October 8, 2014

You Can Now Internally Format SSDs & SD Cards in All of the Blackmagic Cameras

Last month, Blackmagic Design released a firmware update for their Production Camera 4K, which included the ability to format SSDs internally. It was only a matter of time before that oft-requested feature was added to the Blackmagic Cinema Camera and Pocket Cinema Camera. Today Blackmagic Design announced firmware version 1.9.7, which adds the ability to internally format media in both cameras, as well as a spiffy new menu system, which makes it easier to reach the most needed menu functions.

Here's an excerpt from the press release that explains how the internal formatting works, and elaborates on which media formats the cameras now support:

This new disk formatting feature is unique because unlike computers that format disks for general storage use, the Blackmagic Cinema Camera and Pocket Cinema Camera can format disks optimized for high performance video use. When formatting the camera confirms the brand of disk and other disks parameters and then formats for highest speed video data recording and playback for that specific type of disk. This also means that as new disks are released in the future, new software can be released to take advantage of unique features of disks for maximum performance when recording high data rate RAW 4K images.

Customers also get the opportunity to choose between two disk formats, ExFAT and HFS+. The ExFAT is compatible with both Windows and Mac OS X so is a good choice when customers are working on Windows or working between Windows and Mac OS X platforms as both platforms natively will read the disk. When customers are working on Mac OS X exclusively, the HFS+ format is the native Mac OS format and this allows higher performance for Mac users as well as better error protection because HFS+ supports journaling.

Blackmagic Dashboard Menu Firmware 1.9.7
The new dashborad menu on the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera.Credit: Joe Marine
Blackmagic Cinema Camera Internal Formatting
Formatting media on the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera.Credit: Joe Marine

The updated firmware also includes an updated user interface, including what Blackmagic is calling the dashboard menu (which can be seen in the photo above). The dashboard menu provides easy access to the most used camera settings, such as enabling focus peaking, turning on frame guides, and formatting media.

Firmware version 1.9.7 is available to download now. Here are the links for the Mac version and the Windows version    

Your Comment

33 Comments

Finally!

October 8, 2014 at 6:10PM

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Bojan Andrejek
DP / Cinematographer / Producer
257

YES!!!! They're done awesome work updating the FW recently. Nice work, BMD :)

October 8, 2014 at 6:11PM

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Jason Bowdach
Colorist
122

Wow. This is good but I wonder why it took sooooooooooooo long.

October 8, 2014 at 6:21PM

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Dantly Wyatt
Musical Comedy & Content Creator.
709

F.I.N.A.L.L.Y

October 8, 2014 at 6:22PM

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Connor Day
Director of Photography
419

Hoorayyyyy :)

October 8, 2014 at 6:25PM

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It was imminent, and finally we get in-camera formatting! Next in line - in-camera delete ProRes - would be a life-saver when you're short on cards and SSD's.

October 8, 2014 at 6:51PM

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Ogy Stoilov
Director
227

I meant deleting clips in-camera above.

October 8, 2014 at 6:52PM

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Ogy Stoilov
Director
227

thats a bad idea for data integrity

October 8, 2014 at 10:25PM

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Indie Guy
1003

Actually in an interview with black magic, they said deleting clips will be coming in a future upgrade!

October 9, 2014 at 12:47PM, Edited October 9, 12:47PM

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id rather not have that either just incase you screw up during operation

October 12, 2014 at 12:06AM, Edited October 12, 12:06AM

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Kazu Okuda
Filmmaker
1391

Better late than never!

October 8, 2014 at 7:04PM

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Micah Van Hove
Writer
director, producer, dp

Wooh, finally! Nice to see them still working on the cameras

October 8, 2014 at 7:12PM, Edited October 8, 7:12PM

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Tom Hornblow
Camera operator, Steadicam
295

Nothing but unconditional love from me for Black Magic Designs!

October 8, 2014 at 7:17PM

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Dave Esposito
Film maker - owner Agricola Media
81

i bought a black magic 2 days ago can i upgrade the software??

October 8, 2014 at 8:12PM

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I know this question will sound stupid, but what is frame guides? and what does it do? lol

October 8, 2014 at 9:20PM

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V3nzy
88

Not stupid. Frame guides are an overlay to help you frame shots. You cannot see them on the BMPCC screen. If you have a monitor connected through the HDMI port, you can see them and you have the choice of turning them ON or OFF. But the toggle has no effect if you are not using a monitor.

