August 13, 2013

First RAW Footage From D16 Shows That Digital Bolex Means Business

It's been quite a journey for the Digital Bolex team. There have been plenty of bumps along the way, and plenty of haters who said the Digital Bolex would never come to fruition. Well folks, we've finally got the first RAW 24fps footage from the prototype of the D16, and it's clear that the finalized version of the Digital Bolex nearing its completion. Check out the original footage (and several graded variations) below:

First, here's a video that shows the original ungraded footage alongside several graded variations of each shot. The grading was done in FilmConvert:

And here's another quick grade:

Of course, it's difficult to judge the merits of this camera based on 6 seconds of footage and a few basic grades,  but you can head over to the Digital Bolex site and download the RAW CinemaDNG files to judge for yourself. Having played around with a few of the stills myself, I have to say that I'm really impressed with the overall sharpness of the image and how much information can be pulled from the blacks.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the sensor (and therefore the final image of the D16) is still being calibrated by the team at Ienso Electronics in order to maximize the dynamic range and limit the noise. Therefore we can expect the final version of the camera to have a cleaner output and a bit more DR than what we can see in these early camera tests.

As the week goes on, we should begin to see more RAW footage from the Digital Bolex, as well as more graded variations, so keep your eyes peeled. And depending how the rest of the D16 camera tests go, it's entirely possible that we'll have some idea of the manufacturing schedule and shipping dates for the original pre-orders from the Kickstarter campaign.

What do you guys think of the first footage from the Digital Bolex? If you've created your own grades of the footage, post the links in the comments!

Link: 144 Frames of Grade-A, RAW Motion! -- Digital Bolex

Your Comment

100 Comments

The amount of criticism that's been lobbed at this camera (and its development team) has been ridiculous with a lot of people not even talking about the camera's capabilities. Playing around with the footage was pretty fun and definitely more than I had expected. Can't wait to see more.

August 13, 2013

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Coty

Joe and Elle took a lot of flak over both the camera (vapourware) and also personally (naïve hipsters), and everyone seemed to be talking only Blackmagic. Well, here's a little magic spell from the Bolex team. The footage looks very good to me. Congrats to the team who, considering the 100+ design improvements, worked at lightening speed to achieve this.

August 13, 2013

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Saied

I still simply cannot see how this has any chance of succeeding against the $1995 BMCC, not to mention the $995 pocket cam. Unless the faithful hipsters are willing to pay $10k per unit, the economies of scale just arent there for the Bolex.

Its a case of too little waaaaaaaay too late.

August 13, 2013

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Paul

Be sure Blackmagic's pocket cam doesn't just burn a hole in your pocket instead (!) - how is the RAW option going lately ? I realise I am trolling now, but I feel it also rebalances things a little. Go, hipsters go !

August 13, 2013

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Saied

An actor on set said to me recently "a hipster is only someone like you and me that you haven't made friends with yet".

Touché!

I think this camera looks like loads of fun but I can understand the lack of trust from people when they said that they were producing images from their prototype which was just a different camera with the same sensor. People have invested in this project based on trust so I can see why that was a poblem for some people. I personally am not one of those people but you'd have to be pretty short sighted to see that it was an issue for some.

On the topic, this footage is awesome :)

August 13, 2013

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Kraig.

How exactly does it look like loads of fun, when technically no one in the wild has never used a functioning camera.

I really do hope this camera proves to not be vapor ware , but i still feel the same way like ive alwayz have until they give a reason not to think other wise, 6 seconds of footage does not cut it.

6 seconds of footage does not add up to the theory of the statment , i mean i understand them stating that they are tweaking the sensor for less noise and better picture, but if you can record 6 seconds of footage, why can they not record 10-15 mins of footage, again all suspect stuff.

August 13, 2013

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jay clout

wait until tonight.

August 14, 2013

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How's your camera project coming along? When are you shipping?

August 13, 2013

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Bob

Oh, shut up. Consumers are allowed to comment against suppliers who don't deliver, even if these consumers don't have a similar product to sell.

