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Tim Tyler

Black-Magic Design Announces 2.5k Cinema Camera

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We've been trying to get one as a press demo for quite some time. No luck so far.

 

If you really, really want a BMCC to be shipped to you -- the key is to not want the camera!

 

I'm not exaggerating.

 

There are reportedly thousands of pre-orders for the BMCC in the US and worldwide.

 

However, in total, reportedly there have been only about a half a dozen BMCCs shipped to customers the US.

 

Of that tiny number, there have been at least two BMCC cameras shipped to people in the US who ordered the camera months ago, but who subsequently changed their minds.

 

After they received the cameras, they turned around and re-sold them. One of them was bought by Jarred Land of RED!

 

So, 2 cams being shipped but "unwanted" is a significant percentage.

 

Unbelievable.

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Today Grant Petty, CEO, Blackmagic Design, posted his 6th status update message concerning BMCC manufacturing delays.

 

=======================================================

http://forum.blackmagicdesign.com/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=2431&sid=e444ec27da694bc48e9b8f1af3189e3c

 

 

Hi,

 

I have another update on the camera shipments.

 

First a bit of a background in the issue.

 

As I have explained in earlier posts, we have been dealing with an issue from our sensor supplier where the glass that covers the front of the sensor has been contaminated and they have been working on that issue. They realized they had a contamination issue that turned out to be caused by the packaging of the glass was shipped to their factory and so that contaminated glass was used on the sensors and sent to us.

 

Now there were a few fundamental problems with this. Firstly we should never have received parts that had contaminated glass. It turned out their quality control software at the sensor company was poorly designed. Secondly it had taken them months to work out what was going on and to get new packaging to ship the glass to the factory mounting it on the sensors. It's been months.

 

However a few weeks ago things were looking good and the supplier got glass that was clean, they updated their test software to correctly test the sensors and could start shipping sensors to us again.

 

Now as I mentioned last week, the problem is while we did start getting sensors that passed our quality control when used in building our cameras, a lot of sensors did not pass. This was confusing because the sensor’s supplier was supposed to have fixed their test software and had new clean glass.

 

Working out what was going wrong is what we have been busy doing over the last week. It's going to get a little technical here, however I think everyone wants to know what’s going on, instead of platitudes.

 

In our frustration over still getting sensors that would not pass our quality check, we decided to move in and completely audit the sensor supplier’s process in detail using our engineers. We wanted to fully understand what was going on.

 

We wanted to know how the supplier could the fix to get clean glass not be working 100% and how could the sensor supplier still let bad parts through their quality control process and ship them to us, in the belief that they were "good" parts? This was very confusing. I mean, fixing the contaminated glass should have been a quick simple job so how could they still not get it right after months of work?

 

What we found when investigating their processes was quite surprising. Of course we had known the original problem with their quality control checks was their test software had not been modified for color sensors. In the past their sensors were used for scientific use and used in black and white. Also their glass was never used as other customers bonded the lens optics onto the sensor itself. In our case we use the sensor in a conventional way and the customers change lenses. We need the glass on the sensor like all other cameras do.

 

Also, they had never built a camera using the sensor they make for us. We are the only camera that’s used this sensor and glass combination. It's like designing and building cars but no one at the company has every driven one.

 

So it turns out their quality process is really only good at testing the semiconductor die. It's no good at testing the quality of the overall sensor product with the glass in front. This meant they could not even see the problems we were seeing, so that’s why we were getting bad parts. We sent them the information on how to build our test setup and yesterday they started testing using it. Now they are seeing the same quality problems we are seeing. This is good as it means we should not get any more bad sensors.

 

The problem left is that out of a test batch of 30 sensors, only 4 worked well enough so we can build cameras using them. This is bad. So while the good news is they can now see the same problems we see, the question is why is there still contamination on the glass.

 

The reason is the contaminated glass issue in many ways distracted them from the problems their manufacturer is having bonding the glass to the sensor itself. The sensor supplier now has two sources of glass, and both of them are showing the same problems. The parts without glass are ok, and the problems appear when the glass is bonded to the sensor. If the glass is clean then it's really the company bonding on the glass that are introducing contamination.

 

Now the amazing part is that the first batch of sensors we got that we used for developing the camera and that were fine when we started production were manufactured by a completely different company to the second and subsequent batches of sensors. I could not believe this news when I heard it today as it explains a lot.

 

Our current understanding is that the company that has been bonding on the glass is crap and they have been contaminating the glass when bonding it. Because the sensor suppliers test process was also bad, it meant that no one really knew what was going on and it's been weeks and weeks of confusion.

 

The sensor supplier is getting some new sensors made at the original supplier, which we should get test data back on late this week. Once we see this we will know if the original supplier can make the parts without contamination and so we can start building cameras again. I don't know why they changed glass bonding companies.

