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Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera first impressions

Andrew Reid

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Hi Brian

Well you are happy with it so that's all that matters However I would imagine others would want decent sound when recording kids Also many may not want the huge files and would find the quality of something like a 1/3 point and shoot camera as they are never going to grade the hell out of it or show it on a forty foot screen. if it was me the last thing I would want is to be worrying about capturing spur of the moment stuff and worrying about focus Because although in the 16mm format it is still a large format sensor. Also with no ND filters on board and messing around with adapters of various sizes this could prove a nightmare.

Of course some who know photography may want to use kids as their topic for Vimeo tests instead of cats and in that case I'd recommend something like a Panasonic G6.

It just makes me laugh how many people want a BMD camera without realising its pro credentials are really designed for pro use IE a crew. And then moan like hell about its rubbish sound and other ease of use shortcomings.
Maybe explains why there appears to be quite a few pocket cams advertised on ebay already.
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Camera supplied by CVP who came through and fulfilled my pre-order from NAB in early April. Personal note: I was saddened to learn of the death of CEO Phil Baxter earlier this month and

Caption: I was expecting raw meat but I got crappy a ProRes sausage instead!

Caption competition...  

Equally, people shot with Super 8 cameras in a similar way. Pistol grip and nothing else. It's a style. If one does not like it, get a tripod or a shoulder rig with EVF. The beauty of the Pocket is that it's small whilst the BMCC is rather chunky and heavy. You can't run & gun with the BMCC as easily as you can with the Pocket.

That's all true on paper, but really, is it that portable of a camera when you can't even format a card or delete a large bad take without bringing a computer along?
It's bad enough that a raw shooting camera doesn't shoot raw, it baffles me how BMD hasn't added these features yet!
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That's all true on paper, but really, is it that portable of a camera when you can't even format a card or delete a large bad take without bringing a computer along?!

My theory is that Blackmagic doesn't own the intellectual property for doing in-camera formatting of exFAT and HFSplus, both of which are proprietary, partly patented standards. Very likely, Blackmagic's firmware is built on a Linux kernel (just like the firmware of other camera manufacturers such as Samsung and Sony), and Linux doesn't format exFAT and HFSplus either. If Blackmagic purchased the necessary licenses from Apple and Microsoft, it would likely make the camera more expensive - $50 perhaps - given that it's produced in much smaller quantities than ordinary consumer cameras so that economy of scale doesn't equally apply.

And: While in-camera SD card formatting is a desirable feature, nobody should want single file deletion on a camera with a high bitrate codec. This will lead to file system fragmentation, resulting in non-contiguous writing to the SD Card, resulting in frame drops. To my knowledge, no digital cinema camera offers single file deletion.

Simple solution: Format your SD cards before you go out shooting. You should do this anyway. The only real disadvantage occurs when running out of storage on the road, and you can't just buy a new SD card somewhere and pop it in for use.
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I essentially agree with you, but to nitpick slightly, the Extreme Pro cards are not that easy to find.

The major video dealer i got my pocket camera from didn't have any for example, and I waited a few days for an online seller to ship one to me.

When you can find them in bricks and mortar outlets, they can be almost double the online price. The 64GB Extreme Pro is often around $250 in stores and online in Australia.

The more practical solutions are: to own more fast SD cards than you would ever need, carry a small laptop around, or use an external recorder like the Blackmagic or Atomos.

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Even then I don't quite get the argument: Either you have too few SD cards for the footage you want to shoot, and then you need a laptop/computer around anyway in order to offload your footage. Or you have enough SD cards, and then it's not a big deal to format them on a computer at home or work before you go out shooting.

I only foresee problems when people have messy habits of not properly offloading footage and cleaning up their SD cards so that they run into problems of popping cards into their camera that still have older footage on them. The normal workflow should be (even for other video and DSLR cameras):

(1) shoot
(2) repeat the following with each SD card you used:
(a) offload SD card to computer (+ ideally to a backup drive);
(b ) format SD card.

Under Mac OS X, (a) and (b ) can even be automated with a single Automator or shell script. Under Windows, the same should be possible with PowerShell.
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