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Black Magic Cinema Cam vs PMW-200 for events, pros and cons?

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Tom Smith
Black Magic Cinema Cam vs PMW-200 for events, pros and cons?
on Jan 30, 2013 at 9:37:00 pm

Friend and I are starting a video production company. Our main bread and butter will most likely be weddings and other type of events, maybe corporate vids. We already have a 60D. Friend wants to purchase a PMW-200. We are also indie film makers though and plan on using whatever new cam we get for that as well. We have a decent lineup of lenses too.

My question is do we need to go that high of a price range and pickup a PMW-200 or can we get away with a BMCC to do the job? I'm just wondering what advantages the PMW would have over the BMCC especially in that sort of event shooting environment


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Peter J. DeCrescenzo
Re: Black Magic Cinema Cam vs PMW-200 for events, pros and cons?
on Jan 31, 2013 at 1:12:17 am

As is always the case when comparing cameras, each has its advantages and disadvantages for particular applications.

- Availability & price:

The BMCC-EF is shipping, but in relatively small numbers, and is on months-long back-order essentially everywhere. If you pre-order a BMCC-EF today, chances are you won't receive it for several months. The BMCC-MFT hasn't even begun shipping, and BMD hasn't announced yet when it will start.

Meanwhile, the much more expensive PMW-200 is readily available. If you were to buy a PMW-200 today and immediately start shooting paying gigs with it, theoretically you might have it paid off before a BMCC would otherwise have been delivered. Doesn't change the fact that the PMW-200 is twice the cost of a BMCC, but it's another way to look at it.

Obviously the BMCC wins if comparing its base-price cost to a Sony PMW-200, but if you need a cam soon, it may be a moot point.

- Lens features:

Many event shooters would find the PMW-200's servo zoom lens (with built-in ND filters) extremely useful. It's not that that you can't shoot "events" without a servo-zoom lens w. built-in NDs, but there's no question it's vastly easier (& quicker) than shooting with DSLR-type lenses and add-on ND filters. I'm not certain, but I suspect the PMW-200's zoom is probably parfocal, too, whereas most DSLR lenses are not. The PMW-200 lens also features auto-focus, which the BMCC does not. Both support lens-based IS (steady shot).

It's also true that many event shooters enjoy using DSLRs and the typical lenses available for use with them. And certainly many corporate, commercial & indie film video shooters enjoy shooting with DSLRs and compatible lenses.

But for fast-changing events, a servo-zoom w. built-in NDs typically makes a big difference.

- Recording formats:

The BMCC is likely the clear winner here. Uncompressed 12-bit RAW 2.5K @ 5 megabytes/frame (or up to 220 megabits/sec 10-bit 1080p 4:2:2 ProRes HQ or DNxHD) are capable of recording much higher quality than the PMW-200's far more compressed 8-bit 1080p codecs. The BMCC's compressed codecs are industrial strength and ready-to-edit, even on slower computers & slower storage systems. The BMCC includes software for working with its RAW files on faster systems. There's no disputing the superiority of the BMCC's codecs, but not every project requires them.

However, I'm sure the PMW-200 is capable of recording relatively good-looking video in the right hands, just as the BMCC can record awful-looking video if not used appropriately.

There are other things to consider, too, such as ergonomics, shoot-ready "rig" costs, post-production costs if you use the BMCC's RAW mode, etc.

- Lighting considerations:

I don't know how the light sensitivity of the BMCC compares to the PMW-200, but I wouldn't be surprised if the Sony performs well in relatively low light. However, I'm certain the BMCC's 13-stop dynamic range is noticeably better than the Sony's. In most high-contrast lighting situations the BMCC video will probably look better: Bright & dark areas will retain more detail. Likewise, the BMCC is getting a reputation for very accurate color rendition, in part because of the higher color bit-depth it records, but also because of it's "color science". Skin looks especially good in BMCC video.

In my case, most of the productions I shoot are shot "cine" style. For productions which require the benefits of a servo-zoom lens & built-in NDs, I use a rented camera. I'm waiting for my BMCC-EF to arrive (and will primarily shoot ProRes HQ), but the BMCC isn't the right camera for everyone.

Hope the info above is helpful. Cheers.

---

http://www.peterdv.com
Blog: http://herefortheweather.wordpress.com


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Tom Smith
Re: Black Magic Cinema Cam vs PMW-200 for events, pros and cons?
on Jan 31, 2013 at 1:17:11 am

Thanks so much for typing all of that. I guess with regards to availability, the BMCC is indeed out of the question.

Another question i have then would be if there are other cameras you can recommend that would allow us to still use our lenses and shoot 4:2:2? I thin my partner is overly worried about the run and gun in a wedding setting. The only part of a wedding I can see the need to be quick on your feet with is the dance party.


