July 17, 2014

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.

Link: Blackmagic Camera Firmware Updates

Your Comment

48 Comments

Good to see Blackmagic committing and improving their cinema line. If they would be reliable on dates and improve the overall usability of their cameras, I can see a whole generation of film-makers switching to Blackmagic

July 17, 2014 at 10:59AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

0
Reply

Amazing. Love this update. Saves me from buying more cards for the pocket!! Especially for corporate style interviews!

July 17, 2014 at 11:08AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

5
Reply
Lane

Does anyone know if a macbook pro with 4 GB ram, and a 2.66 GHz intel Core i7 processor is enough computing power to edit raw video?

July 18, 2014 at 8:19PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

0
Reply
Tyler

You will need a powerful video card. Tot model MacBook Pro have a nvidia option however even that one is close to limit. I can render at 10fps from 2,5kraw with nvidia 750M

July 21, 2014 at 12:01PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

0
Reply
Radu

Someone already posted a short test of the differences with the Pocket cam: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3sN6CSPGVuA

July 17, 2014 at 11:11AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

19
Reply
Lane

I got one last October. It's kind of a pain in the ass to take on a trip but under the right setting, with lights, external sound, good minitoring and decent talent this little camera gets it done. 12 bit RAW is tough to give up for 8 bit, especially for 500 bucks. Should be exciting to see what they come up with next. And has anyone seen footage from the cion? Not a peep.

July 17, 2014 at 11:34AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

18
Reply
Anthony Marino

I've been waiting on footage from the CION all summer, it's release date was (supposedly) in August, but with no news at all, I'm doubting that.

July 17, 2014 at 12:10PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

4
Reply
NDB

Seen quite a bit of CION footage in person. It looks almost EXACTLY like BM Cinema camera 4K. I saw nothing in the daylight footage they had running that hinted at better DR or lowlight. It looked great on a 4K monitor, but of course it did.
The stuff they were playing was ProRes not AjaRAW. It does do 60fps though which is nice.
And its kind of a beautiful object.
They seem confident that it'll ship soon. I know a few test units are out.

July 17, 2014 at 9:46PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

3
Reply
marklondon

Off the various board rumors, they were having the same problems with FPN as BMD - the same sensor, after all - but were attempting to fix it before the release. They may have been the reason for the delay.

July 17, 2014 at 11:15PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

0
Reply
DLD

+1

July 18, 2014 at 4:35AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

2
Reply
Alton Firth

This is HUGE. Especially since I just pulled the trigger yesterday to buy another Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera yesterday after that outrageous 50% price cut. After that purchase, I was talking with a colleague last night who had used my BMPCC for a couple of projects and he said, "Man, that's a great deal but I dunno... that footage I shot with it killed two 2 TB hard drives. I wish it shot in some smaller codecs. Then it would be amazing." WISH GRANTED (overnight!).

July 17, 2014 at 11:39AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

8
Reply
Coop

BOOM!

July 17, 2014 at 11:42AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

0
Reply
Aaron

I wonder if this will open up the door for higher frame rates in a future firmware update...

July 17, 2014 at 11:51AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

3
Reply
Ben

Exactement!

I'm not with my pocket right now, so... can someone who already updated the camera inform if there is a 60fps option enabled?

July 17, 2014 at 12:23PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

2
Reply
Rodrigo Molinsky

The issue with higher frame rates has more to do with heat than with the recording media. It's not impossible that there could be higher frame rates, but there is a reason the new URSA has so much cooling built in, it's to deal with the increased heat on the sensor from high frame rates.

July 17, 2014 at 12:32PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

0
Reply
avatar
Joe Marine
Camera Department

The pocket already gets crazy hot as it is. Can't imagine they'd push it any further. But it sure would be cool to shoot 48 fps for a little slow-mo!

July 17, 2014 at 12:44PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

0
Reply
von

Oh, that's true. There goes my hope...

July 17, 2014 at 1:38PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

0
Reply
Rodrigo Molinsky

It's about processing power. What was the initial difference between Scarlet & Epic? Epic had way better ASICs which could process much more data, hence far higher frame rates.

July 17, 2014 at 1:51PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

0
Reply
Charlie

Actually they were identical boards, the difference was in how hot particular boards would get from normal deviations in manufacturing...so the boards that ran hotter were run slower and put in the Scarlet, the cooler boards were put in the Epic. This is the same thing that's done with CPUs.

July 17, 2014 at 2:41PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

0
Reply
Gabe

I Hope it does ben... i hope it does. Would love to see 50p on the pocket camera or atleast be able to output 50p or even output a 2k image from the HDMI out to a recorder like the shogun or something. :)

July 17, 2014 at 12:38PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

9
Reply
Dante

Hyperdeck Studio 2 (and Studio 2 Pro) definitely support LT and all that jazz. Would be surprised if the shuttle didn't?

