July 25, 2014

New BMPCC Owners, Here's How to Get Snappy, Vibrant Color from Your Flat Footage

Chances are that, unless you live under a rock, you know that the already-reasonable price of the Blackmagic Pocket  Cinema Camera dropped dramatically earlier this month. As such, I think that it is pretty safe to assume that there are quite a few new owners of the bite-sized camera. For some, the post processing of the BMPCC footage will be similar to what they've experienced with many of the other cinema cameras that shoot log footage and RAW. However, for people who are just starting to work with the flat images from the Blackmagic Film Gamma, getting an appropriately colored and aesthetically pleasing image can seem like a daunting task. Luckily, Casey Faris uploaded a fantastic tutorial that will show you how to get snappy color from both your BMPCC ProRes and RAW files inside of DaVinci Resolve.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U059jPcjWew

The techniques used in this video are not exclusive to the BMPCC in the slightest. Not only is this process identical to how you would work on footage from any of the Blackmagic cameras, but the various techniques used in this workflow, from balancing the RGB parade to  pushing and pulling color wheels to maintain color balance, are applicable to any footage that you shoot with any camera. These are invaluable techniques for anybody who'd like to learn more about color correction, and for a more in-depth look at some of these principles, especially reading scopes, check out this article (and this one) from our archives.

For those who choose to shoot RAW with the pocket camera, if the coloration process is a bit too time-consuming or confusing, you can use the Camera Raw palette in Resolve to force the footage into a Rec 709 color space, which will give you a poppy image with minimal work. With that said, learning to normalize the colors in log footage is a valuable skill these days, especially considering that more and more cameras use logarithmic curves in-camera to preserve detail both in shadows and highlights.

[via Casey Faris]

Your Comment

37 Comments

Guys BMPC vs DSLR??? i'm doing a cineme course for dslr but i din't buy equipment yet, what do you recommend? (i would like to take photos too) but considering the price drop, cant decide it yet

July 25, 2014 at 9:07PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Seba

Have you ever used a DSLR/MILC before for filmmaking? If not, then get a Panasonic G6 instead. A much nicer one to work with for a newbie to learn on. It is the successor in many ways to the very famous Panasonic GH2.

http://www.eoshd.com/content/10824/panasonic-g6-review-the-gh2-redux

http://personal-view.com/talks/discussion/6788/panasonic-g6-topic-gh2-re...

Other ones to consider is the Sony A6000 and Nikon D5200/D5300/D7100.

If you have a bigger budget (though likely your budget is smaller than you think.... the price of a camera body is only a tiny tiny portion of the total budget a pro would use!), then also consider the Panasonic GH4 and Sony A7s.

July 25, 2014 at 10:18PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Sadly NoFilmSchool never covered the release of the Panasonic G6! Which is rather surprisingly shocking!

But of course they covered the incredible Panasonic GH2 a number of times (although in a rather understated manner, dare I say... a tad biased against it even? :-P ), of where here is a few of them:
http://nofilmschool.com/2013/02/panasonic-gh2-shane-carruth-upstream-col...
http://nofilmschool.com/2011/01/canon-5d-mark-ii-challenged-panasonic-gh2/
http://nofilmschool.com/2011/07/panasonic-gh2s-firmware-hacked-features/
http://nofilmschool.com/2011/12/panasonic-gh2-patches-film-modes-eoshd/

July 25, 2014 at 10:22PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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My budget is up to $1000 considering that i live in argentina and most of the cameras have like 50% taxes.. I've heard of the panasonic's, gh4 is too much, considering i have to buy lenses after, so i was thinking about the canon 70d kit, wich has a new sensor for AF wich is great as i read.. so 70D KIT or BMPC + lens

July 26, 2014 at 12:48AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Seba

Dude, get the most cost effective thing you can. If it's for school, then it's not 100% for making money, so the return on that investment is lower. By the time you're out, cameras will be so much better. It's just the way things are going. Does the school offer cameras you can use? What about other equipment?

That said, the Blackmagic will cause you to need a lot more things than other options. One huge factor is hard drive space. The files, even at ProRes Proxy, are massive compared to H.264. You will blow through hard drive space in no time. Also, many accessories you might get for the Pocket are specific to that camera (things like the speedbooster). So much of the kit you buy for it won't be compatible with your next camera purchase after you graduate.

When I was starting school, I was advised to buy a computer for editing instead of a camera. For me, that turned out to be brilliant advice.

July 26, 2014 at 11:00AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Yeah, but Hard Drive space these days is so cheap and plentiful, that it really shouldn't be a barrier of concern of shooting RAW vs other codecs.
You can get 1TB drives for near $50 on sale these days, I've been picking up 3TB drives to put in my NAS units for about $90 each on sale.
The factors that are more limiting are the horsepower of your computer. CPU, GPU (more and more being a critical factor here), RAM, etc.

