The BMX bike craze spiked in the 1980s, after the release of the movie E.T. Every kid wanted one, and German videographer Sebastian Armah was no exception. ‘My first bike was a BMX. It gave me the chance to go on adventures, to get out of my own neighbourhood.’ Seeing a BMX brings back memories, and he still owns one. He discovered that he isn’t alone: there are plenty of BMX lovers. He decided to make a documentary about old BMX bikes, and used the new Panasonic LUMIX BS1H, a box camera with a full frame sensor. ‘The image quality is brilliant, but that wasn’t surprising. The versatility of this camera was.’
Armah started out as an aerial photographer. In 2014, he first discovered LUMIX cameras. ‘I worked on different projects in Dubai, on aerial footage and timelapses. I wanted to work with the LUMIX GH4, the first camera that could shoot in 4K. It was really intuitive to use. Thanks to the LUMIX GH4, I learned to work with professional features quite quickly, and I doubt that it would have been as easy with other cameras. It’s been LUMIX ever since.’ For his Trash or Treasure documentary, he used the LUMIX BS1H together with its MFT brother, the LUMIX BG1H. ‘For this documentary I can combine the qualities of full frame and the Micro Four Thirds sensors. As the BS1H has the same sensor as the LUMIX S1H, I knew the image quality would be good.
The advantages of a full frame sensor are obvious, for example, the cinematographic quality produced by the large sensor and the beautiful bokeh that really separates your subject from the background. On top of that, full frame is the new standard in the video and film world.’ With this project, he wanted to demonstrate the versatility of the LUMIX BS1H and its suitability as a multicam. ‘This camera is great for a range of purposes and, thanks to its cuboid shape, it’s very steady, each side has the same weight, without any protruding parts. The LUMIX BS1H is a great to use in a set up with multiple cameras because of its connectivity.
Thanks to the control app, you can operate and control all the cameras simultaneously. The Genlock IN (BNC) and Timecode IN/OUT (BNC) functions enable multi-angle synchronised video recording, and you can personalise a scalable system with external monitors, rigs and gimbals: ideal if you want to shoot from different angles.’
The LUMIX BS1H has two SD card slots for backup or relay recording. ‘You can also use this camera for live streaming: the BS1H provides an IP streaming function that enables remote image transmission to an online social streaming platform using a PC connection over wired LAN. The camera can stream 4K 60p (50p) video in H.265. Streaming in ultra-high definition 4K at low bitrate is possible even in those situations where the bandwidth isn’t broad enough.’ Armah is convinced of the quality of this camera. ‘It’s great for a many kinds of productions, and if you want to use multiple cameras to get different angles of one scene.
You can fly it on a drone, use a gimbal, mount it to a car or a bike, or use it in confined spaces. The combination of BG1H and BS1H is ideal and can benefit from the same rigs within same environments and production formats.’ So after his project, what did he find out about old BMX lovers?
Why do they love these old bikes so much? ‘I interviewed Björn Marsen, who restores classic BMX bikes. He likes the craftsmanship, the handiwork that went into the old BMX bikes. And I also spoke to Robert Möller, a former professional BMX-er.
He collects old BMX bikes. He told me that seeing an old BMX bike is like looking at a Picasso. For him the BMX is like a photobook that stirs up memories. I feel exactly the same.’ As for Armah, his love for BMX never died. ‘I still own a BMX bike. It fits in my car and travels with me, so I can take it out for a spin whenever I can.’
Sebastian Armah is an event technician, multicopter pilot, video trainer and videographer born in western part of Germany. Born 1975 and raised in Leverkusen Sebastian became an event technician in 2002. Since then he was traveling for big live sport events worldwide for live broadcast. He got more and more into time-Japse and video product ion whilst working as a multicopter drone pilot in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. ln 2015 he started the aerial media company and platform Aeria!People and began teaching people how to safely operate multicopter drone setups. At that time he got more and more into using LUMIX camera's and iJ1 2018 he stated to work as a Panasonic Lumix Video trainer in Germany.