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Blackmagic Design Announces Blackmagic Cinema Camera

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The new Blackmagic Cinema Camera was unveiled at NAB.
Blackmagic Design introduced the new Blackmagic Cinema Camera at NAB – a new digital cinema camera that features 13 stops of dynamic range, a high-resolution 2.5K sensor, a built-in high-bandwidth SSD recorder, open file format support, color correction with a full version of DaVinci Resolve and a built-in LCD for metadata entry. The camera, which is being demonstrated in the Blackmagic Design booth (#SL220), will be available in July for a list price of $2,995.

To eliminate the damage that low bit depth and high compression video storage creates, the Blackmagic Cinema Camera includes a fast SSD recorder with enough bandwidth to capture CinemaDNG RAW, ProRes and DNxHD files. It records the full sensor detail in 12-bit Log files. These files can be read by all high-end video software. The full 2.5K sensor data is stored in the files uncompressed because the SSD has the speed to store video data at the required rate.

The camera will also ship with a full copy of DaVinci Resolve 9.0 for color correction and Blackmagic UltraScope software for waveform monitoring. UltraScope can be run on a laptop connected to the camera via a Thunderbolt connection.

The camera’s wide dynamic range of 13 stops allows users to capture feature film quality images. Commonly people focus on pixel count, but often this just creates higher resolution images that still have a “video” look due to highlight and black clipping that limits details. The Blackmagic Cinema Camera’s wide dynamic range eliminates this problem and provides film quality with more detail retained in the blacks and whites. Once the shoot is complete, DaVinci Resolve color correction software can be used to adjust images and take advantage of this extra range in the images.

The built-in LCD display can be used to focus, or playback captured files. It also features capacitive touch-screen technology for easy metadata entry. When the user taps the display with a finger, a data entry window called the “slate” appears. This lets the user enter shot information just like typing on a smart phone. This data is then stored in the files, so it can be accessed by NLE software when editing content later. The metadata is compatible with popular software such as Final Cut Pro X and DaVinci Resolve. All camera settings can be changed on this touch LCD, such as frame rate, shutter angle, color temperature, dynamic range and focus assist settings.

The camera includes a built-in microphone, as well as external jack based mic/line level balanced audio connections. When playing back recorded clips, a speaker is built in, and there is an included headphone socket, as well as embedded audio on the SDI output and Thunderbolt connection. The SDI output includes all camera data such as timecode, transport control, shutter angle, color temperature setting and ASA information.

The camera is built from machined aluminum, which results in a rugged, lightweight design. It features a built-in high-speed Thunderbolt connection, 3G-SDI output, a refrigerated sensor for low noise, and is fully compatible with Canon EF and Zeiss ZF mount lenses.

“This is one of the most exciting products we have ever created and it has been a work in progress for a very long time,” said Grant Petty, CEO, Blackmagic Design. “Ever since I was a telecine engineer back in the 1990s, I have wished that video cameras would include features that allowed them to perform creatively similar to film. However current digital cameras are too heavy, way too expensive and need costly accessories to work. We felt there was a need for a camera that delivered these features in a design that’s optimized for professional video shoots, as well as being a compact, elegant design that’s easily affordable. We think we have achieved that!”

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