Thread: ARTICLE: BMC - First Impressions

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  1. #1 ARTICLE: BMC - First Impressions 
    So, imagine standing at the closed doors of NAB, five minutes before they open on Monday morning. You've got a plan, booths to visit, people to talk to. And then you see a press release that takes you completely by surprise, from a company you never thought would pull off such a surprise.

    This is exactly what happened at NAB 2012, and when the doors opened, Blackmagic Design was the first booth I visited. I made a straight line to the new camera, and got as up close as I could. Here's the first look video we shot that morning…

    http://vimeo.com/40475985


    Later, we went back and had a nice chat with Dan May from Blackmagic…

    http://vimeo.com/40503354



    Now, there's a lot of pictures, video, and opinions about the camera and the specs. Time will tell the story of the footage, but from my hands-on time with the camera, there's a lot to be impressed with. The form factor, built around the LCD, is as compact as it reasonably can be. The screen looks good, crisp and clear. Placement of the connections and the SSD port feel logical.

    I can't add much to the discussion about the mount. Some will find it a curious choice, the EF mount. And as someone who's used every lens mount from Nikon to micro4/3, I would have liked something a bit more flexible. But I can completely understand why they went with EF…lenses. Specifically, lenses they could depend on to work with the mount they chose with few issues, while providing a huge variety of glass to choose from. In the future, I'd be surprised if BM didn't add additional lens mount options to the line-up, but for now, I think they made a smart choice both from a business and a creative standpoint.

    I'm hoping to get a camera in my hands at some point soon, both to run it through some paces and to actually shoot some real work on it. But in the meantime, I thought I'd share my thoughts from NAB 2012.
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  2. #2 Re: ARTICLE: BM Cam - First Impressions 
    Power

    This is something a lot of people have been gnashing their teeth over. Specifically, why the hell does the camera have an internal battery? In one word, I can tell you why I'm glad they did…

    Hot-Swappability

    Okay, maybe that's two words. But as someone who owns an Epic, and can hot-swap my Anton Bauer batteries while powering the camera via the side handle, it's a great time saver to have this option. Not only that, but there's always the possibility that I need to grab one or two quick, final shots, and my AB batteries are empty. Having an internal battery can be a savior.

    Now, when I saw this at NAB, my reaction was pretty similar to many. I wonder how long the battery will last before it needs replacing. I wonder just how much real-world run time the battery will delivery. I understand the battery will charge while my AB battery is connected, which is good news. Still, when it comes to power (and power management), there are many questions.
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  3. #3  
    Senior Member Peter J. DeCrescenzo's Avatar
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    The BMC's built-in uninterruptible power supply is one of my favorite features.

    It works the way I use my laptop's power: Most of the time my laptop sits on my desk with the power cord attached. I connect & disconnect the power cord even while the laptop is is use w/o giving it much thought. It just works.

    Years ago I used a small lightweight Anton-Bauer Titan 70 charger/power supply on my full-size shoulder mount camcorder. It mounted to the cam via the AB gold mount, and you could piggyback a AB battery onto the Titan 70. When shooting from a tripod (which was most of the time) I'd operate the cam off AC power connected to the Titan 70. But if the power cord got accidentally yanked & unplugged, or purposely unplugged in-between set-ups, or when going handheld run & gun mode, the Titan 70 switches instantly & seamlessly to battery power -- even during a take. It was a great way to work, and I miss it.*

    If the BMC works similarly, it's a great feature & one less thing to worry about. Cheers.

    *I still have the Titan 70 & AB batts, and will likely adapt them for use with the BMC, too.
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  4. #4  
    I like that it has an internal battery, specifically for as Peter mentioned.

    If someone is thinking that they're supposed to charge up the battery, then shoot on the camera 'til the battery's drained, and then charge it up again -- that's not how I would anticipate using it. I'd use it plugged into AC whenever possible, so that the battery is always "topped off". Then for a quick shot, handheld, whatever, unplug the AC and use it off the internal.

    If I'm not mistaken, the battery probably works to power the camera at all times, so that it's probably never directly powered by AC. So for sound purposes, you shouldn't have issues running off ground/mains power, because (again, this is speculation) the camera is likely never powered off mains/ground power. It's probably always driven off its internal battery source, and the ground power is never directly controlling it, instead the ground power is going to charge that internal battery.

