Setting exposure for the BMPCC is not easy!

Thanks to Alex MacLean for giving me the idea to expose within video mode and switch over to film when I was ready to record.

Thanks to Ryan E. Walters for suggesting the Luxi light meter as well as helping me with this exposure issue. Ryan has a ton of great exposure articles on his site and he also told me about this really good article about exposing within Log mode.

I got an answer from Blackmagic on my exposure question:

The question I am referring to is while shooting do you expose for 18% grey within the frame at 50% on Davinci’s waveform scope while in “film” mode or something lower like 40% or even as low like 32% as Canon publishes in their white papers for their log mode?
Actually, I do have an answer there. I have been told that 18% at 50 IRE is the way to go, it will give you the latitude needed during grading with us.


  • Great video Dave. Your the first to make a video showing how to mess with the settings. Let us know how much you will use this camera instead of your 5D3. I canceled my orders because I just don’t think I will use it over my GH3 for 95 percent of the work I do.

  • So…. based on just the specs and prices I “WAS” excited about this thing. Now… not so much. I think like all companies Black Magic will get it right on whatever version 2.0 is. But I am not gonna set things and then it randomly forget. Complicated work flow can = missed opportunity or fake looking talent because we are busy messing with this stuff. Give me gear that is great looking with a great set up/work flow. But maybe I am reading to much into this???

  • I’m curious to know what happens if you set the recording mode to film but the output or monitoring to video. As this is essentially how it’s done with the Alexa or Epic if exposure is done by eye (Log to the memory card and Rec709 to the monitors).

  • My understanding is that the Auto Exposure within the Film Mode finds the brightest area of the frame and then sets the aperture so that area is 100% IRE. In other words, it exposes to the right (ETTR) which has its benefits.

  • Hi Dave thanks for that, very interesting.

    I have been playing with the camera for a while now.
    Judging exposure and white balance is a bit more difficult on this camera ,though you do get used to it.

    With exposure I have been setting my zebras to 95 and using that as my point of reference.
    Once my highlights start to peak I just work down from there to balance the image.
    At least I know where my image ceiling is, with confidence that the camera can handle highlights so well.
    This way worked for me.

    Also I found it hard at first with the white balance too but by noticing the all round hue to the image at different white balances relative to different lighting and using the 95 percent zebra exposure as my point of reference it has helped a lot.
    Im starting to get the hang of it.

    This was my review on the Blackmagic pocket camera.

    Chris 🙂

  • wow, that is a flat picture, seems like way too much work for my liking. Makes me want a mark iii even more!

    thanks for sharing dave!