Blackmagic is Listening, Requested Feature Added to the Cinema Camera
While most companies listen to their consumers to a point, it’s not always clear which ones are actually hearing said consumers. The Blackmagic Cinema Camera has been featured on this site quite a bit — mostly because it's a product many have been looking for: a low-cost option that records to quality codecs without bulky recorders and resolves a full 1080. Blackmagic has done two better, and is offering RAW recording in-camera as well as their professional DaVinci Resolve color corrector all for $3,000 (same price as the Nikon D800 - though the sensor on the Blackmagic camera is not full frame 35mm, it's between MFT and Super 16mm).
We’ve now gotten word from John Brawley that the camera’s firmware is being finalized and it seems Blackmagic is actually listening to suggestions. The camera was originally only going to ship with three options for white balance in its ProRes and DNxHD modes, but now we’re going to get six: 3200K, 4500K, 5000K, 5600K, 6500K and 7500K. This picture appeared on John Brawley's blog showing one of the new white balance settings:
The other problem that many had noticed were the dead/hot pixels in the only test footage that has been released so far. According to Brawley, they have been working hard on the sensor calibration, and those dead/hot pixels are nowhere to be found. From a conversation I had with him on Twitter, it seems like hot pixels shouldn’t be a problem as they have been on DSLRs. Also of note, there is no phantom power -- at least not yet, but there is an on-board mic which should work well as reference audio for syncing sound if you are using dual-system.
The most interesting thing about this camera is that it seems both professionals and amateurs alike are excited by the possibilities. As you can see in these pictures from a French rental house, people are going to get professional lenses on this little guy in no time:
It looks to me like those lenses have been adapted to Canon mount, as most of the PL to Canon adapters I have seen are very large and tend to protrude from the sides -- but it's also possible that it's an adapter I've never seen before. Just like with the Canon DSLRs, a PL mod or lens adapter should work with some lenses. It may only be a matter of time until we see people modding the lens mount to accomplish this task. I've got ideas about modding the entire front with a Micro 4/3s mount, but I'll have to wait and get the camera before I can see if that's feasible. As with any mods, they will certainly render your warranty useless -- so everything should be done with that knowledge.
Too often we have to deal with a tremendous amount of compromises in independent film, and for once a manufacturer is delivering a relatively inexpensive option that resolves a true 1080 image, as well as all sorts of professional quality codecs in-camera without having to spend another penny. Of course, specs don't always tell the whole story, and it will be interesting to see some uncompressed video straight from the camera to really see how it performs.