NAB 2013: Blackmagic and Moore’s Law

Fxguide is LIVE today from NAB in Las Vegas 10am to 4pm free and streaming (available as a replay after the event at same link) . With guest such as Director Stu Maschwitz, Ted Schilowtz (Red), interviews with Blackmagic Design, Autodesk and featuring live user user presentations on Nuke, Modo and more. Ask the team questions via twitter #fxgnab. Watch via here


In a business environment still in the long shadow of the GFC, the rush to ‘the second screen’, Hyper HD /4K mania and with structural change under way, especially in the film industry, NAB 2013 opened yesterday in Las Vegas. NAB caters to many people, from broadcast OB vans to audio mixers, from LED studio lights to drone camera chopper and from 3D software to creative tools. This show and its 95,000+ attendees cover a huge gamut.

The buzz especially in the South Hall and Central Halls of the show which cater to production and post-production was the power of Moore’s Law as represented by a tiny ‘point and film’ camera that perhaps was the biggest news. Last year Blackmagic Design stunned industry observers by launching the original Blackmagic Camera. This camera was as unexpected as it was innovative. Having only a smaller sensor and recording to SSD card, it was the first born son of a company who had previously sold neither cameras nor lenses. Like some new borns it’s birth was difficult, sensor delays at the chip manufacturer delayed its wide spread sale for some 5 months, a delay common for some companies, but very unusual for the strong engineering team of Blackmagic. But the camera has 13 stops of dynamic range and produced great pictures when it was finally shipped.

Run the clock forward just a year from that first announcement, and 6 months from the main shipping date and BMC has effectively released the same camera for a third the price and in a form factor not that much bigger than an iphone. The Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera is one of two new cameras that they announced. The other is a step up from the current camera to 4K, the Blackmagic Production Camera 4K.

The smaller camera is remarkable for the amazing pace of camera technology right now, and its implications for post-production.  This smaller pocket-sized camera outputs full 1080p video recorded 422 ProRes or RAW in the lossless CinemaDNG format. This means the camera is sub $1000 and filming full RAW HD 12 bit files to an SD card. Capturing ProRes footage at 220Mbps, it is estimated that it will be able to record 50 minutes of footage with a 64GB SDXC card. The smaller camera has a Super 16 imaging area, an active Micro Four Thirds lens mount, will ship in under 90 days  (July).


The  other 4K camera is expected to be under $4k, which is again remarkable both at face value and for what it means for affordable 4K production. The bigger camera looks like the current Blackmagic camera the new high resolution 4K recording is based on a new larger Super 35 size sensor with a global shutter, combined with a Canon EF mount  and again high quality ProRes 422 (HQ) or RAW for US$3,995.

This was just one of many Ultra HD (4K) workflows shown by Blackmagic Design. Many of the products have moved to supporting Ultra HD with new supporting infrastructure. Ultra HD 4K is four times the resolution of regular high definition video for a massive 3840 x 2160 frame size. To support this Blackmagic have embraced the new 6G-SDI standard and HDMI 4K video connections to handle Ultra HD 4K and allow customers to connect all cameras and recorders, switchers and playback devices using a single cable.

Blackmagic also showed DaVinci 10, which has been extended to now offer online editing and a range of new features. A good example of the online editing process would be taking a completed edit from an NLE (such as FCP),  that includes mixed frame rates, mixed media types, multiple audio tracks and even color corrections. DaVinci Resolve 10 will support import of that project via XML and will online it including full translation of all these elements while rendering the master from the original RAW camera files. This means that editors can use DaVinci Resolve 10 as the tool to online their work for final release and generate the Digital Cinema Package (DCP) file directly from the camera RAW files. It also includes a new title tool with static, lower third, scroll and crawl titles with multiple fonts, size, drop shadow and XY positioning. Amongst other new features is LIVE grading, with the full creative power of post, such as primaries, secondaries, power windows, custom curves and more. Grades can be stored and then relinked when the camera files when they are later loaded. Color correction features have been extended in  Resolve 10, to include support for industry standard OpenFX plug ins such as Sapphire. There is about 50 new features including better noise reduction and per channel grading via a new splitter node.

What makes this more than just a standard new version, which – let’s face it, most companies offer around NAB, is that Blackmagic will provide this free to all DaVinci Resolve users. Given the cameras come with Resolve free to start with, this is an incredibly aggressive continuation of a plan started when Blackmagic bought DaVinci and seems to have no let up in sight. Color Grading used to be owned by high end colorists. Now, for better or worse, one of the most expensive suites in a post house, is now fully available to just about anyone. Surely this must make life extreme difficult for the other grading companies, especially with Speed Grade now a part of Adobe and moving in exactly the same way, but even Adobe, the prince of wide adoption – charges something for new versions of CS software.


For more watch our live streaming coverage from NAB, including an interview with Blackmagic Design. Fxguide Live will feature user presentations, news, exclusive product first looks and a complete run down on

• The RED Dragon Sensor and new Red Rocket II

• Nuke and the Foundry products

• Camera accessories

• Autodesk Smoke

• Movi revolutionary camera platform

• and much more.

Sponsored by The Foundry. If you are in Vegas drop by the Foundry booth where the team are broadcasting and say Hi.




2 thoughts on “NAB 2013: Blackmagic and Moore’s Law”

  1. Thanks FX Guide for the great coverage of NAB. Black Magic…so cool. Want.

    Loved the live stream event. Was a smashing success and was like being there without leaving home. Great work to the whole team!

  2. Thanks Guys!
    a little nitpicking still: at the beginning of the article it says “This camera” [the bmcc] “was as unexpected as it was innovative. Having only a smaller sensor and recording to SD card, it was the first born son of a company”

    The Blackmagic Cinema Camera doesn’t record to SD cards, little mixup there.
    Big thanks again for the whole NAB coverage. this kind of dedication is why i support this site!

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