It's been a huge issue for many users, and while the severity has been inconsistent camera to camera, the new 1.9 firmware update released today for the Blackmagic Production Camera 4K should address fixed pattern noise on all cameras. Though it may not be completely removed in all situations, this was a much-needed fix for those who've gotten some models that have suffered from excessive noise. They've also added some really essential features, like a histogram, audio meters, and a time remaining indicator so you can see how much recording time you've got left depending on your shooting format.
Here is a video showing off the new features:
And the description of what's new in this firmware update:
1) Histogram, audio meters and media time remaining indicators to the Production Camera 4K.
You can reveal the display by swiping up from the bottom of the screen and dismiss it by swiping down. If you're using a manual lens, the IRIS button will also toggle the display on or off.
2) Improved sensor calibration processing to Production Camera 4K.
It was mentioned almost immediately that a version of this update will be coming to the other cameras, so the Pocket and Cinema Camera will both get a histogram, audio meters, and media time remaining.
Obviously, again, making sure that these cameras aren't showing excessive fixed noise is a big deal, but unfortunately a number of people before this update have had to deal with models that were not up to where they should have been. While I didn't really experience any issues with the camera I shot with, some cameras have been significantly worse than others, due to differences in the production of the sensor (which is not made by Blackmagic).
The histogram is really helpful, especially in RAW, so you can try to capture as much as possible in camera and not limit yourself in post. It would be nice to have some sort of underexposed zebra or false color mode, but the histogram is a quick way to see what your scene looks like. Without audio meters, getting audio into the camera was a bit of a guessing game, but that should be over now, and the time remaining indicator was an essential feature that should have been with the camera from the beginning -- but we've got it now.
So what's next? Blackmagic has been very good about releasing updates over the past few months as they said they would, and we should see these features added to the other two cameras very soon. Besides the upcoming release of the URSA, it would be great to finally be able to format cards inside the camera. I was told this would come eventually and wasn't a huge deal to implement, but from a workflow point of view, not being able to format on location in your camera is a problem.
You can find links to the firmware update below.
What other features would you like to see implemented in these cameras? If you've got a 4K camera, let us know how the firmware is dealing with FPN on your camera.