor. I was shooting stills with a D5MKIII few weeks ago without any support and it reminded me of how heavy these cameras really are. 

 

It's not a camera designed for studio shooting or for bigger productions, that's not its purpose. It's designed for the cinematographer who wants a great looking image to play around with on smaller personal projects. In fact, the camera is worthless in a studio environment where it's on all day long. It over-heats, it has a flimsy worthless power adaptor AND it magnifies the glass too much, so getting medium-wide shots in a small location, can be challenging. Again, it's a $998 dollar camera, you'd have to spend almost double to get a bigger imager and then you'd loose the Pro Res/RAW 10 bit capture. Besides, the camera has zero automatic function, so you're always using it as a cinema camera, setting up the ASA, Shutter Angle, F stop and focus manually. This allows you to stay within the "cinematographers" world and not have automatic functionality spoiling your imagery like most of the counterparts on the market. 

 

Yes, I personally love the guerrilla aspects of this camera. Again, since the camera wasn't made for bigger shows, being small is an asset. If it was a bigger camera, even if it was the same price, I probably wouldn't have bought it. The form factor was #2 on my list, next to raw color space/pro res capture. I shoot ALL of my productions guerrilla and it really works well. You capture moments you couldn't capture otherwise because the camera doesn't stand out. When you strip it down to a lens and viewfinder adaptor, it's only a few inches long and no wider then an iPhone 5. In all the shoots I've done with the camera, not a single person has thought it was a video camera. Whenever the lens goes onto them, they freeze for a second thinking I'm taking a still picture. I literally have to tell people before I shoot that it's a video camera and most people don't believe me. 

 

To me, there is nothing like it on the market in that price bracket. The Japanese (canon, sony, panasonic) have all focused on 8 bit MPEG capture. Plus, as the Japanese focus on "specs" (resolution/sensor size/lux) to sell their cameras, Blackmagic has focused on making a good image. Things like color science, white clipping and noise in the blacks, these are critical for me as a filmmaker and Blackmagic has nailed them. The Japanese cameras in a similar price bracket, they aren't even close in those areas and to me, that's what makes the pocket camera stick out. 

 

The pocket is getting long in the tooth today, that I will admit. It doesn't over crank, Pro Res HQ is the best codec, it's 1920x1080 and they could have a better display. However, the pocket is still their best seller the way it sits right now. I personally can't imagine them updating the camera the way it sits right now. They do have a new 4k sensor that's being used on the "Micro Studio" which could easily be used in a small-form factor camera like the pocket. So my guess is, their next big camera (Maybe IBC this year or NAB next year) will be all-new small form factor camera to replace the older studio camera which is long in the tooth, but have a much smaller form factor like the pocket. My guess is, the price will be sub $2k and it will feature a 12 bit RAW 4k capture or Pro Res 4444 with 60FPS @ 1920x1080, but most likely no global shutter.  If that happens in a similar form factor to the pocket with interchangeable batteries and such, it will be another win for Blackmagic and I would absolutely step on that ship. In the meanwhile, the pockets work great and since I use standard Canon mount glass, I can always sell my bodies and by others.  


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#12 AJ Young

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Posted 01 September 2015 - 02:33 PM

Good morning guys, 

 

For the past years I've been doing airline videos and short documentaries with my Canon 60D. It has been my faithful companion but I think it is time for a change. 

 

My budget is around 3,500 dollars and I was wondering if you guys had any suggestions. 

 

So far I'm liking a lot the Canon 5D Mark III. 

 

I would use it mostly for short docs and the odd narrative, trying to step it up a bit. 

 

God bless, 

 

Jesse Varas

 

With that budget, I would recommend the A7RII or A7s. They're rolling shutters are quite noticeable, but not much more than any other DSLR. (Though the 5DIII's rolling shutter is less noticable).

 

The plus with those two cameras I mentioned are the ability to use Metabones speed boosters on them. They both have great dynamic range and can do 4K with at 4:2:2 (externally of course). They also have 60p and the A7RII does 120p/240p (at 720 resolution, though).

