Shooting film on original BMPCC instead of 4K - advantages

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Sandeep Gill

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Shooting film on original BMPCC instead of 4K - advantages

PostFri Dec 21, 2018 11:42 am

Hey all, I'm looking to shoot a narrative short film with controlled lighting early next year and am thinking about shooting it on my original BMPCC...

I know, I know. No 4K, terrible low-light, and horrible battery life. But if 1080p was fine, controlled lighting throughout, and an external battery solution, is it better for me to use the original and cancel my 4K pre-order? I could use the money saved to pay for an additional cine prime/actually pay actors a decent wage...

What would be the advantages in this case of using the 4K over the original?
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Hugh Antonio

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Re: Shooting film on original BMPCC instead of 4K - advantag

PostFri Dec 21, 2018 11:52 am

Sandeep Gill wrote:Hey all, I'm looking to shoot a narrative short film with controlled lighting early next year and am thinking about shooting it on my original BMPCC...

I know, I know. No 4K, terrible low-light, and horrible battery life. But if 1080p was fine, controlled lighting throughout, and an external battery solution, is it better for me to use the original and cancel my 4K pre-order? I could use the money saved to pay for an additional cine prime/actually pay actors a decent wage...

What would be the advantages in this case of using the 4K over the original?



Is this question really about shooting on the BMPCC or about the fact that you're waiting for the BMPCC4K and may not actually have a choice?
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Re: Shooting film on original BMPCC instead of 4K - advantag

PostFri Dec 21, 2018 12:10 pm

Ah ha, good question Hugh. We wouldn't be shooting until March and my pre-order was number 17 in November. I imagine I'll be getting the camera in January or February. Worst case, if the 4K was definitely the better option, we'd rent/borrow/beg.
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Re: Shooting film on original BMPCC instead of 4K - advantag

PostFri Dec 21, 2018 1:16 pm

I guess a few arguments in favor of the BMPCC 4K are:

1. Ability to zoom in more in post if you need to without loss of detail
2. Ability to use BRAW once it's available for this camera
3. More storage options, which is pertinent in light of the compatibility problems with the newest generation of SanDisk SD cards (although it sounds like that'll be solved soon?)
4. Better user interface

If you stick with the original Pocket you of course have more money available for other priorities, as you pointed out, but at these price points the camera tends to be one of the less expensive elements of your entire video/film arsenal.
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Re: Shooting film on original BMPCC instead of 4K - advantag

PostFri Dec 21, 2018 1:49 pm

What's the best camera/tool for your story?
If you do end up shooting on the bmpcc, then invest the money in other important areas of production, such as art direction, paying your actrs, sound, etc.
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Re: Shooting film on original BMPCC instead of 4K - advantag

PostFri Dec 21, 2018 2:22 pm

The BMPCC 4K is a far more usable camera, thanks to the big clear screen and a much superior operating system.

Whether you shoot 4K or full-sensor HD, the image of the BMPCC 4K is much cleaner, the colors are more accurate and I believe you'll see more DR, particularly if you shoot full-sensor HD. Am not persuaded of the virtues of resizing 4K image in post, but that's at least an option if the data overhead of shooting 4K isn't too burdensome.
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Re: Shooting film on original BMPCC instead of 4K - advantag

PostFri Dec 21, 2018 4:09 pm

These guys shot a feature using the BMPCC and Prores LT.



Reading more about the production, they chose LT for storage reasons and couldn’t see any distinct differences in quality. There are composite scenes in the film as well.

The latest may not necessarily be the greatest solution for you.
The look from the sensor on the original bmpcc is vastly different to the bmpcc 4K. Sure, you can try and grade it to look similar, but you’d have to factor that into your schedule. Also the same lenses can look different from sensor to sensor. Your budget and timeline is something else to consider.

If your question ultimately comes down to whether you’ll have the camera by the time you start production, you could always rent one if your order hasn’t been delivered yet.
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Re: Shooting film on original BMPCC instead of 4K - advantag

PostFri Dec 21, 2018 4:25 pm

There something else you should be aware of: full sensor HD on the BMPCC 4K has far more apparent detail than the BMPCC, meaning you'd probably want to consider a Promist or similar filter for at least some shots. Or "mist" in post, if need be.
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Re: Shooting film on original BMPCC instead of 4K - advantag

PostFri Dec 21, 2018 5:04 pm

Brad Hurley wrote:If you stick with the original Pocket you of course have more money available for other priorities, as you pointed out, but at these price points the camera tends to be one of the less expensive elements of your entire video/film arsenal.
This is a good point, as it won't change the cost significantly, once I've factored in what I need to make the BMPCC usable for a shoot like (currently my setup is minimal).
I know some people prefer the colour science of the OG but not sure if it's worth sacrificing both BRAW and 60fps (and 4K undoubtedly in the future) for that...

