Blackmagic Nonsense. Good product but terrible sales pitch.

I’m sure this post will get some flack, but I really do think that Blackmagics marketing of the BMD Cinema Camera is pushing the boundaries of whats fair and reasonable. This isn’t a criticism of the camera itself, which for the money is a great deal and I’m curious to see how it really performs in the wild. This is a criticism of some of the over inflated statements that BMD are making about it.
In a recent magazine article it’s quoted that according to Blackkmagic “the Cinema Camera has been designed to eliminate the problems of….. …. limited contrast range, a maximum of an HD sensor, poor quality optics and lenses and poor integration with NLE software… …. with these limitations they cannot (the competition) be used for high end work or feature films”
Come on BMD, who are you trying to fool, do you think your potential customers are really stupid enough to fall for that statement? For a start 13 stops of dynamic range can be achieved with many current cameras. The BMD camera is no more than HD itself, the sensor is bayer, so even though it has 2.43K pixels (it doesn’t even have the headline 2.5K), the resolution is still only more or less HD. It has a Canon mount so will often be using exactly the same lenses as much of the competition and every NLE worth having these days works perfectly well with all the common codecs like AVCHD, XDCAM or AVC-Intra. Try using ProRes (as used by the BMD along with DNxHD and DNG) on a PC, it gets truncated to 8 bits and there is no way to render back to ProRes. By their own account the BMD camera is no more suitable for high end work than most of the competition. In the past I’ve come across senior BMD sales reps that have tried to sell me the camera because “it’s 2.5K which is so much better than HD”. When I’ve challenged this all I’ve got is.. “umm, I don’t know the answer to that, I need to discuss it with the factory”. Come on Blackmagic. Don’t treat us like fools, many of us do actually understand all this stuff. You have a good product at a great price, don’t use ridiculous over inflated statements that don’t hold water, it makes you sound like dodgy used car salesmen. Sell it for what it is, a very low cost HD camera that can shoot raw with interchangable lenses.

6 thoughts on “Blackmagic Nonsense. Good product but terrible sales pitch.”

  1. Do you feel the images look a little “video-ish”? To be really honest I couldn’t tell the difference in DR when comparing it to an FS100 or even a 5D.

    It has resolution though.

  2. The BMD Cinema Camera marketing is inaccurate in some areas but I suspect there are other brands guilty of the same. The BMD camera no doubt has some design shortcomings but there is no argument that it costs less than a quater of the price of a Sony F3 which records 8 bit 420 without added expense and hassle of an external recorder.
    BMD camera – 12 bit RAW and 10 bit DNxHD & Prores options plus a full version of Resolve included for $3000. I’m aware there are many aspects to good camera design and recording codecs are only a part of this, but some of the more recent BMD camera footage posted by John Brawley looks very good in terms of resolution, colour and DR as far as I can tell. It will be interesting to see how it goes when more people start shooting with it. I doubt many professionals who already own an F3 or C300 etc would sell and replace with a BMD camera, rather they’d buy one to add to their gear because it’s inexpensive and will be great for some projects.

    1. As I said, I do not question the BMD cameras capabilities and agree that the price is incredible. But some of the claims being made are misleading. Yes, most manufacturers make claims about a cameras performance, but most don’t make misleading claims. Some of BMD’s claims are misleading and are taking advantage of the fact that many people don’t understand how sensors work. The sensor doesn’t even have 2.5K of pixels, it actually only has 2.43K’s worth of H pixels. The constant claim that the BMD Cinema camera is a 2.5K camera which somehow makes it higher resolution than an HD camera as a result is utter nonsense. If Sony for example used the same logic then they could claim that the 2.4K PMW-F3 or FS100 are also better than HD cameras, but we all know that is not the case. The BMD camera has no more resolution than most other HD cameras. ProRes and DNxHD are good codecs but they can have as many compatibility issues as any other of the commonly used camera codecs.

  3. Alister, you should tweet this! There is an important dialogue that needs to happen and it isn’t happening here. There is so much speculation about this camera and up till now it’s all been hopeful optimism. I’m glad to finally hear another side of it. I want to hear what BMD has to say.

    1. It depends on the type of production and look that you are looking for as well as your workflow and budget. There is no simple answer to this question and a camera that works great for one production may not work so well on another. All the cameras you have listed have strengths and weaknesses.

      The EX3 is a good all round news and documentary video camera. The FS100 is a good camera for getting a filmic look with a simple workflow and lower budget. The 5D is great for discreet film style shooting or very low budget productions, the BMD is an interesting option for filmic shoots provided you understand the crop factor and are happy with the extra work introduced by raw.

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