 

The body alone will nearly max out your budget, but this kind of investment will be worth it in the long run; you'll have a great camera that can suitably act as a B cam to higher end cameras. Plus, it's a rockin' stills camera (nearly unanimous reviews in the photography community).


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#13 Rakesh Malik

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Posted 01 September 2015 - 02:42 PM

I haven't found rolling shutter to be anywhere near as big a deal as so many people make it out to be, provided that you don't go for crazy-shaky camera work that doesn't look good anyway. IMO it's just an attempt to hide a lack of skill from the audience by making them too dizzy to notice that there's not composition to look at anyway.

 

Regarding the a7 family for quality, definitely. I use an a7r for photography that's gotten into galleries and art shots, and one print that got shown at the Louvre over the summer... though that still was one I captured with a Nex 7, the a7r's predecessor. The Sony cameras have impressive dynamic range, enough that I no longer bother with stacking HDR, and the color rendition is beautiful. From what I've seen of the a7s video footage, I'd say that it retains the color rendition that the camera has in stills mode.

 

Plus, the a7 family is very well built so it will last quite a while if cared for, and I keep mine at my side when on climbs. Plus the lens options are legion, ranging from inexpensive but high quality manual focus SLR lenses to pretty much any price ceiling you choose, probably including PL mount. :)


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#14 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 01 September 2015 - 03:36 PM

With that budget, I would recommend the A7RII or A7s. They're rolling shutters are quite noticeable, but not much more than any other DSLR.


Actually, they are the worst rolling shutter of them all. That's how they get such great low-light capability, the sensor is scanned very slowly. At 1920x1080 it's acceptable, but at 4k it's nowhere near acceptable.

https://www.cinema5d...olling-shutter/
 

The plus with those two cameras I mentioned are the ability to use Metabones speed boosters on them.


Speed boosters are made for all the brands cameras.
 

They both have great dynamic range


Doesn't matter when your recording to 8 bit 4:2:0 MPEG files. Plus, the external HDMI output is only 8 bit as well. So you can add as many outboard devices as you want, it's still 8 bit. This limits the corrective ability in post production substantially. In contrast, all of the Blackmagic, Arri and RED cameras are 10 to 14 bit, depending on the recording format. In the world of post production, minimal requirement for producing a good image is 10 bit 4:2:2 and for mastering it's 12 bit 4:4:4, same as HDCAM SR tape(1920x1080).
 

this kind of investment will be worth it in the long run; you'll have a great camera that can suitably act as a B cam to higher end cameras.


- It's not 4k, it's UHD resolution. So it doesn't match the resolution of any other 4k cinema camera.
- Sony's color science doesn't match Arri, RED or Blackmagic, which are the "A" cameras.
- Sony has hard clipping issues, which are exacerbated by the 8 bit recording issues.
- The rolling shutter prevents it from being used in moving/tracking shots without substantial correction in post.
- Uses non-standard lenses (Micro 4/3rds, EOS and PL are standard)
- It won't be worth anything once sony wakes up and produces a camera that shoots 10 bit 4:4:4 I-Frame internally for the same price, which is right around the corner.

Yes, it's a great still camera… that's no doubt.

I just don't see ANY lower-end consumer-grade camera being a good investment right now, especially with the constant technology flux we have today. If you need to buy a camera for some reason, it's far better to buy one that specializes in whatever your workflow is. Then sell it after a year and buy the next best thing.
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#15 Kenyon Scott

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Posted 01 September 2015 - 05:09 PM

I've had a Bolex D16 for the past week and I love it.

 

It sucks because;

400 ISO max

DATA beast

Offloading is time consuming.

 

I like it because;

-It actually feels "old school" ie. you can't just shoot everything like with a DSLR because of the DATA cost. rehearsal and planning are necessary.

-400 max ISO means you will actually need to light (which is the fun part of the job really).

-Pretty pictures

-CCD not CMOS (no rolling shutter).

-basic and simple without a bunch of bells and whistles.

