B-camera: Request for advise from fellow users

megabit wrote on 11/30/2016, 7:58 AM

I'm thinking about buying a cheap and small camera to serve as a B-cam for my FS7. Typical usage scenario will be:

- the FS7 locked for wide shot of a chamber orchestra (usually unmanned)

- the B-cam I will be hand-holding and taking "beauty shots" of the soloits, or the orchestra at speial angles, etc.

- both will be edited as a 2-camera movie, so they must intercut fine

Currently, I'm considering two options:

- a Sony A6500 (for price, and S-log/S-Gamut compatibility with my FS7)
- a used BMPC4K (for its 10 bit 4K; I can have a used one for roughl the same price as a new A6500)

Comments, suggestions and advise welcome!

Piotr

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Comments

Former user wrote on 11/30/2016, 9:16 AM

Maybe check out this video review of 6500 ...

 

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=0yL5VhXRL1o

Arthur.S wrote on 11/30/2016, 1:26 PM

I can't give you any camera suggestions, but just wondering why use the FS7 locked off, and the 'inferior' camera for the close up/detail shots? I'd personally do that the other way around.

dxdy wrote on 11/30/2016, 2:17 PM

Arthur S., I completely agree. Zooming with the superior camera is the way to go.

Piotr, when you have both cameras in a project, I highly recommend the Graide Color Match plug in.

john_dennis wrote on 11/30/2016, 2:48 PM

"...why use the FS7 locked off, and the 'inferior' camera for the close up/detail shots?"

I can't speak for Piotr, but concerts are mostly about the audio. The camera in the back of the house would likely be where the audio mix is received over XLR connections. The A6500 wouldn't qualify for that service. It doesn't even have a healdphone output to monitor the capture.

RedRob-CandlelightProdctns wrote on 11/30/2016, 9:42 PM

"...why use the FS7 locked off, and the 'inferior' camera for the close up/detail shots?"

I can't speak for Piotr, but concerts are mostly about the audio. The camera in the back of the house would likely be where the audio mix is received over XLR connections. The A6500 wouldn't qualify for that service. It doesn't even have a healdphone output to monitor the capture.

If it's unmanned, then it's also unmonitored; in that situation, he wouldn't be tweaking the audio levels and if there are any peaking/clipping issues or other anomolies with the audio feed, he'd be SOL. He may as well get an inexpensive audio recorder in that situation then for audio (which can be synched in post when he synchs the two cams) and use the better cam for his handheld work.

OR if the feed is Mono he can send it wirelessly back to his handheld cam :-)

When it comes to hand-held in live event situations, the fluidity of the zoom ring is critical for my shots, and far too many cameras these days (especially the smaller form-factor ones) jump/stutter on slow pushes & pulls, and others are often non-servo (manual) lenses.

 

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megabit wrote on 11/30/2016, 10:09 PM

Thanks guys for your comments so far. John Dennis is right that concerts are mainly about the audio, but this is not the reason of my planned workflow as I always hire a pro sound engineer who mixes audio separately - so the in-camera audio is for reference only. But there is another very important reason I won't use a cam like the A6500 as the locked-off one: the static camera needs to roll w/o any breaks for the entire event, which often last up to 2 hours - especially when it's unmanned, it cannot suffer from single shot max length, overheating, and other limitations plaguing most DSLRs. So - especially if I choose the A6500 and not the BMPC4K - it'll be much better suited for "mobile" use as takes will be shorter, and cooling down the camera, replacing battery etc. will not be a problem. Besides (as some of you might remember), after unsuccessful neck spine surgeries I'm just unfit physically to run&gun with shoulder mounted FS7 - while the minute A6500 with its IBIS stabilization would not pose such a problem... So, I'm still waiting for some comments on which of the 2 cameras proposed in my OP would you choose. The A6500 has the extra appeal to me as a capable still camera, but 10-bit 4:2:2 Prores or Cinema DNG from the BM Production 4K camera is also tempting; generally the choice boils down to answering the following question on how one of them would intercut (color-wise) with the FS7, which I usually use in S-log/S-Gamut mode:

- would the Sony's own A6500 fit better thanks to having similar S-log/S-gamut capabilities, even if 8 bit only

- or, would totally different color science BM camera be better thanks to its 10bit "film mode" (BM's version of 12-stop latitide, Log-like footage)?

