Blackmagic Cinema Camera – Setup & Overview –

Blackmagic Cinema Camera – Setup & Overview –

Hello, I’m Jonah with Magnanimous Media and this is the Blackmagic Cinema Camera. The Cinema Camera delivers high-end recording and dynamic range in an inexpensive package. Its 4/3rds-inch chip delivers 13 stops of dynamic range nd 2.5K 12-bit uncompressed RAW or edit-ready Apple ProRes and DNxHD in 1920×1080. Available in EF and micro 4/3rds mount, it is ready for the inexpensive glass that many indie filmmakers and videographers are already using on their DSLRs. The Blackmagic Cinema Camera is an excellent indie or shoestring-budget cinema camera. The image quality and cost savings that it delivers certainly rival DSLRs, which became opular for the same purpose. The 2.5K 12-bit uncompressed RAW is something that cameras at twice or three times the price don’t deliver. The Cinema Camera’s normal lens is 18mm, and that’s going to give you a field of view comparable to a 50mm with a full frame, or a 28 mm with a Super 35. Now, that sensor size may cause some to pause concerning depth of field, but you can always pair the Cinema Camera with high-speed lenses—and you’re probably not even going to notice the difference. Now, that depth can actually be a benefit in some cases when you need to shoot wide-open, when you have very little light, the depth will actually give you something acceptable for depth of field, so you won’t run into a situation where you have somebody’s nose in focus but not the rest of their face. The Cinema Camera has available 200, 400, 800, and 1600 ISO, so you can increase your exposure by 3 stops in 1-stop intervals. Now, 1600 ISO generates a pretty noticeable noise pattern, so I would say that 800 is probably your highest acceptable ISO. At 800 ISO, you may start to notice that noise pattern in your shadows, so keep in mind that you won’t be able to pull back detail in the shadows at 800 ISO. So, plan your exposure appropriately. DaVinci Resolve and a key dongle is included with the cinema camera, so you will have that option for ingesting footage shot in 2.5K RAW. But, be aware that this must be returned with the rental, so you want to plan to ngest the footage accordingly, or download DaVinci Resolve Lite for working with the DNG files and finishing in 2K. UltraScope software is also included, which is utilized with the Thunderbolt outlet on the camera to give you a preview monitor, histogram, vector scope, and waveform monitor on a compatible laptop or desktop. he Blackmagic Cinema Camera does have an internal mic. However, his mic doesn’t give you much in the way of quality; it’s really going to be better for a reference for slating. So you should plan on having an alternate means of recording audio. If you rent a mic from us, you will receive a 1/4 inch 2XLR adapter. We include the Blackmagic Hand Bracket, which makes the camera more manageable for handheld use. If you require more substantial support, we suggest the Redrock Cinema Camera Cage, which gives you 15x60mm rod support, as well as 1/4-20 mounting points throughout the cage. This is the suggested method of mounting a matte box, which you may require, as there is no built-in ND. The Cinema Camera has an internal battery, which provides about an hour and a half of run time. As the battery is internal, it cannot be swapped, so plan on charging during production or downtime. But you can also utilize an alternative power supply. We can supply Anton Bauer batteries and DTAP adapter, which provide over 4 hours of run time when starting with a fully-charged battery. The Cinema Camera records to 2.5-inch solid state drives, the same used in laptops. We provide two 256 GB solid state drives, which provide over 30 minutes of 24p 2.5K RAW recording per card. When recording to ProRes or DNxHD, each 256 GB card will hold a little over an hour of footage. We provide a disc reader that has FireWire 800, USB 3.0, and eSATA interfaces. These drives cannot be formatted in-camera, so you’ll need to use a computer. Format to Mac Extended (Journaled) on a Mac or exFAT on a PC. On the left side of the camera body is a Thunderbolt output for UltraScopes, USB 2.0 for software