12K "Digital Film" Settings

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Whaleresearcher

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12K "Digital Film" Settings

PostWed Nov 30, 2022 8:56 pm

I come from ARRI 35's, BL's, Ikegami's and SONY's etc. - old school. I have moved to the "new world' of digital over time and have arrived at a good set of Blackmagic cams to include; URSA 4.6K, Cinema 6K and a new 12K.

Blackmagic Support (on the phone and/or E) will NOT recommend settings for us to achieve the best result for a "film look" or CODEC's etc.

They say "we can not be responsible for user's settings and therefore can't make any recommendations . . . . " for user settings. They sound just like the United States Coast Guard to me.

In addition, posted videos seem to show everything we "don't" need to know/learn.

I am a heavy comp user/programmer for many decades, but still with so much to choose from on these cams, it is a bit confusing. I ask if anyone can provide some simple advise on settings to achieve a good look - obviously, I have no problem with ISO, frame rates, IRIS etc, but when it comes to CODEC choice(s), and other capabilities of these animals, it becomes a bit confusing.

NOTE: We have DeVinci Studio 18 full ver. for post on dual 32" 8K's and a Blackmagic 4x SSD rack with plenty of high speed SSD's, etc. (and Final Cut Pro X full ver.)

It would be nice to know what settings we can use to make these cams all match to best possible. Or at least, the best for each. I'm using ROKINON CINE primes and plan to add more lenses and money permits but this is what we have to work with now.

If someone could just provide a recommended settings list as a suggestion, we'd be super grateful for the help.
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Uli Plank

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Re: 12K "Digital Film" Settings

PostFri Dec 02, 2022 1:40 am

It all depends on workflow and shooting conditions, that's why BM doesn't try to give you such suggestions. Those cameras are very flexible, so first of all you have to decide if you want a result that looks nice out of the camera (like a digital 'reversal') or that needs to be treated in post (digital 'negative').

The first version would be normally recorded in ProRes and you only decide about the quality. ProRes 422 HQ is already very good, but for very demanding clients you can go higher (not on all cameras). The more flexible approach is BRAW, which will give you some more leeway in post at similar data rates and not much computer load (yes, it's that good). We normally recommend one of the Q settings (constant quality), which adapt to the scene. But since that can spike with high contrast and detail all over the frame (think water in backlight), you'll need good storage media, CFast cards from Anglebird are recommended.

With SSDs you can get longer recording times per dollar, but you should use only those from the list of recommended ones and rather use constant data rates. The setup is involving extra cabling and might be less realisable under critical conditions.

Which data rate depends on your shooting conditions and the quality demands. If you have long recordings to do before unloading, you may need to use a bit higher compression ratios.

Regarding the other camera settings, there will be no two cameras looking exactly the same, even the same model. But you can expect the output of all BM models to be quite similar. Just get Kelvin and Tint values right (based on a gray card) and use color science 5 in post. The rest can always be matched there.

Feel free to ask if something is unclear.
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Steve Fishwick

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Re: 12K "Digital Film" Settings

PostFri Dec 02, 2022 9:09 am

Whaleresearcher wrote:I come from ARRI 35's, BL's, Ikegami's and SONY's etc. - old school. I have moved to the "new world' of digital over time and have arrived at a good set of Blackmagic cams to include; URSA 4.6K, Cinema 6K and a new 12K.


Modern digital 'film' cameras are very different from any of those. It's not film nor ENG video. They derive their workflow and look from using log and 3DLuts and often Raw for a method quite removed and hugely more flexible from traditional TV type video and in some ways analogous more to celluloid, as Uli explained. It's such a broad subjective area and the look can be controlled by custom 3DLuts in such a bewildering array that BMD were understandably reluctant to give you any specific recommendations, they just manufacture the tools, fine and great value for money notwithstanding, that allow us to create. 'Digital Cinematography' by David Stump (Focal Press) is thoroughly a recommended read and grounding on the subject.

John Brawley is the guru of all things 12K here and hopefully he can recommend some specific settings for you on that camera.
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Uli Plank

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Re: 12K "Digital Film" Settings

PostSun Dec 04, 2022 5:50 am

One more thing, to measure color temperature, you don’t need an expensive Minolta device. If you have an iPhone (even the older SE will do) get Adam Wilt’s Cine Meter II.
It does well enough to get you in the ballpark.
Don’t approach DR with your preconceptions from another NLE.
Many features are better, some worse, most are different.