August 13, 2013

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FabDex

Now, now. No need to get all pissy. It's a camera, not your girlfriend or whatever floats your boat.

August 13, 2013

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Bob

If you can't look at the specs of the BMCC and the D16 beyond buzz works like 'raw' and '2k' and understand the many important differences, then you're not qualified to use the camera, and not their target market.

August 13, 2013

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Mark

But I think Paul has a good point that's irregardless of specs or even performance: Black Magic has established themselves as the leader in that sub-$3K camera market and delivered, basically, a paradigm shift.

Another manufacturer promising basically the same thing-only different-is going to have a hard time gaining market share. I hate to be negative, but why would someone go through another year of firmware updates and shipping delays with a new company when they can get a (finally) matured product?

August 14, 2013

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Dave Mueller

I get your point.
I think that the D16 is different enough, though.
True raw (Pocket: will BMD ever manage to add it?), CCD sensor, high quality onboard audio, out-of-the-box usability, interchangeable lens mount, internal HD+CF slots, internal 3-4 hours battery, weather sealing, etc.
Plus the Digital Bolex team are doing their best for the first generation cameras to be bug-free and mature enough.

August 15, 2013

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pask

FilmConvert is DigiBolex's friend.

August 13, 2013

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Natt

Yea! This sample is what we all have been waiting for... or is it?

August 13, 2013

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Raul

The problem with this camera isn't the quality of it, nor the makers. It's that it has taken them too long to release it. One of the guys form the RC podcast mentioned how the biggest problem with the kickstarter projects is that they are so focused in making the best product possible they forget to ship it. They forget they need to make a version 2.0. Say what you will about Canon and their lack of innovation on the DSLRs at times, but they ship their cameras. Independent camera makers tend to focus way too much in making the perfect camera, hype it to death and then when they deliver something great, they just get underwhelmed responses and get defensive. THE BMCC 4K better be a ridiculously great camera or else people will just pounce it to death, no matter the cost.

Now, I know my arguments aren't logical, as yes we should be glad we are fortunate to be living in a time where there is so much option out there to shoot with, but let's not forget logic and emotion are too completely different things. People want an emotion when they get a camera. I think that's what keeps so many stuck on film. It's the feeling it evokes in them. So when you associate the camera you are making with angst, frustration over the wait for it to ship, well, you are setting yourself up for failure.

I commend anyone making a camera out there, but I'd hope they would be smart enough to just ship it.

August 13, 2013

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Well said.

August 13, 2013

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Conner Stirling

Ernanio:
Could you please elaborate a bit on two things in your post:
-Why would it be a good thing for us customers if they "forget" a version 2.0, and provide everything in 1.x (as they plan to do, discussing firmware improvements, an external SDI/codec unit and upgrades to the sensor)?
-Which independent film makers with underwhelming responses after hyping their product have you been referring to?

August 13, 2013

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Thyl Engelhardt

That should read "independent camera makers" ;-)

August 13, 2013

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Thyl Engelhardt

To answer your first question:

They won't be able to havea perfect version 1.0 camera, nobody did! It's just unattainable. From a business point, it's good to have something to improve, it's good to have a generation 2 product. Nobody is going to be buying one camera for a long time.

To answer your second question:

RED, BMC. Easy. Red Dragon is getting alot people questioning it's DR even though what they showed is quite impressive. But even I can see how easy it is to knock them down a notch. They hype it death, showed a 20 stops DR chart, then downplayed it to 18, and now it's barely 16, etc etc. Ok yes it's not the final blah blah, but imagine if this had been what they had first shown, without hype, without frustration over teh wait, during NAB 2013, just imagine this TOIA footage released circa NAB 2013, it simply would had killed everyone. Seriously, imagine the TOIA footage screening outside that booth upgrading cameras, and with a hot chick taking orders for the upgrade or for new cameras....just imagine.

BMC is generating alot of ill will towards their 4K Cinema Camera, and it's purely related to their delays, they made a ludicrous promise after having made people go through waits that to this day happens with their original product. As much as I like their specs and image, I don't see myself ever buying that camera, it's not even on my radar as great as it may be.

