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Blackmagic Pocket camera with real cine lenses


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#1 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 11 September 2016 - 08:16 PM

So earlier in the summer, I had the opportunity to shoot a feature-length BTS film on the making of the feature I'm currently editing... if that makes any sense. It was a great opportunity to test somethings I hadn't tried before, including using real Super 16 cinema lenses with my pocket camera. 

 

When I initially purchased the pocket, I couldn't afford real cine glass, so I bought Rokinon EF primes and an adaptor. These lenses work great and honestly, I have very little complaint with everything from the 24mm and up. It's the wider lenses which suck. So when I stumbled upon a Super 16 rig for sale, with a bunch of real cine glass, I bought it up and have recently started experimenting with the output. 

 

Today's post is all about the Zeiss 10-100 zoom lens, modified with an Optex 1.2x extender so it will cover the S16 frame, making the lens a 12-120. I will post more videos as time goes on with different lenses as a comparison. 

 

I was having trouble getting my rather large mattebox and filters to set on my motorcycle, so on days with direct sunlight where I needed the filters, I was using this lens and it's MUCH SMALLER mattebox that doesn't fit on the Rokinon's + 3x3 filter kit. Almost everything else was shot with the Rokinon primes, mainly because I could throw the camera around more and not worry about damaging them. The filters I use are a glass 3x3 .9 ND and on some shots with direct sun, a plastic gradient. You can see the grad very clearly on the shot of the guy with the hat talking. Usually I bring the grad up in the holder to prevent that, but I didn't in that particular take.

 

Most everything in this video is shot with the pocket camera @ 200ISO, 45 deg shutter, 6000k white point and 23.98. There is ONE SHOT of our lead actress pushing her face against a horse which was shot very early in the morning and it's more noisy, thanks to using 800 ISO and no filtration.

 

Using LOG recording in Pro Res HQ, this video was compiled from quick selects dragged into DaVinci, factory Blackmagic Pocket LUT applied (V2) and minor tweak to bring in more blue, as it always comes out overly warm thanks to the 6k white setting, which I personally prefer. There are no finishing tricks or filters applied in post. This is as direct from the camera you can get. Every shot under 100 and above 0 IRE. 

Also, all of these shots are hand held, only using a mono pod for stability. Again, riding to work on my motorcycle, couldn't fit a tripod or shoulder rig.

Any shot with direct open sky, was underexposed by a stop to help preserve the sky and you can tell how well that trick works in the second shot with the blue sky and clouds.

Here is the drop box link for playback and remember, when you're done watching, please delete off your computer. You can also download the material to see it in full resolution. I did notice my computers are playing the file back in 8 bit on the displays, which is odd. In DaVinci or on the AJA card monitor output, it's 10 bit.

https://www.dropbox....12-120.mov?dl=0

Here is the rig on set:

 

pocket_zoomlens.jpeg


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#2 Macks Fiiod

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Posted 11 September 2016 - 11:16 PM

Clouds looked nice on it. Overall natural look, I should get one for myself.

 

But I can't believe you revealed the horse's funeral, that's spoiling the movie!!


Edited by Macks Fiiod, 11 September 2016 - 11:17 PM.

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#3 Jay Young

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Posted 12 September 2016 - 05:24 AM

I didn't see a whole lot of BTS, but I do have two questions, having just shot for 30 hours I may be a little delirious; why for that subject matter (Story OR BTS) did you select 45-degree shutter? Was this purely a function of the amount of light you wanted to cut? 

 

Second,  on my own tests with the Pocket's ISO, I find 200 to be the worst setting in strong light, as it skews the shadow sensitivity to the plus side, reducing the number of dynamic stops available for highlights.  Do your findings suggest otherwise?


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#4 Robin R Probyn

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Posted 12 September 2016 - 06:00 AM

Hi Tyler

 

Just wondered .. doesn't that lens cover s16 in the first place.. 


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#5 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 12 September 2016 - 11:56 AM

I didn't see a whole lot of BTS, but I do have two questions, having just shot for 30 hours I may be a little delirious; why for that subject matter (Story OR BTS) did you select 45-degree shutter? Was this purely a function of the amount of light you wanted to cut?


It's a good question. I personally don't like the look of digital camera motion blur. It softens the image considerably when the camera or subject is moving. Also, as you pointed out, I've struggled greatly to reduce the imagers sensitivity. Since I aim for more cinematic "filmic" images, I try to remove as many digital-looking elements from my shoots as I can. I find the higher shutter speed trick to help.
 

