June 23, 2014

Blackmagic 4K Camera Gets RAW, But Firmware Update is Taken Offline

Blackmagic Firmware 1.8 on BMPC4KEarlier today there was a bit of a surprise when the Blackmagic website showed a brand new firmware update download without any press releases or fanfare. We've been told for a while that this 1.8 update was coming, with the promise of unifying firmware across all of their cameras so that only one download would be needed. The 1.8 firmware update was available for a little while, but was then quickly removed. Downloads are floating around online, but apparently this update isn't ready for primetime, and could have bugs that won't be in the release version.

Here is Blackmagic's Terry Frechette on this update:

There was a false download sent around (no idea who started it). This is not a software release we have approved. We don't support it and it should not be installed on cameras.

If you do find the download online (and it's definitely out there), you should really wait until it is officially released. Obviously that hasn't stopped plenty of people from putting it on their cameras. User joechiazza on the Blackmagic forum posted this shot showing the new interface:

Blackmagic Firmware 1.8 on BMPC4K

While we don't know for sure if everything here will be in the official firmware update, or if there will be more added, here is the list that was included with the download for firmware utility 1.8:

Blackmagic Production Camera 4K

  • Updated user interface
  • Losslessly compressed RAW DNG recording support
  • Addresses an issue where pixel artefacts are seen in edges with strong highlights while shooting in 1080 mode
  • Adds autofocus support for compatible EF lenses

Blackmagic Cinema Camera

  • Updated user interface
  • Adds autofocus support for compatible EF lenses
  • Improved debayering when shooting to ProRes or DNxHD
  • Improved focus peaking display
  • Improved ISO handling when shooting at ISO 1600
  • Improved general audio performance
  • Iris setting is retained when switching between camera recording and clip playback

Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera

  • Updated user interface
  • Improved performance when recording using internal microphones
  • Improved instances where a grid-like pattern may occur in some flare highlights
  • General improvements in autofocus with active MFT lenses
  • Adds supports for stabilization in MFT lenses without physical O.I.S switches
  • Improved support for Sigma MFT lenses
  • Improved support for Lumix 12-42mm PZ lens
  • Improved support for Olympus 60mm f/2.8 MFT lens
  • Iris setting is retained when switching between camera recording and clip playback

Blackmagic Studio Camera

  • Improved phantom power compatibility
  • Addresses an issue with interlace video being output as progressive video

Besides the interface updates, RAW for the 4K camera is one of the biggest additions. The RAW on the 4K, just like with the Pocket, is compressed, so it should save a little on space compared to shooting uncompressed. While it seems like fixed pattern noise will still be an issue depending on how you shoot with that camera, shooting RAW should give slightly more latitude and room to play around in post. We've also got improved debayering for the BMCC, which means your 1080p shooting on that camera should look better.

One of the other big improvements I'm seeing is support on the Pocket for lenses without an Optical Image Stabilization (O.I.S.) switch. This means that essentially all MFT lenses should have stabilization, even if they don't have a switch to turn it off and on. For a camera like the Pocket that doesn't really have much heft to it, image stabilization is really helpful, and it's nice to see it come for other lenses in the MFT lineup.

It looks like some audio recording has been improved, but apparently meters are still not in the camera. It has been stated a few times, however, that this firmware update was the most difficult because they wanted to unify everything, and firmware updates should come much faster now that they have laid the groundwork (like meters and histogram).

You can read more about the experience people are having over at the links below, since a few have not only downloaded the update, but also installed it on their cameras. Apparently this is very close to a final release, so I wouldn't expect anything too drastic to change in the official download (but you never know).

Links:

Your Comment

60 Comments

YYYYYYYYYYYYYES !!!!!!!

June 23, 2014

1
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Manji06

Well, if it was on their website, and according to that guy they don't know who put it in there... It kind of look the company as an easy to hack or a disorganized company

June 23, 2014

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Daniel

Apparently it was very difficult to find, that's what I'm reading, so you would have had to know where to look. It wasn't on the official page, and was likely there for beta testers or for BM themselves.

June 23, 2014

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Joe Marine
Editor-at-Large
Shooter/Writer/Director

It wasn't very difficult to find. I took the url for the current firmware and only changed 1.7 to 1.8.
I've been trying that url for a few weeks guessing that 1.8 would be the next firmware and today, instead of an error page, I finally got a file. No idea why they put it up there next to the official firmwares if it wasn't ready for the public.