All this...just my opinion.

August 14, 2013

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Thanks for the additional insights!

August 14, 2013

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Thyl Engelhardt

Make the extra effort to know what the journey has been in making this camera and you would understand the decisions behind the release timing.
The Bolex team has decided to avoid what they call "the first generation blues" = using early adopters as beta testers and if I were a Kickstarter backer, I'd be happy they did so.
The D16 is weather sealed, built like a tank, has high quality preamps and converters, is well balanced and has a pistol grip, has a global shutter, interchangeable lens mounts, an integrated follow-focus, a 3-4 hours internal battery, an internal HD that records about an hour, etc. so it's a very different beast than the cute Pocket.
I think the potential user base overlaps a bit, but just a bit.

August 13, 2013

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pask

Good post. I love what thay are doing with this camera. I have a Scarlet, but it's clear this is a really well thought out camera for micro budget Indie film makers.

August 14, 2013

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"I’d hope they would be smart enough to just ship it." —you say that like it's so easy to do.

August 14, 2013

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John

Gotta say, love the image, love the form factor, love the interchangeable lens system. Only thing is, price tag. There's no way they're going to sell one of these over a BMCC. There just isn't.

August 13, 2013

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I understand the BM would require a certain amount of add-ons to be fully functional. Maybe that might redress the cost balance ? Also, no rolling shutter - might that be a factor in purchase ?

August 13, 2013

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Saied

Apparently, they have literally hundreds of emails from people asking when they can get one (or a dozen), from film schools to independent filmmakers. So "no way to sell one" is not quite correct.

August 13, 2013

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Thyl Engelhardt

"dozens".
I think they'll sell, but I hope to hell their business model works on low initial numbers.

August 13, 2013

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marklondon

Now it makes sense why BM dropped the 2.5k cinema camera by a grand. They may need to drop it a little more...seriously though, what I like most about the DB team is they seem obsessed delivering a not only a highly functional camera but a great image as well. Hey, It looks pretty good to me. That speaks volumes in today's market where new cameras just miss the mark in one area or another. Looks like a well rounded tool (forget especially for the money) its definitely hitting where others seem to be missing. Go DB!

August 13, 2013

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Anthony Marino

The D16 is of no threat to the Blackmagic, because unlike the Bolex, the Blackmagic is already shipping.

Very unlikely that many people will switch from Blackmagic to Digital Bolex. Blackmagic lowered the price of the original cinema camera to better align it with the pricing of their other cameras. You've got 1080p for $1k, 2.5k for $2k, 4k for $4k. The only real threat to Blackmagic is Blackmagic.

August 13, 2013

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Jake

They are their own worst enemy. In posting 6 seconds of footage they're treating their target market i.e. us like idiots. As my grandmother once said "Either pee or get off the pan".

August 13, 2013

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Ed

If you checked the actual post, it says we'll be releasing more footage this week. This is just a teaser...

August 13, 2013

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Elle

Really hard to not look like a hater with this kind of advance footage.
1 second clips, cmon?

August 13, 2013

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Premini

Check today's blog post and make sure you have 10GB free on your hard drive :-)

August 15, 2013

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pask

Form factor + CCD makes it different enough from the BMCC to be worthy of consideration.

August 13, 2013

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Justin Brunson

I'm really not sure why everyone is so hard on this team. They're making 100 cameras for 100 people. They were a kickstarter funded project. You will probably never own one, even if they continue production. This is not something to be compared to blackmagic or canon or whatever, this is a small team of extremely smart people who are building a camera. The mere fact that it can be compared to blackmagic AT ALL is amazing. It's a great little camera they are putting together, and as a community we should be PROUD of them. They're like us! They wanted a camera with specific stuff, so they MADE ONE. That's endearing and inspirational.

And cut the shit with this hipster nonsense, it's a meaningless word at this point. Get over their choice in eyewear.

