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Andrew Reid

New Blackmagic URSA Mini Pro looks great, but where's the new Pocket Cinema Camera?

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Forever I have been patiently waiting for Blackmagic to give us a sequel to the great story of 2013, where a man called Grant pioneered affordable RAW video for enthusiasts, DSLR shooters and consumers. A huge market. Since the BMCC and Pocket Cinema Camera however they have only focussed on pros. A big pity.

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EOSHD Pro Color for Sony cameras EOSHD Pro LOG for Sony CamerasEOSHD C-LOG and Film Profiles for All Canon DSLRs

Due for a refresh at NAB. :D

 

I made a post a while back about this:

The Pocket was announced April 2013, the Micro was announced April 2015.

Wild speculation: the next Pocket or Micro camera is coming April 2017.

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"Since the BMCC and Pocket Cinema Camera however they have only focussed on pros."

Most of the amateurs will be happy with whatever Panasonic offers for 600euros while those Panasonic's are plug and play and the footage appears without much hassle on their brand new shiny 65" 4K TVs.

Video companies are becoming more specialized because not a lot of people will be buying exotic video cameras with additional equipment to run, and not amateur friendly codecs; and the worst part is that they are NOT taking photos. How many are these specialized amateurs that will create a buying buzz (and absorb the R&D and marketing funds) for a completely new video camera? 

My impression was that pocket was good for a lot of indie people (I have seen a few around Europe) but never was the "pocket" camera its name promised. 

I am editing a project with the pocket right now, the whole rig was huge, the second -huge- battery didn't work and my friend lost the last 40 minutes of the performance we were recording and the video files were unnecessary big for such a low budgeted project (80GB for the pocket, and 60GB for the NX cameras with at least 40 minutes additional footage!) and the other cameras we had were around 40-50GB.

Great image, but it was somehow out of place in my opinion. Great idea, poorly manufactured.

If they can really make it a great portable pocket camera, then I will reconsider!

This Ursa is the most interesting camera they ever produced, and the fact that it is available right now is a statement that this time they are really serious.

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43 minutes ago, Andrew Reid said:

Maybe they will have it in stock by NAB, in a crazy plot-line reversal of recent years.

:)

Yes... B&H is stating they should be in stock around March 9... plot twist indeed.

 

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No 'dual recording'! The biggest pity is there's no way to utilize those 4 media slots to record raw and ProRes simultaneously (like Red does). This seems like such a travesty coming from the company that owns Resolve and should recognize the value of online/offline workflows. BlackMagic confirmed with me on the phone that you must choose to record to SD OR CFast and in one format only.

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37 minutes ago, Kisaha said:

"Since the BMCC and Pocket Cinema Camera however they have only focussed on pros."

Most of the amateurs will be happy with whatever Panasonic offers for 600euros while those Panasonic's are plug and play and the footage appears without much hassle on their brand new shiny 65" 4K TVs.

Video companies are becoming more specialized because not a lot of people will be buying exotic video cameras with additional equipment to run, and not amateur friendly codecs; and the worst part is that they are NOT taking photos. How many are these specialized amateurs that will create a buying buzz (and absorb the R&D and marketing funds) for a completely new video camera? 

My impression was that pocket was good for a lot of indie people (I have seen a few around Europe) but never was the "pocket" camera its name promised. 

I am editing a project with the pocket right now, the whole rig was huge, the second -huge- battery didn't work and my friend lost the last 40 minutes of the performance we were recording and the video files were unnecessary big for such a low budgeted project (80GB for the pocket, and 60GB for the NX cameras with at least 40 minutes additional footage!) and the other cameras we had were around 40-50GB.

Great image, but it was somehow out of place in my opinion. Great idea, poorly manufactured.

If they can really make it a great portable pocket camera, then I will reconsider!

This Ursa is the most interesting camera they ever produced, and the fact that it is available right now is a statement that this time they are really serious.

LOL what? So many contradictions.

 

You rig the bmpcc, a camera that literally fits in a pocket, and then complain about the size.

You rig the camera with a third party battery and then complain about the camera when the battery fails.

You use a camera that's purpose is 100% to produce raw DNG or ProRes, formats that everyone knows are data heavy, and complain about file size.

You think a production camera around the same size as the FS5 is somehow more portable than the bmpcc.

 

Your complaints smack of self inflicted trauma. You picked the wrong camera to shoot with. The gear is fine... you can't blame the camera for your mistakes.

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Yeah the truth is, one can put a 20mm on the pocket cam and with a monopod shoot cinematic footage like no other camera anywhere near its price point. The footage still holds up today and is better than footage coming out of cameras 2 or 3 x its price.

With that being said, BlackMagic is out of their mind if they don't release a Pocket Mark II or a similar camera with a few upgrades at a similar price point... if they want to stay in the camera business. 

