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Is BlackMagic Going To Forever Change the HD DSLR video World?

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Steve CrowIs BlackMagic Going To Forever Change the HD DSLR video World?
by on Apr 16, 2012 at 6:19:08 pm

Today's announcement by BlackMagic on their new cinema cam shows the way forward...here are a few details of this $2,995 camera shipping in July Not such a pretty looking camera but the specs, oh my!!!!


Raw recording.

2.5k - I don't know what size sensor this means...is this full frame or APS-C or...? From Bloom: "It doesn’t say the actual size of the sensor. I would guess Super 35mm"

13 stops dynamic range

Integrated SSD to record Cinema DNG Raw, ProRes and DNxHD

EF and ZF mount lenses (ZF? I thought that was the Zeiss Nikons?)

SDI and Thunderbolt (!)

Integrated touch screen LCD

Free full copy of DaVinci Resolve

I believe I spied a headphone jack from the picture on Philip Bloom's blog

FROM GIZMODO - FURTHER SPECS I JUST FOUND:

Shooting resolution: RAW at 2.5k (2432 x 1366)
Frame rates: 23.98p, 24p, 25p, 29.97p, 30p
Sensor size: 16.64 mm x 14.04 mm (significantly smaller than DLSR sensors)
Lens mount: EF and ZF mount compatible with electronic iris control
Battery: Integrated Li-Ion with 90 minute life
Recording Formats: RAW 2.5K CinemaDNG, Apple ProRes (compressed), Avid DNxHD (compressed). All compressed recording in 1920x1080 10-bit YUV with choice of Film or Video Dynamic Range.
Storage: Removable 2.5" SSD


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Steve CrowRe: Is BlackMagic Going To Forever Change the HD DSLR video World?
by on Apr 16, 2012 at 7:07:09 pm

Here's a link to the specs page...

http://blackmagic-design.com/products/blackmagiccinemacamera/techspecs/

Disappointing at this point is the sensor size....wikipedia says that APS-C sensors: "...APS-C variants are considerably smaller than 35 mm standard film which measures 36×24 mm. Sensor sizes range from 20.7×13.8 mm to 28.7×19.1 mm"

The specs for the BlackMagic camera say:

Sensor Size 16.64 mm x 14.04 mm
Active Sensor Size 15.6 mm x 8.8 mm

So let's see how this impacts low light performance

Steve Crow
Crow Digital Media
http://www.CrowDigitalMedia.com


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Adrian JansRe: Is BlackMagic Going To Forever Change the HD DSLR video World?
by on Apr 16, 2012 at 8:43:30 pm

From what I've been hearing the sensor is equivalent to a Super 16mm sensor, which is certainly nothing to scoff at, as loads of beautiful movies have been filmed with that sensor size (Black Swan comes to mind).

I can't wait to see some real world hands on testing with this camera, the price to feature list is just too good to be true, my jaw dropped when I read the specs, then I nearly fainted when I saw that it's coming with a full version of DaVinci all for less than $3,000. Fingers crossed that 2.5" SSD's will behave stable and not wear out quickly.


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Steve CrowRe: Is BlackMagic Going To Forever Change the HD DSLR video World?
by on Apr 16, 2012 at 10:33:17 pm

Yeah the spec list is going to put real pressure on the major manufacturers, or at least in a sane world it should but who really knows, maybe they just ignore it and hope it eventually goes away. There are still lots of questions I have about the camera, for instance

* clip length
* ISO range
* full control over audio? (no AGC is what I mean)
* They said something about auto-iris - hopefully the camera has a full manual mode too

But what about the shape? it looks like a wedge shaped toaster, hard and uncomfortable to hold I would think. The "handles" look like a joke and won't help with stability much at all - for handheld work this is going to need some kind of rig.

Steve Crow
Crow Digital Media
http://www.CrowDigitalMedia.com


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Steve CrowRe: Is BlackMagic Going To Forever Change the HD DSLR video World?
by on Apr 16, 2012 at 10:45:40 pm

oh speaking of a rig for this camera, here's the first one I've seen:




Steve Crow
Crow Digital Media
http://www.CrowDigitalMedia.com


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shur harewoodRe: Is BlackMagic Going To Forever Change the HD DSLR video World?
by on Apr 17, 2012 at 12:20:00 am

It will be interesting to see how the image quality stacks up and with Resolve lite, it seems a good package from Blackmagic. Edit workflow should be a breeze with the card and codec technology experience.