John Paines wrote:Whether you shoot 4K or full-sensor HD, the image of the BMPCC 4K is much cleaner, the colors are more accurate and I believe you'll see more DR, particularly if you shoot full-sensor HD.

I thought DR of both OG and 4K were almost identical in real-world tests?

livetheshot wrote:If your question ultimately comes down to whether you’ll have the camera by the time you start production, you could always rent one if your order hasn’t been delivered yet.

Renting may not be a crazy idea.

John Paines wrote:There something else you should be aware of: full sensor HD on the BMPCC 4K has far more apparent detail than the BMPCC, meaning you'd probably want to consider a Promist or similar filter for at least some shots. Or "mist" in post, if need be.

This is a really interesting point. I know the images from the 4K are looking a lot sharper than the OG but I don't know if that's due to the downsampling from a 4K image to 1080p. If I shoot at 4K I'm likely to deliver at that resolution. So if it's due to downsampling, that shouldn't be a problem. If it's the sensor in general, then yep, I may have to look at Pro mist filters. I didn't realise they existed - I wonder how often they're actually used?
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Re: Shooting film on original BMPCC instead of 4K - advantag

PostFri Dec 21, 2018 5:32 pm

Sandeep Gill wrote:I thought DR of both OG and 4K were almost identical in real-world tests?


I think the BMPCC 4K has slightly more DR (vague unverified impression), but down-sampled to HD from 4K, you pick up additional DR, typically about 1/2 stop. That's the theory, anyway.

Sandeep Gill wrote:. I know the images from the 4K are looking a lot sharper than the OG but I don't know if that's due to the downsampling from a 4K image to 1080p.


Full sensor BMPCC 4K HD looks more like 4K than the BMPCC's HD -- that's the level of detail. Either HD or 4K, you'll probably want filters if you're shooting faces or don't the want the audiences counting blades of grass.
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Re: Shooting film on original BMPCC instead of 4K - advantag

PostFri Dec 21, 2018 6:56 pm

I own neither camera (yet) so I must be relatively unbiased. Although I always liked the image from the original BMPCC so it’s not wrong to select that option, I would strongly suggest the numerous benefits of the BMPCC4K weigh in favour of selecting the 4K camera. There’s probably a dozen reasons to support that conclusion. Of course, it you have both cameras, consider using both.


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Re: Shooting film on original BMPCC instead of 4K - advantag

PostFri Dec 21, 2018 8:32 pm

Sandeep Gill wrote:Hey all, I'm looking to shoot a narrative short film with controlled lighting early next year and am thinking about shooting it on my original BMPCC...

I know, I know. No 4K, terrible low-light, and horrible battery life. But if 1080p was fine, controlled lighting throughout, and an external battery solution, is it better for me to use the original and cancel my 4K pre-order? I could use the money saved to pay for an additional cine prime/actually pay actors a decent wage...

What would be the advantages in this case of using the 4K over the original?


If the output of the equipment you have is acceptable for final delivery, then it is always better to shoot with the equipment you have, vs. the equipment you don't have. Or to paraphrase, buy it when you need it, but no earlier.
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Re: Shooting film on original BMPCC instead of 4K - advantag

PostFri Dec 21, 2018 8:47 pm

Gene Kochanowsky wrote:If the output of the equipment you have is acceptable for final delivery, then it is always better to shoot with the equipment you have, vs. the equipment you don't have. Or to paraphrase, buy it when you need it, but no earlier.


While I'm sympathetic to this view (and have no plans to replace my original Pocket or Micro Cinema Camera with anything 4K anytime soon), it's still worth considering whether newer/improved equipment will result in efficiencies or better footage. By all accounts the usability of the BMPCC 4K is significantly improved over the original Pocket, reducing setup time in the field. Of course there'll be a small efficiency penalty at the beginning due to the need to learn how to use a new camera -- if you're an expert already at using the old Pocket this is something to consider.
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Re: Shooting film on original BMPCC instead of 4K - advantag

PostFri Dec 21, 2018 10:10 pm

If you plan to shoot at the moment one short film. It will have no any commecial benefits from being shoot on 2k or 4k. The main deal to be not the resolution of your image (with new Bmpcc4k you will have, let say, the same resolution but simply a "twice bigger image") but better film itself. (A lot of great films have been shoot on 16mm film (Wim Wenders "Alice in the cities", John Cassavetes "Shadows" etc) If you have good script and plan to shoot something like this forget about the camera. If you have already good camera for this project as original BMPCC. (It's great and sufficient for documentary and short films at the moment). My opinionin in situation of limited budget better to focuse not on camera but on script, locations, actors, cameraman(!) (half of this deal), steadicam and to shoot your best.
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Re: Shooting film on original BMPCC instead of 4K - advantag

