How Much Recording Time Can You Expect When Shooting in 6K RAW on the BMPCC 6K

The moment the RED ONE came out, it felt like an earthquake that broke in pieces the whole film industry. Shooting at 4K was already a dream coming true (as 4K was thought to be the miracle resolution needed to reach the quality of film), but the thought of having Raw files available was mind-blowing at the time.

With RED Raw, content creators discovered that “with highquality files comes a great need for computational power and storage“. Flash forward today, and the computational power has dropped down in price so much that new filmmakers on the block may even ignore what a RED-Rocket X is, while they usually edit on the fly with their laptops. But the demand for huge storage is still there (or getting even bigger!), and Carlos Quintero will drive us in a tour to learn what we can expect in terms of usage from the Pocket 6K.

There was a small group of filmmakers that were expecting the K-race to end with 4K delivery. They would say something like: “We got our 5-ish K cameras, we can downsample for higher quality, we can crop and reframe, why bother going over 4K resolution in delivery?”

Well, it seems that TV manufacturers for one won’t agree with them. As the first 8K panels are already hitting the market, the lower end of the filmmaking industry is starting to make the first baby steps beyond 4K acquisition. 6K and 8K have been for a while within reach of RED Dragon and Monstro shooters, but now also users of much cheaper gear like the Pocket 6K and the brand new S1H can shoot and deliver in native 6K.

Beyond bare resolution, shooting in 6K has a couple of advantages. The first is the obvious “crop and reframe” factor. Not everyone may be on board on this one, as many think that if you shoot correctly you won’t need to crop or reframe. These are the people that instead will enjoy the second advantage, that is the increased sharpness and general quality of a deliverable file downscaled from wider source material.

On the Pocket 6K, we have two codec options. The first is the Blackmagic RAW and the other is ProRes. Each codec has a variety of options that can be chosen.

Let’s start with the BRAW page, after all, that’s what you’ve got a Pocket for, right?

In the table, you can see the recording times as they vary between the compression rates offered by the camera. To make a decision between which ratio would better suit your work, you can keep in mind that the 12:1 ratio is more than enough for most of your work that will be distributed on the web.

A higher ratio will be required if you aim at broadcasting or for the silver screen. You should keep in mind that if you plan to use an off-frame rate, like the 120fps that the camera is capable of, you’ll be limited to 2,8K 17:9. With a frame size of 2868×1512, this format will land you a solid 62 minutes of high-speed recording, or a bigger 124 minutes if you stop at 60fps.

The second option available is the ProRes codec, offered in four different flavors. The question on what could be the scenario where you have to shoot ProRes over BRAW is open. It may be because you can’t rely on Resolve for post, or your team has a consolidated ProRes workflow. Whatever may be the reason, you have ProRes HQ, 422, LT and Proxy.

Unfortunately, shooting in ProRes will cap your resolution at 4K, and to many of us, it may seem strange going the hustle of buying a 6K camera only to shoot in 4K. It could be that you want to futureproof or you just have a project at hand where 6K is a real overkill.

Be as it may, here you can check what can be the requirement in terms of disk space for your next project, and that hopefully will allow you to make a more informed decision during the pre-production stage.

[source: Carlos Quintero]

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