DPP Home Gear Cameras DPP Solutions: Blackmagic Cinema Camera

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

DPP Solutions: Blackmagic Cinema Camera

A new 2.5K motion-only camera gives you pro-level performance at a stunningly reasonable price

The Blackmagic Cinema Camera, front.

We've written a lot about the possibilities of 4K and 5K still + motion capture in DPP, and more and more talented still photographers are making forays into motion vignettes, as well as full-blown narrative filmmaking. Accessible equipment has made it possible for visually talented individuals to leverage their abilities and break into these new and exciting fields. Whether you're eager about the possibilities of working in motion or you're stead-fastly clinging to being a still photographer only, staying informed on new gear and keeping abreast of developments just make good business sense.

In that vein, one of the most interesting announcements at the 2012 NAB show this past April was a camera from a company that has no history of making cameras. The Blackmagic Cinema Camera is a 2.5K motion camera that's available with an EF lens mount at a stunning sub-$3,000 price. It looks a bit like an enlarged mirrorless camera, and it has no intention to be a hybrid anything. This camera makes it possible for both amateurs and professional cinematographers to own a full-fledged, pro-level motion camera.
This camera makes it possible for both amateurs and professional cinematographers to own a full-fledged, pro-level motion camera.
To put it in perspective, the 2.5K resolution is more than full HD; 4K and greater will become standards in the future, but for the time being, this 2.5K resolution is ample for most high-end filmmaking scenarios. There's an onboard solid-state drive to record 12-bit RAW motion files. The camera has some 13 stops of exposure latitude, and on the back of the slim-profile body is a 5-inch monitor. Output is via either SDI (at 3 Gb/s) or Thunderbolt.

The Blackmagic Cinema Camera, back.
The Blackmagic Cinema Camera comes with DaVinci Resolve software for color correction, as well as UltraScope for waveform monitoring. That software package used to sell for about $20,000, and now it's included in the sub-$3,000 price of the camera. Not only is that a great deal, it also means that you're not looking at a lot of extra costs right out of the box.

You can shoot in the CinemaDNG RAW format or the more manageable and nearly lossless Apple ProRes and Avid DNxHD. The actual resolutions and frame rates for 2.5K are 1920x1080 HD at 24, 25, 29.97 and 30 fps. The camera's sensor is the 4/3rds format, which gives you a 2x crop factor. This makes ultrawide-angle shooting a bit challenging. Neil Matsumoto, editor of DPP's sister publication HDVideoPro, said this about the Blackmagic Cinema Camera from a filmmaker's perspective, "In my opinion, the Blackmagic Cinema Camera is the most forward-thinking digital camera system in years, and at this price point, it definitely will disrupt the production industry like the Canon EOS 5D Mark II and RED ONE before it."

Of course, all of this excitement is based upon published specs and trade show presentations. We'll have to wait and see how the footage looks.

Contact: Blackmagic Design, www.blackmagic-design.com.


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