Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera Accessories

Packet-Cinema-Camera

In the old days of shooting film, the two main formats were 16mm for Television and 35mm for Cinema. In today’s digital age, the Pocket Cinema Camera keeps up the tradition by shooting Super 16mm whilst the Sony F5 and similar shoot Super 35mm.

At this point in time there isn’t really much info around about the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera; apart from lots of cut-n-pasted web content. I’ll leave the others to rant about Pocket Camera negatives, while this blog looks at ‘whatever works for me’.

Everyone’s  talking about lenses.

Although I have various primes from my DSLRs which I could use with my pocket camera, I decided to stick to vintage lenses that were made specifically for 16mm movie cameras. I really don’t see the point of using great big DSLR lenses on a tiny camera like this.

Cosmicar-Lens

These C-mount primes are made by Cosmicar and perform surprisingly well without any vignetting.  Lens barrels are machined alloy so a good solid design. Cosmicar Television lenses are commonly found on the old Bolex wind-up 16mm film cameras.

The 12.5mm f/1.9 on the right is a very useable wide angle that focuses down to around 12-inches; pretty sharp.

The 25mm f/1.9 is a good interview lens and can deliver a reasonable shallow depth of field; pretty sharp too. Expect to pay between £50-120 for these vintage lenses and around £10 for C-mount to M4/3 adaptors.

Variable ND Filter

Apart from using Neutral Density filters to get correct exposure, ND is essential for creating shallow depth of field. I went with Tiffen because I believe they are the best Variable NDs on the market; do your research and you will find the same. I’ve used Tiffen filters all through my career and trust them to deliver what they say. Don’t be tempted by cheap rubbish, just buy a few step-up rings for your other lenses and stick to a Tiffen.

Audio

Getting good sound from the pocket camera is a similar fix to the Canon 5D MkII. The secret is to make the cameras audio preamps work as little as possible. You achieve this by keeping the camera audio input level as low as possible, then compensating by driving a higher level into the camera. The higher input level can come from various devices like:

  • Radio mic receiver
  • A sound recordist mixer; if you have that luxury
  • Beachtek, JuicedLink or similar pre-amp.

Once you find your ideal levels, you should get great sound every time. I’m presently using the Pocket as a second camera to shoot weekly TV interviews. I use the radio mic option and have never had any complaints from the station.

Note – The hissy noise in the headphone output does not record to camera.

Posted in Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera, Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camerea, Large Sensor Video Cameras | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bi-colour Dedolight

When I first moved to LED lighting, I have to admit that a few directors I work with seemed very skeptical about LED lighting in television production. Several of them had bad experiences with cameramen who rolled up with those cheap LED lights that eBay are full of. Unfortunately, some well know broadcast suppliers also sell them.

Here are a few reasons not to be tempted by low cost knock-offs.

Colour – No consistency in color between fixtures and a very noticeable shift to magenta; especially when dimmed.

Safety Certification – The majority of these Chinese knock-offs are not CE approved. They do not meet requirements of applicable EC directives. This is a big issue.

I was working on a commercial with a very experienced producer who’s well known for not liking change. From the corner of my eye I saw him marching towards me, waving his hand flamboyantly in the air at Felloni light panel, he spouted “What the f***k is this thing?” Heads turned in the studio as he ranted on until he noticed the Dedo logo on the back of the Feloni. “I’m so sorry Peter, I wasn’t aware it was from Dedolight, splendid, splendid” as he tottered off into the shadows.

It’s amazing just how quickly respect has built towards Dedos new LED fixtures. Two Oscars for services to the motion picture industry probably helps.

Daylight or Bi-Colour? 

I have a colleague who couldn’t decide whether to purchase Daylight or Bi-colour fixtures, so I loaned him a set over a weekend, here are his thoughts.

His older Dedologhts are used mainly on talking heads, so quite rarely at full power. Bearing in mind that the new LED daylight versions are slightly brighter than bi-colour, he decided the convenience of colour temperature change is more important than a slightly brighter lamp.