PostFri Dec 21, 2018 10:30 pm

Superscale it :)
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Re: Shooting film on original BMPCC instead of 4K - advantag

PostSat Dec 22, 2018 2:22 pm

I have seen a vt video of someone selling his bmpcc4k in favour of getting the original 1st gen.

they say that upscaling the 1st gen to 4k is sharper than the new 4k camera.,
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Re: Shooting film on original BMPCC instead of 4K - advantag

PostMon Dec 24, 2018 7:26 am

I have the OG BMPCC and when mine died this June (overheated in Texas, my fault) I ended up buying another one for upcoming shoots. I'm so pleased with the recent footage that I'm not obsessing over the 4k version. I have my routine fairly honed in and have other things I could use the money for. To be honest, I haven't seen any footage that has made me gaga over the P4k either. The Pocket 4K isn't going anywhere. I would think you could continue with your current camera, pay people, get that prime (with an eye to the future naturally) and buy the P4K later. That's my plan. Since we're still in preorder delivery phase, I figure when things settle down (and after a software release or two) I'll bite the bullet. But my current situation feels so good that the other day I was thinking about buying a backup OG. I love the art cinema look and the only feature I really love on the new camera is that big screen on the back. But only you can determine which tool will fit your needs. If I needed low light or whatever...but I don't. I'm looking at the summer for the new purchase.
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Re: Shooting film on original BMPCC instead of 4K - advantag

PostMon Dec 24, 2018 6:42 pm

- less crop with same lenses
- better ui with preset to setup faster the camera
- variable shutter settings to deal better with flickering (you can change 1 degree at time, with original your have few choose and with modern led you could need of it).
- ability to shoot with dual iso (not to shoot in the black painted of black, but more option on your belt)
- recording on more storage option, cheaper and faster
- full license of Resolve

I think is enough to judge why if I buy now I prefer pocket4k to pocket



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Re: Shooting film on original BMPCC instead of 4K - advantag

PostMon Dec 24, 2018 9:00 pm

And several more good reasons to go with BMPCC4K as a new purchase. However based on many comments here, it may be that the original BMPCC has a very strong pull due to its image. I think we’ve all seen many examples of that over the years. It is a different sensor and colour science and it still stands up well. It might be safe to say that it has matured and you know what you‘ll get.

The BMPCC4K is still developing and can be expected to improve during the next year or so. It will be interesting to ask the same question in another year or so. The answer is hard to predict as we don’t know for certain what the future will bring. Each camera from the BMCC has a different character and I’m sure being able to use a few different cameras in the same project is a design goal we all appreciate.


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Re: Shooting film on original BMPCC instead of 4K - advantag

PostMon Dec 24, 2018 10:05 pm

For years I've thought about the BMPCC, but was put off because of the sensor size and how my existing lenses would result in a much greater focal length ie, no really wide angle lenses. The BMPCC4K was the answer in that regard, because all of my lenses are now native to the camera. I still like the idea of owning the BMPCC, but for things like nature filming, where the smaller sensor provides much greater reach for my tele lenses.

On another note, the BMPCC sounds very much like my Olympus E-1, the original 4/3 camera with a Kodak 5MP CCD sensor (circa 2004). No other camera after that had the same beautiful, rich, colours of the Kodak sensor. Some came close, but never equaled it. I guess that's what happens when new technology surpasses old.
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Re: Shooting film on original BMPCC instead of 4K - advantag

PostTue Dec 25, 2018 1:30 am

Are you still shooting with the Olympus E-1? Sounds so good.


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Re: Shooting film on original BMPCC instead of 4K - advantag

PostTue Dec 25, 2018 3:32 am

Australian Image wrote:
On another note, the BMPCC sounds very much like my Olympus E-1, the original 4/3 camera with a Kodak 5MP CCD sensor (circa 2004). No other camera after that had the same beautiful, rich, colours of the Kodak sensor. Some came close, but never equaled it. I guess that's what happens when new technology surpasses old.


Maybe the Leica M8 (same sensor family) and the Leica M9...same kodak made sensor...

