Side by Side: iPhone 5s and BMCC

On the chopping block today is a music video I directed, shot and edited recently.  Still excited about my newest, latest and greatest, pinnacle of modern technology, iphone 5s – I told the artist at our first production meeting that I really wanted to incorporate some footage from my phone into the video.  He didn’t protest so I shot a handful of shots throughout the day with my 5s.  The result: fantastic.

In proper lighting, as i’ve discovered in previous projects, the 5′s holds up quite well.  Most of this shoot was outdoors, so it holds up.  What about when compared, side by side to the BMCC.  If you don’t stare to hard at the footage it holds up quite well.  Most music video’s I shoot ends up on youtube at best.  I keep hard copies posted on my Vimeo page.  Vimeo stores and plays back at what is about the best quality you will currently find online (unless you want to bring up youtube’s recent update to host and play 4k footage – but we’ll talk about that at another date).  So, if i were shooting a movie, would I use the 5s?  Of course not…..  The footage would not hold up on the big screen.  But it holds up on youtube and keeps up on Vimeo.

The video begins and ends with some bouncy lapses shot out the window of with the 5s by my girlfriend as I drove – something that wouldn’t have been impossible with the BMCC but wouldn’t have been as easy as the 5s in a handheld rig.

Check it out, let me know what you think:

Side By Side

Taking It Seriously

Time for a little side by side comparison.

What we have is two version of the same short, one shot on the BMCC, one on the iPhone 5s.  What you see is the same exact takes on each camera – the same exact short film just from a different angle/different camera.

I shot this short in a very low light situation, outside my dorm, after midnight with no more light than was provided by a close by street lamp and six fluorescent bulbs.

As expected, the BMCC held up very well in the low light, a smooth, clean image with little to no grain at 400iso.What I did not expect was the iPhone’s footage to turn out clean, but it did.  The worst of the noise was found in my friend Anthony’s darker skin tones.  Upon completion of my edit, I was tempted to stand atop the nearest mountaintop and shout, “the iPhone 5s’s camera is the pinnacle of modern camera phone’s.”  But then I heard immediately afterward that the latest Samsung Note shoots 4k video.  -_-  (More to come on that soon!)

Judge for yourself:

-D

P.S.  My apologies on the iphone version’s embed.  I only ever uploaded the 5s version to Youtube and somewhere between youtube and my WordPress powered site, I am currently unable to share the Youtube link.  So, I have downloaded the mp4 from my youtube account and uploaded it to Vimeo.  There is a little quality loss but the phone footage is still impressive for what it is.  I will replace the Vimeo file with the highest res possible ASAP.

A Day In St. Louis

I took a trip to St. Louis to partake in my first Pro Hockey Game.  I took the BMCC along to see if I couldn’t get a few good shots.  The final product: pleasant.  Every trip I take with the BMCC I figure out more and more what this camera is and isn’t capable of.  The battery lasted just as long as I needed it to, so, wooohoooo!  Being as I in no way wanted to lug around a heavy tripod all day, I opted for my trusty monopod.  The camera did well on a monopod, as you can see in the video above.  However, there were a couple instances, including being atop of the famous St. Louis Arch, that using the monopod was impossible – the result: some shaky shots.  The BMCC is not a handheld camera  But it is still the camera for me.

-D

P.S. sorry for the complete lack of hockey footage!  No cameras allowed in the arena.  Yes, I took some shots with my iPhone 5s, and as nice as the camera on the newest iPhone is, I don’t enjoy shaming the iPhone footage with the footage from the BMCC.

First Project With The BMCC

Not only was this my first official project with the BMCC but it was also my first chance to use my new Sennheiser MKE-600 Shotgun Microphone in the field.

