Gerald Undone: Exposure Tips for the BMPCC4K & Why I Don’t Use ProRes

Discussing Blackmagic Pocket 4K exposure complications, ETTR vs middle grey, what Highlight Recovery does, and why ProRes isn’t good for low ISOs.

blackmagic_pocket_cinema_camera_4k_bmpcc4k_06_1024px_60pc
Blackmagic Design’s Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K aka BMPCC 4K.

Commentary

With Blackmagic Design’s Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K being a reasonably recent release in short supply in many parts of the world, high-value information on how to get the best out of it also remains in short supply so Gerald Undone’s data on the two best ISOs is particularly welcome.

Instead of the more commonly used base dual native ISOs of 400 and 3200, Mr Undone recommends ISOs of 400 and 4000 and supports those numbers with a thorough set of tests.

Using these preferred ISOs on your BMPCC 4K in conjunction with the expose-to-the-right aka ETTR principles espoused by Australian cinematographer/director Paul Leeming of Leeming LUT Pro will provide optimum exposure and the most suitable footage for grading.

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  • Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 4K B&H
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Are These Custom-Made Aaton-Inspired Wooden Trigger Grips for Movie Cameras the Best That Money Can Buy?

Every so often I wonder if I should invest in more substantial rigging and especially grips for my hybrid cameras instead of playing it close to the bone with minimalist, stripped-down cages.

I take a look at the grips currently made by cage and accessories makers, shrug my shoulders, and tell myself “Well, maybe later,… sometime.”

And then I came across Ruben de Boer of Element, a one-man enterprise making beautiful-looking wooden grips with or without buttons and cables to suit a range of contemporary cameras and, had I the funds, would have placed an order immediately. 

Some other companies do make wooden grips in a similar shape but all appear to have been inspired by one of the most revolutionary, most inspirational range of movie cameras ever, those designed and made by the late Jean-Pierre Beauviala of Aaton.

M. Baueviala’s cameras were intended to feel as if they were a cat reclining on one’s shoulder, silent in operation and as ergonomically sound as possible.

I never used an Aaton but watched one in use while working as a production assistant on some feature films when very young.

Aaton film and digital cinema cameras with wooden grips

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Blackmagic Design: Blackmagic Design Adds Blackmagic RAW to Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K

https://www.blackmagicdesign.com/media/release/20190305-02

Blackmagic Design Adds Blackmagic RAW to Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K

New Blackmagic Camera 6.2 update adds Blackmagic RAW to the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K!

Fremont, California, USA – March 5, 2019 – Blackmagic Design today announced Blackmagic Camera 6.2 update which adds support for Blackmagic RAW to the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K.

Blackmagic Camera 6.2 update is available as a free download from the Blackmagic Design website.

Blackmagic RAW, a revolutionary next generation codec that combines the quality and benefits of RAW with the ease of use, speed and file sizes of traditional video formats. Blackmagic RAW is a more intelligent format that gives customers stunning images, incredible performance, cross platform support and a free developer SDK.

With Blackmagic Camera 6.2 update, customers using the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K now have the ability record images using Blackmagic RAW for the first time. This allows them to capture the highest possible quality images in smaller files, giving them much longer recording times with the media they already own. For example, customers can record over 2 hours of full cinematic quality Blackmagic RAW footage in 4K on a single 256GB SD UHS-II card. With Blackmagic RAW 12:1 you can even record 4K DCI images to an SD card, giving you stunning cinematic quality images on incredibly small, inexpensive cards. In addition, Blackmagic RAW gives customers an even faster, more fluid and higher quality editing and color correction workflow in DaVinci Resolve than ever before.

Once the camera has been updated, customers can choose between 3:1, 5:1, 8:1 and 12:1 constant bit-rate recording or between constant quality Q0 and Q5 recording. This lets them prioritize image quality or file size. The constant bit-rate encoding options give customers incredible images at predictable and consistent file sizes. Constant quality Q0 and Q5 use variable bitrate encoding so complex frames are encoded at higher data rates, preserving the maximum amount of detail and quality possible. Blackmagic Design Generation 4 Color Science is used for superior imaging that results in extremely accurate skin tones and gorgeous, lifelike colors. Blackmagic RAW images are encoded using a custom non-linear 12-bit space designed to provide the maximum amount of color data and dynamic range.

