The Digital Bolex has been making steady progress over the last few months, and we've seen a number of posts and test footage from pre-production versions of the camera. You may have heard of sensor calibration being talked about with the Blackmagic Production 4K camera, and that's because it's one of the most important parts of the camera development process. Even cameras that are shooting RAW -- like the Digital Bolex D16 -- must be calibrated so that they are getting the most out of the sensor and capturing information in the best possible way to get consistent and quality results in post. That process has now been completed, and the DB team is showing off some brand new footage.
Here's what they said about the footage:
This test was shot with the 50mm Zeiss CP2 set at f4 and f2.8, two Kinos, an LED ring light, and an ARRI 1200w HMI. The camera was set at 100 ISO. We used our SmallHD monitor patched through to a 20″ computer monitor facing the subjects so people in front of the camera could see what they looked like while we were filming them.
The calibration on the camera is now spot on! The DNG files are exactly where we expected them to be exposure wise. And the colors were beautiful with no correction at all! All in all the test was a success.
The footage above is basically ungraded, which means that when you shoot footage with the D16, that's the way it's going to open up in post. You'll still have all of the information there since this is RAW footage, but this is the way they have calibrated the sensor to look. I think what this test also does is put to rest any worries about sharpness with the footage, because they were using the excellent CP2s from Zeiss, which should resolve all of the resolution the sensor is producing.
Some have noted over on the forum and on Vimeo that there is a slight Magenta cast, but apparently this is due to the Kinos used in the test, and not an issue with the footage.
If you missed it, Kurt Lancaster also shot a documentary piece with the D16 to see if the camera could be used easily in that kind of situation (this, along with everything else shown up until the Portraits video above, was with the unfinished calibration of the sensors):
My intention: Can the D16 be used as a run and gun documentary camera in the field?
As you look at the image, remember that this is shot around noon--the worst shooting conditions possible--and no ND filters, but despite a few clipped values in the highlights I'm still seeing details and skin tones that would have fallen apart on an 8-bit compressed camera (DSLRs, prosumer video cameras). Also take note of the whip pan at end of video, how it has no rolling shutter issues.
My test shows that this camera can be used for documentary work.
With older lenses and a more film-like grade, it's remarkable how similar the footage can look to older 16mm or Super 16mm footage. If you need it to look sharp and clean, the footage at the top of the page shows it's very possible, but if you are tired of the digital "look" that many cameras can give, some older lenses and a bit of grading can give you something that feels far more organic.
If you're wondering when you can get your hands on one, Joe and Elle have mentioned that they are very close to announcing ship dates as well as new pre-order options (since the camera is basically done now). So stay tuned for that.
Check out some frame grabs and read more about both videos at the links below.