Here’s a few tips some of you may want to prepare for so that you can begin shooting with your brand new BlackMagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera the day it arrives.
#1 – Get a damn fast SDHC or SDXC card. None of the cards that work flawlessly on my Canon DSLRs were even detected. The few speedy cards I was able to grab from local retailers just ended up with dropped frames. We’re just talking ProRes here, imagine when RAW is unlocked. Tomorrow I should receive a couple of Sandisk Extreme Pro cards (recommended in the user manual) for my weekend project.
#2 – Keep in mind you cannot format SD cards from the camera itself. If you show up at a shoot with a full SD Card, there’s no way to delete the files. Keep a laptop with SD card reader handy to format to exFAT and delete any old projects. Don’t think you can just pop it into your other camera to delete. The HFS+ or exFAT file system isn’t recognized in most other cameras.
#3 – The LCD screen on this camera (not touch screen) may not be suffice for working outdoors. If you plan to use a monitor or EVF, you need a rare micro HDMI cable (d type). I already have plans to use my Cineroid Retina EVF
Cineroid Retina EVF LCD Viewfinder
#4 – The battery drains very quickly on this pocket camera. These batteries are the same for the Nikon J1, inexpensive, but you still need an optional charging station so you don’t keep your camera tethered. The other option is an external 12V power source for very long projects where swapping batteries could be a problem.
#5 – Even my small Panasonic 12-35mm F/2.8 or 35-100mm F/2.8 Micro Four Thirds lenses fit too snugly on the camera if I have my 501PL plate mounted underneath. Lens adapters will be worse, so you’ll need a platform, rig, cage, or something to raise the body up if you’re planning to use popular Fluid Heads. I’m using the Fhugen GH3 cage right now since it’s the smallest cage in my arsenal (no battery door access).
There’s room to slide the plate back and forth, but other lens combinations may not be so forgiving
#6 – Expect no audio meters from the camera itself. I think at this point the easiest method is to just work an external recorder.
Finally just a quick note on using an HDMI recorder. I’m not sure if this will yield any difference in quality, but if there is no degradation, an HDMI recorder could be a cheaper solution for storage media, solves limitations on long projects, and is a fast way to hand off video files to your editor. The Atomos Ninja 2, one of the affordable HDMI recorders on the market, is capable of recording from the BlackMagic Pocket Cinema Camera. You can record the stream without actually recording from the BMPC, or you can just hit record on both units for dual recording (a good backup solution for critical projects).
I’ll continue to add notes about the things i’m running into, and I’ll be uploading sample ProRes files from the camera very soon. Make sure to follow me on Twitter, and stay tuned to the blog. Remember, if you’re still looking to get on a short list to get this camera early, check in with DVEStore.com
BlackMagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera.
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