04 Jun 2018

Hands on report: shooting video with the Hasselblad H6D-100C Featured

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It has its drawbacks, but Matthew Carmody reckons that the sheer quality of the picture is worth the effort with medium format video It has its drawbacks, but Matthew Carmody reckons that the sheer quality of the picture is worth the effort with medium format video Matthew Carmody

Japan-based Matthew Carmody recently shot a medium-format video with the new Hasselblad H6D-100C and was kind enough to share his detailed production notes on using the camera.

Certainly the pictures look fantastic as you can see from the video below, though to be honest you would expect nothing less from a $32,000+ unit.

It was shot in UHD 4K video @24p to CFAST2.0 card using a compressed raw format with a .3FV container. The files were then decompressed into DNG or Prores in Phocus.

“It is the photo-like aesthetic, three dimensional look, beautiful focus fall off, and the bokeh the H6D-100C’s huge sensor provides in combination with the Hasselblad lenses that is the main reason I want to shoot medium-format video despite the drawbacks at the moment,” writes Matthew. “It is another very unique brush for you to paint your canvas with and a brush I am keen to use again in the future.

Okay, first the drawbacks. And Matthew’s list is a surprisingly long one given the enthusiasm he has for the camera.

  • Once you take off the viewfinder (which is useless for video) there is nowhere to mount anything, so you have to come up with a DSLR-type rig

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  • No way to see how much space is left on the CFAST card while shooting
  • Noticeable rolling shutter in fast pans or fast-moving objects. The body also has no active cooling system and can overheat if left in live view for extended periods of time
  • No built-in mic, so external mic is needed, but the audio pre amps are no good. Quality reminds me of the BMPCC, but worse
  • The “audio.mp4” files that come with the DNG sequences are 25p, not 24p and are a different length to the DNG sequences. Scratch audio is hard to use due to this
  • Shadows can show noticeable noise in some situations. This is probably the biggest issue in terms of filming. You need to overexpose quite a bit sometimes to keep this noise to a minimum.
  • But, when you overexpose heavily the highlights are prone to have a slight purple tint.
  • The battery only lasts 30 minutes for continuous video shooting. External DC power is a must as is an external monitor that has a waveform to judge exposure.
  • Live view resets and needs to be reactivated after every shot.
  • Phocus is pretty slow to expand the compressed raw files into DNG files.
  • Shutter speed jumps from 1/45 to 1/60 with no option for 1/48.

So, apart from the sheer quality of the video below, why does he rate it so highly and is so eager to use it again?

“The full horizontal readout of the sensor with top and bottom cropped for 16:9 video and 12K video squeezed down to 4K in camera is quite an amazing achievement in itself,” he says. “The images really do have a photo-like aesthetic I haven’t seen before, even from an 8K camera. This alone is enough of a reason to use this camera for video IMHO.”

There’s more too.

“The amazing look the lenses give in combination with this massive sensor; 3-dimensional rendition of subjects with superb fall off and extra creamy bokeh. Lovely star point flares when stopped down; Beautiful colors out of the box (the video is a rec.709 lut with basic color correction and small adjustments to the camera raw settings of the 16bit cinema DNG files in Resolve); Medium-format video in a compact form factor that even fits on a small gimbal like the Ronin-m; and the highlight roll off is pleasing even in heavily overexposed areas.

“Some will argue that you can get a similar look with any other sensor size,” he concludes. “But that is not exactly true in many real world situations where you are physically limited in the distance you can be from a subject while shooting. But, I’ll leave that argument for another day."

Contact Matthew at matt(e) production 

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RedShark News Staff

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