I've been in deep pre-production for the second series of Puberty Blues. We start shooting from Monday and it's always really hectic in the last week of pre. I've been pulling together my kit from the wonderful guys at Panavision and even though we shot with the Alexa last time a lot can happen in 12 months ! We're up to V7 in the Alexa and the first season was shot using V4.
Also since then, Blackmagic have announced two new cameras. So far on the second series of Puberty Blues we have two Alexas, A C300 (for surf footage in the water and slow mo) three BMCC's and now a BMCC pocket. I've been shooting a lot of tests this week and unfortunately I can't share most of those with you, but I was able to steal a few minutes to shoot with the pocket with the SLR magic 25mm lens.
I was also able to "volunteer" my B camera focus puller Frank Hruby to model for me in the same lighting setup.
Friday was our last day of pre and the guys from Panavision shouted us lunch so I took the camera along. The camera was being passed around here but it had the 25mm SLR Magic on and was set around T2.8.
I travelled with setup director Glendyn Ivin to our favourite little spot in Kurnel to shoot sunset. He had our C300 and I was shooting with a BMCC EF, but I also managed to shoot a little behind the scenes of us working as well. Perhaps not the most interesting of subjects, another BMCC, but it's what I could manage !
Earlier in the week I took my camera team from Puberty Blues out to dinner and had the pocket there with both the 12 and 25mm SLR Magic lenses. Again, the camera was being handed around and everyone was having a go.
This footage was shot at ISO 800 and I did have to bring it up more than a stop (using the Antler BMCC plugin - see below) so it does look a little noisier than I'd like. I'm sure if I'd shot at ISO 1600 it would be better. The restaurant was very dimly lit with just few small practical bulbs above us.
So it's not ideal but even in this tough scenario the pics are still nice and I know you're all keen to see low light and the SLR magic lenses. And I think it turned in some nicely useable pictures.
This was all posted in FCPX and I didn't go to Resolve at all. Instead I used Nick Shaw's awesome BMCC LUT plugin for FCPX.
The great thing about Nick's plugin is that you can very easily do a quick conversion of BMD FILM originated material and get a great look with very little effort. Mainly I pushed the saturation a little more, but otherwise I didn't really do much grading beyond what Nicks' plugin does and I did it without leaving FCP.
As amazing as Resolve is, if you want a fast workflow and aren't happy with the BMD "VIDEO" lut that the camera does then you can easily just shoot FILM and use this plugin to get a very fast workflow in FCP for delivery with a minimum of grading effort. PLus if you needed to grade later in Resolve, you can still go back the FILM originals.
So as yet, I still can't make this available for download, but we'll be looking to get some camera originals out there in the near future.
What I think we are seeing here though is that the pocket definitely has the same DNA as the BMCC in terms of dynamic range and "look"
Last weekend I thought I'd have a good chance to shoot some of the wonderful VIVID SYDNEY, an annual outdoor event using light and sound.
With near drought inducing weather in NSW over the last few months we were looking at a dry winter, until of course, I tried to take a camera out to shoot something.
Thus adding to the urban mythology that if you want to have it rain somewhere, organise a crew to shoot something. Last time I shot in Dubai it hailed ! Maybe it's me ?
Anyhow, I pressed on and kept on shooting anyway. In the end I was more interested in the people that went along and attempted to enjoy Vivid despite the rain.
Using the Blackmagic pocket cinema camera with native m4/3 lenses I moved around pretty easily and unobtrusively. Yes. The camera did get wet. I tried to keep it dry, but it was inevitable.
I shot mainly at ISO 1600, but the first few clips were shot at 800. Lens wise I had the Panasonic 14mm F2.5 (first few shots) and the Panasonic 20mm F1.7 (second lot of shots before the ferry travelling left to right) then I was principally on the Olympus 45mm F1.8 but I also had the 12mm SLR Magic T1.6 and the SLR magic 25mm T0.96
I had the terrific O'Connor 1030Ds head along for the ride too.
This was all cut and finished in FCPx with a beta version of Nick Shaw's BMC plugin for converting BMD FILM to REC709. The great thing about the plugin is that it gives you a very quick look. I could easily take the XML into Resolve if I wanted to for more powerful control as well, but it just gives you a very quick approximation and allows you to finish an edit with a quick grade.
No noise reduction or sharpening applied. Was shot all available light.
This footage was shot over about an hour at my local market on Sunday morning. So yeah, it's just home movies. I was literally grabbing shots where I could whilst I was shopping ! But, you do get to see what one man can do with a pocket cinema camera and a 12-35 Panasonic m4/3 zoom. I guess for those that like to shoot discretely, guerrilla or documentary style, this will give you a good sense of what you're going to get. The same great DR and look has been inherited from the BMCC.
All this footage was shot using the FILM look. I set my exposure by ETTR and using the 100% zebra to indicate clipping. I had IS on all the time. I had a Hoya ND16 on as well to keep me at a slightly nicer stop. I set the rear monitor to VIDEO and then used focus peaking all the time.
There are plans afoot to create something that's more *finished* in the way of demo footage in a more formal and drama / narrative style, but for now this should whet your appetite.
Its rough and ready, and really it was just something I threw together very quickly. Interestingly, I had one guy actually recognise that it was a BMCC pocket and several others stopped me to ask what the camera was !
I cut the footage using FCPx and used my colleague Captain Hook for the grade. He's made some fantastic LUT's for Resolve as donation-ware to make grading BMCC footage even easier. I encourage those of you who work with BMCC footage to check out these great LUT's. There's some great before and after examples there as well.
** UPDATE - I've uploaded some Prores originals from the camera if people want to check them out:
Been out grabbing some footage and beta testing this little guy the last week or so and having a blast! I really can't get over the image that's coming from this tiny little package. Amazing. The stealth factor is also great as everyone assumes you're on a typical "point and shoot" and don't think twice so pay you no attention. I can see myself shooting casually with this more than my EF 2.5k model (which i plan to sell to get the MFT mount version) as it's so portable and light-weight, i can take it just about anywhere with me. I couldn't bring myself to rig up this camera as it kind of defeats the purpose to me.
The footage is mostly made up of our Canon L Primes via the Redrock Live Lens adapter so that i can control aperture on our lenses. Some shots are with the Panasonic/Lumix 12-35/2.8 (thanks to Gilbert for loaning me this and a couple of other active lenses to test with).
Everything is either handheld, on a monopod, or on a Glidecam HD4000 (thanks to Si Moore). Majority is shot at ASA400 (did not shoot RAW) with a few of the night shots at ASA800, but even some of them are at 400. Most of the night shots are also at F1.4. The glidecam stuff by the beach was the Lumix 12-35 at around F16 (don't have any ND's that fit the filter thread). Otherwise the majority of the day shots are at F2.0 using Tiffen IRND's to get appropriate exposure.
Shot in BMDFilm with my LUT applied, and only minor corrections beyond that:
I can see this camera becoming VERY popular. Great stuff and congrats again to all the team at blackmagic, plus a HUGE thank you to BMD for letting me take this guy for a test drive!!
Music by the amazing Lennon and Maisy: