USER REVI EW | BLACKMAG I C POCKET 6K PRO
The camera’s professional credentials are backed up by quality rubber covers over ports, including a headphone socket and mini XLR jack. There are good-quality internal mics and preamps, with intuitive on-screen audio monitoring. The camera’s real beauty is image quality. To get the best out of it, try shooting in Raw. This offers a real benefit in quality and control that only Raw files can, but comes at a cost. One is the extra processing power and time involved, as these BRAW files have to be processed in Blackmagic’s DaVinci Resolve. You get a free, full Studio version of Resolve – the industry-standard for colour grading – but getting the best out of it proves a learning curve. Plus, it’s an extra step if you want to export to your usual NLE later. Raw’s other issue is the large file sizes. However, the 6K Pro allows you to select different compression levels for its Raw files. It ranges from 3:1 down to 12:1 – if you keep the bit rate constant – or four quality levels, from Q0 to Q4, ensuring consistent quality. This is a trade-off between file size and quality. Shooting in 6K, even the most compressed files give stunning resolution. At 6K, you can manage about an hour of recording time on a 256GB card. Meanwhile, recording 4K or lower in ProRes provides edit-ready files that are easier to handle, and usually save on space compared to Raw. But with a choice of compression levels, some of the larger 10-bit ProRes files are actually bigger than some of the 12-bit BRAW files. That means you have a couple of options, but if you have time to work on the colours, Raw is the way to go. You can change white-balance, plus recover shadow and highlight details far more easily. If you want higher resolution than C4K, you have to shoot Raw. Nonetheless, 10-bit ProRes HQ and 422 files are also incredibly detailed.
ABOVE On top of the body, there are three functions keys and access to settings, such as white-balance
Shooting 4K in ProRes is easier in terms of post workflow, importing simply to your chosen NLE. The Pro model boasts realistic fifth-generation colour science. Three basic colour settings are on offer, plus you can upload your own LUTs. Video creates a standard high-definition Rec. 709 punchy look, Extended Video provides a wide dynamic range, while Film produces a more cinematic feel. Standard LUTs include changing Film to Extended Video into Rec. 2020 Hybrid Log Gamma, and Rec. 2020 PQ Gamma for HDR. These LUTs can normalise the monitor image while recording Log. We liked the film settings best, choosing the Gen 5 Film to Extended Video LUT. This gave a subtle cinematic feel, and thanks to the dual-native ISO sensor, very low noise. Shooting in Raw with proper grading, overall image quality is excellent. The footage shot in Raw at 6K or 5.7K is incredibly detailed, full of natural colours, neutral skin tones, lots of dynamic range, virtually no moire and very little rolling shutter. Noise only starts to become noticeable at ISO 6400 or above.
You can record with a LUT, before selecting a Blackmagic LUT in your NLE, but it’s far better to spend time colour correcting yourself. With such high-quality, flexible files, you can dial in the precise look you want.
THE VERDICT The Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 6K has been a success, but the new Pro version adds a lot, without taking anything away – and for the same price. The built-in NDs, larger battery and tilting screen are big advantages, as is the new colour science. And the option of an EVF is also there. Nonetheless, there is still no in-body image stabilisation, autoexposure or AF tracking, while the 120fps is heavily cropped. It’s not the camera to buy for fast-paced, run-and-gun documentary users. But it is a very capable cinema camera for more considered, slower workers that prioritise image quality. Taking the time to process those burly Blackmagic Raw files in DaVinci Resolve, nothing comes close to this quality and resolution for anywhere near the same price.
Where will your kit go next? Inspire others, earn some extra cash and make a difference. Sell your used kit and let someone else love it as much as you have. Make good use of your used gear. Sell yours today at mpb.com/sell THERE’S NEVER BEEN A BETTER TIME TO MAKE GOOD USE
40 DEF I N I T ION | JUNE 202 1
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