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BM 4k camera vs Red or Arri


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#1 Mario Bosanac

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Posted 24 June 2017 - 01:59 AM

Compare/contrast a BlackMagic 4K camera and a Red Dragon

 

I have worked with both but not enough with either of them to determine which one is better for the project I'm doing. 

It’s a thriller feature. I'm planning on getting Rokinon's Xeen lenses. We plan to shoot in either 2 or 4K I believe.

 

I want to convince the producers and director that the BlackMagic 4K is ok to use so addl money doesn't have to be spent on a Red Dragon IF it's truly not necessary. They prefer to have a Red Dragon or an Arri camera of some kind because of the type of quality and the name behind it. I understand that the BlackMagic 4k does have less dynamic range than the Red Dragon. So that's understandable, but as far as Colorscience, other factors of image quality, could I possibly make an equivalent image on the BlackMagic 4k than I could on a Red Dragon?

 

I understand this might be a vague question so let me know if I can make it any more specific?


Edited by Mario Bosanac, 24 June 2017 - 02:01 AM.

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#2 Macks Fiiod

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Posted 24 June 2017 - 02:55 AM

When you say Blackmagic 4k do you mean their Production Camera 4k? Or the URSA 4k?


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#3 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 25 June 2017 - 01:42 AM

It will depend on the requirements on the script. If you're shooting night exteriors etc and the resources you have for such work. 


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#4 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 25 June 2017 - 07:47 PM

I personally wouldn't buy anything but the URSA Mini Pro 4.6k. I think the older 4k imager isn't very good, it has a lot of issues.

The big difference between the URSA Mini Pro 4.6k and an Alexa or even Dragon, is really the width of acceptable operational conditions.

For example, the URSA likes to be at 800 ISO all the time, where you can push the Alexa and newer Red's pretty high and they look good. To me, that's the biggest difference, all of the other things can be overcome.

The Xeen's are pretty darn good, I have a set of them and I'm very impressed for the price. They're soft under F2, so be aware of that right away, they ain't gonna work well all the way open. But if you can accept that, you'll be in good shape.
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#5 Jay Young

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Posted 25 June 2017 - 09:37 PM

And here is where Tyler and I disagree.  I think the older 4K sensor looks far better than the 4.6K sensor.  But the reality is that you need to be able to support shooting at its native 400 iso, which most people are not.

 

Rolling shutter on the 4.6K sensor, and global shutter on the 4K.

 

However you also must take into the entirely new color pipeline in the new firmware.  Its great when matching to Alexa color, but if you have an older firmware only Blackmagic camera, and one that runs the newer firmware, you'll have a terrible time matching.


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#6 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 25 June 2017 - 10:45 PM

The older 4k imager has been tossed aside because it was too noisy. Blackmagic developed their own imager and that's the 4.6k imager. It's FAR more versatile, with broader dynamic range, less noise over-all. Plus the newer electronics are a lot better. I don't know why people complain about the Ursa 4.6k imager, I've never had any issues with it.  


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#7 Macks Fiiod

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Posted 25 June 2017 - 11:01 PM

https://youtu.be/c1mPUEMlBa0?t=47

 

Stuff like that explains it for me. There's that magenta cast but I believe the pro version fixed that.


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#8 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 26 June 2017 - 09:07 AM

https://youtu.be/c1mPUEMlBa0?t=47

 

Stuff like that explains it for me. There's that magenta cast but I believe the pro version fixed that.

 

Great example of what a piece of junk the 4k imager is. Notice how the sky is gone in the 4k and the 4.6k the sky is visible? Umm.. whoops. 


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#9 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 26 June 2017 - 09:21 AM

That's no evidence that anything's particularly good or bad. If something in the frame is overexposed that you'd like to not be overexposed, stop down!

 

The 4K camera has perhaps eleven and a half stops of dynamic range. This is essentially the same dynamic range as the Viper, which everyone thought was wonderful.

 

More is more, of course, but let's not get too overexcited about it. I like the Blackmagic 4K because it has a global shutter and that's a damn fine thing - and rare, these days.

 

The imager in the Blackmagic 4K cameras is likely to be the Cmosis CMV12000, which was designed as a machine vision camera and therefore had global shutter as a core feature; the fact that they've got it this good is laudable.

 

P


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#10 Macks Fiiod

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Posted 26 June 2017 - 03:32 PM

I used one camera with over 12 stops of dynamic range and I'm sorry to say I can't go back unless it's old and cheap.


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#11 Mario Bosanac

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Posted 27 June 2017 - 04:40 PM

Thank you all for the responses! I'm glad to get more in-depth opinions!

I did notice that some of you were referring to the URSA. I was referring the BM Production 4k camera. NOT the URSA


Edited by Mario Bosanac, 27 June 2017 - 04:44 PM.