In addition, Blackmagic RAW features extensive metadata support, highly optimized GPU and CPU accelerated processing on the desktop and more.

Traditional RAW codecs have large file sizes and are processor intensive, making them hard to work with. Video file formats are faster, but suffer quality problems due to the use of 4:2:2 video filters that reduce color resolution. Blackmagic RAW solves these problems, giving customers the same quality, bit depth, dynamic range and controls as RAW, but with much better performance and smaller file sizes than most popular video codecs. Once files are brought into DaVinci Resolve, additional GPU and CPU acceleration make decoding of frames incredibly fast, so customers get extremely smooth performance for editing and grading.

When the Blackmagic RAW settings are changed in DaVinci Resolve, a .sidecar file can be generated or updated if one already exists. When opened in other software applications that support Blackmagic RAW, the .sidecar file, which contains the Blackmagic RAW settings made in DaVinci Resolve, will be automatically used to display the image. If the .sidecar file is removed then the file will be displayed using the embedded metadata instead. This innovative new workflow gives customers a non-destructive way to change Blackmagic RAW settings while working between different applications.

Blackmagic RAW is much more than a simple RAW container format. Its intelligent design actually understands the camera and the sensor. This means the image data, along with the unique characteristics of the image sensor, are encoded and saved into the Blackmagic RAW file, giving customers much better image quality, even at higher compression settings, as well as total control over features such as ISO, white balance, exposure, contrast, saturation and more.

In addition, Blackmagic RAW uses Blackmagic Design Generation 4 Color Science for superior imaging that results in reproducing extremely accurate skin tones and gorgeous, lifelike colors that rival those of cameras costing tens of thousands of dollars more. Images are encoded using a custom non-linear 12-bit space designed to provide the maximum amount of color data and dynamic range.

Blackmagic RAW also makes it easy for any software developer to access all this technology. The free developer SDK lets any third party software application add Blackmagic RAW support on Mac, Windows and Linux. The Blackmagic RAW developer SDK automatically handles the embedded sensor profile metadata, along with Blackmagic Design color science, for predictable and accurate image rendering that yields consistent color throughout the entire pipeline.

Blackmagic RAW features two types of file compression. Customers can choose either constant quality or constant bitrate encoding options, depending on the kind of work they are doing. This lets them prioritize image quality or file size. Constant quality uses variable bitrate encoding so complex frames are encoded at higher data rates to preserve detail and maintain the highest possible quality. Blackmagic RAW Q0 has minimum quantization and yields the highest quality, while Blackmagic RAW Q5 uses moderate quantization for more efficient encoding and a smaller file size. Blackmagic RAW 3:1, 5:1, 8:1 and 12:1 use constant bitrate encoding to give customers the best possible images with predictable and consistent file sizes. The ratios are based on the unprocessed file size of a single frame from the camera’s sensor, making it easy to understand the relative amount of compression being used.

The pristine camera native quality of Blackmagic RAW Q0 and 3:1 are perfect for effects heavy feature film and commercial work. Blackmagic RAW Q5 and 5:1 are extremely high quality making them great for episodic television and independent films. Blackmagic RAW 8:1 and 12:1 offer high quality and speed, making it suitable for productions that wouldn’t normally consider shooting RAW. Now, more customers than ever will be able to use high quality Blackmagic RAW images in an incredibly efficient way that was impossible before.

Featuring a fully scalable design and completely modern CPU and GPU acceleration, Blackmagic RAW is optimized for AVX, AVX2 and SSE4.1 enabled processors, multi-threaded, works across multiple CPU cores and is GPU accelerated with support for Apple Metal, CUDA and OpenCL. Frame decoding and image processing is extremely fast, making it super smooth for editing, color correction and visual effects in DaVinci Resolve. Another benefit of media being stored as single files, and not image sequences, is it makes media management easier and file copying much faster.