I own them all and also have three E1's as well ;-)

Here's a gallery of Leica M8 shots of mine....nothing does colour (or even B&W) like this camera.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/johnbrawl ... 3407198599

And most of these are E1
(check the metadata for each shot)
https://www.flickr.com/photos/johnbrawl ... 0034600215

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Re: Shooting film on original BMPCC instead of 4K - advantag

PostTue Dec 25, 2018 5:26 am

rick.lang wrote:Are you still shooting with the Olympus E-1? Sounds so good.


Every so often I take it out and give it a run (it still works fine and the batteries do as well). Every time that I do, I so wish that the sensor could be made available for a modern Olympus mirrorless camera, even at just 5MP. The colours are unlike any other digital camera that I've used. For anyone that's familiar with Kodachrome 25, it's in the same class.
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Re: Shooting film on original BMPCC instead of 4K - advantag

PostTue Dec 25, 2018 5:37 am

John Brawley wrote:Maybe the Leica M8 (same sensor family) and the Leica M9...same kodak made sensor...

I own them all and also have three E1's as well ;-)

JB


I've never owned a Leica, almost did as I had a bunch of M-mount lenses, Leica, Minolta and Voigtlander (all now sold). I had two E-1s and sold the newer one when I 'upgraded' to an E-3. This is what it looks like now (the good side):

Image

That's what intrigues me about the BMPCC, from what I've read and what I've seen, there's some similar magic about the sensor. Maybe one day, if one comes available at a good price, I might consider buying it. New ones still cost the same as the day they came out.
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Re: Shooting film on original BMPCC instead of 4K - advantag

PostTue Dec 25, 2018 11:29 am

Reffer to original post I will add only that some cinema plans (parts... have been shoot with BMPCC RAW12bit and old Meopta 16mm camera lenses (as Largor 12.5mm) of film "Paradise" 2016 (by Andrey Konchalovski, USA films - Maria’s Lovers, Runaway Train, Duet for One, etc... The Odyssey). "Paradise" got a Silver Lion in Venice Film Festival.

So, BMPCC is more than sufficient and ready for shooting short films, without any doubts.)
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Re: Shooting film on original BMPCC instead of 4K - advantag

PostTue Dec 25, 2018 7:20 pm

Valery Axenov wrote:So, BMPCC is more than sufficient and ready for shooting short films, without any doubts.)


As has often been said, it's not the camera but the story (and accompanying music). My Olympus Tough TG5 could potentially produce a great film, in the right hands. The BMPCC would possibly make for a great gimbal camera.
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Re: Shooting film on original BMPCC instead of 4K - advantag

PostTue Dec 25, 2018 9:23 pm

Australian Image wrote:
Valery Axenov wrote:So, BMPCC is more than sufficient and ready for shooting short films, without any doubts.)


As has often been said, it's not the camera but the story (and accompanying music). My Olympus Tough TG5 could potentially produce a great film, in the right hands. The BMPCC would possibly make for a great gimbal camera.


I just shot a doco across Japan and Taiwan entirely on the TG-5. At 100Mbps, the tiny waterproof camera's 4K capability is far better than it should be for the price (A$500) but it is a 'difficult' camera to use as a Video camera when compared to the ergonomics offered by a proper movie camera. However, it's geo-tagging RAW stills capability is in a class of its own. The Olympus RAW stills converted to DNG then graded in DaVinci make for some compelling results and the comprehensive metadata including Altitude and Compass direction offers you a +/- 1m or so positional accuracy when embedded in Google Earth Pro.
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Re: Shooting film on original BMPCC instead of 4K - advantag

PostTue Dec 25, 2018 9:36 pm

Craig Marshall wrote:
I just shot a doco across Japan and Taiwan entirely on the TG-5. At 100Mbps, the tiny waterproof camera's 4K capability is far better than it should be for the price (A$500) but it is a 'difficult' camera to use as a Video camera when compared to the ergonomics offered by a proper movie camera. However, it's geo-tagging RAW stills capability is in a class of its own. The Olympus RAW stills converted to DNG then graded in DaVinci make for some compelling results and the comprehensive metadata including Altitude and Compass direction offers you a +/- 1m or so positional accuracy when embedded in Google Earth Pro.


Indeed. I'm always surprised at the quality of the footage (and RAW files) from this little camera. Mine is mainly used as an action camera attached to the bull bar of my 4WD when on our bush trips. But I also plan to use it on my gimbal. The TG5 is almost the same size as a BMPCC, only a little narrower.
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Re: Shooting film on original BMPCC instead of 4K - advantag

PostWed Dec 26, 2018 9:53 am

As already mentioned the other value-adding which goes into a production is what makes the thing work.

It is a conundrum though. Is the effort invested in value-adding short-changed by using a cheap camera?

