Skip to content

BMCC: “Limitations” (not)

September 9, 2012

Strangely, some reviewers feel compelled to reinterpret kick *ss Blackmagic Cinema Camera  features as “limitations”, such as:

– The BMCC’s sensor is “only” more than twice as big as the ones used to shoot many popular films, including “Slumdog Millionaire” and “Avatar”, the latter having earned >$2.75 billion. Clearly, the BMCCs sensor size is a barrier to your production’s success.

– The BMCC is “only” available with electronic EF or passive m43 interchangeable lens mounts, “only” directly compatible with hundreds of lenses, and “only” hundreds more via inexpensive mount adapters, ranging from extreme telephoto to rectilinear ultra-wides. The v.1.1 firmware “only” adds support for lens IS (image stabilization) on the BMCC-EF model, a new feature not previously promised by BMD.

– The BMCC is “only” able to shoot scenes with a “wide” field of view equivalent to a ~18mm lens on a S35 16:9 motion picture camera — considered “wide” in most movies & TV shows — if the BMCC is fitted with a lens such as the <$700 Tokina 11-16mm f2.8 rectilinear zoom … or a FOV equiv. to using a 13mm lens on S35 16:9 (crazy wide!) if using a <$700 Sigma 8-16mm rectilinear zoom. The BMCC m43 version “only” has many additional wide, manual, and PL cine lenses available for use with it. Clearly it’s not practical or affordable to shoot “wide” with the BMCC!

– The BMCC is “only” capable of 13-stop dynamic range, almost but not quite as good as cameras which cost >3 times as much.

– The BMCC can “only” shoot uncompressed 2.5K 12-bit RAW CinemaDNG @ 5 megaBYTES/frame, and compressed 1080p 10-bit ProRes 422 HQ @ 220 megaBITS/sec (and soon DNxHD 220, too) with “Film/log” or “Video/Rec.709” gamma …

but, the BMCC’s uncompressed RAW CinemaDNG files are so huge I have to buy fast, high-capacity storage, backup & archive systems and fast, new computers even if I can’t afford it — instead of, you know, like considering for a moment that the BMCC’s compressed ProRes 422 HQ recording feature is totally awesome — not quite CinemaDNG awesome, but with the same dynamic range — and way way better than what 99% of other video cameras can record — and requires “only” 1/5th the hardware storage, speed and cost — including older Mac & Windows computers & software — and yet produces very high-quality HD video results.

– The BMCC “only” records to commodity-priced SSD (fast-fast-fast) media, which is more cost-effective than the solid state media used by other pro cameras, and the speed and capacity of SSD continues to increase while its cost plummets.

– The BMCC can “only” run for 90 min. when completely disconnected from any external power source! The BMCC can also “only” be connected to any external 12-30VDC power source to recharge or operate, at any time — even while recording!

– The BMCC “only” features 2 balanced 1/4″ TRS analog audio (mic/line) inputs @ 48kHz at 24bit uncompressed, same as Alexa and RED EPIC, requiring use of standard self-powered microphones, line level audio sources, external sound mixers, and other standard audio gear.

– The BMCC “only” has a clean, bog-standard, externally recordable, “Film/log” or “Video/Rec.709” 10-bit 4:2:2 1080p HD-SDI output, via an industry-standard, locking BNC connector.

– The BMCC “only” has a 5″ capacitive touchscreen LCD for video and its GUI. Its LCD “only” features tap-to-magnify & peaking focussing aids, adjustable zebras exposure aids, and selectable log/video gamma display modes. If required, an inexpensive piece of 3M anti-glare film can be applied to the LCD.

– The BMCC “only” has three (3!) 1/4-20 threaded mount points on top, apparently forcing users to consider buying an expensive camera “cage”, even though in many (most?) situations one is completely unnecessary.

– The BMCC can “only” be held with 2 hands, “only” features a rubbery easy-to-grip surface, “only” weighs less than 4 pounds, and “only” includes a nice shoulder strap and LCD shade. Its operator-side mounted connector panel may force me to use right-angle plugs if I mount it on my right shoulder. The BMCC’s case is “only” strong machined aluminum instead of lightweight plastic. Its buttons and interface are simple & uncluttered.

– The BMCC’s Thunderbolt interface is “strangled” (someone actually said this!) due to its copper implementation, and thus can “only” handle up to a 20 GigaBITS/sec data rate (e.g.: insanely fast), and “only” enables use of the Ultrascope and MediaExpress software included free with the BMCC.

– The “only” grading software bundled with the BMCC for free is the latest full version of BMD’s industry-leading Davinci Resolve, which requires a desktop computer with a new-ish, relatively inexpensive GPU, or a new-ish MacBook Pro.

– The BMCC’s name (yes, its name) is too complicated, forcing some to have endless discussions via Twitter, Facebook & online forums about the “best” acronym or nickname for it (“BMC”? “BMCC”? “BM”? “MagicCam?” “MagiCam”?), despite the fact that the product’s name is “Blackmagic Cinema Camera”, or “BMCC”.

And worst of all:

– The BMCC “only” costs $1995 US, forcing users to spend the money they saved (by buying it) on other things, such as a better: Script, crew, actors, location, props, wardrobe, makeup, camera support, lights, sound, rentals, catering, post-production, etc.

Essentially, just about every feature listed on the Blackmagic Cinema Camera website is really a “limitation” if you don’t think it through, right?


Note: No camera is perfect. Thus, BMCC feature requests are welcome here.

My list of related links, short films, and resources for Blackmagic Design cameras.

For my words only: ©2012 Peter J. DeCrescenzo. All rights reserved.

Note: I don’t receive income or renumeration for this blog, or for products seen or mentioned here. Advertisements on the page have nothing to do with me. The ads support WordPress, the publisher.


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: