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Lookin to grab a Pocket 4k- any moire issues?

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  • Lookin to grab a Pocket 4k- any moire issues?

    Hey Gang,

    Been a minute, but here I am again. Got a project that would definitely benefit from the smaller form factor and dual ISO capabilities of the pocket 4k (currently have an Alexa Classic - great camera, not small, not amazeballs in low light. hah). Last time I shot BM was the original Pocket, but the moire and micro HDMI were deal killers and I moved on. Thought about an Ursa Mini 4.6k a few years back, but the FPN and other build issues spooked me off.

    So, coming back around- I see the new pocket has grown up connections, a real screen, etc. I have quite liked the look of the footage I've seen online. It can cut with an Alexa just fine, I think. I just want to send up a flag here and see if anybody has had any problems with those old dreaded BMD problems of moire and FPN. I know I could rent one to test (and probably still will) but I thought I'd ask y'all here first.

    Thanks in advance for any info.


  • #2
    Might want to go for the UMP G2 4.6K if budget allows. Sweet camera to work with. The P4K looks good too if you're all good with a smaller sensor. I own both with the UMP G2 as my main and P4K as back-up (also as cam A and B with a speed booster) respectively.


    • #3
      Thanks for the suggestion on the UMP G2. Not sure I want to go something quite that size. The G2 has a lot of extra good features if I were to ever move off from my Alexa as my bigger A-cam (internal NDs being perhaps the most desirable). I'd definitely be Speedboosting the Pocket 4K to use my Zeiss ZF primes on it, so I'm not worried about smaller sensor size. I've always kinda liked the smaller format anyhow (S16 is my all time favorite still). I'm not on board with all the FF rage as of late. Seems very much driven by numbers lust. hah.


      • #4
        Pocket4K actually not so bad, if you ok with DSLR-like form factor. Due more vivid color science v4 it have red channel clipping problem, but it could be fixed with proper Wide Gamut REDIPP2 workflow discussed in the last pages of this thread
        It don't have FPN. Some amount of aliasing is still there but it is almost invisible, especially if shoot BRAW. Many people report it need additional IR filter same as older cameras. RAWLITE makes OLPF/IR filter for it.

        From the sample tests Pocket4k sensor log curve looks slightly different and have less dynamic range in highlights. Original Pocket looks "flatter"

        Overall the two cameras are extremely close (there are differences in contrast, saturation and tint, but it's normal since they are two different sensors). In this video I matched them pretty well, but I could definitely see why some people (included me) believe that the original Pocket has something that is definitely missing in the BMPCC4K. I'm not entirely sure what it is, but the BMPCC has a more organic look and texture that reminds me a lot about the Alexa. Also, in the BMPCC4K, the skin tones tend to lean toward brown in some situations (the Natural Rec709 fixes in part this problem) and sometimes it's pretty annoying, where the original Pocket renders skin tones way better and in a more natural way. Still, the two cameras are incredibly close and they could definitely be used together in a variety of situations and of course the BMPCC4K is a way more usable, reliable and professional camera than the original one. Again, I really missed that filmic look and I think I'm gonna buy a BMPCC in the near future to use as a second camera and to shoot some more personal and cinematic projects.
        Finally, as you can see, it's very hard to tell the difference between a 4K camera and a good 1080 upscaled. Which is why I don't think resolution matters when it comes to image quality and that's why people have been shooting feature films on a 2K Arri Alexa.
        And how about BMMCC with OLPF filter and some rig add-ons?

        You can also check Z-Cam. It have nice form factor and can do ProRes, but it is in more expensive price range. not sure if its log curve supported by Resolve.
        Last edited by shijan; 07-13-2019, 06:42 PM.
        All my custom made accessories for BMMCC/BMMSC now available here


        • #5
          I love my p4k, and no, I have not found any moire issues in real-world situations. It's been so much of a non-issue for me that I haven't ran any controlled tests trying to make it happen.
          Bang-for-buck it's seriously awesome, but then again, if you're regularly shooting Alexa, I bet your bar is definitely higher than mine.
          My YouTube channel


          • #6
            I noticed my first ever moire on a model with a sheeny dress and super fine weave. not too sure if it was that or optical illusion. its been the only situation that I've seen it in since shooting with it late last year. Other than that, haven't had an issue


            • #7
              Well I jumped and managed to grab one (they seem to be out of stock almost everywhere). Comes in later this week. Thanks for the feedback.

