Black Magic Pocket Cinema Camera Exposure Tutorial

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Dave Dugdale

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Black Magic Pocket Cinema Camera Exposure Tutorial

PostSat Sep 28, 2013 10:48 pm

I am not an expert but I have been running lots of tests on how to expose with the pocket camera for the past month.

I wish I could embed it here, but here is the link to watch it:
http://www.learningdslrvideo.com/bmpcc-exposure-tutorial/

Let me know if you think this is a good method.

Dave
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AdrianSierkowski

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Re: Black Magic Pocket Cinema Camera Exposure Tutorial

PostSat Sep 28, 2013 11:46 pm

You know I wonder if in the Iris for film mode it's just trying to give you the most information possible on the chip. Yes, you were over-exposed straight off of camera, but it didn't look like you were clipping on your mark-- basically doing an ETTR.

Personally, with my own pocket, I just use a meter, same as I would with film then check zebras for anything clipping which may be important.
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Denny Smith

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Re: Black Magic Pocket Cinema Camera Exposure Tutorial

PostSat Sep 28, 2013 11:50 pm

Excellent suggestions, but I too use a light meter, set exposure and use Zebras to check for blown highlights. I have always got good results in most situations. And, when in doubt, if I can, shoot a test and check it on a reference monitor.
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Chris Whitten

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Re: Black Magic Pocket Cinema Camera Exposure Tutorial

PostSun Sep 29, 2013 1:19 am

I was really excited to watch this, but this only works if you have full electronic control over the lens.
All my best lenses are manual, with only my worst lens (the original 14-140mm Panny) being able to work this way.
Guess I might need a light meter then.
In my limited, uneducated testing so far I've had good results with the image on the pocket screen looking a tad over exposed.
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AdrianSierkowski

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Re: Black Magic Pocket Cinema Camera Exposure Tutorial

PostSun Sep 29, 2013 1:39 am

A good light meter (sekonic) will outlast every digital camera you own. I personally have a 758 Cine which is my main meter and a Studio Deluxe IIA (I think IIA?) which is my backup 100% analog.

I also recommend a good color meter. Mine's a Minolta which is pretty old these days.
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Re: Black Magic Pocket Cinema Camera Exposure Tutorial

PostSun Sep 29, 2013 12:22 pm

Thank you Dave for sharing your experiences!

You clearly show that the IRIS button doesn't expose "correctly" in "FILM" mode. That's right, it doesn't! Film mode (or rather: log mode) won't record footage you could use right out of the camera, it is meant to record footage you could (and have to) tweak in post. In film mode the iris button is supposed to expose in a way to use the whole dynamic range of the camera, so it exposes as bright as possible, just before clipping the highlights. You then have to create the intended look in post.

If you want to bake in your lighting/coloring decisions while filming, use "VIDEO" mode instead; if you know what you are doing (and how to use a light meter...) you'll get great footage out of the box - yet you loose some of the flexibility to tweak in post, and probably will blow out some highlights...
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Re: Black Magic Pocket Cinema Camera Exposure Tutorial

PostSun Sep 29, 2013 2:42 pm

Auto iris on power-on is a bad feature, they need to take it out.

I was shooting in low light and needed F2.

Every time a bright highlight (however tiny) came into the frame like a candle or street light, the camera switched my aperture to F10.

I missed several shots due to resetting the aperture to F2 on that shoot.
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Re: Black Magic Pocket Cinema Camera Exposure Tutorial

PostSun Sep 29, 2013 3:54 pm

That's interesting. My Pocket sets iris to lens' max f/stop ( i.e. 1.4). Regardless of lighting conditions. You have to " push" iris button to "set" exposure, and this setting does not change unless you press the iris button again. The Pocket camera is not an "Auto" exposure camera, it does not change automatically -- you have to push the button. Power on sets max f/ stop of lens. You then have to set exposure, which does not change unless you power off camera, or change the exposure.

A power " standby" would be nice, to keep settings, while saving battery with LCD and sensor powered down, but lens, etc powered up to keep exposure setting.
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Re: Black Magic Pocket Cinema Camera Exposure Tutorial

PostSun Sep 29, 2013 3:58 pm

Same here, with an Olympus 17/2.

Kicks it to Max on power on.

Maybe turn AF features off before powering the camera down?
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Andrew Reid

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Re: Black Magic Pocket Cinema Camera Exposure Tutorial

PostSun Sep 29, 2013 4:00 pm

Hmm. That's not the behaviour I'm seeing. Power on does an auto-exposure for the light levels. Sometimes F2, sometimes F10, sometimes F22! I have checked and I am pretty sure I'm not pressing the iris button by accident :)

Try turning it on with lens cap on. You should get wide open. Try then turning it on whilst pointed at a predominantly dark area of your room but with one strong light source in it like a lamp. It will auto-expose on power-on for the light blub. Not very clever :roll:

Thankfully, I prefer it with my vintage Super 16 glass but it would be nice not to have this problem with active mount stuff.