July 17, 2014 at 1:33PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

8
Reply

The Shuttle does not at this point, and the Studio got support for those only in December, so we'll have to see if they do release something in the next 6 months for the Shuttle, or maybe release a new one.

July 17, 2014 at 1:39PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

4
Reply
avatar
Joe Marine
Camera Department

You know what? I believe Blackmagic could release those features in the earlier update. The update with the new UI was just a few weeks ago. The commercial section must have brought the summer price cut to the table and they kept a gift for who already got the camera.

Putting myself as a CEO, if I knew a more compressed format was in development, I would hold the release to after the price drop so the old customers wouldn't rant against the company with a fear to buy new cameras to see it lose value after some months.

July 17, 2014 at 1:37PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

0
Reply
Rodrigo Molinsky

But you're not CEO. And your speculation lacks a lot of inside knowledge. No smart CEO releases software/firmware prematurely. That leads to lots of support calls and angry customers.

Search the archive here for the interview with Grant Petty. He's a smart guy.

Everybody buying a digital camera knows the price is going to drop pretty quickly. And competitors will introduce compelling products. Read the comments on here. Some owners bought a second Pocket yesterday.

If you're starting with nothing, buying a Pocket system still costs far more than $1k with power, storage, monitoring, support, and lenses. If you have a DSLR for video, then you add an adapter, and this is pretty nice.
If you already have an MFT camera, this is an amazing deal.

July 17, 2014 at 2:08PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

0
Reply
Charlie

You also have to buy storage, support and lenses if you are shooting with a DSLR

July 17, 2014 at 2:28PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

1
Reply

I'm trying to understand what you understood with my comment. I'm sorry if my speculation made you nervous. But, in my opinion, the timing of this update was perfect for the context and Grant Petty being a smart guy won't change that.

"Everybody buying a digital camera knows the price is going to drop pretty quickly."
I'm still impressed with a 50% price drop of a 12-bit RAW camera after just 1 year.

"Some owners bought a second Pocket yesterday."
And I'll buy a second tomorrow.

"If you’re starting with nothing..."
... I'll have to buy lenses, media, batteries and any king accessories for any camera. All of them have pros and cons.

"this is an amazing deal."
Already was.

July 17, 2014 at 2:55PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

3
Reply
Rodrigo Molinsky

DNG raw is nice when you need it, but almost always is overkill. And to be honest, ProRes HQ is overkill for almost everything. This is a great update!

July 17, 2014 at 1:50PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

0
Reply

Anyone know if I can use a slower card with the more compressed file formats?

July 17, 2014 at 2:19PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

0
Reply
Steve

I think you can get away with a 45mb/s card (according to B&H) for ProRes 422 LT and 422. I'm not entirely sure though. Just get the faster cards. They'll be more versatile for higher data rates.

July 17, 2014 at 2:39PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

4
Reply
Pat

Your class 10 will work fine with these 422 LT options. The joy of compressed codecs!

July 17, 2014 at 3:32PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

0
Reply
Saadawi

what about 2.5K in Prores mode? That would be a killer feature to have.

July 17, 2014 at 3:57PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

0
Reply
Alexis

Blackmagic is playing to kill now. The only thing that kept me from recommending this cam to my friends was the sheer data size and inability to record events without a separate recorder. It's getting close to game over for DSLR.

July 17, 2014 at 4:47PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

0
Reply
Kent

1. Still can't format cards/delete clips in camera
2. Still can't see how much free space is left on the card
3. Doesn't take stills
4. Battery life is awful
5. Internal preamps are awful
6. Super 16 makes shallow DOF tough

I think you get the idea. I love that BlackMagic is trying to disrupt the industry, but they have a LONG way to go before they even pose a tiny threat to DSLR's or mirrorless cameras like the GH4 and A7s.

July 17, 2014 at 5:22PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

0
Reply

Drew, your first and second points are valid ones, and they really need to address this. Your third point is like saying a MacDonalds hamburger doesn't have cheese (if you want cheese, buy a cheeseburger, not a hamburger expecting cheese). Your fourth point is semi valid (Annoying yes, but workable. They never claimed it had amazing battery life, the batteries are cheap anyway. Someone really needs to make a nice ergomomic battery grip for this camera). Fifth point is semi valid, other DSLRs have crap preamps too (I haven't tested yet so can't comment too much). Sixth point is as per third point: it's like saying GH4 not being full frame is a negative, and can be solved by getting a speedbooster.

A bigger problem than your points 3 - 6 is the lack of audio metres IMO.

