Today was a very interesting day, I got the chance to have a play with the Black Magic Cinema Camera. For those of you who know about this camera it has been turning a few heads in the film industry as it roughly costs just over $3000 US and shoots 2.5K raw images as well as ProRes. What does this really mean? Well it’s pretty kick arse for its price point in the quality it can deliver.
If anything though the camera is very basic in design. To really use it to its full potential you will need to already have some lenses in your kit and a nice camera rig to support it. One downfall of the camera is the internal battery which lasts roughly around 90 minutes. There are external third party battery packs such as Sony style ones or V-Lock batteries which you can plug directly into the power adapter of the camera to keep it juiced – only thing with these systems are you will need to rig the battery up on top of the camera or onto your rig.
The camera uniquely records onto a SSD card (Solid Sate) which easily slips in and out of the camera. They are rather pricey, do your research on this if considering to invest in such a unit. I think you get something like 30 minutes when shooting in RAW on the card supplied with the camera and close to 2 hours of footage if you shoot in ProRes format. Remember when shooting in RAW you are going to get a lot of detail out of your images in grading as well as immense control over the footage quality wise but be warned your workflow and hard drive space will certainly be scaled up considerably as RAW takes up loads of space and you will need to learn how to use DaVinci Resolve software to grade the images. (DaVinci Resolve comes with the camera package which is a pretty sweet deal considering the price point of these cameras).
The Black Magic is pretty basic with how the buttons are laid out on the camera, nothing over the top with plugs either. It does have the thunderbolt connection and two 1/4 inch audio jacks for recording audio into the camera itself.
The camera I looked at today didn’t have a firmware update which fixed the issue of showing an aperture reading on screen. The one I saw showed no indication of what f stop you were actually on – I believe the aperture update only applies to EF lenses though.
To access the cameras menu it is all touch screen via the large screen at the back of the camera, simple to use and navigate. The screen being a touch screen is very reflective so when shooting outdoors even with the included screen hood/visor attached you could still see yourself in the screen which is a little annoying – nothing a black towel over your head and camera can’t fix I guess!
Anyway to learn more about the Black Magic Cinema Camera check out the below video review from camera guru Philip Bloom – note this is before the firmware update recently came out! (BLACK MAGIC FIRMWARE UPDATE INFO HERE)