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My thoughts on MAKING AN AD by Brandon Kahn W hen Mother’s Basement came to us with an advert to put on UK cinema screens, I knew my trusty, but basic, XF 305 wasn’t going to cut it. Sure, most ads you see in cinema are projected in regular HD and are often shot no higher than 1080, but I felt we needed some extra size. Some extra dynamic range and colour information. In short, we wanted our cinema ad to reach for something a bit more cinematic. And our hire company was all out of F5’s. So we said, “What the hell, let’s go nuts and try Blackmagic’s first stab at a camera”, the creatively titled Blackmagic Cinema Camera (BMCC for short). Sure, the enormous lens mount on the 2.5K sensor makes no sense and the thing is, like, impossible to operate in anything but tripod-in-a- studio conditions, but we’ve dealt with worse. Right? Short answer: Yes Yes, we have certainly dealt with worse cameras and so long as you can deal with complicated workflows, giant piles of data and quirky operation, this little camera can deliver BIG. While I can’t completely recommend buying this first generation camera, it’s a great hire for the right project and Blackmagic clearly is moving in the right direction. Their second batch of cameras seem to deal with some 74 | TV-BAY MAGAZINE: ISSUE 80 AUGUST 2013 with the Blackmagic Cinema Camera (EF mount) of the aforementioned issues and are looking like seriously worthy upgrades. Longer answer, Part 1 (Filming) First thing I got wrong: I didn’t specify which rig I wanted. Our hire company (the amazing and ever-awesomeMedia Dog Hire) sent us out with a tripod- ready set up, complete with external battery, rails, matte box and ND filters, which was great for our dolly shots. The rig is simpler than a lot of the horrifying spaghetti and iron things you’ll see, but it gets the job done. Unless you’re going handheld, which I was. I would have been better off with a shoulder rig not unlike the one I made fun of above. Completely my fault for not making the distinction. Anyway, point is, make sure you get something that you can use handheld if that’s what you’re doing. If you don’t, seeing what you’re doing on that nice, but ultimately useless, LCD screen on the back will be a bit of a luxury. You might also have trouble framing as holding it can get awkward quickly. Give yourself an hour or so testing it in the comfort of your own home before going out on a job and you’ll get used to the boxy little guy (I did). A few more reasons I was happy to use the BMCC, despite its quirks: the shoot was outside. I had a lot of space and could back away from the subject without hitting a wall or getting any lighting in frame, so the crop factor wasn’t crippling. Also, shooting in England outside is a bit of a nightmare as the cloud cover shifts constantly. Shooting RAW is great in this situation as you can fix white balance after the fact to get all of the images looking about the same. And about that crop factor… I would recommend using ANYTHING BUT the EF mount version of their 2.5K model (EF mount on the new 4K model is just right). It’s been said a whole lot, but it bears repeating, the EF mount is completely wrong for this camera and the crop factor is just stupid. I wish there was a Micro Four-Thirds version available as I could have used longer lenses, which would have given us a bit less depth of field. Longer answer, Part 2 (Post Production) I love RAW. You love RAW. Everybody loves RAW. And I love bigger than HD resolutions. And DaVinci Resolve Lite is the greatest piece of free software ever to grace this fair planet, particularly for grading RAW footage from the BMCC. The only caveat, which applies to people like me who hire, but do not buy (and who buys cameras anyway?!), a BMCC, is that DaVinci Resolve Lite will not EXPORT at higher than HD. It will import and work flawlessly with just about anything, but once you’re ready to export that slick grade, it ain’t going above 1080. And like I said earlier, I thought this ad’s epic feel needed every pixel it could hang on to.