Over the last week or so, I’ve been lucky enough to shoot some footage with two of Blackmagic’s pre-release cameras – the URSA Mini and Micro Cinema Camera. Some of you have already seen my URSA Mini test footage video, and today I’m releasing a tiny little short film I made for fun over the weekend with the Micro Cinema Camera.
While the Micro Cinema Camera is obviously going to be amazing for drones, gimbals, and action shots – I thought I would shoot a narrative style film with it to test it out in a more unexpected environment.
I gave myself a day and a half to come up with an idea, shoot, edit, and color. Having no budget or crew, I decided to keep the idea really simple, shoot only with natural light, not have any dialogue, and limit the locations as much as possible. Ultimately things came together well, and the small footprint of the camera made it possible to capture lots of material even while shooting guerrilla style.
The picture below is the entirety of my “rig” which essentially consisted of the camera, a magic arm, and a monitor. I had it on sticks for the majority of our shots, but also used it on a small rail system for a couple of handheld shots.
The film itself was shot on a mix of lenses, including: Tokina 11-16mm, Rokinon 24mm, Rokinon 50mm, Nikkor 50mm, Zeiss 85mm. Shooting RAW 3:1 allowed me to easily match shots from different lenses in DaVinci without having to fight against a highly compressed codec. It’s worth noting that the short was also edited in Resolve 12, and FilmConvert was used to add a final polish and some film grain.
Check out the short below.
The concept was obviously to play off of the “micro” theme as much as possible – from the micro SD card, to the fact that the lead character is metaphorically under a microscope. In the end it made for a fun little weekend project, and a nice excuse to test out the Micro Cinema Camera in a real world environment – not just shooting color charts and dynamic range tests.
I have to say I was really taken with the image quality from the camera, and enjoyed working with the S16 format. I have no trouble achieving shallow DOF with Super 16, and when working as a one man crew it’s sometimes nice to have a bit more wiggle room when pulling focus. I will be working with Super 16mm film on another shoot coming up soon, so this was a nice reminder that you don’t need full frame (or even Super 35mm) to achieve a cinematic look.
Be sure to check back soon for more videos like this, tips, reviews, and more!
Directed by Noam Kroll
Starring Rae Seistrup
Music by Andrew Seistrup – http://www.andrewseistrup.com
Produced by Noam Kroll & Jen Kroll
Be sure to follow me on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter for updates on future articles and reviews!
Came to look for sample shots of the micro camera but instead, I was amazed by the short film and I wasn’t even listening with sound on. Very short but incredible.
So cool to hear, Alyssa! Really appreciate the kind words.
Hi Noam, I wanted your take on shooting with the Micro Cinema Camera in comparison with shooting with the 2.5k Cinema Camera and how does the image quality compare shooting in raw?
The image quality is virtually identical, other than the higher resolution of the 2.5K sensor. I actually considered shooting my last feature on the micro camera since it looks so incredible…
hi, thank you for all the great information you’ve already shared. I have a few questions- I am thinking about purchasing a BMMCC and was wondering what type of monitor did you use for your shoot? and how much should someone spend on one? would you also have any recommendations on the cheapest compatible option?
Hey Jeremy! I believe I was just using an old 5″ Marshall monitor. That said, the Blackmagic Video assist is only about $500 and is an incredible monitor/recorder… I use the 7″ version and it’s been a treat to work with. Alternatively there are some other budget brands out there that could likely save you some money… But if you can swing the BMD Video Assist, I would highly recommend it – especially to use with the Micro.
I really want to get this camera after your test video. But if you were to put together a budget package, or a minimalist package to shoot with, what would you recommend?
monitor, lens, and or cage, or any type of mounts?
cards, ect. .
Right now I have the mark iii, and I want that raw video availability. .
Hey Ajay! If I were building this camera up from scratch, I would recommend getting a monitor/recorder (possibly the Blackmagic video assist), a fast zoom lens (such as the Sigma 18-35), and a speed booster. That should have you covered in most scenarios as a starting point, and from there you could build up your lens kit, add more accessories, filters, etc.
