Blackmagic’s latest offering, the Pocket Cinema Camera 4K, has been garnering massive attention throughout 2018 that started right after its official announcement back at NAB in April.
Now that the camera is already in the hands of early adopters, many users are still discovering new tricks, techniques, and flows referring to the workflow, shooting experience, and the onboard features of the Pocket 4K. In the next video, for instance, filmmaker Arberr Baqaj discusses why he chooses to shoot exclusively in 4K DCI versus UHD on the BMPCC 4K.
In short, Baqaj discovered that when filming in UHD, the camera uses effectively a smaller area of its sensor, compared to shooting in 4K DCI format. More specifically, the UHD recording mode provides an aspect ratio of 16:9, whereas 4K DCI produces video with a 17:9 aspect ratio.
In other words, the BMPCC 4K camera records an additional 256 pixels of image width compared to shooting in 4K UHD whereas let’s say a camera like the GH5 crops the top and bottom of its 4K UHD image when recording in 4K DCI mode.
Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K Highlights/Features
4/3″ Sized HDR Sensor
Record DCI 4K 4096 x 2160 up to 60 fps
Dual Native ISO to 25,600
5″ Touchscreen Display
Active Micro Four Thirds Lens Mount
Record up to 120 fps Windowed HD
CFast 2.0 & SD/UHS-II Card Slots
External Recording via USB Type-C
13-Stop Dynamic Range, 3D LUT Support
Includes DaVinci Resolve Studio License
Price: $1,295 (body only)
In fairness, the difference between each format’s shooting dimensions is pretty subtle. Nevertheless, according to Baqaj, filmmakers should always opt for the recording option that offers a greater amount of screen real estate and higher resolution. I’m not quite sure if this is enough to make Pocket 4K shooters abandon UHD option forever, but if you really need those extra pixels maybe it’s a viable recommendation after all.
As Baqaj points out, the extra resolution gained with 4K DCI allows for better results when punching into video in post, or when using stabilization plugins. On the other hand, mixing aspect ratios and frame rates on your timeline almost always brings further issues and complications to the table, so it comes down to what your personal preferences are as well as how this format fits into the specific requirements of the project you are currently working on.