October 25, 2014 at 2:40PM

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BMPCC or GH4?

I want to upgrade from my Canon T3i to something with a more cinematic image. I've mostly been doing music videos but I want to start doing short films as well. Currently I only have the Canon 50mm f1.8, 18-55mm kit lens, a Minolta 50mm f1.7 & 28mm f2.8. I also have a rode videomic & Tascam dr-40. I know that audio will play a huge role in the production value of my films but since I'll be doing music videos more than films I figured I should focus on the image quality first. My budget is $3000-$4000

53 Comments

Blackmagic pocket, no doubt. The final result worth it. GH4 Is a good camera, really but i prefer more color.

October 27, 2014 at 8:07AM

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Ragüel Cremades
Film producer and director
7642

thank you, it seems as though the bmpcc would need a lot of accessories to really get the most out of it but maybe that's just something i'll have to deal with

October 27, 2014 at 1:20PM

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Talus McKill
Director, Videographer
316

Keep in mind that the Blackmagic Pocket Cine camera gives you about 20 minutes of recording time PER BATTERY. This along with moire and aliasing issues would keep me from using this camera, and why I mainly shoot with the GH4 today.

October 27, 2014 at 2:53PM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
32673

Would you say that the GH4's image is more cinematic compared to RAW on the bmpcc?

Talus McKill

October 27, 2014 at 5:55PM

This is false. I own a black magic and easily get 45 min per batter. I also bought a battery that was $40 and it last over 3 hours

Charles C.

October 29, 2014 at 12:29AM

Rig it up and get a battery, and you can record for hours. No problem at all.

David Peterson

October 30, 2014 at 6:19AM

I bought a 180 varavon battery pack which is compact and powers it for 6 hours, and a 385 dollar OLPF which gets rid of aliasing and just makes the overall image a lot smoother and nicer. GH4 is way better for some shoots, I really like it on run and gun stuff, red carpets, behind the scenes, documentary, travel trips. But anything setup with time for lighting and a bunch of takes (commercials, music videos, short films, feature) I'd EASILY choose the pocket.

Jacob Landis-Eigsti

March 25, 2015 at 7:30PM

gh4 is a great camera but as you said more "cinematic" i would go for bmpcc for the colorspace.
also i personally like the idea of having less choices for framerates. it ties me into shooting 24fps

October 27, 2014 at 3:53PM, Edited October 27, 3:53PM

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Kazu Okuda
Filmmaker
1346

I think GH4 is really "cinematic".
This short was made with a GH4.

http://vimeo.com/107747711

Simone Salvatore

October 30, 2014 at 2:03PM

I can vouch for the Black Magic Pocket Camera, thing is a beast, the amount of times I've been in the car or any random destination, pocked it out the window and captured something great, colour space really is beautiful!

Battery life is a pain, but their are work arounds - belt loop battery pack that works with Canon batteries is a huge plus - just picked up the somewhat gimmicky retroflex rig from Red Rock Micro, and as someone who is anti old school all about the new and exciting, I'm surprised how much I love the form factor and stabilisation it brings.

October 27, 2014 at 6:51PM

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Dale Leszczynski
Shooter Editor VFX
297

Battery life is fine - about 45 mins to 60 mins per BM battery. Switronix offers a pack (with two batteries) that will power the badboy for up to 5 hours. Raguel is right - the DR and colorspace are PHENOM. Just got my bmpcc the other week, and I love it. The GH4 needs an external recorder to get 10 bit footage.

October 27, 2014 at 7:12PM

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About Battery life, Talus seems like he has a bunch of Canon lenses and probably will want to use them. Note that using the EF mount speedbooster and an electronic controlled lens, i found myself getting about north of 15-20min battery life. With a manual lens i get about 20-25. The speedbooster is very battery hungry. just for small form factor i carry around 10 batteries but since i use gold mount batteries for our red package i bought the bmpcc switronix dtap to gold mount plate. this allows me to power all my accessories for a good half day of shooting.

Kazu Okuda

October 28, 2014 at 2:43AM

>>>Would you say that the GH4's image is more cinematic compared to RAW on the bmpcc?

I find "cinematic image" is all about lighting, lenses, and grading. You can produce a beautiful image with almost any camera provided you understand what it's strengths and weaknesses are, and gear your lighting/lenses/grading to complement what each camera does best.

The Blackmagic cameras definitely produce a nice image, but so do many other cameras.

October 27, 2014 at 9:59PM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
32673

can anyone recommend me a basic kit for the bmpcc?