(I am on firmware v1.4.2 - latest September 13th)
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Kholi Hicks

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Re: Black Magic Pocket Cinema Camera Exposure Tutorial

PostSun Sep 29, 2013 4:04 pm

I just powered it on pointing at an overexposed window.

Wide open.
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Andrew Reid

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Re: Black Magic Pocket Cinema Camera Exposure Tutorial

PostSun Sep 29, 2013 4:13 pm

Image

It's a problem, especially when you are shooting a scene like this like I did last night :lol:

It was exposing for the flames at F11!
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Andrew Reid

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Re: Black Magic Pocket Cinema Camera Exposure Tutorial

PostSun Sep 29, 2013 4:19 pm

Kholi wrote:I just powered it on pointing at an overexposed window.

Wide open.


Well... state your firmware and the lens used, etc. then we can perhaps get to the bottom of it.

I am using the Olympus 12mm F2.0.

When you say turn off AF... There's no AF options in the menus at all.

Just tried Olympus 45mm F1.8 - same issue. Auto-aperture upon initialising the lens. Can even hear the click-click when it adjusts the iris blades.
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Peter Östlund

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Re: Black Magic Pocket Cinema Camera Exposure Tutorial

PostSun Sep 29, 2013 4:42 pm

Shooting VIDEO mode, the camera makes an exposure on the average brightness of the picture.
Shooting FILM mode, the camera open up as much as it can without clipping.
Both methods needs some basic skill to master.

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Re: Black Magic Pocket Cinema Camera Exposure Tutorial

PostSun Sep 29, 2013 4:44 pm

Peter Östlund wrote:Shooting VIDEO mode, the camera makes an exposure on the average brightness of the picture.
Shooting FILM mode, the camera open up as much as it can without clipping.
Both methods needs some basic skill to master.

Peter


But why is an auto exposure feature on my cinema camera and how can I turn the damned thing off?
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Peter Östlund

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Re: Black Magic Pocket Cinema Camera Exposure Tutorial

PostSun Sep 29, 2013 5:02 pm

My camera always open the lens fully when powered on, then I press the IRIS and a "safe" exposure is there. I always shoot FILM mode to bring home as much info as possible. It is not viewable without grading but, for me, a better way to go about. As shooting on film...
I do not really understand your question, you have total control.

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Andrew Reid

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Re: Black Magic Pocket Cinema Camera Exposure Tutorial

PostSun Sep 29, 2013 5:10 pm

Maybe the behaviour has changed on the latest batch of cameras then.

And Kholi, I have no idea why you think there's AF related options in the menus :shock:

Will post a video showing my camera's behaviour later.
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Re: Black Magic Pocket Cinema Camera Exposure Tutorial

PostSun Sep 29, 2013 5:12 pm

I just tested this on Leica 25mm 1.4 DG, 45mm DG. When you power up, you are hearing iris opening to max f/stop, 1.4 in this case. It does not change until you press "iris" button. I tried this towards a dark interior and a bright outdoor scene, and a mixed light/dark scene. All three cases, camera set lens to max 1.4 f/stop. BM is not an "auto exposure". Pressing "Kris" button gives a basic exposure for a scene adjusting camera exposure for max latitude (film/video). You will get a different setting between film/video due to recording differences. This is only a starting point, you get to adjust this for the situation and expose the scene they way you want to. You can change iris setting on auto lenses with up/down buttons. Once set, exposure does not change unless you power camera off.

If your camera is not doing this, than contact support.
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Re: Black Magic Pocket Cinema Camera Exposure Tutorial

PostSun Sep 29, 2013 5:13 pm

Peter Östlund wrote:My camera always open the lens fully when powered on


Denny and Peter - what firmware version?

Peter if not already please test something mate - try pointing camera at bright scene which would be overexposed wide open with an active MFT lens, and see if the camera stops down the lens when you turn it on whilst primed for the shot.

Looks like previous function was broken and they enabled it in latest firmware, but I don't like it. Just leave the aperture alone!
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Re: Black Magic Pocket Cinema Camera Exposure Tutorial

PostSun Sep 29, 2013 5:16 pm

Andrew Reid wrote:Maybe the behaviour has changed on the latest batch of cameras then.

And Kholi, I have no idea why you think there's AF related options in the menus :shock:

Will post a video showing my camera's behaviour later.


