Time Slows: Black Magic Pocket Cinema camera

During the summer, Black Magic reduced the price of their Black Magic Pocket Cinema Camera (BMPCC) by half price.

This was a limited offer, so I ordered straight away. Remorse started sinking in when I read the reviews whilst waiting for delivery: it’s a difficult camera to work with (it is, but it’s also very rewarding), there’s a massive x2.88 crop (there is, but focal reducers are now very cheap and decent), and worst of all, it’s very difficult to grade the video.

Ungraded BMPCC footage (ProresHQ using the 'film' or flat color setting. Click image to see a full size version (1920x1080).
Ungraded BMPCC footage, ProresHQ using the ‘film’ (log/flat color setting). Click image to see a full size version (1920×1080).

Well, there’s fixes for the first two, and for the third, that’s a blatant lie: grading log footage is not difficult as long as you get your white balance right before you do any other grading or color correction. This point is crucial.

Assuming good white balance, all you have to do is push the saturation, add a LUT (look up table) or even just use an auto-color correction to get you in the right ballpark.
Anyway, shown above is my very first attempt with the BMPCC. Notice the sky and ground are well exposed in every shot. That’s the power of a high dynamic range plus a good codec (CameraDNG or ProRes).

There are loads of tutorials and reviews on adapting Canon or Nikon lenses to the BMPCC, but I could find nothing for Sony Alpha. Well, that’s about to change. Watch this space!

Notes

  1. The video was shot hand held using only the Panasonic 14mm f2.5, shot wide open to get a de-sharpened, analog feel.
  2. The source footage is ProResHQ (2.45GB for about 2.5 minutes of footage) and this was edited using only Premiere Pro with the Colorista 2 and Tiffen Dfx plugins. No LUTs or presets were used.
  3. The slow motion effect was added in Premiere via Twixtor. The text motion graphics were created using  the standard Premiere animation, masking and blur tools (After Effects was not used).
  4. The Soundtrack is Clockwork by The Silk Demise.