October 28, 2014 at 10:04AM

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Talus McKill
Director, Videographer
316

A full cage would be optimal, but get a top handle at the very least. SHAPE makes a good one.

Vintage Angenieux zoom lens and/or a matched set of fast C-Mount primes/Kiev 16U lenses. Vimeo and YouTube have lots of sample footage with lens tests available. CCTV lenses are fine for HDR'ish novelty footage, and than only if you can get them dirt cheap.

Monopod. The footage is lively and electric when shot off of a tripod, much more forgiving of than the DSLR as long as you adjust the shutter angle.

EFV - My Zacuto works fine, but there are now better options to choose from.

Switronix PB70 (with adapters) + (3 or so) Wasabi batteries (for back up power or shooting low profile)

The highest capacity SDXC cards you can afford. A 64GB SDXC card holds just under 15 minutes of RAW footage.

Metabones Speedbooster if you already have lots of Canon or Nikon glass or need the wider angle & faster aperture.

LUT's. There are some exceptional ones out there for cheap/donation or free.

Marc B

November 4, 2014 at 3:36PM

In case anyone is wondering what kind of image the GH4 produces, here are some samples. These might be over-saturated color-wise ( which is easy to turn down in post ), but here are a few examples of what good GH4 video can look like. Better images are definitely possible, especially with the new GH4 photo-mode and anamorphic lenses starting to take off with an un-squeezed image frame size of 6768 x 2880 pixels. ( 2.35 aspect ratio )

Special1 - Ko kende te - Music Video Teaser
https://vimeo.com/109321719

GH4: Grading Process Demo
https://vimeo.com/groups/gh4/videos/110007082

California Coast in 4K
https://vimeo.com/108019600

Budapest Cityscape
https://vimeo.com/groups/gh4/videos/93199353

Watchtower of Turkey
https://vimeo.com/groups/gh4/videos/108018156

Short Film "Gemini"
https://vimeo.com/groups/gh4/videos/109348386

October 28, 2014 at 10:47AM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
32673

Wow thanks, that really helped put things into perspective

Talus McKill

October 28, 2014 at 10:56AM, Edited October 28, 10:56AM

This camera has an outstanding image look. The best I've seen. Can we get the same type of look on the BM, I'm talking about the post coloring production? the sort of vintage look color contrast...

Bernardo Mora

July 1, 2016 at 5:59PM

I think the main question is the budget and how you like to shot.
I have a BMPCC with 3 Panasonic Lenses. 7-14, 12-35 and 35-100mm. So I have the complete range from 7-100mm with mainly f2.8 which looks really great. Additionaly I bought a the Aptaris Action-Set from Walimex witch works really great with the BMPCC.
The biggest advantage of the BMPCC is, that it's small and light. So you shooting is very flexibel and fast. But at this point I'm also saving money for a GH4 in combination with the Video-Adapter and a Atomos Shogun. Because only with this combination you get the most out of the GH4 but at a price that is around 5x the price of a BMPCC, but with the ability to shot in 4K with the lenses I already have from the BMPCC.

October 29, 2014 at 5:25AM

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DaSch
67

>>> BMPCC with 3 Panasonic Lenses. 7-14, 12-35 and 35-100mm

So we're talking $4,400 for the camera with these lenses, versus $5,100 for the same lenses with a GH4 body that shoots 4K internal with 3+ hours of shooting per battery.

>>>But at this point I'm also saving money for a GH4 in combination with the Video-Adapter and a Atomos Shogun.

As the GH4 links I posted demonstrate, you do NOT need an external 4K recorder for the GH4 to produce great results. Yes, 10-bit 4:2:2 with the Shogun ( and possibly RAW footage ) will be even better, but the camera is already great with the image it records internally all by itself.

October 29, 2014 at 6:08AM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
32673

Well, I don't trust any recording format expect 10-bit in Apple ProRes. Everything else is not suitable for any extensive post-production.

DaSch

October 30, 2014 at 6:31AM

I wouldn't recommend getting M4/3 lenses just get EF mount with a $30 adapter or if you have the budget a speedbooster. You buy EF mount they'll be usable in the future on other bodies as well.

Charles C.

October 30, 2014 at 2:48PM

Some Pocket Examples:

https://vimeo.com/groups/188659/videos/70676876

https://vimeo.com/groups/188659/videos/104088954

https://vimeo.com/groups/188659/videos/88659519

https://vimeo.com/groups/188659/videos/104222226

It's a great camera to start/learn with as far as cinema cameras go. I shoot red scarlet at work on a week by week basis and for the price any of the Blackmagic offerings are pretty close in my opinion.