June 23, 2014

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dauid

I guess difficult can mean different things to different people, but if you didn't already know how to look for it, you would not have found it - meaning it was not posted directly on their pages.

June 23, 2014

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Joe Marine
Editor-at-Large
Shooter/Writer/Director

And that's why you should correct your "article"..It wasn't available for a little while, someone just found a private download link..

June 23, 2014

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Michael

I love that you caused all this mayhem. :)

June 23, 2014

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Ant

Good on yer Dauid! These w@nkers at BMD should have had this SORTED months ago, but of course, MULTI-MILLIONAIRE Grant Petty is too busy having business meetings with cocktails and the "look at me" SUIT crowd.....

June 23, 2014

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Andie Reid

I don't understand why in camera formatting and audio levels aren't a top priority. It's fecking ridiculous.

June 23, 2014

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in camera media format i understand, it's a sticky process that can ruin data. Audio meters, however... there's no real excuse. Just do it already!

June 23, 2014

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alex

The whole point of formatting is to wipe a card... I don't see how ruining data would be a problem...

June 23, 2014

-1
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No sunspot fix for the BMCC?

Disappointing.

June 23, 2014

1
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Ian B

Kind of hilarious when it takes a year to get some form of update and then it's released accidentally with a full release list too.... it's like monkeys on type writers it seems at BMD a lot of shit and ages to do anything and then an Alexa turns up for £2k.... then no firmware and voila it's here sort of...

My BMCC is set to display video and it looks noticeably different too before much more film like than video tho flicking it to film there Is a difference but not so pronounced. Popping the film mode clip into da vinci and applying the video lut seems to work as before though so I guess there are still a few gremlins in the works. New scaling does look nicer and the peaking is great so were getting their just give me a bloody histogram already!!!

June 23, 2014

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Chris Lambert

RAW 4K is no longer compressed, it's lossless. Uncompressed but zipped.

June 23, 2014

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Kholi

Which mean compressed -- losslessly compressed (generally about 2.5:1 or less)

June 23, 2014

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Tzedekh

Whoops -- "means."

June 23, 2014

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Tzedekh

So are they only going to focus on the Ursa? Or will they ship new versions of the traditional blackmagic body for people who are willing to pay for more than just the sensor.

June 23, 2014

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VinceGortho

If they could fix the pattern noise I'd pull the trigger on this camera. Plus wooden camera is making new mounts for the blackmagic 2.5k and 4k... hopefully they make a sony or M4/3 mount to boost it full frame.

June 23, 2014

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VinceGortho

Looks like I am one of the few that has installed 1.8 on my BMCC. I know 4K RAW is the headline feature of 1.8, but the new debayer and much improved ISO performance has breathed new life in my Cinema Camera! It really looks so much better. Focus peaking is better and auto focus that actually works (looking at you Pocket Camera). Here are some comparison images at 300% for those interested:

old 1.7 debayer: http://imageshack.com/a/img822/1970/6fsyb.jpg
new 1.8 debayer: http://imageshack.com/a/img819/9874/2ghr.jpg
old 1.7 ISO 1600: http://imageshack.com/a/img855/3575/stfy.jpg
new 1.8 ISO 1600: http://imageshack.com/a/img849/5312/4b9f.jpg

June 23, 2014

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Tiedtke

This is really fantastic, thanks for posting it. Anything strange/unstable? Is it one of the original BMCCs or a MFT? I'm going to wait just a bit longer for the "official" release, but I'm not sure how much longer I can wait ;)

June 23, 2014

2
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Zack

Zack, no, the only thing "unusual" I've noticed is that the camera display quickly "fades" to black when you turn the camera off, instead of the regular cut to black. I found it a little bit weird, but other than that, it works perfectly, better than before. It's the BMCC EF version. :)

June 23, 2014

1
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Tiedtke

Does your display in video mode look the same as before? mine lacks contrast and saturation not as much as film mode but not the same as before

June 23, 2014

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Chris Lambert

Yeah, it certainly looks different, but not certainly in a bad way. It's less contrasty and has a tad less color, but not that much of a difference that makes it look worse.

June 23, 2014

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Tiedtke

The new debater is MUCH better! I can't wait to get this installed on my BMCC!

