Subscribe to Bright Ideas RSS

Welcome to the Seed&Spark Blog, a place where community members and industry leaders share lessons they have learned and hopes for where independent cinema can go. If you have an idea you'd like to share, email us at

Blackmagic Stirs the Cauldron

by Diamond Bros Tuesday, Sep 16, 2014


Blackmagic introduced the Cinema Camera about two years ago, followed by the MFT Cinema Camera, Pocket Camera, and most recently the 4K Studio Camera. Besides the imagery and great pieces people were pumping out on these disruptively priced cameras, one thing was apparent: There were features missing from the cameras operating system (firmware) that users were yelling about from the rooftops. Over the past two year, Blackmagic has been pretty good about regular camera firmware updates and stabilizing/adding UI updates but there weren’t many major changes. At NAB this year, they unveiled the URSA, an Arri Alexa sized camera offering many things including a swappable sensor/mount configuration, which is certainly intriguing. However, the biggest thing we heard people talking about was the UI for the URSA: it was streamlined, had that iOS7 flatter icon style (see below) and, more importantly, it seemed to contain most of the features everyone had been clamoring for in the previous camera models.


In July, Blackmagic issued the first of the major firmware updates that not only brought the URSA style UI to the rest of the line, but, more importantly, brought a Histogram, Audio Meters and Time remaining on the inserted SSD (see below).


All three certainly top anyone’s list. Between July and last week, Blackmagic brought all of the cameras (minus the URSA) to parity feature-wise and added some other more detailed features— more preset Shutter Angle options, more preset Color Temp options and the addition of HQ, 422 and LT Prores recording options across the line. This includes the 4K variants for the Studio Camera. Blackmagic then dropped what might have been the number 1 feature request since the first camera’s delivery:


Formatting SSD’s in camera, you have the option of HFS+ or exFAT. As of now, this feature has been released for just the 4K Studio camera (as seems to be the path for the recent updates), but based on the previous firmware releases, we can expect this to flow down to the rest of the cameras post haste. This is a very big deal, a move toward bringing this camera line alongside other cameras that a production may be divided over. The remaining feature requests would be in the same neighborhood: ability to browse clips on the SSD in-camera through a thumbnailed library system and possibly the ability to delete clips while in-camera. At IBC last week, Blackmagic introduced Stainless-Steel PL mount versions of the 4K Studio and 2.5K Cinema Camera’s. While there are options from Wooden Camera to enable a Swappable Mount System for the BMCC Line, the fact that Blackmagic added these versions to its line means that they’re listening.

Updated Specs

New GUI / Interface taken from URSA Design
Time Remaining on SSD
Audio Meters
Bottom Info Bar of Histogram/meters/time remaining Hides/Shows with with swipe up and down.
All other metadata moved to upper bar

4K Studio GUI
Can now format SSD’s in Camera, feature flowing down to rest of camera line soon.
New Icon page with Quicklaunch Icons

Cinema/Pocket Recording Options

ProRes: HQ / 422 / LT / Proxy

DNxHD: 175x (23.98) 220x (29.97)

2.5K RAW DNG (Cinema)
1080p RAW DNG (Pocket)

4K Studio Recording Options
ProRes: 4K HQ / 422 / LT / Proxy (Quad HD)
ProRes: 1080p HQ / 422 / LT / Proxy
SDI Monitors either 4K or HD when shooting 4K, but only monitors HD when shooting HD

White Balance 4K Studio/Cinema/Pocket

Shutter Angle 4K Studio/Cinema/Pocket

ISO Cinema/Pocket
200/400/800/1600 ISO 4K Studio 200/400/800

Shutter Angle 4K Studio/Cinema/Pocket

ISO Cinema/Pocket

ISO 4K Studio


Login or Register to leave a comment.

About the author

Diamond Bros
The Diamond Bros. began their career as Analog Assailants directing music videos on 16mm film back in an era when MTV still played music on television. Being equal artists and technological mercenaries, The Diamond Bros. tread the fine line of bleeding edge technology and storytelling, the main focus; always looking for a better way to tell the story. They began breaking ground Executive Producing features such as “Light and the Sufferer,” starring Paul Dano, which contained a fully CG character in an indie film before that even seemed feasible and the award winning “Exploding Girl” one of the early features shot on a RED Camera in 2008. The Diamond Bros. have forged the path directing and producing numerous award winning music videos, short films and documentaries as well as being the go to team for Digital Filmmaking knowledge from some of New York’s well known filmmakers. The Diamond Bros. have been tapped to direct and produce content for clients such as Sony Playstation, American Express, FILA, Nike, MTV, SpikeTV, VH1, including the recent viral hit “Share it Maybe” for Sesame Street (15,000,000 hits on YouTube) & providing cameras and technical support to DP Bradford Young on his film “Mother of George” which won Best Cinematography at Sundance 2013.

The Writer's Objective

by Hal Ackerman
Monday, Sep 8, 2014


Editor's note: The following is an excerpt from Write Screenplays That Sell - The Ackerman Way by Hal Ackerman. Hal has graciously shared it with us and we are honored to republish it!

The Elusive Filmmaking Entrepreneur

by Márcia Nunes
Wednesday, Sep 3, 2014


8 Tips to Take Away The Crowdfunding Night Terrors

by Tracy Soren
Thursday, Aug 28, 2014

Tracy Top again.jpg

My writing partner and I created two seasons of a web series without any formal film training. That’s scary. But one of the scariest things we had to do was create and run our crowdfunding campaign.

Tips and Tricks or Things Not to Do: Your Editor is Your Best Friend

by The Diamond Bros.
Monday, Aug 25, 2014

8:25 Diamond 2- nicholson_edits.jpg


In this series we’re going to discuss the finer points of some things you should try to avoid.

A client comes to you with a project or you’ve decided to start a new project of your own.

General pre-production knee-jerk first thoughts are:

What type of camera should we use?

What kind of lighting package do we need?

Quit Your Bitching and Get to Pitching

by Paul Osborne
Monday, Aug 18, 2014


From Crowdfunding to Community Building

by Christina Raia
Friday, Aug 15, 2014

Screen shot 2014-07-09 at 3.39.48 PM.png

Rubber-Necker Special: Diary of a Crowdfunder

by Anne Flournoy
Monday, Aug 11, 2014



The filmmakers who run Seed&Spark advise: “Have all videos and all your material set before you launch a crowdfunder.” Got it.  


Adieu, adieu, to you and you and you

by Amanda Trokan
Former Director of Content, Seed&Spark, now Film Programming & Acquisitions at HBO. HBO! Wednesday, Aug 6, 2014

Today is a tough day in the Seed&Spark office, as we bid farewell to our incredibly talented Director of Content Amanda Trokan, who was recognized and snapped up for one of the most prestigious programming jobs in the world: Film Programming & Acquisitions at HBO. HBO YOU GUYS. It's hard to be simultaneously so sad to lose a teammate and so excited for her new adventure. But we're nothing if not full of complexities and contradictions around here. Especially today.

Crowdfunding is a Scary Thing

by Jillian Corsie
Monday, Aug 4, 2014


An Introvert’s Guide to Crowdfunding

by Nathan Williams
Monday, Jul 28, 2014

7:28 Nathan Top pic (Resized).png

Thousands of fans. A team of tireless super-producers. An instantly viral concept. A robust network of friends with deep pockets. If you have any of these, congrats! Now save yourself the time and stop reading.