Sample Footage From The Black Magic Cinema Camera NSFW

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A few days ago my buddy Bryan Bowden called me and said that he was in possession of the currently unreleased Black Magic Cinema Camera. This camera could be the next big thing in videography because it's incredibly cheap ($3000) for what you get (2.5K RAW footage). I personally only got a moment to see the camera but I asked Bryan to write up something for our readers about his very short experience with the camera and release some RAW clips straight from the camera.

Bryan wrote up a small article about his experience with the camera. Keep in mind that this is in no way a full review, especially since this isn't a production model.

Bryan writes:So I was lucky enough to test 1 of 3 BLACK MAGIC CINEMA CAMERAS in the U.S recently for a day. My goal was to shoot some interesting scenes in RAW format which BMCC does in 2.5K. I decided to use natural light in most of the scenes and lighting for the hallway scene towards the end of the edit. The camera has the option to short "FILM" once in RAW mode so this is what you are seeing. I'll start by saying that the camera is very easy to use upon first glance, the touch screen is a very easy to navigate around and seems to be very sturdy and straight forward. The lens I used was a Canon 35mm prime. The camera weighs close to 4 lbs and seems to be very sturdy and well built although the ergonomics are a little perplexing to me.When shooting RAW, the files are converted to DNG files at 5mb each. This I found very interesting because you can literally open each file in Camera Raw and tweak the images with virtually full control. I was surprised to see that when opening each file in Camera RAW, the contrast and saturation was tweaked way beyond what you see in the viewer while shooting, I'm not sure why this is but with the RAW file you can download here and the ones available on my site, I hope someone can fill me in on this. The reason I shot an attractive model in a bed wearing only lingerie was to make it a little more interesting and fun for you to work with. Now for the pros and cons of my experience with the Black Magic Cinema Camera:

PROS:

1. This camera is very easy to use if you are an experienced DSLR user, the touch screen is set up for easy access to all settings.

2. It's powerful, the shooting resolutions are 12-bit RAW files recorded at 2432 x 1366

3. The frame rates are 23.98p, 24p, 25p, 29.97p, 30p (I shot 24p)

4. The battery life is supposed to be 90 minutes, when shooting RAW, I was able to shoot closer to 30 min. 5 MB/frame in RAW 2.5K fits about 30 minutes of 24p video on a 256 GB solid state disk. Compressed HD formats fit more than 5 times the amount of RAW video. It has a lithium ion polymer rechargeable battery and you can shoottethered with a 12V AC adapter.

5. The disk is a 256 GB SSD disk that fits into the side of the camera…and it's pretty big.

CONS:

1. The camera does have a slight rolling shutter issue.

2. FCP has a very hard time importing these files. I was told that Premiere Pro 6 would be easier but with the help of editor Matt Robinson, we had to download Davinci 9 Liteto import the footage. It took several hours to complete the conversion to MPEG. Once that was done, it was easy to import into FCP7 and X. The computer we used for this process could very well be the problem here so I'm listing the specs for you:

IMAC:

21.5"3.06 g2 I3 Processor4GBDVR31333mhzOS 10.6.8

3. As you can see from the footage seen here, there are some green lines and noise throughout the footage, we're not sure if these are video artifacts or distortion caused by the lack of power used for the conversion. Again, in the camera viewer, this was not visible, only after the conversion. I would like to see what someone's grading looks like using a muchmore powerful system.

4. If you look at the files in the finder, the images had a magenta tint to them, but once in Divinci Resolve, the footage had a green tint. Not sure why this is, again…the footage looked awesome in the camera viewer (usually does but this was a drastic change). These issues might not be there is a different editing set up was used, I want to know what you people can come up with.

5. Shooting in daylight was very difficult while in RAW. There is no histogram or waveform monitor in the camera. Through the camera viewer, it was very blown out but once imported into Resolve, the footage looked fine. This proves to be very difficult to get the right ISO and exposure settings while shooting. All of the footage shot in the test video was at ISO 400 and it still looks grainy, I think that this could have something to do with the "film" setting in RAW mode.

I have several RAW 2.5K scenes available for download at my site for those of you who want to work with the footage and see what you can do before purchasing the camera.

Thanks for taking the time and I hope my experience shed some light pn the mystery of the BMCC.

You can download some RAW sample clips from the camera here.

Here is the "fixed" conversion.

 
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44 Comments

Video just was too sexy, that i didn't care what camera was used :)

LOL

How was the battery life on this. its built in so once its out its out. and shooting to SSD seems to be a downer. you'll blow through a 128 GB shooting raw in no time.

Conversion to mpeg? Seriously.

Its raw dng. You cant edit these files in fcp7 or premiere.
You import raw files in davinci. You do a basic correction. Export to prores. Edit offline, then reconform in davinci.