-Lens options

-XLR inputs

-RAW not 8bit compressed H264

- Not a DSLR

 

$3k.


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#16 AJ Young

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Posted 01 September 2015 - 06:01 PM

Actually, they are the worst rolling shutter of them all. That's how they get such great low-light capability, the sensor is scanned very slowly. At 1920x1080 it's acceptable, but at 4k it's nowhere near acceptable.

https://www.cinema5d...olling-shutter/


When you shoot in crop mode with either the A7s or A7RII, the rolling shutter is significantly reduced. (See Phillip Bloom's test with the A7s). I'm not sure resolution has anything to do with it; the camera reads the full sensor and then down samples to 1080.

The Cinema5D test is a notorious example of charts vs. real life. The rolling shutter is a different story when actually shooting with these cameras, especially in crop mode. You barely notice they "jello" effect and can only find it if one is really looking for it.
 

Speed boosters are made for all the brands cameras.

That may be true, but there are vastly more speed booster options available for the E-mount because of its very short focal flange distance. M4/3 has a good range too, but the E-mount paired with a speed booster Ultra allows for nearly full use of a full frame lens on a super 35 sensor size (aka, the crop mode on the A7s/RII).
 

Doesn't matter when your recording to 8 bit 4:2:0 MPEG files. Plus, the external HDMI output is only 8 bit as well. So you can add as many outboard devices as you want, it's still 8 bit. This limits the corrective ability in post production substantially. In contrast, all of the Blackmagic, Arri and RED cameras are 10 to 14 bit, depending on the recording format. In the world of post production, minimal requirement for producing a good image is 10 bit 4:2:2 and for mastering it's 12 bit 4:4:4, same as HDCAM SR tape(1920x1080).

8 Bit gets a lot of slack, but it's still a decent bit depth. There can be banding in the shadows sometimes, but it's generally good for most cases (even color grading).

There have been tons of shows and movies that have been and continue to be shot on cameras with 8 bit depth. Act of Valor, entire episodes of House, Like Crazy, Mad Max Fury Road, etc. Bit depth is no reason to rule out a camera.
 

- It's not 4k, it's UHD resolution. So it doesn't match the resolution of any other 4k cinema camera.
- Sony's color science doesn't match Arri, RED or Blackmagic, which are the "A" cameras.
- Sony has hard clipping issues, which are exacerbated by the 8 bit recording issues.
- The rolling shutter prevents it from being used in moving/tracking shots without substantial correction in post.
- Uses non-standard lenses (Micro 4/3rds, EOS and PL are standard)
- It won't be worth anything once sony wakes up and produces a camera that shoots 10 bit 4:4:4 I-Frame internally for the same price, which is right around the corner.

The difference between 4K and UHD is 256 pixels. That's not even noticable, and UHD is 1.78:1 (16x9). Most of the time, you're cropping the "True" 4K signal to meet either the 1.85:1 or 16x9 aspect ratios, wasting information recorded.

The color science is different, but Slog actually matches up to Clog to pretty well. Sony even released a LUT call Rec709-TypeA, the "A" standing for Alexa. (See Art Adams) The A7s and A7RII match up pretty well with the higher end cinema cameras, especially Sony ones like the F65 and F55.

Sony cameras no longer suffer from the highlight clipping you speak of. Art Adam has done extensive tests with Sony's line of cameras and they all have much better highlight roll off. (Hell, even the one's used on Attack of the Clones roll off well). I've shot on the F5, F55, FS7, and A7s. None of them clip highlights, they roll off.

Again, the rolling shutter is barely noticeable, especially in crop mode. There's no need to do any additional correction beyond what other DSLR's (like the 5DIII) will need, if needed.

Sony's E-Mount is the most versatile mount of all DSLR's because of its short focal flange distance. You can literally mount any lens to the A7s/RII or FS7/700 because of the E-mount. Sure, you'll need an adapter, but they're a dime a dozen. The added benefit of the E-mount is a wide range of speed boosters like I mentioned before; much more of a range than any other mount combined.