 

I am sorry this is a really long way of explaining what’s going on. It's a complex issue and the only way to explain what’s going on is to actually explain what’s going on in detail. It's been hard to update at times because there has been so much confusion at times about these issues and if they have been fixed or not. We don't know until we build a bunch of cameras.

 

What has really shocked me is how long it has taken our sensor supplier to fix this. They have been very bad at moving quickly and really thinking about what's going wrong. If we had not moved in with our engineers, they still would have no idea what was going on. It's taken months and driven us crazy with frustration.

 

So the current plan is to get some sensors from the original glass bonding company and based on their upgraded testing we should know more at the end of the week if we are going to get a good supply of sensors starting to ship using that new company.

 

I will let you all know later this week or early next when we get some of these sensors to build cameras with and will know if we can start production full speed again.

 

Lastly, please take it easy on our PR folks. They want more regular updates and it’s me personally that are stopping that, because I don't want to do fluff updates that don't say anything and I don't want to lie to people.

 

Of course PR people want to do regular updates, but each stage in solving this problem has taken our supplier more than a week or so of work before we hear anything new, and then often we get more questions, not answers. It’s been frustrating, but our PR guys are only trying to help. There is some really crazy stuff being said, but at this point can only provide the info to you as we get it.

 

Sorry for the long update but I am just brain dumping the situation as it is today so you know what’s going on. I hope it helps.

 

Regards,

 

Grant Petty

 

=======================================================

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Difficult to know how to react, really. It's a massively crap situation, but they seem to be reasonably upfront about it. I'm sure Petty (who I've met, and has always seemed like a reasonable guy) is as frustrated about it as everyone else, and I'm equally sure that behind these carefully calm updates there's probably quite a bit of baseball-bat-wielding unpleasantness going on.

 

It sounds broadly like they hired this sensor outfit to do something they weren't quite competent to do, having never done it before.

 

P

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Today, Grant Petty, CEO, Blackmagic Design, posted his 7th status update message concerning Blackmagic Cinema Camera manufacturing delays.

 

=======================================================

Hi,

 

Here is another update on the camera shipments.

 

Some good news. If you have read my other posts about the causes of the camera delays then you know we have been dealing with a problem with our sensor supplier related to contamination of the glass that's bonded on the front of the sensor. It's not been clean and so we had to stop production of cameras.

 

There have been two issues here we have been dealing with, the first that the sensor supplier has not been able to see the contamination because their tests were not good enough, and secondly that they need to find a way of bonding the glass on the sensor without contamination.

 

The good news is that we got a small shipment of sensors that the sensor supplier had tested with their new test setup and they were all ok when we built cameras with them. This is good because they will now be able to see sensors that are contaminated and not ship us anything that's unable to be used to build a camera.

 

Also, the sensor supplier has done a small run of sensors at the new company that's bonding the glass and they got almost a 100% pass rate, which is also great. This means they finally have a solution to bonding on the glass that looks like it will work.

 

The plan at the moment is to do a small production run this week and we hope to get those sensors next week where we can build cameras using them and see how it all goes.

 

But things are looking quite good. This run of cameras next week will test the sensor supplier's ability to build sensors without contamination and to also be able to test them correctly so we only get good sensors. If that's all ok then we look like we will be able to move back into production.

 

I will update everyone next week when we know. I also hope to have more info on how fast they can ramp up with this new supplier and the new test.

 

I hope this update helps.

 

Regards,

 

Grant

Blackmagic Design

=======================================================

 

 

-

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Today, Grant Petty, CEO, Blackmagic Design, posted his 8th status update message concerning Blackmagic Cinema Camera manufacturing delays.

 

 

==================================

 

Hi,

 

Ok good news everyone as the test run of sensors have just been built into cameras and they look good. Very good. So we have just given the sensor supplier the go ahead to commence volume production of the sensors and we hope to start getting them within the next week to start building cameras. How many cameras? I am not sure, as we have all stopped production and so we all need to restart production and see how many they can produce. However we will be working hard to build as many cameras as possible over the next few weeks.

 

I hope people start to see more cameras shipping, but it might be a good idea if I post another update early January to update everyone on how production is progressing.

 

As for the micro four thirds model, it's ready to go, however the problem is I feel until we are shipping a whole bunch of EF model cameras, there is little point building any of the MFT model. So we will ship as many as we can and then perhaps see where we are mid Jan and do a few MFT models then.

 

It is sure a relief seeing this problem coming to a close. I cannot believe this happened and it's been an incredibly frustrating delay. However I am feeling really positive now.

