Posts Tagged ‘global shutter’



I did promise to revisit the camera after more footage was out.  Well, it’s out.  And the camera is available for order.






Note the global shutter and the motion characteristics that feel like film, as well as the vintage film color palette.  This camera has a Kodak CCD sensor, which is unique and distinct.  It gives the footage a particular character that other sensors can’t truly emulate.  I like it a lot, and it’s not a very expensive option, either.

Starting at $3299, it comes with an internal SSD drive and XLR audio inputs with 48v phantom power.  The big weakness is the built-in display, but a cheap HDMI add-on screen is an obvious solution.

The Digital Bolex has a character that is different than the competition and in some ways better.  The motion characteristics of its global shutter seem more natural and film like than the BMC 4K camera, which also has a global shutter — but a different feel to the movement.

The big strength of the D16 is for emulating an old time film stock, 1950s, 60s and 70s.  It almost looks like old independent film.

Comparison to BMC


I forgot to mention that the D16 sensor is not nearly as sensitive as other cameras, with a native ISO around 200.  This is a full two stops slower than the BMCs and miles below some of the newer cams from the big names.  So it may make night shooting more difficult, requiring more light.

Also, the dynamic range is pretty good, but maxes out around 12?  That’s a stop less highlight retention than the BMC Pocket cam and BMCC.  It is, however, superior to a bunch of DSLRs.




Long Review:




The Digital Bolex is released, and this will intrigue some for its characteristics.  The RAW global shutter gives a distinctive look, and a lot of leeway for post changes.  I think the saturation was pushed past the breaking point below, but it shows how much color info is captured.

Drawback is that it has less dynamic range than the BMCs, or of course the Alexa and Red Dragons.  This means clipped highlights more of the time.  Mitigating clipped highlights on a real movie set is still needed, important, and often not done.

I’ll need to update my camera introduction guide when more footage comes out of the Bolex.

“The camera retails for $3299 for 256GB hard drive, or $3599 for a 500GB hard drive.”

Also note the built in XLR audio connectors.


by Joe Giambrone


(Article is from May 2013, and newer camera models release constantly. The principles remain the same.)

So you’re confused by all the choices, and you don’t know what they really all entail?  Differences in cameras may not seem all that important, until you look carefully, as audiences tend to do when the image is thirty feet tall.

A Little How-To

Note: Images were grabbed from the net to illustrate the points in the text.  Don’t’ take them as the end-all.  As any cinematographer who cashes checks will likely say: “Test.”

Section One: People With Bucks

Okay film, glorious 35mm Kodak or Fuji filmstock.  Here’s why:

Inception used 35mm + 65mm Kodak Vision3 250D 5207, Vision3 500T 5219 INCEPTION

Promised Land used 35mm Fuji Super F-64D 8522, Eterna Vivid 250D 8546, Eterna Vivid 500T 8547promised-land06

The Wrestler used 16 mm Kodak Vision2 200T 7217, Vision3 500T 7219 the-wrestler-3

All-time favorite film stock
35 mm, Eastman EXR 500T 5298Eyes-Wide-Shut-1999-BluRay-720p

Rolling film is expensive, and sometimes the directing style dictates lots of footage, always running improvisation.  Digital can be more amenable to that situation.

Dynamic range is important for capturing smoothly rolled off highlights, before they overexpose to pure white.  This single factor is perhaps the most crucial ingredient for achieving a digital camera look that mimics real film.  Kodak Vision 3 is rated at 13 stops according to the company.  Every F stop of dynamic range doubles the amount of light captured.  Thus, a digital camera with more dynamic range requires a lot more data storage as well as a sensor that is capable of capturing such high contrast of light in the first place.

A unique characteristic of film is the grain structure in the crystals, which comprise the image.  This grain also helps soften the areas of pure whiteness that occur when a part of a negative is blown out to overexposure.  Grain adds a subtle texture to the frames as they flow by at 24 frames per second, which is often lacking in digital footage.  Grain is sometimes mimicked to make digital footage look more like film, but it seldom achieves the total look of actual film, which responds uniquely to light that hits the various layers of emulsion.  Grain can also be too heavy in the case of low-light or underexposed film.  For low-light night shooting, a digital camera with a more sensitive sensor may make more sense.

Film grain also changes depending upon the size of the negative, as an 8mm image blown up to the same size as a 35mm image would show magnified grains.  A happy medium is 16mm, with 4 times the resolution of 8mm.  Well shot 16mm film provides a medium level of grain to the image consistent with crime and grindhouse horror cinema.  For example, The Walking Dead series has been captured on 16mm Kodak film (7219).

Click and zoom in to see the grain BDDefinitionWalkingDead-1-1080

Top-Tier Digital Cinema Cameras

These can be rented by the day, week or longer.



Hey smalltime indie filmmaker.  You know there’s wiggly jello in your image.  Check this.  A new filter in Adobe CS6 makes it all magic again (in these tests anyway).

Discussion about CMOS sensor rolling shutter issues.  Well, there are lots of discussions, but this is a pretty good fix.