Good Things Come In Small Packages

As a journalist covering NAB, your back is against the wall to see as many manufacturers as possible in a short amount of time. That may seem easy enough, but it’s actually a grueling schedule that goes on nine hours a day for four days. This year, we hit the ground running with Blackmagic Design’s press conference, which took place first thing Monday morning at the start of the show.


To be honest, I was expecting the announcement of the availability of the Blackmagic Cinema Camera (BMCC), which has been painfully unavailable since its announcement last year. But when I entered Blackmagic’s booth, it was clear there was going to be more in store than an update on product availability. More than a hundred chairs had been set out for the press, yet it was standing room only. CEO Grant Petty took the platform and, after a short introduction, announced the release of two new cameras. Then he raised his hands over his head like a priest revealing a golden idol to the tribe. However, this wasn’t some relic of antiquity. It was a tiny camera, almost the size of an iPhone. First, there was a collective gasp from the audience, then oohs and ahhs, and finally rapturous applause.

Then, with all the fervor of a red carpet event, the other journalists rushed Petty, who struggled to hold the little camera amidst the sea of reporters, who were pushing and shoving for a glimpse of what would become known as the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera. People struggled to get a glimpse of this camera, with some standing on chairs and others diving in the dog pile holding their cameras high over their heads to catch a shot of this small wonder. It was truly a spectacle.

So, why such hysteria over a new camera? Two reasons: the size and the capabilities. According to Dan May, president of Blackmagic Design’s U.S. headquarters, the idea for the Pocket Cinema Camera seems to come from society’s preoccupation with miniaturization. Once they successively built the original Blackmagic Cinema Camera, which isn’t large by any means, says May, "We [Blackmagic Design] found ourselves saying, ‘I bet we can make this thing even smaller….’"

Here are some of the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera’s key features:

• High-resolution 1920×1080 HD Super 16mm-sized sensor
• 13 stops of dynamic range
• Compatible with Micro Four Thirds lenses
• Writes to SD cards
• Renders to ProRes 422 (HQ) and lossless compressed CinemaDNG 12-bit RAW