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Watch a Possibly Final (For Now) Roundup of Blackmagic Cinema Camera Videos

12.25.12 @ 9:18PM Tags : , , , ,

The Blackmagic Cinema Camera may be shipping within the next month or so, but in the meantime, we are continuing our review and we’ve now got a possibly final roundup of videos for this camera (at least for the near future until they start shipping), as it has finally made its way into enough hands to really get a sense of the quality. While we haven’t seen much narrative content make its way to the web yet, there are still plenty of different situations that show off just how much this little $3,000 camera can do. Click through to check them out.

Trip to Mexico — Shot in RAW with the Sigma 8-16mm, Canon 24-70mm (no iris control yet, so all wide open at f2.8), Canon 70-200mm 2.8 IS Mark II:

A Night in Nine Elms – We’ve previously shared this video, but now we’ve got a great behind the scenes that puts it into perspective. Shot in ProRes Log with the Tokina 11-16mm, IS Canon 17-55mm, IS Canon 70-200mm.

A Night in Nine Elms Behind the Scenes Video (also shot with the BMCC):

Black Magic Cinema Camera – Low Light Test Shoot — shot in ProRes with the Rokinon 35mm T1.5 Cine Lens and the Tokina 11-16 F2.8:

Snow Bells from Frank Glencairn — shot in ProRes on Canon 17-40mm f4 L:

Another from Frank Glencairn:

Blackmagic Cinema Camera: RAW-Footage set to Rec.709 vs. BMD Film

Blackmagic Cinema Camera Test – Madrid

I think that’s about the widest range of videos we’ve seen so far, with the only exception being a complete narrative film, though the Frank Glencairn stuff comes pretty close. If you aren’t convinced by the image quality by now, you may never be. My criticisms of the camera still stand, but as far as the crop factor, in practical shooting, it’s really not an issue. Yes your 24mm lens is no longer a wide, but other than that, I haven’t had a problem with the lenses being too close for comfort.

We will hopefully have more footage of our own in the coming months, but until now you can check out the above videos and stay tuned for the rest of the BMCC review.

What do you guys think? Have you seen anything new that makes you think differently about the camera?


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  • The Andrew Julian piece (Mexico) is magnificent. I want to sell my GH2 and my 5D mk2 now!

  • I think that fact that its only 3K is just insane. People say that their are lots of hidden costs as well but if you already are a serious DSLR shooter then you will already have most of the stuff you need. Plus 1.7k worth of free software is also a big bonus, I was worried about the crop factor and storage to begin with but after seeing these pieces I’ve changed my mind. Even if you shoot ProRes 90% of the time I think it still a great camera.

    Trip to Mexico also solved a little problem I thought the camera had, most pieces I had seen before it all looked muddy in color but Mexico was really vibrant and looked great.

  • VINCEGORTHO on 12.25.12 @ 10:24PM

    I’m still waiting to see the most filmic looking footage this camera can do. Something done by a god cinematographer.

    A lot of the night shots all look the same. Under exposed. Muddy. Cold colors.

    Trip to mexico was almost good. Unfortunately the opposite in a bad way. Warm colors. Sharp. But over exposed.

    But I guess I’m used to finding stuff like this on Vimeo. Going to purchas a D800. I’m looking for some good example footage and almost all of it is over exposed with blown out hilights.

    • Bmcc destroys the d800 for color, sharpness, dynamic range, etc. Look I own two d800e cameras for studio stills but if you think it comes close to the bmcc for video you are confused. The nikon d800 has horrible waxy skin tone (even with external recorder)….you 100% can not shoot actors or models with the d800 in video mode and get results even close to the bmcc. Show me anyones d800 video work that has good skin tone and I will paypal you $1,000.

      maybe.the d800 for cheezy documentary work…..but it is not a video tool that produces quality results.

      • vinceGortho on 12.26.12 @ 12:22AM

        Now exhale.

      • vinceGortho on 12.26.12 @ 12:28AM

        I wasn’t comparing the d800 to the bmcc.
        im just buying one because I want a dslr and blackmagic probably wont be available for a year to non pre orders.

        • Fair enough. Rent one from lens rentals first though. Might surprise you what the nikon produces.

      • Jordan – I find it slightly incredible that you own two D800e’s and hate the skintone in video that much.
        As for buying one over a BMDCC, I agree, I think that would be a mistake unless you need the stills. And I write that as a D800/e owner (who shoots a lot of video, including exactly zero cheezy -sic- documentaries). If you can wait the 3-4 months, it would be worth it. For the money, as a cinema camera, there’s actually no comparison.

        But re the skintone, um, you’re quite wrong. I’d take up your challenge, but someone already beat me to it:

        • Downloaded that clip. Ill be the first to admit that its waaaay better than what I can color time from my nikons. Bravo to the artist who shot it. Now as to if that comes close to the bmcc…i still dont think so.

