It's been a few months now since I got my very own Black Magic Pocket Cinema Camera (and from now on, let's call it the BMPCC), and during that time I have been testing the absolute HECK out of it! It's still awesome :) One thing, slightly off topic that I found very fascinating which has nothing to do with the camera per say, is the sheer amount of emails and messages I received saying something like:
"Can't believe you got rid of your RED!", or "How's life after selling the RED?"...etc, etc, etc, etc.
WHAT!?!??? I never sold my RED Scarlet-X, and I don't plan on it! It's still my A-Camera, an AMAZING camera and one capable of capturing the best image than any camera that I own. So. Just cos I got all excited about a tiny camera that can fit into my pocket, doesn't mean I got rid of my other cameras :) On a side note, is the RED better than the pocket? In almost every department it sure as hell is! But let's get back to the BMPCC, and continue the enthusiasm I have for THAT camera :) Well...enthusiasm, AFTER I solved the following issues I and many others have had with it ;) Let's start with:
As much as I fricken love this pocket rocket of a camera (the BMPCC), there are some issues with it when it comes to image quality. Let's start by talking more about IR Contamination/IR Pollution. "IR" meaning "Infra Red" and pollution referring to the colour cast it rains on your image. Typically, it's believe it or not, red! Or more accurately, magenta.
Remember this example from a few posts back? It shows exactly what I'm talking about. When you block out regular old light with an ND filter, infrared light sneaks past the ND filter and still gets in! The result is that blacks go pink and blues go...ummm....purple. So you might be looking at that image thinking, "I could fix that in Resolve bro!!"...and well...maybe you could! I've been colouring films professionally for two years now and manipulation images a LOT longer than that, but I still struggle to find the neutral colours that WERE there before infrared contamination (let's start referring to at is "IRC"). Remember too, that it's not just blacks and blues, it's ALL of the colours that get polluted. IRC affects the entire image and basically destroys the beautiful colour science that's built into the sensor. The more ND you add, the more IRC you get!
So what's the solution? Well, you gotta block that shit out with an expensive filter that attaches to the front of your lens...or lenses. I say expensive because DAMN I mean it, especially if you want to cover your entire glass set with screw on's. It's hidden costs like this that quickly turn a cheap camera into a not so cheap camera.
For example, the 52mm filter below cost me over AUD$200. On top of that I purchased a 77mm variant which cost about AUD$250. They work wonders and I now days I don't shoot without them but HELL! To top if off, I've considered adding a 4x4 IR CUT to my big camera kit for when I'm using a matt-box (the red suffers from this problem too) or with lenses that aren't mine and don't have the right filter thread size. I haven't tested this one out yet, but here's the 4x4 from Skier Pro Systems which isn't too badly priced: SKIER 4x4 IR CUT. You can also get ND filters called "Hot Mirrors" which are basically an ND and an IR Cutter in one, but I'd rather the option to be honest. More to the point, I can't afford to replace all of my 4x4 ND's with Hot Mirrors hehe :)
So if you've got the coin, IRC isn't a problem any more...just make sure you shoot with one of these filters in front of your glass and you'll be good to go. But what about when you're not shooting with ND? Well, it's up to you. Technically, you shouldn't shoot with IR on bare glass...but I've found with the pocket that colours are still nicer with the filter on, than off. That being said, without ND, shooting with IR can make the image ever so slightly green....but it's nothing that can't EASILY be fixed in post - it's nothing as serious as IRC.
MOIRE & ALIASING
Now here's an issue that is FAR MORE SERIOUS than IRC. Well, I say it like that because this is one thing that is NOT fixable in post...not to a degree that I feel is passable anyway. So what the crap is "moire" and how the hell do you pronounce it? I don't know but I do know that it totally sucks. I did some research on what exactly "moire" is (it should have that little thing on top of the e, but hey), and according to Wiki, it's basically MATHS! hehe ;) Take a quick read of this in depth explanation of what it is and why it occurs. WIKI ARTICLE ON MOIRE PATTERN, and you'll start thinking what I'm thinking....."If it's maths, it can be solved!!" Hehe ;)
Well, turns out that's completely true! I remember when a company called 'Mosaic Engineering' created a moire solution for the 5D Mark II several years ago, but that was also around the time I pre-ordered my RED Scarlet-X (which you can read about here if you like!) so I was distracted. That being said, when I noticed my beloved BMPCC suffering from the occasional moire attack (much less frequently and less severely than the 5D Mark II), I went back to Google and asked again...
