This is my review of the Black Magic Production Camera 4K test.
I only ordered my BMPC4K in February 2014, after it was announced they were shipping therefore I feel extremely lucky to have a copy in my possession only after a 3-week wait. I have read several forums and was fully aware of the issues with the camera however it only became real when I was experiencing these first hand. Camera issues like it not booting up or booting up and seeing a fuzzy white screen that wont go away (well, went away after about 20mins! but happened each time the camera was turned on). These issues were fixed by the firmware update.
You will need at least a thousand pounds to make this camera usable in the field i.e. external battery, battery charger, SSDs, SSD dock, an SDI monitor (the screen is truly useless outdoors or in brightly-lit spaces. The camera only comes with an SDI-out and SDI monitors are terribly expensive!) or an SDI to HDMI converter, maybe an EVF (preferably one with a loop-through to feed to another monitor), a cage (this camera has no grip) and a few other things - you get the picture.
So knowing all these, why did I decide to buy the camera? It has some really good things going for it, S35 sensor (a lot better than 2.3x crop!), 4K (UHD), global shutter (no more jello), ProRes HQ (very nice codec) and the images from the BMD cameras are just beautiful, very filmic. So I was truly buying a sensor in a box and I was happy to pay the price for that. This is NOT a Run-n-Gun camera, you’d only want to use this camera in a controlled environment. This is fine with me as my 5DMk3 will remain my go-to camera and this is a luxury for narrative/high-production based work.
To be honest, I think I prefer the images from the earlier BMCC 2.5K camera to this, it looked a lot more filmic and has a wider dynamic range. I found it hard controlling the highlights as I had no tools (like an histogram) to monitor my exposure. It has a zebra function but it was distracting, so I turned it off (bad idea). I suffered a few blown highlights, perhaps the camera doesn’t handle them very well. I’m sure I’ll grow to love the images from this camera, I have no choice, I’ve made the investment!
PLEASE DONT GET ME WRONG! The footage from this camera is amazingly beautiful, but I was expecting something else (I guess one gets delusional after waiting close to a year for a camera to start shipping - I was expecting it to look like an ALEXA! Yeah at £2.3K!)
This clip was my very first test. A good actor friend of mine, Nikola Trifunovic was kind enough to give me some of his Saturday morning to get some footage. Like I said, I’m not a 100% happy with the image from the camera or perhaps I had some unrealistic expectations about the image - however, the images are beautiful. 4K is beautiful and the option for a punch in post offers a lot of flexibility! Will I be shooting everything in 4K? No, my computer just about coped with 4K footage and 4K is a lot of data to store!
Camera: Black Magic Production Camera 4K
Lens: Tamron 24-70 VC
Shot in 4K ProRes in Film Mode
Graded in Danvici Resolve + FilmConvert
Cut in Premiere Pro
Exported in 1080p h2.64
Man: Nikola Trifunovic
Shot/Edited by Olan Collardy
Music: Long Sleeves by Joel Baker