January 3, 2016

Blackmagic, Apertus, & Kinefinity Talk Cinema Cameras

In a video just released from NAB 2015, cinema5D sat down with Tim Siddons from Blackmagic Design, Sebastian Pichelhofer from the Open Source Apertus project, and Michel Juknat for Kinefinity, and talked about not only new products, but how each company views their own cameras and the needs of their users:

The thing that has stood out to me, and one of the things that I've learned from doing this for a number of years, is that every company works very differently, and comes up with products and product cycles in their own way. A camera is ultimately a tool, and there are so many different shooters and different needs that it's impossible to create one camera that fits the needs of everyone. 

The ARRI ALEXA may be one of the most popular cameras in Hollywood, but it doesn't do everything for everyone, and by the same token, RED's offerings do things that ARRI can't or won't do. Canon and Sony also have models that fit the needs of certain shooters and not others based on features and build. While Apertus is trying to make a camera that can be adapted for as many users as possible, Blackmagic wants to build models for each type of shooter. Kinefinity has taken a middle of the road approach, and has just tried to build the most powerful camera they can at the most competitive price possible, and incorporate what they've learned in newer models. Either way, building a camera is a set of decisions that comes down to what users need, cost, and potential volume of sales. 

There is also the question of speed when developing a camera. We like to think that each company is closely following what others are doing and building cameras in response, but this is actually rarely the case because of product cycles and internal business structure. While many companies are on 12-18 month development cycles or more, Tim from Blackmagic mentioned that they are on about a 6 month cycle. There are positives and negatives for each of these approaches. People complain that a company like Canon is slow to innovate with no RAW internally and sometimes very compressed images, but generally their products are delivered on-time and work as described (and you know a better and cheaper model isn't coming out in 6 months). Blackmagic, on the other hand, hasn't delivered much on time and doesn't always have the most polished final product, but is constantly innovating and updating their products, and gives the user the least compressed image with the most fidelity possible.

Making cameras is a difficult business, and one potential reason that it's even more difficult is that companies are very secretive about what they do, and how they arrive at making an image. This is partly why Sebastian from Apertus believes so strongly in Open Source technology — the idea that a user should know everything that's going on under the hood, and be able to change the software to better fit their needs. This also speaks to the different approaches by the companies in the video above. From a shooting perspective there isn't really a wrong way to go about this, but hopefully we see companies being more open about their cameras, specs, and how they're creating an image thanks to the Open Source movement. 

The one thing that the three companies above have in common is that they believe in trying to give their shooters the maximum quality possible, including RAW and compressed formats. With how technology is progressing, I'd be surprised if we didn't see more and more camera models that fit this mold, especially as things get more competitive. Being able to have a lot of compression and no compression options in one camera is really the best of both worlds, and it's something we're seeing these companies trying to do as much as possible. 

There's no question we'll see more models from Blackmagic and Kinefinity, and Apertus has a very defined plan that seems to be going well (even if it is a little late). We just hope that all of them continue to listen to customers and include as much as possible under the hood as they can.      

Your Comment

21 Comments

The Kinemax6K is A Great Camera and I'm happy to own it...any one want to know anything hit me up on my gram DOPCABLEXFORCE ... I love the Underdogs

January 3, 2016 at 3:08AM, Edited January 3, 3:08AM

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CABLE (X-FORCE)
DP/EDITOR/DIR
266

Blackmagic is the only company here that I can trust, especially with anything over $1k. Apertus could become very unstable and too complicated, Kinefinity should make anything else but cameras.

January 3, 2016 at 3:27AM

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Ramy Daniel
Cinematographer
306

comments like yours qualify as trolling you know. While I know nothing about kinefinity, filmmakers who own or have at least shot with their cameras - even zacuto who I definitely don't care much for - seem to like them, and then you come along :-P

January 4, 2016 at 1:15AM

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Jeff Waweru
Photographer / Filmmaker / Designer
167

I've come back to tell you YES, I was trolling, but that being said... I was still trying to make a point. 2 years now Jeff and am back here to update you on what BM has done for the industry since then "BM-Raw and Pocket Camera....". And how many people have their hands on a Kinefinity or Apertus? >50?!

