Professional Film Like Video - Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera

Blackmagic, maker of affordable 4K video cameras, has come up with a really interesting little $995 HD camera designed to appeal to video enthusiasts. The Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera is an interchangeable-lens camera about the size of an enthusiast compact.

Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera is an extraordinary tool with an absolutely beautiful film like output and a very accessible price. In fact, there’s no other camera for $999 that shoots ProRes or 10bit 4:2:2 out of the box.

Due to its magnesium alloy chassis, it feels heavier than you might expect. The outer shell consists mostly of polished metal and a rubberized surface that’s fairly easy to grip. The 3.5-inch LCD screen on the back has only an 800 x 480 pixel resolution, but it does a decent job of displaying subtle colors and shading. That’s particularly important, because this camera can record a dynamic range of 13 stops.

At press time, the Pocket Cinema Camera saves its video files to just one format: lossy-compressed ProRes 422 at 1920 x 1080. On first viewing, the files seem flat with dull colors and washed-out contrast levels. That’s because ProRes is an intermediate codec that’s intended for post-production rather than end-user delivery. You want an image that gives you the most latitude for color-grading the digital video.

Once you load these files into your color-grading application or NLE, you can adjust the saturation and contrast based on the extensive data that’s stored in the file. From the camera’s menus, you can set the dynamic range for either Film (for the full 13 stops of light) or Video (for compatibility with the Rec. 709 video standard). The camera currently records at 23.98p, 24p, 25p, 29.97p, and 30p frame rates.

Blackmagic Design chose a Micro Four Thirds (MFT) lens mount for this camera. It was a smart move, though you should be aware of some issues that could affect which lenses would be a good fit. The chief advantages of the MFT lens mount are the wide availability of the lenses, small size of the lenses, and relatively low price for most of the lenses. Leica and Zeiss are starting to offer MFT-mount versions, so the quality is also there, if you’re willing to pay for it. Some MFT lenses even have IS (Image Stabilization) built-in because some manufacturers chose to have it handled by the lens rather than the camera.

Overall, the video quality from this camera is far superior when compared to HD video recorded from DSLRs.

Professional Film Like Video - Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera Reviewed by Blogs on 10/02/2013 Rating: 5

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