Greenscreen with the Blackmagic Cinema Camera

Bit of a rushed example while I was in pre for another shoot, but here’s some sample footage from the Blackmagic cinema camera shooting greenscreen.

Now.  PAY ATTENTION.  The talent in foreground is lit by a tungsten BIRDCAGE with BASTARD AMBER so the skin tone is VERY WARM !!

Also it dims in shot, which again, was intentional.

There’s a little spill on the dark side of Adam’s face here on the left which I didn’t notice on the day and didn’t get a chance to address  (fill light).

I’d also add the key is exposed a lot hotter than I would normally do, but again, forgive the speed that Is et this up, as I was meant to be doing other work !

With gracious permission of Adam Smillie, here are ProRes “FILM” and DNG files.


About johnbrawley

Director Of Photography striving to create compelling images
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29 Responses to Greenscreen with the Blackmagic Cinema Camera

  1. Eric says:

    Thanks John this should be fun 🙂

  2. Cedric says:

    Thanks JB

  3. M Ryan says:

    Cool! Thanks 😀

  4. KAan says:

    Anyone has a keyed version link? I’m not a good keyer but would be interested in the results.. maybe, ryan?

  5. KAan says:

    from camera left there is a great amount of greenish on his cheekbone.. hard to key..

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  7. Alan says:

    Look forward to seeing it: got this message when I tried.

    Error (509)
    This account’s public links are generating too much traffic and have been temporarily disabled!

  8. Chris Mars says:

    Thanks John,

    Cant wait for the camera, as I will make use of its green screening and compositing abilities,

    my site

    I am primarily a painter though I have a handful of shorts I did on my own under Film I have visions for more straight forward live action films with minimal special effects. I have a few planned specifically for the BMC. Thanks for all your work getting this camera out there and for the great shooting with it as well as other works on your site, Nice Work John,


  9. Steve Mullen says:

    Thank you John for the log PR. Using FXFactory I have a choice of 3 “delog” BEFORE CC.

    Can you post the peak level of the forehead flesh level and what you expect the green-screen level to be. Also, the peak white in the hair.

    It looks like it’s not log C. The plug-in choice “A” gives these results: Hair peak = 95%; green = 70%-80%; flesh peak = 50%; maximum black = 3%. The non-filled face falls below 25%.

    These seem reasonable to me.

    After obtaining a delogged image, adjusting Toe brings the dark face to 40% and looking good.

    Now CC can begin: a boost to saturation is really needed. Not sure why. What kind of green-screen did you use as it doesn’t look green enough. I pulled blue out to bring the flesh away from pink which also helped the green be more green.

    Steve Mullen

    • johnbrawley says:

      Hi Steve.

      Are you asking for what it SHOULD be or what I would like it to be ? I’m not familiar with the CC tool you’re using, but you’re saying it has presets based on exposure it’s expecting ???

      I din’t get a chance to meter, but it looks to me like the green screen is about a stop or even two over what I’d normally expose at. Generally you get better colour saturation with lower exposure values, though in this instance I used Kino Super Green tubes for the key. This might be why you’re not getting enough green out of it (high exposure). This is also why there’s some green contamination on the dark side of his face.

      Also if you’re trying some kind of preset that doesn’t pre-grade the log image you might need to add some saturation as one thing I’ve noticed with the FILM /LOG mode on this camera, you need to add back in a LOT of saturation.

      So I’d guess the Key is sitting at about 70-80 and the skin tones are at maybe 30-40.

      Make sense ?


      • Steve Mullen says:

        I was asking what you actually captured. With FX Factory’s “A log” the WFM shows the green at exactly 70-80 so of the 3 presets that seems like the best to use based upon your report of 70-80.

        You say you thought scene might be overexposed which raises the question. should flesh and an 18% gray card be at 50% or 40%. I always thought it was 50% which what your exposure delivers — with A log. You seem to say you wanted lower — like 40%.

        I’m telecine some film I shot and I’ve been trying to get the 18% card to 50%. Maybe I’m all wrong and it should be only 40%. If 40%, then you are right, the scene is a bit over exposed — again using Alog.

