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NAB 2012: Blackmagic launches Cinema Camera

Blackmagic Design CEO Grant Petty stole NAB headlines by announcing the $2,995 Blackmagic Cinema Camera with 13 stops of dynamic range, high resolution 2.5K sensor and built-in SSD recorder, writes Fergal Ringrose.

Not for the first time Blackmagic Design CEO Grant Petty stole NAB headlines, this time by announcing the $2,995 Blackmagic Cinema Camera with 13 stops of dynamic range, high resolution 2.5K sensor and built-in SSD recorder, writes Fergal Ringrose. At an NAB press conference Petty said the camera “was born from the problems we encountered with cameras. With a lot of cameras the screens are hidden. RAW recording isn’t available; it seems like every new camera that comes out is a custom format.” “Most video cameras clip the range – it’s frustrating for us,” he said. “The lenses are built in, and we feel that interchangeable lenses are important. “There are three key things — higher than HD resolution, wide dynamic range and colour correction. That’s what we wanted to see.” “On our Cinema Camera there’s LCD metadata entry just like a smart phone. The camera itself has a very creative feel, and Thunderbolt is built-in. It’s all designed so that the whole post production workflow goes really smoothly.” “People relate to cameras in different ways,” said Petty. “Some are very creative; some like a solid studio look; and some want a rugged news style. There are three personalities in the way people relate to cameras and we feel we’ve covered these three different ways,” he said. “We think it has a creative modern design and is very comfortable to use.” Blackmagic’s Simon Westland told TVBEurope “we’ve spent years plugging cameras in; we understand the outputs. We’ve worked with all the camera manufacturers and we know the issues. People love the shallow depth of field, the 24p look and the optics of DSLRs – but they dislike the heavy compression and that the video is clipped. These cameras are designed for stills, not for grading or matching in post production.” Post Production President Peter Barker added, “Cameras like the 5D are smaller and more affordable and create opportunities – but they create problems as well. We wanted to be uncompressed for visual effects and grading. We thought, let’s design the camera the way we would like it to be.” According to Barker the Blackmagic Cinema Camera could become “a companion to the 5D-type cameras, that’s the way we see it. You can mount the disk to any computer, and access your content straight away.” “And metadata entry is important,” said Westland. “You can go straight to an NLE with no searching through files, your material is all there and searchable immediately – that’s huge.” The camera has open file format support, color correction with full version of DaVinci Resolve and a built in LCD with metadata entry, all in a compact design for US$2,995. Blackmagic Cinema Camera includes a built-in SSD recorder that has the bandwidth to capture open standard CinemaDNG RAW, ProRes and DNxHD files, standard jack audio connections, built in high speed Thunderbolt connection, 3 Gbps SDI output, a refrigerated sensor for low noise, and is compatible with high quality Canon EF and Zeiss ZF mount lenses. The camera also includes UltraScope software for waveform monitoring. UltraScope can be run on a laptop connected to the camera via a Thunderbolt connection. SL220