This is a bit of a deja-vu thing that also happened when the groundglass 35mm adaptors for small-sensor cameras took off. Many folk were shooting extremely shallow depths of field not because they should but because they could for the first time.

Because it was a least unaffordable option, folk were buying and using the adaptors and old sets of stills lenses but neglecting the other value-adding in their productions.

There were exceptions. "Merantau" had all the fruit like 12K fresnel lights in daytime environments but was shot on a P2 camera with a groundglass adaptor. It worked fine.

"Monsters" was shot on a Sony EX3 through a groundglass adaptor with exceptional value-adding in post-production.

For "Dear Wendy" the DoP was seeking a particular aesthetic and found it with a groundglass adaptor and a Sony camera. There was even one shot which carried the signature fixed grain artifact of a stopped groundglass motor. Did it matter? Only to those who operated groundglass adaptors. An audience wouldn't have cared less.

Importantly, it was the story, performance and the action which carried these films convincingly for an audience. That much has not changed.

The essence is you do your best with what you have. All other value-adding being equal, your chances of having a marketable product improve with the better image quality and sound of higher-end tech.
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Re: Shooting film on original BMPCC instead of 4K - advantag

PostWed Dec 26, 2018 10:17 am

I was watching an episode of ProAV TV yesterday,
, where videographer Jim Marks was talking about the cameras he uses and why. The story is all important, but having tools that don't get in your way makes the task so much easier and enjoyable. What he said resonated with me because that's exactly what led me to get the BMPCC4K on top of my E-M1 and TG5; each one serves a purpose that the other really can't.
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Re: Shooting film on original BMPCC instead of 4K - advantag

PostWed Dec 26, 2018 2:35 pm

These are excellent responses and have given me a lot to think about - thanks!

The points about the value that the BMPCC4K will add, other than features I don't necessarily need, are valid ones. Making the shoot easier and quicker are important and will help the film in ways I can't plan for. Cleaner image, better UI, better ergonomics overall etc.

But considering my experience with the BMPCC and the rig I have (8+ hours of battery life, 5" external monitor, ample storage with 256GB cards etc), I think those advantages will be negligible.

And getting new gear for the sake of new gear is probably a trap that we all fall into more often than we may like to admit. Even as just an exercise in practicing not to do that, I'm going to stick with my BMPCC, at least for now. I'll be shooting this film with the OG BMPCC and keep an eye on the BMPCC4K. When there's a project that needs that sexy 4K, low-light, or BRAW I'm sure I'll find myself upgrading. But until then, I'll be shooting with the gear I have now, rather than the gear I could have in the future.
I'm going to spend the money saved on the new camera on the film itself which will undoubtedly help far more than shooting with a 4K camera I don't need.

Thanks for the wise words folks. These forums are such a rich resource!
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Re: Shooting film on original BMPCC instead of 4K - advantag

PostWed Dec 26, 2018 5:32 pm

Good to walk through the options and be well-informed and confident in your choice. All the best.


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Re: Shooting film on original BMPCC instead of 4K - advantag

PostTue Jan 08, 2019 3:19 pm

carlomacchiavello wrote:- less crop with same lenses
- better ui with preset to setup faster the camera
- variable shutter settings to deal better with flickering (you can change 1 degree at time, with original your have few choose and with modern led you could need of it).
- ability to shoot with dual iso (not to shoot in the black painted of black, but more option on your belt)
- recording on more storage option, cheaper and faster
- full license of Resolve

I think is enough to judge why if I buy now I prefer pocket4k to pocket



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Re: Shooting film on original BMPCC instead of 4K - advantag

PostTue Jan 08, 2019 10:45 pm

Original BMPCC is amazingly good for Cinema. 4K doesn't make the shot better cinematic, but an old BMPCC and good light, yes.
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joe12south

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Re: Shooting film on original BMPCC instead of 4K - advantag

PostWed Jan 09, 2019 1:00 am

colagirl wrote:they say that upscaling the 1st gen to 4k is sharper than the new 4k camera.,

"They" are deluding themselves.
Pocketluts: Purpose-built LUT system for the Black Magic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 4K
http://www.pocketluts.com/
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joe12south

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Re: Shooting film on original BMPCC instead of 4K - advantag

PostWed Jan 09, 2019 1:03 am

In addition to what has already been said, I would amplify the comment about the FOV. All technology arguments aside, these two cameras have completely different views on the world. It's like the difference between choosing to shoot 16mm or choosing Super35.
Pocketluts: Purpose-built LUT system for the Black Magic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 4K
http://www.pocketluts.com/

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