Shur

United By Photography
http://www.unitedbyphotography.com

Freelance HD and DSLR camera producer and trainer.
Enjoying the fruits and passion of living life to the full.


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Peter J. DeCrescenzoRe: Is BlackMagic Going To Forever Change the HD DSLR video World?
by on Apr 23, 2012 at 7:48:36 am

The BmD Cinema Camera sensor is slightly larger than S16 film, and slightly smaller than the GH2's m43 16:9 mode.

Some recent examples of successful films shot with sensors/formats smaller than the BmDCC include "Slumdog Millionaire", "The Hurt Locker", and "Avatar". For example, Avatar was shot with 2/3" 1080p cameras (very nice 2/3" 1080p cameras!), and so far has earned >$2.5 billion and counting.

I agree with you that a larger sensor/format would be nice, but sensor/format size is not necessarily a significant barrier to successful filmmaking -- at any level.

The BmDCC sensor has approx. 2.5K pixels. Given the sensor size, and compared to the mega-mega pixel sensors in popular DSLRs, the BmDCC sensor has big, fat pixels. Generally speaking that bodes well for the BmDCC's potential sensitivity and S/N. Of course, the proof will be in the pudding when the final production version of the cam starts shipping.

In the meantime, pre-release BmDCC sample footage and frame grabs are available on John Brawley's blog:
http://johnbrawley.wordpress.com/

IMHO there's a lot to like about this new camera. Cheers.

---

http://www.peterdv.com


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James LeavyRe: Is BlackMagic Going To Forever Change the HD DSLR video World?
by on Sep 25, 2012 at 2:31:45 pm

I don't think the small sensor affect low light performance to much. Seeing that video is substantially smaller than stills and this is a dedicated video camera so the photo sites will be the same size, if not larger, than a full frame dslr sensor.


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Phil BalsdonRe: Is BlackMagic Going To Forever Change the HD DSLR video World?
by on Apr 17, 2012 at 7:01:35 am

I have some major reservations with this camera.

1) It's not a Super35 sensor, it's only approximately Super16 size which is about half the size. Anyone introducing a camera that doesn't have a Super35 sensor today is way behind the pack.

2) It looks like a box designed by a post production technician and with no consideration for the cinematographer using it. No grips or handles to hold it, not even shaping of the body to grip it comfortably and securely. An LCD screen shoved on the back which can't be angled for the user to see it and if hand holding needs to be held way out in front of your face.

There's a whole lot more to a camera than tech specs, usability and being able to get the camera set up quickly and easily for the best angle for a shot is a major one,

It's not very price competitive with traditional HDSLRs from Canon, Nikon, Panasonic and Sony and the BlackMagic has no track record in camera technology.

Cinematographer, Steadicam Operator, Final Cut Pro Post Production.
http://philming.com.au
http://www.steadi-onfilms.com.au/


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Peter BurgerRe: Is BlackMagic Going To Forever Change the HD DSLR video World?
by on Apr 17, 2012 at 8:13:42 am

Phil, good points! Any new camera will have to compete with existing cameras - or to be more precise - with the "look of the footage".

The VDSLR revolution IMHO was mainly based on the possibility to produce almost film-like looking footage at bargain prices more or less out-of-the-camera plus the accessibility of a ton of different gear especially lenses.
And as we all know, glass and sensor-size are more or less the single most important aspects in a camera.

So a camera with great tech-specs that produces footage which is more flexible in post at a significantly higher price range and the necessity to get bunch of new gear will hold back many people. In particular if they have invested in other technology before.

Neveretheless a very interesting product. I'm anxious to see more. And I'd love to get my hands on a RAW-video-camcorder...

------------------------------------------
"Tragedy is a close-up; comedy, a long shot." - Buster Keaton

Me on Twitter (english/german)
http://twitter.com/FastFoodVideo

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Peter J. DeCrescenzoRe: Is BlackMagic Going To Forever Change the HD DSLR video World?
by on Apr 23, 2012 at 8:49:00 am

[Peter Burger] "... So a camera with great tech-specs that produces footage which is more flexible in post at a significantly higher price range and the necessity to get bunch of new gear will hold back many people. In particular if they have invested in other technology before. ..."

