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New firmware update for BMCC 2.5K coming or not?


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#1 Vadim Joy

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Posted 12 February 2014 - 03:06 PM

It feels like Blackmagic Design keeps ignoring all the requests made but its customers about new features this camera REALLY needs. I'm not talking about complicated stuff, but simple one and the most important for me of them all, audio. I can live without audio meters, but audio quality really sucks regardless of camera's potential.  

I have the feeling that firmware update 1.5 was the last for this camera. 


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#2 Peter J DeCrescenzo

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Posted 12 February 2014 - 07:38 PM

As recently as a few days ago BMD CEO Grant Petty reaffirmed his company's commitment to releasing firmware updates for all their cameras. Doesn't mean it's guaranteed to happen, but BMD tends to eventually make good on (most of) their promises. Only you can decide for yourself how long you're willing to hold your breath, or find creative alternative solutions. YMMV.

 

See:

http://forum.blackma...php?f=2&t=18726

 

"… We have some other software updates due soon for the other cameras, so we are continuing to work hard and I will post some updates as we can. …"


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#3 Chris Lambert

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Posted 17 March 2014 - 06:19 AM

Does anyone have any idea of how much the components of the BMCC are capable of? I hope we may one day see the compressed raw, new pro res scaling, audio improvements, delete clips options, but how much of this is feasible with the hardware and is it all possible at once.

 

Personally I would kill for a histogram, false colour, waveform or anything other than zebra too help me know what my exposure is without having too connect to something via thunderbolt.

 

Off the shelf Thunderbolt to HDMI adapters working would also be a close second on the list.


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#4 Vadim Joy

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Posted 17 March 2014 - 06:43 AM

Does anyone have any idea of how much the components of the BMCC are capable of? I hope we may one day see the compressed raw, new pro res scaling, audio improvements, delete clips options, but how much of this is feasible with the hardware and is it all possible at once.

 

Personally I would kill for a histogram, false colour, waveform or anything other than zebra too help me know what my exposure is without having too connect to something via thunderbolt.

 

Off the shelf Thunderbolt to HDMI adapters working would also be a close second on the list.

Why would you need more exposure options? You already have good zebra. Use a light meter if you're not sure. It's not Magic Lantern, it's cinema camera. 


Edited by Vadim Joy, 17 March 2014 - 06:45 AM.

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#5 Vadim Joy

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Posted 17 March 2014 - 06:44 AM

I think the only thing that is missing is audio quality. You can live without meters, buy a mixer, or use your field recorder's audio meters. 


Edited by Vadim Joy, 17 March 2014 - 06:44 AM.

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#6 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 17 March 2014 - 07:12 AM

Waveform monitoring is genuinely quite hard work computationally, but it can probably be done at a lower frame rate, or something, which would be worthwhile.

 

Otherwise I'm deeply unimpressed with BMD's attitude to firmware. The Hyperdeck Shuttle was more or less abandoned after release and the omission of basic audio metering, disk space and clip deletion options on the cameras is crippling.

 

If they're going to be that slack about it I think they should just open source the firmware and let people have at it. Magic Lantern and the GH series hacks make it clear this approach could work.

 

P


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#7 Vadim Joy

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Posted 17 March 2014 - 07:52 AM

Blackmagic Design will never make it open source. What if Magic Lantern or GH team will unlock 4K or even higher on 2.5K model? Bad for business. 


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#8 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 17 March 2014 - 07:54 AM

Well, they can't really do that - the hardware does what it does.

 

I think it could do the company good. They're slowly building a reputation for putting out reasonable, affordable hardware but with slightly iffy code, and that's not going to help them long term. At least, it won't if there's any justice.

 

P


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#9 Vadim Joy

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Posted 17 March 2014 - 08:00 AM

Well, they can't really do that - the hardware does what it does.

 

Oh, really? Are you saying there is no way to record uncompressed RAW 2K video on Canon 5D? :)


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#10 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 17 March 2014 - 08:33 AM

He's saying the 2.5K Camera can't record more than 2.5K since it doesn't have a larger sensor-- it's not as though the 2.5 down samples from a a 26 megapixel sensor like some DSLR


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#11 Vadim Joy

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Posted 17 March 2014 - 08:39 AM

He's saying the 2.5K Camera can't record more than 2.5K since it doesn't have a larger sensor-- it's not as though the 2.5 down samples from a a 26 megapixel sensor like some DSLR

BMCC 2.K model uses center crop of the sensor to record images, not all sensor. 