              I'm looking forward to comparing the footage with what comes off the Alexa using the same lenses. If it's good enough - and from what I've been seeing online it's not that far off - I might sell off the Arri (and all the heavy gear needed for it). I'm trying to shoot a feature later this year and if I can get 95% of the quality at 1/5th the price, add in the ability to have affordable gimbal shots, cut down on the lighting budget because of dual ISO low light, AND have an extra 10k to help fund the picture... then what's not to like? Well, other than the fact that an Alexa on set tells your cast & crew you mean business and the Arri is as reliable as death & taxes... Nice thing about the Pocket 4k is the price. It almost makes sense to have an extra in a box "just in case".

              Now to decide if I want to part with my lovely Zeiss cinevised prime set and get a Fujinon MX 18-55mm zoom. I LOVE the look of the Zeiss lenses- so, so tasty. But when the pressure is on and the crew is small and money is tight I love shooting zooms on my films- makes life so much easier. The trick is finding GREAT looking cine zooms that work for the camera I have. The Fujinon MXs look intriguing and they're so light you can keep them on the body when you gimbal things. Decisions, decisions....


              • #8
                If you make a studio rig with a matte box on the front, v-mount on the back, monitor on top, a bunch of cables dangling off of it, should look professional enough that no one knows or cares what body is inside as long as the footage looks good. And you can afford to have a second one mounted on gimbal all the time and maybe a third one rigged really simply for quick inserts. That is what I'm aiming for. It's really great that the camera seems good enough to mix in with Red or Alexa or UmPro or whatever as b-cam and gimbal shots, worth the investment as personal camera that you can always have, but there is always going to be some work involved in making cameras with different sensors and colour science match perfectly so if you are small enough that no one really cares what camera you use, just consolidate on matching bodies it will make life so much easier. I have done two micro budget features on the original Pocket, and that is the natural progression for me.


                • #9
                  95% of the quality at 1/5th the price
                  Not sure if image look may be measured in the way like this. In those sample videos most likely Arri dynamic range was adjusted to match P4K. But even so you can see a lot of burned highlights in the windows on p4K samples where Arri holds a lot of additional info. But if you don't care about dynamic range for your work so sure there is no reason to bother about mega expensive Arri cameras at all.
                  This magical additional 1-2 stops that Arri cameras provide other any other cameras is really costs a lot. In many situations additional 2 stops of dynamic range in highlights can do dramatical difference to image look, so it is not a 5% of image improvement for sure.
                  All my custom made accessories for BMMCC/BMMSC now available here


                  • #10
                    True, all true. But your 5% and my 5% aren't the same as the rando audience member's 5%.

                    Going further... I usually light my scenes. Having shot films with the F35, the Digital Bolex, and the Red Epic before I made efforts to get the scene as far into the DR of the cams as possible. The Alexa definitely makes it easier to not worry about that. I love using it. The top end has a lot more wiggle room and if it does go it goes beautifully. I'm all in on that, for sure. And all things being equal and money being no object I wouldn't think about selling it off - I'd keep the Alexa and use it for all the locked and dolly shots. And I might yet still do that. We'll see. I'm getting the Pocket for gimbal work and low light at the very least (probably a good third of the film is night time scenes).

                    I'm just thinking out loud here. It's all just cost benefit analysis. There's more to a film than just image. I'm the producer, too. I learned a long time ago that getting all elements to the roughly same level is significantly better than having one top end element and cutting too many corners on the rest. The stink of the inferior elements ruins the top element, not the other way around. Weakest link etc. etc. . So if after my tests I find the Pocket is "good enough" - and no, it clearly won't be equal- then I don't mind making that trade off.

