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NAB Video: Blackmagic 4K and Pocket Cameras

As we all know by now, Blackmagic has shocked again with their announcement of not one, but two new cameras at this year’s NAB. Get more intimate details in this video from our coverage partners over at FreshDV:

One piece of notable information here is regarding the 4K camera’s sensor: it retains the S35 sensor crop when shooting in 1920 x 1080. This means to create the 1080 image they are using the full sensor and downsampling as opposed to cropping the sensor, creating an undesirable crop factor. These cameras are available at the end of July.


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  • “These cameras are available at the end of July”.

    I really truly hope so.

  • Impressed with how directly he answered the delay question. I think the pocket camera is a no brainer. I mean everyone can grab one of those bad boys. Who wouldn’t?

    • I wouldn’t. With a sensor that small, you’d need pretty expensive lenses to achieve a shallow depth of field at reasonable focal lengths. Yes, 1k bucks für 12 stops DR & RAW is a steal, but I’d rather go for the S35 4K BMCC instead. It will be worth spending 4k $ on.

      • I’m not a fan of the ultra shallow dof. I’ve shot 16mm with the bolex several times and I never had issues with achieving the dof I need. Lenses don’t have to be expensive. Russian lenses exist.

        • It just challenges you to figure out new ways of shooting. Lots of great stuff has been shot on 16mm. I plan on starting with the pocket camera and once my work requires the higher quality, I’ll get the newest version of the BMCC. This will probably be a few years from now so ill get more bang for my buck. I’d also have an awesome B camera to use.

          • Absolutely! 16mm is still used today. This shallow dof fascination is due to DSLR movement and filmmakers thinking that is what make images “cinematic”. 16mm looks great and you still can achieve shallow dof.

            Also one camera can’t rule them all. I plan to use the pocket camera, the BMCC4k, as well as my Canon DSLR together. These are simply tools (incredible tools) one must find what the camera can’t do well and find ways around that. There will always be some downside.

          • Cosign , With a VOIT or SLR MAGIC 0.95 15MM OR 25mm 0.95 or even 17mm panasonic DEPH of fied is not a problem, trust DOF will not be hard to acheive.

            The last thing we need are overly blown out youtube web and music video footage from you cousin t2i B-ROLL footage.

        • Wow. Actual common sense.

      • 13 stops of DR

        • In my opinion the dynamic range is more cinematic than shallow DOF. But you do have to be able to get shallow enough to focus the audiences attention, but that’s easy enough with a long shallow lens, wide stuff needs to be in focus anyway.

      • Charles Stewart on 04.9.13 @ 9:49PM

        Actually alot of TV shows were shot on Super 16 until the Alexa came out. “One Tree Hill” shot for about 6 Seasons on Super 16 and it looked great. So it’s very possible to get a nice shallow depth of field out of a Super 16 Camera.

        • Shows and even movies are still shot on super 16. Walking Dead is shot on super 16. So was Moonrise Kingdom. I’m definitely choosing this camera over upgrading to the gh3. Now I can get prores hq right out of the box without using my Ninja.

          • Yep. And this will be even more sensitive than actual 16mm film. Also remember, 35mm film was used in the past because of the color/DR/grain, not for the sallow DOF. This super16mm sensor is the same design as the 2.5k BMCC, and it almost no noise under 1600 ISO. It’ll have all the characteristics people used 35mm film for, but with deeper DOF. It might actually prove to be a better filming tool for some.

      • This is clearly someone who has no experience shooting S16 and has been lured in by large sensor hype. With S16, you have the option to move to C mount lenses. Which can be found for pennies, which have outstanding image quality and can be found at apertures as lower as F1.1 The reality is the literally the opposite of what you state.

      • Watch Academy Award winner for cinematography “Skyfall”, and cound how many times they used ultra shallow DOF….you can count it on your fingers. There’s a proper way of using dof purposefully..and majority of the isn’t. Cinematic look is more of color, detail, and dynamic range.