Hope this helps!
i am very impress with your work, was just planning to buy micro cinema camera to create some cinematic looks,very much impressed with your work,very inspiring thanks !! keep making n inspiring ppl !!
Thanks Prakash! Really appreciate the kind words and hope to see you around the site again.
Can you put a link to the monitor and rig system you have to hold up the monitor and attach it to the BMMCC? Thanks!
Hey there! There really is no rig, it’s actually just a magic arm attached to a 5″ Marshall monitor. You can pick up a magic arm like this at any pro-video store in person or online, and it will be compatible with virtually any on board monitor. Hope this helps!
But there isn’t globa shutter in the micro cinema camera, correct?
Micro has a rolling shutter, yes.
hi Noam and eveyone
i already bought the 4k micro studio and the 7″ assist monitor with 4 128Gb lexar UHSII 2000X and a bunch of lpe6 batteries some i already owned from my 7D and my 5D mark III and i bought ND throttle adapter for outdoor use and a metabones speedbooster for the crop factor and lowlight in indoor use, i don’t know if you have worked with the 4k micro studio camera, if yes, do you think by using these adaptors and good lenses and record in 4k and color grade in resolve , will i be able to achieve the cinematic look of the micro cinema camera, i know the 1080p 12bit raw and 13 stops of dynamic range but against the 4k 10bit 422 HQ will i have a more headroom to work or to at least get a cinematic look , cause i already bought the camera and i wanted 4k but i am using this camera for film shooting and not for studio use .do you think i made the wrong choice or i could achieve the look similar to yours with what i bought
Hi Roland – that’s a great question, and possibly someone here that’s shot with the Micro Studio might be able to answer better than I can. I’ve actually only shot with the Micro myself, but would imagine that you should be able to get comparable results with the setup you described. While 12 bit raw is certainly a great feature to have, ProRes 422 HQ is virtually as good for 99% of shooting scenarios, so I wouldn’t be too worried about the lack of raw capability. Like any camera, the way you treat it on set and in post is going to be what matters most.
roland, just like you (maybe?) i was a bit undecided whether to get the micro or the studio, considering i want to use it normally in lieu of the studio. I would love to have the 4k capability yet dont want to deal with the lighting issue, not sure how prominent this would be. Maybe a good night lens like the sigma 18-35 1.8 and post-prod tweaking should suffice? And possibly still get the cinema effect?
roland, this might answer your conundrum (hope this post makes it as it seems they keep getting deleted)
There seems to be a lot of confusion here about the difference between the Micro and Studio Micro Cameras.
1-The Blackmagic Micro Camera has an internal recorder to SD card, in Raw and ProRes. While the Studio camera doesn’t record at all, all you can do is record the HDMI output to an external recorder of you want.
2-The Blackmagic Micro Camera has a 1920x1080p sensor, while the Micro Studio has a 3840×2160 sensor, both are the same size at s16 but are VERY different sensors.
The sensor 1080p sensor is described by Blackmagic as a ”film” sensor, while the 4K one in the studio micro is described as a ”broadcast” sensor.
In other words, the 4K sensor in the Micro Studio camera is the same one in their older full 4K studio camera, which had horrible moire & aliasing, has a native ISO of 200 and anything higher is unusable, as well as 9 stops of DR or less, it’s only Rec 709 and designed for closed studios for love broadcast.
While the 1080p sensor in the new Micro camera is the next generation of the one in the Pocket camera from Fairchild Imaging. Over the late model (pocket) they added a switchable Global shutter mode, as well as the abilitt to shoot up to 60fps in rolling shutter mode (same rolling shutter in the pocket camera), the sensor is said to be improved overally in lowlight performance, no aliasing, better DR, a FILM camera sensor designed for film unlike the broadcast cameras.
