Let’s go misty eyed for a second and imagine you’re shooting a Terrence Malick inspired scene at magic hour this Summer, a warm breeze drifting through the air.
The sun glints through the trees and the scene begins “action” – with 4K with a global shutter for $4000. Is this really going to happen?
I’m more optimistic about the new Blackmagic cameras being delivered on time in the Summer.
For me this revolution is all about image quality.
DSLRs bridged that gap in 2010-2012 between the cheap and expensive gear and now it is the turn of Blackmagic and Kinefinity to do that. The 5D Mark III is history. We’re talking a near-$36,000 camera spec for $4000 and others (especially Red) may be forced to respond.
Here’s why Blackmagic will be in mass production come July…
1. New sensor
The delays with the Cinema Camera originated at the sCMOS sensor supplier. This company was set up to supply black & white sensors for the scientific community. They lacked the necessary in-house quality control technology and techniques to supply Blackmagic with parts tested to cinema standard. If Blackmagic had been given the expected quantities, the camera would never have missed the July shipping date. In short – the last delays weren’t even Blackmagic’s fault.
2. Based around existing camera
Blackmagic had to develop the camera and firmware from scratch for the original Blackmagic Cinema Camera. The Production Camera simply adds a new sensor on top of what already exists.
To ship the Production camera and especially Pocket Camera in small quantities makes zero business sense. Their aim has to be to make a lot of them. The low prices necessitate high quantities as the margins are far smaller on these cameras than they are on high end niche cameras like the Phantom Flex or Canon C500.
4. Full flow at the factory
I’m expecting a lot of improvements at the factory were made in the past year as Blackmagic attempted to ramp up production of the Cinema Camera. The Production and Pocket Cameras will benefit from this increased productivity.
5. A better idea of demand
The Cinema Camera was a new product and nobody knew how many orders would be made. Now they do and Blackmagic can better estimate how many cameras they need to make to satisfy demand. The Pocket Camera may complicate this though – demand could be beyond what anyone dares estimate due to the $999 price tag.
6. They say July
Blackmagic are fully aware they simply can’t afford to repeat the Cinema Camera problems, but they still give July as the shipping date which is only 3 months away. I think if they had any doubts about missing July, they would have said “October” and be more conservative with their estimates in light of last year – but they haven’t done that. A good sign? Time will tell.
7. Prior stockpile of parts
I expect the stockpile of most parts for the new cameras are higher, since they’ve had longer to build inventories compared to a year ago.
8. Better troubleshooting
Blackmagic personally assisted the previous sensor supplier with improved quality control, and if any similar problems crop up this time they will be armed with the knowledge to solve them relatively quickly.
Good luck Blackmagic
For me this camera is all about image quality and accessibility, and it could be the camera that firmly establishes Blackmagic as a camera company in the production industry, as well as just a post company.
Thanks to Ludwig for the image