Second,  on my own tests with the Pocket's ISO, I find 200 to be the worst setting in strong light, as it skews the shadow sensitivity to the plus side, reducing the number of dynamic stops available for highlights.  Do your findings suggest otherwise?


I agree with you, there is absolutely some upper highlight latitude lost when on anything else but 800 ISO. However, 800 ISO is grainy as all get out and you can't over-expose to help compensate for that or you're get major color balance shift. So when shooting outdoors in direct sunlight, the only thing you can do is reduce the ISO.

In any direct or reflective sunlight scenes, I'll protect highlights by reducing the stop. I run my zebras at 70% and use that as my main guide to exposure. If the zebra's are just slightly visible, I know it's ok. If they're very visible, the shot will be blown out. The histogram isn't quite that sensitive and I rely on it when the zebra's don't help, like shooting with limited lighting indoors.

My material has little noise as a consequence and thanks to modern coloring tools, it's easy to compensate for lack of the best dynamic range in post by brining up the darker areas. If you shoot at 800 ISO and filter the living crap out of the camera to compensate, the darks are very noisy. You don't have the latitude in the darks to bring it up at all. From 800 to 200, I think there is around 2 stops of upper latitude loss. So if you shoot 1 stop under exposed, using those zebras as your guide, protecting those highlights like you would on a CCD camera. Your darks are MUCH LESS noisy then 800 ISO and you can bring them up in post to compensate. I frankly don't have enough ND filtration to work outdoors in direct sunlight at 800 ISO and 180 deg shutter.
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#6 Will Montgomery

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Posted 12 September 2016 - 01:17 PM

I see your one Zeiss 10-100 and raise you one Cooke S4 18mm.

 

cook_bmpcc.jpg


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#7 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 12 September 2016 - 01:32 PM

Ohh! If only I had a PL adaptor! That's kinda cheating! HAHAHA :P
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#8 Will Montgomery

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Posted 12 September 2016 - 04:52 PM

So you have an Arri mount adapter to MFT?

 

What's funny is that I bought the PL adapter (Wooden Camera) for my Zeiss 10-100 that was converted to 12-120 PL...the same lens you have. I have to say that lens its amazing with this camera. I actually bought the BMPCC so I'd have a sensor for that lens. I've been using it with S16 for years.

 

I've done a bunch of talking heads with that setup and clients are always amazed.


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#9 Will Montgomery

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Posted 12 September 2016 - 04:58 PM

Looks like you're supporting the lens from that grip and that's good, the MFT mount wasn't made for that weight. The lens weighs about 5x what the camera does I think.

 

I wish BlackMagic would come out with a 4k sensor that's the same size as the S16 one in the BMPCC. That would make my day. All these great S16 lenses would have an even longer life.


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#10 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 12 September 2016 - 06:37 PM

Yea my lenses are all B mount to go along with the Aaton mount film camera I have. I do have PL adaptors for the Optar primes, but no PL camera. :(

The school I teach at has PL mount cine lenses, so I may buy a PL adaptor to MFT just to have it, that would be fun to play around with. Though I will admit, the S16 glass is "good enough" for the lil pocket.

In terms of the Pocket's resolution, 1080 is a bit weak sauce today. 4k would be amazing, but I think it would be impossible and retain the feature set/physical size. However, "realistically" they could make a 2.5k version, which would allow for a better debayer.

I have asked the folks at Blackmagic many times about updates to the pocket and I fret, they aren't going to make any. The company only looks forward and it doesn't look like they'll visit that camera size again.
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#11 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 13 September 2016 - 10:46 PM

You can certainly make almost any sensor almost any K, hell my Samsung Galaxy S4 has a "4K" sensor in it, though only for stills (12 megapixels).

 

Craziest thing i threw on my pocket when i still had it were Kowa Anamorphics to use as a poor man's doubler for some insert shots to go along with stuff off of an Alexa. Oh the joys.


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#12 Will Montgomery

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Posted 14 September 2016 - 10:22 AM

I was basically looking for a sensor for my lenses...not lenses for my camera. I feel like that's the way it's going to be for a while; own the best lenses you can and change out the cameras.

 

Rent what changes the most (cameras), own what you can have for years and spread out the investment over a decade.


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