The free Blackmagic RAW Developer SDK is available on Mac OS, Windows and Linux. This SDK takes care of all the work for developers, so adding support for Blackmagic RAW to third party software applications is easy and fast. Developers get access to GPU and CPU accelerated algorithms for decoding files, along with unique information about the camera’s image sensor so their applications can accurately decode and display the files. The SDK features highly descriptive and flexible metadata options designed to support today’s modern workflows. Metadata is embedded directly in the .braw file or it can be stored in a .sidecar file. Metadata is important because it contains the Blackmagic RAW settings along with information for the slate, iris, focus, focal length, white balance and a lot more. The metadata in .sidecar files can be used on top of the embedded metadata without overwriting it. Blackmagic RAW also supports frame based metadata so customers can access values, such as focus distance, that often change on a frame by frame basis.

“Blackmagic RAW has been incredibly successful since we introduced it last fall on URSA Mini Pro,” said Grant Petty, Blackmagic Design CEO. “The new Blackmagic Camera 6.2 update is exciting because it makes this incredible new technology available to Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K customers absolutely free! They get the visually lossless image quality of RAW with the speed of traditional video workflows!”

Availability

Blackmagic Camera 6.2 update is available today as a free download from the Blackmagic Design website http://www.blackmagicdesign.com/support

Press Photography

Product photos of Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K, and all other Blackmagic Design products, are available at http://www.blackmagicdesign.com/media/images

About Blackmagic Design

Blackmagic Design creates the world’s highest quality video editing products, digital film cameras, color correctors, video converters, video monitoring, routers, live production switchers, disk recorders, waveform monitors and real time film scanners for the feature film, post production and television broadcast industries. Blackmagic Design’s DeckLink capture cards launched a revolution in quality and affordability in post production, while the company’s Emmy™ award winning DaVinci color correction products have dominated the television and film industry since 1984. Blackmagic Design continues ground breaking innovations including 6G-SDI and 12G-SDI products and stereoscopic 3D and Ultra HD workflows. Founded by world leading post production editors and engineers, Blackmagic Design has offices in the USA, UK, Japan, Singapore and Australia. For more information, please go to http://www.blackmagicdesign.com

blackmagic_pocket_cinema_camera_4k_bmpcc4k_06_1024px_60pc
Blackmagic Design’s Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K aka BMPCC 4K.

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  • Atomos StoreB&H
  • Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 4K and accessoriesB&H

HPRC: PKT2400-01 HPRC2400 for Blackmagic Pocket [Cinema Camera] 4K

http://www.hprc.it/en/hprc2400-for-blackmagic-pocket-4k_pkt2400-01.html

“This watertight and waterproof hard case – based on the HPRC2400 series – is specifically designed to easily transport and protect the Blackmagic Pocket [Cinema] Camera 4K.

It features a pre-cut high-density foam interior that holds:

  • Camera
  • Batteries
  • Wise Portable 512 GB
  • HPRC1100 Memory card holder
  • 30W Power Supply with international adapters
  • International adapters
  • Lens: Olympus M. Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm F28 Pro.

Thanks to the lightweight and to the ergonomic handle, as well as resistant, the case is also very handy. Carry-on approved size….”

hprc_pkt2400-01_blackmagic_pocket_cinema_camera_4k_04_1024px_80pc
PKT2400-01 HPRC2400 for Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K aka BMPCC 4K.

PKT2400-01 HPRC2400 for Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K

Commentary

HPRC HPRCGH52460-01 case for Panasonic Lumix GH5 and GH5S cameras.

Italian resin case maker HPRC has a welcome history of producing ready-cut foam interiors for popular movie and photographic equipment and the most commonly used accessories under its Tuning program and also provides a custom case insert cutting service under the Foamlab moniker.

HRPC’s custom case for the Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5 and GH5S recognizes their users’ tendency to cage both cameras and carry several lenses while this case fo the BMPCC 4K leans more towards the camera’s users to rig it up on location with gimbals such as the DJI Ronin-S.

HPRC also offers the option of three different custom cases for DJI’s Ronin-S gimbal stabilizer, a popular option for use with the BMPCC 4K given its lack of internal stabilization as a cinema camera.

Links

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8sinn_samsung_t5_holder_bmpcc4k_01_1024px_80pc
Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K mounted in an 8Sinn cage with included cable clamp, improved lens support and Scorpio too handle, with the new 8Sinn holder for the popular Samsung Portable T5 SSD available in capacities from 250GB through to 2TB.

