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4K for very independent filmmaker

4K vs 2.5k vs 1080

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#1 Philippe Orlando

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Posted 06 February 2018 - 09:08 PM

I've made only one film, in 2009, nothing since except a few shorts.

I have no connection in the industry and of course no deal for any kind of distribution for the new project I'm working on.

I thought I'd be filming my project on a GH4 but I'm becoming more and more seduced by the image I see out of the black magic family, particularly the Black Magic Pocket Cinema and the BMCC 2.5K mft.

 

Considering the above, should I really worry about trying to film in 4 K with my GH4?  What advantages would that give me?  I have the feeling that what I would gain in resolution is lost in image quality, compared to what the BM family can give me.

Do you agree with this?

 

I can pick up a BMPCC for less than 700 bucks now, and a BMCC mft for less than $1000,  I already have the speedbooster and the lenses from my GH4. Should I just do that or stick to my Panny?

 

In other words, since i already have a GH4, should I even worry about these Black Magic cams?

Thanks for your input!


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#2 Macks Fiiod

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Posted 06 February 2018 - 09:23 PM

Depends on your budget. The image a BMPCC produces is nice, but I absolutely hate the design of the camera. You need to go 2 layers into a menu to change shoot settings.

 

For workflow reasons, I'd stick with a GH4.

 

If you like the workflow but aren't super satisfied with the GH4's image, have you considered the GH5?


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#3 AJ Young

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Posted 06 February 2018 - 09:39 PM

I'm quite pleased with the image quality out of the GH4 when using vLog. The only downside with the GH4 is the limiting 8 bit, 4:2:0 internal codec. However, it does output a 10 bit 4:2:2 which gives you an excellent image to work with in post production. Here are two projects I shot using the GH4 and an external recorder: Link01 and Link02 I recommend you either purchase or rent an external recorder.

 

You are onto something, though, Phillippe. The quality of pixels matters more than the quantity. On paper, the Black Magic series of cameras do you give you better pixels in regards to bit depth, chroma subsampling, and compression.

 

However, overall image quality is subjective and seldom do technical specs meet the artistic tastes of a viewer. I've shot on the BMCC 4k and BMPCC and didn't like the image quality coming out of either. (The 4K is notorious for it's fixed pattern noise)

 

Panasonic's color science is pretty stellar, particularly with vLog in both the Varicam line of cameras and the GH line. One of my favorite films, Upstream Color, was shot on a hacked GH2.

 

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Business wise, it's becoming more evident that distributors, streaming services, etc are seeking more and more 4K content. I'd recommend focusing on 4K becoming your baseline resolution for most narrative productions seeking a return on investment.

 

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Practicality wise, 4K in the independent world can be a huge help in post production. If your final product is intended to be in 2K, then 4K gives the independent filmmaker more options for reframing or stabilization.


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#4 Philippe Orlando

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Posted 06 February 2018 - 09:56 PM

Thanks to both of you. Yes, I think I need to stick to 4K these days, for many reasons. I'm actually please with the quality of the GH4, even when it's not Vlog, I actually use Cinelike D with the Leeming LUT and I love it. But you know how we are, we always think there is a better machine out there and the Black magic cams are getting cheaper, but you're right, I'm probably wasting energy and focus.


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#5 Rick Gates

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Posted 07 February 2018 - 01:25 PM

Speaking as a 4K newbie who edits his own stuff, I like the flexibility 4K provides me in post. 

 

Since I export 1080p, shooting in 4K (UHD) has allowed me to do some minor frame adjustments, and even allowed me to make some cuts that I didn't actually shoot for in production.

 

Hey, I just thought of something.  I should also be able to do a digital zoom over time on a character who was shot in 4K.  Sort of a simulated slow creep.


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#6 Chris Burke

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Posted 07 February 2018 - 06:00 PM

yes, you can do a slow digital zoom. The only real downside in the indie world with UHD or 4k is storage. Even then it isn't that big of a deal. It can be too much and or too expensive for some. 


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#7 Rick Gates

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Posted 07 February 2018 - 06:28 PM

Yeah, here's what I do to combat the storage issue with UHD footage:

 

I have a Seagate 8TB drive ($150) for footage, and a Mushkin 1TB SSD ($250) for active project files.

 

Then in Premiere, I use 720p proxies stored on the SSD.  Takes a little while to generate the proxies when I first ingest the footage, but then everything seems pretty smooth.

 

So it ends up costing me about $400.


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#8 Michael Rodin

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Posted 07 February 2018 - 07:13 PM

What about the backups?


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#9 Rick Gates

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Posted 07 February 2018 - 09:21 PM

Michael what I do is backup to a cheaper 2TB USB drive (a Passport) during an active production.  Once the production is finished and I'm fairly certain I'm done with it, I archive using Premiere's Project Manager function.  It can create a much smaller Premiere project, by keeping only the assets that are actually used, with handles on each clip in case I want to fudge it a little.

 

It was hard letting go of all that footage, but I got over the empty nest when I saw how much space I was saving.


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#10 Robin R Probyn

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Posted 07 February 2018 - 11:04 PM

I recommend backup to 2 drives as a minimum ..   3 is often the norm.. during the actual shoot.. backing up to only HDD is tempting fate .. even an SSD can get lost/stolen or coffee spilt into its ports..!


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#11 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 08 February 2018 - 04:11 AM

I personally have shot with the GH5 quite a bit and honestly, I don't like anything about it. Not a single darn thing! Don't like the design, don't like the touch screen, don't like the unusable menu's, button's or lack of "cinema" terminology. I also don't like the look of the image. I hate the unusable codec's (the GH4's codec at least works, but it's garbage too) Yes anything can be cleaned up in post, but to me it looks like a video camera no matter what you do. I'm forced to shoot on one for a youtube series that I'm producing and I just despise the camera. 

 

I've been using the pocket for 4 years. The menu's are easy to read and "cinema" related. The smaller imager allows more glass options. The codec is top notch and it actually captures in RAW, imagine that! It looks "cinematic" no matter what you shoot. It just has this feel that very few cameras have been able to mimic. Yea, it's got problems... the battery system. Bogus. The noisy audio preamps. Bogus. The lack of anything higher than 30fps, kinda silly. However, it's all workable and the best thing is that working with 1080p is easy. You don't need a fast computer, you don't need a crazy good GPU for coloring or fast storage. So total cost of operating is WAY LESS than a 4k camera, no matter what. 

 

I do think the pocket is long in the tooth though. Mine have been through the war and back several times though. They have been great, but even I am thinking about buying something a bit newer. However, I will continue to use the pocket cameras until the very last day 1080p is acceptable. 


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#12 Chris Burke

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Posted 08 February 2018 - 01:17 PM

I recommend backup to 2 drives as a minimum ..   3 is often the norm.. during the actual shoot.. backing up to only HDD is tempting fate .. even an SSD can get lost/stolen or coffee spilt into its ports..!

smart producers ask for 3 backups. Some don't even know how important that is and have a PA clicking and dragging files for one back up only


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#13 Hannes Famira

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Posted 08 February 2018 - 01:56 PM

I was also quite excited when I discovered the Blackmagic Micro Studio Camera but this very thorough review actually made me change my mind. I hope you get something out of this too: https://www.pinteres...63325274578853/


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