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blackmagic micro cinema camera rigged
Micro Cinema Camera Rigged for Hand Held Shooting

If you're not a fan of the new BlackMagic Design Micro Cinema Camera, this video is most likely going to bore you. So you may want to skip this post. But if you're currently shooting with the BMMCC (and as obsessed as I am), i'm pretty sure you'll find this post super helpful - especially the part where I share a little of my DIY Remote Handle setup.

First let's talk a little about 'Why this BlackMagic Design Micro Cinema Camera?'. Simply put, it's under $1K and offers RAW video up to 60p. And it's incredibly tiny! No other camera offers this, and I love the color science. But it's not an easy camera to operate handheld as there is no screen and the menu is deep for changing small settings.

Originally frustrated with the handling and controls of this camera - my combination of parts and custom button mapping has allowed me to just grab this camera and shoot. It's now a camera I can enjoy shooting with. There's obviously no right way to rig a camera, and this is just how i've assembled it for my personal taste. For those asking, the 15mm rod above my BMMCC is held in place with a Pico Plate (below).

kamerar pncgear pico plate 15mm
15mm Pico Plate - 10% OFF Use Coupon Code: Cheesycam

If you're looking to really run small, you can opt for using native Micro Four-Thirds lenses (instead of my Full Frame Rokinon Cinema lenses) or even the Veydra MFT Cinema Primes. You can also shrink your monitor down with something lighter, thinner, and smaller like the SmallHD 501. That would really make this BlackMagic Design Micro Cinema Camera a super portable system.

micro cinema camera size compared to panasonic dvx100a
Rigged BMMCC size compared to Panasonic DVX100a

There are some benefits to using the BlackMagic Design Video Assist as a monitor though. I can set the internal recording to RAW, but if I decide to shoot in a lower format like ProRes, I can do that from the BMVA (without having to change in camera). Or I can record simultaneously RAW (in camera) and ProRes LT (in BMVA) for some quick proxy files to share or have a backup.

By the way, the Video Assist monitor doesn't add any controls with it's touch screen. It simply works as a Monitor and an HDMI Recorder. You can't communicate with the BMMCC.

Obviously they wanted to use small batteries on this camera to minimize the weight for Drone use, but I'm very happy with my Sony to Canon LP-E6 mod. It's a great way to add extra run time without adding an external battery system like a V-Mount. And I would hate to have to use their breakout cable which is a mess, and then have to input a 12V source. With my mod, it feels like i'm just using a bigger Canon battery, and i'm still using 7V.

The battery mod also allows me to power both camera and one extra accessory at 7.4V using my SWIT battery. Instead of using the 12V input on the Video Assist monitor, i'm using a Canon LP-E6 dummy battery to use basic 7V. (I really did put a lot of thought into this setup).

Hopefully the video explained how i'm creating changes in the camera in a way you can understand. When you join the two wires together from the analog PWM input, it sends a signal to change a setting. This works on many of the options, but not everything. For some items (like iris, focus) you'll need true PWM. The other 'con' if you will is that you can't go backwards. Not really a big deal as it's still much easier than diving into the menu for every small change.

I really wish BlackMagic Design would expand these PWM options to include changing FrameRates and changing from RAW to ProRes. That would really complete this camera, and many companies can create simple remote handles to control almost every aspect. They allow the use of S.Bus which means you can expand even further from the 4 basic analog inputs and control up to 18 more settings through a single channel input.

In any case, i'll stop rambling and hopefully this post has been helpful to other BMMCC shooters. If you're thinking about picking one up, it would be great if you consider DVEStore.com as they were the ones who put this camera into my hands to study, spend countless hours on, and share this information with you guys.

blackmagic_design_cinecammichdmft_micro_cinema_camera_1428959948000_1137292
VIEW-ITEM BlackMagic Design Micro Cinema Camera RAW ProRes 60p

Oh and BTW, i'm far from done. I'm already designing an entire rig around this camera based on my setup, including a remote handle to operate some of the settings i've show in this video. A complete rig that will allow other BMMCC shooters to just add a camera + monitor and start shooting with similar ergonomics as a camcorder. So if this is something you're interested in seeing, simply like or share this post. It will let me know if it's something I should spend some time on.

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The Canon LP-E6 batteries were designed to fit inside of Canon DSLR cameras, so they don't really come in larger capacities. Sony batteries on the other hand come in a variety of capacities if you want extra run time. Well I wanted extra run time on the new BlackMagic Design Cinema Camera but didn't want to use the ugly and huge break out cables that is required for running external power.

Now I don't recommend this for people who don't really know what they're doing when it comes to batteries and soldering, but if you have the basic knowledge this little MOD can give you extra run time on your new BlackMagic Design Micro Cinema Camera. The dummy battery and Sony Battery Plate are very basic and once you open them up, they just have two wires inside (red + black).

Once you merge those two plates together, you have a working adapter that sends the 7.4V voltage from your Sony NPF-970 battery to a Canon mount. Now Sony batteries come in different capacities so I don't necessarily have to use the bulky one in the video, but it's a good idea how much power I can run if I really wanted to.

sony battery charger
VIEW-ITEM Sony Battery Charger

canon dummy battery lp-e6
VIEW-ITEM Canon LP-E6 Dummy Battery

Before I merged my two parts together, I added some heavy epoxy putty on the inside to make it more solid. I also plastic welded (melted the two parts together) along the sides. It's a pretty solid adapter and the wires are glued inside so they don't move. Now I like to experiment, but if you guys decide to try this out, just know you're doing this at your own risk...

blackmagic_design_cinecammichdmft_micro_cinema_camera_1428959948000_1137292
VIEW-ITEM BlackMagic Design Micro Cinema Camera RAW ProRes 60p

You may also check pricing for this product with:
Amazon | B&H Photo | Adorama | DVEStore | EBAY

 

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11 Comments

After a few years, I thought it was time to retire some of my old Sony NPF-970 batteries. You start to notice that they won't hold a charge as long, and taking them out in the field was always questionable. After shopping around, I stumbled on to the SWIT S-8972 Batteries. The only Sony NPF style battery I know with a built in meter! I can't tell you how something so simple could really make life a whole lot easier.

SWIT batteries for sony NPF-970 DC output meter 2

Ok, so the battery meter is huge in my book, but there's more to the SWIT S-8972. It also offers a DC output allowing you to simultaneously power another device. Do you even know how many video devices there are that could benefit from this? Maybe you've got a monitor that runs on Canon LP-E6, but now you can optionally power it with the SWIT. An LED light? Audio recorder? Or how about taking a Sony Dummy battery and using the SWIT as your power source to power your Sony A7sII A7RII (or compatible sony camera).

swit sony battery dc out battery meter

In any case, you could buy cheaper batteries and i'm sure they will last a good while. But for a few more bucks, I find the built in Battery Meter and 7.4V DC Output is worth the extra cost. You can find the SWIT S-8972 product page (here).

swit battery meter dc outswit battery for sony npf series l series meter dc out
Learn-More-sm SWIT S-8972 47Wh Sony Replacement Battery with Meter and DC Out

You may also check pricing for this product with:
Amazon | B&H Photo | Adorama | DVEStore | EBAY

 

 11 Comments