Blackmagic Cinema Camera
- Blackmagic Industrial Design Team
The Blackmagic Cinema Camera is a cinema quality digital video camera designed for production of feature films, documentaries and episodic television.
Costing less than $3,000, it provides Hollywood quality filmmaking capabilities at a fraction of the cost of existing cinema cameras, which cost upward of $15,000.
A truly democratising product, it has had significant cultural implications on the global video industry, putting high-end filmmaking within the reach of the mass-market.
Designed entirely in Australia, the revolutionary compact design introduces a completely new form factor to the cinema camera industry, overcoming significant engineering challenges including colour science, optics and thermal management.
The existing cinema camera market has been dominated by prohibitively expensive cameras that are cumbersome, intimidating and complex to use.
Many budget conscious filmmakers have adopted Digital SLR cameras. However, DSLR’s have limitations when used as cinema cameras. They record in heavily compressed video formats with a limited dynamic range.
An opportunity was identified to create a cinema camera with the beautiful image quality of Hollywood production cameras that was accessible to a whole new user group. To address these challenges, issues such as user interaction, camera architecture and manufacturing techniques needed to be approached in a completely new way.
User Interaction – a completely new form factor for the cinema camera industry, the minimalist design communicates with two separate user groups.
Confusing and intimidating controls on existing cinema cameras and DSLR\’s have been reduced to a minimum. Most camera functions are accessible through a GUI via a large touchscreen.
For new users it\’s approachable and logical, yet strong and functional for advanced film makers. The simple form factor is a deliberate response to user behaviour, where cinematographers demand flexibility to bolt on additional accessories and \’rigs\’. This camera has the option to be as simple or customised as required.
Image Quality – recording beautiful ‘feature film’ quality video with 13 stops of dynamic range and 2.5k resolution.
Regular video cameras clip and compress files, losing detail in shadows and highlights.
The Blackmagic Cinema Camera can shoot uncompressed RAW, with 13 stops of dynamic range at 2.5K resolution. This enables the camera to capture fine detail in high contrast environments such as bright sunlight and shadow, whilst also capturing incredible detail in low lighting conditions such as a candlelit room. Shooting RAW means all the sensor data is preserved, enabling maximum flexibility of image manipulation in the post production process.
Camera Architecture – the precision machined aluminium chassis forms the backbone of the camera.
Every sub-assembly fixes to this single part creating an extremely strong and durable camera to meet the demands of professional use. This gives excellent assembly fitment and a high perception of quality to the user.
The unique mechanical assembly has been a key driver in the significant reduction in cost, size and weight over existing cinema cameras. One third the volume and weight of existing cinema cameras, it gives filmmakers increased flexibility to take shots in highly mobile or confined locations.
Engineering – affordability driven through design and engineering.
Revolutionary new engineering approaches to both optics calibration and thermal management have driven significant cost savings and reliability over existing camera designs.
Through innovative and careful consideration of manufacturing processes and engineering, part count has been kept to a minimum. Many parts perform multiple functions, enabling a relatively low build cost, yet ensuring very high quality and reliability cinematographers expect.