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#12 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 27 June 2017 - 05:53 PM

Thank you all for the responses! I'm glad to get more in-depth opinions!
I did notice that some of you were referring to the URSA. I was referring the BM Production 4k camera. NOT the URSA


There is little to no comparison between a first generation 4k Production camera and a Dragon or Alexa. The Production camera is a real toy, the 2.5k version had a decent imager which was it's only saving grace. The 4k imager is REALLY BAD and I've done back to back tests of them.

My advice, stay away from "low cost" cameras like the Production cameras.
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#13 Mark Kenfield

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Posted 27 June 2017 - 09:16 PM

To be fair, I did a shoot with racing go-karts, where we rigged multiple Blackmagic 4k Cinema Cameras to the karts (just inches from the ground in some cases). And we straight-up could not of captured the action with any other cameras. The BM 4k camera was the only compact global shutter available (still is I believe), and anything with a rolling shutter (Arri, Red or otherwise) would have turned to complete jello under such intense vibrations.

 

And I actually quite like the images from the 4k camera, they grade up nicely (in spite of the lower dynamic range).

 

But for all the Blackmagic cameras, there's a pretty simple, common explanation for their performance - namely that you get what you pay for. They all (and the new 'Pro' modeal in particular) have great specs for the money. But at the end of the day you can't escape the fact that 'for the money' aspect. They're built to a price, and it shows.


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#14 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 28 June 2017 - 08:12 PM

The 4.6K is considerably better, picture-wise, than anything they've done before.

 

I don't think the 4K camera needs anyone to make excuses for it. Everyone wanted it to be the 2.5K, only global shutter and twice the resolution. It was never going to be that, but like you, I like the pictures from the 4K and I really like the global shutter.

 

The 4.6K is much more the higher-resolution version of the 2.5K that everyone wanted. It is somewhat characterless, but that is not a fault. Really, the camera should not be imposing a look on the production. The great, all-conquering Alexa does that. It's quite identifiable and there is no great mystique; it has shadows which shelve off gently then crush rather abruptly to black, just like an F900 with a hypergamma curve in it, which is presumably provoked by much the same physics and the same need to crush out the noise in the very bottommost parts of the image. It also has very, very gentle highlight rolloff. It is a look designed to in some ways emulate film, and in some ways to mollify film purists. It's just a lookup table. Sony's "Rec. 709 Type-A" preset emulates Arri's standard 709 conversion fairly successfully. 

 

It just happens to be a look that everyone seems to like (and I don't disagree), but it's not really a good thing. The camera should be giving us something without character. Character is the DP's job. If you want character, design an appropriate character for the production and put it in the monitoring and the grade. Blackmagic's cameras work best with that approach, and I think it's the right approach, but there are a lot of people out there who rely frankly rather heavily on Alexa making everything look like Alexa.

 

Because everyone likes Alexa, right...

 

P


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#15 Robin R Probyn

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Posted 28 June 2017 - 08:47 PM

I totally agree Phil.. these guys turn up with their Arri,s ,throw up a 1x1 lite panel..press Rec and go home in their Maserati,s .. we Sony owners are the better DP,s .. as we have embraced the biblical like challenge of the "Sony Look".. we are the Bilbo Baggins of the digital world.. we are like Luke Sky Walker wandering the lonely pixel prairies seeking truth and answers ..  we are the latter day  James Dean strolling the Boulevard of broken codecs... 


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#16 Chris Burke

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Posted 12 July 2017 - 04:48 PM

Now there is the Canon c200. How does it factor in compared to the other cams mentioned?
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#17 Robin R Probyn

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Posted 12 July 2017 - 07:12 PM

The C200 seems a bit of an odd one.. you have a new "Canon cinema Raw light" that no edit system supports .. on one slot CF card.. or bizarrely only 8 bit 35Mbps 420  HD,or 150 Mbps 4K UHD onto SD cards.. seems an odd choice to me for a "broadcast " camera..  AFAIK..

 

No 10 bit .. only 35 Mbps HD.. these days.. with so much competition ..  I think it will sell like a chocolate fire guard.. 


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#18 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 12 July 2017 - 07:22 PM

Aye... good observations Robin, I think it's a toy.
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#19 Robin R Probyn

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Posted 12 July 2017 - 07:32 PM

There is some firmware up grade in 2018 talked about.. to the usual Canon codec .. but I think its limited to 8 bit in that camera.. maybe Ive missed something but why would anyone put out  35 Mbps HD in a new camera.. its not broadcast standard for HD even...or the whole market is a B cam for the C700/C300 II.. ?  


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#20 Mark Kenfield

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Posted 12 July 2017 - 11:01 PM

I totally agree Phil.. these guys turn up with their Arri,s ,throw up a 1x1 lite panel..press Rec and go home in their Maserati,s .. we Sony owners are the better DP,s .. as we have embraced the biblical like challenge of the "Sony Look".. we are the Bilbo Baggins of the digital world.. we are like Luke Sky Walker wandering the lonely pixel prairies seeking truth and answers ..  we are the latter day  James Dean strolling the Boulevard of broken codecs... 


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