Blackmagic 4k - A Dead investment?

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Mohan Lakshman

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Blackmagic 4k - A Dead investment?

PostTue Apr 01, 2014 5:57 am

Its been a month i got my Blackmagic camera for Cine Rental business purpose. Waiting for raw recording as our DOPs prefer RAW over prores. Usually this camera goes as B Cam with Epic/Alexa. I am unable to rent out this camera. Why is it taking so long to do release a RAW firmware? Is my investment a waste on this product?
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4K-Jay

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Re: Blackmagic 4k - A Dead investment?

PostWed Apr 02, 2014 3:51 am

The 4k camera is a complete and total piece of crap. I'm on my third camera, second replacement camera, and it's clear that all is lost as far as the BMPC 4k is concerned. There is no quality control whatsoever. They bench tested my replacement cameras before they shipped them to me and each one is worse than the next.

RAW is moot at this point. Prores has more dynamic range than this camera can output. The only usable ISO is 200, which means you're down to about 11 stops. Shooting RAW will just trick people into thinking they can grade the footage, but as soon as they try it, all the hot pixels and Fixed Pattern Noise will come raging to the surface.

I guess it would be nice to set the color temperature after the fact, but that's the only reason I can think of to shoot RAW with the BMPC 4k
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RB3tv

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Re: Blackmagic 4k - A Dead investment?

PostWed Apr 02, 2014 7:08 pm

It finally shows "In Stock - Shipping" on B&H Photo in New York. They advertise compressed CinemaDNG RAW and Apple ProRes 422 (HQ) as well.

Does it Not have RAW capability yet as is being advertised on B&H?
It makes it appear like RAW is already included out of the box, not a future update. Can you confirm it is only ProRes at the moment?

Thanks.
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Robert Niessner

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Re: Blackmagic 4k - A Dead investment?

PostWed Apr 02, 2014 7:30 pm

RB3tv wrote:It makes it appear like RAW is already included out of the box, not a future update. Can you confirm it is only ProRes at the moment?


I can confirm that the 4k does for 100% sure no RAW at the moment.
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Scott Pultz

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Re: Blackmagic 4k - A Dead investment?

PostWed Apr 02, 2014 7:44 pm

Unless the raw footage is somehow sharper, I don't think it will matter much. ProRes seems to capture everything that the 4K camera has to offer both good and bad. I was pleasantly surprised with how good ProRes is.

Hot pixels have a fairly easy cure and that is chroma noise reduction which you will probably want to use regardless of whether or not you have a hot pixel showing. FPN on the other hand is difficult and there doesn't seem to be a cure...
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Anthony Miles

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Re: Blackmagic 4k - A Dead investment?

PostWed Apr 02, 2014 7:59 pm

As it sits I agree there are major issues with a company marketing & selling a camera that is my opinion not usable for professional "production". I would like my money back. My dealer worked very hard to get me an advance replacement and it had the same FPN as soon as we turned it on. It was visible at 1080 via SDI output, and at 4K would have been much worse. I would like Black Magic to send me a camera that doesn't have FPN or send me a Cashiers check and a shipping call tag. I have no reason to store this camera on my shelf if it isn't going to consistently not have the FPN issue. Everything else I can deal with, but with my reputation on the line and a clients trust I can not or will not shoot on a camera that may ruin my career. I also purchased 2 480 gig SSD drives and a Black Magic Rugged converter so I could shoot with confidence with my Z-Finder EVF which will also be pretty much wasted money if the camera isn't performing.
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Dave Perry

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Re: Blackmagic 4k - A Dead investment?

PostThu Apr 03, 2014 2:52 am

I'm quite pleased with my BMPC 4k. I'll be shooting my third project with it tomorrow. It will get national exposure and we are doing a shot that has never been done in this region, a shot of a natural attraction that people travel from many other states to visit. I'm excited about sharing it with the Blackmagic community when it's done. I'm sorry that others are having problems with their cameras. It does suck to rely on it for income and then have it out of order. I do work for a few very well known and creative ad agencies and they expect me to take care of my end of things with no excuses or explanations. So far I've been able to do that with my BMPC 4k.
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Ian Cresswell

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Re: Blackmagic 4k - A Dead investment?

PostThu Apr 03, 2014 3:16 am

4K-Jay wrote:The 4k camera is a complete and total piece of crap.


