Tag Archives: BlackMagic Cinema Camera


Earlier this morning I was talking to a friend about the weight of his DJI Ronin Gimbal, and he asked if I had any suggestions about a support system to carry the weight. He mentioned during his research, one of the more affordable options out there was between $649 - $849 dollars from a company called the Atlas Camera Support.

Atlas Camera Support Dual Rods
find-price-button Atlas Camera Support

It's definitely more affordable than say an EasyRig, but design wise it's not overly complicated to create something with a similar function. In just a few minutes of thinking about how I would go about this, I had a working prototype using an old camera backpack and a couple of fiberglass rods. Here's what I came up with.

Look Ma! No Hands! Cheesycam DIY Gimbal Support BackPack

My DIY Design is very simple. A few conduit pipes are tucked into an old camera backpack and held in place with a block of wood. The Fiberglass rods are simply dropped into the pipes and removed when not in use.

DIY Gimbal Support Backpack (1 of 4)

Here are some additional details that are important for choosing a support backpack for this project. Choose a backpack with a chest clip and a waist belt. A Waist Belt is a must! You can find both of these features in a good camera backpack or sometimes you will find this with a good hiking backpack. These straps will keep the backpack snug up against your body and allow the rods to bend without pulling the backpack away from you. Here's a couple of backpacks that give you an idea of what to look for.

amazon dslr backpack
find-price-button AmazonBasics DSLR BackPack with Chest Clip and Waist Support Belt

The Fiberglass rods I chose are just common Tent Poles, nothing special. Tent poles are designed to flex and they are also offered in various thicknesses. The 'thicker' the tent pole, the more weight it will support, but the harder it will be to bend. You definitely want some 'bend' with your pole to absorb any bounce. I picked up a 4 Tent poles for $10 dollars at a sporting goods store. I only used two. I know what you're thinking - what if they snap? Keep Reading..

FiberGlass Tent Poles
find-price-button Fiberglass Tent Poles - Amazon

These Fiberglass rods have a very thick wall to them, but are also hollow. So to add a fail safe, i'm using 100lb rated Metal Braided Wire Cables running through the poles. If for some god forsaken reason one of these rods should break (which is very very difficult to do), the cable will keep things from coming apart. I've looped the cable at the end and ran it back through the rod, essentially doubling up the cable inside.

DIY Gimbal Support Backpack (2 of 4)

Heavy Duty Ultra Redundant Setup
As i've mentioned, if you want to carry a heavier system, you can look for the larger fiberglass rods. Another idea to carry extra weight, and to add additional redundancy is to double up these smaller rods on each side - essentially having 4 rods total. With two fiberglass rods on each side with cables running through, it would manage heavier systems, still remain flexible, and would add incredible fail-safe redundancy.

DIY Gimbal Support Backpack (4 of 4)

I left about 6 inches of loop hanging at the end for me to attach an adjustable strap to the gimbal. This 'middle strap' is so you can adjust the height position of your gimbal. If you want the gimbal higher, shorten the strap. If you want the gimbal to sit lower, lengthen the straps.

adjustable straps gimbal fiberglass rods

This was just a quick 15 minute prototype I whipped up, and now i'm going to clean things up a bit more with a second version. The next version I'll try to find a slimmer backpack, and I will have the pipes tucked all the way into the backpack (totally unseen). I'm also going to make a new design for the adjustable strap.

So if you can't DIY this project, go out and find someone to DIY it for you! Of course, there's always the option of purchasing the Atlas Camera Support, but I do think a backpack makes for a better fashion statement. It's also comforting to know that my design has a "Fail-Safe looped 100lb Wire Cable" run through the rods adding both strength and redundancy. As always, thanks for checking out this project and hopefully it will help you on your projects while saving you a few bucks. If you have any questions leave a comment.


If you're working (or planning to work) with the BlackMagic Pocket Cinema Camera #BMPC you may quickly realize the LCD screen can be very difficult to work with outdoors. Other cameras may not be as bad, but can still use a little help blocking out ambient light.

One quick down and dirty way to block glare is to simply attach one of these inexpensive folding LCD Sunhoods. The design was originally used for flip out LCD screens on your Panasonic GH3, Canon 60D, T4i, C100, etc. The sunhood attaches via two simple straps stretch over your LCD (or BMPC camera body). It's not a perfect solution, but it's better than nothing. Starting at around $10 dollars, these sunhoods are available from 3"-4.5", and if you're specifically looking to use one with the BlackMagic Pocket Cinema, you will need the 3.5" size (found here).

