Blackmagic RAW & The Panasonic EVA-1

Updated: Sep 3

ProresRAW and Blackmagic RAW are set to change the industry. I've taken a look into what benefits that Blackmagic RAW can offer in my shooting set-up.


Here's a quick look at some different shooting modes available on the Panasonic EVA-1 with the RAW output to a Blackmagic Video Assist 12g.


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THE CAMERA

The Panasonic EVA-1 has been my go-to camera for the past couple of years. It may lack the security of the FS7 and the appeal of a C300, but the image from the camera is non-short of incredible.







Here it is, in all it's glory.






For the lower budget stuff, or for an indie shooter, Panasonic made incredible process with the GH5 and now more recently the S series, particularly the S1H. Some have asked me about moving to and S1H, but after weighing up the advantages / disadvantages, for losing out on the XLR inputs, RAW SDI output, Internal ND's the switch wouldn't have seemed like a good idea. Not to mention when you start adding a cage and various bits you needs for the mirrorless hybrid, it starts adding up, and becomes pretty much the same camera (without lag-free monitoring + internal ND's).


To be honest, I think the investment of a very good 24-70 is probably the way to go with the camera. As of right now my only 2 lenses are the Sigma 18-35 & 50-100 f/1.8 stills lenses. Otherwise i'd rent the glass I needed.


The other advantage is the Super 35mm sensor. Some will definitely try to argue that Full-Frame is better, but on this occasion i'd disagree. Replacing my kit would actually cost money, and the lenses aren't there yet (on the L-series at least). One would then argue about the Super 35mm APS-C mode on the S1H, but then, there's no advantage of full frame.


THE TECH

Following on from that, the Blackmagic 12g monitor has breathed new life into this camera. The Panasonic S1H can record 6k internally or 5.9k Prores RAW with the additional of a Ninja V. Having an SDI output on my EVA1, the Blackmagic View Assisnt 12g allows me to not only record the RAW output from the camera, but on other occasions, record Prores simultaneously with the internal codecs.


In fact, I have an entire other hands-on shoot review with the monitor, you can see it here.


At time of testing however, the Blackmagic RAW wasn't an option. Now however, it is.


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THE SHOOTS


Shoot one was with my housemate in Richmond Park on a very early 5am morning in South-West London, the shooting spec for this was:


Panasonic EVA-1

Blackmagic RAW - 5.7k @ 8:1

Sigma art zoom lenses

180º Shutter


check out the screenshots below:

Thanks once again to my housemate, who has allowed me to use the screenshots with her in.


The RAW footage from this is quite exquisite. The EVA1 outputs a 10-bit LOG RAW, which to put it simply, distributes data from the 14bit ADC across each stop in the range equally.


Now, you might ask, whats the point of using 10-bit LOG BMRAW over the 10-bit LOG PRORES - the process is simply, I can utilise the whole sensor at 5.7k. If I wanted to stabilise in post, or crop to a more social-media friendly ratio, there's more for me to play with. I've yet to do a comparison between the Prores / BMRAW files. A follow-up with those results could be on the way.


The other advantage is that at 5.7K at 8:1, I actually have more recording time than I do with Prores. Which is pretty fantastic.


There's definitely more in there to push colours, however, the EVA1 bakes in the ISO - so for those settings, there's no advantage over Prores RAW at least. UPDATE****


***UPDATE MK.i : After posting this on the Facebook EVA-1 user group, a couple of members had questioned information about baking in WB & ISO


That information was given to me through who I would consider, to be trustworthy sources - and assumed that changing WB / Exposure sliders within Resolve would have degraded the image in much a way this works with a JPEG in something like Photoshop or Lightroom.


Just to satisfy curiosity, I went back into resolve to have a mess with the sliders. After having a mess about with them, it doesn't degrade the image I once thought it did (at least, in an obvious extent). So keep tuned I'll investigate this further.


***UPDATE MK.ii : After spending a couple of hours doing some miscellaneous shooting, I've concluded that the White balance is NOT baked into the footage.


ISO however, remains locked. Even when adjusting the 'exposure' slider in resolve, clipped highlights remain clipped. If shooting on an URSA for example, you'd be able to recover those highlights be dropping ISO, this isn't the case with the EVA.


Thank you to those in the EVA1 community for helping me out.



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For the next shoot, 4k50p took priority.