Certainly most folks don't own or have access to state-of-the-art computers and storage systems, and those things will be required if working intensively or exclusively with the 12-bit RAW CinemaDNG files captured by the BmDCC.

John Brawley says he's able to work with the CinemaDNG files on his Thunderbolt-equipped PowerBook 17" i7 laptop, within the limitations noted on BmD's Davinci Resolve tech support website. But from what I understand, having a more powerful system is recommended for a fast, efficient workflow.

It's important to note that the BmDCC can also record ProRes 422 HQ or DNxHD with either a "Film" (log) or "Video" (Rec. 709) gamma. Both these codecs are well known for their excellent quality and flexibility in post, and are far superior to the codecs native to most traditional camcorders -- especially in camcorders that cost anywhere near the BmDCC's <$3K US list price.

Cheers.

---

http://www.peterdv.com


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Jeff LesterRe: Is BlackMagic Going To Forever Change the HD DSLR video World?
by on Apr 18, 2012 at 2:09:03 am

Phil,

I disagree with your points. Plenty of HOLLYWOOD FEATURE FILMS have been shot on Super 16. Hollywood generally uses cameras that cost well over $50,000, and these $50,000 cameras employ a Super 16 sensor. So, no, they are not "way behind the pack". My GH2's sensor size is half that of the 5D MK II and it gets nearly just as shallow DoF and low light capabilities. Smaller sensors are not always bad.

You pointed out that it is not designed for handheld use. No way, really? Are RED Epics designed for one to pick it up and shoot away with no rig? Nope! That thing weighs about 30 lbs fully set up and is a very awkward shape for handheld. Are Panavision cameras designed to pick up out of the box and shoot it with just your hands? Nah. Welcome to the world of cinema, feature-capable video cameras. They're designed to work with a rig, not your bare hands on the camera itself. This camera would mount on a standard DSLR shoulder mount with no problem -- a simple, effective way to operate your camera with that handheld look.

Also, it is actually VERY competitive price-wise with modern DSLRs. The new 5D Mk III had super skimpy video upgrades from the Mark II and they upped the price by a thousand bucks to $3,500. If you're wanting to shoot video, you could go purchase the recently announced Canon 1D-C, a 4K capable DSLR that costs $15,000. You could buy 5 Blackmagic cameras instead of one 1D-C.

LIke we all know, the GH2 is priced very low and is great for a profesional video camera alternative. However, the Blackmagic cinema camera has tons of advantages.

Basically, if you want to shoot with a nice DSLR, you're gonna want either a 5D Mk II or III or a GH2. Those are really the only two DSLRs that compete with cinema cameras, and the GH2 has many drawbacks. I don't know why you're upset with this camera, because it is a new, revolutionary device that will undoubtedly change the world of independent and possibly Hollywood filmmaking. Just saying, you should rethink this camera before you go possibly buy a 5D III for $500 more with 1/3 the features.

- Jeff

Member of iFrosh


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Phil BalsdonRe: Is BlackMagic Going To Forever Change the HD DSLR video World?
by on Apr 18, 2012 at 4:42:34 am

Yes Jeff but the reason Hollywood decides to shoot S16 is normally for low budget, the biggest factor being stock and processing costs. In the digital age stock costs are pretty much irrelevant. Lenses etc will be much the same between this camera and most other budget cameras and even more upmarket cameras that take EOS mounts.

Second reason Hollywood might choose S16 is compactness, portability and usability. This Blackmagic camera is just as clumsy as a RED Epic, it needs to fitted with all sorts of paraphernalia to make it usable, unlike an Arri SR3 or Aaton which can be just dropped onto your shoulder. HDSLRs can be used handheld with the addition of a loupe style viewfinder eyepiece if necessary. The 60D has a rotatable flip out LCD, why was it the only one?. The LCD on the Blackmagic camera is much too large for a loupe, it can't be held with arms tucked in close to the body and up to your eye, it has to be held with arms extended and so like a RED it has to be fitted with an after market rig. Take a look at the handheld test footage John Brawley shot, it's very difficult to hold steady. I don't want to have to spend even a few minutes fitting a shoulder rig to a camera so I can quickly grab a handheld shot that would probably have disappeared before I was ready to shoot anyway.

