Afterglow – The first CinemaDNG files from the Blackmagic cinema camera publicly released.
To launch their new forum, BMD are making files available to download. Zip over and sign yourself up !
Before you download that footage though, make sure you have a look at this EDIT of the rushes I’ve done.
There are some really important things to note when looking at these files. The RAW workflow and mentality is probably new to many of you and it’s important that you take the time to get the most out of these files.
There’s also a distinction to be made between RAW files and CinemaDNG. If you haven’t experienced RAW images before then you’re in for a real treat.
RAW typically refers to a less processed version of the image. Very minimal image processing steps are done in-camera and are deferred instead until the post production stage where the user themselves can be far more selective with how the images are handled or processed.
Many cameras for example, especially dSLRs have image processing that reduces the apparent noise in the image (Noise Reduction or NR), sharpens the image or even bakes in the white point (white balance) and ISO. This can also extend to how the sensor is de-bayered.
A RAW workflow means the sensor data is recorded in camera but not processed until the images are loaded in post where the user can either choose to keep the settings that were selected by the cinematographer at the time of shooting or choose and optimize for a different set of settings.
When shooting RAW the camera stores as metadata, the cinematographers choices about ISO and WB, but it’s really only recording the intent of the cinematographer, not committing them irreversibly. While later processing the images the user can choose to ignore those choices made at the time of shooting and create a new set of choices.
Its like going back in time and changing your mind about the way you shot the scene.
Now of course you can’t change choices like choosing where you position the aperture and how you choose to actually expose the scene, but you can pretty much change anything to do with how the image is processed and looks.
CinemaDNGs are the motion version of DNGs and are an open standard for imaging that was originally introduced by Adobe. Cinema DNG is the container your unrealized RAW files get stored into.
DNGs are one of three file types that the Blackmagic cinema camera can record and the one that offer the very highest DR and least compression. There is in fact, no compression at all when shooting Cinema DNG with the BMCC.
You also getting access to a full 12 bit image, that allows more of the incredible dynamic range of the camera to be stored and manipulated later.
DNGs can be readily opened by most Adobe products, Photoshop being the most obvious one to use to really examine these files if you want to scrutinize these individual frames.
Anyone who decides to purchase a Blackmagic cinema camera gets a full version of Resolve with their camera. Resolve also works just as brilliantly with any other footage you’re shooting including dSLR compressed codecs and even other much more expensive RAW cameras like the Sony F65, Arri Alexa and RED. Many of you will probably already have another camera that you’re upgrading from and Resolve will work just as brilliantly with that camera too. You can also download a very decent LITE version of the show.
So here are the DNGs for you to download. Now I want to give you a quick sense of some really important functions in Resolve so you can get the most out of these clips.
Once you have loaded the files into Resolve, you should note the little camera icon on the “color” tab. It’s on the left hand side just above the wheels. In here you can select how you want Resolve to interpret the Cinema DNG files for each shot in your timeline. You can choose to follow “as shot” or you can now choose your own WB settings from a pull down list of features, or by simply typing in your own WB number in the field.
At the moment, it’s also important to note that when you copy grades from shot to shot, these RAW settings are NOT copied. They have their own way of being copied by selecting the little tick or checks at the bottom right of the CinemaDNG tab.
You also should note the EXPOSURE slider. Each +1 or -1 number here represents a stop. What I often do is activate the Waveform scope ( right click in the viewer then choose show scopes) and use the exposure slider to put the “meat” of my exposure in the middle of the range.
Now on some images it may appear that you’re clipping and loosing information in highlights when you initially load the files, but you’ll note that sliding exposure up and down will restore information that appears to be out of range.
Even if you don’t do this exposure slider step, the FULL dynamic range of the image will still be present. You’ll notice you can simply bring the highlights down using the highlights function and they are all still there. More advanced users with a full version of Resolve may also start to KEY the highlights back in instead of trying to do this in a single node. This approach will yield a much better result as it offers much finer control.
