MY PAST WITH OWNING GEAR
Since the beginning days of filming skateboarding with my Canon T2i and Rokinon 8mm fisheye, I’ve always been obsessed with buying gear. From lenses, to filters, to shoulder rig accessories, to monitors. The addiction never ended. After going from the Canon 5D to GH4 I became in love with vintage lenses and the cycle of ebay searches and craigslist deals were never ending. In 2015 I bought A RED scarlet MX and 2 years later I traded up to the Epic Dragon. I owned the Movi Pro, all types of lenses and monitors and all the pieces needed to build the RED into any configuration. After going through the 5 years of just getting gear after gear, I saw the Alexa Classic. It was a simple form factor and required less because the camera was already beefed up. It just needed a battery, lens, and monitor. I didn’t have to build it out like a glorified lego set.
I sold my RED and bought the Alexa. I loved this camera. Most of my work is handheld so this was a dream because it was so heavy. After a year of owning it and progressing in my career, I found myself on most shoots where production was covering costs of equipment. It became a thing where I would leave my camera at home and just rent out whatever I needed for the job. It became great not having to lug around gear or have to maintain/store it. So a year after owning the Alexa I decided to sell everything and just rent for all my jobs. Not having the burden of knowing I have to do a full body workout just to get all of the gear outside of my apartment to set. I swore I’d never own a camera again,
4-5 months went by and I was at the point where I wanted to create some passion projects but it was just expensive to rent out a full camera package and lenses. I just wish I had a nimbal setup that gave me a great image for my smaller personal projects. I knew BM released the pocket, but all the test footage I was seeing was not anything extraordinary. It looked like a glorified A7S (Not that it’s bad, just seemed overhyped). Finally I came across some filmmakers I followed and saw they were using the pocket. Granted they are super talented and I knew they could make an iPhone look like a film camera, but to know I could get that image out of a $1,300 camera blew me away. I went on adorama and got one of the last ones and started the gear addiction all over again.
SHOOTING WITH THE POCKET 4K
After getting the camera and messing around with it, I was so impressed. It was seriously a great camera with a super tight codec and image. My only problem was seeing how I could match it to a RED or Alexa. The pocket 4K sensor is SHARP. I know most people buy the sigma 18-35 and you get a great image out of it, but it’s just too perfect. When I think of cinematic footage I never think about sharpness. It’s all about detail and dynamic range, especially highlight rolloff.
In 2018 I went out to Mississippi to shoot a film about my grandfather. We shot it on my Arri Alexa and my good friend Levi’s RED Gemini. The footage came out great and we were stoked about the footage. A few months ago I was still in the edit cave with this piece. Even though it was 60 seconds we were missing a lot of footage. So I went back this past month with my pocket 4K and shot some pickups. Nervous if it would even hold up with the RED and Alexa footage, I was shocked.
I’m gonna attach 3 photos below. 3 of them are from the Alexa, RED and Pocket 4K. Can you spot the difference?
Maybe you can and maybe you can’t. Just for reference.. The Alexa is $10,000, The RED is $25,000 and the Pocket is $1,300.
It’s pretty crazy how close these come in image yet in price, it’s a totally different conversation.
A: RED Gemini
B: Pocket 4K
C: Arri Alexa
After this shoot I’m very impressed with the outcome out of. The video is now released, it has abut 4-5 more pocket 4K shots.
You can see it here: https://vimeo.com/357272278
RIGGING THE CAMERA
Yes, you guessed it. $1,300 doesn’t get you everything you need, you still have to put some money into making this a filmmaking machine. Here is my current setup. I think in total I put another $1,800 into it. The shoulder rig, monitor, battery was about $800 and the lenses were another $1000. I use the Meike 16/25 and Kowa 12mm MFT lenses. For the screengrabs above though I used the Canon 50mm 1.8 FD with a speedbooster. It’s different looks. Think of the Meike’s like Master primes and the Canon FD’s like Super speeds. Meike’s are super clean and sharp wide open, the FD’s are softer but have an amazing look to them. I just ordered a Canon 35-105 3.5 FD lens and am excited to test it out. It might become my go-to lens depending how it looks.
For those wondering who is my gear list for building out the rig:
Smallrig Half Cage
Smallrig Top Handle
Smallrig T5 SSD Holder
Camvate V mount Cheese plate
Off brand V mount to BMPCC4K Lemo Cable
Smallrig Shoulder Pad
Camvate 15mm Handles
Lenses: Meike 16mm/25mm + Kowa 12mm T 1.9
The Kowa has only 1 review online and it’s been out for years. It’s one of the sharpest and best looking lenses I’ve seen on a MFT system. Not sure why the hype never got around to it.
REAL WORLD USE
Will I take this on set and not rent out a RED or Alexa? Probably not. Will I bring it on set as a B-Cam or C-Cam, 100%.
This is an amazing camera but it is definitely a camera for smaller projects or personal use. It doesn’t have the professional components like the Alexa, RED or even Ursa have. I need SDI, More weight, Native PL mounts, ETC. This camera isn’t going to replace all of that and that’s fine with me. Knowing I can fit all of this into a pelican or throwing it around my neck like a stills camera is unreal. This is seriously one of the best cameras I’ve used and it didn’t even come close to breaking the bank. That’s not something you see all the time. A lot of people got upset that the 6K dropped and the 4K doesn’t mean anything, that couldn’t be farther from the truth. This camera is super cheap now on ebay because I guess people need 6K from a pocket camera? Makes no sense to me. I’d be happy with a 2.8K sensor. Avoid the hype and get this camera, it’s something I now feel confident putting next to an Alexa or RED and knowing that it will shine.