Clicking on the links below and purchasing through them or our affiliate accounts at B&H Photo Video, SmallRig or Think Tank Photo helps us continue our work for ‘Untitled’.

  • 8SinnB&H
  • Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 4KB&H
  • DJI Ronin-SB&H
  • HPRC casesB&H
  • LockCircleB&H
  • SmallRigB&H

News Shooter: Of Two Lands gives their initial impressions of the BMPCC 4K

https://www.newsshooter.com/2018/10/08/of-two-lands-gives-their-initial-impressions-of-the-bmpcc-4k/

“The Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 4K has started shipping, although in relatively small numbers. Florent from Of Two Lands was lucky enough to pre-order the camera as soon as it was announced and has been using the BMPCC 4K for the last few weeks….

… To me the biggest strengths of this camera are the image quality, being able to record 4K 60P with very strong codecs, great low light performance, and the price point. Also, I should mention the screen again, it is just massive. I like that I can record high-quality content without having people looking at the camera that would be normally much bigger. It allows me to get shots that I wouldn’t be able to get with a large rig….”

8sinn_samsung_t5_holder_bmpcc4k_01_1024px_80pc
Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K mounted in an 8Sinn cage with included cable clamp, improved lens support and Scorpio too handle, with the new 8Sinn holder for the popular Samsung Portable T5 SSD available in capacities from 250GB through to 2TB.

Commentary

I don’t expect to get to see much less try out a Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K any time soon, so Matthew Allard ACS of News Shooter and Florent of Of Two Lands have my gratitude for sharing this article and the videos at Two Lands’ YouTube channel.

I have added links to other videos shot with the BMPCC 4K here as well and hope they help form a useful impression of whether this remarkable Australian camera will be of benefit to you in your own work.

Links

Image Credits

Header image concept and hack by Carmel D. Morris.

Help support ‘Untitled’

Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 17mm f/1.2 Pro, Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 25mm f/1.2 Pro and Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 45mm f/1.2 Pro professional prime lenses with manual clutch focusing, brilliant for shooting video or stills where accurate focus is absolutely critical.

Clicking on the links below and purchasing through them or our affiliate accounts at B&H Photo Video, SmallRig or Think Tank Photo helps us continue our work for ‘Untitled’.

  • 8Sinn cages and accessoriesB&H
  • Angelbird 128GB AV Pro UHS-II SDXC Memory Card (2-Pack)B&H
  • Angelbird 512GB CFast Match Pack, 2 x 256GB CFast 2.0 cardsB&H
  • Angelbird Atomos Master Caddy 4K RAWB&H
  • Angelbird AtomX SSDminiB&H
  • Atomos Ninja V 5″ 4K HDMI Recording MonitorB&H
  • Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 4KB&H
  • Blackmagic Design Mini XLR Cable for Video Assist/4K (Set of 2, 19.5″)B&H
  • Breakthrough PhotographyB&H – the finest brass traction-framed ND, UV and CPL filters as well as the best step-up rings (sadly only sold direct on the company’s own website at present).
  • Chiaro Premium UV Protection FiltersB&H
  • Fujinon MK 18-55mm T2.9 Lens M43-MountB&H
  • Fujinon MK 50-135mm T2.9 Lens M43-MountB&H
  • DJI Ronin-SB&H
  • G-Technology Atomos Master Caddy 4K (1TB)B&H
  • HPRC 2500 Hard Case for DJI Ronin SB&H
  • Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO LensB&H
  • Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 7-14mm f/2.8 PRO LensB&H
  • Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 8mm f/1.8 Fisheye PRO LensB&H
  • Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-100mm f/4 IS PRO LensB&H
  • Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 17mm f/1.2 PRO LensB&H
  • Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 25mm f/1.2 PRO LensB&H
  • Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm f/2.8 PRO LensB&H
  • Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 45mm f/1.2 PRO LensB&H
  • Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 300mm f/4 IS PRO LensB&H
  • Panasonic lenses for Micro Four Thirds camerasB&H
  • Samsung 500GB T5 Portable Solid-State Drive (Blue)B&H
  • Veydra Mini prime lensesB&H

Mitomo PR: True ND [Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera and Infrared Pollution]

“Accurate Transmittance and true neutrality TRUE ND is a clear glass coated with metallic alloy film on both sides. Manufactured under strict quality control, TRUE ND will offer you accurate transmittance and true neutrality. Troublesome infrared will also be filtered out by its flat spectral curve up to 750nm. TRUE ND is simply how ND filters are supposed to be….”