        • There was a recent Roger Deakins profile in ASC. He mentions his distaste for ultra shallow DOF, and states that one of the things that fascinates him is “people in their environment”. So I imagine he doesn’t usually blur the hell out of the background. Coen Brothers working with him on No Country mentioned that they asked him to get a cutaway of the watch, but he filmed it in such a way that it was about the landscape as well, which they thought was interesting and important for the movie.

          But, I do think most people, including Deakins, would agree that it’s just taste at the end of the day — and what suits the scene and the project. If people run around shooting everything at f/0.95, more power to them, as long as it “works”.

          • I had exactly this discussion with my girlfriend the other day, talking about how the over-use of shallow DOF can isolate an audience from the world of the film.

            Did you see Side Effects by Steven Soderbergh? Almost every shot in that was as shallow as he could get it. As a result, it placed an enormous burden on Jude Law’s face to be his only source of characterisation- the script sure wasn’t helping him! Those scenes could have been shot anywhere. I bet the set designer was angry as hell when they saw it for the first time.

      • Or wait for metabones MFT speedbooster….

      • ??!?

        Voigtländer f/0.9 en 17,5mm et 25mm
        SLR MAGIC 12mm f/1.6 et 25mm f/0.9
        Canon FD 50mm f/1.4 ou f/1.2

        • Its easier to achieve shallow depth of field with longer lenses on 16mm anything above 25mm at around f4 will give you a very nice depth of field… i am so excited for the pocket as i shoot a lot of super 16mm still much to the bafflement of people until they see the images and have some great arri zeiss superspeeds t1.3 the widest being and let me tell you wide angle is no problem with the 9mm lens, just shot a documentary in the cramp bespoke workshops below savile row and had no problems with getting shallow dof and wide angles… especially with super speeds as they have such a close focus distance they are near macro. also the gh3 zoom lens is amazing and again has no problem with dof. people just get caught in the hype big sensor x shallow = cinema which it does not… artistic composition, lighting, colour, lens choice = cinema… shallow dof screams vimeo and hipster these days unless used for effect or reason.

        • Excuse for my noob question. I am seeing all this 4k hype all over the internet and wondered if still make sense to buy a HD camera to shoot movies or shorts. I know the camera is relatively cheap, but is there a risk of falling short once 4k is adopted?

      • I would actually put out the money for Leica lenses to go with that camera. That’d be amazing.

    • Have you seen footage from it? I haven’t, but I certainly am going to wait until I do before I think about getting one. I mean, the image could be really soft, or really noisy, or the color could be really bad, or any number of things. I doubt this will be the case but without knowing anything at all about the sensor it seems a bit presumptive to decide on getting one.

      • It’s exactely the same as a 1080p crop from a current BMC image. Same sensor, same color science, same everything, just a smaller active sensor area.

        • I believe these new cameras use CMOSIS parts and that the original used sensors from a BAE subsidiary whose name I forget.

          • They have a new CCD sensor… That allows the global shutter….And explains why they couldn’t get the 13 stops DR as the original BMC

          • the 4K camera has a new sensor, not the pocket one

        • Where’d you hear that? On the video right on this page, at 7:45, he says “the new cameras have new sensors.” I’m not saying that’s necessarily true, but I’m not sure I’d automatically trust you over him, either.

          • given the history of BM staff talking false about their new camera(s) at NAB, you can actually trust ANYBODY over them ;)

      • I’ve seen the footage from the first BMCC so I know the target quality of Blackmagic. Also I know color is Blackmagic’s thing. To me it seems like Blackmagic is trying to create cameras for each level. Therefore, they should be able to cut together well.

        Trust me I always wait to see footage. I expect this to have a great image and therefore it’ll be a no brainer since it’s so affordable. I didn’t pre-order, I’m just confident based off of what I seen from their version 1 camera that the image will be great. I’m the wrong person to accuse of buying into something before I seen it. I’m one of the few who didn’t hit the pre-order button on the first BMCC.

    • The Hurt Locker was shot on S16 and it looked great, There are plenty of people shooting with large sensors and it still looks crap.