Where the heck did I say anything about menu? Where did you read the word menu?

Make sure you turn off Auto-Focus before you turn off the camera or try that?
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Re: Black Magic Pocket Cinema Camera Exposure Tutorial

PostSun Sep 29, 2013 5:21 pm

Andrew Reid wrote:Looks like previous function was broken and they enabled it in latest firmware, but I don't like it. Just leave the aperture alone!
I suspect your camera to be defect. The "Iris" button should behave like on all BMC cameras, namely set the exposure based on the current scene (simply so that highlight don't clip, using an ETTR strategy) and leave that setting as it is after the button has been pressed. It could be a physical defect that keeps the "Iris" knob pushed in after it has been released.
Last edited by Johan Cramer on Sun Sep 29, 2013 5:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Andrew Reid

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Re: Black Magic Pocket Cinema Camera Exposure Tutorial

PostSun Sep 29, 2013 5:21 pm

Is your entire existence on planet earth Kholi a trick to test my patience?

Turn off AF features... Where?? On a button? On a menu? On the lens? What bullcrap is that?
Last edited by Andrew Reid on Sun Sep 29, 2013 5:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Black Magic Pocket Cinema Camera Exposure Tutorial

PostSun Sep 29, 2013 5:24 pm

The iris button seems fine when pressed. Indeed it is as if that button is being activated when the camera is turned on, but physically it seems to press in fine and not stick.

Just need to find out if this is expected behaviour or a bug, otherwise it is going in my review.
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Re: Black Magic Pocket Cinema Camera Exposure Tutorial

PostSun Sep 29, 2013 5:28 pm

Andrew Reid wrote:Turn off AF features... Where?? On a button? On a menu? On the lens? No! Don't think so mate!

I can't read his mind, but he probably means the "Focus" button on the back of the camera. This is factually an autofocus function if you press it once - it sets focus automatically based on the square you see on-screen, and then leaves it as it is. Alternative strategy: Don't use this function, but (provided you're using an electronic MFT lens) press "Focus" twice, get focus peaking and focus manually. Focus peaking will stay until you turn the camera off. With manual lenses, the "Focus" button defaults to that behavior even with a single key press.

I always focus manually, even with the Panasonic electronic zooms. It's faster even when running & gunning (especially if you combine focus peaking and focus magnification).
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Re: Black Magic Pocket Cinema Camera Exposure Tutorial

PostSun Sep 29, 2013 5:30 pm

paragram wrote:
Andrew Reid wrote:Turn off AF features... Where?? On a button? On a menu? On the lens? No! Don't think so mate!

I can't read his mind, but he probably means the "Focus" button on the back of the camera. This is factually an autofocus function if you press it once - it sets focus automatically based on the square you see on-screen, and then leaves it as it is. Alternative strategy: Don't use this function, but (provided you're using an electronic MFT lens) press "Focus" twice, get focus peaking and focus manually. Focus peaking will stay until you turn the camera off. With manual lenses, the "Focus" button defaults to that behavior even with a single key press.

I always focus manually, even with the Panasonic electronic zooms. It's faster even when running & gunning (especially if you combine focus peaking and focus magnification).


Thank you.

It's all right there in the manual.
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Re: Black Magic Pocket Cinema Camera Exposure Tutorial

PostSun Sep 29, 2013 5:36 pm

Yeah the Focus button is one-touch AF with active lenses and you double tap for peaking. I realise that :lol:

How that equates in any language to "turn those AF features off" which is what Kholi said I have no idea.

The guy is a troublemaker pure and simple.
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Re: Black Magic Pocket Cinema Camera Exposure Tutorial

PostSun Sep 29, 2013 5:48 pm

I am using the latest firmware (1.4.2) and am just back from a shoot in lovely Paris.
In spite of the sunny (and warm) weather the camera always open up the lens to wide when powered.

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Re: Black Magic Pocket Cinema Camera Exposure Tutorial

PostSun Sep 29, 2013 6:04 pm

@EOSHD Just checked with the Blackmagic Camera Utility, and the firmware on my BMPC is the latest according to the message it gives me. If I correctly understood you that the "Iris" button on your camera triggers a continuous auto-exposure behavior, with automatic aperture changes during shooting, then your camera must be defect. "Iris" should be a one-touch adjustment, just like focus. I never experienced any other behavior under any firmware version. Yesterday, I filmed one hour run-and-gun with the BMC Pocket, the latest firmware and the Panasonic 14-140mm, so I positively know what I am talking about.
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Re: Black Magic Pocket Cinema Camera Exposure Tutorial

PostSun Sep 29, 2013 6:08 pm

No continuous changes during shooting, that's not what I said. It does a one-shot AE when you turn the camera on, adjusting the aperture to give an auto-exposed image depending on light levels.

