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Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K gets BRAW in extensive FFPGA hardware update delivered via software

Andrew Reid

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Blackmagic RAW has arrived on the Pocket 4K camera, meanwhile Cinema DNG has been remove due to patent claims, and basically being an obsolete format with poor performance and compatibility. I don't really mourn Cinema DNG, but it's a shame they had to remove it for legal reasons.

What's very interesting on the hardware side is how Blackmagic are able to deliver such a dramatic firmware update. A lot of consumer cameras have hardware based on ASIC chipsets. The Blackmagic Pocket 4K has a FFPGA (Fast Field Programmable Gate Array) which is a type of chip that can be completely reprogrammed at the hardware level by software commands. This is how Blackmagic are able to deliver such fundamental features as an entire new raw codec, which would have necessitated a hardware change on a normal camera.

Blackmagic are providing a BRAW Player as well for MacOS which allows quick preview and playback of clips from the Finder. BRAW clips are a single file unlike Cinema DNG, which is a folder of still DNG frames in sequence.

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EOSHD Pro Color 5 for Sony cameras EOSHD Z LOG for Nikon CamerasEOSHD C-LOG and Film Profiles for All Canon DSLRs

Still lookin for a cinema camera A-Cam and a mirrorless-sized B-Cam that has the same codec, resolutions, color, etc. Black Magic seems to be pretty darn close with BM Raw and the Ursa Mini Pro G2 + Pocket 4K. Neither are my favorite form factor, but BM Raw, in my opinion, is the most modern and robust codec out there right now. Amazing you can get 12-bit raw files in file sizes way smaller than useful ProRes files. Black Magic's color is also great and both cameras can create a really nice image. 

Would also love if both cameras had the same mount, but adapters work pretty well. 

Interested to see what comes at NAB, as a Canon RF mount cinema camera (XC-20 or C100 III) would be great. 

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Sadly they also removed Cinema DNG and me as an app-developer using the Blackmagic Camera Control -Bluetooth protocol am in a dilemma.
(Cinema DNG removal is due to a patent claim. Can't blame Blackmagic here. It's explained in detail in the video, in case you haven't watched it entirely yet.)




Hi Marcus,

Unfortunately there is no facility to read back the Camera version with the Camera Control protocol, as such it is not possible to determine whether Cinema-DNG is supported or not. 

I have put in a change request to add this feature in a future release, but this doesn't help you with this request.

Kind Regards

(name redacted)



They also still haven't added constants for the DCI 4K (BMPCC4K and UMP) and the 4.6K resolutions (URSA Mini Pro) to the Bluetooth protocol despite a " I have submitted a bug internally and I will notify you when we implement this in a future versions of the Camera Control Protocol." in November 2018. The developer documentation for all Blackmagic cameras is still in a state of October 2018. :(


Blog posting:


Android app:


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52 minutes ago, Andrew Reid said:

Who is suing them? Adobe?

I would hazard a guess that it might be to do with the method to construct continuous video from it rather than specifically the file format for individual frames, which would make me suspect it was the same company that were suing Atomos until very recently before a licensing arrangement was done.

Whether the same license arrangement was not offered due to BM being a rival camera manufacturer or BM decided to turn it down would be a question if it was who I suspect it was.

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6 hours ago, Michi said:

Could it be Red? They sued Sony over a compressed RAW format in F5/F55/F65 some years ago. Would be a strange move since the compressed versions of Cinema DNG are in Black Magic Cameras for several years already right?

I’ve heard it was Red as well.



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