It has some problems, but hyperbole won't help them. If you get a good unit (I assume, because I've had no real problems with mine and it's the first one I got but others mention going through several copies), and use it for what it's good for (meaning not low light), I argue that it's a fabulous camera for $3,000. At least, it is for me for aerial shoots:
or

You may not like it. You may be angry and frustrated about hot pixels, FPN, and lack of RAW support (I know I'm annoyed by those things for sure). But "complete and total piece of crap" it is not (yes, I do realize that is simply my opinion and not a statement of fact). Anyways, I'm genuinely sorry for the people who seem to be having such issues with the camera not working for their needs. I hope Blackmagic addresses the problems soon.
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Fred Trevino

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Re: Blackmagic 4k - A Dead investment?

PostThu Apr 03, 2014 3:43 am

Let's all really hope a firmware update comes out in the next few days. As much as I love my camera (2.5k) and how pleased I am at the image, I'm finding it's reputation precedes it and that I'm constantly having to defend it. I've actually had clients pic a 5D over it due to its "glitchy" reputation. This may end up hurting the vast majority of those good cameras out there. Black magic design, do you not realize that a small hole can sink a whole ship?
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Ian Cresswell

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Re: Blackmagic 4k - A Dead investment?

PostThu Apr 03, 2014 3:46 am

FTColorist wrote:...I'm finding it's reputation precedes it and that I'm constantly having to defend it. I've actually had clients pic a 5D over it due to its "glitchy" reputation. This may end up hurting the vast majority of those good cameras out there. Black magic design, do you not realize that a small hole can sink a whole ship?


^+1
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Anthony Miles

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Re: Blackmagic 4k - A Dead investment?

PostThu Apr 03, 2014 4:02 am

I can't even tell you how bad I want this thing to work as expected. I am fine with the low light capabilities or lack of them. I can deal with no audio meter, but the FPN image problem is a deal breaker. I am so excited to hear some have a camera that doesn't have the FPN. I don't always see it so it is really a difficult situation. You cant even plan around it (which you should never have to do).
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Mohan Lakshman

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Re: Blackmagic 4k - A Dead investment?

PostThu Apr 03, 2014 3:42 pm

+1

FTColorist wrote:Let's all really hope a firmware update comes out in the next few days. As much as I love my camera (2.5k) and how pleased I am at the image, I'm finding it's reputation precedes it and that I'm constantly having to defend it. I've actually had clients pic a 5D over it due to its "glitchy" reputation. This may end up hurting the vast majority of those good cameras out there. Black magic design, do you not realize that a small hole can sink a whole ship?
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Scott Stacy

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Re: Blackmagic 4k - A Dead investment?

PostThu Apr 03, 2014 4:15 pm

I appear to have gotten a good one.
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brent k

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Re: Blackmagic 4k - A Dead investment?

PostThu Apr 03, 2014 4:40 pm

The FPN is what kills it for me; I don't care about the other stuff. I bought the camera to work with the Live Grade feature in DaVinci, and hopefully output the image for live TV. However, the compression we use for the end product amplifies the FPN issue x10. So, it is neither a cinema camera, nor a production camera, so what is it?
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David Chapman

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Re: Blackmagic 4k - A Dead investment?

PostThu Apr 03, 2014 6:01 pm

I've had no issues renting my 4k cam at all. In fact, we shot a very low-lit live performance and the client was really impressed with the image quality after the exposure was raised.

From people posting on the forum, it seems there are a few out there with FPN and other problems. I would suggest contacting BMD themselves to figure out a solution. Mine has no issues at all.

What will Raw provide over ProRes? I assume 12bit will give more room than 10bit. If you are already impressed with the ProRes, there might not be a reason to shoot raw when it comes out. I'll test and weight the pros/cons when it's available (which I can only guess will be soon—at or around NAB).
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Anthony Miles

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Re: Blackmagic 4k - A Dead investment?

PostThu Apr 03, 2014 7:24 pm

Sign me up. I'll take one of those good one please. Mine has a layer of dust.
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RB3tv

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Re: Blackmagic 4k - A Dead investment?

PostFri Apr 04, 2014 5:48 am

Hi, a couple of people have asked the question; "What will RAW provide over ProRes?"
Technically I'm going assume this is rhetorical question...

I was raising a, "best business practice" question above about the ad clearly showing "Compressed CinemaDNG RAW," above "Apple ProRes 422 (HQ)."