October 29, 2014 at 11:42AM

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Charles C.
Editor/ Director/ Director of Photography/ Wannabe Thinker
748

Love the "Paris Through Pentax" video. Great concept, well executed.

Guy McLoughlin

October 29, 2014 at 12:37PM

Perhaps many of you enjoy the accurate color rendition, or get a robust image from color grading... but enjoying the "color space" is a phrase that doesn't make sense.

Anyway, I agree with Guy McLoughlin, invest in a quality light kit and sound and your "cinematic" qualities will drastically improve. Good lenses will help as well, just make sure you are willing to invest. Both these cameras take micro 4/3 lenses, and won't adapt to a larger sensor camera if you decide to later.

October 29, 2014 at 3:57PM

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Paul B
310

In a way it's like comparing different film stocks. A Fuji fan back in the day called it 'more painterly' than Kodak. When Sony came out with the EX1, I still liked my HVX200 footage better as it felt more cinematic. I feel the same about the BMPCC vs the GH4 footage, one just looks more like video, and one looks more like film. It's really just personal preference in the end.

October 29, 2014 at 8:06PM

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ok so 3000-4000usd...i would go with:

bmpcc - 1000usd
Ginirig M1xtreme BMPC Rig - 320usd (great(if not the best) rig for the price)
Speedbooster - 660usd
Sigma 18-35 - 700usd
Peaking Focus Monitor - 300usd
Batteries/ND and IR filters - 500usd

overall 3500usd...a great starting kit imo.

October 30, 2014 at 4:49AM

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Linas
129

oh forgot sd cards too...so yeah going in to 4000usd territory.

Linas

October 30, 2014 at 4:53AM

ok so why minuses? what's wrong with this small rig? if i'm posting first time it doesnt meen its some nonsense...really try to build 3-4k good strting kit...it's impossible...you also need lights and whatnot.

Linas

October 31, 2014 at 5:27AM, Edited October 31, 5:27AM

I have two BMPCC's from when they were on sale during the summer. Yes the battery sucks, yes the crop factor is awful, but you can't argue with the picture. If you are going for the more filmic look, then this is your camera. If you are doing more documentary style shooting want more from rate options and a better battery life, I'd say go with the GH4.

October 30, 2014 at 12:40PM

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Grayson Cape Arias
Camera Intern
79

You've got to be decent to really make the pocket sing. I'd recommend getting the speedbooster.
IMO Pros of Pocket over GH4 Better colors, more cinematic image, better dynamic range (.5 stops with prores, 2 stops with raw), better lowlight (with speedbooster), and just a more pleasing overall feel
Pros of GH4: Slow mo, longer battery life, 4k, slightly better rolling shutter (in 1080, worse when recording in 4k) better moire and aliasing (pocket is fairly well controlled though) better for run and gun, quick turn around.
You could also look into the BMPC, you can get it for 2750 and comes with davinci resolve, the global shutter is really nice, it renders motion so well, has an ever so slightly higher dynamic range than GH4 in raw, and has 4k, and no issues with moire aliasing.
Sadly no slow mo.

October 30, 2014 at 12:57PM

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Shane Hurbult's (DP for Need For Speed, Terminator, Drumline, The Greatest game ever played, etc) take on blackmagics cameras: http://www.hurlbutvisuals.com/blog/2014/08/bmcc-training-ground-for-cine...

October 30, 2014 at 2:43PM

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Charles C.
Editor/ Director/ Director of Photography/ Wannabe Thinker
748

I must say this buddy.. as an owner of both GH4 & BMPC 4K (not even the Pocket) I would whole heartedly recommend looking toward the GH4 for crazy portability, unfathomably awesome battery life, incredible 4K image quality, decent low light (better than blackmagic!)

It most definitely CAN create cinematic images & finally has up to 96fps in smooth slow motion at 1080p (v.decent) plus with future firmware potentially giving RAW! Lot of options & both great cameras but GH4 also takes my love - even sometimes over my 5D Mark III because of it's 4K is just crazy detailed & yet such small files??

The GH4 & A7s are both equal contenders for my love, especially full frame sensor for low light (wow am I right!) However, nothing beats the portability of 4K with no external recorder. So much love for walking into concerts & festivals with just Leica 25mm f1.4 & GH4 getting fantastic footage feeling lightweight & actually enjoying myself ;)

Love the camera & highly recommend if you're after terrific images & superb portability at very low price. Best of luck & enjoy!