September 21, 2018 at 9:44AM

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Ramy Daniel
Cinematographer
306

Black magic mini 4.6 is a wonderful camera. But if Black magic is reading this: PLEASE make a version with SSD, leave it to me the user to use SSD. cfast is nice but way out of reach.
With SSD I CAN EASELY SHOOT AN WHOLE HOUR CONTINUE, WITH CFAST ONLY 10 minutes

January 3, 2016 at 8:56AM

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Somebody made an adapter to use SSD, BUT IT IS AN EXRA BOX ON TOP OF THE CAMERA

January 3, 2016 at 8:58AM, Edited January 3, 8:58AM

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Didn't they switch to the Cfast cards because SSDs were not fast enough and were too unstable at higher frame rates while in raw?

January 4, 2016 at 10:10AM

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Klay Abele
DP | VFX Artist | Motion Designer
74

^Yup!

And, shooting at 4.6K RAW in 60fps records uses both Cfast cards at the same time. You have to merge the files together in Davinci.

January 4, 2016 at 2:04PM

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Danny T
Photographer
449

Do you believe it? Sony has done the SAME thing with a dedicated meroy card. THEN someone in Australia made an sd-card adapter, nobody was buying the Sony memory cards anymore. The SD WAS WORKING JUST FINE.

January 4, 2016 at 5:46PM, Edited January 4, 5:46PM

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The Kinemax 6k is just so an incredible camera, I work with on a project and I'm just so impressed by the capacity of this cam... 4K at 100fps and 3K at 150fps... 3K golden, 16 stops Dynamic range... SSD. Interchangeable Mount EF, PL etc... Easy to work in post, efficient codecs, superb low light capability, very nice shape. A WOW camera even better than I imagined, which produces a superb image quality... The Customer support is just great. I hope the best for Kinefinity!

January 3, 2016 at 3:35PM

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People Are Sleeping on This Kinemax Camera Because No Ones Knows About it Or Uses it. Its Awesome Bro. 4K Looks Amazing And Golden 3K Is Awesome !!! Cant Forget The 6K Either!!!!

January 3, 2016 at 6:13PM

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CABLE (X-FORCE)
DP/EDITOR/DIR
266

I also love the CineForm codec if you do not want too take up space with DNG or KineRaw but not losing too much quality. A truly efficient codec for the workflow supported by many software. Superb sound quality with both XLR inputs. I do not even speak of 6K ... A Cinderella camera, easy to use, robust, that wins has to be known and which is by far the best Kinefinity !

January 4, 2016 at 4:38AM

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The people at Zacuto are very happy with the Kinemax too.:

4 minute video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mkqR3x8dlqE

January 3, 2016 at 6:44PM

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The customer support is in the US?

January 3, 2016 at 6:45PM

9
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Anyone know of any rental houses in the US that will rent one out?

January 4, 2016 at 10:12AM

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Klay Abele
DP | VFX Artist | Motion Designer
74

Scroll down at link to find information on the Hollywood Kinefinity/KineMax location:

http://www.kinefinity.com/kineteam/contact-us/?lang=en

January 5, 2016 at 12:26AM

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Here's to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently.

January 3, 2016 at 10:40PM

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Terma Louis
Photographer / Cinematographer / Editor
1547

Are you really the girl in the picture?

January 4, 2016 at 8:44AM, Edited January 4, 8:44AM

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6 month turnaround on Black Magic? That is truly insane. I like their color science, but they have yet to make a solid camera on release and aside from the image, their cameras are pretty terrible. Maybe they should slow down on the rapid releases and focus on building a solid camera. Also, this just makes the value of your previous BM camera tank every 6 months.

Hasn't Alexa had the same sensor basically for the last 6 years? They just make it right and it stands the test of time.

January 4, 2016 at 9:26PM

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Gene Sung
DP / Director
704

What the Blackmagic dude's saying SOUNDS awesome. I want THAT camera!!

January 7, 2016 at 4:21PM

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Milan Schere
Director
213