August 13, 2013

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alex

Agreed. I sense that many independent film-makers consider the more commercial film industry as some sort of exclusive club, yet some have exhibited the same attitude towards the Bolex project. It's like "How dare these hipsters build a camera !". Regarding "hipsters", I do find it kinda funny that Elle's face is effectively now becoming a de facto test calibration card for DNG. My hunch is that it's only a matter of time before an established director or cinematographer picks up this camera and shoots something: I think BM are watching this camera closely.

August 13, 2013

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Saied

agreed!

August 13, 2013

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terry_mickie

Is it Joe's hat that make all those people talk about hipster-ism?
OK - the cam is strongly influenced by the original 60s Bolex designs, so what?
Do the anti-hipsters really need an ugly sensor box to be happy? What's wrong with a beautifully and smartly designed product?

August 13, 2013

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pask

You're all completely neglecting the main reason that phrase "hipster" has been associated with the Digital Bolex: the word itself is a direct descendant of the word "slacker," only upgraded with social subsidy for an elite creative class, and fashion tolerations that are ironic for the socio-economic strata meant to be portrayed.

Put another way, "hipster" is well-paired with the word "spoiled," manifest in that instinct to crowd-fund the realization of a personal dream, then treat the enterprise like a gift to the world instead of our age-old tradition of working for a living -- sweat equity.

If the Digital Bolex team had behaved like workers in a large corporation, daily sweating for the objective to earn a paycheck that buys them happiness OFF-HOURS, you would have seen this product finished a year ago, and outdated by now in lieu of a version 2.0 in response to Blackmagic Design. As it is, when the Digital Bolex comes to market, they will be competing with Blackmagic one year ago.

August 13, 2013

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So, if I understand you correctly, Paul: it's "elitist" and "spoiled" to make a product that we as filmmakers felt was missing in the market of products created by your esteemed "large corporations", for whom we should "daily sweat" for a paycheck that causes us to only be happy "OFF-HOURS" and not in the work we're doing--because working on "personal dream" projects (like, I don't know, FILMS?) doesn't count for "sweat equity" or as "the age-old tradition of working for a living"? I think you're in the wrong industry, Paul.

Fear leads to anger, anger leads to the dark side...

August 13, 2013

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Elle

No anger, no fear, just clarifying terminology and surveying this specific niche marketplace that is raw technology, not social activism. If you're successful, that's grand. But historically, innovations of import have not been a walk in the park. Occasionally that someone "living the dream" and "expressing themself" through the design and construction of technical tools for a toolkit will slip through the cracks and make it big. Here, I'm simply assessing the Digital Bolex venture to have dim prospects in those clothes, given the year's extraordinary advances led largely by Blackmagic. It's a global economic democracy. And so, there's this enormous borderless majority -- especially in the East -- who view innovation as classical labor, under the threat of losing out to competition (and not getting paid). Those people aren't miserable from that; just laying the groundwork for personal satisfaction after they clock out from work every day. By analogy, dinner tastes great after a long, sweaty hike in the mountains.

If there is a problematic "hipster" these days, it is the person who doesn't have their nose to the grind for at least a solid 8-hour day, and frankly goofs around for half of it (or more). Large corporations aren't enemies of the people -- they are institutions that help keep people busy and productive, even during the down time in one part of an endeavor (like, waiting for the camera sensor to arrive from a third-party supplier). And, these folks always happen to make the best stuff. You use these things all day long. Think about it.

August 13, 2013

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Paul

How much of the DBolex team do you actually know to express such a judgement?
I'm wondering what Joe would think of such words in the light of all his tiny nights of sleep...

August 13, 2013

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pask

The etymology of "hipster" was interesting. Everything else? Not so much.

The hipster derision of the Bolex duo seems to be based solely on their personal style. The style has been adopted by so many slackers over the years that it appears to many to merely be an affectation - the uniform of the psuedo-artiste. These people, however, appear to be putting in the work and not just talking the talk.

I understand people being frustrated with the delays and non-representative "examples" from the camera, but I still say give them a chance to deliver. The kind of effort and care going into this is far superior to the jaded, deliberately crippled market stratification of the corporate manufacturers you are championing.

