Shooting from the Hip Pocket


I’ve been in deep pre-production for the second series of Puberty Blues.  We start shooting from Monday and it’s always really hectic in the last week of pre.  I’ve been pulling together my kit from the wonderful guys at Panavision and even though we shot with the Alexa last time a lot can happen in 12 months !  We’re up to V7 in the Alexa and the first season was shot using V4.

Also since then, Blackmagic have announced two new cameras.   So far on the second series of Puberty Blues we have two Alexas, A C300 (for surf footage in the water and slow mo) three BMCC’s and now aBlackmagic pocket cinema camera.  I’ve been shooting a lot of tests this week and unfortunately I can’t share most of those with you, but I was able to steal a few minutes to shoot with the pocket with the SLR magic 25mm lens.

2013-05-23 13.36.57

I was also able to “volunteer” my B camera focus puller Frank Hruby to model for me in the same lighting setup.

Friday was our last day of pre and the guys from Panavision shouted us lunch so I took the camera along.  The camera was being passed around here but it had the 25mm SLR Magic on and was set around T2.8.

2013-05-23 14.11.48

I travelled with setup director Glendyn Ivin to our favourite little spot in Kurnel to shoot sunset.  He had our C300 and I was shooting with a BMCC EF, but I also managed to shoot a little behind the scenes of us working as well.  Perhaps not the most interesting of subjects, another BMCC, but it’s what I could manage !

Earlier in the week I took my camera team from Puberty Blues out to dinner and had the pocket there with both the 12 and 25mm SLR Magic lenses.  Again, the camera was being handed around and everyone was having a go.

This footage was shot at ISO 800 and I did have to bring it up more than a stop (using the  Antler BMCC plugin – see below) so it does look a little noisier than I’d like. I’m sure if I’d shot at ISO 1600 it would be better.  The restaurant was very dimly lit with just few small practical bulbs above us.

So it’s not ideal but even in this tough scenario the pics are still nice and I know you’re all keen to see low light and the SLR magic lenses. And I think it turned in some nicely useable pictures.

This was all posted in FCPX and I didn’t go to Resolve at all.  Instead I used a beta of Nick Shaw’s awesome BMCC LUT plugin for FCPX.  He currently makes one you can buy for FCP7 with the FCPX version soon to come.

The great thing about Nick’s plugin is that you can very easily do a quick conversion of BMD FILM originated material and get a great look with very little effort.  Mainly I pushed the saturation a little more, but otherwise I didn’t really do much grading beyond what Nicks’ plugin does and I did it without leaving FCP.

As amazing as Resolve is, if you want a fast workflow and aren’t happy with the BMD “VIDEO” lut that the camera does then you can easily just shoot FILM and use this plugin to get a very fast workflow in FCP for delivery with a minimum of grading effort.  PLus if you needed to grade later in Resolve, you can still go back the FILM originals.

So as yet, I still can’t make this available for download, but we’ll be looking to get some camera originals out there in the near future.

What I think we are seeing here though is that the Blackmagic pocket cinema camera definitely has the same DNA as the BMCC in terms of dynamic range and “look”

Enjoy !

About johnbrawley

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

68 Responses to Shooting from the Hip Pocket

  1. Thanks, John – a real treat. It’s going to be a fun tool. And good to see you’re getting an occasional break, too!

  2. Frank43 says:

    Looks good.

  3. George says:

    Impressed, excited, can’t wait…..want one!
    Splendid job of camera work considering low light and all. Who out of your team shot these?
    Thanks for taking time out and filling us in with these updates 🙂
    Looking forward to more when you get the chance. 🙂

  4. Interesting to see. I appreciate the 1080p upload. Thanks, JB, and cheers!

    – Peter J. DeCrescenzo

  5. Pingback: BMPCC: What about the Pocket Cinema Camera? | Here For The Weather

  6. Film Moves says:

    Hey John- What the EVF you’re using with the cinema cam?
    I was using the FS700 the other day and think i’d rather hire in a separate viewfinder with it next time as the sony screen is bad.

    I looked at the zacuto EVF a while back on a 5D and it seemed pretty low res. (they may have updated since) and it seemed just as bad as the optical only 2.5x z-finder on an old 550D.

    Any recommendations for one thats usable for focus would be much appreciated.


  7. Eduardo says:

    Looking forward to the release of these cameras. Love the footage. Think it’ll be worth cancelling An MFT bmcc and getting the bmpcc coupled with the pocket camera to get the best of all worlds ? I’m sure you get asked this a lot

    • johnbrawley says:

      I think it depends what’s important to you. If DR, resolution and uncompressed RAW are, then it’s hard to go past the BMCC. It also has more professional style connections for audio and video monitoring.

      I think in a production environment the BMCC is a better choice than the pocket is more like a B camera i the way *I* work but I think for some it will be good enough to be an “a” camera.


  8. Andrew Deme says:

    Black Magic Cameras just love people and in your hands it’s full on passion…..

  9. Darryl Gregory says:

    I find much if this soft or under lit, over all the interior close ups look great, Not sure but the market shoot looked better to me as far as overall available light and sharpness, I was hoping for more, but after realizing the conditions this was shot in, I guess it still is a wonderful camera.

  10. Darryl Gregory says:

    JB, can you enlighten us on the camera settings? and or lack there of for this video?
    It looks much better on vimeo, not sure why, but in any case it looked soft, and I was wondering if it was the SLR magic 25mm lens… maybe?

    • johnbrawley says:

      Perhaps it’s your browser and connection speed ? I know that Vimeo can throttle back the speed depending on your connection speed.

      I shot some tests with the BMCC alongside and there’s not much difference between them in resolution to the eye. I was actually surprised there wasn’t a bigger difference. There should be.

