April 10, 2014

Blackmagic Design Addresses Several Concerns Regarding BMCC & BMPCC Firmware Updates

bmd_logoBlackmagic's revealing of their new cameras at NAB has been met with great excitement from many filmmakers. However, there has been some concern among the Blackmagic community that the company is "no longer supporting the Blackmagic Cinema Camera or Pocket Cinema Camera." Kristian Lam of the Blackmagic Design technical support team has addressed this in a post on the BM forums, in which he describes the background information about the development and why firmware updates are taking longer than expected.

Blackmagic has been around for almost 30 years, but it wasn't until 2012 that they entered into the digital camera market, revealing the Blackmagic Cinema Camera at NAB. Since then we've seen other products, like the Production Camera 4K and Pocket Cinema Camera, be developed and shipped to customers. However, there have been concerns that with the inclusion of new cameras, the URSA and Studio Camera, the firmware updates needed for the preexisting Blackmagic cameras will fall by the wayside. Lam addresses these concerns:

The original 2.5K camera had fundamental architectural differences in firmware compared to the other cameras which doubled the effort when trying to do any bug fixes or add new features to the cameras. As such, we knew we had to re-architect the firmware so as to bring it up to speed with the current cameras. This is not simple and taking longer than we thought. However, we are close now, close enough that beta versions have been seeded to some users for the past few months.

Lam goes on to list the new features that will be included in the update to the 2.5K camera and Pocket Cinema Camera (solutions for the audio level metering and histogram display issues are also in the works):

  • New debayering for shooting directly to ProRes or DNxHD on the Blackmagic Cinema Camera EF and MFT
  • Improved MFT lens support on the Pocket Cinema Camera
  • Compressed RAW support on the Production Camera 4K
  • Autofocus support for EF lenses on Blackmagic Cinema Camera EF and Production Camera 4K

He also talks about several major issues, including the infamous Black Sun effect, and describes Blackmagic's approach to resolving them. The formatting of media, as well as the Time Remaining indicator are both issues that will be addressed, possibly in the next update. However, about media formatting, Lam says:

Yes, we want to do this. A large part of the work has been completed so I don't believe this will be a big effort to implement. However, it is very unlikely that we will support deleting of clips directly in camera due to the risk of media fragmentation.

Now, the Black Sun issue. According to Lam, there is a way to potentially correct this with additional circuitry, though that may result in unwanted artifacts. The Pocket Cinema Camera's sensor contained this additional circuitry, however the sensor in their first camera, the 2.5K, does not. Lam says that correcting it isn't "an on/off switch," but explains another way that Blackmagic could take to take to correct it.

Another method of overcoming the black sun effect is via image processing after the image has been acquired and passed on from the sensor. This is basically running an algorithm to try and detect what looks like the black sun and just clipping the black areas. Again, this could result in false positives and if you have a pattern in the image that is similar to the black sun, it could mistakenly be "corrected" as well. As you can see, this is a tricky situation. We are not ignoring it, but working to see what is the best way to address this.

It remains to be seen just how this will all play out, but our own Joe Marine has interviewed Blackmagic CEO Grant Petty about these concerns. So, be sure to check back for a more in-depth look into this issue.

Link: Update about firmware updates -- Blackmagic Design Forum

Your Comment

96 Comments

Calise ! Je viens d'acheter la BMCC...

April 10, 2014 at 4:43PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Jeff D

Glad they decided to follow up on this. I felt the same way. I was initially excited about URSA's but seeing as how I've been contemplating buying a BM4K or BMCinema Cam, I was really looking forward to some firmware updates to fix some of the concerns I had.

Good thing they're implementing compressed RAW for BM4K too.

If only we could get some slightly higher ISOs off the damn thing or some in-camera noise reduction. Still, very happy they've addressed their supporters

April 10, 2014 at 4:43PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Colin

Cool, glad they're still ignoring the audio meter issue. It's not like audio's important to video anyways...oh wait.

In my opinion I'm baffled as of why camera companies are so worried about "4k" cinema cameras when they can't even get a simple "1k" camera camera right. I'd way rather have a cinema camera with 1080p and great internal audio for $2,000 then have a ton of resolution for the sake of having a ton of resolution. Some of us out there have incredible stories to tell but, don't have access to appropriate audio education or recording. The company that solves this issue will forever have my money.

P.S. - NAB is a joke this year. I feel bad that all these small educational blogs even wasted their time and money with it.

April 10, 2014 at 5:09PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Gordon

Being an early adopter sucks.

April 10, 2014 at 5:11PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Gordon

So no compressed raw for the 2.5k bmcc?

April 10, 2014 at 5:16PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Alex

+1

April 10, 2014 at 5:49PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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jaye

My guess is no because it isn't completely necessary. The Pocket needs it cause it uses SD cards. The 4K needs it cause SSD speeds can't handle uncompressed UHD raw. It would be sweet though.

April 10, 2014 at 6:50PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Travis Jones

SSDs can handle

4K RAW (4096 x 2160), 24fps, 16-bit: 405 Megabytes per second

Pro Series Samsung 840 can write 500MB/s

April 14, 2014 at 10:19AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Andi

with bmcc 2k5 raw, some qualified ssd (theoretically having enough write speed) had failed in field usage, after some time filled it in, speed decreases a lot and frames start dropping.

April 15, 2014 at 8:20PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Mauricio

When the smoke from NAB clears, maybe Canon will be standing there wearing a poncho and smoking a cigar.
Cue piccolo.