I'm not sure a camera that records 10 bit uncompressed internally with a 4:4:4 chroma sample at the price of a A7RII anytime soon from Sony, or any other camera manufacturer for that matter. (Yes Black Magic has cameras that do that, but they're strength in recording is outweighed by the camera's weaknesses in other more vital areas).
 

Yes, it's a great still camera… that's no doubt.

I just don't see ANY lower-end consumer-grade camera being a good investment right now, especially with the constant technology flux we have today. If you need to buy a camera for some reason, it's far better to buy one that specializes in whatever your workflow is. Then sell it after a year and buy the next best thing.

An investment into a DSLR is a good idea; it serves multiple purposes than just video. Yes a new camera comes out that is better and cheaper, but a DP needs a camera now. I still have my 5DII and use it on shoots to this day. We think a camera gets replaced, but really a new camera is just a new tool in the market.

If you have a hammer, and it works, there's no reason to buy a new hammer.


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#17 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 01 September 2015 - 06:03 PM

WHHAAA!!!

Digital Bolex?

- No usable Viewfinder. (costs around $400 bux to buy a monitor and eye piece)
- Internal Storage ONLY
- Internal Battery ONLY
- Glass to cover the S16 sensor is expensive as most glass was made to cover a square sensor.
- Not very sensitive (good luck shooting in ambient light indoors)
- Huge issues with bright light hitting sensor. One of the reason nobody else uses CCD's
- Hard to hold for long periods of time due to weight
- No compression codec, stuck with RAW shooting only, which means you can't edit right away and huge file sizes.
- Expensive! For a few more grand, you can buy a REAL cinema camera with a full-frame S35mm sensor.

The only real positives, is one of the camera's biggest negatives; 12 bit RAW. It means the image looks really good. It has plenty of dynamic range to play with in post. However, it means post processing and HUGE files to store and work with during post production.

I've met and talked with the owners of Digital Bolex and they've worked really hard to bring this camera to market. However, when they started developing it, cameras like the Blackmagic Pocket weren't around. The pocket is 1/3rd the price, is far better equipped (outside of audio), takes more standard/lower cost lenses and honestly is far better suited for the kind of filmmaking the Digital Bolex guys intended to achieve. I assume the next generation of Digital Bolex will solve many of the current issues, hopefully adding a viewfinder and maybe updating the sensor so it can deal with direct sunlight. But for the price, it really doesn't have a home outside of retro people who by the way, would rather shoot film anyway.
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#18 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 01 September 2015 - 07:00 PM

When you shoot in crop mode with either the A7s or A7RII, the rolling shutter is significantly reduced. (See Phillip Bloom's test with the A7s). I'm not sure resolution has anything to do with it; the camera reads the full sensor and then down samples to 1080.


Yea, that's what I meant by 1080p shooting. It's "cropping" the sensor, meaning the processor can focus on a smaller group of pixels. If the camera was a tiny bit bigger, they could run a faster processor, but they're more interested in physical size and this is one of the limitations.
 

8 Bit gets a lot of slack, but it's still a decent bit depth. There can be banding in the shadows sometimes, but it's generally good for most cases (even color grading).


I was a professional colorist for a few years, working with Symphony and DaVinci. We'd get sources from all over the world and the 8 bit stuff was absolutely horrible compared to the 10 bit. Eventually we wound up rejecting any source that was 8 bit 4:2:0 and most post production companies will do the same thing. I currently live with a QC specialist and his company rejects anything that is less than 10 bit 4:2:2 color space.

Most of the shows you quote only use the 8 bit cameras as quick cutaways, like the quick "shaky" cam that looks nothing like the main cameras. "Act of Valor" is a great example of that. Go Pro's are 8 bit as well, but if you light well for them and cut away quickly, you'd never notice.
 

The difference between 4K and UHD is 256 pixels. That's not even noticable, and UHD is 1.78:1 (16x9). Most of the time, you're cropping the "True" 4K signal to meet either the 1.85:1 or 16x9 aspect ratios, wasting information recorded.