Mitomo True ND fixed neutral density filters – “a clear glass coated with metallic alloy film on both sides” – in densities from 0.3 to 2.1 aka 1 stop to 7 stops.
Mitomo True ND fixed neutral density filters – 4″x5.65″ and 6.6″ x 6.6″ aka 100mm x 150mm and 160mm x 160mm.

Commentary

I have been researching possible solutions for the infrared pollution problem inherent in Blackmagic Design’s cinema cameras which have little to no built-in protection against it, especially the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K aka BMPCC 4K.

So far there appears to be three different most viable solutions – IR cut filters mounted on the camera itself, screw-on IR cut filters to go on the front of the lens and IR plus ND (neutral density) filters screwed-on or mounted in front of the lens.

I have ruled out small IR plus ND filters mounted on the back or camera side of the lens as they are difficult to use and swap without getting dirty when in the field shooting documentary video though they may be more viable under controlled on-location or studio conditions.

It appears that some makers of ND filters do add IR cutting to their filters and some do not, complicating things just a little.

As I come across different brands of IR cut solutions I plan on adding them as link articles like this one.

My preferred IR-cut plus ND solution is either an IR-cut filter on the camera itself or as fixed or variable ND filters on the front of the lens.

As a self-funded independent documentary moviemaker affordability is key but I do not wish to sacrifice quality or portability.

Links

  • Blackmagic DesignBlackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K
  • MitomoTrue ND – “Manufactured under strict quality control, TRUE ND will offer you accurate transmittance and true neutrality. Troublesome infrared will also be filtered out by its flat spectral curve up to 750nm. TRUE ND is simply how ND filters are supposed to be.”
  • MitomoTrue ND catalog – PDF

Image Credits

Header image concept and hack by Carmel D. Morris.

Help support ‘Untitled’

blackmagic_pocket_cinema_camera_4k_bmpcc4k_06_1024px_60pc
Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K

Clicking on these affiliate links and purchasing through them helps us continue our work for ‘Untitled: Stories of Creativity, Innovation, Success’.

  • Blackmagic Design Mini XLR Cable for Video Assist/4K, Set of 2, 19.5″, HYPERD/AXLRMINI2 – B&H
  • Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 4KB&H
  • DJI Ronin-SB&H
  • G-Technology G-DRIVE R-Series USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C mobile SSD, 500GB, 1Tb or 2TBB&H
  • Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO LensB&H – highly-recommended professional-quality standard zoom lens with manual clutch focus.
  • Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-100mm f/4 IS PRO LensB&H – excellent travel zoom with longer reach though slower fixed maximum aperture, and manual clutch focus for accurate and repeatable manual focussing.
  • Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 17mm f/1.2 PRO LensB&H – this and the 25mm and 45mm f/1.2 prime lenses below are highly recommended as top-quality, fast lenses for video production with manual clutch focus for accurate and repeatable manual focussing.
  • Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 25mm f/1.2 PRO LensB&H
  • Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 45mm f/1.2 PRO LensB&H
  • Sachtler System FSB 4 Fluid Head with Sideload Plate, Flowtech 75 Carbon Fiber Tripod with Mid-Level Spreader and Rubber FeetB&H
  • Samsung T5 Portable Solid-State Drive, 250GB, 500Gb, 1TB or 2TBB&H

Indie Shooter: Filmmaker Jody Eldred On The Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K, DaVinci Resolve & More

http://indieshooter.com/filmmaker-jody-eldred-blackmagic-pocket-cinema-camera-4k-davinci-resolve/

“Filmmaker Jody Eldred has been an evangelist of Blackmagic Design products for some time now and has always been willing to give us his expert take on how best to use them. So he was the perfect choice to give us a rundown of the new Pocket Cinema Camera 4K, as well as some of the other cameras and latest updates to DaVinci Resolve and how they help support his creative vision….”

blackmagic_pocket_cinema_camera_front_lens_01_1024px_60pc
Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K (BMPCC 4K) with Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro zoom lens with manual clutch focus, great for manual focussing. I like the longer image-stabilized Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-100mm f/4.0 IS Pro zoom for available light daily walkabout needs for video and stills.

