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Andrew Reid

Grant Petty reveals origins of Blackmagic cameras (concept was offered to major manufacturers)

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Blackmagic CEO Grant Petty has revealed he approached camera manufacturers in 2011 with the idea of producing a DSLR-style model with high dynamic range and increased video quality but was turned down.

"They don't care about the product. Their only goal is to extract as much from the business as they can. It's incredibly short-termist, and greedy".

Read the full article here

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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

It's disturbing that no Japanese company really wants to push technology that's readily available to the masses. How hard is it to put in a gig or two of fast ram for the camera to write to and them dump to a slower memory card? How hard is it to put audio meters on the display? How hard is it to record 4K at 24p? I'm tired of Sony, Canon, Panasonic and every Japanese brand that continues to pump out bullshit 8-bit 1080p mush. Step the f--k up and do something you bunch of conservative, profit-squeezing, planned obsolescent lame companies. 

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It's disturbing that no Japanese company really wants to push technology that's readily available to the masses. How hard is it to put in a gig or two of fast ram for the camera to write to and them dump to a slower memory card? How hard is it to put audio meters on the display? How hard is it to record 4K at 24p? I'm tired of Sony, Canon, Panasonic and every Japanese brand that continues to pump out bullshit 8-bit 1080p mush. Step the f--k up and do something you bunch of conservative, profit-squeezing, planned obsolescent lame companies. 

 

This is the problem with oligopolies where the products are relatively undifferentiated. Either you collude, and agree to keep certain features at certain price points, or you all compete, which means dropping price to marginal cost and then making no money. 

 

So thank god for BlackMagic.

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All BMD need to sort is quality control and making the things, then along with metabones, they can have my pounds. At the moment, I'd like a Pocket, but just... can't get one :(

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more new players like black magic with new features and  (an big ear to listens to community) more of those TITANS  will crash into the deepness of ocean.

 

We all remember how superior Nokia was back in days nobody even think about it, that Nokia will disappear in 2013!! 

 

So watch out Canon , Nikon and Panny :D

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Yes, its a great time to be a filmmaker! I love the innovation coming from independent camera manufacturers like Blackmagic, Kinefinity, and (soon, hopefully) Digital Bolex. Hopefully Ikonoskop gets its ducks in a row and releases maybe a cheaper version of their A-cam as well. 

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“They don’t care about the product. Their only goal is to extract as much from the business as they can. It’s incredibly short-termist, and greedyâ€.

I agree 100% entirely with Petty here. In my view, rather than moving the industry forwards with timely technological advancements, Canon, Sony and others are playing a short-term profit taking game.

 

Are you saying that if they knew such camera as black magic camera would make profit long term they would still turn the idea down?

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I'm going to have to take a contrarian view, here. I believe that Mr. Petty would be much better-off if he focused on his own cameras' quality control, firmware, and supply issues and less on bad-mouthing the big players in the camera and lens markets. It makes perfectly logical sense to me that those manufacturers turned-down his camera ideas precisely because they didn't think that they could make money manufacturing them. And I think that they were RIGHT.

 

As passionate as a lot of us here may be with these high-dynamic range, raw workflow bodies that BM is making, the lion's share of professional cinematographers will gravitate towards RED, Alexa, and the EOS Cinema line of cameras. Those cameras are low-volume, high-margin products. The stills-centric, DSLR market is conversely high-volume and low-margin. BM (and similar) “bootstrap†digital cinema cameras are arguably low-margin and low-volume... which won't ever attract the major players.

 

Meanwhile Mr. Petty can sit on his high horse and complain about these money-grubbing big boys that scoffed him and his ideas. But at the end of the day, he still needs to employ HIS tiny workforce of 350 people, by choosing at least SOME products that can make money... such as his excellent high-volume, low-margin post-production equipment that put BlackMagic on the map.

 

While I admire altruism and passion, unless Mr. Petty has deep pockets like Jim Jannard, he needs to focus on business. And making that evil money... by giving people the products they want, at the price that they're willing to pay, and at the quantities that can support BM's bottom line.

 

I'm sorry to be a stick-in-the-mud, but that's how I see it.

