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should i buy a new pocket cinema for 780$ or rent ursa mini 4k for 70$ per day

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#1 amirali mohammadi

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Posted 05 September 2017 - 01:45 PM

hey guys ! 

 

my question is why do you buy a camera when you can rent it ! ?? if you buy a camera like bmpcc you have to buy a lot of accessories !! with this money ! we can rent a better camera and better lenses for doing great job !

 

so now ! help me ! should i buy a bmpcc for 780 $$ ?? :))) thanks a lot


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#2 Matt Thomas

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Posted 05 September 2017 - 03:04 PM

It all depends on the type of work you are doing. 

 

I had this question earlier this year and this forum was super helpful in me making an informed decision. I ended up buying a solid base package and can rent when I need something special like, certain lenses, high speed capabilities, stabilization etc. 

 

If this isn't for a specific job and for general use, you should take a hard look at what you are doing/can afford to do/want to do/the market around you is doing and then make your purchase based off of that. It's a business expense not a new toy. 

 

All of that being said, I'm a fan of those lil BMPCCs.


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#3 amirali mohammadi

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Posted 05 September 2017 - 03:46 PM

thank you matt


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#4 Michael LaVoie

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Posted 05 September 2017 - 04:49 PM

When you rent equipment, depending on where from and how busy they are, it can be an all day soul killing nightmare going through checkout.   So if you have an A.C. doing it all for you and production is paying them, then it's a non-issue.  If you do it yourself, yeesh, be prepared to spend all day there and plan to get a parking ticket. 

 

If production doesn't spring for the A.C. to do the checkout, and they just send a P.A. you're likely to wind up with a rental order that is half filled or just plain wrong.

 

 That alone is enough to think about investing in your own camera kit.  Especially if you produce a lot and shoot a lot for yourself.


Edited by Michael LaVoie, 05 September 2017 - 04:50 PM.

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#5 amirali mohammadi

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Posted 05 September 2017 - 04:55 PM

thanks michael and i really love your works ! what is your idea about bmpccfor every day use ? 


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#6 Dom Jaeger

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Posted 05 September 2017 - 06:51 PM

When you rent equipment, depending on where from and how busy they are, it can be an all day soul killing nightmare going through checkout..


I've spent over 20 years working in rental houses, never heard them described quite so ... vividly! I'm sure if you were just coming to pick up an Ursa Mini kit with a few lenses and support it wouldn't have to be an all-day nightmare, but maybe the rental houses in your neck of the woods are gulags rather than the friendly establishments I'm used to.

I think renting makes sense for more expensive high end gear, for full production kits that can be shaped to fit the needs of the show, for trying out equipment before deciding to purchase or for specialised gear that may not be used that regularly on further productions. It's also very useful for certain productions to have the support of a rental house behind them, to help sort out technical questions or swap out faulty or damaged gear without wasting precious shooting time, and to have equipment that is properly checked and calibrated or can be adjusted by technicians if necessary.

If you're spending half the cost of an item renting it for a few days then it would seem more sensible to buy it yourself.
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#7 Landon D. Parks

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Posted 05 September 2017 - 09:22 PM

 I own a GH5, Atomos Inferno, Speedbooster, and a full set of Rokinon CineDS primes, in addition to some minor camera support stuff like a 16' jib, slider, home-made track dolly, a basic lighting package, and some misc. grip stuff. All totaled, this equipment probably costs me $8,000 over the several years of trading up, etc. That setup can shoot pretty much anything, right up to a feature length film.

 

However, if I had a budget of $1,000,000 - I'd probably upgrade the camera package to an Alexa or a Epic or some such. In that case, it is most certain I would rent that equipment rather than buy. If the $100,000 or more pricetag for a fully decked out Alexa or Epic doesn't scare you away, technology simply moves too quickly to make that kind of investment, unless your also in the business of renting out that equipment to more quickly recoup your investment. While Alexas seem to hold their value, Red seems to come out with something 'new and great' each year, which replaces the prior years product. 

 

Basically, this: Buy your own kit for most of your projects. Spend less than $10k on it. This kit will serve you well in most of what you need. If you are working on something that necessitates a larger camera (and this is not image quality driven - but rather workflow driven), then you should probably rent that camera package.


Edited by Landon D. Parks, 05 September 2017 - 09:23 PM.