April 10, 2014 at 5:17PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Saied

I just don't see the professional logic for running audio into a 1/4" jack or using in camera audio. It seems to me xlr is the only way to go if you are a professional. And if you are planning on using audio from this camera (no matter how much they improved it) as anything but a scratch track then you are asking for trouble in my opinion. Even when I had a dslr, i'd never even consider using audio produced through the 1/4" jack, let alone in camera. So for me, it is almost on the bottom of my list of necessities because I always record to an external audio recorder with these cameras. I'm not trying to be rude if i come across that way, just sharing my opinion.

April 10, 2014 at 5:45PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Jeremy D

As long as they are both low impedance and balanced there's really no difference between and XLR and a 1/4 jack aside from the XLR's positive lock. With that said there's no reason why a good onboard audio recorder shouldn't be the standard for cameras now a days.

April 10, 2014 at 6:09PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Gordon Casey

THIS.
I think a tutorial on why balanced audio is more essential than the plug its going into would be useful for people.

April 10, 2014 at 6:13PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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marklondon

A/D converters are complex, and it's very hard to build good ones in small packages like this. I don't care much about crappy camera audio, either because I'm not going to use it.

April 10, 2014 at 6:39PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Colin

A stereo 1/4" jack is not balanced, and can never be. You can convert a balanced signal to unbalanced, sure, and through my previous incarnation as a sound (17 years) I'd say that if you get your gain structure right, and actually listen to your audio in a studio environment before committing to signal flow on your BMPCC (as I did), you'll get something useable. Having said that, I do understand most people shooting on small cameras just like to say 'yeah, the audio's there, I saw it on the meters' and expect it to be fine! (about 30% of my work in sound post was always 'fixing' badly recorded dialogue... many time through impedance mismatches that 'looked fine on the meters').

My own experiences in shooting sound on the BMPCC - not good. I wouldn't recommend it to someone who wasn't 100% confident of 'how sound works'.

April 15, 2014 at 8:09PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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It IS very interesting to record professional audio right into the cam. Sometimes you don`t want to carry field recorders with you. I am very satisfied with the option to get very good 3D surround sound with binaural mikes by Soundman (in ear, so no extra equipment necessary besides your own ears) and additionally to this atmosphere you can record closer to objects with Zoom or Tascam etc. And by the way the OKM classic with preamp/phantom power is just about 255 US$

April 12, 2014 at 2:09AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Bob

@Gordon
I'm totally baffled by your comments. There are many people out there right now using kit that cost a lot less than $2k to tell their stories, and tell them well. If you genuinely believe that your lack of audio knowledge is holding you back there is a TON of great stuff on Youtube that will teach you the basics. And bear in mind that 90% of audio in film and TV is actually re-recorded (with very rare exceptions). If you have an edit machine, ANY edit machine, and a mic you can do that perfectly well.
A camera with higher DR, or a global shutter, or Apogee level A/Ds will not make your film one iota better. And if peerless technical quality is central to your work, then you're in the wrong end of the pool. You should be ignoring ANY camera posts and polishing your scripts.

Re NAB - it was fantastic for the super-indie filmmaker. Lots of new high CRI mini-lights, new audio mixers/recorders, etc. Sony released an under $2k 1080 high iso (no lights!) camera with S-Log2 BUILT IN. If you can take the look the GH4 is a very robust solution (even the audio is decent for doco work).

April 10, 2014 at 6:04PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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marklondon

"And bear in mind that 90% of audio in film and TV is actually re-recorded"

This is only Foley and SFX. Almost all the actor's dialog is captured on set. It's nearly impossible to re-record their performances afterwards. This is why you shouldn't skimp on proper audio capture...

April 10, 2014 at 6:15PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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bwhitz

Not really, there's a lot of ADR done in high budget films.

April 10, 2014 at 6:39PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Álex Montoya

No, only 10-15% is ADR... if it's VFX film. Probably less still. You're fooling yourself if you believe they can accurately re-perform their lines accurately enough. ADR stands out like a sore thumb in most films. I've been on, and have friends that work on major films and TV shows. Trust me, 99% of dialog is captured on set.

April 10, 2014 at 7:58PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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bwhitz

(Former hollywood dialogue editor chiming in - check my IMDB page for my credits)

It's not 99%. It really depends on the show. When I worked on Law & Order stuff it was like 5-10% depending on the specifics of the episode. When I was on Life it was more like half a dozen lines only per episode. We were very proud that Life had such little ADR (most of that was due to master production sound mixer Steve Teebo). I also take pride in my work that as a dialogue editor I can rescue lines that would otherwise be looped (by using sound from alternate takes, etc). If we don't do ADR, we almost always do a lot of alts. Like another 10-20% alt take audio. The one lead actress on Life, we never had to bring her in for ADR because her takes were always eerily similar and could be dropped in.

Meanwhile over on Lost it was well known that over 80% of that show was ADR due to the impossibilities of recording on the beach (dialogue editors have a real hard time making ocean waves in the bg sound natural). That's why their dialogue editors won the dialogue MPSE Golden Reel year in and year out because their task was such a bear.

April 11, 2014 at 1:40AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Great points. Those cameras are great but, I just feel like across the board from indie to high end the release have been a little lack luster compared to the last 5 years of NAB. This is personal opinion. Please take it with a grain of salt. Perhaps you're exited about some of the cameras.