Long-term investment

His original Dedolights have been around for 12 years and still perform well. He commented that the new DLED4 build is of similar quality and would probably outlive his cameras.

Bi-colour fixtures cost around one third more than single colour. He believed the additional cost was justified for the convenience of bi-colour. He has ordered 4 x Bi-colour DLED4 and 2 x Fellonis.

Dedolight DLED4 Bicolour Focusable LED Light

The new DLED4 fixture uses the same-patented aspheric optics as the traditional Dedolight. The LED beam is 12° wider with the evenness of the original Dedolight that we all know.

Dedolight Felloni High Output Bicolor LED Soft Light

The Felloni is a super bright, flicker-free 12 x 12-inch LED Light Panel that produces twice the light of comparable lights and draws just half the current of similar units. Color temperature is variable from 3,200 – 5,600K.

Having used the Dedolight DLED4 and Felloni fixtures on a daily basis for several months now, I can honestly say that these lamps have become my favorites and always travel with me. They are both highly portable and lightweight with excellent colour rendition, which does not change during dimming. Powering with optional V-Lock batteries give me the freedom to light absolutely anywhere.

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SmallHD DP7-PRO-OLED-SX On Camera Monitor

Lots of cameramen today are shooting in HD or beyond.

Lenses are one of the most important elements of a camera; they define picture resolution more than the camera sensor. But just as important, is being able to see an accurate, representation of your camera’s true colour gamut and contrast, that’s why I chose the DP7-PRO-OLED-SX monitor by SmallHD.

F5-Small-HD3

I won’t bang on about the image quality, you really have to see it for yourself; it’s superb. I went for the OLED version because I wanted the best high definition, on-camera monitor for my Sony PMW-F5. It’s probably the top 7-inch monitor in its class; my clients love it.

F5-Small-HD

The DP-7 also looks better than any monitor on the market today and seems extremely rugged but weighs in at just over half a kilogram. The menu system is also very intuitive, which is great for reactive style shooting. The proximity sensor switches are a real time-saver too.

Powering options

When used on my Sony F5, I power it from the cameras 12V Hirose. Otherwise, it’s a V-lock PAG, which runs it for ages.

All of the scopes you dream of –  full screen or windowed

  • Waveform monitor
  • Vecterscope
  • RGB Parade
  • Histogram

Anamorphic

When I shoot with Anamorphic lenses, the anamorphic de-squeeze on the DP7 Pro is a lifesaver, because it routes the un-squeezed picture to other monitors on set, for directors and clients.

F5-Small-HD-2

LUTs 

If shooting SLog2 or RAW, the DP7 PRO Look up tables can also be routed to other monitors on set. (available soon in a firmware update)

Cross Conversion

The cross conversion feature is handy too. HD-SDI to HDMI or HDMI to HD-SDI. Very useful if you’re feeding mixed monitors.

The DP7-PRO-OLED-SX is packed full of features that other field monitors simply don’t have. I’ve waited a long time for a monitor like this to come along. The DP7 is definitely the solution to a lot of my problems.

I really do believe that SmallHD are in the same league as Steadicam, Panavision and Dedolight; all unique innovators who produced equipment that really made a difference.

More info at http://www.smallhd.com

Posted in Large Sensor Video Cameras, Sony PMW-F3, Sony PMW-F5, Sony PMW-F55, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

You’re going to be hearing an awful lot over the next few months about the new DLED4 LED Light Head from Dedolight.

I was given a pre-release model of the new Dedolight focusing LED fixture and I’ve been using on ENG shoots for several weeks now; it’s amazing.

I guess everyone is asking ‘what’s the difference between the new DLED4 LED and the classic DLH4 head.

DLED2

The new DLED4 LED Head comes in 3 types; Daylight, Tungsten or Bi-Colour. The DLED4  uses the patented Dedo aspheric optics that delivers the amazing 1:20 flood to spot ratio that we are all used to in the traditional DLH4. The  lamp beam is 12° wider than the original 48° dedo head which is a real bonus. The evenness of the beam is just as clean as the older dedolight and has excellent colour rendition which doesn’t change during dimming.

