Spider-webs & waterfalls

spider

This is my second shoot with the BMCC – and it continues to impress. What do I like about it? The image is sublime. It’s what I expected from the new dawn of HD footage. Although I’ve been using DSLR’s (Canon 5DII) and small-chip camcorders (Canon XF-100) for the last few years, they always seem to be missing something. The image from the 5D is of course gorgeous, but it breaks down so easily when doing any grading. The XF, I use mainly for stock, live gig footage and anything where I need ‘easy’. Again, it’s image is very nice. But is ever so ‘video’.

So, neither of them do ‘cinema. What is that? I dunno really. I guess it’s just an image I really like & yes, I do love the image from the BMCC. Even the noise…looks like proper grain.

I’ve only used Pro-Res HQ so far, but even that is a revelation when it comes to grading. It is just so robust when compared to the codecs of the 5D and XF. For instance, most of the shots were seriously underexposed (we’ll talk about this later) so I had to really push the exposure in some cases to +2 stops. And it still looks pretty delicious.

Music video’s and personal projects are my bag at the moment and that’s where the frustrations of the camera are actually benefits. It slows me down, it allows me to concentrate and to consider how the camera actually responds in different conditions. If I were a run ‘n’ gun documentary dude I probably would have thrown it through the window by now.

Now, why were all the shots underexposed? The BMCC doesn’t feature any levels or scopes, just a bit of peaking. The screen is large and bright (although terribly reflective) so when in a relatively dark space, such as the sombre, ancient forests of Northumberland where full daylight rarely reaches, you see something that looks very nice. So you hit record. Then, you get home and start logging the footage and you see a load of mud 😦

However, given that Pro-Res HQ is very robust you can then really push it…God knows what raw is like – too scared to try it at the moment (my 1Tb Lacie FW drive, all of sudden seems rather lightweight).

Let’s put it another way : In learning how to use the camera, I really screwed up the exposure this time. Despite that, I still got this:

If this were a paying gig, bacon would be saved.

Stuff used:

– Camera : BMCC (EF Mount), 1080P Pro-Res HQ, Film (log) mode, mostly 800 ISO
– SSD : SandDisk Extreme 240Gb (no dropped frames as yet)
– Lenses : Canon 24-70L (at F2.8 all the time) & Canon TS-E 45L
– Support : Sachtler Ace Tripod & Glidetrack Shoot + Manfrotto MVH502
– NLE : FCP 7
– Grading : Magic Bullet Looks

Music by kind permission of Matt Wilson : https://soundcloud.com/mattwilsonmusic

Location : Roughting Linn Waterfall, Northumberland.

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