Both surpassed my expectations.  Not being completely used to the ISO on the BMCC, and still half expecting the almost inevitable grain from my DSLR days, I kept my ISO as low as possible on this shoot.  The result: interesting.  Though my subjects were amply lit, you can barely tell—the footage turned out to look more like how it might look to your eyes if you were actually standing there, rather than the shots I’m used to getting where you look at the footage and say, “Oh, what a nicely lit shot.”  The footage simply looks nice and even.  Had I increased the ISO from 200 to the 400-800 range, I probably would have came away with some more ‘studio-looking’ shots.  This is probably a result of many layers of the BMCC’s inner-workings being geared towards cinema—these shots look more “cinematic” than “studio”—if that makes any sense.  Like I said, interesting.

Battery life.  For many, one of the biggest downfalls of the BMCC is it’s battery life, which is poor.  But, for myself, that con just doesn’t outweigh the pros.  At this camera’s price point, I have no problem running the extension cords to keep it plugged in or investing in a nice plate to attach some Sony batteries to the camera.

Now, the audio.  If you’ve at all followed the BMCC camera you will have no doubt heard that its audio capabilities are not up to par.  This is absolutely the case.  When I plug my MKE-600 into the BMCC with the best cables and adapters money can buy, the results are…..bad, thin and in my opinion, unrecoverable.  The audio from this project was capture via my laptop using my M-Audio Firewire 1814 device.  And the audio is absolutely lovely.  After placing nothing more than a leveler on the audio tracks I was more than happy with the results and I moved on.  If you’re looking for a shotgun mic that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, I would highly recommend the Sennheiser MKE-600.

More to come,

-D

First Romp With The BMCC

My Blackmagic Cinema Camera came in the mail just in time for my birthday.  Happy birthday to me!

After an entire year of reading up on the BMCC and weighing its pros and cons I finally decided that the better qualities of the camera far outweighed the negative qualities.  Sure, the battery life is appalling, and the crop factor makes framing a bit harder, but, for $2000 I can not complain.

The proof is in the pudding.  Above is my first romp with the BMCC, all ProRes and ungraded—right out of the box the footage is truly cinematic, more than earning this Blackmagic camera the right to call itself a cinema camera.

-D

Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera Pops Up In America.

black-magic-pocket-camera-xl

 

Itching to get your hands on a BMPCC?  I am!  If you’re anything like me, you’ve done crazy things like Google “BMPCC” everyday or set your news feed to shoot anything “Blackmagic Designs” straight to the top of your feed.

Today, Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Cameras surfaced on Ebay, ready to ship from Florida and New York.  If you’re ready to jump the gun, the privilege of obtaining one of these $1000 cameras, months before they will be readily available in stores, will cost you an extra $500-$1000.

I’m eager, but with a Blackmagic Cinema Camera already on it’s way to my door, I think I’ll hold off and save a buck or two.

Consider this a heads up.  If you’ve got the extra doe and can’t wait any longer, by all means—get you some.  Let me know what you think!

-D

Day 5 – Dallas And Hannah Do California

When I woke up this morning, in the strangest of places, there wasn’t a part of me that wanted to go back to sleep.  The ocean was just paces from my window, people from every different country were sleeping in beds above me, below me and beside me.  Strange is really an understatement – but its a good strange, an unfamiliar strange – a strange that I appreciate immensely.

I think we all, so often, take for granted the amount of space on this green Earth.  There is road after road after road after road, each of which seems like it will never end, but each one does, eventually, and when each one ends, you find something equally endless and breathtaking at the end of it.  An endless ocean, that rises up to meet the sky line.  A canyon so deep and so vast that it literally does rip the breath from your chest and, in all its majesty, threatens never to return it.

It doesn’t matter your age or your income.  If you haven’t seen the country that you live in, start there!  Save up some pennies, find a friend that has a car that gets at least moderately good gas mileage and take off.  Don’t stop until you reach a coast, any coast.  I promise, you will learn life lessons that number so great that they will rival the amount of roads you will take to get where you are going.  If us two college kids can find a way, so can you!

- D

We arrived at Venice Beach, safe and sound.  What a crazy place!  Our hostel is right on the beach.  We are rooming with two English Girls, one Swedish girl and a German chap.  We may or may not be the only Americans in this hostel.  It’s already been an amazing experience.

 

D&H