The DLED4 daylight head match really well with KinoFlo and HMI. It’s also compatible with standard Dedo accessories.

dedo3

The DLED4 is extremely cool running and the dimmable ballast is slightly smaller than the original Dedo in-line transformer.

The new LED Dedolight has

  • All of the greatness of the original Dedolight
  • A wider beam than the original
  • Excellent colour rendition
  • Maintains colour temperature when dimmed
  • Can be powered by ‘world mains’ voltages or battery
  • Has very cool operation

It’s absolutely perfect!

More surprises from Dedo are coming soon!

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1980 Tokina Zoom on the 2013 Sony F5 Cinema Camera

Tokina1

Directors love the outstanding images from my Zeiss CP.2 prime lenses but they miss the flexibility of framing interviews reactively.

Changing a lens mid-interview for a close up could possibly miss a great interview moment, so I decided to look for a low-cost high quality zoom that not only had outstanding performance but would cut well with my Zeiss primes.

After weeks of dredging the net and reading reviews, I eventually came across this beauty, a  Tokina AT-X AF PRO 28-70mm ƒ/2.8 and it’s from the 80s.

tokina2

French manufacturer – Angenieux who are renowned for movie camera lenses, licensed the design of their 28-70mm lens to Tokina in the 80s. Tokina still produce a slightly modified version of this lens today but I was extremely lucky to be able to find one of the first 1980 Tokinas that used the original Angenieux design.

I tested this old lens head to head with my Zeiss CP.2 primes and was a little taken aback by the comparison. The optical performance of the Tokina was exceptional and yes it did cut very well with my Zeiss primes; too well if the truth be known!

tokina

Unlike many of the new zoom lenses around, this lens is ‘parfocal’ focus is maintained through the zoom range and it doesn’t extend when you zoomed.

To customise the lens I added:

  • Duclos step-up ring (77mm to 114mm) for matte box connection
  • Focus gear from Shoot35
  • Lumix zoom lever
  • And of course a lens mount adaptor from MTF

If you’re tempted by the Tokina AT-X AF PRO 28-70mm ƒ/2.8, then make sure you source one of the old ones. An easy way to tell if you’ve found an original Angenieux design is to look for a screw in lens hood connection, not the new bayonet type.

Expect to pay around £250-450 ($375-675)

Posted in Large Sensor Video Cameras, Sony PMW-F3, Sony PMW-F5, Uncategorized, Zeiss CP.2 | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Sony PMW-F5

I’m pleased to offer a Cinematography shooting package built around the new Sony F5 super 35mm camera.

F5 rig

The Sony PMW-F5 CineAlta™ is the next generation of Super 35mm cinema cameras that shoots HD, 2K and 4K images.

Super 35mm, shallow depth of field is a fantastic look that we’ve all seen in the cinemas for many years. The foreground is in focus the background is immediately out of focus. It’s a very pleasing look that’s associated with drama, high-end commercials and documentary.

The cameras Super 35mm sensor is where the magic happens.

The Sony F5 delivers gorgeous super-sampled HD pictures with visibly superior texture, colour reproduction and detail that ordinary HD cameras cannot touch.

The F5 has fourteen stops of latitude, which allows the whole picture to be reproduced in a very natural way with lots of details in the dark area of the screen with great highlight handling.

With an ISO base of 2000, the F5 is a super sensitive camera with multiple recording formats including HD/2K on SxS memory and 16-bit RAW 2K/4K on optional AXSM™ media.

Sony will also be implementing up to 240 frames per second, full HD slow motion in a future firmware update; 10 times slower than real life.

Compare Camera Sensors

Sensor-chart

Your workflow

The Sony F5 is a multi-format camera, so it fits within the workflow that people want by offering multi-codec support,

  • XDCAM HD 50Mbps or 35Mbps a well-established codec
  • HDCAM SR (MPEG4 SStp) at up to 220Mbps or 440Mbps
  • And Sony’s new XAVC MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 format.