It doesn't do the AE based on an average, it will simply read the brightest highlight in the frame and set it to that. Could be as small as a light bulb filament or a candle.

It's very odd and Peter's camera not doing this would suggest it is an issue with mine or possibly even the new batch that has shipped since the white orbs recalibration.

I'd like to know if it is a purposeful feature or a bug so hopefully something from Blackmagic can set us straight on this!
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Re: Black Magic Pocket Cinema Camera Exposure Tutorial

PostSun Sep 29, 2013 6:10 pm

My camera was shipped after the calibration. Deep clarification: that means an orb fix and black spot fix, updated firmware.

Same results as Paragram and Peter.

EDIT HERE: Peter what Active MFT glass are you using?

It's probably an Olympus communication error, although the 17/2 I'm using isn't doing it.
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Re: Black Magic Pocket Cinema Camera Exposure Tutorial

PostSun Sep 29, 2013 6:28 pm

Andrew has something here or...

Either I am going "nuts", or he has discovered a "firmware" bug. I put my Leica Zoom on the camera, after mounting a "manual" lens, just to check Andrew's issue. The zoom is doing what he reported, and reading exposure on start up, and setting lens to that "correct" exposure, rather than opening to max, as it did when I first tested the camera this morning on my Leica 25mmDG. Both the 25mm and 45mm were opening up to max f/stop on power up; then setting exposure only after I pressed "Iris" button

NOW even the Leica 25DG 1.4 and 45DG 2.8 is setting "correct" exposure on power up. Also hitting lens release button is restarting lens, and then setting exposure as if Iris button was pressed, instead of opening up iris.

But, once exposure is set, it is not changing unless I touch either lens release or Iris button. Seems to be setting an average exposure though, with highlights clipping at 95% zebras. I checked both Film and Video mode. This morning when it was opening iris on power up, it was on Video.

Perhaps firmware on zoom is resetting the Pocket camera lens control?
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Re: Black Magic Pocket Cinema Camera Exposure Tutorial

PostSun Sep 29, 2013 6:30 pm

Denny wrote:Andrew has something here or...

Either I am going "nuts", or he has discovered a "firmware" bug. I put my Leica Zoom on the camera, after mounting a "manual" lens, just to check Andrew's issue. The zoom is doing what he reported, and reading exposure on start up, and setting lens to that "correct" exposure, rather than opening to max, as it did when I first tested the camera this morning on my Leica 25mmDG. Both the 25mm and 45mm were opening up to max f/stop on power up; then setting exposure only after I pressed "Iris" button

NOW even the 25DG and 45DG is setting exposure on power up. Also hitting lens release button is restarting lens, and then setting exposure as if Iris button was pressed, instead of opening up iris.

But, once exposure is set, it is not changing unless I touch either lens release or Iris button. Seems to be setting an average exposure though, with highlights clipping at 95% zebras. I checked both Film and Video mode. This morning when it was opening iris on power up, it was on Video.

Perhaps firmware on zoom is resetting the Pocket camera lens control?


Okay so we're getting somewhere.

Two questions:

1. Did you switch the camera off before you changed glass? Wondering if it's a communication bug that happens if you don't turn the camera off first.

2. Do you have another Active MFT camera? I do not, but could you drop all three lenses or at least your Lumix lenses on the non-Pocket Camera to see if it sort of "resets" the lens firmware?
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Re: Black Magic Pocket Cinema Camera Exposure Tutorial

PostSun Sep 29, 2013 6:34 pm

Andrew Reid wrote:No continuous changes during shooting, that's not what I said.

Your wording was ambiguous; quote: "I was shooting in low light and needed F2. Every time a bright highlight (however tiny) came into the frame like a candle or street light, the camera switched my aperture to F10."

It doesn't do the AE based on an average, it will simply read the brightest highlight in the frame and set it to that.

You might consider this a bug, or a feature. It is the same ETTR exposure strategy that Magic Lantern provides on Canon DSLRs. It differs very much from traditional video exposure where you expose for the average because your dynamic range is limited to 8-10 stops. Instead, if your highlights are correctly exposed but the rest of your picture is 3 stops under, the 13 stops latitude still give you room in post to lift the underexposed part of the picture and gain a smooth highlight roll-off.

Conversely, when you have a dimly lit scene with no highlights, you overexpose (until the point where the image would clip) in order to maximize dynamic range; and you can still darken/crush the video in post.

