“Deep Seeded” shoot using the Black Magic Cinema Camera
I recently had the pleasure of shooting with a talented crew for a short film called “Deep Seeded” staring Rain Fuller and Tim Ross and directed by Nick Bufallo.
For the shoot we got our hands on the Red MX, a full set of Zeiss primes and the Blackmagic Cinema Camera. Aaron Farrugia (DOP) and Kitty May shot A camera using the Red MX and Sarah Turner and myself shot on the Blackmagic Cinema camera.
Over the last month of using the BMCC I have tried many configurations that would overcome some of the cameras limitations. I came up with my own configuration using multiple manufacturers’ accessories for handheld and tripod for this particular shoot.
Due to the form factor of the camera – similar to a HDSLR – it has no room for built in ND’s so the options are a Matte Box or an ND fader.
The Matte Box is from Wondlan and has 4×4 and 4x 5.65 filter trays which can have two in at one time and are rotatable. This was very handy as at times we had extreme light fluctuations so we stacked ND 1.6 and 1.3 Schneider filters together. The ND fader we used was an INCA pro and covers 2-8 stops. We found this great for the run and gun shots.
For the hand held rig I used a pair of carbon fibre 15mm rails 45cm long with Manfrotto Sympla handles and shoulder pad. This fit perfectly in the Petrol carry bag PDRB-3 and packed down quickly without having to pull everything apart. Even though I had this handheld rig I still found it easy enough to remove from the rig to shoot without it when necessary.
A limitation to the BMCC that potential customers brought up on forums was the lack of a removable battery which limited running time to 1.5 hours. Personally I have always used a V Lock system on my Canon 5d MK 111 and used the same one on the BMCC and found this a good way to get over this hurdle. The Wondlan battery base plate and rail mount is a great power solution with two 12v ports… one to power the camera via D-Tap and the other to power the SDI to HDMI converter. It also has a 5v to power a 5 inch monitor like the Marshall and 7.2v if you want to use a Canon DSLR instead of the BMCC. Off a standard size V-Lock and the camera running most of the time I got around 4+ hrs powering camera, SDI-HDMI converter and monitor. For run and gun shots without the rig I knew I had at least one hour of shooting before I needed to return it to the rig.
The BMCC has HD-SDI out and this is a professional standard for broadcast monitors. So to use a HDMI monitor like the 5 inch Marshall, I used the Black Magic SDI to HDMI battery converter. It also has a SDI split to go out to a director’s monitor.
The Marshall 5 inch monitor was a god send in the bright conditions as the touch screen on the BMCC is very reflective and is hard to see. I also put a Hoodman 7” hood over the BMCC hood to further reduce the glare. The 5 inch Marshall was used by the 1st AC for pulling focus and has focus assist and peaking. Under normal conditions the BMCC monitor is perfectly fine.
After getting over the BMCC limitations and finding the right kit for the camera I found it enjoyable and very easy to use. The final 2.5k raw files looked amazing and once graded will be incredibly pleasing. Having 13 stops of dynamic range, 2.5 K raw, 1080 Pro Res (HQ) and Da Vinci Resolve (full version) shipping free with the camera (RRP $1085) is amazing. I would recommend this camera to anyone wanting to shoot high quality film but to be aware that you need more than just the camera to get underway. Also look out for a new range of BMCC specific rigs coming soon to John Barry.