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#8 Landon D. Parks

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Posted 05 September 2017 - 09:39 PM

Have you considered a GH5 purchase? The camera shoots 10-bit 4:2:2 internal, which is the same rate most people would shoot on the pocket anyway. The GH5 with Vlog also has about the same DR as the Pocket (my test showed 12.5 stops on the GH5 to the advertised 13 of the Pocket). Not to mention, I owned the Pocket for a brief period - and was less than impressed with it in terms of usability.


Edited by Landon D. Parks, 05 September 2017 - 09:47 PM.

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#9 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 06 September 2017 - 02:09 PM

GH5 is certainly worth looking into; though double the price, in today's world I think the 4K gets rather important, even if it doesn't much matter for most shoots, many people looking to hire out want to do so upon the buzz words, and 4K happens to be a major buzz word.


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#10 Landon D. Parks

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Posted 06 September 2017 - 09:07 PM

My thing with the GH5, and the GH4 (which is also a fine camera that can be had for about the same price as the Pocket, though needs to be paired with an Atomos for 10-bit 4:2:2) is that the 4K is handy, but I don't actually post anything 4K. Rather, I use the 4k file to downrez to 2k or 1080, which effectively crushes the noise and some of the remaining compression artifacts x4, resulting in a much cleaner image - even at higher ISO's.

 

The GH5 is certainly not perfect, and I would want to use it on a real film set with a large enough budget to afford a 'real' cinema camera, but I also think if you're in the ballpark of a $5,000 or less camera, the GH5 is certainly going to provide one of the better deals in that price range. At $5,000, you have the URSA Mini 4.6k, which the bare minimum I would consider as a real 'cinema camera', and even that is pushing it. The problem with the URSA though, is that the entire kit will cost you $8,000 or more dollars to get it shooting.

 

You can get a GH5, Speedboster, set of Rokinon CineDS lenses, and a fairly beefy camera support rig for less than $4,000. To make the workflow easier you can add an Atomos Inferno, which will provide you with production-grade PRORES or DNxHD files, as well as XLR audio, and still stay under $5k for the entire package.

 

For a camera that can give you Cinema 4k (not just UHD), with 12.5 stops of DR, it's a great deal. For the base cost of another 4k camera like the URSA, you can rather get some descent cine-grade lenses like the Cine DS line.

 

I would argue that while the GH5 is double the price, the Pocket is rather bare bones by itself. You really need to outfit it with a better battery system and means of recording better audio at the very least, which could start to erode into that $1,000 difference pretty quickly.


Edited by Landon D. Parks, 06 September 2017 - 09:11 PM.

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#11 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 07 September 2017 - 04:07 AM

In terms of buying vs renting... if you wanna shoot stuff, you need a camera, lenses and support right? Well, generally speaking, that stuff can be bought pretty inexpensively today. My entire pocket camera kit with two camera bodies, external audio recorder, wireless mic's and 4 Rokinon DS lenses, canon and PL mount adaptors, tripod/mono pod, shoulder kit, shot gun mic, batteries, cards viewfinder adaptor and a backpack that holds all of it, cost me around $5k to purchase new. This kit I can throw on my back and travel anywhere, take it out and shoot great interviews with them. I do mostly documentary and my kit has literally traveled to a dozen countries, criss crossed this nation and has been used on 2 features and dozens of shorts. It will be FOUR YEARS since I purchased this kit come November 2017 and I've not had any issues. I still love the cameras and use or rent them weekly. Where I haven't done the actual math, I'm pretty certain they've already paid for themselves at least twice for the rental fee's I've received and the jobs I got because I owned equipment instead of needing to rent stuff. 

 

I do believe owning SOME kit is nice for personal projects. It gets costly to rent, especially most rental houses require insurance. Plus, you've gotta prep quite a bit in advance when you rent, you can't just walk into a rental house at 5pm on a friday and say, hey i gotta shoot over the weekend. So if you're like me and get last minute calls, it's frankly nice to have everything in a bag ready to roll. 

 

I also own around $30,000 (current market value) worth of lenses and film cameras because I rent them for cheap money for students and it's a great to have for my own productions. So where do rent lighting and grip equipment, the base camera equipment I've pushed hard to own mostly because I find it forces me to make product since I hate seeing it sitting on the shelf. 