 

 

Regards,

 

Grant

Blackmagic Design

 

==================================

 

 

 

-

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They seem to have started delivering. Depends how interesting you find people unpacking a box, but he does give first impressions on seeing the camera in the flesh.

 

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The BMCC has been "trickling out" in very small quantities from manufacturing for a while, but if BMD's most recent announcement is to be believed, it appears the floodgates will soon open (see Grant Petty's post above).

 

A few of the lucky folks who have already received BMCCs have posted early sample videos online, some of which I've listed here.

 

External power solutions are becoming available from Ikan, Hawk-Woods, Anton Bauer, IDX, Switronix, and many others. The BMCC's external power connector is the same as other BMD products such as the Hyperdeck Shuttle. According to BMD, it's compatible with a round "5.5 x 2.5mm center positive" plug.

 

Some users find inexpensive 3M anti-glare film applied to the BMCC's LCD is helpful. Hoodman has a deep sunshade designed specifically for use with 5" touchscreens.

 

Currently, the most up-to-date list of compatible blank SSD drives for use with the BMCC is found in the BMCC User Manual PDF, which can also be downloaded from the BMD website. Note: The SSDs listed in "BMCC FAQ" on BMD's support page is out-of-date. Use the list in the BMCC user manual PDF instead. Users are reporting having the fewest problems by using the SanDisk drives. YMMV.

 

This week BMD announced a new beta firmware v.1.2, but it hasn't gone into general public release yet. According to at least one beta tester, the new firmware will support "... aperture readout on [the camera's LCD] display, [1080p and] 2.5K rez time-lapse recording, exFAT format support [the SSD can be formatted on a Windows PC, but not in the BMCC itself], improved CinemaDNG file naming, better overlay options on SDI output, fix on RP188 output over SDI [to control external start/stop recording such as with a Hyperdeck Shuttle], and additional Canon lenses are supported ...". Note: The final list of features included in firmware v.1.2 may change by the time it's out of beta.

 

I suspect the documentation will soon be revised to include the new features enabled by the new firmware. It's possible the list of recommended SSD drive might be revised in the new docs, too, so stay tuned.

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I was recently invited to test out the Black Magic Cinema Camera that every filmmaker on the planet wants to get their hands on. I was lucky enough to shoot one of only 3 currently in the U.S. As many of you know, there have been major delays in the production on the BMCC due to sensor problems. The release date was supposed to be last July but now it's looking like within the first few months of 2013.

I'm offering RAW 2.5K files for download at my site. There are 3 different scenes to choose from and the files are all DNG files. This is a great opportunity for the filmmaking community to test the workflow of the BMCC. The files are to be used for editing and grading tests, not for commercial use. Please let me know if you are interested in posting a thorough explanation of the conversion process. My edited version of the footage is available as well.

Many thanks and enjoy!

 

RAW 2.5K files available for download at: www.bryanbowden.co

 

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-rewe-KBTLM

Edited by Bryan Bowden

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According to Shane Hurlbut, ASC, at least one S16 zoom lens he's testing covers the BMCC sensor "perfectly":

http://twitter.com/h...550409335447553

http://ow.ly/i/1m9kW

 

EDIT: In a follow-up tweet, Shane reports: "it vignettes to about a 12mm"

 

Also: Meanwhile, reports are coming in from all over the world from people who are receiving their cameras. Obviously the floodgates haven't completely opened, but the number & frequency of reports are noticeably up over the past few weeks. Hopefully this trend will continue to accelerate.

 

EDIT: I finally got my first opportunity to touch a BMCC for a few minutes:

http://forum.blackmagicdesign.com/viewtopic.php?p=25133#p25133

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FYI: Grant Petty, CEO Blackmagic Design, today posted the following BMCC shipping update:

http://forum.blackma....php?f=2&t=4139

 

========================

Hi,

 

Wanted to send out a quick update on camera shipments. The production lines have been up and running with sensors coming in. We have been sending out regular shipments of EF model cameras each week to all of our offices around the world, and each week we are getting cameras out at a faster rate. We are still not at full volume shipping though, because sensors are not quite getting to us at a pace that I could say was full volume. But each day I am seeing the volume get better from the sensor company. I am happy with the quality of the sensors.

 

For the MFT model, we want to get through some more of the EF orders before I give a date on when we will start getting the MFT orders out. They are ready to go, but we need to get through most of the early EF pre-orders first.

 

I have been blown away seeing all the footage coming from people with their cameras around the world. It's been very exciting to watch the camera doing such fantastic creative work!

 

Regards,

 

Grant

Blackmagic Design

========================

 

 

 

-

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According to Shane Hurlbut, ASC, at least one S16 zoom lens he's testing covers the BMCC sensor "perfectly":

http://twitter.com/h...550409335447553

http://ow.ly/i/1m9kW

 

EDIT: In a follow-up tweet, Shane reports: "it vignettes to about a 12mm"

http://twitter.com/h...863888579747843

 

Hmm..

