Blackmagic solutions from Scan Pro Video


Blackmagic CEO Grant Petty emailed me this week (which was nice). I say me, but I mean me and a squillion other BM users. The opening salvo seemed like the same old same; more delays, more promises broken. But because this is Blackmagic, we are at least treated with some respect and kept abreast of matters (I can’t think of any other manufacturer who would take the time and trouble). The grumble of Web chatter seems to be centred around the news that the Pocket Camera is shipping but no one has stock. Have they over reached? No matter how good your product, there is only so much good will this can generate and then the shine you have spent so much time buffing to a chrome finish becomes pitted and scarred. Mindful of potential damage to the brand, Grant plucked the mother of all rabbits  from his Aussie corked hat. Read on…


First the progress update with the new cameras. According to Grant’s email, the 4K Production Camera is delayed by three to four weeks due to a sensor supply issue, but the Pocket Camera is now shipping (hurrah!).


Pocket Camera

As I scan further down the page, out pops the uber rabbit; a piece of news so staggering you could have knocked me over with a bubble! I had to re-read it several times just to absorb the gravity of the announcement. As it has saturated the industry news since landing last week you’ll no doubt already know, but the $1000 price drop on the 2.5K Cinema Camera is such a bomb shell I’m still laughing at the audacious genius of Grant and the Blackmagic team. I’ll reproduce it below for accuracy’s sake, but it’s an outstanding example of how to maintain your advantage over the ‘also ran’ players on the track even when defending a weak position.


“We have worked very hard over the last year to be able to build the Blackmagic Cinema Camera at a lower cost so we can reduce the price and allow access to digital filming to a wide range of cinematographers and photographers.

We have done it and from today the Blackmagic Cinema Camera EF and MFT models will be reduced in price to US$1,995. This is very exciting and is one of the proudest moments of my life to be able to do this!

I think people will be able to use the savings to invest in some exciting lenses and rigs to really boost the creative possibilities. The Blackmagic Cinema Camera is a fantastic design that’s now well proven. The advantage of the 2.5K sensor is it has enough resolution to eliminate the bayer resolution loss of a HD sensor, but when shooting RAW it produces files that are not too big to store and work with easily. It’s a fantastic solution. All orders placed that have not yet been filled, can be reduced to the new lower price.”



Blackmagic Cinema Camera


WOW! And the Silk Purse award goes to… BMD (again). You may feel more cynical than I do about this. Yes, the new camera line-up either side of the 2.5K makes it a hard sell, but just cast your mind back twelve months or so and remember that long sigh you exhaled when you saw the test footage posted by those DPs blessed with the first cameras. Remember thinking excitedly, ‘what could I do with that?!’ The increased production value attainable by this camera was unachievable for 99.9% of DCCs at the start of this decade. Those possibilities just got $1000 closer to your next production and we are still only three years in! This is still an amazing camera, and with the planned firmware updates it is, by no means, at the end of its life. The advantages listed in Grant’s email are valid. But for how long? Like the song says, ‘How ya gonna keep ’em down on the farm, after the’ve seen Paree?’. You can’t put the 4K genie back in the bottle. We’ve seen the footage from the likes of RED & Canon et al, and now you can shoot the same quality with the Blackmagic Production Camera at a fraction of the cost. At the end of the day it’s all down to economy. Budget and production workflow will decide which solution best suits you. With most of us still shooting HD and not 4K, this price drop makes the transition almost a NO BRAINER! Oh and If you were looking elsewhere, don’t forget the full version of Resolve software you get with the camera. Bonkers!

Scan Pro Video provide a complete Blackmagic workflow solution, from camera to screen and everything between. Our 3XS Resolve Workstation is a solid 4K future-proof system based on a simple concept; codec & resolution agnostic realtime playback (It just works). Power users have the ultimate productivity tool in the shape of the cool DaVinci Control Surface. “Mr Sulu, you have the Con”. We’ll be exploring this, and other industry specific HID solutions, in more detail next time.

Let’s finish by returning to Grant’s email. For every other manufacturer out there, this is ‘101- How to successfully engage with the creative industries’. It isn’t rocket science and the bullet points prove it.

Give artists what they need…

  • to create the BEST content possible
  • at a realistic price

…and then make them feel like part of the family – Splice.

Cinematography is now available to everyone. Better skill up homz 🙂

I’ve spoken to a few pro Resolve Colourists recently, and their ‘informed speculation’ about the Blackmagic roadmap suggests even more cheeky juju from Grant and the team. Keep watching this space: You NEVER know where Blackmagic will boldly go next… Beam me up, Aussie.

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© Scan Pro Video 2013

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