The Black­mag­ic Cin­e­ma Cam­era (BCC) is a 16mm-sized-sensor HD dig­i­tal video cam­era that shoots RAW footage for under $4,000. Much excite­ment has been made about this new cam­era that few peo­ple have yet to use, main­ly because it’ll offer 2k video in RAW mode with 13 stops of dynam­ic range so that you have the utmost cre­ative con­trol over the image in post pro­duc­tion (like pro pho­tog­ra­phers shoot­ing RAW still images). And it is a 12-bit image (more bits = more shading/less band­ing), when many oth­er cam­eras are still only 8-bit. Plus, it looks and works more like an Apple prod­uct ver­sus the slight­ly arcane and some­what baf­fling cam­eras of yore (I know, some would argue that is a neg­a­tive).

Any­way, a few peo­ple have the cam­eras and have been test­ing them out in the field. The guys from EOSHD (in Eng­lish) and SlashCam.de have post­ed some frames from a shoot (in Ger­man), includ­ing an orig­i­nal Cin­e­maD­NG frame. I decid­ed to take it into Light­room 4.2 (LR) and have a look myself.

Here is the orig­i­nal shot (the full size is 2400 x 1350 pix­els):
RAW DNG from BCC

Here is a JPEG of the orig­i­nal shot from LR (click for full size):
JPEG from DNG from BCC

Here is my adjust­ed shot from LR (click for full size):
Adjusted image from RAW DNG from BCC

I only used over­all glob­al adjust­ments to cre­ate this image, there were no gra­di­ents, no local adjust­ments, no retouch­ing, mask­ing, etc. My goal was to retain/extract max­i­mum image details, not to do a final col­or grade.

As you can hope­ful­ly see, there is a LOT of high­light detail recov­ered, even though the orig­i­nal looks rather blown out in the high­lights of the build­ing on the right and the curv­ing brick wall in front of it. You can also see a lot of new detail in the boat and the far-away build­ings in the mid­dle. Let’s take a clos­er look with some side-by-side 100% crops of the image.

Build­ing detail and shad­ows:
Bcc cu 01

You can clear­ly see a lot more detail on the scaf­fold­ing, tree branch­es, cast shad­ows, and even the seams in the exte­ri­or walls (almost hor­i­zon­tal lines). I had thought this area was most­ly lost to over-exposure.

The curved brick wall:
Bcc cu 02

I had hoped to pull slight­ly more detail back into the brick retain­ing wall and was very pleased to see full detail of the blocks and rail­ings and bench­es.

The boat at low­er right:
Bcc cu 03

I have to admit, this was a pret­ty big sur­prise for me. Details that I had no idea exist­ed in the orig­i­nal image sud­den­ly revealed them­selves in great clar­i­ty. Very impres­sive for some­thing I assumed was sol­id white and/or blown out.

The dis­tant build­ings:
Bcc cu 04

Again, you can see some seams in the exte­ri­or walls of the build­ings and you get much bet­ter sep­a­ra­tion from the sky. Much more clar­i­ty here.

The tow­er and flag:
Bcc cu 05

Here you see much bet­ter sep­a­ra­tion from the sky, the build­ing and win­dows just have more pres­ence and def­i­n­i­tion and the sky shows more depth/shading. Nice.

I think this shot is a lit­tle bit soft over­all and they said they used a vari­able ND fil­ter so that might explain it. But, the BCC and RAW mode clear­ly show the ben­e­fits of such a sys­tem. You can shoot in chal­leng­ing con­di­tions and pull back high­lights, detail, shape, def­i­n­i­tion, sep­a­ra­tion and col­or quite quick­ly and eas­i­ly. In fact, this’ll be required on every shot since you’ll have to process the video to edit it. Shoot­ing RAW means you won’t be able to shoot and dump direct to out­put.

The chal­lenge as a film­mak­er will main­ly be: how do you han­dle the increased stor­age demands?