June 23, 2014

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I'm sure there'll be plenty of debayers about the new debater!

June 23, 2014

1
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nobody

Thanks for posting this! Looks like the new debayer helps a tonne with moire.

June 23, 2014

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Ant

Will the Pocket cam have the same improvements as you posted Tiedtke?

June 23, 2014

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Reggie

BTW Tiedtke, thanks for posting those screenshots, massive improvement!

June 24, 2014

1
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Reggie

Liars. This company is a complete disaster

June 23, 2014

0
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Pablo

Yeah, c’mon, a “false download”? In this very thread we have proof that it:

A.) was available on their website
B.) was downloaded!
C.) is installable on the camera
D) improves the imaging of the camera

No, the real story here is that somebody on the dev team messed up. It’s disheartening that they would rather make up excuses than own up to the mistake.

June 23, 2014

1
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Yup, correct! They are more of a joke than the bankrupt Australian Rugby Union (ARU) LMFAO!!!!

June 23, 2014

0
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Andie Reid

dang. I could use this. Hopefully it's really soon.

June 23, 2014

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Kent

Well if you don't mind installing unsupported firmware the files can be found online if you look around.

June 23, 2014

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dauid

How is it 'unsupported' if YOU are the one who found it on the OFFICIAL BMD website d/l page????

June 23, 2014

1
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Andie Reid

From your pictures it seems they have not enhanced the debayer algorithm but just low passed the Chrominance channel, if you look at the leaf you can clearly see that the chrominance resolution is decreased. Not too bad I made the same filter for the first Arri D30 in 2006 (before Alexa) wich suffered of a lot of chroma noise, but id wold be better a software switch to engage or not this post processing

June 23, 2014

2
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Matteo Ricchetti

Couldn't they have done both? Whatever they did, color fringing has clearly been reduced.

June 23, 2014

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nobody

Just Installed it on my bmcc ef 2.5k

1600 seems cleaner of chroma noise
focus button now switched
1 tap = autofocus
double-tap = focus peaking
focus peaking is now a bright green, so it's easier to follow
gui theme is different, pleasing but not a huge difference

June 23, 2014

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how is the autofocus? very curious to see how it works.

June 23, 2014

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Mark K

The BMCC auto focus is really slow. Takes a second or to for it to focus, even with a fast lens. But at least it works, the auto focus on my Pocket Camera just resets the focus and blurs out the image, haha.

June 23, 2014

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Tiedtke

Yea, autofocus is really slow even with my 18-35mm 1.8 wide open

June 23, 2014

1
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No audio meters!! Yes!! We don't need no stinking meters!! (Except if you want proper levels)

June 23, 2014

0
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"Improved performance when recording using internal microphones"

Please let that mean "audio metres".... Please!?!?!?

June 23, 2014

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Reggie

It doesn't sorry. You can barely hear the fan noise now though, which is great. x)

June 23, 2014

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Tiedtke

It doesn't, but apparently we have low frequency recording now!

June 23, 2014

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Ant

I didn't even know it had a fan, haha. Unless it's that ticking noise when using the internal mic?

What's low frequency recording?

June 23, 2014

2
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Reggie

You should revise the title of this article. It gives people the inclination to go out and snatch this unfinished and unauthorized update, which could potentially be more harmful than good. The title should take care to reflect the cautionary nature of seeking out such an anticipated yet unvetted update.

June 23, 2014

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Alex

Somebody at BMD needs to get the sack!

June 23, 2014

2
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Andie Reid

CLUELESS!!!

June 23, 2014

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Andie Reid

Has anyone tried it yet on the pocket? Does the menu sorting change?
I mean, having cam ID, date and time before ISO, WB or shutter is reeeeaaally annoying.
Also, is ISO1600 performance improved on the pocket? I tend to have flickering dead pixels.

June 23, 2014

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gonza

I'm not of those who harshly criticize this company (although the have let me down).

What I dont get is, having open sourced all ATEM software, I would have expected them to do the same with the cameras. Then guys like those working in magic lantern would have a feast of features to add. It would put them in considerable advantage against canon and panasonic.

Besides recording levels, time left in memory, you could have personilized grids like 2.35:1 or the possibility to onion load pictures in order to match compositions.

Please, Blackmagic, if you don't have the resources to deal with such firmware, release it so the community can improve it.

June 23, 2014

0
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gonza

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