updates, 10-bit 422 SDI output, 3.5mm headphone output, and two 1/4-inch balanced audio inputs. The Blackmagic Cinema Camera is available in EF or micro 4/3rds mount. Remember that an 18mm lens delivers normal field of view, so plan your lens package accordingly. Simply press the power button to power up the camera. Power-up will deliver you to the main screen. If you tap the screen, you’ll have access to the metadata screen. This is a very useful function for maintaining shot notes for logging clips, editing, or color. The Cinema Camera has peaking focus assist and zebras. Peaking is activated via the focus button on the outside of the camera body, and zebras are set in the main menu
under display settings. Adjust the aperture by making use of the skip forward and backward button. There is a start/stop button on both the front and the back of the camera body. In the camera settings menu, you can set camera ID, date, time, ISO, white balance, and shutter angle. The Cinema Camera can be set to 200, 400, 800, and 1600 ISO, though it is suggested that you do not exceed 800 ISO, as a noticeable noise pattern is evident at 1600 ISO. White balance can be set to a number of typical temperatures. The color balance is not baked into RAW, but will be baked into ProRes or DNxHD. Levels for the mic inputs, internal mic, and speaker for playback can be set in the audio settings menu. Recorder settings is where you’ll set your record format, dynamic range, or gamma, frame rate, and time lapse interval. Dynamic range refers to the color profile, or gamma, applied, and you can choose between video and film. Video will give you Rec709, which is typical contrast and saturation for a TV monitor. Film gives you a log image that gives you maximum dynamic range. The display settings allows you to change the loop for display as well as LCD brightness, zebra exposure assist, and SDI overlay for SDI output. Be aware that shooting RAW will not marry your footage to any given profile. But you may make exposure decisions based on these profiles. Video, or Rec709, will appear to clip the highlights faster, when the eality is that you still retain detail in RAW. Resolve is useful in post to both set up offline edit for grading later or ingest RAW footage to an editable format. 2.5K RAW comes in the form of DNG files. DNG is like DPX: individual files that make up an image sequence. In the media window, you can bring your footage into the media pool in the master bin, or create subfolders to organize your footage. This could be a good opportunity to filter your footage and root out unwanted takes. In “Conform”, you can either divide your footage into individual timelines for organization, or work from the master timeline. If you’re doing an offline edit, this is where you will reconform by importing an XML and leaving the “automatically import source clips” unchecked, which will allow the proxies, if clip name and time code were maintained, to link back to the DNG files that you brought into your media pool. In color, you’ll be able to affect changes to the RAW files and adjust shadows, midtone, and highlights individually. This is also where you can use power windows for secondaries and other effects. If you are setting up an offline edit, it may be a good idea to set burn in data for the proxies, which will give you a great reference point if anything goes wrong in conforming. The gallery is where you can organize and store grading profiles to apply to clips. Delivery is where you set up output. These settings will depend on your intent for the footage. If you’re setting up an offline edit, you’ll be outputting proxies. The important settings here are the codec, frame rate (which should match your original footage exactly), individual clips should be rendered, and the output and timecode should match the original clip. If you are simply using DaVinci to ingest the footage to a workable format, then many of the settings are the same, but clip-naming and timecode are less critical. So that’s the Blackmagic Cinema Camera. It’s going to be a great step up in quality without necessarily stepping up in price. For more videos and tutorials, check us out at