        Do you know if BM was going for Clog or something hotter?

      • John Brawley says:

        Hi Steve.

        Firstly I’m going to do some more greenscreen demo footage so let me know what you’d like to see. Theres conspiracy theories out there saying I deliberately didn’t shoot any movement ! Of course I was actually testing for in camera lighting changes and not movement for an actual show but anyhow, now I feel obligated to “do it right”

        BMD’s take on LOG is their own. They’ve done this to optimise what they can get in DR. In other words, BMD’s log is OPTIMISED to work for their sensor. (if i recall, you didn’t seem to believe that it was LOG)

        I never worry about where skin tone should be in terms of exposure, because to me that’s largely determined by what the LOOK of the FG scene needs to be so that you get a successful key. No point in having 50% exposure on a moonlit scene.

        I do care about where the KEY exposure is and generally I like that to be a stop UNDER base to get nice fat saturation.


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  12. Abobakr says:

    Thanks Brawley.. It’s really great.. The Raw files are so incredible.

    but here is my take on the Prores clip, it was so easy to key

  13. Artan Beka says:

    Thanks John

    Here is my test

  14. Just a quick bashcomp from the Prores – if I have time I may do another comp using the DNG’s.

    No work on edges other than a little lightwrap. No sharpening or anything on the original plate, some light grading and a despill to remove the green spill on his face.

    All in all it was incredibly easy to key.

    BMCC Greenscreen Key ‘Test’ from Luke J Armstrong on Vimeo.

  15. Pingback: Blackmagic Cinema Camera и рир-экран

  16. Kacey Baker says:

    Hi John
    I’m pretty much on the verge of buying my BMCC, I love everything I’ve seen. However Philip Blooms lovely detailed post on YT showed us just how poor the battery life is, no doubt it gives a great picture, but can you tell us at what stage no one told BM are absolutely crazy for releasing a product without changeable batteries, for all it’s beautiful footage and intelligent design, I think it’s nuts such a juvenile decision was made in regards to battery. This basically renders on location shooting futile.

    Do you have any thoughts or insight to the future?

    • johnbrawley says:

      There’s a reason the camera costs 3k. Adding a replaceable battery adds greatly to the manufacturing complexity, thus it’s cost.

      The camera has also has a refrigerated sensor and other specific power requirements. They wanted to start with a higher input voltage. Most “consumer” batteries are only 7.2v.

      The BMCC can operate from a wide range of input voltage, from 12-30v which allows a great deal of after market battery flexibility.

      If you’re concerned about increasing the size of the camera using the popular V-mount batteries then I’ve seen a really cool REPLACEABLE battery caddy made by Hot Rod Camera that fits to the bottom of the camera.

      Action products also do one that adds XLR connectors. I’ve also heard IKAN are planning one that uses canon batteries.

      I’ve shot many many times on location ei this camera. Clearly it’s not futile. So have many of the beta testers. Like any camera, you get to know what you need to make it work and adapt.

      Alexa doesn’t have interchangeable batteries. Neither does a RED ONE. Nor do most 2/3″ cameras. It’s not that unusual for a RAW camera to not do this.


  17. Steve Mullen says:

    Yes John, based on emails with the USA BM office I questioned the LOG function with ProRes. They were “… unsure, must check with engineering.”

    Just learned that FCP X usually uses the GPU for FX using 32-bit Floating Point. So internally, FCP X passes through FP data after 12-bit ProRes has been deloged. And, delogging uses FP calculations. So, the only truncation with FCP X, is FP to 8-bit for the display or HDMI port. FCP X keys very well.

    Media Composer can process using 16-bits.

    Don’t know about Premiere CS6. It used to be 8-bit RGB.

  18. Rich says:

    great test for keying. did notice though that some DNG files are missing from the sequence. seems to be skipping numbers randomly. Import from other BMCC sequences work great in AE with RAW camera dialogue popping up before import. Thanks for doing this! Beautiful stuff.

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