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Canon 5D Mark III & Atomos Ninja 2 …finally
Canon 5D mark III RAW vs. Blackmagic Cinema Camera RAW
RODE SMARTLAV REVIEW
I’ve put together a short video outlining my first impressions of the Blackmagic Design Cinema Pocket and Production 4K cameras. There has been a LOT of hype about these two cameras, certainly people are excited about the prospects of a ProRes/CinemaDNG RAW point and shoot cinema camera, as well as a 4K Super 35mm sensor camera with built-in global shutter.
Possible 4K Challenges
I foresee these cameras posing some challenges in use, not solely based on their unique design and feature-set, but workflow as well. Footage from the Production camera will be compressed 4K (Ultra HD size, visually lossless), with a ProRes compression ratio and consequent file size GREATER than RED footage.
4K RED footage compressed at 3:1 (the highest compression setting they have and don’t recommend you use) will get you 47 minutes of footage on a 240GB card. Considering most feature films shoot RED at a compression between 6:1-7:1 and TV shows use 7:1-9:1 compressions, anything higher than 5:1 seems unnecessary (note: 24fps 4K RED at 6:1 is 94 minutes on a 240GB card).
Conversely, Blackmagic Design states one 240GB SSD will hold a mere 36 minutes of 4K ProRes footage, with no mention of how big the file size will be for CinemaDNG RAW. At this point, I’ve heard no mention of being able to set the compression settings (as RED allows) to shoot at different compression ratios based on the project or budget. Think about that in realistic terms. Changing an SSD every half hour of footage means a lot of SSDs and a person on set dedicated to transfering the footage.
From a post-production perspective, Blackmagic announced DaVinci Resolve 10 will support the 4K footage from their Production camera, but I wonder what non-linear editor support for the CinemaDNG RAW 4K footage will be?
Then there’s the question of 4K, Ultra HD 4K to be exact. If your main reason for capturing 4K footage is to output 4K, the UltraHD resolution (3840 x 2160) leaves no room for reframing or stabilizing your image, as the capture resolution is exactly the same as the output resolution. Where you have options when shooting 4K full frame, 5K or 6K (eventually) with RED cameras, you hit the limit with the Ultra HD Cinema Production 4K Camera from Blackmagic.
Are these concerns deal breakers? Probably not, but they may impact who chooses to buy the 4K Production camera from Blackmagic and who doesn’t.