BlackMagic Pocket Cinema BMPC Sunhood Shade LCD View Finder
find-price-button 3" / 3.5" / 4" / 4.5" LCD Sunhood

Your basic sunhood will assist with directional glare, but won't completely block out all incoming light. It also will not serve as a second point of contact for added stability - what LCD ViewFinders are popular for. There are literally dozens of great LCD Viewfinder products on the market, many that you've already seen through this blog so I won't go too much into detail here. If you have a specific camera in question, just leave me a comment.

Now while a few companies like Zacuto and Kamerar have announced LCD View Finder loupes that attach to the back of the BMPC, they are not available just yet.

Magview copy 2
Kamerar MagView LCD View Finder

Another option available now are EVFs (electronic view finders). The benefits to working with an EVF outside of blocking bright light, is that screen can be relocated to a more ergonomic position on a Shoulder Rig, or can articulate to offer better shooting angles when mounted on a Cage system for example. Depending on the EVF, many can also offer additional overlays such as Focus Peaking, False Color, Zebras, and other waveforms to help you with focusing and judging exposure.

Some of the more popular EVFs that range from $600.00-$1000.00 on the market are the Zacuto EVF, SmallHD DP4, and Cineroid EVF (available in different models).

Zacuto EVF
Zacuto EVF
Cineroid EVF
Cineroid EVF

If you're looking for uber budget, you've probably heard about the most affordable Seetec (a.k.a Feelworld) 3.5" HDMI EVF starting at just $250 (found here). Now before you decide to dive in to this unit, there's a few things you need to know. This lower end EVF CANNOT DISPLAY THE SIGNAL from a BlackMagic Pocket Cinema Camera #BMPC due to it's uncompressed 10bit 4:2:2 HDMI output.

The more affordable EVF systems are typically just HDMI, so this same information will apply to the larger BlackMagic Cinema Camera #BMCC. If you purchase an SDI to HDMI converter, you can use many of the more affordable HDMI EVFs, but not the Seetec version. In fact one person complained about how a cheap SDI to HDMI converter did not work with the BlackMagic Cinema Camera, but didn't realize it was really his monitor that didn't work. He didn't rule out the monitor because it worked with other cameras. In summary the SDI to HDMI converter was working properly, but the HDMI monitor they chose did not work with the feed.

Hopefully this bit of information will save you guys the pain of making a purchase only to find out it doesn't work. If you want an EVF for the BMPC, you'll need to at least look at the other high end displays. As far as a cheaper EVF for other cameras, YouTube member Shawn Barner provides a nice 26 minute detailed run through of this Seetec product.

For other mirror-less and DSLR cameras like the Canon, Nikon, Panasonic GH3, Sony, etc, the Seetec can really help if you're on a budget. Over the last year, several people have been using this EVF successfully. While not quite at the level of the more professional EVF systems, this EVF is still a great start for those who need a small lightweight portable screen to shade from the bright glaring sun, and to relocate a video feed to a more ergonomic placement on a shoulder rig. Available via eBay around $250 US (click here).

Affordable Cheap EVF LCD View Finder CheesycamEVF LCD View FinderLCD EVF View Finder HDMI
find-price-button 3.5" Seetec HDMI EVF Electronic View Finder


Double rainbow two BlackMagic Pocket Cinema cameras Cheesycam

Well if there are any questions about whether the BlackMagic Pocket Cinema Camera pre-orders are actually shipping, here's the order I placed on the first day they became available. I've also caught several Tweets of others who have already received their item as well. I was lucky to have spent some time with camera to be well prepared for these new shipments, so it will be easy for me to get started shooting as soon as I unbox these bad boys... Or maybe I should just give one of them away??

find-price-button BlackMagic Pocket Cinema Camera - via DVEStore.com

find-price-button BlackMagic Pocket Cinema Camera - via B&HPhotoVideo


blackmagic design pocket camera cinemadng

The new BlackMagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera was announced here at NAB2013. The Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera
sports a Super 16 size 1080HD sensor with 13 stops of dynamic range. They are saying that the images look virtually identical to the current BMCC EF mount cinema camera. Featuring a Micro Four Thirds™ lens active mount so you can use low cost lenses, but also Super 16 cine lenses via an adapter.