As far as Youtube goes... Can you point me to any resource that you have when it comes to recording on set audio? I've only found videos that sell products like the Juiced Link and various field recorders and nothing about the principals of recording good audio. All the on set audio people I know either went to college, or had another audio person take them under their wing to learn what they know. Two resources I've yet to come across in my career. Like you I just want to make better films and audio has only proven to be a pain in the ass.

April 10, 2014 at 6:46PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Gordon Casey

Audio on every major television series, or feature film, including independent films use separate professional recorders in conjunction with their filming. This is called double system audio and is the standard. In any professional cinema camera, the use of the internal audio is a "scratch track" .

That isn't to say it's not a benefit to have meters, but if you are independent, buy a simple H4n or if you can swing it a Nagra or Sound Devices recorder.

I have a four year degree in film production and a recent certification with RED through their Reducation course. Even the RED is not the best at recording audio with pristine quality that could compete with an off camera recorder.

I think Blackmagic did an amazing job. I use my BMCC as an alternative to any DSLR camera and I've shot with just about everything. I have to say, the BMCC is not a low light camera, and it definitely looks best in balanced light , specifically daylight. If you are a true professional , this is all you need. But I am really tired of guys with no experience talking #*$% about these cameras because they don't shoot in the dark.

Professional films are lit, and true experienced DOPs light scenes. If you invest in good lighting gear, the proper light meters, and preferably a Spectrometer/Color Temp Meter, this camera can compete with any other camera out there. I've seen it first hand.

if you are only buying one like me, and want resolve, you are only paying $1000 for the BMCC and can shoot raw DNG sharp files with unbelievable quality . That isn't to say that a unskilled amateur can pickup the camera and make it look great with no lighting, but with decent knowledge of metering and exposure range, you will have a great image.

Sure, it doesn't have the 14 or 15 stops Alexa has, but it has 13, and 12 isn't bad for the BMPC for $3000 . I spent $900 on my first 60 D before the price went down and it is a piece of #$#% with terrible image quality and compression.

The BMCC is a great camera. I am shooting a huge international architecture production on it an it holds up well, i've had no problems with it and I use the audio only as a scratch track. Match your double system sound in post and you are good to go.

I understand people wanting more features, but this is a ridiculous price offering from Blackmagic and people complain? Crazy.

April 10, 2014 at 9:48PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Eric J

A million times this. I don't understand why people want to make their nice small mobile camera all tethered down with cables and wires. It doesn't make practical sense to tether your camera to the sound gear. I'd rather let the camera roam free and sync it later.

April 11, 2014 at 1:42AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Again, you are spot on Marcel ! These kids should just know what we through in the Nagradays !

July 14, 2014 at 10:52PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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mikkel bovin

"I have to say, the BMCC is not a low light camera, and it definitely looks best in balanced light , specifically daylight. If you are a true professional , this is all you need. But I am really tired of guys with no experience talking #*$% about these cameras because they don’t shoot in the dark." - Eric J.

I love it when "True Professionals" spew non-sense like this. Yes, the BMCC is cheap and that's why it has bad low light and that's perfectly acceptable for the price. However, lecturing people on what a true professional is so laughable. What about documentary shooters? What about "Her" the latest Spike Jonze movie? That was shot with an Alexa in very, very low light often with just 1 LED to create a mood that's just not possible with a huge light kit.

And bragging about fancy degrees? I've been working in TV in Los Angeles for 14 years and I've worked with NUMEROUS very talented people who didn't even go to college. TV and film is the one industry where a degree counts for ZERO. If you are on the creative end, the only thing that matters besides some connections is your portfolio. Yeah, I went to a good, expensive art school and got a BFA, but the other guy who spent four years on set learning everyday probably got much more out of it than my fancy degree.

But yeah, please stopping judging who and what makes a "True Professional" because film making is an art form and some "professional" choose to light scenes and others might go for a different, natural look - remember Dogma 95? Some of those were great and definitely professional films that fall outside your narrow perimeters.

April 11, 2014 at 1:44PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Gene Sung (non-...

About shooting in the dark... Claudio Miranda shot a scene in 'Oblivion' using just a candle to light the actors' faces.

http://www.fdtimes.com/2013/03/29/claudio-miranda-asc-on-oblivion/

April 11, 2014 at 3:52PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Rodrigo Molinsky

I disagree, having ADR'd everything from TVCs to feature films. The sound editing tools these days make ADR'ing feasible to a lot more people than in the past (if you can get a hold of the actor again!!)

April 15, 2014 at 8:11PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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"Some of us out there have incredible stories to tell but, don’t have access to appropriate audio education or recording."

Well, sorry to tell you, but internal recording this audio is never going to be good for your story. Film, TV, everything is ALWAYS dual recorded. Always, always, always. There's no way around quality audio. XLR's on the camera are not magic... they work for weddings and ENG... that's it. If you're capturing proper audio... there's no problem with the current Blackmagic cameras.

April 10, 2014 at 6:12PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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bwhitz

First off explain please why internal audio is NEVER going to be good for a STORY aside from the fact that the only affordable cameras that the industry currently produces have shit audio. Have you not seen the shift in filmmaking the last 5 years? Large crews have their place but, the run and gun filmmakers are on the rise and in some cases are telling better stories than some large crews. There's no reason why good audio shouldn't be a standard for all cameras, it's 2014 and we have cameras that shoot "6k" video. It's sad that you limit your ideas about equipment and how it should function in conjunction with a story to the standards of what equipment the industry has offered you. If audio is not important then why do people like Phillip Bloom always make a note to test out internal audio in camera reviews???

