A little History:
Over the past few years Blackmagic Design (BMD) has helped to change the face of live streaming. They can get a bad rap from time to time, but frankly they are meeting a need and bringing capabilities to production companies that they could never dream of achieving with other manufacturers. Up to this point, BMD has had its entire focus centered on capture and processing of live video. But as it continued to grow its line of products, the next step was to produce a camera.
In 2012 the company released the Cinema Camera, a high-resolution, feature-packed and, most importantly, affordable camera. Now that they had the technology figured out, all they had left to do was pair it with their already popular line of Atem switchers to create a complete video production package.
The 10-inch viewfinder is huge. It’s basically like having an iPad on the back of the camera. It’s quite impressive. The 1080p version of the camera uses a Super 16-mm sensor—the same sensor as in the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera. It has a micro four-thirds (MFT) lens mount
, but through third party adapters it can use an assortment of lenses. There is also a 4K version available that costs only $1,000 more.
So what makes this camera different? Why do you need a studio camera at your company? I’ll dive into the nitty-gritty here and try to explain all that this camera has to offer. In the studio, as opposed to field recording, you run all your cameras back to a central location and connect them to a switcher. The Blackmagic Studio Camera has no onboard recording capabilities for this very reason. Instead, it features both optical fiber and HD-SDI connections. Here at Veuwr we try to use fiber instead of SDI because of it’s versatility.
Both options function simultaneously, which is nice and allows for some flexibility in use. With this you could also connect a recording drive like a Blackmagic Hyperdeck Shuttle via SDI, and capture an isolated feed from the camera while transmitting to the switcher via fiber. The Studio Camera also features built-in talkback that is transmitted over the fiber or
SDI along with the camera audio, tally, and control commands. A “Program” button below the camera’s viewfinder allows for the operator to quickly check and see what is coming out of the switcher’s program feed, as well. The talkback connections take a standard ¼-inch plug, which is nice because you can use a variety of headsets, depending on your budget. With the XLR audio connections, each camera can embed audio from an external microphone and transmit it with the video signal to the switcher.
The image quality of this camera is superb. We used it at the Chant 4 Change event in Washington DC and even though the lighting was terrible the camera did an amazing job. Definitely the best MFT camera that I’ve laid my hands on.
This screenshot on the right was taken with 0 frontal lighting. Let that sink in for a minute. Very impressive.
Recommend this camera to everyone!