Yes, but the pocket camera is 1920x1080, only 128 pixels away from 2k, but you don't see Blackmagic advertising it as a 2k camera. It's false advertising and it's a way for Sony to sell a substandard product to the consumer because people are so absorbed in "tech specs" they don't realize what they're actually getting.
 

The color science is different, but Slog actually matches up to Clog to pretty well. Sony even released a LUT call Rec709-TypeA, the "A" standing for Alexa. (See Art Adams) The A7s and A7RII match up pretty well with the higher end cinema cameras, especially Sony ones like the F65 and F55.


Sony color science is nothing like Alexa. I've tried to match the F55 and Alexa in DaVinci, what a mess. It required many passes, a few traveling mattes and worst of all, the F55 was 4k and the Alexa was 2k, so the F55 material needed an un-sharpen mask. After days worth of work, it was acceptable, but I could tell right away. I guess your point is that an average consumer can't tell. That's great and all, but we're talking two of the best cameras on the market and they're so far apart. The consumer grade cameras have no chance at competing.
 

Sony cameras no longer suffer from the highlight clipping you speak of.


I have yet to see that. All the online tests I've seen, still have the same problem. Direct light into the sensor has no edge detail (hard white) and sometimes breaks up around the center and edges (changes color). You'll notice it's hard white with no gradient. You'll never see a nice smooth gradient. It's most noticeable when shooting at night with street lights or car's driving by. Heck mix that with the rolling shutter, it's very easy to spot a Sony shot.

If you wish to send me a few samples that you've done, I'd love to see this problem fixed.
 

Sony's E-Mount is the most versatile mount of all DSLR's because of its short focal flange distance. You can literally mount any lens to the A7s/RII or FS7/700 because of the E-mount. Sure, you'll need an adapter, but they're a dime a dozen. The added benefit of the E-mount is a wide range of speed boosters like I mentioned before; much more of a range than any other mount combined.


I'm sure it's versatile for people who want to use Sony cameras forever. However, for people who want to make an investment in glass, being stuck with E mount in my view is silly. Far better to buy EOS or PL mount glass and use adaptors. So a lot of the benefits these cameras have with E mount Sony glass, don't exist the moment you put PL glass on it.
 

I'm not sure a camera that records 10 bit uncompressed internally with a 4:4:4 chroma sample at the price of a A7RII anytime soon from Sony, or any other camera manufacturer for that matter. (Yes Black Magic has cameras that do that, but they're strength in recording is outweighed by the camera's weaknesses in other more vital areas).


It will happen very soon, now that XAVC-I has been adopted by Sony. The only reason they don't put it in the smaller cameras is processor speed. It needs a much faster processor and it's a huge problem for the DSLR market.

Besides, true raw like CinemaDNG which all the blackmagic cameras have, gives you exactly what's coming off the imager. It doesn't really tax the processor, but it does tax the memory and costs money because there is licensing from Adobe. The Japanese brands don't think about this as an option, they want to do everything in-house, so they don't even contemplate using this format. Sure, the commercial cameras all record raw, but none of us are going to be buying one.

All cameras have weaknesses, but the three things that are most important are: Lens selection, Imager/color science and recording format. If any one of those things is compromised, you've got a big problem. Blackmagic have nailed it on all three of those and even though they've had some hiccups with developing the right box, they sure did with the pocket and now URSA mini.
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#19 AJ Young

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Posted 01 September 2015 - 09:29 PM

Yea, that's what I meant by 1080p shooting. It's "cropping" the sensor, meaning the processor can focus on a smaller group of pixels. If the camera was a tiny bit bigger, they could run a faster processor, but they're more interested in physical size and this is one of the limitations.


Lucky for us, the A7RII still records 4K UHD in crop mode! :)
 
 

I was a professional colorist for a few years, working with Symphony and DaVinci. We'd get sources from all over the world and the 8 bit stuff was absolutely horrible compared to the 10 bit. Eventually we wound up rejecting any source that was 8 bit 4:2:0 and most post production companies will do the same thing. I currently live with a QC specialist and his company rejects anything that is less than 10 bit 4:2:2 color space.