        • This one is close, but the orange skin tone looks too even and artificial. This is especially noticeable on the hands.

        • The tone of the praying hands from 00:09 to 00:13 is unmatched and looks out of place for sure. Someone likely messed with the color in that part. The rest of the piece is pretty good.

    • Have you seen Philip Bloom’s Ponte Tower video? It’s not a strict “narrative” video, like some have been wanting to see, but it’s still a great-looking testament to what the camera can do.

    • check out – it’s pretty “filmic”

  • Greg Thompson on 12.25.12 @ 10:48PM

    I agree with VInce – the Mexico thing is overexposed, and the rest of the videos are cold and muddy. Just a bunch of random shots strung together in editing that shows us nothing of what we really want to see.

    • Really overexposed but with rich colors…

      • VINCEGORTHO on 12.26.12 @ 2:11AM

        No doubt the BMCC can nail it. But these aren’t great examples.
        In a lot of the low light examples. It sometimes looks as if the codec is about to break.

    • Greg – I wish you well in your career if you think that’s overexposed. Muddy? What?

      I do not understand the negativity here. Is it because you’re already heavily invested in a system? Baffles me – truly.

      That image quality at that price is startling. I started out concerned over the crop, but as each video (shot within the first few weeks of the owners having their cameras!) hits the web, I grow more convinced.

      As for the “I need to see it in the hands of a real cinematographer” canard – just wait a few months and you’ll drown in examples. I’m assuming you’re not a member of that category yourself.

      • I agree Mark, and I am heavily invested in another system :) Some people seem to want it to out perform an Alexa, some people think it does. At least the enthusiasm is easier to understand. The simple fact is, it’s capable of making stunning images at an incredible price point and you get Resole with it. Brilliant.

    • I agree Greg, oversatch postcard shots from Mexico. And the fisheye lens needed to get wide on that cam makes me queasy when it moves. Please don’t move the camera with a fisheye unless making people’s stomachs turn is the objective. I guess the piece simulates drinking the tap water?

      People dearly want this camera to succeed and we should leave them with their toy. A whole industry will thrive in 2013 helping the determined overcome the difficulties the cam presents, yet the faithful will still claim they got a steal even after spending $20K or more that they could have saved buying into a more mature system. In 2014, they will have to spend a lot of that money again when no one wants these anymore…so if you’re on the supply side of this equation, here’s to the BMCC!

      • Wow Peter, sounds like you have all of the answers. So what’s your answer to another RAW 12-bit 4:4:4 camera we can buy for $2,995? Or well, actually if you minus out DaVinci Resolve at $995 and UltraScope at $695 a RAW 12-bit 4:4:4 camera we can buy for $1,305…? Oh… so you are saying we need to move up to a more mature system to get our 12-bit 4:4:4 like an ARRI Alexa at a starting base of $60,000…?

  • Nice sharp images from the Mexican video, but my opinion is that the highlights are generally overexposed. I think this camera is interesting for what it is, but reminds me a bit of the original Red camera– a beta test product being sold as a finished product for professionals.

  • I’m with the above comments. Most of the shots in the Mexico video are about 2/3 of a stop overexposed, although that video does show that the camera can produce stunning, crisp color.

    And like everybody else, I would love to see this camera used for what it was designed to do, which is kick ass in a controlled narrative filmmaking environment. And I have no doubt that it will.

    • Then, the point of your negative comment on a video shot on holiday and not professionally graded is what exactly? A comment I don’t agree with actually, on a professional level.
      It proved exactly what he wanted it to prove. Colour, width, flyability, and a decent film made without on site DIT or a full rig.

      • “It proved exactly what he wanted it to prove. Colour, width, flyability, and a decent film made without on site DIT or a full rig.”

        yep, and also under the harsh sun of mexico showing what 13stops can do for you. Like here in Brazil, some times 10, 11 stops are not enough when the sun is in the mood to shine and remember us its existence! :D

  • Philip bloom has a few bmcc vids on his site also. They’re pretty good

    • Agree. The ponte tower video is spectacular and no canon dslr or nikon dslr can produces color or dynamic range even close. Even his dungeonous water video shot in prores smokes what comes out of canon cameras (c300) costing three to five times as much.

  • hey Joe – what’s your take on how the BMCC holds up against a Scarlet visually? without taking into consideration any of the other factors (price/sensor size/etc), I’d like to know what you think of the final product of both, compared side to side.

    • I think the BMCC shot in RAW will hold up pretty well compared to SCARLET once you downscale to 1080p, especially since the BMCC might have about a stop better dynamic range. I’m going to hopefully be doing a direct comparison between the two, so stay tuned.

