We all dream of having the image quality and color science of an ARRI ALEXA, but the truth is that most of us don’t have deep enough pockets to own that kind of camera. The BMPCC 4K and 6K, on the other hand, are much more affordable devices: it seems that in the land down under they’ve made their mission to disrupt the market with a continuous innovation at a competitive price point.
A tool that promises to get you an ALEXA-level color science in a Pocket camera could be the Holy Grail for indie filmmakers. But could it be possible to attain the same results as an ARRI ALEXA with either a Pocket 4K or 6K camera? Let’s see what the guys at Kinotika have to say about that.
Besides the humongous price point, what are the elements that make so fabulous the look of the ALEXA? Leveraging on a tradition and expertise that dates back to the early days of cinematography, the engineers at ARRI have concocted the perfect mixture of silicate parts needed to produce beautiful images.
Almost all the blind tests you’ll find on the web will land the same result: ARRI’s cameras produce exquisite imagery. Period. End of story.
The sleek roll from the brighter highlights down to the mid-tones alongside the gentle rendition of skin tones is almost legendary. The German specialists behind this success took their time, releasing cameras at a very slow pace, and only when they were perfectly up to spec with the desired image quality.
That’s not something we can say for all camera makers. So, once we’ve agreed that ALEXA’s images are beautiful, how can we try to recreate the same look on the Pocket cameras? The answer is by using a LUT.
Chances are you’ve already heard about Emotive Color, the makers of the LUT we’ve got here: they are quite known for having developed a similar LUT for the Panasonic GH5 and V-Log.
Now, by taking advantage of the great footage the Blackmagic cameras are capable of producing, the company has recently rolled out a Pocket to ALEXA conversion LUT.
The procedure is simple, you shoot with either your Pocket 4K or 6K, since there seems to be no difference at all in the color science of the two cameras, and import the footage in your editor of choice.
You could shoot in either ProRes or BRAW depending on your creative needs. Probably handling the BRAW image will be easier even with an older computer that may not be a “cutting edge” video editing workstation.
The only important thing to remember is that the camera needs to shoot in a flat profile if you’re not using BRAW. At that point, you can simply use a node in Resolve, or the input LUT in the Lumetri Color Panel and apply the look-up table on the footage, it’s just as simple as that. Neat, right? But does it actually work?
Well, the short answer is yes. The produced image has a great quality in terms of color science, it’s vibrant and life-like. The falloff in the highlights is excellent, and the skin tones are also much better with the LUT.
That said, if you factor in the price of the two cameras, the combo of the LUT in question and Pocket 4K/6K is a steal. There is so much quality in these images, not exactly ALEXA-like, but still, at a very high level, enough to be compared to the original one.
So, in case you’ve got a Pocket 4K/6K camera lying around, it’s worth trying out this LUT, it could probably make your grading life much easier.