October 30, 2014 at 6:12PM

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George de Freitas
DP/Director/Editor
89

Was in exactly the same place only a month ago.
I really like the BMPCC image and the codec is great but don't write off the GH4 either.
It looks too 'video' out of the box but add the speedbooster and fast glass plus some in camera profile setting changes and it's a different beast completely. And a beast with 4K, a great battery, variable FR, and a pretty decent codec.

October 31, 2014 at 3:34AM

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Can someone give me some suggestions on how to make the GH4 look more cinematic or look more like the image that the bmpcc produces? Because I've seen some amazing footage from GH4's but I've also seen some pretty awful video-ish stuff

October 31, 2014 at 3:38PM

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Talus McKill
Director, Videographer
316

Glass definitely plays a part with achieving a cinematic look. Fast glass will open your lens up for better separation. Camera profile adjustments are also key as well.

Juan Ortiz

October 31, 2014 at 4:30PM

- When your are shooting, start with a camera profile that matches the contrast range of your subject, so CineD for high contrast subjects, STANDARD for medium contrast subjects, CineV for low contrast subjects, etc...

Be careful when adjusting the contrast and highlight/shadow settings when shooting with the CineD profile, as you can muck up skin-tones if you are not careful.

- When shooting, always expose for the highlights you want to keep, which may mean sacrificing shadow detail with some subjects.

- When shooting, use fill reflectors or light-sources to lower the contrast of you subject when necessary. The GH4 has a maximum dynamic range of only 11 F-stops, so you may have to add fill light to keep your subject within an acceptable exposure range.

- When shooting, make an effort to get the color balance correct because the GH4 is going to "bake in" the color balance you shoot with, and correction in post is limited when shooting with a 4:2:0 color format.

- The Metabones SpeedBooster combined with vintage glass from Canon or Nikon can really help improve the "cine" look of your work.

- In post, always color correct your footage before grading. If your color balance was good when you shot, then the color correction should be minimal.

- In post, if you did not use the camera's noise-reduction feature ( which can eliminate details and make things like skin tones look too smooth ) always use some form of noise-reduction software. ( like NeatVideo )

- In post, reduce color saturation to get away from the "video-ish" look. I prefer to reduce color saturation in post because reducing saturation when you shoot and adding saturation back in post will often wreck the image quality of your shots.

- Always grade your shots. This is never optional if you want to get away from the "video-ish" look. Grading in post is as important as lighting is when you are shooting.

Guy McLoughlin

October 31, 2014 at 5:30PM

Its not the arrow its the archer

Will Youngman

November 1, 2014 at 9:45PM

If you know what your doing................GH4 hands down.

November 2, 2014 at 7:57AM

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Jerry Roe
Indie filmmaker
898

I own a GH3 and a BMPCC.

I really really really want to love the GH4 but I still think it looks too sharp and digital now that I have gotten used to the Blackmagic look a bit more. It doesn't actually look very different to the GH3. The Blackmagic is much more organic looking.

That said, the GH4 will be a FAR superior camera in terms of usability, functionality and practicality. So if you're looking for an all-rounder then get the GH4, hands down, it'll still do a great job despite the fact some prefer blackmagic. Remember it's still about what you're shooting not just the camera!

Also... if you're a beginner it is a much better idea to go with GH4. The bmpcc will be a bloody nightmare if you aren't very experienced. I still use the GH3 when I need it to be a faster runaround, smaller files, in-camera colour and the battery life.

November 3, 2014 at 9:25AM

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Liam Martin
DP, editor, part time director
600

I mean...the GH4 doesn't look much different to the GH3.

Liam Martin

November 3, 2014 at 9:26AM

It's funny how people always recommend the GH4. But as I look for short films on YouTube and Vimeo shot with a GH4, all I ever find is "sample video/video test" with shots of grass, flowers and trees; or examples of 96fps used in slo-mo. When I look for pictures taken with the GH4 on 500px, it don't seem like photographers are using this camera, either. On the other hand, when I look for short films shot with the BMPCC, there's video, after video, after video. What am I missing? Why the GH4 hype?

November 3, 2014 at 2:27PM

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Reggie Brown
Cinematographer
236

The GH4 has only been available for the past 6 months. ( I waited until September to buy mine because of the Gh4 audio "buzz" problem that was finally fixed in August )

It took two years for the best Indie films shot with the GH2 to show up ( "Upstream Color" and "Musgo" are two good examples ), so it may take a year before the same quality of GH4 films to arrive. ( I know it's being used as a B-camera for commercial shoots with the Canon C300, RED Epic, and even the ARRI Alexa, so I think it's only a matter of time for GH4 projects start to show up )

Guy McLoughlin

November 3, 2014 at 3:13PM

Thts because GH4 is a recent launch and BMPCC is in the market for quite some time...