Sorry this looks to me like a production tool designed by post production people. At this level of production these other guys at http://www.digitalbolex.com/ seem to have done it with more thought. It's worthwhile watching some of the interviews with them from NAB and hearing about their design philosophy. Inter-changeable lens mount, XLR audio, easy to handhold, small viewfinder, hot shoe mounts for mics and / or on camera lighting, on camera or off camera power, 2k RAW etc. etc. it even comes with a pistol grip, all for about the same price as the Blackmagic "lunch box".

Cinematographer, Steadicam Operator, Final Cut Pro Post Production.
http://philming.com.au
http://www.steadi-onfilms.com.au/


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Gabriel BergeronRe: Is BlackMagic Going To Forever Change the HD DSLR video World?
by on Apr 18, 2012 at 2:53:15 pm

There are plenty of major major pictures shot with 2/3 sensor cameras. Some including:

Star Wars Episode II, III
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Sin City
Once upon a time in Mexico
Zodiac
Speed Racer
Miami Vice
Sky Captain and the world ...
Crank


The Wrestler and Black Swan were shot on 16mm. Not for budgetary reason, for an aesthetic and practical reasons.


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Jeff LesterRe: Is BlackMagic Going To Forever Change the HD DSLR video World?
by on Apr 18, 2012 at 6:30:20 pm

Star Wars was a low budget film? I did not know that. They used S16. If you want your movie to have no production value, I suppose you could go with the basic handheld shots using the Arri cams right out of the box.

The Digital Bolex is like a gun. You hold it via one pistol grip, which is super awkward. I would prefer buying handle extensions for the BM Cine Camera rather than hold a Digital Bolex. Keep in mind, too, that the Digital Bolex is being made by a very small, un-established company that is getting their funding on KickStarter. Blackmagic is experienced and quite large. Also, the RED Epic and Arri cams are MUCH much larger than the BM Cine Cam in terms of size and weight from what I can see, so you also have the advantage of a compact camera.

But honestly, you seem to have a lot of knowledge. You see how well the Arri works with its included shoulder rig. The RED Epic, Panavison cams, all REDs as a matter of fact, need some sort of after-market rig. As a cinematographer, you don't see this new cam as being completely revolutionary?

Also, you need to arrange your shoots so that you do have time to spend a few minutes setting up your camera rig and set so that it will meet high expectations. This camera could save you $77k potentially. Wow.

Zacuto is doing a video shootout with a variety of cameras, such as the RED Epic, Arri Alexa, all the way down to the 7D and the GH2 (hacked). I suggest you partake in one of the screenings. It's basically to show that if you have the right cinematographer, any camera can look excellent. I think you'll be surprised.

You've seen what talented DPs/Cinematographers have done with a GH2 and 5D -- Imagine what they could do with a fully-featured cinema cam (even though its awkward shape). Think about it.

Member of iFrosh


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Jason JenkinsRe: Is BlackMagic Going To Forever Change the HD DSLR video World?
by on Apr 19, 2012 at 3:46:13 pm

[Phil Balsdon] "The 60D has a rotatable flip out LCD, why was it the only one?"

Don't forget the GH2 :)

Jason Jenkins
Flowmotion Media
Video production... with style!

Check out my Mormon.org profile.


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Steve CrowRe: Is BlackMagic Going To Forever Change the HD DSLR video World?
by on Apr 19, 2012 at 3:56:04 pm

Flip out/rotatable lcd screens are nice but they don't add much value for me since I need to use a LCD "loupe" to see the screen when filming outdoors and, of course, the extra magnification provided by the loupe is nice too.

Steve Crow
Crow Digital Media
http://www.CrowDigitalMedia.com


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Steve CrowRe: Is BlackMagic Going To Forever Change the HD DSLR video World?
by on Apr 19, 2012 at 3:56:15 pm

Flip out/rotatable lcd screens are nice but they don't add much value for me since I need to use a LCD "loupe" to see the screen when filming outdoors and, of course, the extra magnification provided by the loupe is nice too.

Steve Crow
Crow Digital Media
http://www.CrowDigitalMedia.com


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Phil BalsdonRe: Is BlackMagic Going To Forever Change the HD DSLR video World?
by on Apr 19, 2012 at 9:14:30 pm

A flip out screen is very useful when trying to frame a shot from an unusual angle, extremely low angle for instance.

Sorry Jason you are of course correct, I often forget some of the great features of the GH2.

