This really is the NAB of new camera releases. Hot off the heels of the Canon C500, 1D-C and the Sony FS700, Blackmagic Design who are known for their recorders and transcoding boxes, have announced a new cinema camera! Bloody hell!
Its specs that have been released are very impressive and it’s damn cheap, especially bundled with Davinci Resolve and Ultrascopes which by themselves would cost you $1600! It’s going for the low budget crowd and that is great news!
Edit: The sensor is a little smaller than the M43 and a little bigger than super 16mm… so a direct competitor to the digital bolex.
I got to check it out at NAB and it is a very interesting camera. Obviously the price and features are astonishing. The key thing when anything like this is using it. So I hope to test it out soon and report back!
Initial impressions are that the form factor is rather odd and will need a rig to hold it. Touch screens are fine when there are physical alternatives but it’s all touch screen here. The Canon EF mount is limiting. Wide angles are going to be a problem with this sensor…Otherwise I rather liked it, the quirky design could well grown on me and having thunderbolt/ raw/ prores/ dnxhd on board is fantastic. Let’s see how she performs now!
13 stops dynamic range
Integrated SSD to record Cinema DNG Raw, ProRes and DNxHD
EF Canon mount
SDI and Thunderbolt (!)
Integrated touch screen LCD
Free full copy of DaVinci Resolve and Ultrascopes
$2995! Shipping in July.
Blackmagic Cinema Camera Tech Specs
Blackmagic Cinema Camera
|Sensor Resolution||2592 x 2192|
|Raw Resolution||12-bit RAW files recorded at 2432 x 1366|
|Shooting Resolutions||2.5K RAW at 2432 x 1366, compressed at 1920 x 1080|
|Frame Rates||23.98p, 24p, 25p, 29.97p, 30p|
|Sensor Size||16.64 mm x 14.04 mm|
|Sensor Size – Active||15.6 mm x 8.8 mm|
|Dynamic Range||13 stops|
|Focus||Focus button turns on peaking|
|Iris Control||Iris button automatically adjusts the lens iris settings so no pixel is clipped|
|Lens Mount||EF and ZE mount compatible with electronic iris control|
|Screen Dimensions||5″ and 800 x 480 resolution|
|Screen Type||Integrated LCD capacitive touchscreen|
|Metadata Support||Automatic camera data and user data such as shot number, filenames and keywords|
|Controls||Onscreen touch menus and physical buttons for recording and transport control|
|Microphone||Integrated mono microphone|
|Speaker||Integrated mono speaker|
|Mounting Options||3 x 1/4″ thread mounting points on top of camera.
1 x 1/4″ thread tripod mount with locator pin.
|Power||Integrated Lithium-ion Polymer rechargeable battery.
12V-30V DC port for external battery power or use included 12V AC adapter.
|Battery Life||Approximately 90 minutes|
|Battery Charge Time||Approximately 2 hours when not in use.|
|Camera Dimensions||166.2mm by 113.51mm x 126.49mm excluding detachable sunshade and turret dust cap|
|Camera Weight||1.7 kg / 3.75 lb|
|Storage Type||Removable 2.5” SSD|
|Storage Format||Mac OS Extended format. SSDs can be formatted on any Mac or use Mediafour MacDrive (not included) on a Windows PC.|
|Storage Rates||5 MB/frame in RAW 2.5K fits about 30 minutes of 24p video on a 256 GB solid state disk. Compressed HD formats fit more than 5 times the amount of RAW video.|
|Uncompressed Recording Formats||RAW 2.5K CinemaDNG|
|Compressed Recording Formats||Apple ProRes and Avid DNxHD. All compressed recording in 1920×1080 10-bit YUV with choice of Film or Video Dynamic Range.|
|SDI Video Output||1 x 10-bit HD-SDI 4:2:2 with choice of Film or Video Dynamic Range|
|Analog Audio Input||2 x 1/4” jacks for professional balanced analog audio, switchable between mic and line levels.|
|Analog Audio Output||1 x 3.5mm stereo headphone output|
|SDI Audio Output||4 channels in HD-SDI|
|Remote Control||1 x 2.5mm LANC for Rec Start/Stop, Iris Control and Focus Control|
|Computer Interface||Thunderbolt port for capture of RAW video and audio.
