I too was first a Canon user (5DMIII), and I could produce pleasing results (to me at least) with that camera. I still love my 5DMIII. But I purchased the BMPCC because I enjoy color-grading and wanted something that would give me more to push around without all the resultant artifacts from trying to stretch 8-bit color. I also liked the film-like look of a lot of the BMPCC test footage I found online. So I thought the BMPCC would be a good buy, just for fun, to try something new, nothing I'd stick with long term.
But then now I can say it is my favorite camera to shoot with because of the images that come out of such a small, high-quality-feeling, piece of equipment. I love the really small size, yet the increased quality of product over my Canon.
You can absolutely do documentaries with it! That's the ONLY thing I use mine for. People say it's not good for documentaries, but I disagree. It's just as good, if not better because of the images, than my Canon.
Sometimes I don't understand why people even say not to use it for documentaries. One of the only things I can think of that makes sense in that regard is that the battery life certainly is poor (around 40 minutes). If you're out there trying to catch all the action as it is happening, not knowing when and where you'll be running your camera, then I can see how a short battery life is a drawback to doing documentaries. My solution has been to carry 4 batteries with me, and this has worked out fine. Granted I don't have a speed booster to suck up the power, and I also do turn the BMPCC off when I'm not using it.
Many also say a speed booster is the way to go with these BMPCCs. I disagree with this too, not only because the battery life is drained by the speed booster (from what I gather from reading about it), but because there are great MFT lenses that are manual (preferred by those like myself who want to be all indie-filmer-type, wannabe real cinema person) and that can give you a wide angle of view and wide aperture, something that can be a challenge on a super16 mm sensor. I think it's good thinking to want to be able to use your lenses on both your full frame cameras and the BMPCC, hence the speed booster, but really the price of the speed booster and the usability of the MFT lenses have made me decide that it is just as good, if not better, to buy lenses specifically for the BMPCC. A lens that is considered wide on the BMPCC would be probably too wide for most filming purposes anyway on a full frame (or super35 mm) sensor. Also, that Metabones speed booster is kind of expensive. Like buying a whole other lens!
Anyway, the short answer to your question is that, if you buy the BMPCC, you will not be disappointed with the quality (and pleasure) it brings to your work. The thousand dollars it costs (plus maybe a thousand more for accessories) is relatively cheap for something that you can certainly find a use for and really enjoy.
The micro cinema camera sounds kind of enticing, but I would rather have the small form factor of the BMPCC (at least for my purposes) than have to manage the micro with a separate monitor. This doesn't appeal to my want for something small and fast that I can take around with me wherever and shoot with unobtrusively on a whim. Yeah, the screen probably isn't the best in broad daylight, but I'm not in this situation very much. It's about tradeoffs, and I choose the small dark screen over having to have another accessory to carry with my camera. You can always use your hand to shade the screen from the sun too.
Whatever you do with whatever camera, enjoy it, and shoot a lot! It's the only way to have fun and get better at creating good stuff ;)
Hope this helps!
I like how, if it weren't for the article stating specifically that an Alexa mini was used, probably no one would have guessed it's an Alexa. It kinda looks like ungraded BMPCC footage.
Great kudos to Vanessa!
I do documentaries/home movies of my friends/family/friends-of-friends whenever I do anything besides my day job that pays the bills (so I can play with my video gear). And I can attest to how difficult it is to get all the sound and camera work right in constantly changing environments and situations when you're working alone. Most significantly, however, is the guts it takes to insert yourself amongst the people and point your camera at them. A lot of people hate to be videoed, or even photographed! Everybody in my life hates when I take my camera and audio recorder out ;)
What I've learned, equipment-wise, is that you pretty much have to forget about any external lighting setups when doing documentary filmmaking; it's all gotta be the existing lights in the environment. Heck, I found that even a tripod/monopod is too much when trying to do these sorts of projects (unless you have tons of time with the subject(s)). What I have found to be pretty necessary is a lavalier mic that you can attach to the subject if you anticipate some action or dialogue he's going to do, and a good handheld recorder to capture the location sounds, which unfortunately often happens after the fact (i.e. room noises or specific sounds that you can foley in later).
The fun part comes when you get home and have the *^#!load of footage you have to sort through and make something watchable out of :) And let's not forget all of the addition of that sound you captured and the syncing of the audio. Oh, and the color correction. But it's quite rewarding in the end, as I'm sure Vanessa can attest to.
Whatever your favorite methods, though, keep up the effort and enjoy the heck out of it, and you will make something people like ;)
What do you think about the quality of that Kowa 8mm that you bought? I thought about doing that, but the whole modding issue sounded kind of shifty to me, like maybe something could easily go wrong.
But if yours went right, can you comment on the quality of the glass? For example, do you get distortion at that wide focal length on the BMPCC? I have just a 15mm Lumix lens, and am buying a new lens because I notice distortion in the image (i.e. straight lines are bowed outward near the edges).
Hello! I often see people talking about vintage lenses. Where do people get these vintage lenses? Any leads on reputable dealers would be appreciated. Thank you!
Everyone says that mounting a mic on top of the camera is a bad idea. I agree, if you want to catch specific sounds like, say, a person's voice or clear sounds to match a certain piece of action (like someone cutting vegetables). But if you get close enough to your subject--within a few feet--then the audio will be fine. I have used a Rode NTG-2 on top of my camera in run-n-gun situations, where I'm not in a good position to mic people up, or place recorders near the action. I found that if I remember to get right up in where the action is whenever I want good audio, then mounting the mic on top of the camera is pretty good. If you are only going for ambient sounds, like a distance shot of a crowd of people, then standing afar with your mic on top of your camera does well too.
One caveat is that the Rode NTG-2 doesn't have a lot of power. So you will get a hiss if you try to use only your camera's pre-amp. I've been using a pre-amp that goes in between the microphone and the camera. That has made a world of a difference.