EDIT: Part 1 and 2 of the review are now finished. They are at the bottom of the page along with two short pieces shot on the pocket camera. Don’t forget to check out James Miller’s grading tutorial based around footage shot for this review. You can download native footage there. Part 3 is more of a long term test so it won’t be out for a while…perhaps 6 weeks after the first one.
Stay tuned to this page for the next week or so as I bring out my in-depth analysis of this unique camera on the market. All the pros and cons, as I am sure you are used to by now! Bookmark it and come back daily (ish) as the pages will constantly be updated with new pics, info and video snippets. In the meantime, do check out my fiction short film “La Tamise” at the bottom of this page, shot on a camera at the other end of the spectrum! I hope to have a review of that camera at some point….a different tool of course!
By the end of this, I will have a proper full-on video review of the camera, but I will most likely break it up into two or three digestible chunks rather than the 45 minutes epic of the Blackmagic EF cinema cameras. It will also mean I will be able to get it out quicker, well at least part 1!
I have also decided to share my triumphs and pains here in written form as I progress.
The unboxing pics are below, and also today’s timeline is detailed below that! Read and enjoy!
Also be sure to follow twitter for my constant updates…my twitter feed is at the bottom of the page and of course you can also follow me here @philipbloom
I will shortly be trying out various different kinds of glass with the camera and hopefully shoot some tests with and without the speedbooster, plus comparing frame sizes.
Amongst the things I will be looking at:
Low light performance
Rolling shutter and moire issues
Sensor size compared to BMCC
Ease of use
What it’s like to shoot with
How much gear you need to really make it work
Where it can fit into your camera arsenal
Can it work as your only camera?
MONDAY AUGUST 17th 2013 BLACKMAGIC POCKET CAMERA DAY TIMELINE. DAY ONE
1300: Picked up the CVP Pocket Camera that they just had in, took some photos of the unboxing for them, and then took it home. CVP are now sponsoring my review, so THANK YOU! I was not getting anywhere in obtaining a camera for review from Blackmagic, but thankfully CVP had theirs in and gave it to me straightaway. Cheers guys!
1345: Realised I would need more batteries for it, so I went on Amazon.co.uk and tried to find some Nikon 1 series batteries available for next day delivery. ZIP. NOTHING! I found some which say “1-2 days.” Best I could do. Ordered 4 plus a charger as the Pocket Camera doesn’t come with one. Just a wall AC power charger thingy.
1400: Really like the look and feel of it. It’s cute! Funny to see the Cinema Camera menus all shrunk on the little back screen. It’s nice quality too, that screen, but I’ve not seen it outside. It’s not touchscreen so could be better than its bigger brother. Shame no raw yet to try out…not that I can see raw being an essential tool for a camera of this size but the ProRes HQ is there…just the ProResHQ nothing else. Shame no lighter flavour of it, even 422 or LT.
1430: Going through my lenses to see what micro four thirds ones I have left (It’s an active MFT mount unlike its bigger brother!). Annoyingly, I did sell the only nice OIS prime lens a couple of months back, so the only stabilized lens I have is the large and slow Lumix 17-140mm…but I do have lots of glass still. Two Voigtlanderrs, Lumix 7-14mm F4, 20mm Pancake, Loads of SLR magic glass and adaptors for Leica M and of course the Speedboster for Nikon, Leica R and Contax C/Y. So not a problem there!
1500: Had a kip.
1530: Woke up and had another kip.
1630: Spent ages trying to get the 4K version of my new short film “la tamise” done for Sony who want to show it at IBC in the 4K theatre. Many of my plugins for Premiere no likey 4K! Painful.
1730: The 4k Pain goes on until….
1900: Grabbed the pocket camera from the charger. Minor gripe: no charging light on camera or wall socket. Only way you know it’s charging is to turn it on and see the little charging symbol on the screen. Same as the bigger camera. Little niggles that should have been addressed.
1930: Battery goes down fast..not even shot a frame and it’s below 50%! Damn I will need those batteries!
1931: Put my Angenieux 17.5 to 70mm F2.2 Super 16mm PL zoom lens with MFT PL adaptor onto the MFT mount. PHEW! Nice vintage lens looks silly on the camera though…mind you, most lenses do, apart from pancakes!!
1935: Better try recording something. I put in a fast SD Card. No format in the menu. Still. Really? Come on! That is still the case with the Cinema Camera, and I find that amazing. All cameras SHOULD be able to format a card in-camera! It also still cannot delete clips. That has made me a bit grumpy.
1940: Formatted card in Mac as ExFat. Nothing.
1943:Try HFS+. Nothing.
1945: Try Fat32 just for laughs.
1946: No laughs.
