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xrayfilms
03-17-2014, 01:00 PM
Hi,
I have a docudrama coming up for Channel 4 in the UK as part of a 3 part serial. I was hoping to use a combination of the BMCC as A cam and the Pocket for B cam for glidecam, table dollies etc. The channel have rejected any BlackMagic product, claiming they do not meet broadcast standards. In particular, they take issue with the sensor size despite all other tech specs far exceeding the minimum:

"The reasons for us not letting the Black Magic through, in consensus with other DPP members is as follows:



The EBU recommendation for a minimum Beyer sensor is 2880 x 1620 pixels.

On the Black Magic Pocket it is 1920x1080 pixels

On the Black Magic Cinema 2.5k it is 2432 x 1366 pixels



Therefore, technically speaking, they both fail There is also a claim that they suffer from the same rolling shutter problems as a Canon 5D."

They went onto say that although the BMPC4k was expensive enough (?), there were doubts about the quality of its sensor and the BBC were querying this issue.

The Digital Production Partnership basically means all UK broadcasters and at the moment, it's saying a big no to BMD.

"Anyway the definitive answer would come if Black Magic would care to submit their product to the EBU for assessment, which they have not yet done. All DPP members (Digital Production Partnership) now take their recommendations about cameras from the EBU."

Anyone else run into this or think it may change? Its a real downer, the production is going with the channel friendly c300 even though the test footage we shot was compared amazingly favourably to the Alexa by the post house doing the grade in Soho. It does seem bizarre that more and more footage using BMD is cropping up in commericials intercut with the Alexa and yet the channel showing the commercials does not want any of these cameras producing content.

Frank Glencairn
03-17-2014, 02:02 PM
Counting pixels without taking the compression (or the absence of it) into the equasion is not only bizarre, it's stupid.
You end up with more image information on a BMC than a Alexa or c300 - ignoring this, pretty much discredits the EBU.

Funfact: Once they look at the material, they will forget all about the recommendations - last time we submitted BMC material to ARTE, they asked me if we shot it in 4k :)

xrayfilms
03-17-2014, 02:36 PM
Very true. I filmed an expedition through the grand canyon last year and we used c300s and a 1d for the 4k. This year we might be going to Everest so I was thinking of taking a BMPC4k along, weirdly they're (BBC) happy with the super compressed canon 1d 4k footage but not ok with 4k raw??!!

Tom
03-17-2014, 03:40 PM
This is so stupid if true.

Especially when C4 and the BBC allow 4:2:0 8bit cameras with 2/3 inch sensors being used for broadcast, via an mpeg4 4:2:0 low bit rate codec.


I know for a fact they use c300's on several programs last year and this year and there have been a few BBC news stories filmed on DSLR's at the very least.


Also, what about when they come to broadcast films shot on dslr's or even when they have GoPro footage in Top Gear?

stier
03-17-2014, 03:56 PM
These 'companies' totally discredit themselves on a regular basis. Solution: Shoot with whatever you like. If they ask you for 'raw' material, deliver in 422 MXF. Now if your client expects 50i, that's another story.
But really, rolling shutter? How is that ever an issue? Most ENG cams nowadays employ CMOS sensors suffering from that problem. Look at the EX1! Until I got my BMCC, I thought it delivers nice images. Now I just laugh at it like I laugh at old people who can't cross the road on their own.

rawCAM35
03-17-2014, 05:59 PM
The EBU recommendation for a minimum Beyer sensor is 2880 x 1620 pixels.

So non of the European TV Broadcasters utilize any other footage from the GoPro, cell phones, tablets, DSLRs, 1/2" sensor cameras, security cameras and the old standard definition media ?

I said to my self that finally the world will be united When I started to read about HD digital TV many years ago, but another chance was missed to have one system for the whole world.

Do you think that there is so much influence from broadcast equipment manufactures on those standards commodities and organizations ?

xrayfilms
03-18-2014, 05:29 AM
Programmes for the BBC are allowed 25% non hd - so this means GOPros etc. News has its own unique criteria that allows for phone footage if the story warrants it. 2/3" cameras usually mean 3 chip so they have their own unique bracket different to single sensor cameras. The c300 is the BBC de facto camera at the moment with the F5/55 starting to appear too. The c300 uses a 4ishK sensor to produce the final image so its fine for pixel count.
I regularly use 5ds on car mounts without issue and Production usually arrive with the BBCs own 5ds to hoover up B roll -this is all fine so long as its less than 25% in the final programme. I shot a a series about Shakespeare a few years ago when the 5d first appeared, the BBC wouldnt allow us to shoot the whole series on it but we were allowed the 25%. When it came to selecting shots for the trailer, nearly all the stuff they chose was 5d, just going by what was visually most appealing...
The BBC says it has to protect the acquisition format because when it's finally transmitted its so compressed that already heavily compressed formats fall apart and it makes workflow easier. This was why they didnt like the 5d, along with moire and aliasing, it didnt hit the 50mbs threshold. But this argument is then a bit nuts with the BMCC or even the BMPCC, which record natively to a far more robust format capturing exponentially more information. Now it looks like the BMPC4k is going to fail too because of reported FPN and sensor issues. Its really frustrating when Im seeing what the BMD cameras are capable of when rigged in appropriate circumstances. Just because some BBC researcher can't get a good picture from it doesnt mean we should all have to shoot on xf305s!