                    I mean, I know and can appreciate the difference between the Alexa's image and the Pocket's. I definitely prefer the skin tones of the Alexa, as well as how the low/mid/high values softly roll into one another, and how it handles the red/orange colors. I can spot that instantly and my visual artist self screams "LOOK AT IT! IT"S BEAUTIFUL!!". And my Producer self shushes and says "Yes, yes, dear. We know it's beautiful. But we have so many mouths to feed.". So yes, it matters to me (and on camera forums it matters to us), but will that matter to my audience, who will most likely be watching a compressed download on iTunes or Amazon on a smaller device? Maybe they'll screencast to a TV if I'm lucky.

                    So if the Pocket 4k gets me "close enough", then I can take that extra 10 grand and get a better actor, and a better sound guy, and a production designer (luxury!), and access to that one location that costs a bit extra but is perfect for the scene. If the Pocket fits the bill then I will happily trade those 2 stops on the top end and take an extra moment to scrim windows or punch up the fill to squeeze the scene into the 13 stops the Pocket offers. Or let it blow where it blows, wince, pour out a drink on the ground for the Alexa and move on.

                    We'll see. I'll post my test stuff here I think. It'll be a fun experiment.


                    • #11
                      Interesting experiment, please keep us posted
                      My YouTube channel


                      • #12
                        Also the strongest side of BM cameras (beside its price range) is ProRes/RAW codec. Even without additional noise reduction it allow to recover few additional stops from shadows very easy. This may help to match camera to Arri dynamic range as well. Any other DSLR/Mirrorless (even the newest ones) can't do the same amount of shadow recovery due ugly compressed codec. You can see some of my older shadow recovery tests here

                        All my custom made accessories for BMMCC/BMMSC now available here


                        • #13
                          Well, I've made some progress but the site is giving me crap about my images (won't let me embed them here in a post without errors, broken links, etc) so I can't much share what I've got so far. Maybe I'll write a blog post about it.

                          Anyhow, the upshot is: early results on the image are very promising. Out of the gate BMD's default Pocket to extended video LUT is harsh. Not something I want to use, tbh. The way the Alexa stuff grades has spoilt me. However by building a grade from scratch I was able to get the Pocket 4K footage pretty close to what the Arri Log-C to Rec709 gives out of the Alexa. It's not perfect (nothing is) but it's definitely good enough to intercut with the Alexa with no issues, and in some cases is really hard to tell the difference. And it behaves the very similarly when putting a look grade on it, so I can keep cooking the images the way I would with Alexa footage- which is what I was mostly concerned about.

                          On set workflow on the Alexa is still a dream. It's just so well thought out. It's just the right shape with things in the right spots and sturdy. I can have it from the pelican case to shooting condition in a minute (well, the 30-40 second start up time is a bummer. Love the pocket's 3 second boot time).

                          The Pocket's GUI is great, so that's a wash with the Alexa. Love what BMD has done with that. It's as easy to use as the Arri GUI.

                          The one thing that kinda bugs me about the Pocket (and I knew it would) is that building the thing out for work is a chore. It's a DSLR form, so of course it's got jangly bits and bobs all akimbo once it's built. What I'll likely do is build it for quick switching between sticks and handheld and shoulder (pretty straight forward), then bolt & bind all the cables and bits & bobs down hard and leave it built in a pelican case. Then grab another Pocket 4k and build it for use on the Zhiyun Crane 3 gimbal and just leave it that way. If I need a stealthy cam to grab-n-go or steal shots with I'll use the stripped down gimbal Pocket, I think. I just don't want to be taking the thing apart and putting it back together for different uses. A primary reason I ditched my Red Epic was that hassle of slapping different parts & cables onto and off the camera just to get ready to shoot, or to switch usage during a shoot. Farting around with lego bits is fine and fun when puttering the evening away at home with a beer, but it's no way to live on set when you don't have an AC2 to do it for you. So once I rig it, I'm gonna leave it built and bolted together.

                          Lastly, if any of you kind folk know what the deal is with the images here I'd appreciate a tip or two.


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by keithlango View Post
                            Lastly, if any of you kind folk know what the deal is with the images here I'd appreciate a tip or two.
                            Just put images to image hosting like or similar. It generates BBCode (message boards & forums) links which you just put anywhere in the forum message. It is way simpler than use forum attachment image hosting and less load to forum servers due multiple images processing.
                            All my custom made accessories for BMMCC/BMMSC now available here