There are digital artifacts in a lot of these shots by the way.

And it has nothing to do with the 'film' setting.
Film = log

George Socka's picture

two no three no four  things wrong with that computer:

its only a mac

its only an i3

its only got 4gb memory

and its fcp

A Mac with Davinci Resolve and proper Nvidia GPU will work fine with DNG RAW files. ProRes files directly from the camera will work fine on any Mac with FCP.

Why only a 720p sample given?  :(

George, Il give ya the i3 and 4gb or ram bit, but nothing wrong with macs, it is personal preference, many users prefer them. Same goes for fcp, sure it aint going to be the industry standard for pros anymore but it is more than capable of a video editing tool for budget filmmakers that would find this camera so appealing.

I guess he was referring to the fact that it's only a MAC, not a MAC PRO that is usually much, much better than the "regular" macs. We've been editing RAW RED footage at 4K with absolutely no problems at all on a 2009 Mac Pro.

Spy Black's picture

Great excuse to promote this chick. This footage could have been shot with any camera, even my old SD Sony TV-900. Puh-lease! Hope you got laid at least.

DELANO's picture

I agree.. I'm not impressed by this camera and/or the people who made this film at all if I have to go by this footage. Be much more critical of the work you put out. 

I agree that this grade isn't doing much to show off the 12-bit raw, but no reason to be so negative. Thanks for sharing the DNG files!

Never mind.

Patrick Hall's picture

Yeah we saw that and everyone was aware of it.  Not sure what is causing it but I'm sure the final firmware will fix the banding.  

John Cliff's picture

I'm using an older PC - 8GB RAM, Quad core (Q9400 2.66GHz) nVidia GeForce GT 520 - I downloaded the files, opened them in Camera RAW, did a quick correction there, saved the files as psd's (this took about ten minutes), imported them as a sequence into Premiere Pro CS5 and used some custom looks I have built in Magic Bullet Looks to do some grades - all good except that my comp didn't allow smooth playback on the timeline until I exported as an intermediate avi using the Matrox I-Frame HD codec. I ended up just using the psd sequences to grade anyways as I didn't really need to see the clip in motion once I knew it exported OK.

John Cliff's picture

 if you want some better quality DNG's to play with head here, scroll down and click on each shot link:  http://johnbrawley.wordpress.com/2012/08/22/afterglow-dngs-are-out-in-th...

Iv se

I found it hard to concentrate in the dynamic range :) 
The image looks over graded and very contrasty, something you can do with a mid range DSLR.

Thanks for the material. I just spilt my seed over this video. Technically footage is not impressive at all. Iv seen better footage from an iphone.

Heath McKinley's picture

I recently shot with the Black Magic Cinema Camera and you're right, shooting outside is a nightmare with glare on the screen. The iris button is another issue as you have no idea what aperture you are using when compared to other cameras. This makes shooting with different cameras and getting the same look harder to do. The reason the contrast and saturation are tweaked in the RAW dng compared to what you see on the screen is because you can set the monitor to display either the RAW log look or the more pleasing video look. The RAW files from the BMCC are true RAW compared to the RED cameras which compress their data. PaulJay is right, export to prores. Edit offline, then reconform in davinci. 

new 1.2 firmware is out now i think - fixes that aperture number issue and a few other little things.. no audio monitors yet though 

So many people that have gotten their hands on one of these have no idea how to properly use it.  In the right hands, this camera produces AMAZING quality footage.  This looks about as good an an iPhone video...maybe worse.  Blame the operator, not the camera.

30 minute battery life is listed as a Pro? :-)

Spy Black's picture

 ...and it doesn't have interchangeable batteries!

Dude, something is wrong with the workflow you used. There shouldn't be any "lack of power" issues when transferring the footage; the intermediate files you create from RAW should be ProRes 422 or DNxHD; the green tint (assuming the monitor is calibrated) can be easily  corrected with Resolve.

Better way...

A) Use Adobe Bridge to select all files and open in Camera RAW.

B) Syncronize edits

C) Save to a new location as PSD

D) Import into Premiere Pro

BTW: This isn't a great example from a pro camera..sheesh.

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/38670107/Sequence%2001_1.mp4

PaPaRaZZi's picture

I'll take the GoPro Black for 1/10th the price.

Bryan Killay's picture

Whats the song?

I don't know the name but apparently it was by Massive Attack and was also used in Ode to 2011 by Grayagent.

EDIT: Massive Attack - Paradise Circus (Zeds Dead Remix)
This is the version used in Ode to 2011. The version in the above video may not be a remix.

I appreciate a sample of the footage from the Black Magic, but, seriously, did the subject matter have to be akin to a "skinemax" movie?  I mean, does that really put the focus on the qualitative results of the camera usage?

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