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Check Out My Behind The Scenes Blackmagic Documentary That Just Premiered At NAB 2016

Last month Blackmagic Design brought me on board to direct a behind the scenes documentary for a film they sponsored titled “A Pirate’s Tale”, which just premiered yesterday during NAB.

The narrative film that I documented was produced by Blackmagic in conjunction with a local production company called Moai Films. The idea was to showcase the production capabilities of the URSA Mini 4.6K on a real world set, while also editing the entire project in DaVinci Resolve 12.

The behind the scenes portion of this project (which is what I handled), was treated much in the same way. We shot the entirety of the BTS shots on Blackmagic’s Micro Cinema Camera, and the piece was also edited in DaVinci Resolve 12. The only footage in the BTS video that was not shot on the Micro Cinema Camera was the interview material, which I captured on my URSA Mini 4.6K. The actual footage from the narrative film (which was shot by Lukas Colombo) was of course also shot on the URSA Mini 4.6K, and not on the Micro.

I edited and graded this BTS piece entirely within DaVinci Resolve 12, which is becoming my go-to editing platform for many projects. I also used FilmConvert to color some of the BTS shots within Resolve, which gave it a nice final touch before outputting.

Please note that the narrative footage from “A Pirate’s Tale” was not shot or colored by me. My footage consists exclusively of all the BTS shots and interview material.

In terms of technical details – I didn’t use a speed booster on the Micro Cinema Camera, and primarily shot with a Tokina 11-16mm F2.8, and a Canon 24-70mm F2.8. I was shooting wide open for the most part, often with a Tiffen Vari-ND filter attached to the lens. I used an Atomos Shogun to monitor the video, but didn’t record to the Shogun at all. The footage you’ll see in the BTS video was all recorded internally to an SD card in ProRes 422. A few shots were taken at 60p, but the vast majority were shot at 23.98.

MICRO Camera BTS Blackmagic

You can check out the video here:

Overall, working with the Micro Cinema camera was pretty great – both on set and in post. The small form factor of the camera allowed me to work very quickly, and in some cases helped me get into some really tight spaces where I simply couldn’t have shot with a larger camera.

I was quite impressed with the quality that this little Micro Cinema Camera brought to the table. To my eye, it has some of the best color reproduction of any of Blackmagic’s cameras, and the resulting images are great even though it has slightly less dynamic range than the URSA Mini 4.6K.

In the future, I’ll be sure to do a more detailed writeup of the Micro Cinema Camera, but for now be sure to check out my previous test film “MICRO”, a small project I threw together to try out the new camera.

The full version of “A Pirate’s Tale” as well as other Blackmagic URSA Mini 4.6K footage can be found on the BMD website here.

That’s about it for now! Be sure to check back soon for more updates, tips, reviews, and news from NAB!

About Author

Noam Kroll is an award-winning Los Angeles based filmmaker, and the founder of the boutique production house, Creative Rebellion. His work can be seen at international film festivals, on network television, and in various publications across the globe. Follow Noam on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for more content like this!

10 Comments

  • Jerry Liu
    February 24, 2017 at 12:11 pm

    Hey Noam, just stumbled across your amazing blog. Definitely bookmarked this for future reading and learning. It’s cool that you worked with Moai Films, got some friends working over there actually, Paul, Alex, and Arthur. What a small world! Anyhow, keep up the good work and I look forward to great contents in the future, thanks!

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      March 2, 2017 at 7:22 pm

      Thanks so much Jerry! Cool to know you’re friends with Moai too – they’re a talented group of filmmakers for sure.

      Reply
  • Simone
    May 3, 2016 at 1:48 am

    Thank you very much Noam! 🙂

    Reply
  • Simone
    April 20, 2016 at 1:58 pm

    Dear Noam, I really love the overall look of your images (BTS) while I perfectly understand your specification “Please note that the narrative footage from “A Pirate’s Tale” was not shot or colored by me”.
    That kind of orange skin-tones is not my cup of tea, I prefer a more “natural” look, like the one you made on this video or the one from “Micro”, the short that made me buy the Micro and the Video Assist: the look from your backstage shoots is (for my taste) far more filmic then the Pirate’s footage.

    Your work is always inspiring, thank you very much for sharing such good experience with us.
    Look forward to read your Micro’s review 😉

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      April 20, 2016 at 6:16 pm

      Thanks Simone. I really appreciate the kind words and it’s great to hear that you liked the BTS piece. It was a fun little project, so it’s nice to finally get to share it.

      Like you, I’m definitely a fan of the “natural” look myself and it’s nice that you picked up on that. I think Lukas was probably going for something more stylized with the narrative piece given the subject matter, but it just goes to show how far you can push these cameras in post without having the image fall apart.

      Thanks again for checking this out!

      Reply
      • Simone
        April 21, 2016 at 9:04 am

        I’m sure Lukas’ colors is great to show that, and a lot of people will enjoy that stylized look.

        Since you shot a BTS with the Micro – that for sure is more “run and gun” then a planned shot – could you please share an article (or a paid tutorial, I’ll be the first to buy it, I love the other you made) on working fast with Micro Cinema? I mean: how to change shutter angle, WB, Iso etc as quick as possible, how to properly rig it with a monitor…

        I love the look of BlackMagic ProRes, but in this moment I still shoot music videos with my GH4 since I’m more confident with that 🙂

        Thank you!
        Simo

        Reply
        • Noam Kroll
          April 27, 2016 at 12:03 am

          Absolutely Simone. That’s a great idea for an upcoming article and I’ve added it to my running list of ideas for future posts.

          Reply
  • andrew
    April 19, 2016 at 10:42 pm

    Great colors and motion look from the Micro! What was the shutter angle for 23.98 footage, 172.8 or 180? Great work as usual, Noam!

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      April 20, 2016 at 6:12 pm

      Thanks so much Andrew – It was all shot at 180 degrees.

      Reply

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