Cinematographer, Steadicam Operator, Final Cut Pro Post Production.
http://philming.com.au
http://www.steadi-onfilms.com.au/


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Jeff LesterRe: Is BlackMagic Going To Forever Change the HD DSLR video World?
by on Apr 20, 2012 at 5:27:14 pm

I use a GH2!

Member of iFrosh


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Peter J. DeCrescenzoRe: Is BlackMagic Going To Forever Change the HD DSLR video World?
by on Apr 23, 2012 at 8:55:02 am

[Phil Balsdon] "... The LCD on the Blackmagic camera is much too large for a loupe ..."

Since you seem like an intelligent fellow, I suspect you wouldn't want to bet a favorite beverage that Zacuto & others won't announce a nice loupe eyepiece for the BmDCC's 5" screen within 3 months of the cam shipping, if not sooner? :-)

Another bet: The popularity* of the BmDCC will help accelerate the development of less-expensive 3rd party EVFs & portable monitors with HD-SDI inputs.

*Implying that I believe the BmDCC will be a success & profitable for BmD.
---

http://www.peterdv.com


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Matt BabcockRe: Is BlackMagic Going To Forever Change the HD DSLR video World?
by on Apr 20, 2012 at 7:43:50 pm

Here is some sample footage form the BM Cinema Camera I found earlier today.

http://vimeopro.com/johnbrawleytests/blackmagic-cinema-camera/video/4038167...


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Peter J. DeCrescenzoRe: Is BlackMagic Going To Forever Change the HD DSLR video World?
by on Apr 23, 2012 at 8:25:24 am

[Phil Balsdon] "I have some major reservations with this camera.
1) It's not a Super35 sensor, it's only approximately Super16 size which is about half the size. Anyone introducing a camera that doesn't have a Super35 sensor today is way behind the pack."


See:
http://forums.creativecow.net/readpost/280/8731

[Phil Balsdon] "2) It looks like a box designed by a post production technician and with no consideration for the cinematographer using it. No grips or handles to hold it, not even shaping of the body to grip it comfortably and securely. An LCD screen shoved on the back which can't be angled for the user to see it and if hand holding needs to be held way out in front of your face."

Since the BmDCC was designed by a company which specializes in high-tech devices for post-production & production, its design appears to closely follow its primary purpose: To shoot 12-bit RAW 2.5K CinemaDNG (and ProRes 422 HQ & DNxHD) onto an internal SSD drive, to have a modern 5" touch-screen interface, and include modern pro I/O such as 2 balanced analog & digital audio inputs, HD-SDI out, Thunderbolt, ext. 12-30VDC power input, a headphone jack, a LANC port, and an uninterruptible power supply (built-in battery) -- and do all this for <$3K US. I think BmD has done an admirable job of fitting all that into a small, hand-holdable package -- especially given its relatively low list price.

I agree with you that a BmDCC will probably not be anywhere near as comfortable to hold as a modern DSLR or classic ARRI 16mm film cam. But I challenge anyone to design a "more comfortable" camera with the BmDCC's exact same specs & features for the same price. I suspect the BmDCC's ergonomics are form following function within a target price.

[Phil Balsdon] "There's a whole lot more to a camera than tech specs, usability and being able to get the camera set up quickly and easily for the best angle for a shot is a major one,"

The BmDCC is a cinema camera, not a ENG, event, or documentary camcorder. I bet with some practice the BmDCC can & will be used for all those purposes (wisely or not), but in a typical cinema-style production -- even a low-budget one -- there's time enough to set up and correctly capture a scene.

[Phil Balsdon] "It's not very price competitive with traditional HDSLRs from Canon, Nikon, Panasonic and Sony and the BlackMagic has no track record in camera technology."

True, the BmDCC is not a digital still camera; it doesn't take stills, so it can't compete with HDSLRs. But there exists no HDSLR on earth (except perhaps the vastly more expensive Canon's new 4K Cinema DSLR) that has motion video capture features even remotely comparable to the BmDCC. The BmDCC and HDSLRs are completely different; apples & oranges.

One of the most remarkable things about the BmDCC is that in spite of BmD having no track record in camera design, in one fell swoop they knocked NAB 2012 on its ear. Given BmD's excellent reputation I'd be surprised if they're not able to follow through on the promise of their new Cinema Camera. YMMV.

Like every piece of gear, there are different tools for different shooters, projects & budgets. I think the BmDCC will find good use with all three, but of course it can never be the right tool for every situation.

Cheers.

---

http://www.peterdv.com


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