Piotr

Last changed by megabit on 12/1/2016, 1:36 AM, changed a total of 1 times.

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megabit wrote on 1/6/2017, 11:40 PM

I'm bumping up this old thread in hope you will help me with your expert advise (yeah, I know - seems like I suck when it comes to decision-making :)). Anyway, in the meantime I was already decided to buy the Sony A7Rii camera as a B-cam for my FS7, when Panasonic published the specs of the GH5 (coming in March). On paper, it looks awesome - 10bit 4:2:2 (with up to 30p on the SD cards and 50/60p on an external recorder); unlimited recording time, future firmware upgrades including "6K" for anamorphic lenses, V-log and HDR, to name a few... BUT: it still is just a 4/3 sensor camera (even though the GH5 will NOT crop it further in 4K video mode like the GH4 does).

So now I'm back at the starting point of my painful decision-making process :

- A7Rii advantages over GH5: Full Frame and/or S35mm video recording flexibility; Sony colorimetry (important for cutting with my current FS7), great stills camera with a 42 Mp FF sensor

- GH5 advantages over A7Rii: everything else (with 10bit 4:2:2, 400 Mbps codec being the most important one)

Please tell me: from the viewpoint of grading/color correcting both in my 2-camera projects, are common Sony color science of the FS7 and A7Rii and flexibility of FF/S35mm frame prevailing over 10-bit codec of the GH5? I'm grading for HDR, mind you...

Piotr

AMD TR 2990WX CPU | MSI X399 CARBON AC | 64GB RAM@XMP2933  | 2x RTX 2080Ti GPU | 4x 3TB WD Black RAID0 media drive | 3x 1TB NVMe RAID0 cache drive | SSD SATA system drive | AX1600i PSU | Decklink 12G Extreme | Samsung UHD reference monitor (calibrated)

ushere wrote on 1/7/2017, 1:14 AM

i've been following your similar thread over at bm as well - i sympathise with your dilemma and offer the only practical advice there is - borrow / hire said cameras and do your own tests - and i don't necessarily go by specs since manufacturers do have a tendency to paint the best picture they can (pun intended).

i'm not doubting the many helpful and knowledgeable people to be found on both forums, HOWEVER, i usually bundle their suggestions together and hope they come up with a consensus (which they do sometimes), but when it comes to something as complex as a camera (ergonomics, button placement, balance, etc., etc.,), you really do need a touchy-feely session.

i've even taken a macbeth chart into a shop and shot stills / video along with general interior footage with a camera i couldn't get elsewhere. of the very few raised eyebrows i've received i simply pointed out that you'd have to be a fool NOT to know what you're buying and if they don't like it, well there's other shops you know ;-)

megabit wrote on 1/7/2017, 1:38 AM

You're right - I already did some testing with the Sony A7 series cams. The problem is though the GH5 is not available yet, and won't be until March/April - and for some reasons, I need to make up my mind sooner... This is why I'm trying to "bundle people's suggestions together and hope they come up with a consensus", as you put it :)

Piotr 

AMD TR 2990WX CPU | MSI X399 CARBON AC | 64GB RAM@XMP2933  | 2x RTX 2080Ti GPU | 4x 3TB WD Black RAID0 media drive | 3x 1TB NVMe RAID0 cache drive | SSD SATA system drive | AX1600i PSU | Decklink 12G Extreme | Samsung UHD reference monitor (calibrated)

Wolfgang S. wrote on 1/7/2017, 3:19 AM

Your problem with the GH5 could be how to match it to the FS7. Grading of the GH4 footage is demanding too, and I see no reason why it should become easier now.

Well, on the other hand it can be done given the upcoming 10bit with the GH5 mid of this year.

Not so easy!