 

On another subject... I convinced one of my friends to buy a GH5 and honestly, I'm not impressed at all. 

 

First off, the menu system is all touch screen and it's bogus. It's so much worse then the GH4, it's scary. Everyone is complaining about it and it shows Panasonic isn't even trying to make their cameras easy to use. Little things like turning on and off display functions, are a pain to deal with, they're very deep in the menu. 

 

Second, The GH5 comes stock with .h265 codec, which is impossible to playback natively in any operating system. So you're stuck to playing your files back in Premiere or DaVinci for the time being. This is a HUGE problem because means you're basically forced to buy Premiere to use the camera AT ALL! Plus, only Long GOP support until sometime in October/November where they promise an i frame version of the codec to come out. 

 

Third, it's the most unintuitive camera on the planet to use. Nothing makes sense, from the button placement to even how it deals with automatic/manual settings. 

 

Finally... and this kills me, it doesn't even look that good. Sure it's 4k and all, but honestly I've shot quite a bit of stuff with it and been unimpressed by the image. It has a certain "crispness" to it that makes it more digital looking then the Pocket camera, which is generally a softer image all the way around. I've been waiting to discuss this camera until I grade everything, but I just don't like anything about it and the person who bought it, is also very upset. He's been on the horn to Panasonic several times, they have close to zero support and he's just frustrated. He spent two weeks learning/practicing with the camera and on location, nearly half of what he shot came out like shit. It's just too complicated to use, too many things that can go wrong for a little inexpensive camera.


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#12 Landon D. Parks

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Posted 07 September 2017 - 09:05 AM

I always throw a soft black filter on digital cameras when I shoot with them. It knocks down the crispness, and in my experience helps with highlight handling. As for it being un-intuitive - I mean I guess it depends on what you're after. I just got done shooting an interview with my new GH5 setup the other day, and it turned out fine. Didn't have any issues with figuring out the camera. Although, I will add a disclaimer here: I don't shoot internal on the camera, so a lot of the settings I use are fairly simple. I use the Atomos for monitoring and recording, which provides a 10-bit 4:2:2 DNxHR file that is much better for editing and doesn't require transcoding, takes care of the DSLR audio issues, and has an amazing array of scopes and settings built-in. As such, I don't really touch the menu settings on the GH5 or the GH4 much at all, other than to set white balance, switch frame rates and formats, etc - and I have a lot of settings mapped to shortcuts. I shoot on Cine DS lenses, so autofocus and f-stop is also not an issue for me. 

 

Frankly, if I had to shoot internal on the camera, I'd probably be a little bit less pleased with it, though the same could be said for the GH4. The reality is, you need to treat the GH4/GH5 as a 'brain' and not a full camera package. If you do that, you'll be happy. But, at the same time, it's also possible to take the camera out alone and get pretty good results with it - which means its flexible. 

 

Not really trying to sway you toward the GH line of cameras, just offering my opinion on what I own and use a LOT. Having experience with the Pocket myself, I was not impressed with it. That was a long time ago though, and things could have changed.

 

The biggest issue here is the only two cameras in this sort of budget, really worth even talking about, are the GH line and the lower-end offerings from Blackmagic. 

 

As for it being too crisp an image - I think all digital cameras suffer from this when you start talking about 4k and up - even the cinema cameras like the Epic...

 

PS) This is the filter I use: https://www.bhphotov...=REG&sku=683424


Edited by Landon D. Parks, 07 September 2017 - 09:15 AM.

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#13 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 07 September 2017 - 01:49 PM

As for it being too crisp an image - I think all digital cameras suffer from this when you start talking about 4k and up - even the cinema cameras like the Epic... I always throw a soft black filter on digital cameras when I shoot with them. It knocks down the crispness, and in my experience helps with highlight handling.


Well, I shoot with professional 4k cameras all the time, in fact I just finished grading a 6k Dragon music video and it didn't look nearly as crisp as the GH5... or for that matter, most of those still cameras that shoot video.

If adding a filter makes it look acceptable, I guess that's a cheap fix. Still, it's solving a problem that shouldn't exist.

As for it being un-intuitive - I mean I guess it depends on what you're after.