April 10, 2014 at 6:36PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Gordon Casey

Contrary to popular independent belief among the forums on these types of sites, real films are made the same way they have always been. That is with double system sound.

I recently DP'd a short film with literally no budget and the crew knew to use double system sound with a separate recorder. I believe Blackmagic figured when they designed their cameras that they would focus on image quality, which is giving people the power to record raw.

The Raw in this camera BMCC works great and if shot correctly and exposed correctly which MEANS the NATIVE ISO settings, NOT Streching ISO , (which is not letting any real light in the sensor so it essentially is adding gain) the camera can get great images that rival the RED scarlet, Epic MX etc. I've literally shot with both and know it can if it's handled right.

Sure, cameras 10 times as much get a stop or two better latitude and may have some better audio, but again any amateur to professional will record two audio tracks , one internal and one external probably using the external track mostly in post.

The only time any professional would use in camera audio, would typically be on a camera like the sony F5 or F55 , Canon C300 etc because the quality is actually quite good, but do you want to spend thousands more for decent audio, with little in pre amps, filtration, etc or maybe $2500 to invest in a good sound devices recorder which would rival anything and is used in film and can be used forever with any camera. I think the investment is amazing in these cams.

I know how to use them. One thing that is terrible is their LCD on the camera. The color is off, the image looks bad and it sucks outside, but I always use a field monitor through SDI and it solves the problem.

I think they solved this issue with the URSA. I pre ordered the day it came available. Would I rather own an F55 absolutely, but I can have my BMCC , URSA and even the CION for the cost of the F55 and buy the time I paid it off it would be dated with newer technology.

April 10, 2014 at 9:59PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Eric J

Vertical, fixed pattern noise (FPN) remains their biggest problem with the Production Camera 4K, but they only admit to it on private call with customers. No camera should show banding at the native iso, so how they avoid addressing it publicly is beyond me.

Most of the 4K's have the issue, including the one the demo'd at NAB!

April 10, 2014 at 5:15PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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PatrickD

I have the 4k, got it two weeks ago. I've shot with it quite a bit and the only time I see vertical banding is in the blacks with an underexposed image. I've not once seen it in shadows or anywhere else otherwise. Where are you seeing the fixed pattern noise on a properly exposed image?

April 10, 2014 at 7:38PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Derek

I keep hearing this and it is keeping me away from the BMCC. I have to admit I want to shoot 4K vs 2.5 but the more I see how enormous and slow going to work with even the 2.5k raw files are, I don't think I would shoot raw.

2.5 K Raw vs 4k pro res , 2.5 K Raw wins everytime. I shoot RED and the problem is debayering large amounts of footage. For instance most paid work outside of features, shorts, etc, real paid work is in corp, or through agencies and they just don't want 4k , 2.5 Raw, etc.

Unfortuanately they just don't care, but want a clean image. Most commercials shot on Alexa are shot Pro Res. Check with any major studio, such as Off Hollywood, Light Iron, etc. Professionals are using Alexa because of Pro Res , flat Log recording that is good enough. Rarely except for motion picture is anything even on the RED even shot with 5:1 compression. Prometeus, and most hollywood 4k films are using compression with Raw and it is literally unnoticeable to the eye, smaller file sizes, etc.

Working with large images is not fun, and I own a great system. I still have the urge to buy and shoot 4k for motion pictures, but I highly recommend the BMCC for those that are on a budget and want great quality.

April 10, 2014 at 10:08PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Eric J

I meant it is keeping me away from the BMPC . I own the BMCC and it's great.

April 10, 2014 at 10:09PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Eric J

Autofocus sounds nice, sometimes it is needed.
If it is as good as the Canon C100 one then I am buying something.

April 10, 2014 at 5:28PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Really!! How many years does it take to add audio metres? The camera has an audio signal coming in which it records. So how F@#king hard is it to have a visual bunch of little boxes appear in line based on the amplitude of that signal??? That cant be hard. Its the colour of some pixels on the screen based on the number that incoming signal reaches. Its probably baby programming but BM are only interested in releasing new cameras each year.

If they fixed their first camera it would be like the release of a new camera. Their sales would be much greater for those cameras and people would feel they could trust new and future cameras.

BM wipe away this stain so we can invest in you as a camera company. We WANT TO! But your making it impossible. You shouldnt have released a single new camera until the first was sorted.

People arent stupid, we know the developers that worked on these new cameras could have/would have been working on the firmware.

April 10, 2014 at 5:28PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Not hard at all apparently!

http://cheesycam.com/aputure-v-screen-7-ips-lcd-hdmi-monitor/

Plug this in and you have AUDIO METERS + an LCD Monitor for sub $400. Why is it taking BMD so long to do something that even a budget 3rd party accessory manufacturer can nail so easily. Really piss poor by BMC to release cameras without audio metering! Incredible really!

April 11, 2014 at 10:15AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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John Petricevic

Has anyone thought about starting a Magic Lantern OS type project to address some of the firmware concerns on their own?

April 11, 2014 at 5:04PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Travis

So basically they are saying that not only could they not deliver on time, but they couldn't even properly test their cameras to discover the black sun effect. And they couldn't even write firmware good enough to do what every other camera that I know does in deleting clips.

