Blackmagic Cinema Camera Cineform RAW Software

This is my first trial for making a scripted GUI conversion tool for the Blackmagic Cinema Camera and converting the output to Cineform RAW. Why do this? Cineform RAW is very similar to Redcode in that the RAW files can be manipulated on the fly with Firstlight and it has very good performance with most NLEs.

On to the software. At this time it’s limited to CinemaDNG files only and is basically for testing purposes for once we get RAW files from the new Blackmagic camera. You can download sample CinemaDNG footage to test with here:

How to use: Download the software here New Version – Added framerate options, and filename is set by the time you make the file – so no way to overwrite previous files.
(Windows only)
1. Make a new directory containing DPX2CF.exe – This comes with Cineform Studio Premium and is a command line utility. It needs to be in the same directory as DNGtoCineform.exe

2. Start the program, follow the prompts. It is all very simple with no choices on frame size or frame rate at this time.
3. Do not use this program on any footage that you are not afraid to lose! Right now that would be Ikonoskop users. Also, this program will overwrite its output.avi file everytime without asking first. Another issue with the compiler is that you cannot save your output.avi file to the directory where this program exists.

Blackmagic Cinema Camera Preorder

Listed at $2995, I would expect the street price to be slightly lower when it comes times to ship. Markertek has it at $2845, so other sites will probably match closer to the release date.
Preorder Blackmagic Cinema Camera from B&H Photo Video


Here’s a DSLR / Cinema Sensor Size Comparison chart

Price Drop on Best GH2 High Bitrate Card! Now $159!

sandisk uhs-1 95mb 64gb

$159! Lowered from $189.95 at B&H Photo

This is the only card that can reliably span at high GOP1 bitrates and at the same time record for nearly an hour straight at those high bitrates. I’ve previously used the Sandisk 45mb cards with good success, but the 95mb cards are a whole new ballgame. I just hope you have a place to store all the footage.

Wishlist for Blackmagic Digital Cinema RAW camera


1. Make the mount extender detachable.


Right now the Canon EF/Nikon ZF mount sits past 40mm from the sensor. I know I went over this in my last post, but by reducing this distance to NEX or 4/3 20mm distance, a whole range of lens options open up. Lens options that work better with the 15.6mm wide sensor (2.1x 35mm FF crop)


2. Allow for line skipped higher framerate modes.


Cameras like the new FS700 change the sampling of the sensor to allow higher framerates. For instance, at 240fps you see a decrease in vertical resolution over the 120fps and slower modes. Certainly there may be limitations with the onboard cpu that might make this impossible, but if it is, people will gladly take a small resolution hit to get 60fps, or even 48fps like the Scarlet X at 3k. At the same time, it is also important, even without higher framerates, to have ramping options available  in camera from 1-30fps.

3. Timelapse mode.


It certainly hasn’t been mentioned yet as far as I can tell, but a RAW timelapse mode would be incredibly useful for this camera. Settings for variable slow speed frame rates as well as long duration shutter exposures would be equally useful.


4. RGB Histogram.


Monitoring the image/exposure should be done exactly as Red does it. They’ve perfected the RGB histogram and it is essential for RAW cinema applications. Shutter should also allow for settings in shutter angle as well as further synchroscan settings for shooting monitors and other equipment.…

Thoughts on the new 2.5k RAW Blackmagic Cinema Camera

Wow! What an announcement! This new camera is very close to the old Scarlet 3k for $3000 that was promised long ago. Instead this is a $3000 camera with a built-in $1000 RAW recorder, $1000 software, $750 Canon EF mount and a $250 camera?

Of course this has opened up more questions about how the camera operates, and the lens choices possible. The sensor itself is very interesting. 13 stops DR, if true, is much higher than competing DSLRs. Doing a little searching around, there was a sensor announced in 2009 – A sCMOS sensor with very high DR with an active pixel area of 16.64×14.04mm, exactly the same as this new blackmagic camera. Another camera with an sCMOS sensor is the pco.edge, an industrial camera, but maybe a good camera to look at the datasheet for to see lower resolution high speed options that are available with this sensor. I’m not saying this sensor is in the new blackmagic camera, but it looks very similar.


On to camera mounts: The ideal mount for this camera would be a 4/3 mount that is adaptable to PL, B4, OCT-18/19, EF, Nikon F, PK, OM, and I’m sure I’m forgetting a few. From the spec sheet and website it says that is supports both EF and ZF, but only pictures of EF lenses are shown on the camera. Hopefully this will be cleared up soon. With a 4/3 mount you could use the excellent lenses designed for this sensor size already from Panasonic, Olympus and Voightlander. For now, the Ideal zoom is the Tokina 11-16 – hopefully electronic in both Canon EF and Nikon G mounts.