Links

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blackmagic_pocket_cinema_camera_4k_bmpcc4k_04_1024px_60pc
Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K (BMPCC 4K) with Blackmagic Design Mini XLR Cable for Video Assist/4K, Set of 2, 19.5″, HYPERD/AXLRMINI2 for audio in.

Clicking on these affiliate links and purchasing through them helps us continue our work for ‘Untitled: Stories of Creativity, Innovation, Success’.

  • Blackmagic Design Mini XLR Cable for Video Assist/4K, Set of 2, 19.5″, HYPERD/AXLRMINI2 – B&H
  • Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 4KB&H
  • DJI Ronin-SB&H
  • G-Technology G-DRIVE R-Series USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C mobile SSD, 500GB, 1Tb or 2TBB&H
  • Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO LensB&H – highly-recommended professional-quality standard zoom lens with manual clutch focus.
  • Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-100mm f/4 IS PRO LensB&H – excellent travel zoom with longer reach though slower fixed maximum aperture, and manual clutch focus for accurate and repeatable manual focussing.
  • Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 17mm f/1.2 PRO LensB&H – this and the 25mm and 45mm f/1.2 prime lenses below are highly recommended as top-quality, fast lenses for video production with manual clutch focus for accurate and repeatable manual focussing.
  • Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 25mm f/1.2 PRO LensB&H
  • Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 45mm f/1.2 PRO LensB&H
  • Sachtler System FSB 4 Fluid Head with Sideload Plate, Flowtech 75 Carbon Fiber Tripod with Mid-Level Spreader and Rubber FeetB&H
  • Samsung T5 Portable Solid-State Drive, 250GB, 500Gb, 1TB or 2TBB&H

SmallRig Cage for Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 4K 2203 Goes Where No One Has Yet Gone Before

SmallRig is engaged in co-designing the first, to my knowledge, camera cage for Blackmagic Design’s Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K aka BMPCC 4K and it looks promising even at this early stage of the design process. 

Under the terms of SmallRig’s Co-Design practice, customers are encouraged to “share with us if you have any ideas or suggestions” and “if your idea is adopted as a core concept, you will be a co-designer of this brand-new product and get one for free once it is officially released”, a unique approach to custom designing accessories for moviemakers and photographers and a potentially rewarding one. 

smallrig_cage_blackmagic_design_bmpcc4k_01_1000px_80pc
SmallRig Cage for Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 4K 2203 with SmallRig Arri Locating Handle 2165, SmallRig Universal 15mm Rail Support System Baseplate 2092, SmallRig Wooden Universal Side Handle 2093, SmallRig Cold Shoe Extension 2044 and rods.
blackmagic_pocket_cinema_camera_4k_bmpcc4k_12_1024px_60pc
Blackmagic Design has not yet shared any fine details about the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K’s photography features. Will it be capable of high resolution stills with a choice of traditional photography aspect ratios?

Given the BMPCC 4K is predominantly a cinema camera with its low resolution stills function more likely to be applied to still-frames for publicity and NLE use, a cage for it needs to focus on documentary and narrative feature production needs.

Blackmagic Design may, however, have a surprise or two up its sleeve for the BMPCC 4K’s stills capabilities such as high resolution raw files approaching, say, Panasonic’s DC-Lumix GH5 in quality, so a second, stills-savvy, cage design or a more stills-oriented L-Bracket for hand and tripod use in portrait or landscape orientation may be called for.

Time will tell as Blackmagic Design is not sharing details about the BMPCC 4K’s stills features in any detail at the moment.

Meantime I have some thoughts below about what I would like to see in the final version of SmallRig Cage for Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 4K 2203, and for some future accessories for the camera.

SmallRig Cage for Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 4K 2203

Other SmallRig accessories to extend the BMPCC 4K 2203 cage’s usefulness

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3 Legged Thing QR7-EQ Quick Release Plate, Arca-Swiss compatible, with provision for attaching Peak Design Anchors for Peak Design camera straps. I would like to see all Arca-Swiss plates have this provision.

SmallRig makes a wide range of cages, L-Brackets and other accessories for many popular hybrid, video and cinema cameras and products originally designed for one can often be applied to use with others.