April 10, 2014 at 5:31PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Brett

It is disappointing that they assigned their engineers to work on new cameras instead of getting the current models up to snuff. It's like having your plumber start in on the bathroom before he's finished hooking up the dishwasher. I know they make money selling hardware and not firmware, but you don't want to get the reputation of being the company that sells cameras that have firmware issues. I've been very jealous of the F5/F55 firmware roadmap. I think knowing that a company is actively working to squeeze more out of their current hardware strengthens the relationship between the consumer and the brand. Blackmagic isn't even a publicly traded company, so they don't have the boilerplate reason for not laying out a roadmap. They just don't want to set/miss deadlines again. I will still use my Pocket Camera, but I'm also going to rent a GH4 and try it out as soon as possible. And that is because of Blackmagic's lack of communication about their existing product line.

April 10, 2014 at 5:35PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Sam

Did you just seriously compare BM to SONY? I think BM would be enormously flattered to even be mentioned.
SONY could give a rats ass about BM's cameras. They have lost exactly zero sales to them. They care about Canon and especially ARRI. Their roadmap is designed to head off AMIRA and C500 buyers, and get C300 shooters back in the fold before Canon drops their mid-price 4K unit (which is any minute now) and Panasonic launch the new Varicam.
Sony were actually pretty rubbish in the mid pro market for about 5 years there. Now, they OWN it, but ARRI/Canon has really scared them. That's where the pressure's coming from.
In the wider context the camera division of SONY is tiny - a 3% increase in the film division would equal a 300% increase in camera profits. Analysts don't even bother following it.

April 10, 2014 at 6:11PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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marklondon

What Sony did is say here is the hardware. We're still working on the firmware, but if you bear with use we promise to get you the following feature on the following time table. Ever since RED companies like to release cameras with incomplete firmware. If you are going to do that it tell the consumer what to expect down the road. Otherwise, don't release the camera until the firmware is done and it has all of the features that it needs to have.

April 10, 2014 at 9:31PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Sam

I agree to an extent. BUT , keep in mind most of their cameras do work and work quite well. Sure not every feature is updated, but with constant pressure to release more features, I'm sure they are working hard to fix things.

I had a Scarlet on order for 8 months with information that was so misleading daily in the forums telling me it would arrive soon. Then it became hype with one or two model out, and I finally cancelled the order. I've shot with RED a lot since and while a solid camera image, still has it's problems.

They are working on a sensor , the MX which is very dated and while still great quality, it takes a production and great lighting to make the image look great. i know from experience, that with my $2000 BMCC I can get the same images out of a 2.5k raw file than on the EPIC or SCARLET if and only if I use great lenses, and great lighting.

Red will be a tad bit sharper and a tad better resolution, but nobody will see it but you, and that's only if you a film geek like me. Sony's image is great, and the camera features are great, but these cameras are so close now in the hands of the right peoplel.

I think way to many people think these cameras make images like they see on the demo reels by themselves. Shaping of light and quality of post production, lenses, filtration, settings, all play a part

April 10, 2014 at 10:17PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Eric J

In my experience AJA have been an amazing company for after sales support, and firmware and software updates that help you get the most out of your investments for the longest times. I do like the idea of their camera, but what I find most compelling is that if their track record with post / production gear and support is anything to go buy, I'd be more than happy to invest more of my money with them.

April 15, 2014 at 6:52PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Caine

I thought the Black Hole Sun was just a firmware deal. Sounds like it's really hard to fix, especially since it's tied to the hardware. It's such a huge negative on a nice image and color science. I hope they get it worked out.

April 10, 2014 at 5:37PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Gene Sung (non-...

The black whole sun problem is incredibly easy to fix in after effects.

April 10, 2014 at 8:28PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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I've left my fair share of frustrated comments on the various Blackmagic posts over the past few days, but audio meters has always fallen at the bottom of my list.

The mic inputs need some kind of preamp to be of any real use. If you are wanting to record straight into camera, this is your best bet. That said, many of the preamps you can buy have audio meters.

What good do your levels do if the audio behind them is trash anyways...?

April 10, 2014 at 5:42PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Jordan Oliver

And what good are your preamps if you are clipping the signal?

April 10, 2014 at 5:52PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Obviously a lot of good. When have audio meters ever been a bad addition to a camera? I'd rather have scratch audio that's not blown out and semi clean to sync external audio to in post than have the obnoxious shit that comes from the BMCC currently.

April 10, 2014 at 6:12PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Gordon Casey

No argument there. All I'm saying is I would put audio levels at the bottom of my list. Fixed noise pattern, vertical banding, and black-hole sun find themselves at the top of my list.

April 10, 2014 at 7:24PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Jordan Oliver

Who cares about audio meters. This camera was only ever going to be a simple box that makes gorgeous images. Anyway You wouldn't seriously plug a mic into this camera would you? The pre-amps are terrible. Just get a zoom or something.

April 10, 2014 at 5:44PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Peter

You and I must have been separated at birth. Identical thoughts within minutes of each other...

April 10, 2014 at 5:48PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Jordan Oliver

We're both geniuses

April 10, 2014 at 5:53PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Peter

Ditto!!! I think we are triplet guys! Buy a H4N or the new H6N ... BAM!!! Problem Solved!

