Blackmagic Cameras Get Higher-Compression ProRes 422, LT, & Proxy Codecs
There was just an incredible price drop on the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera, and now the company is increasing the value of the entire line. Blackmagic said updates would come faster thanks to the significant 1.7 firmware, and three weeks later we've got another major addition. While the Cinema Camera, Pocket Cinema Camera, and Production Camera 4K are all capable of recording to the high-quality ProRes HQ codec, for plenty of shooting situations, HQ can be overkill. In the 1.8.2 firmware update, Blackmagic has added the more highly-compressed ProRes 422, ProRes LT, and ProRes Proxy codecs, which will mean longer recording times for projects that don't necessarily need the highest fidelity possible, and less data storage for normal recordings.
Here are all of the recording formats now available on the cameras:
And if you're wondering about the data rates, this is what you can expect for all of the Blackmagic cameras (keep in mind this is from Apple's documentation, and the cameras can't do all of these resolutions and frame rates):
Though this update will be helpful for the 2.5K camera, it's going to be really useful for both the Pocket and 4K cameras. With the Pocket, the price of those fast SD cards can add up quickly, and many projects (including shooting just for fun) would be better suited with lower compression. At the lowest compression, ProRes Proxy, the Pocket will be able to record around 4 hours on one 64GB card, and at the still very high-quality ProRes 422, you'll get over an hour. With the 4K camera, standard ProRes 422 at 3840 x 2160 will give more than an hour on a 240GB or 256GB SSD, which is much more doable for lots of productions.
The thing to remember about all of these ProRes flavors is that they are still 10-bit, so the quality will be very high no matter which specific codec you choose. The lower compression found in 422 and HQ is good for grading, but if you're not pushing and pulling the footage to an extreme degree, even ProRes Proxy can be plenty, especially if you need to keep rolling for extended periods.
It would be interesting to see if the Blackmagic Hyperdeck Shuttle got these other ProRes flavors (or maybe a new model is coming). That would increase the value of the inexpensive HDMI/HD-SDI external recorder even more, and it would be more useful with Blackmagic's own cameras if you're shooting RAW internally but you want ProRes Proxy files recorded at the same time for editing purposes.
You can find links to the firmware update over on the Blackmagic support page. It's also worth noting that no registration is required to download any of these updates, you can simply choose the "Download Only" option at the bottom of the popup window.