The SmallRig Mini Plate with Arri Locating Hole 2171, for example, is useful for attaching the SmallRig Arri Locating Handle 2165 onto cages lacking Arri locating holes, while two SmallRig Wooden Universal Side Handles 2093 look excellent for smooth steady movements with any camera.

Being an Arca-Swiss tripod plate aficionado, I particularly like the look of the SmallRig Universal 15mm Rail Support System Baseplate 2092 as I like having Arca-Swiss plates attached to all my cameras and Arca-Swiss type clamps to all my tripods.

I would like to see SmallRig continue integrating the Arca-Swiss system into its products.

My wishlist for SmallRig Cage for Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 4K 2203

blackmagic_pocket_cinema_camera_4k_bmpcc4k_04_1024px_60pc
The BMPCC 4K accepts audio input via mini-XLR to XLR cables, and a cage will need to account for these and other audio requirements.
  • Arca-Swiss plate at base – built-in or screw-on.
  • Arri locating holes – already provided on top of current cage design, with one on left and one of right side as well.
  • Cable clamps – port-side.
  • Cold shoes – do not need to be be built-in but can be attached to 1/4-20 screw holes.
  • Ergonomic design – needs to feel good and well-balanced in the hand and with all parts easily accessible while tripod-mounted.
  • Gimbal-mountable – especially on recently-released gimbals such as the DJI Ronin-S.
  • Good balance between protection and functionality.
  • Metabones lens adapter support – should also suitable for other adapter brands.
  • NATO rails – top and sides for quick release accessories.
  • Safe, secure below-camera mounting solution – for recorders and mixer recorders such as Tascam DR-70D and DR-701D, Sound Devices MixPre-3 and MixPre-6, and so on. Given the variability of cameras’ audio recording hardware and firmware, I prefer to rely on external audio recorders whenever possible.
  • Side handles – a pair, with shutter aka release button on righthand handle, via Arri or Nato quick release mounts.
  • SD drive mount or cage – for a range of drives including Samsung Portable SSD T5, G-Technology 1TB G-DRIVE R-Series USB 3.1 Type-C mobile SSD and other USB-C SSDs. USB-C mounts are not the most reliant so this needs to be accounted for.
  • Sunshade – although the BMPCC 4K’s monitor will be bright enough for viewing while shooting in sunlight, it will need to be shaded to enable easy viewing under all lighting conditions and especially to guard against glare.

Functionality and/or protection?

blackmagic_pocket_cinema_camera_4k_bmpcc4k_connections_01_1024px_60pc
Cages for the BMPCC 4K will require a cable clamp solution able to handle a range of cable types for all these ports.

Over the years I have observed two trends in camera cage design, protection and functionality.

All cages are designed for both but emphasize one over the other.

The best balance between depends on your needs and is affected by whether you will be shooting handheld, tripod-mounted, gimbal-mounted or a combination of two or three.

Another factor is the camera itself with some cameras built of tougher materials than others, or with easier to handle shapes and sizes than others.

The Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K is anything but a pocketable camera, unlike its predecessor the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera, being more of a cross between the latter and the many and various Blackmagic Design cinema and production cameras that have now been discontinued.

Unlike many potential buyers of the BMPCC 4K, I do not find its design ugly or unwieldy, but camera cages and accessories for it will need to take into account its non-standard shape and connection requirements.

Non-standard, that is, compared to popular mirrorless video or hybrid cameras likes those made by Panasonic and Sony.

SmallRig’s cage designs tend towards functionality and place less emphasis on protection compared to, say, cages by Seercam or Tilta.

Some examples to inspire?

Although SmallRig is unique amongst camera accessories makers in working directly with its customers in co-designing its products, there is much to be learned from and be inspired by in the products and approaches of other companies including those in the list below.

8Sinn has already shared the news that its has a design for a Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K in the world and other makers are also likely to have begun the design process.

Competition will hot up when the BMPCC 4K is eventually released and it becomes obvious what sorts of cages and other accessories will benefit users.

Why not get your design requests in early and take part in the co-design process with SmallRig?

Links

Image Credits

Quick and dirty dry dock image by Carmel D. Morris.