44 thoughts on “Blackmagic Cinema Camera – Setup & Overview –

  1. The cinema version of exposure time. Like a wheel with chunks cut out of it, 180 degrees means the wheel is spinning around with half exposed and half blocking the sensor. After one revolution of the wheel the sensor or film has been exposed for 180 degrees of the wheel. So at 24p, 180 degrees will expose for 1/48th of a second. At 90 degrees, it exposes for 1/96th.

  2. Greetings. There have been rumors about this, well, I've even seen it in the Blackmagic Design forum, but I just want to know from someone that already owns the camera ¿Is it true that the Canon EF-S lenses work on the Blackmagic Cinema Camera with the EF mount? Cheers.

  3. How would you compare the dynamic range and shallow depth of field of the BMC when compared to a comparable setup with a 5D Mark III while using ProRes.

    If one was not ready to mess with all the raw footage issues how would the BMC compare in quality to the 5D MKIII?


  4. Go watch the Red River Media comparison of the BMCC to the MK III and prepare to have your mind blown. The MK III looks comparatively terrible. Very surprising.

  5. Hello Jim. In my experience the benefit of this camera is entirely in Raw. I can't say how they compair in image, but I've never liked the BMCC Pro Res image. We'll do a test soon, but to my eye the BMCC is capable of 2 more stops of DR when compared to 5D Cinestyle, but you'll have to grade it. DOF doesn't really compair. The 5D is full frame, so it is capable of drastically shallower DOF. Wide open on a 5D is pretty unacceptable in most situations. The 5D is far better in low light.

  6. SillyEddyPhotography has an excellent explanation above. Most digital cameras accomplish this via a rolling shutter. The sensor scans the image line by line. This leads to some image issues, such as flash banding and "jello effect." The jello effect is most noticeable on the 5D MkII as well as other DSLRs that weren't really designed for Video. The term global shutter refers to a sensor that scans the entire image simultaneously.

  7. Yeah, it's really not a run and gun or low-light option. It's a cinema camera. You get good options for the price, but you need good lighting for it to look good and you have to work with RAW (The Pro Res and DNxHD don't look good to me). If you want a camera that performs decently all around for the same price, then DSLRs seem to still be the way to go.

  8. RAW refers to raw sensor data. 4:4:4 refers to color sampling (4 green, 4 red and 4 blue) and Log refers to the gamma curve (contrast, saturation, density, etc). When working with RAW you are working with data that has not been compressed or (like with RED/Sony F5/55) it's been compressed, but some aspects are not baked in to the compression (color balance, ISO, etc). So, they are all different things, but you can shoot 4:4:4 in a Log gamma and still have compression.

  9. So, is this camera 4:4:4 in RAW mode? Chomakey won't work with 4:2:2 or 4:2:0, unless you like jagged edges hair .

  10. HI Jonah. Great job. My only suggestion is to remove the segment on the Crucial SSD's. They just don't work as they drop frames. I had to return both of mine and then purchased the Sandisk Extreme's (480's) which are flawless. Again Jonah, super job.

  11. Thanks Eric. We appreciate the info and suggestion. We haven't had any problems with ours, but it's good to know about. I believe that the Crucials were among the suggested drives for the BMCC, so it's disappointing to hear that they are not performing to expectations, but thanks for the alternative.

  12. I took my deposit back from B&H I had to wait 3 days for them to put it back on my debit card. I took it back because I feel the camera is still in its developing stages. Other than that I would get it and up grade.

  13. Deniran and Raymond, you guys are missing the point, i can shoot out of the box, yes, limited , but still out of the box for the cost of 2 or 3 RED batteries.  
    and the product is not that many time better.  Not every production needs RED.  and i can handhold, jib on under $1000 cranes, use single suction cup and a BMPC and a cheep c-mount-m43 lens…no longer as a film maker are you limited by what you can afford to rent to realize your project, not to mention,  you can now own and produce at will for what was once only the cost of a 'skinny' rental….and its only getting better…sorry RED…your too big, too expensive and to over hyped for the indie scene.  Your place is on sound stage in Hollyweed.

  14. Why are there 'noise patterns' at 800ISO? I thought the camera sensor's native ISO was 800? I which case I though shooting at 800 ISO would be the cleanest? Other sites and pages I've read recommend shooting at 800 ISO.

  15. hi . what brand of thunderbolt cable is suggested for ultra scopes and monitor .. i am having trouble with these cables

  16. thats funny i love the dnx hd and raw it go to show you everybody are different, thanks again for the info

  17. can u please suggest an all rounder lens for blackmagic cinema camera 2.5k, best wide lens please , affordable , my purpose is shortfilm making

  18. Does it record to Sd card? Can I use adobe premiere? Can I use my pc? I don't want any surprises in editing workflow and then have to invest more money

  19. I love this camera, coming from a cheapy DSLR it's I think a great step up. I have learned a lot about the BMCC since I bought it.

  20. It’s crazy we’re still machining things out of alignment with human ergonomics. Guess I’ll have to go ahead and create my own company to address this.

  21. Great overview! I have a question. What is the best Gimbal or stabilizer that is suitable with BMCC 2.5K. THANKS

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