Here’s what we were flying on the MoVi M5 (Bold = MoVi carrying/balancing weight | Italics = weight not added to balance) ::
— Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera
— Metabones EF adaptor
— Tokina 11-16mm (variable ND for exteriors which required a slight rebalance on MoVi)
— SmallHD 4” monitor (powered by two LP-6’s) with microHDMI to HDMI cable running out of camera
— Paralinx HDMI stick out of the monitor
— V-mount battery (in my back pocket) running d-tap power to Paralinx stick.
First off, that little dude is freaking powerful. If you are looking for pure image quality for budget, you are going to get a really solid image out of this guy. We shot 1080 Prores LT with film dynamics and are stoked with the latitude and grade ability. We didn’t shoot raw, which the BMPCC is capable of, but here is a quick before and after, with just slight grading, to show you why we are stoked.
Second, size and weight. I understand building out a rig, adding weight and size to help slow overall camera movement to help the final image feel more natural and human like verses small and shaky which the current array of new/smaller technology can fall victim to. But if you are going to fly a rig on a stabilizer, it feels like the more stripped down the rig the longer the operator will be able to fly without breaks and more you can get done in a day. I used Birdman as inspiration to not set the rig down, but come on, I was carrying feathers in comparison to the steady cam rigs they were flying.
Both BTS videos below are from iPhones and the BMPCC is footage straight off camera ungraded.
Third, monitoring. Having the 4” SmallHD was an okay size for monitoring on camera, definitely reference enough to land the shots I needed. I used focus assist and stayed above a f/2.8, normally getting close to a f/5.6 and was fairly wide (11-16mm with the Metabones) all day. But having the ability for the gaffer to have access to a large, calibrated monitor, with the Paralinx HDMI stick, that added hardly any weight to the rig, while I was flying was crucial. One side note is that the HDMI output on the Pocket cam is definitely not a strong port. So after a half day of losing signal occasionally during a shot due to the tug/pull of the cord, Tyler found a way to rig the cord where it’s position wasn’t compromised by the movement of the rig (through the top support rods), which yielded uninterrupted monitoring/client monitor. Huge.
Fourth, battery life. It was tough to keep up with the BMPCC battery rate. We had a rotation of 4 batteries and two chargers and could’ve done with one more of each. The batteries on the camera lasted a mere 15-20 minutes and occasionally would die while displaying +/- 30% left (which caught me early in the week when I had the camera die in the middle of a couple shots). What we ended up doing was having the wall plug handy when reviewing footage with client and always one in the pocket while flying incase we creeped near 30-40%.
And last, rolling shutter. Rolling shutter is really evident with quick movements. Our object on this shoot was mostly to show interiors in their best light. So I flew as slow and smooth as possible, it took me an hour or two to get the right balance, but it was easily attainable after shooting then reviewing a few shots and dialing in an acceptable movement rate. Obviously, if you go the same speed and keep talent in the same 1/3rd of frame, everything will motion blur around them and keep them healthy and properly proportioned.
We shot A Cam on Blackmagic Cinema Camera with sticks and a 4’ slider while implementing a lot of shots with the pocket camera and MoVi. Overall, the image that we will dive into post with this week is going to be brilliant and will match our main camera, which is priority one. The experience, once dialing in the little tricks with the HDMI cable and wall charger, was lightweight and powerful while providing our client with an image that is relevant and will be used both online and on broadcast television.