When Blackmagic announced the new Pocket Cinema Camera 6K, they did something very different from the launch of the Pocket 4K. They actually started shipping them only a couple of days afterwards. That means they’re already starting to get into peoples hands, and nobody’s complaining about being on backorder.
One filmmaker who’s managed to get his hands on one already is my friend Jesse Watson. You might remember Jesse from his stunning Space X launch timelapse last year, which was picked up by Google for their Year in Search 2018 video, garnering over 113,000,000 views. This time, he’s pointing his camera right towards the full moon.
This beautiful short video was shot entirely with the Pocket Cinema Camera 6K, using the Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary lens for Nikon along with the Fotodiox Nikon F to Canon EF adapter. Some of the footage was shot using the entirety of the Pocket 6K’s Super 35mm sized sensor, while other shots were 4K in crop mode, providing a field of view equivalent to about a 1200mm lens on a full-frame stills camera.
Jesse positioned his camera and tripod between his truck doors to block out the wind and put weight on the tripod to minimise movement as much as possible. Tiny movements are magnified hugely when using such long lenses for video.
To plan the shoot, Jesse used a combination of Google Earth, The Photographer’s Ephemeris and Google. Having been out on a shoot with Jesse in the Arizona desert near the Mexico border a few months ago, I know exactly how much effort he puts into planning this kind of thing and how prepared he is.
Jesse says that the most difficult part of shooting this video was finding people willing to hike in the 115°F Arizona summer heat. Fortunately, he managed to convince a friend and her family, and he supplied them with flashlights so they could find their way back down again.
Timing is also vital, as Earth stands still for nobody. When the Moon is close to the horizon and you’re shooting with such a long lens, it moves incredibly fast, as does the Earth. You can actually see the moon moving in the sky in realtime in the video. So the family and Jesse all had to be in the right position before the moon came up to be able to capture it at the right angle.
Even though much of the video is just a single long take, it’s a gorgeous and mesmerising film.