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  • Writer's pictureBlake Calhoun

Using Professional (Traditional) Cameras with Smartphones

On our website and YouTube channel we primarily focus on mobile filmmaking tech and technique (using smartphones), but as filmmakers we don't always use just one type of camera - and as a matter of fact we often mix and match cameras and formats depending on the project.

We're also all about DIY and indie filmmaking using whatever camera you have - whether that's a smartphone, DSLR, mirrorless or even a RED camera, etc.

Some of the better (affordable) traditional camera systems for indie filmmakers that we've used are from Blackmagic Design. We own the original Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera (shoots 1080 HD raw), also the Blackmagic Cinema Camera (shoots 2.5K raw) and now we have the new Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K (shoots 4K raw).

Over the years using them it's been interesting to see how the UI has been influenced by smartphones - and now especially on the the latest BMPCC 4K.

These cameras offer amazing bang for the buck. High-end features and quality for a very low price. Blackmagic uses these cameras along with Davinci Resolve (color grading and editing software) as a gateway into their ecosystem. They offer lots of products and so by selling these at such affordable prices folks often buy into their other offerings. At least that's what we think is going on. No other camera manufacturers offer what Blackmagic does at the same price point. Really not even close.

All this to say that we really like Blackmagic cameras and use them in a lot of our work - along with iPhones, Canon cameras, Sony, RED and more (sometimes by themselves, and sometimes all together).

We recently did a test seeing how well we could match the look of an iPhone and our Blackmagic Pocket 4K, and they match surprisingly well (using color grading techniques in post-production)...

Soon we'll be releasing a behind-the-scenes on how we used a RED camera and an iPhone to produce this music video for artist Bart Van Bemmel and his song "What If We Run"...

Can you tell the cameras apart?

There are some that frown on the idea of mixing cameras and formats like this, but we think that's based on misconceptions of what smartphones can do today - and likely fear. Fear that with some knowledge and a few accessories almost anyone today can shoot professional looking video with a device they carry in their pocket.

(Btw, don't misunderstand us. We're NOT saying smartphones are better than RED or Blackmagic cameras. We're just saying that when used correctly they can work together nicely.)

Don't wait to create. :)

Happy filmmaking!

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