Focus peaking
Zebra's
Histogram
Iris/shutter/ISO
Audio levels
Codec/frame rate
Manual white balance (not presets)

Most of these settings are buried deep in the menus, in "unintuitive" areas. For instance, anything that would appear on the display is 4 levels into the menu.

The frame rate and "codec" settings are also unintuitive as Panasonic has their own proprietary formats and the way it's broken down, seems like an old SD camcorder, rather then a professional camera.

I also haven't been able to make any "log" format work properly. I don't think the camera actually does REAL LOG recording.

I have a lot of settings mapped to shortcuts.


Yep, that's the only way to do it. Just figuring out how to do that, is also a nightmare and the moment you move to a different camera that's not YOURS, you basically have to start all over again in the menu's. It's basically the worst/poorest design I've ever seen.

The reality is, you need to treat the GH4/GH5 as a 'brain' and not a full camera package.


Which defeats the whole purpose of it's existence. For the kind of money you spend on making your "little" camera work, you've now got a "big" camera with all the accessories and still can't shoot RAW or 12 bit 444 LOG.

Plus, these cameras are tuned for still shooting more then video. You're carrying around with you all that extra tech (buttons/knobs) that you aren't using on a video shoot. Personally, I'd rather have a camera designed for the task then one that does a whole bunch of other ancelary shit.

Sure the pocket is 1080p, but at least it's super intuitive and is a complete package out of the box.

The biggest issue here is the only two cameras in this sort of budget, really worth even talking about, are the GH line and the lower-end offerings from Blackmagic.


The GH5 isn't even close to the same budget area as the Pocket camera. Not only is it twice the money to outright buy, but as you put it, the accessories needed to make it work, are another huge chunk. Once you get into GH5 money, you now talk about the A7SMKII as well. Which even though I despise Sony, has a lot of benefits over the GH5 in terms of being a "camera head".
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#14 Landon D. Parks

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Posted 07 September 2017 - 03:11 PM

I've never had any trouble with vLog on either the GH4 or the GH5. My testing shows I can pull about 12.5 stops of DR from the vLog on the GH5, which is just a half-stop less than the advertised 13-stops on the Pocket. 

 

Also, please don't make it out like the GH5 is un-shootable without accessories and the Pocket is not. BOTH camera's can shoot 10-bit 4:2:2 in LOG mode right inside the camera. Both take m4/3 lens mounts. Both have monitoring provisions. Both have about the same audio interface, connections, metering, and pre-amps. These are all standard in BOTH cameras without any accessories at all. The GH5 benefits from having an Atomos or such attached to it, simply for better monitoring, better scopes, and an easier time in post - but it won't affect image quality much at all rather you have one or not. The Pocket could also benefit from an Atomos for the same reason as the GH5. Audio provisions on either camera are slim to none, so you really need to outfit both cameras with some form of audio method. The Atomos takes care of this (on both cameras), or you can also purchase something like a DR-60D for either camera. Internally, both cameras have crappy audio. 

 

The GH5 might be more difficult to get use to, but that is no excuse not the use it. You just need to spend some time learning it before shooting with it.

 

The big advantage to the GH5, in my opinion, is that I can shoot for 2.5 to 3 hours on a single battery. The Pocket will either require you carry a LOT of batteries with you, or you outfit it with a battery system - which brings it right into line with the 'needed accessories' you mention about the GH5.

 

Yes, the Pocket also has RAW shooting, but I question how many people actually can use RAW footage anyway. If you have the power and storage to shoot and post in RAW, you can probably afford a better camera than either the GH5 or the Pocket. 

 

Price wise, the difference is not that major once you factor in the power accessories needed to make the Pocket usable. The GH5 can be had for $1,700 new, while a Pocket with a V-mount battery and power management system will run you close to that price. 

 

TL;DR: Both the Pocket and the GH5 record 10-bit 4:2:2 internal in LOG mode, so neither requires any accessories to deliver that image quality. The Atomos or the like simply improves on the camera's (either ones) usability. The pocket suffers from poor battery life that the GH5 and GH4 do not. RAW on the pocket is pretty much overkill. The GH5 gets 12.5 stops of DR in vLog mode, which I never had any trouble working with. Sharpeness is not the end-all-be-all in post. There are filters you can use to knock sharpness down. Shooting 1080p simply because 4k is too sharp is an odd option to me. 