So the Micro 1080p camera of fitted with an external LCD can be considered as a successor for the pocket camera with a better sensor, global shutter, better lowlight, slowmotion, better design and more inputs and outputs, as well as specific abilitt to be controlled remotely by any device.
While the Micro Studio Camera can be considered as the Full 4K studio camera that was announved last year just without the 10″ LCD/Viewfinder.
So while the two micro cameras appear similar on surface they are completely different and have vastly different uses and applications. Don’t fall into the trap of buying the Micro Studio camera thinking it’s a s16 4K version of the Pocker/micro cameras for 300$ more and record it externally. Only buy the Micro Studio camera if you want to broadcast 4K images from a tiny POV camera in a studio and you have the broadcast setup the goes with it. Not for ”video/film” shooters on the forum here.
On a side note, I am very excited to see how the Micro 1080p sensor images look since it’s an improvememt on the already class leading filmic pocket sensor.
That Fairchild imaging that came out of nowhere seem to have made sensors no other major manufacturer could make for FILM simulation, their products are the original m43s size 2.5K sensor in the BMCC, the S16 1080p sensor in the Pocket camera, the S16 1080p global shutter sensor in the Micro camera, and lastly the glorious s35 4.6K sensor in the new URSA mini and URSA upgrade.
And a side note: Whenever Blackmagic got a different sensor manufacturer (as in the 4K productiom camera or the Studio 1080p and 4K cameras) their cameras lost the distinct film-like response that marked the Blackmagic cameras from the beginning, so it’s fair to assume Fairchild Imaging sensors played a big role in that filmic quality.
Thanks for the detailed Response, Johnny. Appreciate you sharing this here.
Luca Di Gioacchinoat
Once again, liked your ‘micro’ short.
It reminds me of one of my shorts, Nightwatch, which I was fortunate enough to shoot on 35 mm. Here’s the link f you’re interested.
Thanks Luca! I’ll check it out when I can. Appreciate you sharing it.
What lens adapter are you using to get to F mount? Also, what is the crop factor like going to DX and FX lenses?
Hey Brett – I’m just using a Fotodiox dumb adapter. The crop is about 3x I believe.
Hi Noam did you happen to have a pocket cinema camera?
What is the diference rom “Raw” to “Raw 3:1” which one is “heavier”
Hi Jose – I actually don’t own a pocket camera, but have used them many times and the image from the Micro is pretty close. RAW 3:1 is just a slightly more compressed version of RAW, but they both virtually look identical.
can you please share your workflow? i am not able to open files in any, i mean any app, Premiere CC, Adobe Camera Raw, Adobe DNG convertor, and not even in Resolve
Hi Arsen – The shots should definitely open in Resolve, and I was able to simply bring in the RAW files natively. If you can’t open the files, it’s possible they are corrupted as a result of recording to slow SD cards… Just a thought, but hope that helps you troubleshoot at least.
loved your short movie. I am a gh3 and gh4 user myself but I want to make a move for a more cinematic look. Mostly I shoot events and weddings so shot & run type of shots. Would you recommend the micro + video assist for that? How fast does everything turn on? I mean in weddings you need to be able to react quickly – turn on and off fast and alaways be ready to shoot.
Also how is the battery life and overall handling with the monitor? Thanks in advance!
Thanks so much Sebastian. The Micro is an amazing little camera, but I’m not sure it would be ideal for events – at least as your “A” camera. Since it is designed to be a modular system, it does take some time to configure it on set to your liking, and may not be as swift to use as a traditional camcorder. That said, the image quality is really beautiful and if you are open to working in more of a cinema-style, you will love it.
The battery life with the Canon batteries is excellent. I haven’t timed it, but I would guess that you get close to 2 hours or so per battery with moderate use.
Hi Noam, I went through your work and its amazing. I am a start up film maker. I would really love to get guidance from you. Can you please guide me on how to go about it and set yourself up. Thank you.
Hey there – thanks for the kind words! Feel free to e-mail me at email@example.com to discuss.
