How to avoid Blackmagic Production Camera 4K fixed pattern noise

Blackmagic Production Camera 4K sample - no FPN noise

Above: my sample showing no fixed pattern noise in low light at ISO 400 on the Production Camera – it’s all about the grade

Almost all Blackmagic Production Camera users have experienced fixed pattern noise – a banding effect or grain texture over the image – and they are quite upset at Blackmagic over the issue. But is the fixed pattern noise problem on the Blackmagic Production Camera a case of faulty cameras OR is it a limitation of the spec?

This is a complex issue and every user seems to report something different. However in my own experience with the camera and of looking at the experiences of others I have to say that all units look to perform in the same way. It is a limitation of the spec, not a case of a large number of faulty units being shipped out.

Yet many users – over 200 of them – are now putting pressure on Blackmagic to acknowledge a hardware or quality control ‘fault’ and to do hardware replacements. Sorry but I just don’t think this is right.

It is best to look at how to handle the camera in order to avoid the FPN in the first place…

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4K is here! Blackmagic Production Camera Review

Sample footage! You can download the full resolution 3840 x 2160 Ultra HD file from Vimeo here if you’re a ‘Plus member’.

Keep an eye open for my Production Camera review in a forthcoming issue of Mac User magazine available at all good newsagents in the UK.

I am currently shooting 4K with the Blackmagic Production Camera on loan from their British office which features a global shutter and Super 35mm sensor for $3000. For this shoot yesterday I found myself at an aeropark built in 1930’s Berlin, thanks to a suggestion from Lars Rehm of DPReview who also finds himself in Berlin for some reason! The girls are shot opposite an old wind tunnel and a giant egg shaped concrete structure which the Germans used to test the aerodynamics of fighter planes in, until the Russians came and nicked the fan. Part of the wind tunnel still has an inscription from the invading Russian forces branding the buildings “free of mines”, which cleared the way for them to take all the advanced technology back to the Soviet Union with them.

Today the aeropark is part of a university campus and parts of the Charlize Theron movie Aeon Flux were shot there. (This shoot was my own experiment and not a commercial one).

Read more4K is here! Blackmagic Production Camera Review

Which 4K camera for the masses? GH4 vs Blackmagic Production Camera

GH4 vs BMPC

Already we have 2 affordable 4K interchangeable lens cinema cameras due and we’re only a month into 2014. Red Dalsa created the first 4K cinema cameras and these were first shot with on set in 2006 (The Dalsa Origin – Wikipedia)

Since then the rate of progress needed to commercialise such powerful hardware and sell it to consumers for $2000 in the case of the GH4 and $4000 for the Blackmagic Production Camera has been relatively speedy. Quicker than the time taken for full frame DSLRs to break the $2000 price barrier. Red never did succeed in making an affordable 4K cinema camera for the masses or a DSLR replacement.

Neither camera is entirely finished yet but I’ve seen footage from both the new cameras and shot with their predecessors for much of 2013. Here’s my opinion on how their strengths and weaknesses are going to work out…

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More details on global shutter and possible Blackmagic sensor supplier CMOSIS

BMPC 4k CMOSIS Sensor

Though it cannot be 100% confirmed I am pretty sure the Blackmagic Production Camera uses a sensor supplied by CMOSIS, which if true would be very good news as it is the latest technology and already in mass production.

Here are your sensor questions answered…

Read moreMore details on global shutter and possible Blackmagic sensor supplier CMOSIS