If an when we ever get our c camera (and it probably will be the c100) I'll look at putting a ninja into the package.
I see a huge trend that folk want to do what Philip Bloom does, whether they need to or not. Lots of folk hanging ninjas off their 5D3's using ML hacks to run massive bandwith footage through resolve to show five mates on vimeo.
I'm at the corporate / commercial level, and just don't have the need or the time or the hard-drive capacity.
Bloom gets a lot of totally unfair criticism these days... He wrote a really good article about why 4K and RAW are totally over the top for most people at the moment http://philipbloom.net/2013/10/10/4kraw/
Let’s start with raw
WAY better dynamic range than most cameras.
Huge flexibility in post.
Can help mistakes made on shoots or help us get past issues we couldn’t overcome.
It opens up many creative options in really hard shooting environments, making my life as DP easier often and this is not about laziness.
Generally cannot be edited natively, proxies are needed after going into software like DaVinci resolve to interpret the raw data and tweak them before exporting to the proxy format. This is very time consuming.
Much larger files than compressed codecs meaning lots and lots of cards. Though there are raw compressed options out there like R3d and cineform which I am expecting will be licensed and put into the new 4k BlackMagic Production Camera.
The huge cost in acquisition media and the enormous cost of storage on top of this.
You need to learn new skills. This is almost a pro actually. Working with raw is not as easy as many think. Education is key here.
It’s not magic. You still need to know how to expose properly and I actually think a light meter comes into its own here, knowing how many stops of light difference there are between the shadows and the highlights. STILL hold the highlights more than the shadows for most raw cameras as a rule.
People will want to shoot everything with it, then hit a massive bottleneck on their projects in dealing with files. It will be a hard but necessary lesson.
Now the pros and cons of 4k
Incredibly detailed images, 4 times that of HD but they are not obviously so.
Fantastic ability to crop in post. Something I do on all my interviews for docs now that I shoot 4k for them. I am not shooting 4k docs – just 4k talking heads. I can then go in for tights or back out whenever I want in the edit. Way better.
“Future proof” I am bit hesitant about this as I see very little need for future proofing most of my work. Now for high end drama and big docs then yes. Do it.
You have a higher end format to sell to clients. Sometimes an advantage. Not always though…see cons.
Scaling down to 2K in post often yields quite stunning results.
Inefficient codec mean massive files. Even efficient ones are pretty big, which means expensive cards and lots of storage.
Inability to edit natively for the vast majority of people. Proxies are used which of course adds time.
Most production companies I have dealt with cannot take it.
Almost nobody can actually watch 4k. I can’t.
It can lead to lazy cinematography. Although I use the crop to help me in interviews, this is not due to being lazy but to give me options. You should never forget the tight shots because you can crop. The whole aesthetic changes. The depth of field remains the same so it doesn’t look like a true close up
You need to be even more skilled, as mistakes are easier to spot.
Incredibly unforgiving and harsh. Showing the flaws in everything, especially people. Fantastic for beauty shots etc..for drama it’s actually too detailed and causes the DP many issues.
Needs a really big screen to really see the difference.
Will it actually take off as a consumer format for the home? I am very pessimistic about this.
Unless I've missed a very recent development the ML hack can't record onto a Ninja II (it bypasses the Canon ADC so can't be output through HDMI) - it's onto 1000x CF cards only... And PB has always said that for professional work running ML is questionable at best - and the RAW workflow is effectively too hit and miss reliability wise and just too slow to be worthwhile. If you're making a living shooting material and really need RAW then buy a BMCC or something which is designed to do it.
I agree about there being a slightly odd online community making super high quality RAW videos for a few friends on Vimeo, but then I guess it's people being hugely excited about the fact that they feel that can generate images which technically are of a similar quality to those made by high end production companies using gear costing 10x as much as their 5DM3. The fact that the content is rubbish doesn't matter to them, but hey each to their own. At a technical level it is interesting as an example of the ways that open source communities can enable forms of creative activity, in terms of content, super malleable home video footage of someone's kids is still bland (hence the 5 views).
And as PB points out, not only is ML a bit risky for something you're getting paid for (dropped frames, corrupt CF cards etc being far from unheard of and at a professional level totally unacceptable), but a RAW workflow using Resolve to generate proxies to edit before a final pass through resolve to spit out a super high quality master is something which is totally useful for a feature, or a high budget drama series, or even a potentially a polished short which you're going to sending to festivals worldwide, but is an overcomplication and waste of time in many circumstances, and one which in a commercial context will often mean losing more money (through time spent and the necessary computational power to work on 14bit files and storage for them) than you would make back in extra work/higher prices.
There is no single broadcast standard. There are many individual broadcast standards, elements of which are determined arbitrarily and without technical foundation.
There is no clearer example of this than the BBC not accepting high-def 720p material, even when captured with true broadcast *studio* cameras. No matter what the color space, no matter how high the bit rate, the BBC views 720p as "non-HD", and will not permit it except in small snippets. This is despite ABC, FOX, ESPN, and A&E broadcasting exclusively in 720p.
In fact Oscar-winning movies such as Black Swan, parts of which were shot on a Canon 7D, cannot be shown on BBC One HD for this reason. That movie was also nominated for an Oscar in cinematography. See attached frame grab and matching production still.
BBC Content Delivery Guidelines: http://www.bbc.co.uk/guidelines/dq/pdf/tv/tv_delivery_of_programmes_to_worldwide_v1.0-2011.pdf
Of course the BBC is free to set whatever standards they want. For all I know, they may soon decide to only accept 4k at a gigabit per sec.
However I don't see how the BBC issue relates to whether a 7D, 5D3 or any similar camera is suitable for the type of video 99.9% of the people here are shooting. If you are producing "A" camera content for BBC, a DSLR won't suffice. Who here is doing that? If not, then why be influenced in the slightest by those standards, which obviously have little relationship to producing highly meritable material.
BBC HD broadcasts in 1080i. They don't accept 720 as HD material for broadcast because it would have to be upscaled. That hardly seems like rocket science.
People in the UK who run production houses likely to work on material for television tend to ensure that their workflows will conform to the specs of the BBC as it's still where a lot of well paid work ends up being screened. I'm sure the same applies in the US for their major broadcasters. I know at least a couple of people who have posted here produce tv content in the UK, so this is relevant to them. It isn't to me anymore as I've left the UK and now work in a university.
...and Black Swan not being on BBC HD has nothing to do with the use of 5D/7D B-roll footage. It's because the main cameras for the film were 16mm Arri film cameras and BBC HD wont accept 16mm transfers as high definition material.