Alright, I do realize (promise… cross my heart) that the conversation surrounding this new camera is now in overkill territory. But let’s face it, friends… It deserves it. It deserves every bit of the massive amount of free publicity it has received.
Acknowledging Freak Outs:
Now, it is true that not everyone believes this camera to be so glorious (not everyone believed in Neo either). Some filmmakers have sneered at the size of the magical little child’s sensor, which is certainly a valid lip curl. Most of us have gotten accustomed to our beautiful S35 sensors and the “look” of the big boys.
Also on the concern list is the crop factor of the little guy and therefore, the difficulty of procuring acceptable wide angle lenses, which Vincent Laforet has warned to not underestimate in a recent article. I’ve loved my Canon 24mm f/1.4 L II because it just seems to hit a sweet spot for me, but I think the BMCC is going to have me a little frustrated with the destruction of my FOV on my baby… er, lens. At the same time, put into practical shooting scenarios, I’m skeptical as to this actually being as big of a deal as the numbers and specs would suggest. The indie filmmaker’s good chap, Philip Bloom is testing that very thing at the time of writing this article. (UPDATE: Mr. Bloom has delivered us a “smashingly” fantastic review! Click here to watch it!)
Valid concerns aside, I’m still ridiculously excited about this new tool. I want one. I have a filmmaker friend who has pre-ordered it, and I have every intention of smooth talking him into a play date with it (sorry Jeff). I mean, 13 stops of dynamic range, 2.5k RAW imagery, full Davinci Resolve license… that all amounts to a really great start towards a cinematic result (please note it’s a START in a process).
Getting to the Meat:
Okay, that’s all been said. Why should I even bother throwing my ball cap into the review stadium?
I’ve been getting really into VFX in recent months. I have Lightwave 10 and Action Essentials 2: 2k, and at the time of writing, I’m about to slap some hard earned cash down on several other software packages, which will include Video Copilot’s Element 3D and an upgrade to CS6. I’m still learning a ton, but my goal is to one day have you look at my VFX work and genuinely proclaim, “Whoa, momma!” But software packages aside, I’ve learned that I can do very little to key out blue or green pixels in an 8-bit 4:2:0 colorspace. Let’s face it, that’s the devil behind the problem with color grading dslr footage, and if you thought dslr world was bad in that arena, you need to talk to a VFX focused filmmaker who is trying to make his or her beautiful indie sci-fi feature. Simply put, it’s a nightmare. You go to bed dreaming about pixels just disappearing from your footage faster than people disappearing from the world in Left Behind (really proud of that sentence).
So, you see, I’m writing about the BMCC because I haven’t heard this (massive) side of filmmaking addressed much in relation to this camera. The BMCC is 12-bit 4:4:4 for a rounded up $3,000. This is a VFX artist’s dream, or perhaps more accurately, a VFX filmmaker’s dream. Dynamic range gets my blood pumping. Color grading flexibility makes me salivate. But the VFX filmmaker should be about ready to pee his or her pants with the possibilities this camera holds for them. Compositors rejoice!
I actually talked to a higher profile filmmaker recently (remaining unnamed… sorry, kids) who is not a fan of the BMCC, but when I mentioned the possibilities for the VFX filmmakers, this person admitted that I had a good point (SEE! undeniable proof… blog about winning barely argumentative arguments coming soon). It’s undeniable. If your work mainly consists of placing actors into digital environments or combining the real with the digitally fabricated in whatever form, life in this world just became a bit easier/more exciting for you.
I know I haven’t delivered anything particularly profound, but if you delve into the VFX world (and more of us are being forced to do so, I’m afraid), you really should consider the BMCC as your prized stallion because you aren’t going to get the same keying abilities for anywhere near $3,000 from any other camera… not yet. I just see this segment of the filmmaking community (VFX focused filmmakers… in case you didn’t catch on) as having been overlooked in the discussions surrounding this camera, and I wanted to make sure that we didn’t forget how significant this is for them. If you’re wondering who makes films and does this much VFX themselves, you’ve probably not kept up with YouTube, but a good place to start would be Freddie Wong.
What do you guys think? Are there any expert VFX filmmakers out there that have already peed their pants about this?
If Pinky and the Brain really wanted to rule the world, they would have made films. See what happens!