Most of the shows you quote only use the 8 bit cameras as quick cutaways, like the quick "shaky" cam that looks nothing like the main cameras. "Act of Valor" is a great example of that. Go Pro's are 8 bit as well, but if you light well for them and cut away quickly, you'd never notice.

I believe that's a generalization of post production processes. Sure, some post houses may only require 10bit blah blah blah, but that may only be for a certain subset of the industry. I recently shot for Lexus (hired by Chris Fata) and they were just fine with us shooting on 5D's.

Furthermore, Act of Valor was primarily shot on the 5D's. You can read about it on Shane Hurlbut's blog (he shot it).
 
 

Yes, but the pocket camera is 1920x1080, only 128 pixels away from 2k, but you don't see Blackmagic advertising it as a 2k camera. It's false advertising and it's a way for Sony to sell a substandard product to the consumer because people are so absorbed in "tech specs" they don't realize what they're actually getting.

Yes, but there is already a general misconception between the entire world about what the definition of 4K is.
 
 

Sony color science is nothing like Alexa. I've tried to match the F55 and Alexa in DaVinci, what a mess. It required many passes, a few traveling mattes and worst of all, the F55 was 4k and the Alexa was 2k, so the F55 material needed an un-sharpen mask. After days worth of work, it was acceptable, but I could tell right away. I guess your point is that an average consumer can't tell. That's great and all, but we're talking two of the best cameras on the market and they're so far apart. The consumer grade cameras have no chance at competing.

You should contact Art Adams. He shoots a lot with Sony and easily gets those cameras to match other cameras. Very talented DP.
 
 

I have yet to see that. All the online tests I've seen, still have the same problem. Direct light into the sensor has no edge detail (hard white) and sometimes breaks up around the center and edges (changes color). You'll notice it's hard white with no gradient. You'll never see a nice smooth gradient. It's most noticeable when shooting at night with street lights or car's driving by. Heck mix that with the rolling shutter, it's very easy to spot a Sony shot.

If you wish to send me a few samples that you've done, I'd love to see this problem fixed.

I recently wrapped a film in Oregon that I shot on the FS7; I'll go through the dailies and post them here for you.

In the meantime, you should check out this article (another great one by Art Adams) discussing how the highlights on Sony cameras have improved.

I personally haven't tested the A7RII, so I can't vouch for its highlight detail. However, a general assumption that highlights are rendered terribly on Sony sensors is unnecessary.
 

I'm sure it's versatile for people who want to use Sony cameras forever. However, for people who want to make an investment in glass, being stuck with E mount in my view is silly. Far better to buy EOS or PL mount glass and use adaptors. So a lot of the benefits these cameras have with E mount Sony glass, don't exist the moment you put PL glass on it.

That's what I'm saying, though. The E-mount allows one to have any glass, not Sony E-Mount glass. A DP could certainly still purchase PL based lenses and use them on the A7s/RII.
 

It will happen very soon, now that XAVC-I has been adopted by Sony. The only reason they don't put it in the smaller cameras is processor speed. It needs a much faster processor and it's a huge problem for the DSLR market.

That very well may be the case, but until Sony announces (or hints) anything, it's purely speculation.
 

Besides, true raw like CinemaDNG which all the blackmagic cameras have, gives you exactly what's coming off the imager. It doesn't really tax the processor, but it does tax the memory and costs money because there is licensing from Adobe. The Japanese brands don't think about this as an option, they want to do everything in-house, so they don't even contemplate using this format. Sure, the commercial cameras all record raw, but none of us are going to be buying one.

CinemaDNG isn't an industry standard format (even though it tried to be); it's just as proprietary as all the other manufacturers. Arri doesn't use it, neither does RED, Canon, or Sony. One can certainly take the RAW information from those cameras and put them into CinemaDNG, but it doesn't mean that format is the best.