April 10, 2014 at 6:27PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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For the price point and the image capabilities of the currently-available cameras, I can't understand the complaints about audio components. These aren't ENG cameras. If that's what you're looking for, spend the extra money on a C100. You won't get ProRes/DNG/10bit/12-13 stop images, but you will get audio (and built in ND filters!).

I have an mft BMCC and Pocket camera, and went into those purchases knowing what I was getting into. I sent the Pocket camera to be re-calibrated for the white orb issue, and I don't film with the BMCC pointed at the sun.

April 12, 2014 at 1:38PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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honestly one cant and should not expect much from sound with these cameras, it is what it is, also seeing how it is coined as a cinema camera, one should only be using sound as a reference only and also using some type of external recorder.

My biggest concern are from the comments above about the fixed line pattern defect found on the 4k camera, this is not a good thing and a bit of a let down/deal breaker. There is nothing like raw and look foward to 4k raw files but the way things are looking, all roads are pointing towards either KINERAW mini 4k or GH4

April 10, 2014 at 5:54PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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jaye

You're only saying that because the industry has taught you that audio and video have to be recorded separately. Imagine a world where you cut out time intensive methods like Pluraleyes and manual audio syncing. I'd say that there's a huge demand for a portable cinematic look with a fast audio work flow without 3rd party plug ins , external recorders or an audio guy on set. Take for instance the adventure filmmaking community. Wouldn't it be nice to barge out into the wilderness with your subject, your camera and a no audio guy. I know cameras like the FS700 and Canon C seres do this but at the cost of 8 bit video (unless you want to attach a external video recorder).

Seriously I can't be the only one who's tired of pressing two record buttons????

April 10, 2014 at 6:22PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Gordon Casey

No, I'm not arguing that it wouldn't be nice. I'm with you man, that would be great! But this camera isn't that camera and never will be. As the guy said above, decent scratch audio would be nice, but this camera was never designed to take audio. I think the 1/4" jacks should have tipped everyone off to that from the beginning...

April 10, 2014 at 7:07PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Jordan Oliver

The biggest issue with all of BMs offerings that is rarely addressed is the lack of Optical Low Pass Filter. Moire will ruin a perfectly good shoot. This was always a nightmare when shooting DSLR. One less thing to worry about when shooting RED, Sony or Arri.

April 10, 2014 at 5:59PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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carlos

That is a good point, having the correct filtration can make all the difference in certain environments. Adding filtration through a matte box does make a huge difference to image quality.

April 10, 2014 at 10:18PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Eric J

Why was there no real mention of this untill NAB 2014……little to late in my opinion. I feel as though they are placating the user's now….don't spoil the soup for the potential others who may buy cameras. I'm happy to eat my words but the proof as they say is in the pudding

Ability to format in camera #1
Dealing with the white orb a real close #2

Blackmagic can't be held to deadlines so asking exactly when this will happen seems a moot point.

April 10, 2014 at 6:07PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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DMW

I have a feeling they wouldn't even have addressed these issues publicly if people hadn't made a big stink about it. These cameras are great in theory, but I'd never think about purchasing one until the firmware issues have been addressed. No way I'm being an early adopter for these guys.

I can only imagine how many problems the Ursa will have when it's finally released, and how long people will have to wait for BMD to address them. That could be years from now.

April 10, 2014 at 6:36PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Colin

Blackmagic really needs to publicly address frame pattern noise in the 4k cameras. I have had three of the 4k models and they all could be made to exhibit it at 400iso, without any lifting in post. 800 is totally unusable. The only dependably clean image I can get is at 200iso which is not great for most situations.

It is a serious design flaw or an incredibly widespread quality control issue. Blackmagic won't even confirm that it is a problem most users are having or confirm 100% that there is going to be a fix at some point in the future.

April 10, 2014 at 6:12PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Chris

I agree. The vertical fixed pattern (which looks like banding) is too visible at 800 ISO. I own a BMPC 4K and have to say that at 800 ISO is therefore not really useable, as it will show in the shadows. if you shoot at 800 ISO and do a slow horizontal pan, you will see it, always. My thoughts are, that since it is fixed pattern, it should theoretically be possible to do a noise calibration by shooting a few seconds of complete black (lense covered) and then subtracting the noise pattern from all the footage that follows. Such a thing could be done in-camera or else in external software (in post), but to be frank, I don't want to see this at all, at 800 ISO.

Erwin

April 10, 2014 at 11:02PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Erwin

You know what, a lot of these issues have been things I have wanted answers for for a long time now. I've LITERALLY checked NFS and BMD forum every day for the last 10 months for either a firmware update or even an announcement and I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw this post! AT LAST!!

Seriously though Grant Petty and all concerned at BMD, please stop leaving us in the dark. Even though these are all issues I would like to see addressed I'm just happy knowing what the crack is and knowing you haven't just forgotten us all. I can totally live without the black sun issue being fixed but I can not stand not knowing if it ever even be addressed. It feels so much better knowing what the reasons are and whether these issues are being looked at or not.

I don't know what BMD's company values are but Transparency seriously needs to be added to the top of that list.

Anyway - consumer rant aside thank you so much for letting us know what is happening and good luck with the fixes.

Ps. To the people who aren't bothered about in camera audio... I'm right there with you and would always go for an external option first but it would be nice to have it if I need it. Doing the London Sci-Fi challenge this weekend and cutting down the post workflow is paramount so being able to capture audio in camera without having to sync anything would have been ideal but not knowing if the peaks are clipping just makes it too risky. Just food for though :)

April 10, 2014 at 6:24PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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+1

April 10, 2014 at 7:21PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Jordan Oliver

if blackmagic delivers 60 percent complete firmwares for their cheap cameras. Who's ready and willing to fork out six grand for this lunchbox?