    Hot swappability is a great notion.

    Seems like the only question is -- how would you handle an all-day handheld session? And for that, obviously external batteries will be necessary. I'm thinking a simple lead-acid battery belt will get the job done, you can get one for about $80 that should power the camera all day long (pending us learning what the actual power draw of the camera is, of course).
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  5. #5  
    Senior Member Peter J. DeCrescenzo's Avatar
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    As has been mentioned before, a low-cost solution would be batteries sold for hand-held electric tools (drills, etc.). This could be a relatively easy & inexpensive DIY project, and since the BMC operates off 12-30VDC should work fine I'd think. Plus this category of battery & chargers are available practically everywhere. Mounting this type of battery will be a project in itself, but you could put it in a small bag & hang it from the tripod, or put it in a fanny pack.

    Of course, I'm not recommending this as a slick, pro solution. ;-)
    Last edited by Peter J. DeCrescenzo; 04-23-2012 at 01:45 PM.
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  6. #6  
    Quote Originally Posted by Barry Green View Post
    I like that it has an internal battery, specifically for as Peter mentioned.

    If someone is thinking that they're supposed to charge up the battery, then shoot on the camera 'til the battery's drained, and then charge it up again -- that's not how I would anticipate using it. I'd use it plugged into AC whenever possible, so that the battery is always "topped off". Then for a quick shot, handheld, whatever, unplug the AC and use it off the internal.

    If I'm not mistaken, the battery probably works to power the camera at all times, so that it's probably never directly powered by AC. So for sound purposes, you shouldn't have issues running off ground/mains power, because (again, this is speculation) the camera is likely never powered off mains/ground power. It's probably always driven off its internal battery source, and the ground power is never directly controlling it, instead the ground power is going to charge that internal battery.

    Hot swappability is a great notion.

    Seems like the only question is -- how would you handle an all-day handheld session? And for that, obviously external batteries will be necessary. I'm thinking a simple lead-acid battery belt will get the job done, you can get one for about $80 that should power the camera all day long (pending us learning what the actual power draw of the camera is, of course).
    Agree 100%.

    My favorite way of running Red Epic is with a little V-mount battery on a belt clip. This seems to be like this - except the camera never loses power while you're changing batteries because of its onboard battery. Yay!

    Bruce Allen
    www.boacinema.com
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  7. #7  
    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Allen View Post
    Agree 100%.

    My favorite way of running Red Epic is with a little V-mount battery on a belt clip. This seems to be like this - except the camera never loses power while you're changing batteries because of its onboard battery. Yay!

    Bruce Allen
    www.boacinema.com
    Well, theoretically with a battery in the Epic side handle, you should be able to hot-swap your AB/V-Mount/Brick battery without powering down the camera.

    Theoretically. It works for some and not for others. But I'd love it if the BMC works this way, and it sounds like it does.
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  8. #8  
    Quote Originally Posted by Stephen Mick View Post
    Well, theoretically with a battery in the Epic side handle, you should be able to hot-swap your AB/V-Mount/Brick battery without powering down the camera.

    Theoretically. It works for some and not for others. But I'd love it if the BMC works this way, and it sounds like it does.
    Haha yes, should have mentioned that - I have had it both work and not work!

    I must admit I didn't think of the side handle because I had a 3D rig in mind. 2 Epics + 3D rig + FIZ + lenses = the very edge of weight / bulk. Side handle + RedVolts are small and light though so I shouldn't complain.

    Two Blackmagic cams sound like heaven in comparison though

    Bruce Allen
    www.boacinema.com
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  9. #9  
    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Allen View Post
    Haha yes, should have mentioned that - I have had it both work and not work!

    I must admit I didn't think of the side handle because I had a 3D rig in mind. 2 Epics + 3D rig + FIZ + lenses = the very edge of weight / bulk. Side handle + RedVolts are small and light though so I shouldn't complain.

    Two Blackmagic cams sound like heaven in comparison though

    Bruce Allen
    www.boacinema.com
    And a little bit cheaper.
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  10. #10  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stephen Mick View Post
    But I'd love it if the BMC works this way, and it sounds like it does.
    It does.

    Think of it like the way an Apple laptop battery works......

    jb
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