Take a small, I’m talking really small, video camera body, a teeny tiny lens, and outfit it with all the gear you’ve been cumulatively collecting over the years. You are bound to get noticed.

Such is what happened to me one day not long ago when I was outside, walking around with said camera gear, hoping to be lucky enough to shoot some artistic grass, or tree branches. You don’t expect to find some eager amateur hip hop artists egging in front of the lens. But inevitably, that’s exactly what happened. They saw the lens, saw the monitor, became starstruck and requested I film them dancing. These kids danced for 15 minutes total. They seemed to be copying moves they had seen, and I was hollywood-ing the camera all over the place, attempting to capture an assortment of angles and moves. Having one focal length was easy to adapt to, but also made framing somewhat boring. The kids brought their “A” game.

Technical Information

I was shooting in CinemaDNG RAW. This was around 7PM and the sky was very overcast. Only had a super 16mm sensor to work with, so less than optimal light was a concern. Surprisingly, it wasn’t too bad. Was shooting on the Blackmagic Micro Cinema Camera. I jumped ship from the Sony A7s line and splurged on the BMMCC because Blackmagic has the upper hand when it comes to color science, and internal RAW recording, in my opinion. This was the first time I took this camera outside, under less than ideal conditions. The lens is a very small Super 16 25mm Nikon Cine Nikkor. A little bigger than a cigarette lighter, this was made for tiny cameras. Therefore the focal length equates to roughly 80mm on a full frame sensor. Additionally I also shot with my Kowa-35 Anamorphic 1.5x. I was still keeping my distance relatively the same so as to avoid double focusing.

Still of ungraded footage.

Graded Still.

Edit was done all in Davinci Resolve, since RAW DNG files play well in this program. Have to say, editing was cumbersome, and would not do it unless I had to. I spent the most time color correcting. Going for a look in between gritty cinematic and 1980s classic hip hop video tape. I used two LUTs from the VisionColor Impulz Ultimate pack. BMDFilm_KODAK Gold Gen.6 200_CIN for digital intermediate (base layer). Contrast, High/Mid/Low tone grading. Then Cineon to Fuji D65_ converter LUT for the top layer. I tweaked the colors ever so slightly towards magenta/blue in the highlights and desaturated colors. I love how the clouds are preserved in the background of some shots while maintaining dark blacks. And lastly I threw on a coarse grain layer for good measure vintage feel to it.

Definitely not without many challenges in this setup. I need a lot of space to save RAW files, and a fast SSD to process them into Davinci. Even then had to turn resolution down to one quarter during playback. Worth it? I think so.

What do you think?