So remember, Resolve always works with the full dynamic range of the DNGs, no matter where you set the exposure slider, but it’s just mapping where the controls are sitting so the colour correction tools are in the middle of their range.
This is where you now start to choose how you want your images to look.
It’s also worth noting that the cinemaDNG files show up as 16bit files when browsing in the media tab. So the camera is internally shooting 16bit linear which converts to 12bit LOG in the camera which then gets converted back to 16bit linear.
I know you’ve all been really patient with wanting camera original files and I’ve been itching to show the world what this camera can do.
These DNG’s from my recent shoot with director Ben Phelps, Afterglow.
Afterglow was done with a shipping version of the camera though it’s likely that the software will have been updated by the time many of you get your cameras.
This shoot was a chance to workshop a shooting methodology that Ben is keen to adopt on a long form project he has in development
For you guys, it means you get to look at some nice DNG’s !
So we shot with the intention of a 24 FPS finish. There are a few 30 FPS shots and the intention would be to play those back in a 24 FPS timeline for a “slight” slow motion.
ISO 800. 24 FPS 172.8 Deg shutter. 5600K. 85mm @ Zeiss Compact Prime T2.1. Schneider sapphire ND 6.
Key light is a 1.2 K HMI Bounce into 8×4 Poly from camera right. There is also a 1/4 4×4 frame of hampshire frost between the bounce and Casey. Three 4×4 floppies for negative are playing close on camera left.
ISO 800. 24 FPS 172.8 Deg shutter 5600K 35mm Zeiss Compact Prime @ T2.1 Schneider Sapphire ND 6
Lighting is a 1.2 HMI bounce into 8×4 Poly from camera left and floppies on camera right for negative.
ISO 800. 24 FPS 172.8 Deg shutter. 5600K 50mm Zeiss Compact Prime. T 5.6 2/3
Just ambient lighting here at the end of the day. We were in the lee of a building as the sun was about 45 mins from dusk.
ISO 1600. 24 FPS 172.8 Deg Shutter. 5600K. 50mm EF Canon “L” @ F1.4
Lighting is a single 1K pup from the top balcony to camera left about 30″ away, through a 4×4 frame of 250. Oh. And of course the Sparklers…..
ISO 1600 24 FPS, 172.8 Deg Shutter. 5600K. 50mm EF Canon “L” @ F1.4
This was actually the very last shot that was done of the entire shoot. It’s at least 30 mins past sunset here.
So remember, even though these ISO and WB choices are the settings I chose when shooting, you are welcome to make your own choices. Around dusk, WB becomes really interesting to play with as the mix of artificial and natural light changes by the minute.
Even though I’ve been on this crazy ride for me with BMD for a few months now and literally watching this camera improve every week, I’m still so impressed with images from this shipping version.
I’ve been quietly nervous about being able to do this because I really want it to meet everyone’s expectations. The most important thing for me was to have camera that just made really really nice looking pictures that made me forget that I was looking at a digital camera and just engage with the images themselves.
I really think Blackmagic have delivered this, and I’d love to hear if you agree.
I’d like to publicly congratulate Blackmagic design and their amazing and dedicated camera team for developing this amazing camera. I think it’s a very impressive first hit out.
I think it’s been worth the wait and I hope you enjoy Afterglow.
For those of you waiting for your BM cameras I’d suggest if you haven’t shot with RAW images before you can try it out by grabbing a stills camera and shooting some RAW stills. (the Canon 5Dmk2 is an excellent RAW stills camera). Try shooting a high contrast scene as a RAW image and as a JPEG with the same exposure and then compare what you can do with highlight recovery in post. I think most who do this will find it hard to go back to JPEG shooting. Just like I can’t imagine going back to h2.64 shooting.
Once again I’d also like to welcome back and thank Casey Burgess @Casey_Burgess who again was a really good sport and a terrific actor / singer as well. Jim Medcalf was our “kingpin” and I’d also like to thank my gaffer Andy Robertson. My 1st AC Jade Court-Gold did a great job as well.