      Otherwise maybe you’re not liking the consumer level lenses.


    • johnbrawley says:

      Darryl I also know that scaling (if you have it on) can also affect the sharpness perception….

    • Philip Lipetz says:

      The Vimeo site version of this test is noticeably sharper than the erosion streamed to John’s site.

  11. DF says:

    Have you decided which lenses you’ll be using this time? In that test you posted the other day I liked the Panavisions best but wonder what you and your co-workers thought. Anyway, thanks for finding time to share what’s going on. I always find your posts interesting and informative.

    • johnbrawley says:


      We liked the pVintage primes, mainly for their contrast and they aren’t as sharp or harsh as the Zeiss superspeeds. They are pretty small differences though.


  12. John,

    Could you detail the way your BMCC is rigged in the Pocket in Kurnel piece above, cage assembly with handle, base plate, battery mount etc. I’m looking forward to receiving my MFT BMCC and will probably set mine up just like yours.

    Thanks for posting anything that you think will interest Black Magic supporters.

    Phil Vardalos

  13. Ansel says:

    Thanks John. It’s great to see some footage from the BMC pocket. Quick question…. Do you think it would hold up and do a decent job shooting an entire feature film on it (CinemaDNG)?

    • John Brawley says:

      I can’t answer that question. It’s a question for the filmmakers. The camera doesn’t *really* matter. You can shoot your film on anything. It should come from story and resources available.

      I’m sure people will shoot feature films using this camera but films aren’t successful because of being shot with a certain camera….it’s a lot more complex than that.


  14. James says:

    Is there any technical reason you know of that prevents using the newer 14-42mm lumix?

    by the way it looks very promising, not keen on the SLR Magics on this cam, can’t control RS but I’m personally done with the idea that soft and fast equals cinema. They are great on the GH cams but on the pocket I think these sharp lenses will shine.

    • johnbrawley says:

      Power zoom functions aren’t yet working, but they should be by release.


      • James says:

        Oh ok thanks. I want it cause of the power OIS which is much better than the mega! Not sure i will like the focus toggle though. Did you feel the mega OIS is adequate? I know the footage looked smooth enough but still wondering.

  15. Ron Coker says:

    Many thanks.

  16. Michel says:

    Thanks John Brawley for spending your time to share these things with us guys, that’s really cool!

  17. Landen Summers says:

    Unfortunately I’m doing this from my phone Because I’m not near a computer right now. So can anyone tell me how its looking?

  18. Helge Renner says:

    Hi John, thanks for the video samples. Was that a Leica lens on the BMCC? How is your experience with Leica R primes on that camera and would you have any recommendations regarding specific Leica R primes for movie work?

  19. Matt Pritchard says:

    Wow, this looks really really great! The shots of the coast look super detailed, way more so than the shoot in the market (at least to my eye). I just got really excited about this little beast again! As always, thank you so much for taking the time to shoot and post these, John. We all seriously appreciate it.

  20. Thanks John, I’m stoked! The footage looks really good. Like you I like the idea of this as B camera with the BMCC on the sticks. Probably as a handheld body that’s easy to grab so you’re more likely to shoot it and decide later. Also for stabilized work due to it’s small weight.

    I’m not to much a gear nut for the sake of gear but the right tools make everything possible. So my question is how do you plan to rig this for hand work? Also which stabilizer do you like?

    Thanks again for all work you share, very nice.



    • johnbrawley says:

      I would probably just mainly use it naked. I would only be using it when I want something really small and compact and discrete.

      I’d just use lenses with IS and use something else if I have the room.


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  23. Pingback: Puberty Blues second series begins shoot with ARRI ALEXAs, Canon C300 and Blackmagic cameras

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  25. HL says:

    Thanks John for posting this footage.

    I know it’s handheld footage, but even in the shots with less camera movement, it feels a bit jerky/jumpy. And by this I mean not jerky because your movement on the hand is jerky, because it’s not, more so as if the camera can’t handle the motion. Am I wrong? Why is this?



  26. David Garber says:

    Great job John. Our world is getting smaller……cinema wise. Amazing to see what becomes of tomorrow.

  27. David Gregan says:

    Looks great!
    And anything with Frank Hruby in it gets my tick of approval!!

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  30. amazing… but why the image is shaky even when the IS is on?

  31. jean says:

    Thanks john for this footage. I am thinking of selling my Canon 7D and orde this baby, do you think that should be a good decision to go ? thanks , jean

  32. jean says:

    John, any low light issue ?

  33. bruce says:

    When should we expect to get some 4K footages?

  34. riccardocovino says:

    I loved the sunset shots.
    such gentle contrast would be impossible with h264 files.
    detail is great too.., the only problem of this camera for videomakers is that people don’t consider you professional with such a small tool.. crazy, but true.

  35. Hi John,

    Pre-ordered mine…. could you just let us know whether you shot in RAW for this one or ProRes?



  36. Pingback: Blackmagic John Brawley Shooting from the Hip P...

  37. rizibo says:

    Hi John,
    Any time frame for footage for 4k camera?

  38. Iggy Bliss says:

    Definitely some of the worst looking footage I’ve seen promoting a new camera. Just the idea that BlackMagic gives Brawley the pocket camera and allows him to post this god-awful looking footage does not say good things about the company.

  39. Mark Davis says:

    The only style of camera test worth watching. Liking it. Buying it on the strength of these clips alone. And Iggy, if you’re not joking, you are an idiot.

  40. tom says:

    i’m really sorry but i’m gonna call EMPEROR WITH NO CLOTHES on this one. the video looks great AS VIDEO but i don’t see that it has any personality to it, i just looks like a modern day video . perhaps it was in the video mode and not the film mode?

  41. tom says:


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