October 8, 2014 at 11:39PM

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Jorge L. Molinari
Mechanical Engineer / Family Man / Video Producer
94

Thanks a lot ! :)

October 9, 2014 at 2:19AM

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V3nzy
88

i was trying to figure that out but i think that's a base for the NEXT update.
im guessing there might be aspect ration guidelines in future updates. that would be great

October 12, 2014 at 12:05AM

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Kazu Okuda
Filmmaker
1391

Just installed it in my Pocket camera. Glad to have in-camera formatting for sure. But... and I hate to nitpick on what really is a great news for us Blackmagic shooters, but here goes.

Now we need an additional button press to get to the all-important, frequently-used Menu. That is disappointing. It was already too many button presses to get to get to the important settings, and now we they have added another press to what was already too much. We would have been better served by adding the format option into the existing menu, rather than making a new menu at a higher level. The new top level menu is almost pointless because 3 of the 4 icons (not counting menu or format format) already have their dedicated physical buttons*. I really don't follow their logic other than giving the appearance of "user friendliness" with the large pretty icons. Ironic. It now looks considerably more user friendly when in fact it is slightly less user friendly. I guess marketability is more important than functionality. Can't say I blame them, it is very likely this will change in appearance will contribute more to their bottom-line than a doing it the more functional way.

*It just dawned on me that the other BM cameras (I only own the Pocket) have touch screens and likely lack the physical buttons of the Pocket cam. Hence to have a unified software, they had to design the interface around the touchscreen cameras and so the Pocket cam users have to suffer this slight inconvenience. Well worth the trade-off IMHO considering the accelerated pace of Firmware updates thanks to the unified software.

October 8, 2014 at 11:15PM

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Jorge L. Molinari
Mechanical Engineer / Family Man / Video Producer
94

Nice! Good to have suport.

October 8, 2014 at 11:51PM

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Note: When formatting SSDs and probably SD cards as well in-camera the 'name/label' of that SSD or SD card will be changed to reel number metadata given in camera. If you carefully labeled your SSDs you may want to format in a PC instead. Still, its good to have the option if you ever forgot to format

October 9, 2014 at 3:46AM

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Jeroen Rommelaars
Animator - Videographer - Motion Tracking
953

very good point. that slipped my mind

October 12, 2014 at 12:03AM

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Kazu Okuda
Filmmaker
1391

So that's what those robbers were up to.... *slow clap*

October 9, 2014 at 8:43AM

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Will Watkins
Cinematographer // Editor
253

After the update, it looks like I'am getting much better performance out of my SSD drives while shooting 4k raw. Kingston Hyper X , OCZ Vertex 3. I can even get the Crucial M500 to be recognisable and useable after the format. Of course the Sandisk Extreme Pro was good straight out of the box.

October 9, 2014 at 8:55AM

7
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Cool, only took them over two years to make their cameras as practical as a 9 year old hvx!

October 9, 2014 at 11:11AM

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Chuck McDowell
1st AC
478

Now, I miss delete selected clips

October 10, 2014 at 2:53AM

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Ragüel Cremades
Film producer and director
7811

Great news. This is one of my biggest pet peeves about the camera so far (mine finally came this week), and it's finally been fixed.

October 10, 2014 at 2:54AM

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Christian Oliveira
Director/Writer
74

The new interface is a vast improvement.

October 10, 2014 at 10:09AM, Edited October 10, 10:09AM

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Marc B
Shooter & Editor
474

I've been testing out RAW with my Pocket for the past month and just shot my first project with it and I love it. Of course I used the 95MB/s SanDisk card because that's the only one that really works. I tried using the 80MB/s card and when in RAW mode it didn't even show that there was a card.

But after updating and using the in camera HFS+ format, the 80MB/s cards do seem to record RAW without dropping frames. I haven't done a lot of shooting with it yet to really test it out, but it does seem that the in camera formatting with HFS+ is the way to go to maximize the power of your SD cards. This could really save people a lot of money.

October 11, 2014 at 5:12PM

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Julian Faras
Editor, Cinematographer, Director
403

im looking forward to hearing more about that. that would be really major.

October 12, 2014 at 12:02AM

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Kazu Okuda
Filmmaker
1391

Yes, please and thanks.

October 20, 2014 at 11:24AM

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Hooray! Basic functionality.

Why are we celebrating, again?

October 11, 2014 at 11:54PM

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Robert Bryant
Writer, Editor, Sound Designer
88

i just updated my firmware and the new interface s awesome. very simple. intuitive and made some of the deeply buried features a lot easier to access.
im hoping they'll bring the zebra access up on this menu. That would be great!

October 12, 2014 at 12:01AM

1
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Kazu Okuda
Filmmaker
1391