Hello Noam, thanks for testing the Black Magic Micro Cinema Camera. But I have a few questions about the camera:
Could you delete files directly in the camera?
Does the camera playback the RAW files fluent?
How is the handling? Is it tricky to change the settings (because there are just a few buttons on the camera)?
Hey Chris! I haven’t tried deleting files inside the camera, although I know it will format the cards with no problem. The RAW files do seem to play back perfectly, and the handling really isn’t bad at all. In fact, if you use the Blackmagic View Assist, you can use the touch screen to allow for easier access of the menus.
Noam, thanks for all of your hard work and sharing the wealth of information! I’m sure it takes a toll, but the video community really benefits from people like you.
My only concern here is that BMD did not have you test the new features that this camera possesses over the BMPCC. I have seen footage of 60fps footage elsewhere, and obviously you spoke about battery life, but there seems to be no evidence I have seen with these pre-releases of global shutter being used and actually working.
Either BMD isn’t concerned with marketing one of the largest features of this camera, or it simply does not work yet. In either case, I am leery of taking the plunge into this camera and their company – but I’d really like to!
Was there a reason you did not check into the global shutter? I sure hope there are no restrictions as to the information you can release! Thank you in advance man!
Thanks Brian! Unfortunately there are some aspects of the camera I can’t speak about just yet, but I will be sure to post some updates with the Micro camera in the near future. I just used it on another test shoot and really had some great results… Looking forward to sharing more.
In my opinion, Black Magic has the most cinematic look of any camera on the planet, regardless of the sensor size.
I don’t know what their secret sauce is, but they have figured out how to get the most filmic look I’ve ever seen, next to actual film.
Blackmagic is really leading the way in many respects. Glad to hear you’re a fan too!
Hi Noam, very nice short, looks really good. Please tell me did you use a LUT as starting point for the grade? If so, which LUT? Thank you.
Hey Erik! I actually didn’t use a LUT on this at all, and just did it manually by eye. I prefer to work that way with RAW footage for the most part…
Hi, i want to buy the blackmagic micro cinema camera. Im completely new in the “filmbusiness” and im not sure which lens size will be a good “allround” lens for kind of indoor shoots but mostly outdoorshoots.
I thinking about the Rokinon 12mm T2.2 Cine or maybe Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 17mm f/2.8, what do you think about it?
Have a good day, thanks,
Hey Adrian! Both of those lenses are excellent options for the Micro camera since they are fairly wide. If you aren’t set on prime lenses, the Lumix 12 – 35 lens might be a good choice as well. Hope this helps.
Noam – thanks so much for creating the short and giving us an example of this long awaited camera.
And thank you for all of your other content. I just found your site because of this article and can’t wait to dig through the rest of it.
Thanks a lot Tony! Really appreciate it, and hope to see you around the site sometime again in the future.
What was you grading process in Resokve? Nice work.
Thanks Mike! I kept things simple… No power windows or color keys. Just matched all of the shots first, gave them a nice warm look, and then applied a bit of Film Convert for a final touch.
great job (Y) Noam Kroll
your short is awesome!
I really love the cinematic quality of this little monster!
I’m using the GH4 since last year and I’m very happy for the easy of use and overall quality, but it is not so “filmic”: do you think the 50p in rolling shutter mode is usable as the GH4’s one?
How is the battery life?
I’m thinking to buy it, but I have a cheap Aputure VS-2 external monitor: do you think is it enough or do I need the Blackmagic Video Assist?
Huge thanks and best regards from Italy!
Thanks so much! I definitely the the 50/60p mode is great and you can certainly use the camera with the Aputure monitor. I used an old 5″ Marshall monitor on this, and it worked perfectly. That said, the Video Assist would be nice too, and is fairly affordable.
Thank you very much, Noam!
I tried to buy it today, but the italian seller said it will be not shipped soon… What a pity, I have to wait, but those images deserve some patient 😉
I’m sure it will be worth the wait! Good luck Simone!