It's a typical exposure strategy for a raw camera, and the one advocated/recommended for raw photography these days, too. It is my understanding that the BMPC switches to average exposure if you active the "Video" recording mode. In my book, this makes sense.

But I agree that it's bad that the camera doesn't memorize its exposure settings in between switching it off and on. The same goes for the focus peaking setting. Quite annoying that one needs to re-activate it each time the camera has been switched on again.
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Peter Östlund

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Re: Black Magic Pocket Cinema Camera Exposure Tutorial

PostSun Sep 29, 2013 6:40 pm

I am using Lumix, 14mm and 14 -42mm to get started.
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Re: Black Magic Pocket Cinema Camera Exposure Tutorial

PostSun Sep 29, 2013 6:51 pm

Peter Östlund wrote:I am using Lumix, 14mm and 14 -42mm to get started.


Thought so.

Also, was able to trigger this by not turning the camera off, removing the lens, and putting it back on, then cycling power on the camera. Now, when the camera is powered on, the exposure's set for the brightest area in the space on the Olympus, but does not reset when I pan back and forth after opening the iris manually.

Seems like a non Lumix bug.
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Re: Black Magic Pocket Cinema Camera Exposure Tutorial

PostSun Sep 29, 2013 7:08 pm

Kholi
I no longer have another MFT camera, did have a AF100, used same lenses on it,
But Zoom would not auto focus on AF100, this works however on Pocket. Both worked AF100 iris setting with camera.

I may have done one lens change with camera "on". Not sure, I am going to upgrade firmware to 1.4, see if this corrects issue. I know the Zoom did not work with Iris control, until I did previous firmware upgrade, then it worked just fine.

Perhaps doing a "hot" lens swap may have something to do with this? But lens release, also resets lens communication.

Thanks.

Ref:
Subject: Black Magic Pocket Cinema Camera Exposure Tutorial


REF:
Kholi wrote:

"Okay so we're getting somewhere.

Two questions:

1. Did you switch the camera off before you changed glass? Wondering if it's a communication bug that happens if you don't turn the camera off first.

2. Do you have another Active MFT camera? I do not, but could you drop all three lenses or at least your Lumix lenses on the non-Pocket Camera to see if it sort of "resets" the lens firmware?"
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Andrew Reid

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Re: Black Magic Pocket Cinema Camera Exposure Tutorial

PostSun Sep 29, 2013 7:31 pm

Denny, Peter I suggest testing with both Lumix and Olympus glass.

Once I am done with work today I will see if the same problem occurs on my Lumix 20mm F1.7 and 14-140mm Mk II.

It seems like an intentional feature rather than a bug.

I'd make two urgent firmware changes if that is the case. On boot remember the previous aperture manually set by user. Have playback fwd/back keys programmable for ISO and white balance. Both these changes would improve the usability of the camera a great deal.
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Andrew Reid

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Re: Black Magic Pocket Cinema Camera Exposure Tutorial

PostSun Sep 29, 2013 9:34 pm

Nope does same thing with a Panasonic lens too.

On Lumix 20mm F1.7.

I pointed the camera at a dark wall, but there was a bright lamp in the left side of the shot. I exposed for the wall at F1.7 then turned off the camera.

Turned back on and it chose F16! Nice light bulb but the wall is gone as is my manual exposure control. Of course you regain control over it but it takes a considerable number of button presses to go from F16 to F1.7 every time you turn on the camera.
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Re: Black Magic Pocket Cinema Camera Exposure Tutorial

PostSun Sep 29, 2013 9:49 pm

Just tested with an original MK1 Panny 14-140mm lens.
I never use it, preferring old manual lenses. So this was a fresh start up after installing the lens on the body.
On pressing the power button the lens motor whirred and my f stop went to f5.6 - which looked quite balanced actually. Focussing never changed, the image was out of focus.
Raising the camera to a brighter outdoors scene I pressed 'iris' and the lens shifted to f22. Powered off camera, then pointed again at original spot. Turn on camera, and without touching anything the lens whirred and settled on f5.6.

From memory, I only tried this lens the first day I got the camera over a week ago, the iris doesn't change from then on, unless I press the iris button. So it's only an auto iris procedure on power up.

Edit: Camera is set to shoot 'film mode', video for screen, and is from a recent production run with the latest firmware installed (I downloaded from BMD and installed via mini connector in battery housing).
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Re: Black Magic Pocket Cinema Camera Exposure Tutorial

PostSun Sep 29, 2013 10:31 pm

Andrew Reid wrote:Have playback fwd/back keys programmable for ISO and white balance. Both these changes would improve the usability of the camera a great deal.



Love that idea.
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