markmwilliams
03-18-2014, 08:39 AM
The tech standards are a joke and many good cameras have failed to make the grade when much poorer cameras such as the XF 305 have become the workhorses of HD Broadcast in the UK. The issue is that it's a set of tick box criteria that doesn't evaluate the quality of the image coming out of the camera. And the whole sensor size argument is nonsense as theoretically a programme shot on 16mm film would still be classed as 'HD'.

EDIT: Tom, the C300 is classed as the most desireable camera to use on HD factual productions in the UK - and is normally responsible for the constant going in and out of focus crap that plagues too many programmes today when it too often falls into the hands of someone who's had 30 mins training on how to operate it and who thinks f2.8 or less is the only aperture you can use.

Now don't get me wrong, I like the C300 and have used it extensively, but in terms of RAW image quality (excuse pun) my BMCC completely outclasses it. The BMCC would get me much closer to an Alexa type look on any production I'm working on for a fraction of the budget - but apparently it's not 'HD'.

xrayfilms
12-04-2014, 01:32 PM
Groan!! Here we go again, from bbc2 science:

"So we have decided to go with the C300 for this shoot – sorry, I know you were keen to use the Black Magic Ursa. Having spoken to Production Village as well who oversee our edit workflows, the Ursa hasn’t been signed off by the EBU yet so we’ve actually been advised not to use it as our main camera. "

This makes no sense. I don't think the EBU actually test cameras any more as the ones on their list are nearly all obsolete. Furthermore, look at this:!!!!

https://www.blackmagicdesign.com/press/pressdetails?releaseID=62085

Frank Glencairn
12-04-2014, 01:54 PM
Furthermore, look at this:!!!!

https://www.blackmagicdesign.com/press/pressdetails?releaseID=62085

As I said earlier, they totally disqualify themselves.
And EBU became a laughingstock since quite a while.

Howie Roll
12-04-2014, 06:03 PM
Groan!! Here we go again, from bbc2 science:
Having spoken to Production Village as well who oversee our edit workflows, the Ursa hasn’t been signed off by the EBU yet so we’ve actually been advised not to use it as our main camera. "

Not surprising, the best camera for a job is not necessarily the one with the prettiest picture. I'm sure they don't accept 35mm negative either, this is a workflow issue. Once those guys figure out that you can shoot 1080p Prores LT on the Ursa it'll be on. Bureaucrats seldom innovate.

rawCAM35
12-04-2014, 06:39 PM
There is more to it than the quality of a camera or the work flow, many equipment manufacturers have an incredible control over large corporations, these corporations get huge discounts on equipment purchases and in return they have to reject similar and may be better equipment from competing manufactures, it is a fact that happens everywhere.

Tim Hole
12-04-2014, 10:00 PM
BMD had a show and tell roadshow at the BBC the other week and had a few URSAs for people to play with. The 5D was kind of forced through in the BBC but I think it is limited as to how much of the program can be shot on it.

Saddest thing the Beeb did recently was ban s16mm from broadcast. So none of the old TV shows shot on S16 will be broadcast as a norm anymore.

xrayfilms
12-05-2014, 08:35 AM
There is more to it than the quality of a camera or the work flow, many equipment manufacturers have an incredible control over large corporations, these corporations get huge discounts on equipment purchases and in return they have to reject similar and may be better equipment from competing manufactures, it is a fact that happens everywhere.

This was probably true for canon who totally gazumped sony about three years ago. The xf codec worked well for the bbc as self shooters could use xf305s and crews could use the c300 and it would all fit together ok.
I doubt the beeb would get ursas in house as they only gear they buy is for self shooters. The projects that use self shooters rather than crews are either low budget or long form docs. Either way they're looking for kits that one person could manage by themselves. Their c300s are body only, typically with a 24-70 canon zoom and a dv tripod. I love the weight and feel of the URSA but I don't see any self shooting director hulking it around on public transport with lenses and heavyweight tripod by themselves anytime soon!

Anyway, had an update on their thinking, some of which makes sense. They've moved away from FCP now and have gone back to avid so mxf is easier for them as they argue they'd need to transcode prores. I know nothing about this but I thought prores was avid friendly since version 5/6 and you could link footage rather than transcode. Id be interested in hearing how difficult this is as this is an argument I'll undoubtedly have with them again so it would be useful to quote someone else who knows this stuff.
When I pointed out that the f55 also does not have EBU approval and all of brian cox was shot on an f55, they conceded that yes, the f55 is used but it has to shoot in xdcam to fit their workflow.
So it seems like they're worried about the cost and time of transcoding. I used the ursa on a bbc job last week without any problems but it was for an indie commissioned by the bbc, so I think they were using fcp