Right now, the only two Blackmagic cameras that shoot high frame-rates are the URSA and the Studio Cameras. Until Blackmagic fixes this we are left with wild speculations for NAB 2015 and 30p as our highest frame rate. I'll do my best to show how I have been able to create slow looking footage out of the Blackmagic Cinema Camera.
The URSA has 80 fps in 4K 3:1 raw and from what I hear it'll “soon” have 120fps. The Studio Camera has a setting to shoot 60p, but I'm not exactly sure on it's usefullness and the ability to record it just yet. Which leaves me left with the Cinema Camera, Production Camera, and Pocket Camera. Where it stands right now these cameras only has 30 fps as their highest frame rate.
MAKING IT WORK
I work in broadcast news where 29.97 is king and any frame rate outside of the golden 29.97 Drop Frame is seriously frowned upon. What is one to do when the camera given to them only shoots 30p? There's twixtor or one could brave their NLE's slow motion effect, but watch out. Without a little fore-thought those effects can give you wrinkled video. I don't know what else to call it other than “wrinkled,” because that is exactly what it looks like. For an example of a “wrinkle” you just have to look at the boot in then beginning of this spot.
It took me awhile to brave 24 fps for broadcast work. Looking back, I don't know what kept me from embracing 24fps other than the gigantic fear tv engineers have enstilled in me. For good reason too. I've seen too many examples of 24fps footage made to work on Avid Newscutter. But, what happens when you can control the entire process from shooting, editing, to delivering?
This is where you have to test the process first. I tested shooting 24fps on a small PSA. I shot 24fps, I edited 24fps in my personal Avid, and then used Motion 5, set to Broadcast 1080 29.97, to do my graphics work and export my final spot. It worked out wonderfully. For some reason, Motion 5 is able to change the 24fps into 29.97 while retaining the look and feel of 24fps. Thank you Apple. Once I learned this lesson I started thinking.
30P IN A 24P TIME-LINE
Could I shoot 30p, edit 24p to get a 25% slow-motion effect, and get the project ready for air by going through Motion 5? The short answer is yes. To make the footage look even more like slow-motion, in the example below, I asked my anchor's to give me their best “slow-motion” look up. It work wonderfully. By combining their talent and the 25% slow-motion it turned out to be just enough. In the example below you can find this “slow-motion” footage at the end.
THIS IS STUPID
Yep, it is stupid that I have to go to these lengths to find out how to grab a little slow-motion out of Blackmagic cameras. If you're like me you are hoping and praying that Blackmagic Design hears our pleads to put High Frame Rates… hell even 48p, in the next firmware updates or at the very least in whatever camera they announce at NAB 2015.
Until then we have the URSA and it's 80 fps, which is very cinematic.