Simple and beautiful is usually how I see Black Magic Design (BMD). Their line of toys all share the same alluring quality that Apple also understands. The designs are sleek and modern, and quite frankly their cameras look odd when compared to any other model on the market. Much like a misunderstood artist, BMD’s finer points get overlooked because they are different. But make no mistake, they have a lot voodoo to offer.
Specs to Expect
If you are like me, you are tech centered when it comes to gear. So, I will knock out the specs first. It of course shoots 4K (3840x2160) and HD (1920x1080) and does so with a Super 35mm sensor. Given that 35mm is till the industry standard, the full frame appeal of other cameras does little to draw my gaze. It has a Global Shutter, so no rolling shutter issues here. The Codecs are 10-bit Apple ProRes 422, and it can shoot Compressed CinemaDNG RAW at 12-bit. The BMD files are very easy to work, and they don’t impede your workflow. It boasts 12 stops of dynamic range, and honestly, they are all usable. SSD media slots, EF and EZ mounts and a touch screen round out the most important highlights.
Much of that you can find on other cameras, and some of them have more to offer. You’ll probably notice I did not mention Slow-Mo of any sort, and that is because it doesn’t offer any. Every camera has limitations, but as filmmakers we pick and choose what works best for us. And that is my next point: For me, the overall display quality and look of my camera is vastly more important.
What do I mean by display quality and look? Shooting is one thing, and displaying it is another. But that is a topic of another blog, and I’ll leave it there. The look needs to be cinematic to make me want to buy your camera. BMD’s Production Camera provides just that, and does so more than any other comparably priced camera on the market. It is hard to explain on a technical level, but the resulting images have a movie appeal that you usually only get from higher end models.
Black Magic Seduces Me
I have used it to shoot weddings, commercials and short films, and I am very happy with the work and so are my clients. I do suggest NEVER shooting when you have zebra stripes at all, because the highlight recovery isn’t so great. But this is an easy work-around for most. The shadows render a pretty blue tone, which makes my color grading easier.
Get a Handle on Things
BUY a handle for it, because it is awkward to carry otherwise. BMD allows for building and modifying, similar to RED but not as fancy. Overall, it is really light weight and doesn’t slow you down with running and gunning. I keep it on a tripod and slider as my primary.
Delve into Black Magic
So, if you are looking for some cinematic voodoo to offer your work and your clients, then check out Black Magic Design and also their Production Camera. Seeing is believing, so rent one and see for yourself. If the price hasn’t gotten your attention yet, then viewing the quality will seal the deal. The Black Magic Design Production Camera comes around $3000 new, but you can find a great used model for around $1500-$1700. That gives you the most cinematic bang for your buck out there.
Below is my video review of the Black Magic 4k Production Camera. I included clips from some of my wedding films so you can see this thing in action. I also have another video on my channel where I go over the camera settings, and menu system of the BMPC.
The price tag tends to hover around $1,800-$2000. If you're interested in purchasing this beauty, you can find several listings on Amazon. I will put a link to the camera here: http://amzn.to/2DB2JIB