Saurabh

November 4, 2014 at 9:26AM

BTW Downscaling 4k to 1080 has greater advantages - http://www.eoshd.com/2014/02/discovery-4k-8bit-420-panasonic-gh4-convert...

November 4, 2014 at 9:31AM

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Saurabh
86

Let's be honest here. If you're buying a camera to shoot short films and music videos for online exhibition, you're not going to need 4k. It is SO much data, it's only needed if you're going for a cinema release. I get it that it's good for image stabalisation, effects work and re-framing. If you want to go for a cinematic image, go with the BMPCC. The sensor is much more appealing to my eye. the colour space is 1000x better than GH4. You have to work around some quirks (as with most low end cameras) but the end result is always stunning when the footage is treated properly. For me, the GH4 is a great camera for broadcast work, documentaries etc. Both good cameras at the end of the day. But you take an entirely different approach with each.

November 6, 2014 at 10:37AM

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James Oldham
Cinematographer
218

BMPCC with all 4 Voightlander lenses and a bag of batteries..

November 6, 2014 at 7:45PM

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Roberto Mettifogo
Director.Dop.Colorist.
354

If you want a cinematic look go with the BMPCC. If your gonna shoot Docs and other media go with the GH4

November 9, 2014 at 1:18PM, Edited November 9, 1:18PM

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I know that the BMPCC has greater DR and colour space, and I would love to own one as well, but I love using my GH4. It's the first camera I've ever invested in and with careful consideration to composition, lighting (namely in protecting your highlights) and a nice grade (provided you use a good picture profile) you can pull some very nice results. I decided to go for the GH4 because of the huge amount of features a camera of this size and price packs in. The small sensor isn't an issue as I use a speedbooster and coupled with a good lens I still feel surprised at what I can do with it.

A friend of mine who also has a GH4 began loving the camera but has lately often said things like "I need to upgrade" but I don't feel he's actually put the attention on the work itself, he's relying too much on what gear he has to provide nice images. I do feel we put too much attention on the camera doing the work for us as opposed to simply acquiring good tools to help us create. At the end of the day, it's how you use it. People say the GH4 looks too "video". Below is a screenshot from some footage I shot recently. I'm not a DP or a professional colourist, but I feel pretty happy with the image I was able to achieve from a camera a lot of people tend to write off.

http://s24.postimg.org/5ervwkfmt/P1080133_00_00_24_19_Still003.jpg

March 9, 2015 at 11:08AM

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Kori Reay-Mackey
Filmmaker
192

The answer is quite simple - you have to answer yourself if you need 4K and slow-mo? if not go for BMPCC and tons of batteries

March 21, 2015 at 6:35AM

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As far as batteries go for the BMPCC, here is an excellent solution

http://www.amazon.com/20000mAh-Aluminum-Multi-Voltage-PowerIQTM-Technolo...

Just grab a cable for it, attach it to your rig, and viola! Hours and hours of battery life!

March 21, 2015 at 3:58PM

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Pierce Hodges
VideoKidProductions.com Producer/Director/DP
93

Bmpcc all the way. You can't beat the ability to shoot in RAW AND Prores HQ. 13 stops of dynamic range. With both Film Log and Rec709 to choose from. Its designed for filmmakers in mind. Yeah you'll have to rig it out a bit and get an alternate battery solution and an external monitor. But it will change the game. 4k is nice, but in a UHD codec its still compressed way more than ProRes. I'm used to shooting on a Canon 60D. Time to junk the ol' H.264. Compression and bitrate is an important thing to consider.

January 6, 2016 at 6:50PM

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Matt Cronin
DP/colorist
74

I have used a canon 70d and now use the 1 inch Panasonic fz 1000: The little brother of gh4. It shoots 4k in the same codec h264 as the 70d at 12.5 MB /s (100mbit/s) Don't ask me why but the 4k (16:9 UHD) is detailed and beautiful without moiré allthough bokeh is almost absent.

It is not the codec but the camera. I have cursed h264 with 70d but now I am grateful for the harddisk/ssd space!
You Can't grade much in 8 bit but 4k 4:2:0 can still become 4:2:2 in 1080p...

August 26, 2016 at 6:52PM, Edited August 26, 7:00PM

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