Internal Noise from BlackMagic Pocket Cinema Camera

I know recently there's been a lot of posts on this blog about the new BlackMagic Pocket Cinema Camera, but only because I have a limited amount of time with it before I have to send it back. I have a feeling that once it's out of my hands, we won't be seeing them for several months. So here's an odd issue, that i'm sure will quickly be circulating the Internet once more and more people start working with it. Just check out the video below.

Ok, so I honestly don't think a simple firmware upgrade is going to fix this problem, but let's hope I'm totally wrong about that. What does this mean? Well, if it's happening to more cameras than the one I have here, then that sort of sucks, but I wouldn't say it's a total deal breaker. Even if this camera didn't have an internal microphone, I would still buy it.

I have yet to ever use the internal microphones on the original BlackMagic Cinema Camera, so I don't really care about in camera audio. Even with my GH3 or Canon for projects i'm using an external recorder, plugging in a LAV, using a wireless mic kit, etc. If you're shooting serious projects, you should already be staying away from using the camera's internal microphones.

Of course I know for many people it's helpful as a scratch track to sync in post, and that internal noise could really conflict with software like Plural Eyes. The simple workaround means you just have to use a small external microphone. Not a big deal for me because it's just a scratch track. Even if you add a nice mic like a Rode VideoMic Pro, you're still not going to get as good audio as from a dedicated recorder like the Zoom H6. After all it is a 'Cinema Camera'.

BTW, if you downloaded the 10 second ProRes sample from GearAddix (here), you can also hear that same noise. Ok, so hopefully i'm just holding a very unique camera that has this internal noise issue. If anyone else has this camera already, I would love to know if you have the same problem. Please comment below.

[Update] 08.19.2013 - A rep has contacted me and assured me this was an isolated problem with this particular camera I have. This is not a normal problem and other BMPCC users should not experience this.

FYI, I just shot about 4 hours of footage using a Rode VideoMic Pro and did not hear any of this same noise. The internal mic on this camera is the only one picking up the sound. Not a problem for me.

38 thoughts on “Internal Noise from BlackMagic Pocket Cinema Camera

  1. reg

    I have the same noise but its a more unified ticking than the random noises some people are getting.

    I'll probably contact black magic about this

  2. Aaron

    This is not an isolated problem to your camera. I'm having it as well. I was hoping to be able to use the camera without an external mic some of the time - apparently, unless they fix this though, the internal mic is useless. Unfortunate.

    It kind of bothers me that they are pretending like this is an isolated issue to your camera when a lot of us BMPCC owners are experiencing the same thing.

  3. Emm

    Post author

    @Hung - Yeah, many others have posted the same noise so at least i'm not crazy. It's not a deal breaker by any means, but instead of trying to sweep an issue under the carpet, let's just say ok this is normal.

  4. We got our demo camera in and no problems. Check out youtube page for test with 19-90 Cabrio, 14mm Canon and 12-35 Lumix test. ProResHQ files available for download.

  5. Tom S

    @Joseph Rose Respectfully, not sure where you are pulling your numbers from. I know they are shipping in small quantities, but even judging by forums, there are BMPCC's out there in quite a few countries - and keep in mind that most people that buy cameras aren't addicted to posting on forums. So far this is an isolated case, so no need to be overly judgmental yet. If more cameras with the same issue pop up, then it is a legitimate concern of course. I absolutely agree that while many will use external mic's, as long as a mic is implemented, I expect it to work properly, especially since this is marketed as a "compact cinema camera".

  6. jon

    Who uses internal mics anyhow?

    Thanks for being an early adopter. Hope you'll be doing a review for the Canon 70D as well and let us know how that auto focus video works when it gets released.

  7. Emm

    Post author

    @Joseph Rose - The PR team from Blackmagic Design assures that this is not a normal problem. I just happen to have one with some noise, but again not a deal breaker for me. They have been very responsive to the matter so that's very good news to customers.

  8. Joseph Rose

    @Emm, that's cool for Rode and the people that own that mic. But anyone wanting decent audio from their new $1,000 camera is in for a crapshoot apparently.

    I was SO excited to get this camera based on the initial hype from BMD, but as all the annoyances and details come out about it, I'm getting less and less excited.

  9. Emm

    Post author

    @Joseph Rose - I'm going to upload another video later today with audio taken from a Rode VideoMic Pro directly into the BMPCC (no preamp). I was about 15 feet away from these performers in San Francisco, and the audio sounded great.

  10. FabDex

    To comment on Max's comment: it's not a question of "not great audio capture", it's more like "defective audio circuits". Having noisy or overly compressed audio is one thing, having electronics interfering with the sound is a whole other ballgame.

