If it seems like we've been talking about the Digital Bolex a lot lately, it's because we definitely have. A few months ago, it looked as if the release of the D16 was still quite a ways into the future. However, Joe, Elle, and the DB team have really pushed the process and gotten the beta version of the camera up and running. As a result, we've been seeing some promising test footage circulate for the past couple of weeks. Now, we've got even more to get excited about, as Michael Plescia, a professional filmmaker, has shot and graded some footage of his own and weighed in on the future of this camera.
And here's the footage that Michael shot with the D16 and graded himself:
For my money, this footage is the closest thing to film that I have ever seen come from a digital camera, and that's no small accomplishment considering that cameras like the Alexa exist. Granted, Michael's vast post-production experience means that he's better suited than most to take the D16's footage and make it shine. Still, the fact that the Digital Bolex can produce these kinds of images, even in its beta stage, is downright impressive. The accolades don't end there, however. In his guest post on the Digital Bolex blog, Plescia had this to say about the D16:
After having the privilege to participate in a test shoot with a beta model of the Digital Bolex, I can state with full confidence that this camera is the real deal and is the one filmmakers like me have been hoping for.
It’s not all about depth and bokeh and closeups like with DSLR’s. The D16 Bolex is about surfaces, textures, gradients, tonal nuance, skin, performances. It comes alive in traveling masters, and lock-offs don’t feel harshly static. You feel permission to film wider; to let the mise-en-scéne unfold. The image has confidence so you have confidence that the camera will capture the life in front of it -- so you have less of an impulse to overcompensate for a lifeless frame by moving the camera and over-cutting. It loves handheld in wider lenses. The grain is pleasing. Lowlights have a soul again. The image feels like story.
For me, seeing that footage and hearing those words really seals the deal. This is the narrative filmmaking camera that I have been waiting for. Of course, the Digital Bolex will not be my go-to camera in many situations due to the fact that it only shoots RAW and has a comparatively low maximum ISO. But in a narrative context, when I'm in complete control of the light, the D16 would be an ideal digital cinema camera because of the malleable and soulful image that it provides.
What do you guys think? Are you as impressed with this footage as I am? Let us know in the comments!