      • Joe, as Scarlet is rated as 13.5 stops. Why do you think BMCC will be a stop better DR? I respect your opinion, and I’m interested in your answer.


        • It’s not 100% confirmed yet, but based on the footage I’ve seen and both and these tests. It is my understanding the actual spec is a little exaggerated in real use for the MX sensor:

          • Thanks Joe. Appreciate the response. Did some further reading up today, with some interesting debate on DR analysis/methodology and it’s worth. Major advocacy seemed to be, do your own testing. Heh :) Always a healthy approach :) and I have never conducted a DR test. Just taken it on spec. But like most things it would seem, within limits, results can be subjectively skewed either for or against. And of course it makes absolute sense that manufacturers will present their camera’s in their best possible DR light. Which is not to say that that DR range is not truly “possible” of course. And so I realise I will benefit from exploring the capabilities of my sensor under different conditions. Which is great.

            Thanks again mate. Always enjoy your posts.


            • Thanks Lliam. Yeah the debate gets pretty heated regarding dynamic range, but I have a feeling the Dragon sensor will be as good, or better than Alexa, so I guess it’s only a matter of time now. I actually tend to be pretty camera agnostic but of course I do my own research whenever possible. Glad you enjoy the posts.

      • I predict the BMCC will beat the Scarlett in DR. From what I’ve seen so far, the BlackMagic appears to have more resolving power than the Scarlett and a wider color gamut.

  • That Frank Glencairn video is astounding, especially in SD. Also, he seems to spend his whole life restaging WW2. That’s a nice gig.

  • I’m sold this camera is capable of a serious feature film .. definitely going to be my next buy

  • Mexico video has fantastic color. Reminded me of one of my recent favoritely graded film: The Impossible.

  • Time to brush off our storytelling skills because the playing field is now level. Laying down a sustainable business model and telling great stories is my biggest worry now…

  • Is there a solution for changing batteries yet?

  • Does the BMC have hdsdi triggering, can it be used with an external recorder?

    How long is transcode time from DNG to cineform?

    What are peoples RAW workflows going to be?

    I’m hoping that there will be hdsdi triggering so i can use a hyperdeck shuttle to record proxies for immediate editing, then most likely dump raws to a 12 terabyte drive, grade all dailes first then create prores 4:4:4 masters, delete raw files. Reconform proxies edit to masters for finishing. Seems messy any better ideas?

    • I think you can record pro res as well as raw at the same time on the machine.

    • Frank Glencairn on 12.27.12 @ 6:44AM

      Transcoding time on my laptop is about the same (via USB3) as just copying the files from the SSD.
      And yeah, triggering works with the latest firmware.

  • Hey guys. Just wanted to throw it out there that I e-mailed Mosaic Engineering and they said that they are going to work on an anti-aliasing filter for the BMCC as soon as they can get their hands on one. I think this will make this camera an even bigger beast when it comes to image quality.

  • now i m regretting that i didn’t pre-order :(

  • People are forgetting how amazing the colour-science of the the BMCC is. Absolutely kills RED and Canon in this department. Very close to Alexa colour-science.

    • doesn’t kill canon, not by a long shot.

      • So long as Canon sticks to an 8-bit colour-palette, it murders and buries it.

        • You are talking about two different things, Bit Depth and Color Matrix mapping. The C series color reproduction is very similar, its just in a smaller bit bucket, which delivers very similar results with a smaller file size. If you want uncompressed RAW to get to the same place so be it, Maybe you can answer some of my questions above. I hope that in your immutable advocacy there is some knowledge.

          • “A smaller bucket” – that’s a nice way of putting it. Similar results? I beg to differ. I’ve seen banding plenty from the C300 and C100 thanks to Canon’s cheap-skate 8-bit depth, and skin-tones that look like crayon thanks to their Canon’s colour-science – I’m yet to see a single video containing either banding or poor skin-tones from the BMCC.

            Further, the BMCC’s 10bit ProRes HQ Film Mode really makes the Canon C300/C100 8-bit C-Log look like an overpriced spectacle…oh wait, it is.

            As for your questions regarding RAW – give a shot.

            I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again, the C-series are good cameras, I’m not gonna deny that, but are definitely not worth their price-tag – and the BMCC really shows just how over-priced those cameras are.

          • The BMC is the price it is because BM is trying to get their foot in the door – I don’t think they are turning much of a profit on it. Who knows why they can be so cheap. Maybe less overhead too.