July 17, 2014 at 7:58PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

11
Reply
Reggie

1.) In-camera formatting would be nice, but I hope they never allow for deleting individual clips in camera. That's just going to cause a lot of people problems. Also, as someone who works in post, I'll tell you that a sure fire way to burn 10 minutes of my day (double checking hard drives and camera notes, and sending emails to the DIT) is to send me a reel that has a break in the sequential numbering of the clips in it.
2.) Can't believe this hasn't been implemented yet, I would very much like this to be in the next update.
3.) Yup.
4.) Yup - though this is only relevant in run and gun situations, not on an actual set.
5.) I don't think the pre-amps are any worse than most DSLR's preamps. Not sure if this is an area where DSLRs have an advantage over the Blackmagic Cameras.
6.) Yup, this seems like an area where DSLRs make things easier (when you want shallow DOF), though I can easily see the BMCC mkII having a super-35 sized sensor. Complete speculation, of course.

July 17, 2014 at 8:19PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

9
Reply
Dave

I was mostly talking entry level DSLR for the same budget as a Pocket. Between BMPCC and T3i? Pro's and Con's to both. But the main issue for low budget guys like my friends was data size and usability for event shooting and so forth. BM expanded their market with this.

July 18, 2014 at 4:33PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

3
Reply
Kent

Good news about the new compression prores. I will be using this for sure.

I wonder if this update will fix the video glitch (and sometimes recording glitch) that some people are getting since updating to 1.8? I contacted Blackmagic about it and they said it was a known issue and will be fixed promptly. Got another reply today saying to "try this new update and see if it works". It would be a bit concerning if they don't fix a serious known issue but instead give us features.

July 17, 2014 at 8:13PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

2
Reply
Reggie

Great job BlackMagic making the cameras even better. BlackMagic if your listening please give us 48fps on the Pocket Cinema Camera & the 2.5K even if you limit it to short burst like 10 - 30 seconds that would do.

July 17, 2014 at 8:55PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

2
Reply

God I would use/buy/recommend so many units if they did this.

July 17, 2014 at 9:50PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

2
Reply
marklondon

+1

July 18, 2014 at 4:34PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

0
Reply
Kent

+1

July 23, 2014 at 6:29PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

0
Reply
Jak

Now that they have these awesome features its time to get the battery life up and managing media in camera. Those 2 are the long awaited. Now I can record longer times but now my battery life still limits the shooting time. I was able to shoot for the full battery life and I still wouldn't be out of space with the switronix power base.

July 18, 2014 at 3:30AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

1
Reply

I easily get 10 hours out of a fairly small power pack and the batteries recharge at the same time. Its nice to not have to worry about power on a shoot. Not fussed about the managing media part as I don't go near the delete button in case I delete the wrong clip on any camera, but would like a better indicator of how much space is left! Speedbooster and sigma 18-35mm make for a beautiful image!

July 18, 2014 at 8:46PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

0
Reply
Vortex

I am so glad I never purchased any BMD camera. To wait this long and there is still lots of unhappy FPN sufferers. I will gladly watch from the sidelines as they introduce more magic next year while existing users lay by the wayside. One can only hope that they put some more resources into the products they already have before adding insult to injury. I'm still baffled by the studio camera, moreso by the Ursa. I think I'd settle for a digital bolex if it were a money thing. The 2.5 makes some really nice images. The pocket will be hampered by lens choice. And all of the cameras need audio meters, card formating, and better production runs to prevent bad cameras from getting out. Im not hating on them... I wish they had just focused on fixing what existed before throwing more gas on the fire. Best of luck to those who own them. And Grant Owes some apologies to the forum members who have suffered in vain only to be looked down on by him as isolated occurrences that amounted to "two or so" cameras that had problems. OR SO!!!

July 18, 2014 at 6:10PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

0
Reply
Bill Gilbride

Great to know Black magic is on fire after the huge drop on sales , while Panasonic GH4 is hitting the record sales this year ! As said , competition is everything in the industry. Still remember Black magic production camera 4k , CANT do decent slow motions!!! It's only 30 frames !!! While talking about GH4 any news about rumors for GH5 ? I love GH4 , but the crop factor x2.0 it gets me down. I don't want to buy a speedbooster , which are not that sharp at f1.4 or f1.2 . I would love GH5 to have a super35mm and a better ISO for low light.

July 22, 2014 at 9:30AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

0
Reply
Pavlos

Quick question. Due to higher compression rates, could I use a Sandisk 64 GB Ultra 30mb card, w/out losing frames.

August 5, 2014 at 11:24AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

0
Reply
Dylan

Yes, i tried this out with a simple class 10 card and was able to record LT no problem. 422 dropped a few frames at first and started dropping a few more when getting into high contrast scenes.

just remember that a blinking "rec" icon means you are dropping frames.

August 12, 2014 at 5:07PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

0
Reply
Kevin

I hope they release Lossless CinemaDNG soon for the 2.5k model as those files are huge!

September 8, 2014 at 5:09PM

0
Reply
avatar
Harvey
Director / Camera Op / Editor
74