Blackmagic's drone-friendly Micro Cinema Camera ups the ante for aerial video

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Blackmagic Micro Cinema Camera - light enough to fly on a compact quadcopter, but with an unprecedented level of camera control

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Blackmagic Design has just announced yet another disruptive pro video product – the US$995 Micro Cinema Camera. Weighing just 10 ounces (300 grams), the BMCC is designed to be a GoPro killer action camera that puts an unprecedented level of control into a package small enough to be carried by a compact quadcopter. Here's a drone camera that will let you mount your choice of micro 4/3rds lenses, and control everything from focus to iris and even zoom from your remote control. Plus it will record everything in uncompressed CinemaDNG raw video for extreme editability in post production. The world of drone videography just got a lot richer.

Blackmagic has been a disruptive force in the pro video market since the launch of its first Cinema Camera back in 2012. Now, the Australian-based company is setting its sights on action and drone videography with the announcement of the Micro Cinema Camera (BMCC), set to hit the market in June.

Smaller than the Pocket Cinema Camera, the BMCC is clearly intended to be a GoPro killer for video and film professionals. It weighs in at just 10.65 ounces (301 grams), which is about 3 times the weight of a GoPro Hero 4, but it should scrape in just under the payload limit for a DJI Phantom 2 quadcopter.

It may not shoot 4K vision like the top-end GoPro cameras, but it can output uncompressed CinemaDNG raw video at 1080p, opening up superb post production capabilities, or it can downscale to the highly editable Apple ProRes formats to save space on your SD card. Dynamic range is an impressive 13 stops, meaning plenty of detail is preserved in the shadow and highlight areas of the picture that can be brought out in post.

Unlike its action camera competition, the BMCC has an active micro 4/3rds lens mount, so you've got access to a vast range of excellent glass, and even more if you use an adapter. And there's nothing on the market that's more expandable. S.Bus and PWM pins on the expansion port let you set up remote or wired camera controls for total flexibility so you can build a setup that allows you to control everything from exposure to focus and even zoom from a remote location. A stabilized drone camera with a remotely controlled zoom lens on it? Scary stuff.

It's very much a pro video tool. If you want to mount the BMCC on a drone, you'll have to bring your own lenses, stabilizing gimbal, wireless video transmitter, external monitor, and you'll have to work out how to get your camera control signals through to the camera itself through the expansion port. On the other hand, it runs on Canon LP-E6 batteries common to DSLRs, and it mounts to anything with a standard 1/4" camera thread, with mount points on the top and bottom of the camera.

Blackmagic is positioning the BMCC not only as a drone camera, but as a do-it-all action cam that can strap onto helmets, into cars and into hidden camera setups. Certainly the most exciting set of possibilities here is for stunning aerial footage though, with an unprecedented level of control in such a compact package – you won't need giant, heavy octocopters carrying massive cinema or DSLR cameras to capture pro-level aerial footage any more. And knowing how quickly Blackmagic tends to iterate, surely it won't be long until we see an upgraded version that handles 4K video and higher framerates. Very cool technology!

The BMCC will begin popping up in June, with a retail price of US$995.

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