April 10, 2014 at 7:35PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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VinceGortho

It's pretty clear that BMD cares VERY little about it's customers of the original 2.5k BMCC. The audio quality isn't my concern because I record secondary sound..... I would like audio meters, possibly a higher frame rate (60fps @1080p) and I would like the BM Production 4k Camera with MFT mount.

The new cameras have the technology. It doesn't take a PHD to see that the customers that paid FULL VALUE WAITING FOR A CAMERA FOR AL MOST A YEAR AND SUPPORTED AN UNSTESTED CAMERA ARE BEING LEFT IN THE DUST LIKE RATS. I guess Dan thinks every one of us have 6k just laying around to go and upgrade their cameras every year. WE DON"T DAN

April 10, 2014 at 8:30PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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MarcLA

The Ursa can do 60p, but also weighs 16lbs and costs $6k...I'm not sure why you expect the 2.5k BMCC to defy physics.

April 10, 2014 at 9:46PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Gabe

The 4k Camera uses a CMOSIS sensor which is Super 35mm. Using a mount specific to Super 35 or larger such as FF 35 is the only option. It wouldn't make sense to use an MFT mount as the lenses wouldn't cover the sensor, unless you added a PL to MFT adaptor so it would be better to just have a PL mount option.

April 10, 2014 at 10:23PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Eric J

Regarding the BMPC 4K audio: the internal microphone is poor, but good enough to use it for synching the footage with externally recorded audio. I think that is all the microphone is designed for. The 3.5 Inch jack inputs are balanced, so with an external mike amplifier (having XLR inputs) you should be fine, but I haven't tried this yet. For me at this moment the vertical fixed pattern noise at 800 ISO (and sometimes 400 ISO) is the #1 thing that should be fixed on BMPC 4K.

April 10, 2014 at 11:10PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Erwin

I don't get the "hurrr no audio" logic. You're NOT supposed to be recording audio on-board unless it's for a scratch track. This is a CINEMA camera...just because it's cheap doesn't mean it works well for your wedding shoots

April 10, 2014 at 11:30PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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john jeffries

I agree. That having been said, my cheap samsung cellphone (a prepaid, not a galaxy) has better internal audio than the bmpcc. My Canon S1IS point and shoot from ten years ago has better audio. You're telling me they can't match that? I don't care about meters, but it probably could have been a LITTLE better quality. Like DSLR better? Cellphone better?

April 11, 2014 at 1:45AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Have I got this right...?:

'Please give us your money and then wait for a considerable period of time for your kit. After that long wait, we'll provide you with something that's kind-of good enough. Meanwhile we'll move on to our next project - which is really exciting and will get us far more coverage. Thanks for being an early adopter and helping fund our development. Good luck, and we hope you'll buy into the next half-finished product we release!'.

Not keen on that sort of behaviour, and not at all convinced the URSA will deliver either.

April 11, 2014 at 5:59AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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What about the hot/stuck pixel issue in the BMPCC and the 4K? No mention of this, and it makes the footage unusable. I had 8 BMPCC's (8 for Christ's sake!) and they were all plagued with HUNDREDS of hot/stuck pixels.

They still haven't answered whether or not this is a firmware issue (due to substandard pixel mapping/black shading) or a hardware issue, or a combination of both and they have given no indication if or when it can be fixed.

If it was just firmware, It would be effecting every camera in the same way, and this is apparently not the case - some (lucky) people have none, while some units are worse than others.

These cameras are just not fit for purpose and both BMD's quality control and support are diabolical. No matter how good the specs on the URSA are, I have learned my lesson (in addition to the 8 BMPCC's, I also had a BMCC EF with the "Rolling Noise" problem - so that's 9 out of nine crappy cameras).

Stay well clear. They just can't be trusted, no matter how alluring their (ideal) images and color science are.

April 11, 2014 at 6:42AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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"can't support deleting of clips directly in camera due to the risk of media fragmentation"

This is the biggest bullshit ever heard. On solid state media, the fragmentation is not an issue, but the way, they are works. Fragmentation only effects hard drives...

April 11, 2014 at 7:10AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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LA

LA. various memory types operate fastest on sequential reads and writes, if the next block to use is not the next block then it puts in a delay, and flash data timing is problemistic enough (heat from length it had been writing deteriorates write timing). There are better alternatives to flash coming, including much faster and cheaper based on variation of normal dram.

April 19, 2014 at 6:51AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Wayne M

Sound like someone is out of their league ...... Just sayin. Run an algorithm to remove spot? Didn't u guys test the cameras?

April 11, 2014 at 7:20AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Nigel Thompson

There were times when moving images were much harder to produce now that is much easier people still complain. Just go out and shoot and make stories.

April 11, 2014 at 8:01AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Alexis

If you have a camera that shoots clean images yes of course. But you can't make movies freely wth problems like those

April 11, 2014 at 9:11AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Nigel Thompson

@Adam Jeal I own a Pocket camera and the only situation where hot pixels and patern noise is present is in extreme low light conditions wich this camera is not supposed to handle from the start. Many other cameras will show the same if pushed too hard...

