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Stop Motion with BMCC or 4K camera

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Pedro Ricardo
Stop Motion with BMCC or 4K camera
on Jun 12, 2013 at 3:35:46 am

Do the BlackMagic cameras have a 'single frame advance' like the old film cameras do? I want to do some stop motion, and some 'mechanised motion (where I want to trigger the camera to grab a frame about twice a second). I'm using Pt Grey Machine Vision cameras at the moment as they have a trigger port and I can manually triger up to about 26fps for the mech stuff, and manually trigger about once a second for the traditional stop motion stuff. Can either camera do this?


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Peter J. DeCrescenzo
Re: Stop Motion with BMCC or 4K camera
on Jun 12, 2013 at 5:45:09 pm

[Pedro Ricardo] "Do the BlackMagic cameras have a 'single frame advance' like the old film cameras do? ..."

I don't believe so. To the best of my knowledge, the current BMD camera firmware includes a timelapse feature, but not "single-frame advance" for stop motion.

This capability has previously been added to the "feature request" list on BMD's forum, but it wouldn't hurt to add your request, too:
http://forum.blackmagicdesign.com/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=265&sid=730d179086857...

---

http://www.peterdv.com
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Marco Solorio
Re: Stop Motion with BMCC or 4K camera
on Jun 12, 2013 at 6:20:38 pm

Peter's correct. No shutter release control for individual frames, other than the time-lapse feature. For stop motion, you'd be better served using a DSLR with remote shutter control, larger sensor, higher bit-depth, and larger frame size since, after all, you're shooting individual photos rather than motion video.

Marco Solorio | CreativeCow Host | OneRiver Media | ORM Blog | Facebook | Twitter | BMCC Newsletter


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Pedro Ricardo
Re: Stop Motion with BMCC or 4K camera
on Jun 12, 2013 at 11:32:49 pm

Except that we keep burning through shutters, so it gets expensive.
On a single shoot we will chew up 3 to 5 Canon 5D bodies, the BMD 4K camera would pay for itself very quickly and be a no brainer for people doing heavy stop motion loads.


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Pedro Ricardo
Re: Stop Motion with BMCC or 4K camera
on Jun 12, 2013 at 11:46:17 pm

If it had the single frame advance feature, then the BMD 4K camera becomes effectively free, in fact you would be paid to own one as it would save you money on the shoot vs throwing out DSLR camera bodies once the shutters die.

Also, it means you have an extra cine camera to shoot live action or your other projects with. It would have massive advantages over DSLRs if it only had the feature. I'll be buying multiple 4Ks the day the feature is added.


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Marco Solorio
Re: Stop Motion with BMCC or 4K camera
on Jun 13, 2013 at 12:25:56 am

[Pedro Ricardo] "On a single shoot we will chew up 3 to 5 Canon 5D bodies"

I've never heard of anyone going through 3 to 5 DSLR bodies on one shoot due to stop-motion photography, but if that's your experience, then I'm shocked. I've owned everything from a 10D to my current 5D Mk III (about five DSLRs in total) and to this day none of my shutters have failed through constant time-lapse shooting (I have a huge library at this point). I'm sure my 20D is on its last leg, but after all these years, it's still working fine, again, through countless time-lapse shoots that is still used to this day. Yes, I know shutters eventually die out after heavy use, but I guess I've been lucky all these years.

With that said, I'd still prefer a DSLR for stop motion work (and possibly even to the extent of time-lapse), even against a BMPC 4K; bit-depth, dynamic range, frame size, and low-pass filtration are all better on a DSLR for dedicated still image work. Now, if shooting video in 4K, 2.5K, or HD, then I'd definitely prefer the BMCC solutions without a second thought.

But if you're set on using a BMCC or BMPC 4K for stop motion work when it's released, then go for it, in the hopes that they'll add it to the firmware. At current state, use a LANC controller to start and stop the recorder for each frame in time-lapse mode. That can work for you now, if even a two-button-push process.

Marco Solorio | CreativeCow Host | OneRiver Media | ORM Blog | Facebook | Twitter | BMCC Newsletter


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Pedro Ricardo
Re: Stop Motion with BMCC or 4K camera
on Jun 13, 2013 at 1:04:54 am

We shoot a minimum of 3 hours of Stop motion per film, usually about 45-90mins of it ends up used depending on the project. Commercials of course are much less.
So that is about 260,000 actuations per 3 hours, sometimes we will shoot double that if alternate angles are wanted as options in post, we tend to get about 80-100,000 actuations per body, but sometimes they die earlier. We sometimes buy 2nd hand bodies as well, and we get variable results with those (but it still works out cheaper than buying new).

The dynamic range isn't all that different compared to the 4K camera, and the workflow is a pain, we don't use the extra resolution anyway as all it really gives us is bigger files that are more of a pain in the NLE. The 4K camera would also allow us faster playback options, and an all round better workflow, and give us extra cameras to use for non stop-motion work. One set of cameras, one workflow, one set of rigs and gear etc. etc. it would be a much much tidier shoot.

I didn't know you could start/stop the camera for one frame via LANC, I'll look into that.


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Marco Solorio
Re: Stop Motion with BMCC or 4K camera
on Jun 13, 2013 at 4:52:16 pm

I'm not second-guessing your workflow, but I'm trying to wrap my head around the quantity of actuations you're firing per per 3 hours of shooting per body for stop-motion.

For time-lapse, I usually shoot around one frame every two seconds, which equals to 5400 frames of continuos shooting in a 3-hour timespan.

For traditional stop-motion, it's even fewer; adjust object, actuate, adjust object, actuate, repeat a thousand times. In this instance I'm firing far less that time-lapse, say a shot every five seconds if I'm fast, which is 2160 frames if I don't stop for three hours and shoot like a mad man.

So with that said, how are you shooting 260,000 actuations per body, per three hours for stop-motion? That's just about 24 FPS nonstop for three hours! If that's the case, why wouldn't you just shoot motion video? Confused.

And you're correct... the DR for the 5D Mk III is about 12 stops at base 100 (I thought it was at least 13), so yes, it's about the same as the BMPC 4K at 12 stops base 800 (the extra 2 bits of the 5D wont matter at that point). If you don't need the 4K resolution or benefits of global shutter for video, I'd go with the BMCC since it yields 13 stops at base 800 and gives you the smaller frame size you're asking for.

I'm still confused as to your actuation count though! ;-)

Marco Solorio | CreativeCow Host | OneRiver Media | ORM Blog | Facebook | Twitter | BMCC Newsletter


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Pedro Ricardo
Re: Stop Motion with BMCC or 4K camera
on Jun 13, 2013 at 4:58:13 pm

Sorry for the confusion. We deliver three hours of *finished footage*, the actual process of getting the animation 'in the can' takes months :)

So yes 3 hours of finished footage at 24fps (which takes many many many more hours to do).

We also have 'automated' stop motion, where the models are motorised and we shoot up to 2fps or so. I'm wondering how fast you can trigger the 4K camera via LANC in 'time lapse' mode. If it could manage a frame per second, then I'm in.


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Dan Stewart
Re: Stop Motion with BMCC or 4K camera
on Jun 18, 2013 at 1:51:22 pm

I've no experience but couldn't you just run the camera tethered and extract frames? You could use a manually triggered strobe or plop as an 'exposure' and auto extract the following frame? Madness?



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Pedro Ricardo
Re: Stop Motion with BMCC or 4K camera
on Jun 18, 2013 at 2:20:11 pm

I haven't looked into tethered shooting with the 4K camera yet. I didn't know it was possible.


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