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#12 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 17 March 2014 - 08:42 AM

It still isn't a 4K sensor though. If anything you may be able to get a 4x3 mode for anamorphics, but you certainly aren't going to magically makeup more resolution.


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#13 Vadim Joy

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Posted 17 March 2014 - 09:07 AM

Who knows. I'll leave it for ML and GH team.


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#14 Freya Black

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Posted 17 March 2014 - 10:06 AM

I also have often thought it would be good for Blackmagic to go opensource on some of their poducts.

I don't actually think they are trying to restrict what the hardware can do, it's just that they don't have the resources to develop the software to the extent they should.

 

Stuff like remaining disk space could easily be implemented but it would appear that they just don't have the resources to do it.

 

Freya


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#15 Vadim Joy

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Posted 17 March 2014 - 10:26 AM

Good point.
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#16 Sean Cunningham

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Posted 17 March 2014 - 03:10 PM

Who knows. I'll leave it for ML and GH team.

 

There is no GH "team" it's one guy and that development isn't in the same league as what the ML team is doing, unfortunately (I say this as a GH2 shooter).  He's decrypted the firmware to be able to tweak the compression and matrix settings but VK will never be able to add features to the GH series with what he's done.  Unfortunately the success of what he has done is or has likely held other parties back from covering the same ground and trying to unlock more functions.  

 

It's also worth noting that Panasonic has never been helpful in this respect, unlike Canon and the access the ML team has.  However much you may think BMD doesn't care is apparently nothing compared to how little Panasonic cares about what what people are actually doing with or would like to do with their cameras.  Perhaps if the GH4 sells gangbusters there will be more than just one fellow interested in cracking it open but as it sits not even the GH3 or G6 have been opened up the same way the GH1 and GH2 have.

 

A function that could very likely be free'd up with a BMCC crack would be higher framerates, based on the chip that's been identified as the likely culprit inside the camera.  It makes you wonder why 30P is tops with the shipping cameras but perhaps its an issue with reliable media ratings.


Edited by Sean Cunningham, 17 March 2014 - 03:13 PM.

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#17 Tim Tyler

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Posted 11 April 2014 - 04:05 PM

Update from Kristian Lam @ BMD:

I know there are some concerns that we are no longer supporting the Blackmagic Cinema Camera or Pocket Cinema Camera. I just want to assure you that this is not the case.

Let me give you some background information about the development and why it is taking longer than expected.

The Blackmagic Cinema Camera was our very first foray into cameras and since then, we have shipped 3 more cameras, the Pocket Cinema Camera, Production 4K and the Studio Camera.

The original 2.5K camera had fundamental architectural differences in firmware compared to the other cameras which doubled the effort when trying to do any bug fixes or add new features to the cameras. As such, we knew we had to re-architect the firmware so as to bring it up to speed with the current cameras. This is not simple and taking longer than we thought. However, we are close now, close enough that beta versions have been seeded to some users for the past few months.

We should be able to see an update, as I'd mentioned in my post, to the 2.5K camera and Pocket Cinema Camera soon with the features below:

1. New debayering for shooting directly to ProRes or DNxHD on the Blackmagic Cinema Camera EF and MFT

2. Improved MFT lens support on the Pocket Cinema Camera

3. Compressed RAW support on the Production Camera 4K

4. Autofocus support for EF lenses on Blackmagic Cinema Camera EF and Production Camera 4K

What is also in this release are also certain hooks that are required for audio level metering and histogram display. It won't be visible as yet but will allow us to quickly followup with an update to add these 2 tools we know you guys are asking for.

Let me also answer some other questions I've been asked below:

Formatting of media

Yes, we want to do this. A large part of the work has been completed so I don't believe this will be a big effort to implement. However, it is very unlikely that we will support deleting of clips directly in camera due to the risk of media fragmentation.

Time Remaining indicator

Yes, this is going to happen. It's probably in the next update or an update after.

Black Sun effect

This is a fundamental characteristic of CMOS sensors. Some sensors have additional circuitry to try and overcome this and this was available in the Pocket Cinema Camera. Unfortunately, it is not in the 2.5K sensor. Also, black sun correct circuitry is also not an on/off switch and with some sensors, it may result in other unwanted artefacts so we have to be really careful about it. Another method of overcoming the black sun effect is via image processing after the image has been acquired and passed on from the sensor. This is basically running an algorithm to try and detect what looks like the black sun and just clipping the black areas. Again, this could result in false positives and if you have a pattern in the image that is similar to the black sun, it could mistakenly be "corrected" as well. As you can see, this is a tricky situation. We are not ignoring it, but working to see what is the best way to address this.
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#18 Vadim Joy

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Posted 11 April 2014 - 04:39 PM

Update from Kristian Lam @ BMD:

I know there are some concerns that we are no longer supporting the Blackmagic Cinema Camera or Pocket Cinema Camera. I just want to assure you that this is not the case.