I'm trying to be diplomatic and Not bash on BM; it's more of a technical error, but the ad is misleading at best, and certainly not true as of 4/4/14. Listing RAW above ProRes is a finer point of "truth in advertising," but we need to hold people/companies to certain standards of professionalism, do we not? Otherwise who can you trust? If I knew nothing of BM or the 4k camera I would be deceived at the moment if I clicked on, "Add to Cart."

Whay say ye?
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ChrisBarcellos

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Re: Blackmagic 4k - A Dead investment?

PostFri Apr 04, 2014 6:54 am

This, of course, is what original purchasers of the BMCC EF, MFT, and BMPCC have been bemoaning about the advertised professional sound recording capabilities-- for well over a year now.
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Aaron Scheiner

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Re: Blackmagic 4k - A Dead investment?

PostFri Apr 04, 2014 8:51 am

I've held off on purchasing the 4k cam as a result of my experiences with BMD so far (related to my 2.5k cams).
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Eugene Carter

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Re: Blackmagic 4k - A Dead investment?

PostFri Apr 04, 2014 3:31 pm

ChrisBarcellos wrote:This, of course, is what original purchasers of the BMCC EF, MFT, and BMPCC have been bemoaning about the advertised professional sound recording capabilities-- for well over a year now.


BMD clearly has a PR problem and the lack of public communication is compounding things. I don't understand how they think just keeping quiet is helping. Even if they ran into some problems (with the 2.5k and now the 4K) being open and honest will help them gain respect. Clamming up and stringing on customers is the worst possible approach and loses the respect of many people.

First, they need to make their original camera customers whole. We've been waiting for fixes for the 2.5k for over a year, and haven't even received as much as an official response as to the progress to this point. Based on that, you would have to be out of your mind to trust them on fixing the 4k in a timely manner.

I think instead of being open and honest about the delays and set backs with the 4k, and making an official response as to what was going on with the delays, they caved and put out the product half @$$ed and knew it. Why do they have such a problem with simply communicating? They are killing their reputation and it's sad to watch.

Get it together BMD and talk to your customers honestly and openly.
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Peter J. DeCrescenzo

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Re: Blackmagic 4k - A Dead investment?

PostFri Apr 04, 2014 3:47 pm

I’m very happy with the results I’m getting from my BMPC-4K.

I understand that some people are not at all happy with the cameras they’ve received, and I hope BMD will address those situations promptly.

The attached full-resolution, lightly “color corrected” frame is from a 4K UHD (3840 x 2160) ProRes HQ shoot I did yesterday (Note: It’s compressed to JPEG @ 50% quality). No post sharpening or noise reduction.

Lighting was mostly natural daylight (overcast, rainy day) coming through a window, plus a daylight flo light for fill aimed off to camera right. There’s also a backlight above her head (a quartz-tungsten fresnel with a full CTB gel.) I used the camera’s “Video” (Rec.709 like) gamma mode. This was shot at ISO 400 at about f5.6, frame rate 29.97 @ 180-degree shutter. Lens was a Sigma 18-35mm f1.8 zoom at about 25mm. The cam’s white balance was set at 5600K, but next time I’ll use 5000K or 4500K to see the result.

After I’ve had a chance to work on the color correction more I’ll put the video up online.

hayley_bmpc4k_cc.jpg
hayley_bmpc4k_cc.jpg (997.24 KiB) Viewed 5740 times
Last edited by Peter J. DeCrescenzo on Sat Apr 05, 2014 7:28 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Arooj Azam

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Re: Blackmagic 4k - A Dead investment?

PostFri Apr 04, 2014 3:54 pm

I do feel for the people suffering with the BMPC abnormalities. Though I do not plan on making my experience full blown public but none the less I had five defective BMCC cameras. Yes you heard that right FIVE defective cameras. After which the UK support team themselves advised me that the current cameras are not meeting my 100 % working standard and it would be best if I just go for a refund. I have literally wasted 3 months in 5 swaps altogether, two of them coming directly from the support team thoroughly tested and found to be defective upon arrival.

The problems I had faced included rolling banding, start-up glitches like horizontal lines and static noise appearing, multiple defective Pixels coming from the sensor and the LCD. I can assure you it has been a very disappointing and exhausting experience.

I clearly think BMD needs to re-strategize their manufacturing model. There is something terribly wrong at that end. As much as I hate to say this but to be quite honest I don’t see any quality control although I have been told at numerous occasions by the support team that they have very strict quality control and the problems I have faced are only in a very rare few, which I clearly don’t believe. Receiving 5 defective units in a row can’t be right in any shape or form.