blackmagic cinema pocket cinema camera

A small and attractive design with built in stereo mic's, LANC, micro HDMI with overlays for monitoring, solid grip handle that holds a removable battery and built in recorder to SD cards. It records lossless CinemaDNG RAW and ProRes 422 (HQ). The BlackMagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera is available for pre-order and should ship in July 2013 (pre-order now here)

BlackMagic Pocket CinemaBlackMagic Pocket Cinema camera
find-price-button BlackMagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera


One good thing about the new Black Magic Cinema Camera is that it can support IS (Image Stabilization) in Canon EF mount lenses. One not-so-good thing is the smaller sensor that will need additional attention for wide angle video. With these two things considered, the first lens that came to mind is the Canon 17-55mm F/2.8 with IS. This lens receives excellent reviews (not for Full Frame cameras) but will run you almost $1200 dollars (as seen here).

Canon 17-55mm F/2.8 IS
find-price-button Canon 17-55mm F/2.8 IS Lens

After doing a bit more research, i've come across the Sigma 17-70mm F/2.8-F/4 with Optical Anti-Shake Technology (image stabilization). It's not quite as nice as the Canon 17-55mm because it can't maintain the F/2.8 aperture, but it does have a bit more reach and i'm typically stopping down the aperture to an F/4 anyways. The Sigma receives an almost full 5 Star rating with reviews, and is currently On Sale at just $299 for the next 15 days.

Anyone with a cropped sensor Canon DSLR such as a T3i, T4i, 60D, 7D, Black Magic Cinema camera, or even Sony FS100 / FS700 shooters may really want to take a look at this lens. Even if you just consider this a constant F/4 aperture, a 17-70mm Image Stabilized lens for $299 is not a bad deal. Check out the sale via B&H (click here).

Sigma 17-70mm F/2.8-F/4sigma 17-70mmsigma 17-70mm is
find-price-button Sigma 17-70mm F/2.8-F/4 OS HSM Lens


So while everyone is checking their mailboxes hoping their new Blackmagic Cinema Camera has shipped, at the end of the year the BMCC will release a new native MFT (micro four thirds) mount. There's so many options to mount various lenses to MFT cameras, this might end up being more popular than the first EF mount BMCC. So how many of you have already pre-ordered a BMCC?

Pricing will remain the same at $2995 and expected to ship end of December. Preorders already available over at B&H (Click Here).

find-price-button Black Magic Cinema Camera


BlackMagic Cinema Camera

Sorry for lack of posts, but we've been out gathering various product interviews here at NAB2012. Of course, one new product that has everyone speaking is the new BlackMagic Cinema Camera. It has the ability to capture 2.5K RAW to a an SSD drive or to ProRes and DNxHD at 1920 x 1080. Priced under $3K, that's cheaper than the 5D Mark III and throws in a lot more features, like being able to capture the video output or to be used with Live Switching. A high speed Thunderbolt port adds for computer capture. The BlackMagic Cinema camera has a sensor size very close to a micro four thirds sensor (not exactly), comes with an EF mount for Canon shooters, and will have electronic iris control. No funky adapters needed. Supposedly you can also just double tap the 5" touch screen to focus.

blackmagic_cinema-camerablackmagic cinema camera

The camera form factor reminds me of an Epson label printer, and doesn't look very comfortable to shoot with handheld. There's practically no grip handle like found in a DSLR, and instead you could buy an optional BlackMagic handle set. Your best bet is to build a 15mm/19mm Rail support. It does carry some very nice features, but doesn't have many external buttons or dials. Just watching them operate the touch screen to make adjustments to change ASA might be a little slow for people who need to dial in quick. I believe they will offer an external remote that could make some of this a faster workflow.

It was so crowded in this area, I had a hard time getting a few pictures in, but you can find all the sexy images and technical information at http://www.blackmagic-design.com/products/blackmagiccinemacamera/

Pre-Order via B&H (click here).

blackmagic_cinema-cameraScreen shot 2012-04-18 at 7.13.35 AM
find-price-button Black Magic Cinema Camera RAW or Prores Video