Why is the Blackmagic Cinema Camera Such a Big Deal?
If you haven’t graded some RAW CinemaDNG files yet from the Blackmagic Cinema Camera, check them out here. We’ve talked quite extensively about the camera on this website, but if you’re still on the fence or you don’t quite understand what all of the hype is about, John Brawley recently gave a presentation at Sydney Institute Film Academy and went over the reasons for the camera’s existence, why it’s truly groundbreaking for its price point, and what it can do that no other camera can at this price point. We also have an audio interview that John did with Den Lennie (who we covered recently for his Duran Duran live concert video). Check out both of them embedded below.
Below is the audio interview with Den Lennie of F-Stop Academy (thanks for reading the site Den!):
As John brings up, this camera is doing things that you could never do at $3,000 previously. Instead of worrying about lighting for what the camera can’t do (in the case of DSLRs, maintaing highlight exposure), you’re now able to light how you want to light. If you’re shooting in RAW mode, you have even more freedom. The big reason this camera is so special at this price point is because it lets you focus on storytelling. You’re not compensating for the camera, you’re actually using the camera to push you to tell the story in a more creative way.
What’s even more amazing is that the Cinema Camera matched more closely with the Alexa footage than the Canon C300 did. People might dismiss the camera being called a “mini” or “baby” Alexa, but it clearly held its own on the show John was shooting, Puberty Blues, and they ended up using it quite a bit on the production. Being almost indistinguishable from a far more expensive camera in a real professional situation is even more of a testament to the work that Blackmagic has been doing with the camera.
The point that John seems to be reiterating over and over again is that the best thing these tools can do is get out of your way and let you tell your story. While DSLRs gave us that “film look,” they actually hindered us in other ways. We went from having a tool that mostly got out of our way — small sensor cameras with a real form factor and proper camera functions — to one where we had to find all sorts of workarounds because the shallow depth of field look made our films look more like real movies. That’s really why I personally am so excited about this camera. For $3,000 I finally have a tool that can get out of my way and let me do what I need to do to tell a great story — and hopefully, it won’t be too long before I can get my hands on one.