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They're only low volume because they're being produced by a small company.  Given that they can't make them faster than they can sell them it stands to reason the larger companies could beat BMD at their own game because scale is on their side.  Your naysaying doesn't make any sense.

 

Your argument also ignores the fact that all of the majors are selling cameras purposely retarded from doing what BMD cameras are doing.  Every DSLR is a raw camera internally.  It's more engineering, more complexity and more work added on top to arrive at shitty compressed footage, not less.  For reasons ranging from apathy to protectionism they aren't doing what BMD is doing and they're doing more work and spending more per camera to NOT answer that segment of the market.

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They're only low volume because they're being produced by a small company.  Given that they can't make them faster than they can sell them it stands to reason the larger companies could beat BMD at their own game because scale is on their side.  Your naysaying doesn't make any sense.

 

The game has just started. It's too early to to announce the winner at the beginning of the game imho. Good start doesn't mean they win in the end.

Back to the initial post, Mr Petty and Andrew are claiming that big companies wouldn't invest if they knew camera such as black magic cinema camera would bring either short term or long term profit which doesn't make any sense to me.

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Great article Andrew!

 

 

As passionate as a lot of us here may be with these high-dynamic range, raw workflow bodies that BM is making, the lion's share of professional cinematographers will gravitate towards RED, Alexa, and the EOS Cinema line of cameras. Those cameras are low-volume, high-margin products. The stills-centric, DSLR market is conversely high-volume and low-margin. BM (and similar) “bootstrap†digital cinema cameras are arguably low-margin and low-volume... which won't ever attract the major players.

 

 

I generally agree -- if I'm an advertiser with money, rent me an Alexa.

 

However, more than a couple times, I've seen commercial productions using Alexa as an A-cam and the BMCC as the B-cam. The game is still early for Blackmagic. If they really up the ante and bring some cool stuff to the game, a la a BMPC 4k with 300fps, we'll see a lot of people bringing their BM systems into higher-end productions, even as a B- or C-cam.

 

On the other hand, the fact that BM hasn't patched some obvious flaws in the camera's software gives me some pause about their level of 'geeky'. If I were on the engineering team, I think I could figure out how to program the deleting of files in a day or two. Audio meters? C'mon. 

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...yet everyone still bashes the free-market that makes things like Blackmagic possible. Sony and Canon are NOT part of the free-market, they are Corporate-Statist entities. Sorry to take it political territory, but it's important to understand the economic conditions that gives great products like Blackmagic a chance to come into reality. Many Filmmakers, Young-people, Westerners, ect... are voting for more and more socialist policies that are going to DESTROY companies like Blackmagic and kill our opportunities for future innovation in this field. Know the real enemy!

 

 

"BM like cameras do not have mass market appeal and never will."

Not yet, but they are going cult-status as we speak. They're a "word of mouth" product. They don't "need" mass-market appeal, because like Grant Perry said, they are not in debt... they don't need to move 10-million units to pay back loans. And, BTW, is that what you really look for in a camera? Mass market appeal? Who gives a crap about "how popular" something is... I only care about what products can deliver. Let the "fad-chasers" wallow in the misery of their overpriced, 8-bit, 2005-codec, technology forever if they like... 

Almost every film-person, here in LA, that sees my Blackmagic in use orders one. They're only going to get more popular as the other companies continue to under-deliver.

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They're only low volume because they're being produced by a small company.  Given that they can't make them faster than they can sell them it stands to reason the larger companies could beat BMD at their own game because scale is on their side.  Your naysaying doesn't make any sense.

 

Your argument also ignores the fact that all of the majors are selling cameras purposely retarded from doing what BMD cameras are doing.  Every DSLR is a raw camera internally.  It's more engineering, more complexity and more work added on top to arrive at shitty compressed footage, not less.  For reasons ranging from apathy to protectionism they aren't doing what BMD is doing and they're doing more work and spending more per camera to NOT answer that segment of the market.

 

"Apathy and protectionism" aside, let's not forget that a raw workflow does NOT appeal to vast swaths of the professional marketplace because of its demands on post-production and storage (during the edit, and archiving afterwards). Having a small file, edit-friendly codec come right out of the camera, ready to dump and edit, saves time and money. Not everyone can strive for the additional IQ gains, because they have to quickly turn the edit around into a sell-able product. That's the boat I'm in. I have to make money with my gear, production and post. And sometimes "good enough" simply has to be good enough.