    Ans Eric Gould: is there a project that requires prores recording RIGHT NOW that would have you buy a defective (and second hand) product ?

  11. Joseph Rose

    They've shipped out like 6 cameras, and at least this one of them is messed up. That's not a good failure rate.

  12. OldCorpse

    And this, my friends, is why it never pays to be an early adopter - and I try to avoid that at all cost. Wait until at least the first pass, so that some of the show-stopper bugs are worked out. YMMV.

    I absolutely have my eye on this little cam, and had it since NAB, but I didn't bother signing up for any list. I waited for the early reports first. And that's what Emm did - which kinda the job he chose himself, fully aware, I'm sure, and why we read his blog :)

  13. scottrellwi

    I think Emm's point was missed. He said that in addition to the audio noise, he thinks PluralEyes will have a difficult time syncing the scratch audio with the external audio. PluralEyes has negated the need for a slate board in many projects.

    There is no way Black Magic will ignore this problem. They would have just left the mic out if it was going to be a long term problem. The only question I have is if it will be a firmware update, or if it will require different hardware.

  14. Max

    I think having some decent, not great, audio capture quality in a cutting edge camera at this price level is a reasonable expectation.

    One of the big selling points of this camera is the quality and size combo: "Pocket Cinema". Any video experience includes moving pictures and sound. Having to carry external mics, recorders and filters 100% of the time does reduce the whole small pocket quality this camera was supposed to include.

  15. Surprised to find this not updated, since Blackmagic themselves are assuring that this is not a product defect:

    So this post (with its implications) seems to have been premature; best to work stuff like this out with the manufacturer eliminating the possibility of an inherent design flaw. But the hysteria around this product's launch (and lust for being first in line) is insurmountable...

  16. I'm with Marc and Josh,

    I have an Rx100 to take out 'on the fly', it shoots lovely video and fits in my jeans pocket.

    I'll 99% of the time be running our H6N into this. Yes this is a flaw, yes it needs to be fixed either on the production run, or via a FW update, but - nobody is buying this camera for it's amazing microphone...

  17. Sam

    I know this is a bit irrelevant to noise issue, but now seeing the fisheye lens with that camera, I'm curious to what the image looks like because of the crop factor of the camera and the distortion of the lens.

  18. Mark London: My thoughts exactly. I don't know very many pro's using in camera audio with their 5DII's. It'll be the exact same thing. Never use the audio in my 5D, I would never use the audio in this.

  19. Darius

    I completely agree, just because an external audio recorder is the best option it doesn't mean that it's acceptable or not worth mentioning for this camera to sound like that internally. It's not a deal breaker, but it definitely sucks.

    It's good to finally have the caveats of this camera out in the open. I'd placed it on quite the pedastool leading up to this release.

  20. Erik

    In my opinion

    When I buy cameras I enjoy using the camera I use for professional work also also for personal enjoyment. So I'm not going to bring out a decent microphone every time I go out to shoot something for fun(cause with a mic it doesn't easily slip into a pocket anymore). A lot of the time's I'll end up capturing stuff for fun that I'd want capture sound for no matter how bad the quality is.

    So this is something that really has to be fixed!

  21. VoyezLesprit

    Who actually uses the internal mic?!

    I can't believe this is an issue....? If you're making a film of the internal mic you're doing something REALLY wrong.

  22. peederj

    At the store I was surprised to see they are still making photography vests. You know, the ones from the 80's with a dozen huge pockets all over them?

    Now I know who will be buying them...

  23. Cfreak

    Noise from the LANC (unused) signal? This used to be an issue with Sony cameras. I had it on a FX100 yesterday!

  24. John Beton


    Is there any side by side comparisions coming up. BMPC vs GH3 VS 5DMARKIII VS 550D in wide angle shots as in close ups.

    And could you film a video with video mode and same shot in film mode?


  25. marklondon


    The amount of shoots I've used the internal mic for anything other than emergency sync? Zero. That's on thousands of hours of DSLR work since '08.

  26. I got my Blackmagic Cinema Camera EF a week ago and so far I'm experiencing that it has a really unusable noise at the line inputs and a shockingly bad built in mic, which is also affected by the fan in the camera.

    Dual systems is probably necessary. I'm planning on buying this model as a third and fourth cam for live recordings. Too bad about the noise issue as the image is great.

  27. Emm

    Post author

    @mcmillanroad - I panned the audio, it's still the same. I sound louder in one channel only because i'm standing on that side of the camera.

  28. mcmillanroad

    It also seems to only be in the right channel. Most of your voice was in the left, and the left side had very little noise.

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