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Jamie LeJeune

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Re: 12K "Digital Film" Settings

PostSun Dec 04, 2022 6:18 am

No iPhone meter app needed. All current BMD model cameras will white balance to a grey card. They all also have false color to assist in setting exposure.
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Uli Plank

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Re: 12K "Digital Film" Settings

PostSun Dec 04, 2022 8:23 am

That's correct, but that app can also serve to check more complex lighting situations. Color is an extra, most of all it's a pretty good light meter.
We compared it to a Minolta Spotmeter and Sekonic, and it was pretty damn close.
Don’t approach DR with your preconceptions from another NLE.
Many features are better, some worse, most are different.


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Steve Fishwick

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Re: 12K "Digital Film" Settings

PostSun Dec 04, 2022 2:59 pm

A separate meter still has very much a place, since the 'meter' in the camera is essentially a spot one. For the old school balance of lighting ratios, or not so old in these HDR days, I imagine many top DPs still use them.
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Jamie LeJeune

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Re: 12K "Digital Film" Settings

PostSun Dec 04, 2022 8:56 pm

Sure, the iPhone apps are fine for judging relative exposures. But I wouldn't really trust the color info from them. And even if using a Sekonic, the numbers are not likely to line up exactly with the temp + tint numbers in camera. Those are more relative to the camera than absolute, and is why I'd recommend white balancing each BMD camera to a gray card using the internal control, if the goal is a neutral white balance.

But I should add something that will answer the OP’s question more directly:

Regardless of a projects post mastering frame size, the best image quality out of the 12K UMP comes from recording it at 12K. Of course, there’s a trade off with the amount of data that will result in. There’s also a trade off with sensor scan rate — it’s faster at 8K (around 7ms, about on par with an ARRI Alexa’s scan rate), and slower at 12K. This slower scan rate has implications if you’re shooting handheld or on a very long lens. 8K on the UMP is kind of a sweet spot trade off between scan rate, image quality, and amount of data. I’d avoid setting the 12K camera to 4K recording as there’s a quality penalty for that. If it is the case that you need to be shooting full sensor 4K all or even most of the time, IMHO use the UMP 4.6K G2 instead.

As for codecs, the constant quality options are best, and of those, lowest data rate Q5 is really plenty for most scenes. The exception is if you’re shooting VFX plates, extremely detailed deep depth of field static wide shots, or anything that will be massively zoomed in post. For those you may want to use Q3 or even Q1 (if your media can support it).

Also, if you’re often shooting in environments with a lot of infrared you may want to stick an IR cut filter in front of the lens, or swap out the camera’s sensor glass for one from Rawlite: https://rawlite.com/

And as for a “film look”, that’s 100% up to you and your colorist. The BRAW files that those BMD camera models all record are extremely flexible and can be put into any color pipeline you like. The cameras all support loading custom 3D LUTs that can be applied to the LCD image along with the SDI/HDMI outputs, and be embedded as display metadata inside the BRAW files. That metadata is read by every app that supports BRAW, and it can be used or not in post and superseded by JSON format sidecar files that are easily scriptable.

For matching the 4.6K, the 6K Pocket and the 12K, there’s a couple things to note:
1. Each of those 3 cameras uses a different sensor, so they aren’t going to match 100% out of the box and you’ll need to shoot some color charts to profile each one if you want to achieve a closer match in post, or in camera via custom LUTs.
2. While all 3 record BRAW so the transfer function + gamut to which they decode can be set to whatever you like in post among the plethora of options that BRAW supports, the in camera signal sent to the LCD and out SDI/HDMI is a different story. The 12K and 6K in camera operate in BMD Gen 5. The 4.6K operates in BMD Gen 4, which is the same primaries as Gen 5 but without any default gamut compression and using a different transfer function than Gen 5.

Also, a note about media. While the cameras support USB-C recording, my advice is to avoid it and stick to CFAST 2.0 across the board.

Beyond that I highly recommend reading the entire camera manual for each model. They are well written and answer most questions that new users of the camera will have.
www.cinedocs.com
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