 

So, I'm shooting three hours of talking heads tomorrow with my 5D mk III. How would I ever pull that off with raw (on my camera or one of BM's)? And who really cares, because it's talking heads. How good do they have to look? ENG, corporates, and industrial shooters are all in the same boat I'm in... a huge chunk of the professional marketplace. Good enough shooters.

 

I truly believe that if any of the majors saw dollar signs in any camera like BM is making or proposing, they would have a usable, working model for sale yesterday, would work better, and would have fewer growing pains and supply issues. That said, I'm very glad that there are some disruptive players like BM and the Digital Bolex in the game, I really am. But until the tech becomes something well-designed, bulletproof, easy-to-use, and quick to edit, I think the big players will stay out, protecting their turf by selling billions of $ worth of cameras and lenses while the sector matures. Why would they do anything else?

 

The temerity of telling any massive camera company that someone knows their business better than they know their business is mind-blowing. To be specific to one certain 800 pound gorilla: so, when has Canon ever been a get-there-first company? Nothing they've ever produced in the last 20 years has been bleeding or even cutting-edge. But something is clicking for them with this whole Cinema business. I'm certain they were surprised as any of their major-player peers that... "hmmm, people wanna shoot video with these still cameras?!" Translate that into Japanese, of course.  And they're scratching their heads all the way to the bank ever since. But my guess is they're not missing-out on much yet.

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"Apathy and protectionism" aside, let's not forget that a raw workflow does NOT appeal to vast swaths of the professional marketplace because of its demands on post-production and storage (during the edit, and archiving afterwards). Having a small file, edit-friendly codec come right out of the camera, ready to dump and edit, saves time and money. Not everyone can strive for the additional IQ gains, because they have to quickly turn the edit around into a sell-able product. That's the boat I'm in. I have to make money with my gear, production and post. And sometimes "good enough" simply has to be good enough.

 

 

Well then.  Isn't it just great that those people have more than enough choice already.  In fact they have redundant upon redundant choices for their compromise.  They should be happy and go about their business.

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I think BM have produced a v.nice camera in the Pocket & contrary to what a lot of people have said/claimed, they do appear to take their customer service quite seriously. I only say this because i do have an issue with my Pocket Camera - it produces, in v.extreme high contrast circumstances, a Pinky Grid-like Flare (for a milisecond only) when panning away from a strong light source. Admittedly, i will not often find my self in a situation where this occurs, but i did stumble upon it. After a few back & forth e-mails, BM are looking into it & are keeping me updated.

My theory, after hearing about hot pixels etc..., is that the Quality Control of the sensor maker/provider isn't the best - some people have nothing, some people have this or that problem.

To have ProRes HQ as standard, with the ability to utilise RAW for those tricky situations is mind blowing!

4K be damned, just being able to get an excellent 1080p image is a definate move in the right direction.

The one major error that people haven't mentioned, is that they should have given the Pocket the ability to record RAW externally - 18mins of RAW on a 64gb card is going to kill the bank to film a decent amount of footage. Quite frankly, they already have their own external recorder & missing the boat to marry the two was a huge mistake! And please don't give me they couldn't, of course they could!

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Well then.  Isn't it just great that those people have more than enough choice already.  In fact they have redundant upon redundant choices for their compromise.  They should be happy and go about their business.

 

So have RAW- guys. So what's the problem? Blackmagic is here and they are offering stuff, why are people complaining? You can shoot both h.264 and raw now with the 5d hacked (and it's effing awesome!). What is this mythical camera that is missing?

 

You guys want the C300 meshed with the FS700, 5dmarkIII AND the Blackmagic? For a grand?

 

BTW is there a source for Pettys comments in the article? They seem like taken elsewhere, but can't be sure.

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“They don’t care about the product. Their only goal is to extract as much from the business as they can. It’s incredibly short-termist, and greedyâ€.

No wonder, videofans are just around 1% of their photo camera sales. They just don’t care.
Thank god for such great people like in BM and other companies who love what they do.

Cany, Pany and Nikon non-stop moaning fans should know it.

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