The last scene is stunning! natural light or tungsten/fluorescent light?
Apart from technique, I like very much your cinematic storytelling and visuals.My best wishes for your super 16mm film, I would be delighted to read something about this fantastic project very soon on your blog, there are too few filmmakers working with kodak stocks today…and you are one of the few courageous one.!
Many thanks Andrew! Really appreciate the kind words, and I’m looking forward to sharing more soon.
First off, great website, and great short. I am really looking forward to receiving my Micro Cam. In your estimate, how far away do you think the camera is from shipping – weeks? Months?
Thanks Luca! I honestly have no idea about shipping, but I hope you get yours soon.
Hi from France
I’ve been digging arount the Micro for a while. First time, I can see some good footages. Very good footages (and nice concept too off course). Congratulations.
We’d like to know more about the use of that camera… Your rig doesn’t show any cable and I’ve seen that it was a bit tricky to plug a monitor to the Micro ?
Well could you be a little more precise about the camera ?
Thanks Nicolas! Really glad you liked it.
I actually didn’t have a cable plugged in with this photo as you noticed, but used a short HDMI on the shoot and had no issues at all.
Hi from France
I’ve been digging arount the Micro for a while. First time, I can see some good footages. Very good footages (and nice concept too off course). Congratulations.
We’d like to know more about the use of that camera…
Haha – you are bang on Tom! I get that all the time… Glad to hear you enjoyed it.
Nicely told! I forgot about the whole camera because you made the film interesting to watch. If this film proves anything is that idea is king.
Thanks so much – and I have to agree, the technical end always comes second to concept/story!
Nice. If anyone wants to shoot narrative on a budget it seems crazy not to use a Blackmagic camera these days. That said, the audience for the pocket was pretty split. It was half hobbyists messing around with adapters and vintage lenses etc, and half large productions using them as crash cams or whatever. I expect the micro will end up filling the same role.
I’m interested to know however what the sensor is like under tungsten light, and need for IR cut as someone said above. I can’t ever seem to get my pocket to look right under tungsten it muddies up and loses some of the colour. My c100 looks far better indoors, the pocket better outdoors. I wish those two would just get together and put a bun in the oven.
I have to agree that Blackmagic is the way to go for many low budget narratives. I really can’t think of any other cameras in the same price range that even come close to the results the BM’s cameras have been delivering.
As for shooting in tungsten light, I think the camera performs quite well from what I’ve seen so far.
Nice short film.
I preordered the BMMCC too, have had waited for so long I hope to hold one soon.
May I ask why you put the monitor at the bottom in the picture? Do you hold it upside down when shooting? Why not using the 1/4″ screw head on the top?
And have you try the mic ? Looking forward to your review on this camera
Thanks! I actually put the monitor on top, not on the bottom… The internal mic works well, but we didn’t need to use it for the shoot. I’m sure it’ll be perfectly good for scratch audio, ambient natural sound, etc.
I have been long waiting this camera and nice to see it finally is existing.
I had to look the video twice as the story took my attention at first look :), very nice.
One of the features I have been waiting for is the global shutter, though I am not sure how useful it will be and if and what downsides it has. Did you already test the global shutter, any comments on that?
Thanks Kim! Appreciate it… And I’ve actually only shot in rolling shutter mode so far.
You also mentioned a couple of shots were 60p. A question that’s been popping up on the forums for a while is: can you record 60p raw, or only prores? And if so is a Sandisk Extreme UHS-1 card fast enough?
Hey there – I shot in 60p RAW on a Sandisk card, but can’t really comment as to what type of media would work best as I only shot short (5 – 10 second) clips in 60p.
