Black Magic

Monday Inspiration. Not So Fast.

So you wanna make a movie., but you don’t have a bunch of money. For a lot of people this would be the end of it. No money, no movie. The thing is though, you don’t need a ton of cash to make a film that looks great, tells a good story, and captivates your audience. The two Vimeo shorts below are a prime example of this. The first is “Not So Fast” by David Sandberg, a staff pick on Vimeo. The second is the behind the scenes film that show how the movie was made with a bunch of IKEA hardware and a Black Magic camera. Now, before you start saying “Oh yeah he had that killer camera, so his film looks amazing”, this could be done with any number of cameras, or probably even your phone. Sure, high dollar gear, and big budgets are nice to have, but not having them shouldn’t stop you from pursuing your goal.

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It’s a Super 8 Retro Camera Inferno.

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In the last few years there has been a massive surge in retro-styled cameras. Fuji and Olympus lead the way with their micro 4/3 camera lines, but even Nikon has jumped in with both feet releasing the Nikon FD. On the video front, retro-styling of camera gear has been slower but still on the rise with cameras like the Black Magic cinema, and the digital Bolex. One recent entry into the fray is the new Chinon Bellami HD-1 Super 8.

The Bellami, was Inspired by the 8mm film camera of the same name from the 1970s. The shape, control systems, ergonomics, weight, optics placement and more mirror the original.

The Bellami HD-1Digital Super 8 shoots full HD, 1080p at 30fps. The frame rate might put off some who swear 24fps is the only way to shoot. Frankly I’m not one of them. I think the whole 24fps vs 30fps needs to be put to bed. It’s a Mac vs Windows argument. The thing is, this camera isn’t designed to be a workhorse. It’s a retro-styled camera with digital capabilities. The look is designed to appeal to the nostalgic, not compete with a Canon C300.

What the Bellami does offer is a screw on lens mount that let’s you slap a ton of full manual lenses on the front. It shoots RAW DNG files which allow the cinematographer to tweak the footage in post to create a stylized vintage look by creatively tweaking color balance, temperature, and exposure.

The Chinon Bellami HD-1 is available for about $850 USD depending on exchange rates with the Yen. Currently available only in Japan, it can be bought online if you’re willing to pay for shipping.

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Philip Bloom’s Black Magic Camera Review: Part Two.

Back in September of last year, Philip Bloom reviewed the Black Magic Cinema Camera with the EF lens mount. While he was impressed with image quality, he rightfully pointed out a number of flaws that the version one camera has. Last week he posted an update on Vimeo featuring the Black Magic with the micro 4/3 mount. As he points out the camera still has flaws, but the new lens mount makes a huge difference because now the crop takes full advantage of the complete lens, not just the centered weighted portion of the glass.  I’m still interested in this camera, and I can’t wait to see where Black Magic takes it in the future.

For the previous review click here.

A Little Black Magic on Friday Afternoon

Like what I need right now is to drop more money on gear, but this camera looks so sexy. Today B&H loaded up the Black Magic Cine Camera with the Micro 4/3 lens mount. What is enticing to me is the fact that all of my 4/3 lenses will work on this camera, it shoots at 2.5k resolution and it supports so much third party software. At $2995.00 it’s pricey, but it would pay for itself with one freelance gig. The specs are listed below, and if you have the money you can pre-order it here. It should arrive in time for Christmas if you do.

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2.5K Image Sensor
12-bit RAW, ProRes and DNxHD Formats
13 Stops of Dynamic Range
23.98, 24, 25, 29.97, 30p Frame Rates
MFT Lens Mount
LCD Touchscreen with Metadata Entry
SDI Video Output and Thunderbolt Port
Mic/Line Audio Inputs
Records to Removable SSD Drives
Includes DaVinci Resolve and UltraScope

The Blackmagic Design Cinema Camera with MFT Mount brings to filmmakers a tool that many have waited for, for quite some time. Recording to a 2.5K image sensor, the camera is capable of recording 12-bit RAW DNG files, as well as ProRes and DNxHD formats to built-in removable SSD drives (not included), while delivering 13 stops of dynamic range. The Blackmagic Cinema Camera is a complete system with built-in recorder and monitoring, so it’s perfect for displacing video-only cameras for work such as weddings and sporting events. And as a complete system it can help save money for those budget strapped productions.

The camera is housed in an elegant, minimalist enclosure, crafted from a single block of aluminum. It can be used hand held or mounted on industry standard hardware. The new Passive Micro Four Thirds (MFT) Mount provides an exciting new feature for you by giving you compatibility with a wide range of manually operated lenses, while also being easily adapted to other mounts such as PL mount via third party adapters. And the LCD touchscreen provides monitoring, plus the ability for the user to add metadata such as shot number, filenames and keywords, which can save time and money in the post-production process.

To handle the high data video output, Blackmagic includes a full version of DaVinci Resolve, its premier color correcting software for Mac and Windows. Also included is a copy of UltraScope. When connected to a computer via Thunderbolt, the software provides technically accurate waveform monitoring, displaying six live scope views on a single monitor.

Since everything has been designed to provide high quality acquisition, the camera is an ideal option for independent film, television commercials and episodic television production, all places where image quality is paramount. Additionally the Blackmagic Cinema Camera offers compressed 1080HD recording formats in both Apple ProRes and Avid DNxHD allowing for seamless integration into a production workflow that utilizes either Final Cut Pro or Avid as their editing software.

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