  • i can confirm the image wasnt soft or noisy. i got to to see it at the booth and was very impressed. very filmic

  • Luke Lasley on 04.9.13 @ 9:05PM

    I have a BMCC MFT on preorder right now.
    do you guys think the 4K model is worth the extra wait? I don’t want to purchase an obsolete camera.

    also, the cost of the BMCC MFT +Metabones Speedbooster is only $400 less than the 4K camera, which solves the crop factor issue, and you also get 4K.
    I am more concerned about overall image quality than resolution specifically, so I am also curious to know how much of a difference the 12 stops of DR the 4K camera has from the BMCC v.1

    • Firstly… Yes I you should cancel and order the 4k.. You have a few months to offset the extra $1000 and the benefit of 4K sampling down to 1080p is just priceless.

      Secondly, the Speed booster does not and will never work with the BMCC, it is designed for cameras with a short flange depth…. ie. NEX and Fuji X cameras. So that is another reason to bump up to the S35 version.

      • I’m sorry, but if you have a MFT version of the BMCC, the flange distance is in fact that of MFT, not EF, so you can perfectly use the SpeedBoster.
        What you can’t do is change the aperture or make use of IS in electronic EF lenses, but as long as they are manual (like the Samyang ones, or adapted Nikons, or FDs if Metabones makes an adapter) are perfectly useable and a great option to get S35 depth of field and field of view in the BMCC, with the added benefit of an extra stop.

        • THIS.

          The active micro four thirds mount on the BMPC should allow for IS on the Lumix glass such as the 14-140mm(which gets plenty wide , is plenty sharp – just not fast enough for all situations).

          The speed booster on the BMPC will be amazing for legacy and cine glass.

    • If you’re too busy worrying about your camera being obsolete due to 1.5k more pixels, then you probably shouldn’t be filming in the first place.

      4k is a different animal for storage in RAW frames, so if you haven’t even learned to do so in 2.5k (which is already more than enough for most unless you’re outputting on IMAX 4k screens), you shouldn’t be worried about filming anything in 4k.

      Quit trying to keep up w/ the Jones’. This factor is so annoying with you guys.

  • Mark Weston on 04.9.13 @ 9:17PM

    Smart way they create 1080 video in the s35. should make it easy to cut with a variety ofnother product on set. Well done bm!

  • Clayton Arnall on 04.9.13 @ 9:24PM

    Confused by the below quote, why would downsampling to 1080 create an undesirable crop factor? Seems desirable to me.

    “One piece of notable information here is regarding the 4K camera’s sensor: it retains the S35 sensor crop when shooting in 1920 x 1080. This means to create the 1080 image they are using the full sensor and downsampling as opposed to cropping the sensor, creating an undesirable crop factor. These cameras are available at the end of July”

    • “Creating an undesirable crop factor” modifies the “cropping the sensor” clause, not the “using the full sensor” clause. Parse it like this and you’ll see it says what you think it should say:

      [This means to create the 1080 image they are using the full sensor and downsampling] as opposed to [cropping the sensor, creating an undesirable crop factor.]

    • Undesirable crop is like how the Red Scarlet does it. Instead of using the full sensor and downsampling, they crop the sensor which then crops your lenses. So by the time you get down to 1080p, you’re at like a 2.6x crop or something ridiculous like that.

  • The only way they will get these doubts out of people’s minds is to hit the end of July deadline they’ve made and to make it easy as possible to switch over the backlog orders to these new cams.

  • Mark From Maine on 04.9.13 @ 10:45PM

    Hi Guys,

    I just spent a good bit of time with both the pocket cinema camera and the 4K camera. First off if you are accustom to the crop factor of a camera like the GH2 then you not be too surprised by the field of view found on the pocket cinema camera. It definitely seems to have a very good dynamic range, oddly enough scene that BMC had setup for testing was actually about as flatly lit as you could get it. It wasn’t until I turned the camera down the line of other NABers in the booth that you could see how well the camera was holding highlights while still digging into the shadows with detail. Speaking of detail the camera was very sharp at the point of critical focus and it has focus peaking. It uses the Micro 4/3 mount but in this case the mount is active and as such can power the Micro 4/3 lenses and control the iris. Not sure if the stabilizer is powered but I would say there is a good chance it might be.

