I was in Australia when I got my hands on the Blackmagic Cinema Camera. Footage in this report was filmed in Australia and then later in the UK. The was new unexplored territory. I’d never worked with RAW, the last time I shot film was in 1992, and suddenly, in my hands, was something like a big DSLR capable of turning out images at 2.5K recorded to SSD as 12-bit RAW. Not only that I could use all my existing Canon EF lenses and I could shoot ProRes if I chose.
Initial tests were amazing and difficult. Amazing the quality and detail which I captured, difficult because I had no idea how to use DaVinci Resolve. I’d recorded over 30 minutes of RAW footage and couldn’t do anything with it. I looked at Resolve with no clue what to do.
Working with RAW was going to take time and effort.
I opened the manual and starting reading. I read info. online and searched for video tutorials… I got there. A few hours later and I was able to bring footage in and out of the system, do basic correction, and output.
The images were the most film-like images I have worked with since I worked with film. I realise that’s a big statement, though let me qualify it by saying I’ve been shooting and working with video since 1989. My experiences with video gear go back to the 1980’s in days of 4:3, one inch C-format and Betacam before SP or DigiBeta even existed. I’ve used a lot cameras and a lot of formats and the video look has persisted.
It changed when the 5D Mark II arrived – this had the film look. And it was fantastic for many uses, though limited by the low bandwidth recording. RED has the film look, though I haven’t shot a lot with RED cameras. The Sony F3 which I use and love – beautiful images thought I wouldn’t say filmic. More the beautiful HD look. Others at the high end I have never even touched.
The Blackmagic Cinema Camera provides the quality and ability to record huge amounts of data.
Given that the camera works native with Canon EF lenses means some of the best glass on the planet can be used. Not only can you use Canon lenses, Nikon lenses can also be used: via adapters. With adapter attached Nikon lenses can be mounted onto the Canon EF lens mount on the Blackmagic Cinema Camera.
The world of camera technology is red hot right now. With 4K cameras announced by Sony, price drops from RED, Canon D500 shooting 4K, Alexa at the high-end… and the Blackmagic Cinema Camera slips in at an unimaginable price-point and delivers in terms of image quality and resolution. Having shot with the camera now for several months I would say this camera is definitely a capable shooting machine and not something which has been overhyped.
The Blackmagic Cinema Camera is now slowly coming to market. It is shipping in limited quantities. Soon these cameras will be everywhere and the world of digital filmmaking will be changed forever.
Check out Rick Young’s 95 page book, Shooting with the Blackmagic Cinema Camera. AVAILABLE NOW