Thread: Blackmagic Cinema Camera 2.5K

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  1. #1 Blackmagic Cinema Camera 2.5K 
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    Hi all, I have 3 questions:

    1. Regarding the Blackmagic Cinema Camera 2.5K, I think the crop factor on the sensor is about 2.3x. I read somewhere that because this camera’s sensor is small, it is very hard to get a cinematic shallow depth of field. This confuses me because I read that long lenses and therefore long focal lengths produce shallow depth of field and the longer the lens, the shallower the depth of field. So if a 35mm lens is placed on the BMCC, it will therefore be an 80mm lens. Therefore, would this not produce a shallow cinematic depth of field? Also, a 50mm lens will therefore become a 115mm lens, making the depth of field even shallower! Then, why do people still say that this particular camera is very difficult to produce a shallow cinematic depth of field? Have you used this camera for yourself to be the judge?

    2. Between the Blackmagic Cinema Camera 2.5K and the Blackmagic Production Camera 4K, apart from the difference in resolution, price, shutter type and media storage etc. which camera would you choose? Do you think the Blackmagic Cinema Camera 2.5K is great for making feature films that can be played at actual cinemas and look as if they were shot on an Arri Alexa?

    3. I have heard of 1080p HD films that were blown up to 2K and 4K etc. without loss of quality. Can you comment on this? Do you think the Blackmagic Cinema Camera 2.5K can blow up a 2K master successfully to 4K without losing quality? I am asking this in the event one wants to meet the Netflix 4K requirements for movie submission.

    Thanks!
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  2. #2  
    Senior Member Aaron Lochert's Avatar
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    Focal length is an actual measurement specific to the lens design. So because your 35mm on the BMCC might look like an 80mm on FF as far as angle of view is concerned, it's still a 35mm lens. Therefore it still has the same depth of field properties as any 35mm.

    Think about it this way. If you shot a photo on a Full Frame DSLR on a 35mm and then you cropped it 2.3x in photoshop, did the depth of field change? No. That's all that's happening when you swap out the sensor behind the lens. Nothing changes to the image, you just see less of it.

    So what happens is because you'll be seeing less of the image, you'll be picking wider focal lengths to compensate. And wider focal lengths = deeper depth of field.

    All this said, when I owned a BMCC it wasn't hard to get some nice background blur. Just buy a fast enough lens. Or you can buy a speedbooster, just be sure to buy the BMCC with the MFT mount, not the EF.

    As far as "cinematic" depth of field is concerned, I would simply point to any movie shot on Super 16, which is a smaller imaging area than the BMCC. Those films were plenty "cinematic" to me. Lighting and composition is what's more important.

    When the Pocket 4K exists, I would not consider buying either of those old cameras unless you got a screaming deal on one. I would also only consider the 2.5K because the image was always more pleasing to me than the Production camera. But again, the Pocket 4K exists and comes with Resolve studio. It's a no brainer for beginners or really tight budgets.

    As far as something looking like it was shot on Alexa, well, that's not really going to happen until you're shooting projects with enough budget to rent an Alexa. What I mean by that is that your lighting package is substantial, your set designers are on point, and your crew is large enough. And when you're at that level, it almost doesn't matter what camera you use anymore - just hire a good colorist.

    1080p blown up to 2K isn't far. Up to 4K, I wouldn't bother. You're not really going to see any benefits unless you're aiming to do an HDR pass as well. But for Netflix, the BMCC would not qualify as it doesn't have 4K worth of photosites on the sensor. In fact, the only approved Blackmagic camera is the Ursa Mini and it's revision, the Ursa Mini Pro. I would also expect the upcoming Pro G2 to be included at some point as well.
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  3. #3  
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    If you’re in the market and haven’t bought one and are set on an inexpensive BM camera, get the pocket 4K if you’re worried about deliverables and depth of field being deeper. It’s just a great little guy and more versatile than the older ones in like 1 million ways.
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  4. #4  
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    Quote Originally Posted by H. Risu View Post
    2. Between the Blackmagic Cinema Camera 2.5K and the Blackmagic Production Camera 4K, apart from the difference in resolution, price, shutter type and media storage etc. which camera would you choose? Do you think the Blackmagic Cinema Camera 2.5K is great for making feature films that can be played at actual cinemas and look as if they were shot on an Arri Alexa?
    Not at all keen on the BMD Production Camera 4K, the sensor in it was the worst BMD ever used in any of their "cinema cameras". But BMD used that sensor as it allowed them to tick off both S35 and 4K raw quickly at an early date with a very affordable price. With careful handling you can still shoot nice things with the Production Camera 4K, but in 2019 we just have so many other better options to pick instead.

    If I was going to shoot a feature film specifically with a BMD camera (just to narrow down our options... as there are tonnes and tonnes of other cameras from other brands I'd consider! Such as Z Cam E2, Kinefinity Terra 4K, Fujifilm X-T30, Sony FS7, Panasonic GH5S, just to give quick smattering of options from a range of prices that I'd seriously consider) then I'd be picking one of the URSA Mini 4.6K cameras (either the OG, or the Pro, or the Pro G2 version. Whichever is the latest version of those three that I could get my hands on, as each newer version improved a bit on the previous one).

    I'd also absolutely have a BMPCC4K on set as well as a B Cam, handy for all those times an URSA might not be right.