    The pocket cinema camera records confidently to class 10 or better SD cards in either raw or Prores 422. The battery is removable and still includes a 12 volt input for continuous operation. It has a mini HDMI output and a TRS microphone input.

    Mechanically the unit seemed well built and solid. Definitely not weather sealed but given the units small size a rain cover or marine housing will be easy to find.

    In short if you were on the fence about getting a GH3 and don’t need 60p then this really might be the way to go. One more note, while it does not have the global shutter of the new 4k body, the rolling shutter is really really low. I whip panned the unit many time back and forth and was truly barely noticeable not absent but very little.

    4K Production Camera
    Note that I say production camera, this is not a 4k version of the BMC cinema camera, both their documentation and the booth graphics refer to the camera as a production camera. What does that mean you ask well for one thing it means that BMC sees this camera being used in production jobs like sport capture thus the global shutter ( words from a BMC spokesperson). This also explains why we see a one stop reduction in the dynamic range. In the environment they see the camera being used in dynamic range was not the priority feature the resolution and global shutter were.

    All that aside the camera is the same form factor as the current Cinema camera. Which does present the interesting question, for those that have used a BMC you know you must go through a series of menus to make changes to settings as there are few real buttons. Those menus are on the now infamously reflective touch screen that is virtually unreadable outdoors. That’s interesting of course for a camera targeted to a production environment and specifically sport where the lighting can be crazy.

    I the end you have to look at the bigger picture for why BMC has made these cameras, they are a company that specializes in a wide range of tools for video capture,conversation, and switching. The 4K camera uses the new 6G-SDI port which is great for all the 6G gear BMC is also showing here at the show.

    So got 1k on hand grab the pocket cinema camera ASAP, looking for a lower cost 4K camera for cinema work lets wait and see what happens as more hands on reports develop.


    Mark From Maine ( yes there is still some on the ground back home)

    • Thanks for the info. Ordered a bmpc.

    • There’s no way in hell lossless compressed RAW will be written on a Class 10 SD card. Class 10 specifies that the SD card should be able to do 10 MB/s. Maybe some very compressed version of ProRes can be had at 10 MB/s, but that sounds very low for high bit depth (10/12-bit) video.

      On the BMC web site they have photos of SD cards with 45 MB/s speed. I think it’s rather those cards that the pocket camera will need.

      • Kenneth Merrill on 04.10.13 @ 11:09AM

        Class 10 is AT LEAST 10 mb/s. My Sandisk class 10′s do 45, and I’ve seen some that do 90.

        • Exactly, it is specified as “at least 10 MB/s read and write speed”, which means for a camera that outputs higher data rate than that you can not rely on Class 10 when buying memory cards. You have to look at the write speed specs of the card.

    • Bmpcc!! ASAP!

  • Mark From Maine on 04.9.13 @ 10:50PM

    Snow on the ground is what I meant in the end there, lol. Being in Las Vegas this week is a nice break from Maine weather.

  • Ok call me stupid, but i havent seen the term “Ultra HD” thrown around before, would love a quick explanation. or is it just the fact its down-sampled from 4k in camera?

    • good question, would like to know also, seems to be some confusion amongst certain sites. I mean is the final output PRO RES 4K ( a compressed 4k) or compressed 4k or will it do both and allow for raw 4k also

    • john jeffreys on 04.10.13 @ 1:13AM

      ultra HD is 3840×2160 its essentially the 4k marketing term/standard for TV and the web. 4k is 4k, 4096×2160 i believe but i may be off on the numbers.

    • 4K can mean many things, just like HD used to. If you start a new 4K project in FCP X, you can choose:
      3840×2160 (Ultra HD and the BMPC 4K)

      At this stage I wouldn’t worry about “Ultra HD” not being regarded as “true 4K”. I think anyone would be hard pushed to tell the difference.