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NickHope wrote on 1/7/2017, 6:37 AM

Keeping it all Sony should not only help in matching footage, but I assume that the FS7 and A7Rii share some commonality in the language and logic of the menus and controls. Modern, complex camera menus and options "do my head in" (still haven't really mastered my utterly confusing RX100mk1 or GH4), so this would certainly be a factor in my decision.

Another thing... If I buy a GH5 I certainly won't be an early adopter after I got burnt by the mic-input-audio-noise hardware issue on my early GH4. I would let the dust settle and see what the summer firmware updates actually bring before purchasing.

megabit wrote on 1/7/2017, 6:54 AM

Yes guys, totally valid points about the risk of being an early adopter; we know nothing about the noise and sensitivity of GH5, for instance...

Piotr

AMD TR 2990WX CPU | MSI X399 CARBON AC | 64GB RAM@XMP2933  | 2x RTX 2080Ti GPU | 4x 3TB WD Black RAID0 media drive | 3x 1TB NVMe RAID0 cache drive | SSD SATA system drive | AX1600i PSU | Decklink 12G Extreme | Samsung UHD reference monitor (calibrated)

john_dennis wrote on 1/7/2017, 9:57 AM

Because you mentioned matching Sony in the original post, I haven't even mentioned the Canon XC15.

Pro:

1" sensor

UHD@305 Mbps 4.2.2

Battery and storage can be changed while on a tripod or monopod.

No recording limit except you wallet for Cfast2 cards.

XLR inputs

Con:

May not play well with Sony.

Low light may not be as good as other cameras in the price range.

Some reviewers hated the XC10 when it first appeared.

If a knowledgeable moderator deletes this post, I'll understand and won't be offended.

As to ushere's comment, personal preference goes a long way for me. I went to a camera store to look at the GH4 and the A7 when they were both rather new. With both cameras on the counter in front of me, I picked up the GH4 and fondled it for about 30 minutes. Just before I left, I felt obligated to pick up the A7.

Musicvid wrote on 1/7/2017, 2:04 PM

The camera with the best glass gets the lockdown.

Always looks like crap the other way. 30-50 ft. Is a long throw.

NickHope wrote on 1/7/2017, 7:49 PM

...we know nothing about the noise and sensitivity of GH5, for instance...

Nick Driftwood did a very quick test and it's "not noisy":

It has automatic noise reduction at high ISO. The engineering boss talks about it at 04:00 in this interview. Personally I'd be happy for the camera to do it, as long as it makes a decent job, rather than me faffing about in post doing it.

megabit wrote on 1/7/2017, 10:53 PM

Well - most cameras have some sort of NR; what I meant is we will only know how the GH5 really performs in this department when it hits the shelves..

Piotr

PS. But this low-light test does look good... Damn, what a difficult decision! As I see you have the GH4, Nick - how would you answer my main question:

- from the viewpoint of grading both in my 2-camera projects in Resolve (and I'm grading for HDR, mind you), are common Sony color science of the FS7 and A7Rii and flexibility of FF/S35mm frame prevailing over the 10-bit codec advantage of the GH5 and its other goodies the A7 cams don't have yet?

Last changed by megabit on 1/8/2017, 1:41 AM, changed a total of 3 times.

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megabit wrote on 1/7/2017, 11:28 PM

The camera with the best glass gets the lockdown.

Always looks like crap the other way. 30-50 ft. Is a long throw.

That's how I'm going to use mine. But please oh please, advise on the Panasonic vs Sony color science - the GH5 is so tempting... But never having a Panasonic camera before, I really don't know whether my B-roll would be gradable easy, or would always stick out low a sore thumb!

Piotr

AMD TR 2990WX CPU | MSI X399 CARBON AC | 64GB RAM@XMP2933  | 2x RTX 2080Ti GPU | 4x 3TB WD Black RAID0 media drive | 3x 1TB NVMe RAID0 cache drive | SSD SATA system drive | AX1600i PSU | Decklink 12G Extreme | Samsung UHD reference monitor (calibrated)