Not everyone wants to shoot in 2K or 4K, so if your final delivery requirement is HD, then the camera can be switched to HD but your still getting that 4K imager doing it’s magic.

CP2-set

Zeiss prime lenses and a 4K sensor, a perfect combination.

Lenses are one of the most important elements of a camera because they form and focus the image that is recorded by the camera sensor. Lenses actually define the picture resolution more than the camera sensor.

The F5 camera has a PL lens mount, which is standard for film cameras, allowing access to an amazing range of cinema style lenses for a wider creative expression.  

I wanted excellent optics for my F5, so I invested in a set of Carl Zeiss cinematography prime lenses. CP.2 lenses are super-sharp and with fourteen iris blades guarantee natural and pleasing out-of-focus highlights with exceptional ‘bokeh’ – blurred areas that are pleasing to the eye. Unlike video lenses, some of these primes close focus to 11-inches.

My Zeiss compact prime lens kit includes 35mm/50mm/85mm lenses, each is certified for 4K capture.

Other lenses I use:

  • Tokina 11-16mm ƒ/2.8 Pro Ultra-wide zoom
  • Tokina 28-70mm ƒ/2.8 Pro zoom
  • Tokina 100mm ƒ/2.8 Pro Macro
  • Nikon 80-200mm ƒ/2.8 Pro zoom

Follow Focus & Matte Box

My choice of follow focus is the award winning O-Focus Dual Mini Cine from O’Connor. It’s double sided so it can be operated from both sides of the camera; it’s rock solid too.

OConnor

Matte Box wise, I use an O’Connor O-Box, which I chose over Arri & Chrosziel because it’s very sturdy and I really trust it. Good solid top and side flags too.

Although the O’Connor matte box and follow focus are expensive items, I decided they would be a good investment that would probably outlast the cameras I’ll own in the future.

Filming with the Sony F5

F5 shoots require similar disciplines to film shoots, i.e. tripod mounted with time taken to light and frame each shot properly before rolling the camera.

It has a built in shoulder mount and a super sharp LCD viewfinder, so shooting handheld reactively for news or documentary is also possible with the F5.

Workflow

Footage is recorded internally to SxS cards between 35 to 220Mb/s as XDCAM HD, HDCAM SR or the new Sony XAVC.

Shot material is transferred via my MacBook Pro to your portable hard drives. The media is edit suite friendly and compatible with up to date Avid, Final Cut Pro, Premere, etc.

Cinematography kit comprises of:

  • Sony PMW-F5 Super 35mm camera
  • 3.5-inch colour HD digital viewfinder
  • Prime lenses, Zeiss CP.2 35, 50, 85mm
  • Zooms lenses, 11-16mm, 28-70mm, 80-200mm
  • 100mm macro lens
  • Matte box – O’Connor
  • Follow Focus – O’Connor
  • ARRI base & top support plates
  • Alexa hand grip
  • Small HD DP7-PRO-OLED-SX 7.7-inch field monitor
  • Sachtler 10 SB ENG 2 Speed-Lock carbon tripod
  • Sekonic DigiCineMate Light Meter
  • PAG L96 batteries and fast charger
  • 17″ MacBook Pro Quad-Core i7 with transfer software

Visit my website http://www.peteburns.com

Posted in Broadcast Reviews, Large Sensor Video Cameras, Sony PMW-F5, Zeiss CP.2 | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Solid Camera EVF Support

The Solid Cameras EVF Support turns the Alphatron EVF into a Top-End Viewfinder.

Fitting directly onto the Berkey Plate on an F3, this compact EVF Mount is Rock Solid. It features two adjustable clutches to allow a huge range of adjustment without needing to tighten any clamps.

Once adjusted into the perfect spot, it will stay where you’ve put it; and level too.

Your eye is now in a perfect and comfortable position when shoulder mounted.

This amazing EVF mount works with many different camera systems and electronic viewfinders. The Solid Camera EVF Mount is absolutely perfect and should be the choice of serious professionals.

Visit my website http://www.peteburns.co.uk

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