USB 2.0 mini B port for software updates and configuration.
|External Power||12V-30V DC port for external battery power or use included 12V AC adapter.|
|SDI Compliance||SMPTE 292M.|
|SDI Audio Sampling||48 kHz and 24 bit.|
|Software Included||DaVinci Resolve grading software including Resolve USB dongle for Mac OS X and Windows.
Media Express software for video capture from the camera’s Thunderbolt port.
Blackmagic UltraScope software for waveform monitoring from the camera’s Thunderbolt port.
|Accessories||Detachable sun shield, camera strap, turret dust cap and 12V AC adapter.|
|Product Warranty||12 Month Limited Manufacturer’s Warranty.|
|Camera Handles||Blackmagic Cinema Camera Handles|
Here are some images from John of him with the camera…
Here is the press release…
Blackmagic Cinema Camera
We have been thinking hard about cameras and some of the limitations in quality that video cameras run into. Working with DaVinci color grading has only made these limitations more noticeable.
Some of the reasons why video cameras look like “video” is because they have limited contrast range, are limited to HD resolutions, use heavy compression for file recording, have poor quality lenses and of course they don’t integrate into NLE software with metadata management.
We decided to address these problems by developing a camera that provides feature film quality in an extremely compact portable design.
The Blackmagic Cinema Camera includes a super wide 13 stops of dynamic range, large 2.5K sensor, integrated SSD recorder that has the bandwidth to capture CinemaDNG RAW, ProRes and DNxHD files, integrated capacitive touchscreen LCD for direct metadata entry, standard jack audio connectors, refrigerated sensor and it’s fully compatible with EF and ZF mount lenses.
The Blackmagic Cinema Camera also includes SDI and Thunderbolt connectors and it comes with a full copy of DaVinci Resolve and UltraScope software. Imagine plugging in your laptop for on set grading and scopes!
The 13 stops of dynamic range is one of the most important reasons why this camera looks like film. Often people focus on more pixels, but that is just a larger video image. The real way to get film quality is to capture a wide contrast range to retain more detail in the black and white levels of the image. Then once you color grade the images, it looks amazing! Combined with amazing EF and ZF lenses, the result is a true film look!
Of course the quality is killed if you compress the images when recording them, so we built in an SSD recorder. That means you get the recording speed you need to record the full 2.5K RAW sensor data into completely uncompressed CinemaDNG files. This means you get all the detail and quality of the sensor.
No files on this camera are custom in any way and this is the first camera that’s designed to make the whole post production process simple. It records into CinemaDNG format for RAW files, and DNxHD or ProRes for HD resolution files compatible with Avid Media Composer and Apple Final Cut Pro.
You can play back all recorded files on the LCD, and there is a built-in microphone and speaker for reviewing audio. Of course you will want to plug in high quality audio into the standard jack connectors and the audio is always recorded uncompressed for highest quality.
The integrated LCD has a touchscreen and when tapped, a window called the “slate” appears where you can type in shot information just like typing on a smartphone. This is then recorded into the file as metadata in the Final Cut Pro X and DaVinci Resolve format. Common data like shot number can auto increment to save time.
You can also change camera settings on this touch LCD, such as frame rate, shutter angle, color temperature, dynamic range, focus assist settings and more. The SDI output also has overlays showing you all the camera data when monitoring on set, and even the same data when playing back recorded files!
The design is machined from a solid block of aluminum and looks amazing. It’s strong, very compact and designed to be easily hand held. I am still amazed we have fitted all this into such a small design, when normally features like RAW recorders and monitoring can be optional extras on cinema cameras.
A cinematographer friend of ours, John Brawley, has been working with the camera for the last few weeks. He’s shot some test clips in the process of working out what the camera’s capabilities are and we have posted them online for your to see. Even though some of them are just hand held test shots near John’s house, they are still great to see as examples of what’s creatively possible. Remember to select HD when viewing them!
Dslrnewsshooter technical editor Matt Allard talks to Black Magic design about their new Digital Cinema camera at the NAB 2012 show.
For full coverage go to www.dslrnewsshooter.com