But disk space is rapidly becoming a commodity priced item and really shouldn't be the deciding factor on what to shoot your footage at, IMHO.

August 4, 2014 at 2:17PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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CC

Definitely agree with David. The Blackmagic cam is going to put you way over that $1,000 limit. Just the cam and a lens would put you over, and you'd still need things like a rig, some type of battery solution, really fast SD cards (and a lot of them), an external audio solution an external monitor or EVF, and like David said, tons of hard drive space.

It all depends on what type of work you'll be doing. I started out with a T2i and the cheap Canon 50mm 1.8. Is that the best camera out there? Not even close. But you can get good stuff out of it, and it's cheap enough where it allowed me to learn and develop my skills, and then I upgraded later on. You could pick up a used T2i on eBay for like $300 or so, and since it's used, there won't be much depreciation when you upgrade down the road.

July 26, 2014 at 11:36AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Drew

Thanks for the replies, so i will go for the 70d considering the other things i would need to buy and that i like taking photos too

July 26, 2014 at 2:10PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Seba

I am with Drew Seba. Get a used t3i or something like that. You will not find a great difference between them... just check the price.

July 26, 2014 at 2:48PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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edgar

I used the 70D before buying the bmpcc for more serious video work. The quality of bmpcc is amazing compared to the 70D. But of course, the 70D has many fun and user friendly features that the bmpcc doesn't have. And of course the issue of battery life and space for the bmpcc is some thing that you will end up spending more $ to solve. So on a budget, it would have to be the 70D (secondhand). It really is a pretty decent camera. ;)

July 27, 2014 at 8:05AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Eric

Seba, te hablo en español porque soy de argentina también. Vengo trabajando desde hace mucho con una t2i, y ahora compre muy recientemente la BlackMagic Pocket (debido a la reciente rebaja del precio) Se que va a ser una inversion a un largo plazo ya que me va a llevar un tiempo poder equiparla con lo necesario (adaptador/speedbooster, para mis lentes canon) baterías, y memorias SD. Hay varias cosas como Rigs, monitores, audio, que ya tengo, y puedo usar en la Pocket. Pero si arrancas desde cero. Mi consejo es una DSLR, y la 70D no se, no le veo sentido, creo que puede hacer lo mismo que una t3i, Si tiene un gran AF, pero si gastamos en equipo de esta gama es porque queremos todo Manual, creo yo. O por lo menos mi T2i vive puesta en "M" (lente y cuerpo). Equipos FullFrame como la 6D o la 5D te van a dar un graaan desempeño extra por el tamaño del sensor, valores de ISO con mucho menos ruido, que es un gran punto a favor, pero entre la 70D la 60D las EOS t3i, t4i, t5i incluso la 7D son realmente muy parecidas, por lo menos en el modo video.

July 27, 2014 at 1:33AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Julian

Un gusto leer personas de argentina, como dijo Julian, con todas las canon aps-c vas a tener casi exactamente la misma imagen. Canon viene sacando en todas sus aps-c el mismo sensor de 18mpx y cambiando boludeces, recién las fullframe son algo diferente, pero aun así canon está bastante atrasado hoy día. Y para usar una dslr para filmar no vas a usar casi nunca autofoco (a menos que vayas a usar un steady y no tengas follow wireless) Como camara aps-c barata, creo que lo mejor que hay hoy dia es una Sony A6000 (vas a tener buen autofoco con lentes de sony), como ventajas a las canon tenes que, es mirrorles (podes usar lentes de cualquier montura que cubra el sensor), tiene evf (visor electronico, te olvidas de las lupas para el lcd), 60p a 1080, casi no moiré y aliasing, mayor nitidez, mayor rango dinamico, salida hdmi sin compresion, peaking nativo.. pero tiene un codec que es igual de efectivo a las canon, y no vas a tener magic lantern. Es lo que yo me voy a comprar ahora, decidí no ir por la BMPCC aunque sea mi sueño porque me obliga a mantener mi T3i actual (necesaria para algunos trabajos), y como dice Julian va a llevar tiempo equiparla, necesitas un filtro IR CUT, porque no tiene filtro IR, y si vas a usar un ND de mas de 0.6 (lo vas a usar porque tiene iso nativa de 800) vas a tener todos los negros teñidos de rojo, eso son 100dls, un par de tarjetas rápidas, otros 170dls, baterías 50dls, y adaptadores 30dls (no speed booster).. o sea mínimo para poder usarla decentemente son 350dls extras.. a precio de afuera. Yo encima ya había comprado en una oportunidad un Angenieux 12-120 f2,2 p camaras de 16mm con adaptador y todo para cuando pudiese comprar la pocket. Me fuí a la mierda con la extension del texto

July 27, 2014 at 2:36AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Matías

Don't get a 70D! Or a T3i. Or any Canon. Is a waste of money. You're not getting much bang for your buck.