Let me give you some background information about the development and why it is taking longer than expected.

The Blackmagic Cinema Camera was our very first foray into cameras and since then, we have shipped 3 more cameras, the Pocket Cinema Camera, Production 4K and the Studio Camera.

The original 2.5K camera had fundamental architectural differences in firmware compared to the other cameras which doubled the effort when trying to do any bug fixes or add new features to the cameras. As such, we knew we had to re-architect the firmware so as to bring it up to speed with the current cameras. This is not simple and taking longer than we thought. However, we are close now, close enough that beta versions have been seeded to some users for the past few months.

We should be able to see an update, as I'd mentioned in my post, to the 2.5K camera and Pocket Cinema Camera soon with the features below:

1. New debayering for shooting directly to ProRes or DNxHD on the Blackmagic Cinema Camera EF and MFT

2. Improved MFT lens support on the Pocket Cinema Camera

3. Compressed RAW support on the Production Camera 4K

4. Autofocus support for EF lenses on Blackmagic Cinema Camera EF and Production Camera 4K

What is also in this release are also certain hooks that are required for audio level metering and histogram display. It won't be visible as yet but will allow us to quickly followup with an update to add these 2 tools we know you guys are asking for.

Let me also answer some other questions I've been asked below:

Formatting of media

Yes, we want to do this. A large part of the work has been completed so I don't believe this will be a big effort to implement. However, it is very unlikely that we will support deleting of clips directly in camera due to the risk of media fragmentation.

Time Remaining indicator

Yes, this is going to happen. It's probably in the next update or an update after.

Black Sun effect

This is a fundamental characteristic of CMOS sensors. Some sensors have additional circuitry to try and overcome this and this was available in the Pocket Cinema Camera. Unfortunately, it is not in the 2.5K sensor. Also, black sun correct circuitry is also not an on/off switch and with some sensors, it may result in other unwanted artefacts so we have to be really careful about it. Another method of overcoming the black sun effect is via image processing after the image has been acquired and passed on from the sensor. This is basically running an algorithm to try and detect what looks like the black sun and just clipping the black areas. Again, this could result in false positives and if you have a pattern in the image that is similar to the black sun, it could mistakenly be "corrected" as well. As you can see, this is a tricky situation. We are not ignoring it, but working to see what is the best way to address this.

Sounds promising. The question is when? Updates might be released tomorrow, or in 10 years.


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#19 Vadim Joy

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Posted 11 April 2014 - 04:45 PM

Why they would add compressed raw recording to their 4k camera and pocket camera and ignore 2.5k version? 

 

One more thing about audio, I'm sure that 100% of people who are asking for audio meters come from dslr filmmaking. Why would you need a meters when you have an audio person to record high quality audio instead? Stop being cheap f**ks. You're in a film business for cripes sake. You want a good movie? Spend some money! This is not one man's job. Have you ever seen comfortable family car that can race up to 300 mph? Just my opinion


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#20 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 11 April 2014 - 05:58 PM

One more thing about audio, I'm sure that 100% of people who are asking for audio meters come from dslr filmmaking. Why would you need a meters when you have an audio person to record high quality audio instead? Stop being cheap f**ks. You're in a film business for cripes sake. You want a good movie? Spend some money! This is not one man's job. Have you ever seen comfortable family car that can race up to 300 mph? Just my opinion


This is assuming you have a crew. I do documentary work, I have zero crew. I show up with two cameras, put one on sticks and hand-hold the other. I run a shotgun attached to my camera on sticks and a wireless kit attached to my hand held camera. Audio meters would allow me to make sure what I'm getting isn't distorting because very rarely am I in a quiet enough environment to hear distortion through headphones.

Yes, it would be great to do sync sound, buy a portable recorder, record with a slate to sync and make it all "professional", but thats not in the cards. I turn around projects in hours, not days, not weeks. The Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera has a lot of flaws, but it also is the smallest, lightest, most innocuous camera one can own. People think its a still camera and as a result, I can shoot things, go places where "video" cameras aren't allowed.

Sure, for making a feature narrative film, you'll probably have a crew. Unfortunately there are a lot of us who aren't capable of making that type of complex product every day of the week. ;)
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