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@andrgl 

1) I brought 3 NX cameras and 2 go pro cameras to that production, and didn't have any problem at all about what they did,

2) the guy I paid to bring his C100ii with the 18-135 (to have it as a central cam), showed up with the pocket (so he had to go to a corner)

3) the camera as it is, is completely useless, have you ever tried to use one, out of your pocket?

4) The performance took almost 4 hours, how did you expect to run the cameras with? 39 original batteries?

5) As I said, it was "unnecessary", the camera operator didn't give me any other chance.

6) A camera the same size as a FS5 has ND filters, ergonomics, real batteries ON them, XLR cables (I needed the C100ii to cable the sound from the console, and one shotgun, and finally I used a EX1 we had as backup for the XL connections, totally random, but it saved the day, almost 10 years after we bought it for a documentary shot in Paris, and 2 of the cards were the original ones!) and some things that professionals know and understand (even Andrew implies that pocket has mainly targeted amateurs, semi pros). 

You ever think that just maybe, your lack of communication/understanding, and reasoning/logic can be the problem, not others?

All the above are some of the reasons why the Pocket was never a pocket camera, and it needs a lot of rethinking to make it truly successful, while GH5 and such cameras are lurking in the corner. 

 

 

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1 minute ago, Kisaha said:

@andrgl 

1) I brought 3 NX cameras and 2 go pro cameras to that production, and didn't have any problem at all about what they did,

2) the guy I paid to bring his C100ii with the 18-135 (to have it as a central cam), showed up with the pocket (so he had to go to a corner)

3) the camera as it is, is completely useless, have you ever tried to use one, out of your pocket?

4) The performance took almost 4 hours, how did you expect to run the cameras with? 39 original batteries?

5) As I said, it was "unnecessary", the camera operator didn't give me any other chance.

6) A camera the same size as a FS5 has ND filters, ergonomics, real batteries ON them, XLR cables (I needed the C100ii to cable the sound from the console, and one shotgun, and finally I used a EX1 we had as backup for the XL connections, totally random, but it saved the day, almost 10 years after we bought it for a documentary shot in Paris, and 2 of the cards were the original ones!) and some things that professionals know and understand (even Andrew implies that pocket has mainly targeted amateurs, semi pros). 

You ever think that just maybe, your lack of communication/understanding, and reasoning/logic can be the problem, not others?

All the above are some of the reasons why the Pocket was never a pocket camera, and it needs a lot of rethinking to make it truly successful, while GH5 and such cameras are lurking in the corner.  

@andrgl 

1) I brought 3 NX cameras and 2 go pro cameras to that production, and didn't have any problem at all about what they did,

2) the guy I paid to bring his C100ii with the 18-135 (to have it as a central cam), showed up with the pocket (so he had to go to a corner)

3) the camera as it is, is completely useless, have you ever tried to use one, out of your pocket?

4) The performance took almost 4 hours, how did you expect to run the cameras with? 39 original batteries?

5) As I said, it was "unnecessary", the camera operator didn't give me any other chance.

6) A camera the same size as a FS5 has ND filters, ergonomics, real batteries ON them, XLR cables (I needed the C100ii to cable the sound from the console, and one shotgun, and finally I used a EX1 we had as backup for the XL connections, totally random, but it saved the day, almost 10 years after we bought it for a documentary shot in Paris, and 2 of the cards were the original ones!) and some things that professionals know and understand (even Andrew implies that pocket has mainly targeted amateurs, semi pros). 

You ever think that just maybe, your lack of communication/understanding, and reasoning/logic can be the problem, not others?

All the above are some of the reasons why the Pocket was never a pocket camera, and it needs a lot of rethinking to make it truly successful, while GH5 and such cameras are lurking in the corner.  

Well to be fair, you wouldn't cut a piece of wood with a drill would you? So why shoot a 4 hour performance with a Pocket Cam?

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10 minutes ago, Kisaha said:

 

All the above are some of the reasons why the Pocket was never a pocket camera, and it needs a lot of rethinking to make it truly successful, while GH5 and such cameras are lurking in the corner.  

This is mostly true. The battery life, as much was I wanted to ignore it, was a major limiting factor and prevented me from using it for almost 2 years after I brought it. Almost sold it.

Got a juicebox magicpower and that all changed. Runs for like 7 hours straight and mounts on top of the camera. But as you say, not really a pocket camera anymore. And another expense to consider.

But I have used it for events with said battery. You'll get 2 hours of prores 422 on a 128gb card, 4 hours on a 256gb card. Wouldn't be my first camera choice, but it is doable. Just had it as a 3rd camera for an hour long ceremony, no issues. 

And as much as I rarely use them, it is nice to have the mini batteries for when I do want it to be pocketable. Getting a few snaps on vacation, or wanting to be really inconspicuous. I like small cameras, because you can build them up if need be, but also keep them small if the situation calls. Can't do the reverse with a large camera. 