Canon used to be a kinda ok choice. But these days they've fallen way too far behind, especially their APS-C cameras (you've got essentially the same sensor in all of them from the T2i/550D onwards, no real leap in image quality between them if you're using them filming with).

Look instead at these cameras: Nikon D5200/D5300/D7100, Panasonic G6/GH3/GX7/GM1, & Sony A6000.
(or for other reading, if they've got bit bigger budget, look into the Panasonic GH4 and Sony A7s as well.)

All of these cameras do fine photography too.

Here is an example music video I saw today shared on 43rumors, shot with a Panasonic GX7:
http://vimeo.com/98438591

The comment with it:
“I just want to share this music video i made with my Lumix GX7, it just came out last week although it was shot in April and finished in the end of May. I just want people to know that GX7 is a hell of a camera, in the latest news and rumors everyone is dissing this camera. Now i have a GH4 and sold my Canon camera, i took the decision to do that after i compared the image quality between the Canon and the GX7. All the lights that were used probably cost around $650, we used Samyang lenses with a EF adapter with ISO’s between 200 and 800. Enjoy!"

Out of all those which I listed, I'd most recommend the Panasonic G6 for a beginner as it is one of the cheaper ones (although, they're all kinda close in price). Like the BMPCC, it too can be got for only about US$500 (if you watch out for specials, or get it second hand), and it is the successor to the very famous Panasonic GH2.

Read up about it:
http://www.eoshd.com/content/10824/panasonic-g6-review-the-gh2-redux

http://personal-view.com/talks/discussion/6788/panasonic-g6-topic-gh2-re...

See for yourself how amazing the Panasonic GH2 (that the G6 is the successor too) did against much much more expensive cameras:
http://www.zacuto.com/shootout-revenge-2012
http://nofilmschool.com/2012/07/winner-2012-zacuto-camera-shootout-is/

In short, if you're interested in the BMPCC but not sure what you're getting yourself into... get a Panasonic G6 instead!

A Panasonic G6 will be much easier to learn on, is a more polished experience than the rough around the edges "beta camera" from Blackmagic Design, and the Panasonic G6 will be cheaper to get up and running (doesn't need so many various adds on, such as lots of batteries and much more expensive SD cards, like the BMPCC needs. & a G6 won't have quite as demanding needs of you in post production as a BMPCC might, think of it was shooting JPEG stills vs raw stills if you've got experience with photography. And if you don't have that experience to know what I'm meaning.... well, that is another reason why to get a G6 over a BMPCC!).

Don't worry about "missing out" on the cheap price of a BMPCC, you will have instead a much better experience learning on a Panasonic G6. Then in a year or two from now (when you'll probably still only be scratching at the capabilities of a Panasonic G6! But you'll have learned a lot more, and have a better idea of your wants and needs too), there will be many many more other attractive options to consider for your next camera which will blow away this BMPCC! Thus it isn't a big deal if you pass on a BMPCC, because a Panasonic G6 will serve *you* better & besides, new ones from Blackmagic Design are always coming around the corner :-) So if not this one, there is always more coming later.

Anyway... I gave that list of camera suggestions earlier in the comment under the assumption your $1,000 budget is for your camera body, which might be true? But it sounds more likely that is your total budget for *everything*? If so, then a total budget of $1,000 is really tiny.

In that case you absolutely should go for a Panasonic GH1, these go second hand on eBay for under US$200 if you keep an eye for it. Absolutely nothing else in the price range will come even close to matching it (I even prefer a Panasonic GH1 over a Canon 5DmkII for filming with. The Panasonic GH1 was my first camera that I bought for filming with, and I still to this day use it! Is a very fine camera, even though I've got many more since).

An example video with it:
http://www.anycamerawilldo.com/old-but-not-out/

This is a handy read on it (hasn't been updated in ages though, so I'd add to that a suggestion, get a focal reducer too such as the RJ Lens Turbo):
http://www.gh1-hack.info/wiki/ShootingMoviesWithHackOnVeryTightBudget
http://www.personal-view.com/talks/discussion/9086/rj-lens-turbo-m43-ada...

July 27, 2014 at 1:59AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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I'd be weary to call myself a pro, bit dick

July 25, 2014 at 9:45PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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James

First of all resolve works with data levels, so zero is not broadcast black, loser

July 25, 2014 at 9:50PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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James

That was rude.

July 26, 2014 at 11:36AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Why are you using broadcast black as a standard?