Help support ‘Untitled’

blackmagic_pocket_cinema_camera_front_lens_01_1024px_60pc
Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K (BMPCC 4K) with Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro zoom lens with manual clutch focus, great for manual focussing. I like the longer image-stabilized Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-100mm f/4.0 IS Pro zoom for available light daily walkabout needs for video and stills.

Clicking on these affiliate links and purchasing through them helps us continue our work for ‘Untitled: Stories of Creativity, Innovation, Success’.

  • Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema CameraB&H
  • Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 4KB&H
  • DJI Ronin-SB&H
  • Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO LensB&H
  • Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-100mm f/4 IS PRO LensB&H
  • Sound Devices MixPre audio recorders/mixersB&H
  • Tascam DR-70D 4-Channel Audio Recording Device for DSLR and Video CamerasB&H
  • Tascam DR-701D 6-Track Field Recorder for DSLR with SMPTE Timecode – B&H

Panasonic Lumix GH5S, Unstabilized Genius of Low Light Cinematic Video – Giant List of Links and Videos

Panasonic drew back the curtains today at CES 2018 in Las Vegas on one of the most controversial cameras of the last twelve months, one the existence of which has been hotly debated and even more hotly denied by potential buyers right up to the moment Panasonic’s curtain-puller really started itching to pull the strings to revealed the company’s available darkness cinematic video-shooting genius, the Lumix DC-GH5S, to all the world. 

Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5S camera with DMW-BGG5 battery grip and Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 12-60mm f/2.8-4.0 Aspheric zoom lens.

As we have been preoccupied with serious health matters here at ‘Untitled’, we will be doing some catching up with our research into and coverage of the Panasonic Lumix GH5S over the next several days, but for now here are some lists of links to articles, press releases and videos about the camera and its pros and cons.

We will be adding further material as it appears and will add our own commentary as appropriate.

FYI, “unstable” refers to the GH5S’ controversial lack of in-body image stabilization aka IBIS and “genius” relates to the GH5S’ apparent low-light video capabilities.

Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5S

Apologies to my many female readers for the very real impression given by the links below that new product releases and trade shows like CES are “boys’ clubs” aka “sausage fests” aka “sausage parties” just like the movie and television industries themselves.

That is the reality of media production in all its forms worldwide as well as the usual situation for female brand ambassadors, moviemakers, product reviewers and members of the press both traditional and digital.

I have heard that there are signs things are changing but those days cannot come fast enough.

As Geena Davis of the Geena Davis Institute of Gender in Media states, “if she can see it, she can be it” and female visibility makes a huge difference to female participation.

Meanwhile many thanks to Panasonic Australia and its press relations consultants and staff members for all their kind assistance with assets for use in these articles.

Articles

Press Releases

Product Pages

Videos

Help support ‘Untitled’

Austrian manufacturer Angelbird makes more affordable V90 SDXC cards than Panasonic’s own alternative and they are reportedly just as reliable.

Clicking on these affiliate links and purchasing through them helps us continue our work for ‘Untitled: Stories of Creativity, Innovation, Success’.

  • Angelbird 64GB AV Pro UHS-II SDXC Memory CardB&H
  • Angelbird 128GB AV Pro UHS-II SDXC Memory CardB&H
  • Angelbird 256GB Match Pack for the Panasonic EVA1B&H – special promotional packaging of two Angelbird 128GB AV Pro UHS-II SDXC memory cards that are just as usable in other cameras than the AU-EVA1 that also have UHS-II SD card slots.
  • Angelbird Atomos Master Caddy 4K RAW (500GB)B&H
  • Angelbird Atomos Master Caddy 4K RAW (1TB)B&H
  • Atomos Ninja Inferno 7″ 4K HDMI Recording MonitorB&H
  • Atomos Shogun Inferno 7″ 4K HDMI/Quad 3G-SDI/12G-SDI Recording MonitorB&H
  • Atomos SUMO19M 19″ HDR/High-Brightness MonitorB&H
  • Atomos Sumo 19″ HDR/High Brightness Monitor RecorderB&H
  • Panasonic 128GB UHS-II SDXC Memory CardB&H
  • Panasonic DMW-BGGH5 Battery GripB&H
  • Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5S Mirrorless Micro Four Thirds Digital CameraB&H