April 11, 2014 at 10:40AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Cid

I hear what you are saying, but that is not the case with the units I have had. This is happening in well lit environments at 800asa and has even shown up at 400asa in daylight. Lots of other people have also reported the same and many have gone through multiple replacements.

My resellers (a broadcast and film specialist, with their own in-house engineers) are very unimpressed by the quality of all the BMD cameras. Off the record, they had some really choice comments about them, and the hassle of dealing with BMD.

April 11, 2014 at 12:55PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Why cant they address the BMPC4K FPN issues? Thats a HUGE issue in their line up of cameras.

April 11, 2014 at 4:18PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Caleb

It IS very interesting to record professional audio right into the cam. Sometimes you don`t want to carry field recorders with you. I am very satisfied with the option to get very good 3D surround sound with binaural mikes by Soundman (in ear, so no extra equipment necessary besides your own ears) and additionally to this atmosphere you can record closer to objects with Zoom or Tascam etc. And by the way the OKM classic with Sennheiser capsules/preamp/phantom power adapter A3 is just about 255 US$. Check here: www.soundman.audio-vision.info

April 12, 2014 at 2:22AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Bob

As a corporate video producer for 15 years and a guy who's been doing dual sys audio for other crews 8 have to think that only amateurs or the poor would fail to grasp the utter importance of keeping audio separate.

I've done many an interview with audio direct to camera but that's very different from a movie or working with a corp crew that insists on shooting DSLRs. I've done audio for one indie movie and one investor teaser in last few years.

It's wildly unrealistic to expect a DP to do that demanding job and also manage the similarly demanding job of getting good audio. That pressure would be too much and a inhumane expectation. (and I've met some inhumane producers...) That's the primary reason for dual sys audio. It doesn't matter if the in camera audio is getting better.

So following my logic for keeping it dual sys, based on keeping it human, why not have a a separate audio recorder? My new H6N is much better than my H4N and the price is great. Not as good re quality and technical flexibility or indeed as forgiving as my Sound Devices 788T but...

April 15, 2014 at 3:25PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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wsmith

Black Sun, I'm thinking up a SciFi movie with a black sun, could come in handy. ;)

Honestly, detect in camera and mark the pixels involved, or flip them in camera, pure blacks are rare, and the overexposure is a hint, maybe with a bright halo.

I thought there was a way to turn exposure/gain/other down to stop it,but might reduce sensor performance. The operator could press a control, or set camera options to automatically change settings when over saturation is detected. At night it reverts to full range automatically.

April 16, 2014 at 12:47AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Wayne Morellini

Now no 50p modes, that us one of the most important things. You can merely do HDMI in p50, it use thunderbolt/ dp. I've got Axiom looking at doing Bayer pixel packing in HDMI modes, treating it as a data stream that can then be recorded by a recorder. But flash storage is now fast enough to record raw uncompressed. So there us opportunity to bring 50p full HD and 50p UHD to the old cameras. If they had that I would have bought, and now if the Production camera had it would be high on my buy list.

High speed, the Bayer packing in HDMI brings high speed, basically with a fullhd 4:4:4 mode and recording (when available) you are looking at 180fps full HD Bayer and fast enough to rug a 3d lens on that flips the view of the lens side to side. Just because the 4k camera is not bayer at full HD, doesn't mean you can't pack it as high speed Bayer instead over HDMI.

Audio meters, yes please.

Deleting files, yes please. A simple delete last take option would see a fair bit of space freed up without fragmenting the drive. However, you could assign defragmentation of the drive to between takes. The current file is untouched and the other filed are compacted down in a no fail safe manner protocol. Plus other techniques that keep a load of free space together for new scenes. Merely having a file block structure that suites maximum write speeds, as minimum size of free space, the camera knows where the free blocks are, as it comes to the end of existing freespace it fetches the free blocks next using the on camera memory to help smooth out the flow. Just because something may fail does not mean the user can't and won't get flash faster that won't fail. Better to have the competitions next years features with caution notices than to not.

April 16, 2014 at 1:14AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Wayne Morellini

What happened to the comments? They have been gone for days and I haven't been able to read them all.

April 19, 2014 at 1:15AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Wayne

There are multiple pages.

April 19, 2014 at 1:28AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Joe Marine
Camera Department

I remember seeing comments and then ping before but not pages.

April 19, 2014 at 6:39AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Wayne M

Why is no one talking about an update to the pocket cam's framerate capabilities??? That's honestly the ONLY update that to me is necessary for my pocket cam. I only desire 60fps ProRes at 1080p! Is that too much to ask for? Heck, I'd even take 60fps at 720p! That's at least better than NOTHING!

The other update that would be nice would be to be able to delete clips on camera. (But even that isn't too important too me. It's a hurdle that's easy to jump.)

April 19, 2014 at 11:57AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Aaron

I dont see how you can expect a feature like slowmo rates , getting "fixed" in any firmware updates-the camera never was intended to have that feature, If thats so important for you, why didnt you buy a camera with that feature ? I understand, and want the updates that makes the camera perform as advertised and paid for- but the gimmicks "just because its possible" nah- make a hack yourself , and dont bitch about it on the forums.

June 24, 2014 at 11:08AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Mikkel Bovin

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May 16, 2014 at 8:25AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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June 17, 2014 at 10:43AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Could they not just have a "Black sun" on/off switch, so if the algorithm is being used incorrectly, it can just be turned off?

August 21, 2014 at 5:01PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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