      • 3840 x 2160 is also known as QFHD or “quad full HD”. It is also referred to as 4K2K because of its rough dimensions of four thousand by two thousand pixels. The term Ultra HD is coming from the television side of 3840 x 2160 UHDTV. True 4K resolution is defined as 4096 x 2304.

  • The BMPC 4k sounds great with the S35 sensor, but the files you get are CinemaDNG Compressed. What does it really mean comparing with the BMCC with uncompressed one? Cause you have in one hand bigger resolution with compressed files and on the other hand lower res (still, 2,5K is nice) with uncompressed ones. What does it mean in term of post production? What are the best files to manipulate with color grading, fx… I don’t get the difference between them. Cause we know that the DSLR files are compressed and it’s barely impossible to make strong image modifications.

    • ProRes HQ (what all the BM cams shoot) is very lightly compressed, and 10-bit still gives you huge latitude to grade in post. It’s about 200Mbps (depending on frame rate) and much much higher than any DSLR.

      • john jeffreys on 04.10.13 @ 2:20AM

        prores is great for most projects, honestly id only use raw if it was going to be projected onto a cinema screen or if i have hard drives coming out of my ass

    • Oh, the other factor is that ProRes is much easier to deal with. Just copy it over and you’re done. FCP 7, FCP X, Premiere if the codecs are loaded. ProRes is also resolution independent; 2.5K and 5K are both OK.

      Interesting to note that DNxHD doesn’t support 4K. Was Avid asleep at the wheel? Didn’t they see sizes bigger than HD coming?

  • I always have hard drives coming out of my ass.

  • The BMPC 4K Super 35 sensor looks very likely to be the CMV 12000 from CMOSIS.

  • Will the new cameras have focus peaking and exposure assists?

  • Are we able to play back footage on the cameras yet? I’m shocked this isn’t important to people.

    • Kenneth Merrill on 04.10.13 @ 11:12AM

      Wait, you can’t do that? I hadn’t even heard about it. That’s a HUGE deal to me.

      • You can play back footage just fine on the original BMCC. You just need to choose the same capture setting at which the clip was recorded before playback. You can’t delete the clips but reviewing them on the screen works just fine. I own an original BMCC.

      • Footage plays back just fine. I re-watched an entire 240GB SSD of ProRes and RAW from Vegas (NAB) while riding in the car, not an issue.

        Too much FUD being spread around.

  • Chris Lambert on 04.10.13 @ 12:02PM

    Has anyone asked about scaling down to 2k yet? Or other resolutions eg. Hi speed 720p?

  • marsupial_264 on 04.10.13 @ 1:55PM

    BMPC seems like a nice deal. I’ll check it out when it’s released. Good NAB coverage, a lot of new writers. Is that the end of Joe Marine? He was the perennial NFS tekhead.

  • 6:55 on the video, WHAT ABOUT CAMERAS??

  • Question about the BMPC I haven’t seen asked before:

    How much ProRes can we expect to capture onto an SD card? I have a 64gb Extreme Pro card lying around as a hacked GH2 holdover and I remember that the heavier hacks would give you an hour or so of recording.

    • From the website:
      “When using ProRes you can record for more than 50 minutes on a 64GB SD card at 24 frames per second and swapping cards takes just seconds!”

  • No problem

  • Surprised no one’s mentioned this yet but, I can’t wait to check out the LCD viewfinder loupes for the BMPC to be released. Awesome for street shooting for sure!

  • Does anyone know what kind of mount and lens they’ve got on it?

  • OK, first things first! What about in-camera file management and formatting, dropped frames, infinity focus issues, moire, sunspots and overall reliability? Are these problems solved in this new cameras? These questions should be the most importants, because nobody wants to use a glitchy camera…

  • 50/60 fps even at 1080 not available, not happy!