As for the rest of your socio-economic diatribe... whatever. I could have sworn this was a filmmaking blog.

August 14, 2013

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Great hipster impersonation, Daniel. Your sighing disinterest and paranoia about organized business is uber-cool.

August 14, 2013

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Paul

I would love to debate you on the merits of corporatism... Just not on someone's filmmaking blog. Based on your comments, however, I doubt you'd be interested in arguing the specific points I would make. So, in closing, let's look at the recent history of how inherent corporate protectionism and market neglect has actually spawned independent entrepenuerism within the filmmaking community.

Canon DID respond to requests from one of their markets (professional photojournalists) when they enabled *crippled* HD video capture on the 5D MkII & 7D. By including the 24p framerate they accidentally spurred a revolution in low-budget cinematography. The market for such features, in conjunction with the versatility of interchangeable lenses, had existed for years but had gone unserved at this price point. It could be argued that advances in technology were necessary before this nascent market could be served, but as I'm sure you're aware the technology already HAD existed for years; corporate R&D is always years ahead of actual implementation in order to protect artificial product lifecycles.

In fact, consumer hacks of Canon and Panasonic's existing technology revealed that the big corporations aren't content merely delaying their improved tech; they also deliberately disable features within current releases in order to necessitate the additional expense of their product offerings higher up the food chain. This practice is purposefully exclusionary and entirely callous.

Boutique businesses that served the independent filmmaking community certainly had existed prior (Videonics, Camtree, BorisFX, Red Giant, etc.), but in response to Canon's blunder such businesses began to flourish. From hardware like budget camera rigs and audio preamp mixers to software that reduced noise, simulated film grain or synced audio, the new market was suddenly littered with enablers. Conversely, corporate stalwarts like Apple practically sat the revolution out, conspicuously withholding their big-iron offerings and bungling their flagship editing application so badly that even lifelong Apple devotees were forced into the arms of the competition.

How did Canon acknowledge this obvious development of transcendent importance? By releasing a series of cameras imbued with better tech, of course! They even tipped their hats, specifically marketing the cameras to the "cinema" community... at a $20,000 premium. Then, when they finally updated the cameras that had started the revolution with some autofocus tweaks and filters to eliminate moire (an issue that had already been addressed years prior by an independent entrepenuer) they increased the price of those cameras by $1000. Thanks, Canon!

Such corporate arrogance and dismissiveness led directly to the development of the BMCC and Digital Bolex. These smaller, boutique manufacturers recognized not only the underserved market but also the blatant availability of off-the-shelf tech that merely had to be cobbled together and tweaked in order to serve that market at a fair price (when's the last time you saw a major manufacturer bundle anything but Lite versions of professional software with their $3,000 cameras? They can't even manage to eliminate Radio Shack audio jacks at those prices). As a non-professional I will gladly suffer delivery delays and potentially spotty customer service (like the corporate outsourced customer service is any better) in exchange for deeply discounted hardware that is capable of putting professional-quality footage within my grasp. And I think you should be asking yourself how much faster and further the societies of the world would have developed had this corporate protectionism not been so prevalent.

August 14, 2013

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It is nice video. I like how the camera looks too.

The impression left be the Red Dragon 6K is affecting how I see video now. I am still wowed. So I think if I hadn't seen that last week this video would look even better.

August 13, 2013

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Gene

The original file is WAY underexposed, which is clearly hurting the final grade. The shadows are really blocked up. It will be interesting to see what can be achived with a proper exposure. IMO they should have not posted something until they've nailed it. It does show however that you can pull a somewhat useable image out of the toilet.

August 13, 2013

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Have you tried to recover details in the shadows yourself or is it just a blind statement?

August 13, 2013

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pask

It is a statement on what I am observing in the clips presented here. I would hardly call that blind. I don't need to play with the raw files to see that they are underexposed as presented here and I have never seen an example from ANY camera where the image doesn't suffer when underexposed, especially in the shadows. I will bet my last dollar that if these clips had been exposed one to two stops brighter the image would be drastically improved. That is a blind statement made on experience alone.

August 14, 2013

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