    A BMD Pocket Cinema Camera 4K could also be the A Cam on an ultra low (read: "no") budget film as well! (might consider a BMPCC OG, BMCC 2.5K MFT or BMD Micro Cinema Camera as all being good B Cam options to have for the BMPCC4K. But I'd avoid the BMCC EF if I could, as having the MFT mount of the BMCC MFT just gives so much more flexibility in lens options)

    Now as for a film made with any of these BMD cameras can hang with a feature shot with an ARRI?

    Yes and No. The end result is going to depend on many many other factors far far more than the camera chosen, such as:

    The Story.
    The Locations.
    The Actors.
    The skill of your DoP.
    The lighting package and gaffer you get.
    The quality of your Sound Department hires & what their sound package is which gets rented.
    The entire Post Production process.
    etc etc etc etc

    Quote Originally Posted by H. Risu View Post
    3. I have heard of 1080p HD films that were blown up to 2K and 4K etc. without loss of quality.

    Important to remember that 1080 (i.e. 1920x1080) is almost exactly the same as 2K (just a few pixels difference between 2000 and 1920 pixels).

    So that is a relatively easy blow up.

    As to going from 1080 to 4K? Depends on the quality of the HD footage, is it rubbish soft footage from a Canon 5Dmk2 or excellent high quality detailed HD from a Sony F35 / ARRI / etc?
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  5. #5  
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    Thank you so much to the above posters for your reply. Aaron Lochert, you made me understand the dynamics on a greater level now. Thanks for the explanation on the focal lengths and depth of field being the same etc.

    To those who have seen and personally used a BMPCC 4K, have you been able to get some nice shallow depth of field with this camera without using a speedbooster? If yes, what lens gave you some nice shallow depth of field results?
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  6. #6  
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    Quote Originally Posted by H. Risu View Post
    To those who have seen and personally used a BMPCC 4K, have you been able to get some nice shallow depth of field with this camera without using a speedbooster? If yes, what lens gave you some nice shallow depth of field results?
    Have you even seen Upstream Color?



    This was shot entirely with the Panasonic GH2 (which is the same sized sensor as the BMPCC4K), and there are portions in there which I feel they went overboard with excessive shallow DoF.

    You certainly shouldn't have any worry about DoF when filming with Micro Four Thirds, if you select appropriate lens.

    Lots of movies get shot on S35 at around T4 or even T5.6+, which is merely the same as T2.8 or slower for MFT.

    I reckon you could buy the Panasonic 12-35mm f2.8 and shoot plenty with that while having nice DoF

    But if you want to go crazy silly extreme then buy a 50mm f0.95 and shoot with it wiiiide open!
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  7. #7  
    If you are looking at the old Blackmagic cameras because they can be had for cheap, you should be aware of the almost mandatory accessories needed for shooting - which have not gone down in price. You'll need external batteries, you'll need media that you're unlikely to have already, you'll need an external audio recorder/operator since the hardware onboard the camera is awful, even with a good microphone. You'll need some kind of cage support or a cheese plate at the very least. How will you mount the battery? if it's not a Switronix Powerbase then you'll need a battery plate or rod system. Solo operator? Have fun pulling focus while holding this now beast of a rig with one hand. "Oh I'll just shoulder mount it then". HA now you need an external monitor and a handle at the least.

    This is the struggle of the original Toaster cams.

    The new Pocket 4K alleviates a lot of these problems. The audio of the BMCC 2.5k and BMPC 4K will give you aids. You'll find that once you start adding the accessories for a Toaster, the Pocket 4K is actually cheaper.

    Regardless, given the choice between the 2.5K and the Production camera, I would choose the 2.5K in MFT. I own the Production cam in EF and it's a bear. The raw files are enormous as there is no compression, and the lower dynamic range and light sensitivity is painful in the highlights. If you want the advertised 12 stops you have to shoot in raw, too. I would trade that for a smaller sensor.
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  8. #8  
    REDuser Sponsor Andy Jarosz's Avatar
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    Just throwing in experience with the 2.5K as well, and have also found the image quality to be far more cinematic than the original 4K production camera. Your DOF will be about twice that of an S35 sensor camera, so yes you can get your background blurry, but you'll have to either open up or use a tighter lens that you might first assume.

    I don't think you'll gain any advantage upscaling to 4K. Here's some .DNG stills from a couple things I've shot with it. https://drive.google.com/open?id=1Iq...AgNCrXkE-WXgdT

    The low light performance of both is not great. You'll definitely want to ETTR. You'll notice the still I linked to are on the cusp of being overexposed, but still show some grain. I've also attached a still that is very overexposed (looks totally white before lowering the raw exposure) to show the lattitude and gradability you can get out of it.

    One last thing to mention is they're VERY hackable, if you're into that sort of thing. They're basically a board in a box, and people have done some crazy stuff with them: https://vimeo.com/152792193 https://forum.blackmagicdesign.com/v...hp?f=2&t=33997

    This said, the camera can be difficult to use without any external monitoring and audio solutions. I would highly recommend a Pocket 4K, or renting one of the newer Ursas.
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  9. #9  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geran Simpson View Post
    If you are looking at the old Blackmagic cameras because they can be had for cheap, you should be aware of the almost mandatory accessories needed for shooting - which have not gone down in price.
    I'd greatly disagree.

    Back when the BMCC was first launched then we had relatively few low budget "cinema accessories / gadgets / widgets / etc", as we were still in the early days of the HDSLR Revolution.

    Since then we've had an explosion of options, especially in the lower budget range.

    And in some areas such as media, the prices have truly fallen through the floor! (for instance I spent a small fortune on SD cards when I purchased my BMPCC, just as much on media as the camera itself! But now those same SD cards are dirt dirt cheap)
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