The Seed&Spark Blog

Blackmagic Stirs the Cauldron

September 17, 2014

• Diamond Bros

Blackmagic introduced the Cinema Camera about two years ago, followed by the MFT Cinema Camera, Pocket Camera, and most recently the 4K Studio Camera. Besides the imagery and great pieces people were pumping out on these disruptively priced cameras, one thing was apparent: There were features missing from the cameras operating system (firmware) that users were yelling about from the rooftops. Over the past two year, Blackmagic has been pretty good about regular camera firmware updates and stabilizing/adding UI updates but there weren’t many major changes. At NAB this year, they unveiled the URSA, an Arri Alexa sized camera offering many things including a swappable sensor/mount configuration, which is certainly intriguing. However, the biggest thing we heard people talking about was the UI for the URSA: it was streamlined, had that iOS7 flatter icon style (see below) and, more importantly, it seemed to contain most of the features everyone had been clamoring for in the previous camera models.


In July, Blackmagic issued the first of the major firmware updates that not only brought the URSA style UI to the rest of the line, but, more importantly, brought a Histogram, Audio Meters and Time remaining on the inserted SSD (see below).


All three certainly top anyone’s list. Between July and last week, Blackmagic brought all of the cameras (minus the URSA) to parity feature-wise and added some other more detailed features— more preset Shutter Angle options, more preset Color Temp options and the addition of HQ, 422 and LT Prores recording options across the line. This includes the 4K variants for the Studio Camera. Blackmagic then dropped what might have been the number 1 feature request since the first camera’s delivery:


Formatting SSD’s in camera, you have the option of HFS+ or exFAT. As of now, this feature has been released for just the 4K Studio camera (as seems to be the path for the recent updates), but based on the previous firmware releases, we can expect this to flow down to the rest of the cameras post haste. This is a very big deal, a move toward bringing this camera line alongside other cameras that a production may be divided over. The remaining feature requests would be in the same neighborhood: ability to browse clips on the SSD in-camera through a thumbnailed library system and possibly the ability to delete clips while in-camera. At IBC last week, Blackmagic introduced Stainless-Steel PL mount versions of the 4K Studio and 2.5K Cinema Camera’s. While there are options from Wooden Camera to enable a Swappable Mount System for the BMCC Line, the fact that Blackmagic added these versions to its line means that they’re listening.

Updated Specs

New GUI / Interface taken from URSA Design
Time Remaining on SSD
Audio Meters
Bottom Info Bar of Histogram/meters/time remaining Hides/Shows with with swipe up and down.
All other metadata moved to upper bar

4K Studio GUI
Can now format SSD’s in Camera, feature flowing down to rest of camera line soon.
New Icon page with Quicklaunch Icons

Cinema/Pocket Recording Options

ProRes: HQ / 422 / LT / Proxy

DNxHD: 175x (23.98) 220x (29.97)

2.5K RAW DNG (Cinema)
1080p RAW DNG (Pocket)

4K Studio Recording Options
ProRes: 4K HQ / 422 / LT / Proxy (Quad HD)
ProRes: 1080p HQ / 422 / LT / Proxy
SDI Monitors either 4K or HD when shooting 4K, but only monitors HD when shooting HD

White Balance 4K Studio/Cinema/Pocket

Shutter Angle 4K Studio/Cinema/Pocket

ISO Cinema/Pocket
200/400/800/1600 ISO 4K Studio 200/400/800

Shutter Angle 4K Studio/Cinema/Pocket

ISO Cinema/Pocket

ISO 4K Studio



Diamond Bros

The Diamond Bros. began their career as Analog Assailants directing music videos on 16mm film back in an era when MTV still played music on television. Being equal artists and technological mercenaries, The Diamond Bros. tread the fine line of bleeding ed



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