1948 Try another card and go through the same thing. I try this with so many “fast” SD cards. Sometimes I can get the camera to see the card, but it won’t record, just turns red for record for a split second then stops. All other cards get a “no sd” display. I do this until…
2030 I GIVE UP! I want to put my feet up. So I go to put my feet up and just for a laugh put the pocket camera on my big old Shape rig. It looks silly!
2035: Order cards on Amazon. They won’t arrive until Wednesday AM. NOOOOO! This review is now also getting more expensive for me. I don’t want to buy any more SD cards!!
2100: Whilst relaxing I have a thought…Maybe I have one of the Sandisk Xtreme Pro 95mb/s cards in my Leica bag. I remember seeing it there…and lo and behold it is there! So I format the card as ExFat and BANG it works (there was no bang noise!)
2110: I am tired. I slept 3 hours last night, the 4K conversion of “la tamise” and other things occupied me and my mind. I want to flop on sofa now BUT I must shoot a little something. I know!! The cats!
2115: Noodle won’t let me. She has been very sick so I understand. She’s so pretty so it’s a shame.
2120: Percy is a cat camera slut and is well up for being filmed. So with my lovely SLR Magic 16mm Cine Prime I film him in shockingly bad light wide open in ProRes (it’s only ProRes HQ for now, no raw, no Avid DNxHD) at 1600 ISO in the film setting. Pulling focus is fun this wide open!
2130: I upload a file for you here! It’s the native untouched file, so enjoy!
2200: My 4K F55 edit has finally exported and the Blackmagic file has uploaded. DONE. Way later than I had hoped, but I wanted to have some success as I was quite annoyed with how it went. Tomorrow will be better. I know it! I have just one 32GB Sandisk Card to work with, but I do have my trusty NEXTO DI AIR with 500gb SSD in it, so I will be fine. It rips the file off super quick…anyway, tomorrow I will just test. I need to be home to keep an eye on Noodle and make sure she is fine. Fingers crossed she is and Wednesday I go nip out and do some filming outside!
I didn’t get anywhere near as much done as I had hoped. My cat Noodle has not been well so she was my priority. I did get some spare batteries brought round to me by the lovely people at 3D Broadcast. Massive thanks to them, as they got me out of a one-battery jam!
Thankfully Noodle perked up and is home and doing OK. So late last night I filmed the links and some b-roll to the 1st part of the camera review. I have cut a 5 minute taster which you can watch below!
This is NOT the review, just snippets of it so please don’t jump to any conclusions from this PLEASE. Whether positive or negative. In fact you should wait until all three parts are up, only then will you have all my info!
Make sure you follow my evolving camera review on my blog here… It is continually being updated, it also includes my twitter feed which is where I share my happiness and frustrations.
It’s Wednesday 1pm and I am off now to film in London. Let’s see how she performs as that’s what is important. How it is to shoot with, what’s the image like and how is it in post. I have some cool plans. I hope they work!!
I shot the review on the C100 and lit it with the lovely Gekko Lights which you can see here:
The filming of part 2, shooting with the camera went well. Also the footage I shot came out well. I learnt a lot about what glass works the best with it and how I could shoot with minimal gear. I also learned to turn off the camera when not rolling as I only recorded 50 minutes of footage and used 5 batteries. Mostly because I keep forgetting the camera needed to be turned off between shots. Something I am not used to! Other issues became apparent but for the most part I really enjoyed shooting with it!
Today I am going to try and finish editing Part 1 and also do some filming for Part 3. So much to do and I don’t actually have that much time to do it as I am off to a job tomorrow – that means two days gone and next week is very busy. I need a clone!!
Below are some graded frames from yesterday, most of them with actress Kate Lousteau whom I asked a favour of to be my subject for my shooting! All the stuff in the London Eye was with the SLR Magic 12mm F1.6 Cine version and most of the stuff on the bridge is the Samyang/ Rokinon 35mm F1.4 Nikon Mount with the Speedbooster and held steady with the Zacuto Marauder rig. On the eye I had no rig at all! Totally minimal!!
I backup all the footage I shot onto my Nexto DI air. I used Sandisk Xtreme Pro cards and one of the new Sony ones I was recommended. I actually experienced dropped frames on the one Sony card I used. I bought 4 so I hope that it was a one off problem!
Once I get all three parts up I will make available some of the footage from yesterday to download.
Anyway…gotta go…lots to do today!!
EDIT: New firmware has given the camera better SD card compatibity and also now works with ny Lumix Pancake 14-42 zoom which it didn’d do before.
“A pocket home video” was shot using my old bolex 8mm wooden rig. Pretty good for handheld, no good for when you build it up, but for not looking professional but getting professional results? Great! People don’t think you are a pro when using this. They think you are eccentric!! If you need something more robust and capable, and it not only works with a fully bulked up pocket camera but will work with cameras all the way up to the C100 in size. It’s the rig I use in part two of the review. The Zacuto Marauder. Check it out via the banner below.