When watching films at the cinema, or in HD on your TV at home, there’s a notable difference between the quality of the footage on the screen, and anything you would be able to capture yourself, using an everyday HD video camera. This is mainly due to the fact that professional filmmakers typically use cameras worth in excess of Â£100,000, and a whole host of additional professional kit, such as lighting rigs, lenses, filters etc.
Taking this into consideration, its highly unlikely that the average hobbyist, cash-strapped student or up-and-coming filmmaker would be able to afford this type of equipment. However, there is an alternative digital cinema.
At just over Â£2000, the Blackmagic Cinema Camera is a fraction of the cost of most ‘cinema quality’ cameras, and is set to be a real game changer in terms of putting professional-standard video capture in the hands of the ‘domestic/pro-sumer’. The Blackmagic is capable of recording 2.5k Raw footage, which is more than enough for the average home user. At almost twice the size of HD, most people’s home computers will struggle to actually display video on that scale.
The Blackmagic helps considerably with post production workflow: The editing and colour grading process takes place after shooting, which gives a much wider range of colour to work with than the average camera. Depending what codec the video was recorded in, it can be digitized directly into editing software, such as Final Cut Pro without any need for transcoding.
Included with the camera is a new version of Davinci Resolve 9 Colour Correction software. Providing you have the hardware to handle the file sizes at home, this software will allow you to colour grade your footage to achieve whatever look you want, i.e. you may want to make a cloudy day look sunny.
There are 13 Stops of Dynamic range featured in this Camera, which put simply, means the picture is awesome. For those in the know, the ability to harness light going into the lens of the camera in such a way allows them to achieve a very specific ‘look’ or ‘feel’.
To complement the camera’s dynamic range, it has compatibility with EF (Electric-Focus) lens mounts – the standard lens found on Canon DSLR and SLR cameras, and ZE lens mount, which can be found on all Carl Zeiss DSLR/SLR lenses.
For actually recording on the camera itself, it comes with a SSD (Solid State Drive) recorder, which is compatible with a host of card brands including OCZ Vertex 3, Crucial C300, Crucial M4, Kingston V100 (64GB, 120GB, 240GB), Kingston HyperX 240GB.
For easy navigation, the camera features a neat 5″ touchscreen, which allows you to label and mark your clips easily, while on the fly. The ability to edit direct from the on board HDD (hard disc drive) is incredibly useful for those doing quick turn around edits.
In order to transfer data quickly, the Blackmagic features a Thunderbolt port – an input on the camera allowing a super-fast connection to a computer or input at the opposite end. Specifically, the Thunderbolt port transfers data at an astonishing 10Gb/sec, via two channels – that’s 20Gb/sec! To give you a comparison a standard 2.0 USB port will transfer data at 480Mb/sec.
All in all the Blackmagic Cinema Camera is a complete game changer: it has the potential to completely revolutionise the way in which film and television is produced, and opens up the world of cinematic quality footage to small production outfits. The seamless workflow of this camera throughout all stages of the production process has the potential to reduce post-production turnaround, shooting schedules, and inevitably budgets.
For anyone considering purchasing a digital camcorder such as the Sony NX5, Sony EX1, Canon 5D or Canon XF100, don’t overlook the Blackmagic because it’s bringing some serious competition!