Blackmagic Cinema Camera.
So the new Blackmagic Cinema cam has come out at last! I myself am quite pleased by this, and I may well invest in mine own later in the year but why? I personally use a 550d and a 5dmkII or EX3 here at the studio so why would I be excited about the Blackmagic camera and why am I eager to get my hands on one to see how it really compares?
(image courtesy of http://www.fastcodesign.com)
For a start the colour profile and everything else about the quality of finished video. With a 13 stop dynamic range it allows you to really control the look and feel from the get go. Now I’m not a fan of lots grading in post, I feel, especially as a lighting designer, that if you can’t get it nearly right on the first go in the studio or on location and use grading to add to the shot instead of correcting it, then why are you bothering, but i do understand the bonuses of doing so, especially on a rushed shoot or when filming on a budget. So you can film deep and well saturated like I like to a lot of the time or if you are going for something more special you can film it really flat in profile and then jazz it up afterwards during the grading. The camera comes with DaVinci resolve from what I’ve seen on some sites so no need to go buying expensive grading software. The camera also features a built-in SSD recorder that allows 2.5K uncompressed CinemaDNG RAW 12-bit capture as well as Apple ProRes and Avid DNxHD compressed video formats. These formats are widely accepted by most editing systems so hopefully another instance that should save you having to go out and buy new software aswell.
Secondly, the size, it’s nice and compact and rugged in a beautifully designed machined aluminium case that looks surprisingly portable. For me this is a bonus, saves space in the studio and in transport and comes with a touch screen viewer on the back. Now I’m not a fan of touch screens, and this one is designed to allow you to attach metadata to your clips that can then be read by a multitude of NLE’s (non linear editing systems). Here is the first point where I actually have a problem, its a nice touch but when filming in adverse weather conditions will it mess up like my phone screen does when it gets a single drop of rain on it? Also the peripherals and card slots etc, come with nicely designed covers. Fine if your someone who may be using it to film some ducks on a pond on your own but when used in a busy studio when you need to change cables, or reload memory cards etc I can see them getting in the way, even breaking after a while.
Third but not least though is the ability to use lenses that I already own as it accepts Canon EF and Zeiss ZF mounts. Now this could mean that this camera finds the niche it’s looking for in the market, half way between the professional and consumer market, for filmmakers on a budget, but not that tight a budget if the UK price is anything to be believed, in the States I’ve seen it advertised at just under $3000 including tax, here in the UK its going to be about £2300 – £2500 from what i can see, which is where i can see it falling flat. If buying a new camera go for the 5dmkII or similar, how ever if you already have lenses etc then i think this would be worth the investment once the price has come down a little bit or it starts coming in a bundle with lens and other accessories as each accessory I’ve seen for it requires you to make another full priced purchase.
So in conclusion, yes I’m excited that its come out, I’m a little disappointed at some features but in the end I think this camera might well find its foothold in film making. Well at least the design idea. Im still going to hope for a Canon Cinema EOS C300, but at still over £10k I reckon I’ll be waiting a while…