GOOGLE: "moire solution for blackmagic pocket cinema camera" which again, lead me to mosaic engineering's website.
Mosaic Engineering create replacement OLPF's ('Optical Low Pass Filter') for different cameras, which FIX MOIRE! No shit. These OLPF's are specially crafted, precisely 'engineered' pieces of glass that sit in front of the camera's sensor, replacing the original, factory OLPF.
Here's a video to the right, created by Kin Kwan which demonstrates one of their OLPF's and how it can improve the image quality on the Blackmagic Cameras:
So, after seeing that I was like "FUCK YEAH LET'S BUY SOME SHIT!" and went straight to their website. I literally had the filter in my checkout basket but then, out of nowhere, I did something completely out of character. I stopped and thought about what I was about to do.....yep. It was a strange moment for me, but I took it quite seriously. I then began typing furiously into Google's white rectangle and after a few specific searches, I found this video:
I was gobsmacked. Imagine!!...An OLPF that fixes moire AND IRP!!?? That's exactly what you're seeing the result of to the left in Hans Hijmering's video. I quickly emailed the guy and after a few questions, made my purchase with him instead :)
My biggest concern with anti-moire OLPF's was a loss of sharpness. It's true too, you DO lose a small amount of detail in the image. Hans tells me it's not real detail anyway, more so the result of aliasing, but still...it's noticeable. That being said, MOST of it can be brought back with post sharpening. There are test charts and other videos that show sharpness returning after post, but I was very curious to test it for myself and see the results first hand. That's when I asked my fiance Laura to come and help me with a quick camera test! Almost 5 years of camera tests now - she's much more co-operative these days hehe :) See the results of Hans's IR Cut + Anti-moire OLPF on my BMPCC below!
You might be thinking that this web compressed video is not the best way to pixel peep and you'd be absolutely right! That's why I have made both of these clips available for download in the DOWNLOAD section of the blog (12-BIT RAW cDNG) :) Take a look for yourself and see the benefits of this amazing OLPF!
Hans sent me an installation video for the OLPF and it looked fairly straight forward, so I jumped right in!
It's scary at first....opening up the sensor like this. But don't worry, just make sure you're not eating toast while doing it, and seriously though, don't be tempted to use a lens blower while the rubber "O" ring is out and the OLPF is just sitting there because the ring will jump up and get blown around violently if you're not careful which could scratch the ACTUAL sensor. You don't wanna do that....so, if you see some dust in there, wait until you take the OLPF out before you blow ;)
Hans also supplies you with the suction pen and tweezers which makes the installation simple :) As you can see, the camera actually LOOKS cooler too hehe :) Not that you'll be flashing it around without a lens on, but hey.
Once it's all snug and secure, if you're using a Speedbooster (or any focal reducer for that matter), you'll have to adjust the rear element to achieve proper infinity focus. Since the OLPF is a NEW piece of glass sitting between the lens and the sensor, it changes the back focus of the camera. If you don't adjust the rear element of the focal reducer, you will not be able to achieve infinity focus. Again, Hans gives specific instructions on how to do this and it's a simple process :)
At the time I purchased my first OLPF from Hans, it cost me USD$375. Again, that's a lot of money! But remember how much those IR cut filters cost me? And I had to buy two of them. Now, my camera is permanently sorted! No matter what lens or how much ND I use, PLUS, moire is almost entirely gone! It's awesome :) I know hans is constantly perfecting the filter and it's installation, and recently sent me a picture of one he's created for the Blackmagic Micro Cinema Camera! Looks rad, and seems to have a better "O" ring installed :)
While Hans is getting together a new website for his OLPF's, the best way to contact him if you're interested to know more is via
To finish, I just want to mention that I planned on doing this review, regardless of the second OLPF discount Hans gave me (thanks mate!). You'll notice I don't have any adds or sponsors on my site, despite the hundreds (seriously) of offers I get. This is one place on the internet that I will keep add free, click bait free, and basically just FREE. Fuck that add shit! Thanks for visiting and I hope you found this information helpful!