Blackmagic announced two cameras at NAB 2013, but on the floor at the show, much of the buzz was not about the 4K camera, but actually the smaller Pocket Camera. Truly a first of its kind, the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera with its Super 16mm-sized sensor will be recording ProRes and RAW 1080p footage in a package about the size of most mirrorless cameras, all for $1,000. I got to play around with both cameras a bit, but it's always nicer to see a camera outside of the NAB show floor and really get a sense of what it's capable of. John Brawley, who has worked closely with Blackmagic to develop their cameras, has posted the first footage from the Pocket Cinema Camera.

[Update]: John has made the footage embeddable now, here it is:

Here is a little bit about how he shot the footage using the Panasonic 12-35mm f/2.8 Micro 4/3 lens:

All this footage was shot using the FILM look. I set my exposure by ETTR and using the 100% zebra to indicate clipping. I had IS on all the time. I had a Hoya ND16 on as well to keep me at a slightly nicer stop. I set the rear monitor to VIDEO and then used focus peaking all the time.

I cut the footage using FCPx and used my colleague Captain Hook for the grade. He's made some fantastic LUT's for Resolve as donation-ware to make grading BMCC footage even easier. I encourage those of you who work with BMCC footage to check out these great LUT's. There's some great before and after examples there as well.

I've taken some screenshots as the video is not embeddable, but head on over to his blog to watch the video (click for larger versions):




Dynamic range looks stellar, and from my testing with the camera at the show, rolling shutter should actually be slightly better. I think this will cut nicely with the current Cinema Camera, and it should provide much of the same image quality -- just in a smaller package. I was a little nervous by some strange motion artifacts I had noticed on the monitors at NAB, but this footage definitely alleviated those worries.

I'm most excited by this camera because there is nothing else in this class that has taken such an uncompromising approach to image quality. 10-bit ProRes Log and 13 stops of dynamic range is unheard of anywhere near this price. This is definitely a camera you're going to want to grab and go, so the native Micro 4/3 mount with Image Stabilization support will help with the fact that the sensor is on the smaller side and many people will probably be handholding this camera.

From what I am told, the Pocket Cinema Camera is using similar sensor technology to the original 2.5K Cinema Camera. That means with the exception of the smaller sensor size (2.88 crop compared to full-frame) and lower resolution (Super 16mm 1920 x 1080 vs. ~Micro 4/3 2432 x 1366), all other attributes should be similar, like color rendition and dynamic range. This does mean that the resolution of this camera will make it slightly softer than the 2.5K camera -- how much is unclear right now until we can test it -- but I'm confident it won't be any worse than the best DSLRs or mirrorless cameras.

According to Brawley, we will be getting more footage before the camera is released, so there is definitely more to look forward to, but if you'd like to pre-order, you can find the link below.


Disclosure: Blackmagic Design is a No Film School advertiser.