Handheld with a BMCC – Behind the scenes with Puberty Blues

Here’s what I managed to get shooting a single day’s worth of material behind the scenes on Puberty Blues.  I was basically shooting this in between setups.  You’ll see some scenes with cast as well so you’ll get a sense of some of the shots that were actually used in the show.  Most of this is handheld with a couple of monopod shots towards the end.

This was all shot some time ago with Pre Production software on a very early preproduction camera.  In fact, I shot this with the first version of the camera that could actually shoot 25 FPS.

Several shots in this are actual shots as used in the series. Mostly used the 15-85 EF-S canon EF and the Leica 35mm F2 and 50mm R mount lenses. The shot’s of the girl on the bed, Ashleigh Cummings, and the couple nearly kissing are both directly taken from scenes where I shot with the camera on set.  You’ll see some iris pulls and focus adjustment live in there as well.

There is still the occasional pink highlight which is now addressed with V1.1 firmware. This was all shot ProRes FIlm and had a simple single node grade done in Resolve.

The last few shots were done right at the end of the day and I used a monopod then too.  Shot at 1600 ISO and at the very last little bit of daylight.  I also did use a higher shutter angle on some shots as I didn’t want to stop the ISO down any further.

This is a good example of what to expect when shooting handheld with a BMCC. The camera had no rig at all and I was just handholding a straight body. I spent a single day shooting this and a day editing it together.

I’ve seen a few discussions about not being able to shoot handheld with the BMCC.  This was actually shot before any review cameras went out, but I just wanted to show what you can achieve shooting with a basic BMCC in the hand.  No image stablising either, though that’s now working too, and would have helped.

I wasn’t really able to show this till now as I had to wait for the producers to give me permission and for it to have gone to air.

Can the BMCC be used handheld ?  I think it can….

About johnbrawley

Director Of Photography striving to create compelling images
This entry was posted in Black Magic Cinema Camera, Equipment and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

36 Responses to Handheld with a BMCC – Behind the scenes with Puberty Blues

  1. kevin baggott says:

    Thanks so much John for posting this – so helpful.

  2. Bill Brown says:

    Well I think that is going to put a lot of concerns to rest. I love the filmic response. I used to tire myself out looking at footage from other cameras and repeating the mantra ‘Does it feel like cinema’? Not ‘Does it look like film?’ or ‘Does it look like video’ but ‘Cinema’. Well for me, and i’m sure there will be plenty of people that disagree with me, it can look like Cinema, DP dependent to some extent. Aptly named then for me at least.

    Thanks for putting that up John. I’m looking forward to getting mine and shooting in London. By the way what was the music track?

  3. wesleydumont says:

    Nice images. Like complaints about the internal battery, complaints about no image stabilization seem to not consider other ‘cinema’ cameras of the past – ie ARRI SR – that had no battery and no stabilization. IMHO, if you’re going to choose to shoot handheld as an aesthetic choice, the images acquired without stabilization seem more vibrant, while image stabilization yields, at times, a ‘soupy’ or ‘syrupy’ quality that is distracting. Thanks for posting this and helping me to think about the overall benefits of the camera.

  4. Raymond says:

    Can we just reiterate that this was shot in Prores!! Images look great and with Stabilization added in 1.1, it may be difficult to get a shaky handheld ;). Great stuff and thanks for sharing.

  5. liam renaut says:

    Well done John, this almost made me want to pre-order an EF with the chance of getting it before my MFT order, even if it were just a day or two earlier haha. Purely incredible.

  6. KAan says:

    Love IT!

  7. Pingback: Handheld with a BMCC – Behind the scenes with Puberty Blues | Blackmagic Cinema Cameras | Scoop.it

  8. mrotaveria says:

    Shaky but yet Very filmic, absolutely love it!

  9. This looks really sweet, John. The BMCC’s ProRes 422 HQ feature is the reason I pre-ordered the camera in mid-April, and the reason I’m still looking forward to receiving it. All of the camera’s others features are a (welcome) bonus. Thanks for all, again, and cheers.

    • Question: About the file you uploaded to Vimeo: Is it 720p or 1080p, and at what data rate? Thanks in advance for further info. (And, just to say: It’d be fantastic if it were downloadable from Vimeo, but I understand would require permission, etc. No worries.)

      • johnbrawley says:

        Thanks pete.

        Should be 1080. I can’t make it available to download as it has music added which I don’t own the rights to.

        There’s also a few pre-release issues which means people might get the wrong idea from the footage. Best to try and prevent the pixel peepers. Just wanted to let people know you can shoot handheld with a naked BMCC.


  10. M Ryan says:


  11. Galen says:

    So excited about this camera! The footage looks amazing! The crispness and detail are just amazing. All battery, sensor size, mount and other concerns aside, this really looks like my dream camera. It’s the latitude and detail that are really making it a no brainer for me. It looks like the best for shooting natural style due to the latitude you have to play with. Even with ProRes too.

    I was wondering if you thought the weight of the BMCC is what helps it look so much more solid then say, a GH2 or T2i? This footage is still shaky but it lacks that super high frequency jittery motion that a lot of smaller cameras have. If I shoot hand held with my GH1, it looks like a video camera but if I add some weight, it helps a little to dampen the high frequency jitters from my hand.

  12. Ron Coker says:

    Tremendous! Thank you.

  13. Tim Callaghan says:

    John, what was your technique for racking focus hand held. I can imagine holding the right edge like I would a DSLR grip, and resting the base on the rear of my left palm with my thumb and index finger to reach up to the focus ring. But the BMCC is quite big so I’m not sure that’s how you’d do it.

  14. Pingback: No Rig? No Problem. Handheld Footage with the Blackmagic Cinema Camera - NoFilmSchool

  15. Hamza says:

    hello, thank you very much for this great video,
    i’ve seen few videos shot as prores with this camera, and this is the best so far.
    however i noticed the prime lenses you used which are expensive… could you give us a list of m43 lenses that are sharp to produce nice images with this camera?
    thank you again 🙂

    • Dennis says:

      Yes that would be really nice! I’ve been searching too for some good m43 lenses!!
      As usual…the video and the camera are awesome 🙂

  16. Toby Holcomb says:

    Excited about the camera of course! But…I’ve got to know…who is that music artist???

  17. Pingback: Blackmagic Cinema Camera handheld footage - The Viral Farm

  18. Matthijs says:

    How was the lighting during this shoot? Mostly natural light?

  19. Ade says:

    Thanks for this. I presume that on some of the shots out in the street, you were using a fairly high shutter speed? It looks like it to me. This usually accentuates any handheld problems for me, but in this clip, it really doesn’t seem to be a concern. Really looking forward to getting my hand on the m43 mount when they ship. Cheers!

  20. Lewi says:

    Really lovely. Especially like the backlit girl in the car shot and the dusk waters edge shots. Thanks for sharing.

  21. Adam says:

    Nice work John! Are all the close up shots with the Leica lenses?

  22. psully says:

    thanks john can’t wait for my BMCC to show up in brooklyn

  23. J.S.Raimundi says:

    Hi John!

    Can you tell me what Leica lenses exactly you use? And the adapter?
    Thanks for all!

  24. Pingback: BMD: Links for Blackmagic Design Cameras | Here For The Weather

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s