Edited by Landon D. Parks, 07 September 2017 - 03:24 PM.

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#15 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 07 September 2017 - 10:22 PM

I've never had any trouble with vLog on either the GH4 or the GH5. My testing shows I can pull about 12.5 stops of DR from the vLog on the GH5, which is just a half-stop less than the advertised 13-stops on the Pocket.


vLog just isn't a great "LOG" format. The base LUTS available in both Premiere and DaVinci aren't very good. So you're having to make presets, which can lead to other issues down the road if that's the LUT you always use. The base LUTS in DaVinci for the Pocket camera (and most other cameras for that matter) are pretty darn good. I just don't see the same support with the GH5.

Also, please don't make it out like the GH5 is un-shootable without accessories and the Pocket is not. BOTH camera's can shoot 10-bit 4:2:2 in LOG mode right inside the camera.


But the GH5 records in a proprietary .h265 codec, which is not available for any "operating system" at this moment. I use .h265 media all the time and it works flawlessly with all of my programs. The Panasonic codec is special and there are no "OS level" updates available. So the 10 bit 4:2:2 files that come out of the camera aren't capable of working in any program outside of Premeire and DaVinci, which is a HUGE PROBLEM. Pro Res is native to ALL mac's and is a free plugin for Windows for "native OS" support. To me, that's a HUGE issue and it makes the GH5 unusable in 10 bit 4:2:2 mode.

The GH5 also doesn't record RAW, nor does it use standard "cine" nomenclature when it comes to the adjustments.

The GH5 benefits from having an Atomos or such attached to it, simply for better monitoring, better scopes, and an easier time in post - but it won't affect image quality much at all rather you have one or not.


Umm... I get it... but you're now talking about adding "video" hardware, to a camera that shouldn't need it had Panasonic just made it properly. I've never once hooked an external monitor to my pocket camera, never found a reason to. Buy the $99 magnifying viewfinder adaptor that magnetically sticks onto the back of the camera and now you can push the camera right up against your face. ATM, I don't believe such a device works for the GH5, due to the crazy display swivel... but I could be wrong.

Audio provisions on either camera are slim to none, so you really need to outfit both cameras with some form of audio method.


Agreed, but the audio adjustment in the Pocket is ONE MENU BUTTON AWAY. In the GH5 it's 3, plus a bunch of scrolling around. Most of the time, I don't have the time or the space to plugin my external audio recorder. Yes it sounds a lot better, but outside of critical dialog scenes, I've not found it necessary. I pull it out maybe four times a year on a digital shoot, the rest of the time it stays with my film cameras.

You just need to spend some time learning it before shooting with it.


We spent plenty of time with the camera, it doesn't make it LESS frustrating to use. Even at it's worst, at least the Blackmagic cameras have EASY TO USE menu's

The big advantage to the GH5, in my opinion, is that I can shoot for 2.5 to 3 hours on a single battery.


Umm, I can shoot for an entire 41 minute 64gb card on my pocket camera with one battery. Change cards, change battery, done. The pocket has a funny software glitch that chews up battery power when on stand by. Once you know that "glitch" you simply work around it. Luckily batteries are $9 dollars, so putting a bunch of them in your pocket, ain't a big deal. Anytime I'm near power, I simply plug it into power, but that's rare.

Yes, the Pocket also has RAW shooting, but I question how many people actually can use RAW footage anyway.


Considering Cinema DNG is native in Final Cut Pro, Premiere, Avid and DaVinci, that's a pretty big sweep worth of software that it works with. The bandwidth isn't much higher then Pro Res HQ either, but it does deliver WAY more dynmic range then Pro Res in LOG mode.

Honestly, I don't see any reason to shoot RAW either, but that's mainly because Pro Res is such a good and usable codec, I just don't see the need for anything else.
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#16 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 07 September 2017 - 11:18 PM

vLog just isn't a great "LOG" format. The base LUTS available in both Premiere and DaVinci aren't very good. So you're having to make presets, which can lead to other issues down the road if that's the LUT you always use. The base LUTS in DaVinci for the Pocket camera (and most other cameras for that matter) are pretty darn good. I just don't see the same support with the GH5.

 

vLOG is a perfectly good implementation of LOG encoding. Why are you blaming vLOG for problems with third party LUTs?

