First Footage from the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K (Updated)

August 28th, 2018 icon / message-square 9
First Footage from the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K (Updated)

We have been publishing a lot of content about the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K lately, as its supposed shipping date of September draws closer. A few hours ago Blackmagic released a short video on their Youtube-channel, titled ‘Nature’, featuring first footage from the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4k. While a lot of media outlets have had hands-on time (including ourselves), no actual footage from the camera had previously been seen.

What do we know?

The video’s description adds a little additional information. It has been shot by Vancouver-based cinematographer Mark Wyatt, in RAW, using ISOs of 400, 1250 and 2500. A Metabones MFT Speedbooster has been utilised, to get the shallow depth of field seen throughout a lot of the clip, using the Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 Art lens, as well as the Rokinon 50mm Cine prime. We can’t be sure about stabilisation, but my guess would be that a lot of the shots might have been shot in 4K 60p, handheld or statically on a tripod.

The content is clearly geared to showing off the cameras dynamic range, featuring high contrast scenery like rather dark forests, with sunlight breaking through the treetops, or caves by a bright seaside. According to Wyatt, he used the high ISOs to capture the darker parts of the trees, while still retaining the highlights.

“By increasing the ISO to an impressive 1250 and 2500, it allowed me to capture the dark moss-lined walls and unique emerald color, yet also hold onto the highlight detail of the top of the waterfall and sky. I feel most cameras would likely struggle with this scene.”

Wyatt also has good things to say about the camera’s size being liberating and the display absolutely usable in daylight.

Pixel peeping

Noise on BMPCC4k

There is some more organic chroma noise in the shadows here

So, let’s get up close with the footage here. There is no doubt – the footage is gorgeous and well shot by Wyatt along the west coast of Canada. Image quality is high throughout all shots and retains the cinematic feel often ascribed to Blackmagic’s cameras. However, there has also been some criticism concerning older cameras about poor high-ISO performance, with noisy shadows, featuring chroma noise more or less blocky, depending on contrast, or even pattern noise. Blackmagic has stated, that this would be improved on the new Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4k.

Noise BMPCC4k

Maybe this shot was pushed a little hard?

Some of the shots in the video do have noticeable chroma noise. It would seem like these might be the shots mentioned by the cinematographer as using high ISO – however we can’t be certain about that. The shadows of the tree trunks in a particularly high contrast setting seem to have a more organic noise pattern, while one of the beach shots does feature some heavy color patterns in the shadows. As with all cameras, this will be highly dependent on the way you expose your scene and this footage does seem like an improvement, certainly over the previous Pocket Cinema Camera.

More Videos (updated)

It seems that Blackmagic is planning to drop new videos daily, showing off new aspects of the BMPCC4k, which is interesting. Three more videos have been published, two showing off skin tones and shot by Blackmagic’s regular collaborator John Brawley and another featuring a balloon flight, shot by Andreas Neumann. We have updated the video at the beginning of this article to be a playlist and will be adding more videos as they are released.

Raw Files Released on BMPCC4k Gallery Page (updated)

Blackmagic has just updated the gallery section of the pages of their website dedicated to the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4k, to include the videos previously released on Youtube, as well as the same quotes by the filmmakers invloved in shooting those. However they have gone a step further and released some raw footage for each clip – meaning you can try for yourself how well the footage grades. Check it out for yourself here (a word of caution: the files are rather big, so make sure you’re not trying to download them on the go):

Footage from “Nature”

Footage from “Models Walking in Daylight”

Footage from “Models Walking at Night”

Footage from “Balloons”

Footage from “Models Close Up at Night”

Footage from “Bugs”

Footage from “Mountain Bike”

What do you think? Do you think Blackmagic was able to improve high-ISO performance in the first footage from the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K? How do you like the video and are you still excited about the camera? Let us know in the comments.

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Member
August 31st, 2018

The forest images are gorgeous. The clips with the models are quite good but the slow motion looks weird…
Really considering getting one though

 Sandy Chase
Sandy Chase
Member
August 29th, 2018

Very impressive for a little pocket camera around $1K! I’d always prefer to see people’s faces in a test, though. Skin rendering is the most important thing to me, and definitely how I’m going to choose my next camera. Generally I really like BM’s color science. It looks very filmic to me. Except for the low light limitations in past cameras, I’ve always liked the image quality.
This camera is missing some handy things we’ve started to get used to, like in-body stabilization, and you have to invest in MFT lenses, but still…having raw recording and this image quality… if this were my price point, I would definitely consider it.

 Funky Punky Monkey Junk
Funky Punky Monkey Junk
Member
August 31st, 2018
Reply to  Bato Prosic

Not impressed with this comment cited by BlackMagic under that clip: “I don’t think people realize how easy it is to make things look cinematic with Micro Four Thirds! I know that there are a lot of people who like that 35mm full frame look”

He talks about full-frame, but totally ignores normal cinema-sized images: Super 35mm (APS-C). This is the format that has defined movies for generations, and represents a sweet spot of cinematic yet manageable DOF.

“You can adapt to Nikon F, Canon EF, Leica R, M42 and B4 lenses easily – also the aftermarket solutions of those of course, like Tamron or Sigma.”

Well, sure, but you lose a ton of their field of view. So then you have to go to expensive, exotic lenses to get a decent wide angle. Once again you’re buying a new lens collection.

This camera should have had an APS sensor in it.

Ed Hecht
Ed Hecht
Member
August 28th, 2018

Er, color me impressed and intrigued. It has a certain, how you say, “I don’t know what.”

Member
August 28th, 2018

First of, THANKS A LOT Blackmagic Design for your hard work and bringing an affordable cinema camera to us! I love the image, although I think it could have more variety of shots apart from a green forest. :) Also, I think I can speak behalf of all “Pixel Peepers”…: dont you just hate when the main selling point of a camera is 4K and you get presented with a 1080p sample. Well, anyways! I am very happy for this camera and looking forward to see it in my local camera store!

 Richard Jervis
Richard Jervis
Member
August 28th, 2018

Viewing in 4k seems to be an issue with YouTube and the browser you are using (at least for me on a mac) I investigated this issue after purchasing a 4k monitor. It would seem at the moment that only Chrome will work with 4k YouTube videos, Safari and Firefox don’t work for me. So I watched this specific video on Chrome and it was indeed in 4k res.

 Funky Punky Monkey Junk
Funky Punky Monkey Junk
Member
August 31st, 2018

Except… why the puny sensor? The camera body is big enough to accommodate an APS-C chip, which is exactly what they should have gone with, and an EF mount like their other cameras.

I have a BMPC, but would have bought this thing on day one. But it’s not even a contender with the limited and expensive lens selection, excessive DOF, and compromised low-light performance that the 4/3 format entails. Look at this demo, where they felt compelled to employ a lens adapter to make the thing viable at $2000.

BM blew it here.

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