Any how I do hope that all the ones facing the current problems with the 4k camera get sorted out. I on the other hand do not plan on having an investment venture with BMD till the time they overcome these issues and truly have a hold over the quality control.
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Anthony Miles

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Re: Blackmagic 4k - A Dead investment?

PostFri Apr 04, 2014 4:06 pm

I on the other hand do not plan on having an investment venture with BMD till the time they overcome these issues and truly have a hold over the quality control.

AMEN
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Lee Jackson

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Re: Blackmagic 4k - A Dead investment?

PostFri Apr 04, 2014 4:07 pm

Peter J. DeCrescenzo wrote:I'm very happy with the results I'm getting from my BMPC-4K.

I understand that some people are not at all happy with the cameras they've received, and I hope BMD will address those situations promptly.

The attached "color corrected" 4K UHD ProRes HQ frame is from a shoot I did yesterday (Note: It's compressed to JPEG @ 50% quality).

Lighting was mostly natural daylight coming through a window, plus a daylight flo light for fill aimed off to camera right. There's also a backlight above her head (a quartz-tungsten fresnel with a full CTB gel.) This was shot at ISO 400 at about f5.6 or so. WB was set at 5600K, but next time I'll use 5000K or 4500K to see the result.

After I've had a chance to work on the color correction more I'll put the video up online.

hayley_bmpc4k_cc.jpg




You see, Images can look pretty good with cameras that don't have banding issues. This looks like a medium to subdued lighting shot and it still looks like the camera performed well.

As I posted before, I have seen low light scenes that look really nice when shot with BMD4K cams that don't have the banding problem.

It's not the lighting that's causing the problem, so let's not try to mask the fact that some cameras are very poor performers and others are really nice cinematic tools.
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olan_collardy

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Re: Blackmagic 4k - A Dead investment?

PostSat Apr 05, 2014 11:08 am

I was lucky to get my hands on the BMPC4K just 3 weeks after placing an order for it in the UK (after it starting shipping).

While the camera has its quirks, the image on this is fantastic (for £2k), yes ISO400 is a pain, but light your scene. This is not a replacement for a DSLR shooter. It's a camera for someone who has time to setup a scene, light and shoot. If you are looking for a replacement for a DSLR, you will be disappointed!

See some stills from a recent music video I shot with the camera.

To say the camera is a dead investment is somewhat of a silly broad stroke.
Attachments
Screen Shot 2014-04-05 at 11.22.51.png
Camera: Black Magic Production Camera 4K
Lens: Canon 24L and 100L
Graded in Davinci Resolve
Screen Shot 2014-04-05 at 11.22.51.png (558.46 KiB) Viewed 5614 times
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Kevin DeOliveira

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Re: Blackmagic 4k - A Dead investment?

PostSat Apr 12, 2014 5:30 am

So today I've been doing some testing with Neat Video's "reduce noise" plug-in on my 4K's FPN. The results have been respectable in certain shots. I don't think Neat is optimized for fixed pattens, but it does provide a marginal improvement, at the cost of almost all grain in the image.

It made some shots almost passable, but it's really not ideal. Slow to render, and it does modify the image a bit. I think I may have heard someone else trying the same thing. Let me know if you guys are getting better results.

If I get some free time, I'm going to try reducing the FPN the long way in AE or Resolve.
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Dastrupmakes

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Re: Blackmagic 4k - A Dead investment?

PostSat Apr 12, 2014 6:28 am

Those stills do look well lit and very attractive. But the FPN is clearly visible in your some of your darker mid tones. You can see it very clearly behind the gentleman's arm. Noise is one thing, but the FPN that the camera exhibits creates a texture that is is so defined that it becomes distracting. All the under lit mid tones get this weird canvas-y/striped look.
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olan_collardy

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Re: Blackmagic 4k - A Dead investment?

PostSat Apr 12, 2014 11:24 pm

mohanohi wrote:Its been a month i got my Blackmagic camera for Cine Rental business purpose. Waiting for raw recording as our DOPs prefer RAW over prores. Usually this camera goes as B Cam with Epic/Alexa. I am unable to rent out this camera. Why is it taking so long to do release a RAW firmware? Is my investment a waste on this product?


You are right. I did see the FPN on the very dark areas but in the grand scheme of things, the average joe won't notice or care. I'm currently on day 6 of 7 of principal photography of a drama series shot on the BMPC4K. It's a painful camera to use because of all the add-ons required to make it a functional camera in the field, but i'm yet to see a camera that offers similar image quality around the same price bracket.

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