          • @Voltaire-Have you used a c300/c100 or is this speculation? I haven’t experienced crayon skin tones on either camera. I’ve only seen banding with underexposed shoots have been lifted to much, you’re likely to see bayer pattern in similar situations on BMC. If you haven’t gotten great results on c100/c300 thats not a reflection on the camera. Further if you are only shooting prores 10 bit then the camera doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. If a RAW workflow is too much to handle, then dedicated camera ops is probably a scarce resource as well, which this camera necessitates more so than others. When you have to rig battery, evf, mattebox, rail support, and IR ND just to shoot outside, its almost as cumbersome as RED to shoot. So is 10 bit vs 8 bit worth the burden of a more difficult camera to use? For actual productions, not forum theory, it really isn’t. If you are shooting RAW, then how long before the costs of storage actually makes the BMC more expensive than those “overpriced” cameras. People are going to bend-over backwards to make this camera work for them to get that “film” look when there are other cameras that will allow you to shoot more. I’m starting to believe that the “canon is too expensive” is just an excuse for why BMC guys are twiddling their thumbs while c300/c100 operators are out shooting.

          • Ryan if I run into you beer’s on me. It’s generous of you to help ground the discussion in reality.

            For the rest of ya’s, please, you can praise your dream toy all you want, but insisting the essentially still-imaginary camera is better than something professionals are working with daily is (hopefully!) going to get you some blowback. And to me indications are this camera is going to end up even more disappointing in practice than the disappointment it’s already caused for those who preordered on false promises.

            I suggest you look at this thing as an experimental prototype, “something fun to try” and arrange to play with one risk-free for a few days before diving in. Also play with the similarly affordable options from Canon and Sony that are proven and available, with cheap external recorders (even from BMD themselves) that get you much of the BMCC’s innovation but on a mature platform. Do total cost of ownership tallies, and think about how the options are really going to fit into your life. Give each system a fair comparative test.

            I think your conclusions once you settle down are going to be in line with better reasoning.

          • Canon Color Science near Blackmagics?

            Coldest day in hell it must be.

          • thank you for making discussion circular and futile

    • From dashing BMD pitchman John Brawley:

      Green tint (with no in-cam adjustment), false color, moire, lower res…forgettable.

      Kudos to Mr. Brawley for piercing the reality distortion field with that post. He retains cred.

      • Peter, you do realise that that test was from a pre-production BMCC? As for Canon, here’s the false colour, moire, and fringing they’ll give you for the ridiculous sum of $16,0000:

        • We’ll see if BMD fixes that image…and my suspicion is the “sensor glass crisis” thing is an excuse. They are struggling with firmware issues, getting various EF lenses to work, that sort of thing. They are keeping the camera scarce for now trying to get it ready for primetime. The massive aliasing in that image is due to the lack of an OLPF on a low-res sensor…and addressing that with a snap-in OLPF/anti-aliasing filter will just reduce resolution even lower. The BMCC actual resolving capability may be less than 1000 lines with moire and less than 800 lines without it…more comparable to a 5D3.

          One hopes someone is brave enough to post such results when the production camera and the snap-in OLPF are available. It wouldn’t be mean to do so…it would be mean not to.

          Canon on the other hand did fix highlight color fringing (different than false color, which you can see there’s virtually none of in the C300) for the C100, and they have a fixed firmware for the C300 and my speculations why it isn’t published yet are attached to that post. The C100+Ninja 2 option is really and truly one of the best deals in cameras right now (the FS700+Ninja 2 being its main competitor), but no one’s made a lot of noise about it yet because those people already paid double for the C300 last year and are probably miffed Canon has already undercut them with a better system. I hope BMD will similarly undercut and overdeliver on their first generation as quickly!

    • It’s on par with Alexa and RED, it kills everything else below.

      • I feel like it’s extremely close to Alexa, better than RED, and absolutely destroys the rest – Canon C series especially.

        • I think having more dynamic range than the Red is great – but lets not forget the issues with a micro 4/3rds sensor for your lenses vs Super 35mm. But the work I am seeing from the BMC is incredible.

          I definitely agree that it has better color science out of the gate than the Red, (want to see more tungsten shooting with it) – but maybe Red will respond with Red Color4 that helps that.

          Competition is a very good thing.

  • hazem abdulrab on 12.26.12 @ 8:25PM


  • Confused why people keep stating the DR on the BMCC is greater than RED MX? Can someone please explain?

    • RED Overstates their DR numbers, like most manufacturers do honestly. MX is nowhere near 13 stops, it’s 11 on a good day. Scarlet might be 12 if you treat it nicely.

      There are several tests that prove out RED’s DR numbers are inaccurate as far as “usable” goes, anyway. Alexa’s 13~13.5… that’s the bar to measure by, and none of RED’s offerings that exist as of today get there.

      Reading some of these comments, especially from the usuals (you know who you are)… great entertainment.

      Keep ‘em coming. =P

  • Amco Mertens on 12.28.12 @ 12:28PM

    Can the black magic cinema camera also take stills? Or can it just do video? As I cannot find this anywhere?


    • Well, technically the video it shoots IS just a series of still frames.

      But, short answer to your question: no. This is a cinema camera.