At this point I have to feel like they are doing a pocket v2 for a very good reason. It was a really popular camera and their best seller, from everything I've read. 

So if they could do it, it seems like a license to print money. I'm thinking they cannot do 4k with the heat issues, small form factory and limited ability for decent batteries. 

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@mercer Look at #3 that was mentioned in the first post anyway. All these limitations ("why you shoot a 4 hours performance?", "why you used bigger batteries", "why you needed a rig" etc) make my point, and here I have to quote myself for people have problem reading ALL the words in posts

"Most of the amateurs will be happy with whatever Panasonic offers for 600euros while those Panasonic's are plug and play and the footage appears without much hassle on their brand new shiny 65" 4K TVs.

Video companies are becoming more specialized because not a lot of people will be buying exotic video cameras with additional equipment to run, and not amateur friendly codecs; and the worst part is that they are NOT taking photos. How many are these specialized amateurs that will create a buying buzz (and absorb the R&D and marketing funds) for a completely new video camera? 

My impression was that pocket was good for a lot of indie people (I have seen a few around Europe) but never was the "pocket" camera its name promised. "

Good specialized camera, for SOME, it is a niche camera, is great, I like it very much, after using it a few times I would never spend money on it. My opinion is that this Ursa announcement is the first truly great BM camera. Just my opinion.

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Of course the Pocket and Cinema 2K cameras were heavily flawed in a number of ways but the product philosophy, pricing and positioning on the market was incredible.

For the first time we could have an alternative to DSLRs

Back then mirrorless cameras were not so much a big force for video aside from the GH2. No Sony A7, no 4K.

Blackmagic came in and wowed everyone at that first NAB.

They had huge publicity, huge coverage...

I cannot see Engadget or The Verge covering the URSA Mini Pro with quite the same passion they hyped the consumer-priced cameras

The Pocket was always in regular stock in indie photographic stores in Berlin, London and Manchester (and elsewhere of course) and I assume it sold very well because of the unique appeal and pricing.

A lot of people complained about the flaws, the Blackmagic forum was in danger at one point of being flamed to death.

Maybe they got scared and decided it would hurt the brand

Or maybe they just see heaps more profit in the high end and would prefer to stay a professional company...

Or maybe they were a professional company all along and the Pocket was really for video pros... just as accessible and as cheap as possible to get as much publicity and as much support as possible so that when the 'real' pro cameras came out later, Blackmagic had some momentum to build on.

Looks like we were gamed...

A bit like Canon with the 5D II / Cinema EOS

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Exactly @Andrew Reid , everything was exciting about Bm those days, but remember all the hassle, delays, quality control problems and unlimited complaints on the forums and real life. 

The company is maturing, we will see great things from them, it is one of the best feel good video stories ever, how they evolved and eventually you can have a full Black Magic workflow in every video product possible from a corporate to a feature film.

That is not a small feat. but again, you see that we are looking at the big picture (literally, motion pictures!), in this industry the ability to shoot a competitive feature film is the final frontier, and that establishes the players.

In my opinion, since the beginning Black Magic were making products for pros, and that is how I perceived the Pocket as well (as a B or C cam to other Black Magics), you can't mix and match demanding video files with amateurs. It is a toxic mix!   

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Perhaps it will take some time to return to the pocket form factor, but who knows... maybe a few years down the road, they can solve the issues and release a 4K version. I'm really struggling to see why they wouldn't, *if* they were able.  Protecting their high end, I suppose? But so many get annoyed with the form factor and rigging up smaller cameras, those types are never going to buy a pocket anyway. OR they will buy it a long with their A camera as a B camera that fits in awkward places and doesn't need bells and whistles beyond an image.

I think that maybe they just don't want to repeat past failures and that they're reluctant to put it out if they can't be more confident about its reliability. 

All speculation of course, but that's my best guess. 

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Well you can shoot a feature with a GH4 as well!

However, put BMPCC in the headline and it gets more clicks. NoFilmSchool are known for this... Their main innovation is putting "Kubrick" in a headline for clicks and ad revenue.

The BMPCC was a perfect building block for the later evolutions that never came... All they needed to do was keep the product concept and pricing, upgrade the sensor to Super 35mm and sort out the terrible battery.

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I just don't see how they can stay a viable camera manufacturer selling $3-6000 cameras. On this forum alone, if a Pocket 2 was announced, between the regulars and the guests at least a hundred people will buy one (maybe more as I'm unsure of the board's readership) but how many will buy the Ursa Pro... maybe 5-10? There aren't enough professionals around to ignore the enthusiasts and stay in the game. The major companies will eat them alive in that market.

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Maybe the sensor production issues were a problem, or they can't get enough sensors to do a big run of thousands of low priced cameras.

I have a feeling though that there just wasn't enough margin and profit in the Pocket and BMCC, and the market was too fiercely competitive (vs GH5, Sony, etc.) so they are focussing all their efforts on the $6000 beast instead.

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