Is the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera an ideal studio camera?

by steven schwartzLeave a Comment

We've come far from just a few years ago when studio video cameras were bulky and expensive. But actually, could you use a sub $1,000 camera that fits into your cargo shorts as a full-on studio cam?

This article from Red Shark News about the BlackMagic Pocket Cinema Camera may be a little tongue-in-cheek, but it wouldn't be surprising if a talented shooter makes a really great film shot in a studio with this tiny little powerhouse.

Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera as a Studio Camera?

Micro HDMI

The live output from the BMPCC is micro HDMI. If you're a BMPCC user, you should always have one of these with you! It's probably a good idea to have an HDMI to SDI converter as well. We used one of these to connect to the Tricaster, and as soon as the camera booted up, we had a picture.

We tried it first in “Film Mode” and what we saw was a very sharp and somewhat desaturated picture. This is completely to be expected because you would almost never use the ungraded output from the camera in this mode. We could see the degree of desaturation very easily because we were working on a “virtual” set, with a well-lit green screen behind us.

Then we switched to “Video mode” and the picture immediately became more saturated. Once we'd set the iris, the picture looked very good indeed. It was impressively sharp, with the hairs on my arms clearly and individually visible.

Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera as a Studio Camera


One very noticeable thing was that the output from the camera is progressive. There is still no broadcast standard for progressive video at 1080 resolution, so we're not used to seeing progressive in a studio context, and the difference between the studio's “normal” 1080i and the camera's progressive output was very noticeable, especially when the presenters turned their heads or made some other fast movement.

But once you got used to it, it looked very good indeed. The detail in the picture was outstanding, and we could probably have improved it still further if we'd had time to “play” with it.

So is the BMPCC an ideal studio camera? Of course not. It's not meant to be, and it lacks the basic facilities that you need for a camera in this role. But can it compete on image quality? Absolutely. And for live shows where you need an additional camera, on a tripod or handheld, it seems pretty ideal as a very low cost addition to a studio's toolkit.

[ Via Red Shark News ]

Is the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera's great image quality good enough for your production? Share your thoughts with others using the Forum link below.

(cover photo credit: snap from Red Shark News)

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