Blackmagic Design recently announced that its Pocket Cinema Camera now supports digital RAW video. Previously, the camera only supported the more compressed, lower quality ProRes422 format. The changes will allow for much greater dynamic range and expand the Pocket Cinema Camera's use cases.
When the Pocket Cinema Camera was unveiled several months ago, it impressed media professionals with its low price tag and high capabilities. It was priced at under $1000 and had 1080p capabilities, and as technology writer and executive Clinton Stark explained, it opened up new possibilities in areas such as filmmaking.
"By offering high-end cameras for not-so-high-end prices the Blackmagic Design has rewritten the rules for budget filmmaking," explained Stark. "Their two new cameras – the Blackmagic Cinema Camera and the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera – are such hot stuff that you would be hard pressed to get any enthusiast to stop talking about the possibilities."
However, Blackmagic Design warned would-be buyers of the Pocket Cinema Camera that the device might ship without RAW support. Initially, it did work only with ProRes422, which is still high-quality but less desirable than RAW.
Fortunately, a firmware update has rectified this shortcoming. Engadget contributing editor Steve Dent stated that the Pocket Cinema Camera now supports RAW CinemaDNG video recording. With the new format, all frames are losslessly compressed like an archive file. Accordingly, videographers can capture 1080p video from the camera's Super 16mm sensor. With superior dynamic range, they will also benefit from improved flexibility when performing color correction.
The welcome change boosts the Pocket Cinema Camera's usefulness in many different contexts and makes it a direct competitor to traditional portable pocket size cameras such as the GoPro. Writing for Real Screen, Carl Mrozek asserted that the camera's small profile and strong capabilities made it a great fit for shooting video from "jibs, cranes, dollies and drones" and for working with special effects.