Instead of opting to change in camera to a 50p mode - a VFR framerate was used. This was to have playback on the monitor displayed in it's slower-state rather than having to process it in Resolve.


Annoyingly, I wasn't too prepared for this shoot:

Panasonic EVA1

Canon 24mm CNE Prime

Blackmagic RAW @ 4k50, 5:1

Shutter 270º


Having wanted to capture a bit more motion blur, the shutter angle was at 270º. Annoyingly, I didn't think to change it half way through, so although the slow motion looks very nice, it's pretty hard to grab a freeze-frame of something sharp.


Especially annoying as I had a CN-E prime on the front - probably should have gone safe with the settings....


In any case, playing 3 streams of 4k60 in Resolve was glorious. It's really a testament to how the codec space is changing, and for the better. I can't emphasise this enough - in fact, if you're interested, take a look at the Blackmagic URSA mini Pro 12k, where playback on an Macbook Pro (i9, 32gb ram, 5500m) is...allegedly...smooth.


I won't be updating to a beta version of Resolve, but if anyone has given it a go, please let me know how it performs!




2k 200fps. It's great.


The Panasonic EVA-1 has slow motion video.


Normally that's the way i'd describe it.


It's an option. Definitely. Is it a good one? I don't know. I've never opted to choose the EVA1 for slow-mo. That's because the codec in the camera is somewhat limited by its bitrate. It's an option for sure, and you can get some really nice images out of it - providing your situations are correct.


The data-bandwidth of the slow-mo feature I think is really limiting in the EVA, however, step-in the BMRAW and all of a sudden, worries about artifacting are almost eradicated.


If i'm going to be shooting anything geared for HD, then it's amazing. It's perfect.


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THE CONS


Blackmagic RAW is only recordable in one location. The Monitor. With no option for internal recording.


I actually had another shoot I spend 20 minutes looking around with a nice sunset. It actually looked pretty amazing - and I couldn't wait to see the end result. Everything played back on the monitor absolutely fine - however on importing it onto my system, it seems that (I assume) the monitor had not formatted my card properly, and remnants of a previous shoot was being displayed - despite that the card was formatted correctly, and files were playing in the monitor fine.


Redundancy is a work that gets thrown around by many professionals. Shooting BMRAW doesn't allow for this. Internal recording is not possible outputting RAW. In short, I lost a great set of images. Frustrating, but luckily, not the end of the world. Or a client.


Prores & Internal I think it always going to be the option (understandably) - Unless I can figure out what went wrong, and how to replicate it - no luck as of yet.


Storage space & speed is also something to consider. 1*128GB card would net you around 28ish minutes. This was 5:1 at 4K60.


Mind you, dropping down to 8:1 would yield more time shooting. Even more so at 12:1. Whether these have a lasting impact on quality is unknown. Probably one for another shoot.


Keep in mind, RED cameras shooting at 8:1 are perfectly fine for almost all cases.


The other problem I had with the cards, is that they weren't fast enough. Trying to shoot 5.7K at the minimum compression rate wouldn't give me much to work with. It's almost unusable. The way around this however, is to use the USB-C and an SSD where that kind of eliminates the problems i've just mentioned. It's just frustrating there's no 'built in' solution a-la the Atomos Ninja V and the rest of the Atomos Range.


It's not too much of a problem if you don't mind using a bit of gaffa or cables ties, but it's still a bit of a risky method of recording. At least, in my opinion.



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ROUND UP


I don't really know what questions to answer here.


BMRAW offers a great alternative to shooting prores, although for the EVA there's no option of post-production amendments, it can offer a longer shooting time in a RAW codec. Is the RAW codec worth it?


In my previous blog with the monitor, I shot prores and everything looked great. I suppose thats a testament to the camera rather than the codec.


But Prores & BRAW offer great playback in a viewer or in an NLE - the major plus with the EVA and the monitor is the 4K60 RAW , 2K240p RAW and the 5.7K RAW.


(Omitted from the article is the 2K240, watch this space...)


The downside is the 'limited' recording on SD media, and no redundancy.


Which, if you ask me is case dependant.



What do you think? Join in the discussion! I'd love to talk tech with you!









Andrew McGovern is a Video Content Producer and DIT based in South West London. From big-budget feature films to commercial videos, 'Elvis' as he's known to his colleagues has experience in many types of filmmaking.

Video Content Production - South West London