John Brawley's BMPCC Footage Grading Test #2

John Brawley's Pocket Cinema Camera footage graded

Info - John Brawley's Pocket Cinema Camera footage graded

John Brawley has selected a number of clips from his Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera (BMPCC) shoots and shared those with the online community. Highly curious to how well the BMPCC footage will grade, I downloaded all three clips and got to it.

Unconventional Workflow

I decided to use a quite unconventional method of grading the footage, since I wanted to 'emulate' the CinemaDNG workflow. I opened the ProRes files with Photoshop CC (yes, you can) - and applied the Camera RAW Smart Filter to the footage. This way I have all the same controls as with grading CinemaDNG raw files. Add to that that I'm very familiar with the interface and possibilities of that tool, and it ends up to be a very powerful grading method.

Of course, there is a downside - like with all good things. You can't export the graded footage as a video file, so I opted for a JPG (Q:10) image sequence. And whilst Photoshop CC is exporting, you can't really do anything else. So it's far from a ideal solution. 

Below a comparison of the graded vs. the ungraded footage from the first batch.

John Brawley - Black Magic Pocket Cinema Camera Footage - Batch 1 - Comparison

The image sequence can then be imported into Premiere CC, which will treat it like any other clip. It'll play smoothly and edit easily (because it effectively is an All-I format). Smacked the clips together and put them 'out there' - which seemed to be something people wanted, since it has well over 4.000 views.

Little did I know there would be more footage released by John. The site which hosted the files shut down his account because it generated too much traffic - before he could even finish uploading all clips. Suffice to say - eventually all clips were shared and below the comparison and montage of this second batch.

Comparison of John Brawley's ungraded vs. graded ProRes footage

This second video also ended up being watched well over 3.000 times.

So, does the Pocket Cinema Camera footage hold up?

The footage from the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera was very flexible, and this was merely the ProRes compressed footage. You can very easily push this around in post without destroying anything. All the details were there, in the highlights as well as in the shadow areas. When using the 'Film mode' recording option with ProRes you will have to push the saturation a lot the get the pretty colours to show themselves, but that's to be expected of such a extremely flat image. I give the BMPCC ProRes 422 HQ Film mode footage thumbs up

After these two clips I decided to take on one more grading of Brawley's footage, using FilmConvert.

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