Cinematography : BlackMagic Pocket Cinema Camera by Cory Davidson

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Cory Davidson

BlackMagic Pocket Cinema Camera

Has anyone used this camera? Pros and cons?

Adrian Sierkowski

Many times. The biggest pro is the price. It's damned affordable. As well as the major dynamic range boost you get over anything else even near the price range. The cons, however, are the strange sensor size which makes finding the right lenses problematic, especially if you're working with real glass as opposed to bullshitting around with stills lenses, as well as the SSDs. If you're in RAW, as well, you really need to be ready and able to handle the massive amounts of data you'll pull (on a feature we wound up with 42TB of footage-- that's rather insane). it makes for a good 2k deliverable which makes it workable theatrically. But again, you have to look beyond just the body which is just a sensor and think about the rig. You'll need a rig with at least a rails system and some kind of external power. V mounts are a good kind of call as they're cheaper than AB mounts, though AB is a sturdier mount and generally better batteries. The nice thing about it having an internal batt is that you basically can hot swap the power all day long. Also you'll need an external monitor or EVF as the internal one is rather-- well crap. I think a lot depends less on the camera and more on the people working with it, and how well they have been trained in filmmaking. Those coming over from DSLRs seem to have the most trouble (as do most videographers) with the BM cameras, whereas those of us who regularly used film or work with reds and alexas often just adapt to the whole thing pretty well. IN my own time I've done 2 features with the 2.5K as the A Cam and a few MVs and Corporate videos as well before getting my own BM Pocket camera. If in doubt, why not rent or borrow one, as I"m sure you can find both easily, for a day and take it on a camera test. See how well it responds to how you work, and what you need to do specifically.

Cory Davidson

Thank you for the advice and your input,! I appreciate any advice I can get. I agree that I should rent one first, and I asked this because I see that B and H have them on sale for $495 currently.

Adrian Sierkowski

Ahh that's the Pocket Camera; a whole different beast. And yes, for that price, I would certainly pick one up. It can be a compliment to very many other systems out there for a long time to come. I find it incredibly useful to just keep one with me when I'm shooting because I can almost ALWAYS find a place for it.

Cory Davidson

I think I'm going to order one....and pick a couple lenses for it, and maybe an adapter for some of my canon prime lenses. Really impressed with it's capabilities, though I've never personally used one, just referencing what I've seen

Adrian Sierkowski

If your canon primes are electronic you're limited in adapters to metabones. I personally like going with my own pocket to my Nikons; or if going EOS mount, get a Rokinon Cine Kit. Hell if you were in LA I'd just let you rent mine when needed lol

Cory Davidson

Lol that's cool, they are from my t3i, a 50mm and 40mm. Got a couple shoots coming up and was definitely looking for an upgrade in quality for them. Thought about the 2.5k as well

Adrian Sierkowski

2.5K is ok; but a 50 and a 40 won't do much good on either. Normal lens (akin to that 40mm) on the pocket is a 16mm, and on the 2.5K it would be around a 20mm maybe a 24. You may be best off looking at the new 4K which is a S35mm imager (APS-C) so it'd match the FoV of your T3i very closely.

Cory Davidson

Thanks for the advice!! 4k is definitely an eye catcher...I'm not real familiar with Blackmagic cameras, functionalities and the specifics if their components. So the Super 16mm sensor of the BMPCC is German to me lol. But the 2.5k and the 4k are full frame? Or is that irrelevant?

Adrian Sierkowski

irrelevant for cinema, though none are full frame. In motion picture there are two primary sensor sizes (or actually film gagues) which were in common use until the 5D. And those were 35mm (which is just about APS-C for S35mm 3 Perf), which is found on the 4K Camera (and the red, and the alexa, and the amira etc etc and your T3i) and S16mm which is the size of the film they use for say The Walking Dead. These are the cinema formats, and cinema lenses are designed around them. So when, say, on a 5D you may reach for a 50mm lens, as a standard "all around" lens, if you were making a movie on a movie camera, you'd be looking at a 35mm lens (on 35mm film) or a 16mm lens on S16mm Film (see how that works for us DoPs? Pretty simple!). the 2.5K BM has a wierd sensor size. On the two features i did with it it was a slight problem-- but it's kinda like a Panasonic GH series... though not really... where it's an oddball sensor, smaller than APS-C but bigger than S16mm, so finding wide angle lenses for it, especially with cinema ergonomics and design and optical quality can be mildly problematic. Normally remedied by renting, say a set of Compact Primes or the like.

Adrian Sierkowski

Think of it kinda like this-- The larger the imager, like Full Frame, the "longer" a lens you can use and still see most of the room. So if you keep on going, if you were on a Medium Format camera, let's say double the size of a 5D's sensor, you'd be reaching for a 100mm lens as your all around lens. It's mostly just about knowing what lenses for your particular imager produce which Fields of Views. Thats where crop factor can come in helpful-- for the math to know the equivalent lens between two systems, but often it just adds more confusion than it solves.

Cory Davidson

That is really cool, I never knew the most common differences lol. So really the T3i that I currently have, uses the same sensor as the BM 4k, probably where Magic Lantern comes in handy for my T3i. Also, I'm glad you brought that to my attention about the S16mm for BMPCC! I'm anxious to use it and see what This thing can do!

Adrian Sierkowski

It's not the same sensor, far from it; but the same sensor size. its like you have a chocolate chip and an oatmeal cookie-- they may be the same size cookies, but they are probably different prices, and certainly different flavors.

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