The black magic camera has shaken up the video world in a big way, and there’s no question as to why.
2.5 uncompressed raw plus the da
vinci resolve software suite for 3000$?
It’s an impressive offer, especially if we look over to the competition, notably the canon 5D mkIII at around the same price point.
But let’s take a step back and look at the bigger picture, the sensor ( pun not intended).
It also amazes me that there’s been a sort of backlash against full frame sensors.
The main argument is that it’s un-cinematic or there’s too much depth of field.
I think we’re failing to see the advantages here, there’s a big difference between full frame and aps-c and an even bigger difference between full frame and micro four thirds.
Not only is it an issue of depth of field, perhaps more importantly it’s an issue of perspective/field of vision.
Shooting on the 7D (aps-c) I know that it’s hard to get my hands on a good wide angle lens.
I can’t imagine how much harder this would be on a micro four thirds sized sensor.
So what? You simply need a wider lens, same difference right?
We often hear about “equivalents” like how 30mm is the equivalent of a 50mm on an aps-c system for example.
Yes you’ll be able to get about the same amount of things in frame, but at the cost of altering perspective.
Who cares about perspective?
I do, and you should too!
It’s the reason why a human face looks pleasant on a 50mm ,yet monstrous and elongated on a fish eye.
I’m not saying we should all adopt full fame video, but we should definitely take perspective into … well into perspective.
A lot of people have been saying that this year’s NAB is the year of 4k. With sony’s FS700, canon’s 1D c and C500, as well as RED’s continuing venture into 4k and beyond its easy to see why. This is all great news for the future of digital cinema, but what about the rest of us who don’t exactly have the disposable income available to invest into these new systems? Luckily there are people out there who thought about that, digital bolex is one, but I’m personally more interested in the black magic cinema camera. The black magic cinema camera (quite a mouthful to say, I really hope they come up with a shorter name…) is a 2.5k super 16mm camera that shoots in raw, yes raw, for the insane price of 3000$! This camera costs less than a 5D mkIII and takes canon ef and zeiss zf lenses natively. It obvious they are targeting the video d-slr shooters, which is a brilliant idea because aside from something like a c300 or a scarlet they don’t have much of an upgrade path. Now of course there’s differences that may make or break the deal, the most obvious one is that this is a super 16mm sized camera. The canon 7D is more or less a super 35mm while the 5D is even larger still. That might not make a huge difference for most of us, but it does mean the depth of field won’t be as pronounced as a 5D or even a 7D, 60D , 550D. There’s also the issue of lenses, since micro 4/3 is even smaller than aps-c it’ll be that much harder to get a good wide angle image. We haven’t seen that much footage either, I’m very eager to see how this performs in lowlight settings as it’s a micro 4/3 sensor. I’m also not quite sure what to think about the design, it’s minimalistic, but perhaps too much. It seems to rely heavily on a touch screen to navigate settings and I’m worried this might slow down shooting, I know when I’m shooting with my 7D the last thing I want to do is spend time in menus. In the end I think this is just one of those cameras I’ll need to hold in my hands to get a proper idea of how it’d work on a shoot. One notable feature is the bundled software, this camera comes with a copy of black magic’s DaVinci Resolve, which retails for about 1000$. As if the camera itself wasn’t enticing enough! So Will I buy this camera? Probably not, at least not yet, I really want to see where the industry is headed before I make an upgrade, and for now my 7D is doing the job. One thing is for sure, I need to get my hands on one! If possible I’ll try to rent one out to do a proper review when it becomes available.
You can see in my previous post/rant my opinion on what Indy film makers don’t need, so I thought I’d put my opinion out there on what we could use as a hint to the companies that are making these d-slr products.
Bob is an Indy film maker, he has a day job and has bills to pay.
He recently purchased a d-slr on credit after seeing what could be done on these little digital wonders.
With that he has a tripod, and a single prime lens.
He has intentions of making his money back, and while he loves the quality of the footage, he’s run into some issues.
Bob has many options, but they fall into two major categories.
1)Hyper expensive professional tools which he can’t afford.
2)And hyper inexpensive tools that might as well be wasted money.
Why can’t we meet Bob in the middle?
He has needs, but they arent so extravagant that he would need to sell his organs on the black market to afford, yet that which he can afford he’d be better off making himself.
What Bob needs is simple really.
He need Stability for his camera when hes not shooting on tripod, he needs a way to get proper focus, he needs a way to tack on a whole bunch of accessories securely without the use of duct tape.
But most of all Bob needs somethig he can afford, yet something he can trust to get the job done.
I’m hoping one of the brilliant d-slr gear companies will see this and take it to heart.
There is also a potential to make great business on this.
Offer Bob the tools to use his d-slr to shoot great video at a price he can afford.
When bob starts making a return on his investment and needs to upgrade to pro level gear, he’ll know exactly where to go to.
Don’t get me wrong, I love d-slrs, my 7D is my single most prized possession.
However I can’t help but feel I’ve been thrown into a never ending pit of acquiring and lusting over gear.
The thought that “if I only had that zacuto shoulder mount, or that zeiss prime I could be a professional”.
Let’s face it, most of us dslr users are indies who were attracted by the concept of getting film like quality on an Indy budget, but here comes an avalanche of products geared specifically towards d-slr shooters stating that “you NEED this if you want to shoot on a dslr, not only do you NEED this, but you need the best, no substitutes (aka our product)”
It almost as if a cruel joke has been played on the Indy film maker.
An illusion of an opportunity to make it big, to stand a chance against the big production companies.
This illusion turned into an industry, and indy film makers aren’t on the receiving end.
We as film makers need to get rid of the concept that
“we Can be professional if we own such and such equipment”
That has nothing to do with being a professional, it’s called being a consumer.
Being professional is an attitude and a skill set, this is what you should focus on.
You don’t need a zacuto evf, you don’t need a Philip bloom signature series Kessler crane , you don’t need jag35’s wireless follow focus.
These are all great products that will help you in your film making, but make sure you’re getting more out of the video industry than you’re putting in.
Until then there are ways to film on a budget that will give you invaluable experience in on set problem solving.
Let’s make the D-slr revolution work for the Indy filmmaker and not the other way around.
After all this is Our revolution.
A Walk In Montreal
Music: An Enormous Anger Grows In Brooklyn by The Record Summer
Director/editor: Thomas Harper
Director of Photography : Luc Deschenes
Special Thanks to: The great people of montreal, EXCEPT for a particular cameraman for some news channel, you do your thing we’ll do ours.