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Peter J. DeCrescenzo
Re: Black Magic Cinema Cam vs PMW-200 for events, pros and cons?
on Jan 31, 2013 at 1:59:41 am

[Tom Smith] "... Another question i have then would be if there are other cameras you can recommend that would allow us to still use our lenses and shoot 4:2:2? ..."

If you have a big investment in lenses for Canon DSLRs, you may wish to take a close look at the Canon C100. I don't know if it records 4:2:2 or 4:2:0, but I've heard the video it records can look very good.

---

http://www.peterdv.com
Blog: http://herefortheweather.wordpress.com


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Matthew Sonnenfeld
Re: Black Magic Cinema Cam vs PMW-200 for events, pros and cons?
on Jan 31, 2013 at 2:42:33 am

C100 records to H.264 at 4:2:0. However the HDMI out gives you 4:2:2. Yes it is 8 bit from the HDMI but it is uncompressed. Remember that 8 bit is not bad. There's a lot of talk about codecs lately with what the BMCC has to offer but yes, raw is just not practical for most applications and DaVinci needs a beast of a machine. Most likely a very powerful tower. For your needs you would need to think of the BMCC as a ProRes or a DNx camera. Raw for event shooting is also just too expensive. The 8 bit 4:2:2 uncpressed into either a hyperdeck shuttle, a Ki Pro mini, or a nano flash, will probably give you the best bang for your buck if you want to use your lenses that you have already with the best acquisition codec. For memory card economy, shoot the H.264 and don't forget about Cineform to edit. I have had great luck with Cineform and DSLRs. But as far as event goes, something with a wide range and autofocus would go a long way.

Blackmagic Cinema Camera, RED Scarlet-X, Panasonic HPX170, Canon 7D
2011 Macbook Pro 17", 2.3 Ghz Quad Core, 16GB RAM
AJA IoXT
Adobe Production Premium CS6, Avid Symphony 6, Final Cut Pro Studio 3
The College of William and Mary


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Matthew Sonnenfeld
Re: Black Magic Cinema Cam vs PMW-200 for events, pros and cons?
on Jan 31, 2013 at 4:07:44 am

Just a couple other thoughts...

Your lenses will always be valuable. Get the camera that makes sense for what you are doing. The Canon EF mount is very quickly becoming a standard in the cinema world. They will be there for you when you need them, or you can always buy a T4i if you really wanted specific things.

I think that the PMW-200 would be a great option for you if you are doing event work. Even more so than the C100, it is a camera designed for hand held and in a world where ergonomics are everything (event photography), you need to make sure that you will be happy for hours. Also, standard Sony batteries are cheap while the BMCC needs a full battery solution. The batteries that the C100 takes will also pretty much only work with the C100 while the Sony batteries have become a pretty general standard for monitors, converters, and other accessories. The codec as well will hold up for what you need. 50mbps 4:2:2 is no slouch!

I have shot on the EX-1 and while I have and love the Panasonic HPX170, the Sony is a joy to use. It's expensive yes but kitting out the other options mentioned here will quickly meet or surpass the PMW-200. Also, while I now own a RED Scarlet, a BMCC, and a 7D, I still keep and use my HPX170 because sometimes you need the easy camera. Sometimes you need a camera that has a decent lens, with decent enough internal sound recording, standard connections, autofocus, and fits in one hand.

Blackmagic Cinema Camera, RED Scarlet-X, Panasonic HPX170, Canon 7D
2011 Macbook Pro 17", 2.3 Ghz Quad Core, 16GB RAM
AJA IoXT
Adobe Production Premium CS6, Avid Symphony 6, Final Cut Pro Studio 3
The College of William and Mary


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Bill Magac
Re: Black Magic Cinema Cam vs PMW-200 for events, pros and cons?
on Jan 31, 2013 at 6:03:55 am

Tom,

I am also considering purchasing a PMW-200 or BMCC. One thing that has not been mentioned is the camera's sensor sizes. The PMW-200 has a 1/2 inch sensor whereas the BMCC has a larger micro 4/3 sensor. With a larger sensor the BMCC will offer a shallower depth of field if needed. As a former still camera wedding photographer in the pre-digital days, shot weddings with a Mamiya RZ, depth of field can make a big difference in the look of your wedding footage. I am also considering the updated Panasonic AG-AF100A 4/3 camera, which retails for around $4,100.00 USD. The Panasonic camera offers an "enhanced 8-bit 4:2:2" output, which Panasonic advertises as 10-bit. Also, with the proper adapter, you may be able to use your existing lenses. I was once advised to buy a camera that meets 80% of your needs and rent a camera for the remaining 20%.

Good luck,
Bill


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