Blackmagic President Dan May Talks About a Possible Super 35mm Cinema Camera
Blackmagic is putting the finishing touches on the Cinema Camera for a late July/early August release, but some still have lingering questions about the design of the camera and the origins of the project. John Hess, who has made a number of tutorial videos and runs the site FilmmakerIQ, recently had a conversation with Dan May, president of Blackmagic Design.
They talked a bit about extended frame rate possibilities:
[IQ] Let’s talk about frame rates. What frame rate possibilities will this camera ship with:
[BMD] The camera as it is at lauch will be a 30P and lower camera. You’re talking all progressive 30, 29.97, 25, 23.94 – these are the frame rates we knew we could get out the door and they would support but traditional cinematic frame reates. Obviously the number one request we have is to do things like 60p. Kind of goes back to that same discussion as we have to get a camera out the door but we know we can do there are several challenges of doing higher frame rate like 60p such as heating and can you do RAW DNG to an SSD and do you have the throughput necessary to do that at 2.5k. Could you do it at a lower resolution? Perhaps. Could you do it in compressed only? Perhaps. But again heating is obviously always a challenge on cameras. This camera itself has the molded aluminum body to dissipate heat as well as a fan as well as a refrigeration unit on the sensor but you know the more processing and more data you’re jamming through there the more critical heat is going to be. Back to that water cooler discussion about could we do we do it or does it have to be a different device… as it is, out the door 30p and under.
It's interesting that the company did not contact sensor manufacturers directly to keep the project secret. Clearly Blackmagic understood that not showing their hand was important, and the amount of secrecy surrounding the project proves that the showing at NAB really was a surprise to other camera makers.
Dan May on the sensor and possibility for a Super 35mm sensor in the future:
And the sensor we eventually found was just an off the shelf part and we got most of what we wanted on there to build you know kind of incredible camera that we have there. So one of the things we hear a lot of is could you do a full size sensor or a 2/3rds sensor… certainly we could if we could find that one discreetly that would be less than ten thousand dollars and do higher than HD resolution and high dynamic range with a large degree of stops – that would have been great. Would have been a 25 grand camera maybe…Now that the cat’s out of the bag once this camera ships and we can do updates or tweaks into this camera we can really figure out where we go from there.
Personally I'm glad they went with the sensor they did and the design they did to keep the cost down. This camera could easily have cost a lot more than it does, and the technology isn't quite there yet to do what they needed a Super 35mm sensor to do at a reasonable price.
What do you guys think? Would you have been interested in a $25,000 Super 35mm sensor camera with the same specs as the Blackmagic Cinema Camera?