A documentary "adversity test" of the new Blackmagic Cinema Camera.
We have all seen what the experts can do with this camera... but being no Bloom or Glencairn myself, I created some handicap perimeters. I limited myself to 2 hours on location, handheld, used only available light, and shot in ProRes (instead of RAW). I did this in order to determine if this camera could realistically work for me, specifically for observational documentary shooting.
At f-2.8 and ISO 1600, the footage was still very underexposed. I was amazed at the amount of detail that came out of the darkness in Post- (using the 3-way color corrector in FCP), but less amazed at the resulting noise and loss of color depth. That is not really the camera's fault, and if I had shot in RAW things would be different. But what is the camera's fault, and what I really struggled with, were the cumbersome ergonomics, lack of audio connectivity, and touchscreen controls (it was 5 degrees below zero outside that morning with a wind-chill of -25, and the news helpfully warned me that my bare fingers ran the risk of frostbite after five minutes of exposure).
In the end, I think that I was forced to agree with Philip Bloom's assessment that the BMC is just not quite right for documentary work... at least not for me. Yet I am sure that some of you out there will be able to overcome these obstacles, and when you do, I will be watching the results!
Special thanks to the Miedemas for their participation.
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