The only real industry standard is ACES. I'm still trying to grasp the system, but that's the direction manufacturers are heading towards.
 

All cameras have weaknesses, but the three things that are most important are: Lens selection, Imager/color science and recording format. If any one of those things is compromised, you've got a big problem. Blackmagic have nailed it on all three of those and even though they've had some hiccups with developing the right box, they sure did with the pocket and now URSA mini.

The A7s/RII meets that criteria and will suit Jesse just fine. If he needs anything more powerful, he'll be better off renting.


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#20 Tyler Purcell

Tyler Purcell
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Posted 02 September 2015 - 12:08 AM

Lucky for us, the A7RII still records 4K UHD in crop mode! :)


Ohh interesting, so it can use the full benefit of the imagers larger pixel depth. I didn't know that.
 

that may only be for a certain subset of the industry.


There is a huge disconnect between the production people and the distribution people. All distribution requires a 10 bit master, doesn't matter what part of the industry as I've worked in features, shorts, documentary, broadcast, music video's, trailers, EPK's, etc. Every single job I worked on, you had to hand someone a 10 bit master file. Those files were normally generated via the coloring tool like DaVinci. However, in some cases, you would simply lay them off to a 10 bit tape like HDCAM and deliver.

I remember telling some production people on an EPK session that we wanted 10 bit files and they simply converted 8 bit 4:2:0 MPEG's to 10 bit Pro Res HQ. We had no choice but to work with those files and we showed the EPK producers the final product, they fired the production crew. The new crew they hired, shot with F5's and the problem was solved.
 

Furthermore, Act of Valor was primarily shot on the 5D's. You can read about it on Shane Hurlbut's blog (he shot it).


Yea, yea, but those shot's looked like crap and most of the film was heavily treated in post. If you have a 10 million dollar (random insane number, I'm sure it was much more) post budget to remove people from shots, you absolutely have enough money to clean up halos from lack of bit depth. In fact, you can draw a new gradient right in DaVinci if you want. It gets back to my reasoning for disliking digital to begin with. Shoot anything you want and fix the crap you got on set in post to make a movie.

In my eyes, your master needs to be highest quality possible and 1920x1080, 8 bit, 4:2:0 is pretty much the lowest acceptable quality format in existence today.
 

You should contact Art Adams. He shoots a lot with Sony and easily gets those cameras to match other cameras. Very talented DP.


Checking out his stuff right now, thanks for the links! :)
 

I recently wrapped a film in Oregon that I shot on the FS7; I'll go through the dailies and post them here for you.


I'd love to see stuff, thanks! :)
 

That very well may be the case, but until Sony announces (or hints) anything, it's purely speculation.


The FS7 does UHD 10 bit 4:2:2 XAVC-I. So they just need to throw that codec into the smaller cameras. However, they don't do this because of processor power, but that will change soon.
 

CinemaDNG isn't an industry standard format (even though it tried to be)


Arri raw and Red Code were developed before CinemaDNG. The big difference is that Arri Raw is uncompressed, where CinemaDNG and Red Code are both compressed. CinemaDNG being Tiff based and Red Code being JPEG based. However, all three formats equate to the same result, a 12 bit image which is captured directly off the sensor with minimal processing. The reason why there are multiple formats is quite simple, everyone want's money for their unique format. CinemaDNG is the only open-platform system. Adobe owns the licensing and native support is included within their software. It's evidently cheap to license because Blackmagic doesn't charge a lot for it. As new cameras come to market, I assume more people will eventually adopt CinemaDNG and maybe we'll see Arri make the change at some point as well, as the format is clearly excellent.

Honestly, the blackmagic cameras are so good in Pro Res mode, I have yet to use CinemaDNG. I don't like transcoding, it makes a mess out of things. So I link to the original quicktime files to edit and then take the sequence from my editor and color using the original files in DaVinci. The camera workflow is 10 bit 4:2:2 and the output can be pretty much anything I want. It's a great workflow and for the money, NOTHING beats it. If I had an URSA Mini, I would use the same workflow.
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