  • I really do not understand why they went with a M 4/3 Mount. It’s a tease! Such an amazing camera but limited AFFORDABLE lenses, If they wanted a game changer shouldn’t they gone with a EF Mount or something? It’s like they have an up in some ways but in many ways disregarding what makes the DSLR so revolutionary! DSRL’s are durable, take amazing images, have a wide array of lenses but lack in video recording…. BMPCC takes amazing video but lacks durability, a wide array of lenses to choose from. If i’m wrong, please, someone help me understand… I have a t3i with a $300 SIGMA 30mm f/1.2 … I can’t find an equivalent for this camera. It’s like I need to buy $1K lenses to make this happen and if you can purchase $1k lenses you’re more likely to be the person purchasing a RED.

    • There’s nothing saying you can’t use an EF adaptor for this camera if you already have a lot of Canon lenses. But M43 lenses are designed for mirrorless camera systems. The flange distance is much less than an EF mount which also makes it very versatile. You could easily put PL glass on this thing with an adaptor (ridiculous as that may look). M43 lenses are also much smaller and lighter which makes them a natural fit for the pocket camera. Though the lens choices may be less than EF right now, there’s more and more coming out all the time. You’re biggest selection is currently from Panasonic and Olypmus, but there are also third party manufacturers such as SLR magic.

      30mm Sigma on this thing would be quite a bit tighter unless you were using the Speedbooster. You could try the Pany 20mm f1.7 or the Oly 12mm 2.0. I agree I’d like to see a really wide, fast option like a 10mm f1.2.

      • M43 is the most versatile of all mounts. There is virtually no lens you cannot use, you simply require an adapter.
        PL glass, legacy stills glass (FD, M42, Leica, C/Y, OM etc), vintage c-mount cine glass (switars, zeiss, TT&H Cooke, angenieux!!!) as well as any EF lens can be used with the correct adapter. Affordable fast, wide zooms are of course the biggest problem with any crop sensor camera, but fast, wide primes certainly isn’t.

    • Pany 20mm f1.7 is $350 so doesn’t have to break the bank. RED lenses (or almost any other cinema lens) are a lot more than $1000. I can justify $1000 for a quality lens but that certainly does not put me into RED territory for affordablility!

  • Surprised this wasn’t mentioned, but the Production camera also does 60i.

    I’m hoping they bring that and compressed RAW to the current BMCC.

  • By the way, I do think it makes sense for BMD to have retained the same casing for the production camera, as clunky as it is.

    Just browsing the latest offerings from NAB 2013, there’s so many people coming up with rigs and other bits and pieces for the BMCC. BMD doesn’t need to alienate all these third party manufacturers, and wasting all their time and money, by making that form factor obsolete before it really got started.

  • mikael_bellina on 04.14.13 @ 5:18AM

    i don’t understand why blackmagic says on their website and speech the m4/3 lenses are cheap ….

    the equivalent of the 17-55 canon 2.8 is the the 12 – 35 2.8 panasonic and the costs is $1300 …. And more difficult to find a used one. Any tips ?

    I would like to use my Canon lenses, but the stabilization won’t work with any adapter, correct me if I’m wrong.


  • Using old, cheap Nikon glass on my M43 Olympus EP2 almost completely erases the digital look of the images. The pictures are magical. A few old Nikon lenses and a $25 adapter should produce an interesting, and dare I say it, filmic look from the BMPC. I love the idea of traveling with this kind of minimal kit. While there are some nice lenses being produced for this format, there’s no need to majorly invest in glass to get good stuff out of the camera, unless you really want the active lens features.

  • Hello everyone. Thanks to all for the helpful questions and answers, and to for being such a great resource. Now, my question is: regarding rolling shutter issues and the jello effect, I’m considering using this camera for an independent nature film I’m trying to produce. This would entail using a Nikon 300mm/f4 lens on the Pocket Camera, with and without a 1.4x Tele Converter. I’m aware the jello effect worsens with longer lenses. Assuming the camera is decently operated on a good tripod with a fluid head, does this sound feasible? Or would using long lenses be too ambitious for this wonderful Pocket Camera? Thanks in advance for any feedback.