Wow, just discovered your web site today, and I’ve been on it all day now, great stuff! I have been making promos and short films for some kids camps the past 2 years. I’ve always borrowed equipment, but I’m looking to get my own camera and make more shorts and longer films for a more grown up crowd. I have been torn on cameras and I bet you get this all the time, but what would you recommend? GH4 (which i see you got rid of yours, it’s what I’ve borrowed from a friend for recent stuff), A7S I or the II (which I see you own), or one of the black magic projects? From all the stuff I’ve watched of your, the stuff shot on BM products look great to me! I’ve been kicking around the idea of getting the micro 4k one, since from most things I read people say the monitors on the BM stuff is not the best to work with, I would do external display (possibly the BM new one) and I’ve been using H4N for audio so that’s not a issue. I’m sure there will be all kinds of cages made for so it can be tricked out with a whole rig, but the great thing would be making it small as possible to for the tough shots. Seems to me a all around good option. Can you give me advice or some flaws in my thinking? Thanks again, and keep up the great work, I’m learning a lot here.
Hey John – Thanks for the kind words! Glad you’ve been enjoying the site. To answer your question about camera choice, I tend to recommend Blackmagic for independent filmmakers, since their cameras are able to deliver really cinematic images at a low cost. While the GH4, A7S II and other cameras are great, they lack that “filmic” tone that a camera like the URSA Mini or even this Micro Cinema Camera has. That said, if you need extreme low light performance, or a DSLR-style body, then the GH4 or A7S II might be a good alternative. Hope this helps with your decision, and good luck!
John – Just an FYI regarding the micro studio vs micro cinema…
You mentioned considering the micro studio 4k, but keep in mind that the 4k micro “studio” cam doesn’t have the same dynamic range as the micro “cinema” cam that Noam used in his film. I was also considering the studio over the cinema until I learned about the difference. And I’ve seen footage of the 4k micro studio and the quality doesn’t compare to the micro cinema & the pocket cinema when trying to achieve the “filmic” tone that Noam speaks of in his response.
Good luck with whichever camera you choose.
Very good point, I almost missed that. Now the question is do I wait for this to ship (anyone know when that is??) or just get the Pocket camera which I like? Wondering also if they will slow phase the pocket out? Plus have they added the ability to delete files right from the SD card while in the camera? Thanks all
Hey John – if you need a camera right away or could benefit from the on board monitor, I would definitely consider going with the pocket. It’s hard to say if it will be phased out, but it seems like it serves a unique place in Blackmagic’s lineup, and while I would guess that it may be upgraded in the future, I would hope it won’t be phased out completely! I haven’t used the pocket in a while, so I’m not sure what the latest firmware is capable of in terms of deleting files.
I just noticed you’ve already answered the first part of my question in your vimeo comments.
I haven’t really pushed the rolling shutter in a stress-test, but from casual use it seems really great. I had no issues with handheld or pans when shooting.
I’m not seeing any micro-jitters in the handheld shots like I’d expect to see from an 18ms rolling shutter camera. Can you confirm whether the global shutter was enabled, or does the BMMCC have a faster rolling shutter than the pocket? JB mentioned the Ursa Mini 4.6k rolling shutter is much faster than its predecessors so I’m wondering whether the BMMCC has more grunt under the hood too.
I am also interested in knowing the answers to Flaaandeeers2 questions and is the sensor the same one as it the pocket camera?
Hey William – just answered this on the comment above. Not sure if it’s actually the same sensor or not, but it feels very similar.
Really nice. I have been looking for something small simple and still get a cinematic look. Curious…do you like the look over the gh4?
Many thanks! I definitely like the look of this more than the GH4. It’s a very different camera… 16mm sensor, RAW recording option, etc. so it’s really hard to compare the two. But I do find it more filmic for sure.
Looks really good, Noam.
Any comments on the image quality compared to the Pocket Camera.
Does it need an IR cut filter badly like the other BM cams?
Are you planning to do a full review?
Thanks a lot! I haven’t compared it to the pocket camera, and actually haven’t shot much on the pocket camera myself… But to answer your other question – I didn’t find it needed an IR filter at all during my shoot. At some point in the future I would love to do a review on this camera!