 

It's hardly surprising that the DaVinci LUTs for the pocket camera are good, seeing as they are both BlackMagic products.


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#17 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 08 September 2017 - 03:44 AM

vLOG is a perfectly good implementation of LOG encoding. Why are you blaming vLOG for problems with third party LUTs?


No, it's a poor implementation due to the camera using the .h265 codec. When you bring the contrast back into the image and try to work with it, the image starts to fall apart very quickly due to MPEG noise. It's nowhere near as bad on 1080p mode, but on 4k mode it's pretty bad.

I feel it's unfair to do a test between the 4 year old 1080p pocket camera and the GH5 without Panasonic having released their iframe codec's yet. So once they do, I'll gladly put the GH5 through the tests and show you what I'm talking about.

You're right, most people wouldn't blame the vLOG issues for Panasonic's inherent shitty design decisions, but I do.

Also, if someone drops me a bunch of files to work with in DaVinci, they aren't going to be paying me for a days worth of work to find and test all the 3rd party LUT's on the market in order to guess that one of them is what they're looking for.

It's hardly surprising that the DaVinci LUTs for the pocket camera are good, seeing as they are both BlackMagic products.


Umm, the base RED and Alexa LUT's in DaVinci are pretty darn good. I've only needed to do very basic tweaks to those LUTS to generate a perfect base to color from.

I think it's critical to have a set of LUT's within a program that everyone uses, so there is some continuity.
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#18 Landon D. Parks

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Posted 08 September 2017 - 08:39 AM

The pocket has a funny software glitch that chews up battery power when on stand by. Once you know that "glitch" you simply work around it.

 

More that 'almost hitting the mark' from Blackmagic... If it's a software glitch, you'd think they could take time away from screwing up Resolve and stick some people on fixing the glitch. Not that I'd really expect it, given they don't fix any of the other problems with the cameras they release - but hey, anything is plausible I suppose. I don't mean to rag on Blackmagic as much as I do, but that company has serious issues with releasing quality products. They try to 'one up' everyone else in the industry by making x-technology 10x cheaper than the other guy, and then leave their implementation half baked with no fix, and then proceed to build the 'next best thing', which will still suffer the same fate. I understand they are trying to offer the best camera at the lowest price point. How long did it take them to add something as simple as audio meters to their previous cameras? And that only happened because people wouldn't stop complaining to them. 

 

I also understand that they are going to be limited in what they can do when trying to do that, I just wish they understood that themselves. I'd rather they release actual 100% working products that have few less features, or cost a little more money... There is no reason why a release version camera should have a software glitch that causes bad battery life, especially one that has gone this long without a fix.

 

Say what you will about the likes of Panasonic and such, but you'll rarely find them releasing a product that has any kind of major software issues or image quality issues not inherent to the format.

 

vLog just isn't a great "LOG" format. The base LUTS available in both Premiere and DaVinci aren't very good. So you're having to make presets, which can lead to other issues down the road if that's the LUT you always use. The base LUTS in DaVinci for the Pocket camera (and most other cameras for that matter) are pretty darn good. I just don't see the same support with the GH5.

 

The built-in LUTs in Premiere are crap. I have altogether stopped using Resolve, so I won't judge them (might try to download the stable release of 14 today, but not holding out much hope - the 14 I have been using has been a Hodge-podge of thrown together ideas that couldn't even render a TIFF sequence for me).  The only LUTs I trust are from Film Convert in terms of 'out of the box' LUTs, and I still don't use those much. I purchased a set of really good GH-line LUTs that have served me very well. 


Edited by Landon D. Parks, 08 September 2017 - 08:50 AM.

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#19 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 08 September 2017 - 12:33 PM

No, it's a poor implementation due to the camera using the .h265 codec. When you bring the contrast back into the image and try to work with it, the image starts to fall apart very quickly due to MPEG noise. It's nowhere near as bad on 1080p mode, but on 4k mode it's pretty bad.
 

 

So the issue is with h.265, not vLOG.


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#20 Tyler Purcell

Tyler Purcell
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  • Los Angeles

Posted 08 September 2017 - 01:50 PM

So the issue is with h.265, not vLOG.


But ya really can't get vLog without .h264 or .h265 encoding. The "flat" output the camera has on the HDMI port, isn't the same. It has more noise introduced due to the conversion process to HDMI.
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