July 27, 2014 at 1:16AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Hi haters

HDTV These days uses ITU-R BT.709-5 which in a 10-bit signal has a black level of 0. However, I'd like to thank you for playing. :)

July 29, 2014 at 1:40PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Bill Hater

Personally I wish this explained a lot more of what he's actually doing. I'd suggest putting the BMD film to Rec709 lut on a second node and balancing on the node underneath it (this seems to leave more latitude to play with in the image).

Boosting to rec709 can blow things out that weren't blowing out in the zebras when shooting in the film mode on the blackmagic cams. I've heard that the cameras don't really like tungsten light, and the zebras don't show up unless all channels have peaked, so it's quite easy when you're exposing to the right (ETTR) to then end up with a blown out image when boosting to Rec709.

July 25, 2014 at 10:44PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Steve

Ordered mine the day after the price drop still waiting shipment from b&h. Anyone you guys got yours from b&h since the price drop ?

July 25, 2014 at 11:26PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Fix

Yup! Mine arrived this past Monday from B&H; I ordered it just a couple hours after I saw the announcement of the price drop. It seems stock dwindled pretty quickly after that. I must've been lucky (which I'm usually not for these sorts of things)!

July 25, 2014 at 11:57PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Patrick

very seriously considering one of these cameras. Does anyone know how the footage plays with Adobe Speedgrade though. I have been using speedgrade for a long time and now with the cc 2014 release really like it but, I am curious how the camera footage is with that program.

July 25, 2014 at 11:40PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Jacob

Speedgrade should work nicely with the prores, and raw is supported but colours are a bit janky out of the box when I last tried, nothing that you can't fix though.

July 26, 2014 at 1:20AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Ruairi

Don't bother with speed grade. Get Davinci Resolve Lite...it is free, much MORE powerful, and what the BM cameras were designed to work with. I find the controls to be more intuitive too, especially after watching a few good video tutorials, like this one:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sL_hWR60LaA

August 4, 2014 at 2:20PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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CC

is this the same workflow for davinci lite?

July 26, 2014 at 12:49AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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sabeyah

Yes. The Lite version is pretty much the same. One of the few things you'll miss out on is noise reduction.

July 26, 2014 at 8:54AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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dauid

You can buy the Neat Video Noise filter plug-in for Davinci Resolve Lite, works like a charm. Get the OFX plugin.

http://www.neatvideo.com

August 4, 2014 at 2:42PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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CC

There may be no right or wrong in grading. It's a matter of taste. I personally wouldn't grade log footage like shown in this tutorial. A LUT with a 1D curve (luminance curve only, no hue adjustments etc.) is a good starting point for a grade. Here's an example for download: http://hanshijmering.com/downloads/bmcc_luts/

July 26, 2014 at 5:04AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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EricV

When shooting raw on the BMPCC, I like using Adobe Camera Raw by opening the files in Photoshop. I colour correct then save as 100% quality jpegs, which I import in Premiere as a sequence. Premiere plays the clips fine and if needed you can go back to the raw files, reexport them in replace the files in Premiere with the new ones easily as long as they have the same name.

July 26, 2014 at 8:13AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Tom

CLIPHOUSE. For Raw. Fast and easy quick grades with presets

July 26, 2014 at 5:00PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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SaraG

Thank you for posting this. I just bought the camera and said i wonder how to get a better image from it :)

July 26, 2014 at 11:27PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Dante

If you want a fast, "easy" way to get good looking footage out of the BMPCC/etc without grading in post, just set it to "video" dynamic range and prores codec. It looks pretty good and has the contrast and color that meets conventional demand

July 27, 2014 at 3:11AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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john jeffries

The BMCC Video curve is pretty ghastly in my opinion. If you want a much nicer rec.709 image you might actually find you get much nicer results using the Arri rec.709 lut in Resolve. Give it a whirl :)

July 27, 2014 at 12:44PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Ps. I kind of glossed over the "without grading" part of your post - sorry. As long as you have a way of applying a LUT in post this is always going to be a better option than BMD's own attempt ad rec.709 though and worth the extra step even to those not well versed in grading.

July 27, 2014 at 12:47PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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yeah, i usually do the arri 709 lut in a separate node

after the 1.8 update, though, the in-camera 709 mode as i described looks way, way better. i use it for projects that have a quick turnaround time

July 27, 2014 at 4:09PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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john jeffries

yea

March 18, 2015 at 9:15PM

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Better idea. Get a Canon 50D, ($300) on ebay, install Magic Lantern. You can shoot in RAW close to 1080p. Download bake in LUT picture presets to your camera such as Cinebooster or Lightform C, which boost your color spectrum and effective dynamic range. Canon has better chroma and colors, while the BMPCC wins at dynamic range and luminance. If you're on a budget, this is your best option.

February 4, 2016 at 6:07PM, Edited February 4, 6:07PM

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Matt Cronin
DP/colorist
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