 

I've measured the Canon 8-64 image circle pretty closely, at 12mm it barely covers a 17mm diameter. Stop down past 5.6 and it shrinks further. Maybe the active sensor area isn't quite as large as described, or maybe there's some other factor at play.

 

From my observations (using a Chrosziel projector collimator and an Angenieux test reticle), the Canon 7-63 had a larger image circle at the wide end, and less degradation outside the S16 area, so if the 8-64 is perfect.. er.. slightly vignetting, then the 7-63 might be worth a test.

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Here's something that could be useful, particularly in having options for the wide end:

 

http://www.petapixel.com/2013/01/14/metabones-announces-revolutionary-adaptor-makes-ff-lenses-faster-and-wider/

 

Not a new idea, but I haven't seen it implemented like this before. It's basically an inverted focal length extender, reducing the image circle while keeping the same angle of view, with the bonus effect of increasing the lens speed. So with this adapter, a full-frame covering lens could be used on the Black Magic Camera, the effective focal length of the lens is reduced by x0.71, and the speed increased by the same factor. It would only work on the MFT version.

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Wow, they market it like it's sci-fi (literally):

 

If you read the title and thought “huh?” you’re not the only one. Hearing that an adapter can actually make your lenses faster and wider sounds a bit like photography science fiction, but it’s true

 

And then the comments below follow the trend:

 

...Yeah I’m just gonna go and call shenanigans right now.

 

...“It it is too good to be true, chances are that it isn’t true” -Common Sense

 

...APRIL FOOL !!!!!

 

Might have done better with a more technical approach in terms of explaining rather than feeding a generation who seem to only understand hype.

 

Basic physics (irresistible force) '

Peoples expectations (movable object) :rolleyes:

 

edit - oops! missed the white paper... ha ha - guess I'm the one with the small attention span :lol:

Edited by Chris Millar

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edit - oops! missed the white paper... ha ha - guess I'm the one with the small attention span :lol:

 

Took me a while to actually find the white paper, on the Metabones site they mention it but don't seem to have a link! It's not as revolutionary as they make out, and some of the claims could certainly do with some tempering.

 

It basically just shrinks the image circle down, so that a smaller imaging sensor gets the same field of view as you would normally get with the original format. The actual focal length of the lens remains the same, as does the f-stop, meaning there is no depth of field change. But because the same amount of light is being squeezed into a smaller area, the T-stop is faster.

 

I don't know about it being sharper though, adding more elements generally degrades an image. But I suppose shrinking the image will make it appear finer detailed. I suspect it will work better with some lenses than others.

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If this even remotely works; I will say it puts the BMD camera back into the running for my possible next camera update (depending when I need a camera ect). Figure I can on the wide end, use some nice Nikon lenses, and then for everything else try to grab some older Cookes on the 4/3rds system.

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I was recently invited to test out the Black Magic Cinema Camera that every filmmaker on the planet wants to get their hands on. I was lucky enough to shoot one of only 3 currently in the U.S. The files are to be used for editing and grading tests, not for commercial use. Please let me know if you are interested in posting a thorough explanation of the conversion process. My edited version of the footage is available as well.

Many thanks and enjoy!

 

Conversation I just had:

 

 

"WTF Freya, are you watching porn???!!"

 

"Certainly looks like it doesn't it!!"

 

 

So.... Is this where the term "blue" movie comes from?

 

love

 

Freya

Edited by Freya Black

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Perhaps this could be an answer. http://www.metabones...White Paper.pdf

 

It's been done in the past by Cooke, converting their 35mm lenses into 16mm lenses.

 

Yes I think it will certainly be useful for the MFT version, very good timing on Metabones' part, they'll probably sell a ton of 'em.

 

I brought this up about 5 posts ago, but with this thread at 8 pages long now I don't blame you for not spotting it!

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I don't understand why someone would produce a 2k cinema camera when all real modern cinema is shot on film and scanned at 4-8k or shot on digital at least 4k but usually 6k.

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I don't understand why someone would produce a 2k cinema camera when all real modern cinema is shot on film and scanned at 4-8k or shot on digital at least 4k but usually 6k.

 

err...sure?

- what do you mean by "real modern cinema"

- usually 35mm is scanned at 4K and if there is a filmout its mostly at 2K

- Arris Alexa is about 2.8K in most cases downsampled to ProRes HQ at HD resolution, Red Epic is up to 5K but very often used at 2K resolution for high speed work

 

The point of making this camera is to offer RAW-capture at an inexpensive price.

Edited by Tebbe Schoeningh

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