By technical editor Matt Allard:
ARRI have just announced a new rig solution for the Blackmagic Cinema Camera from their Pro Camera Accessories line. The company claim their ‘Ready to shoot’ camera kits are made with the highest quality engineering in mind and designed for a wide range of different shooting environments.
There are several configurations available and prices start at $1200. All the Blackmagic Cinema Camera kits include ARRI’s Mini Base Plate MBP-3 and Camera Cage System, offering a ‘non obstructive’ solution for the mounting of accessories through industry standard 3/8-16″ and 1/4-20″ interfaces, as well as a Universal Cable Safe System CCS-1, which protects internal electronics against accidental stress when using HDMI, USB or audio cables
The basic configuration adds an aluminum left side Support Arm CSL-1, providing solid support for handles and accessories, while still allowing for the use of handgrip and controls. The top of the line professional configuration comes with a Hot Shoe Bracket CHS-1 to prevent camera body flex.
A lot of people having been calling theCinema Camera a “Baby Alexa”, so it is quite interesting that have made a rigging solution for this camera. Whether has done this as a sign of mutual respect between the two companies, or whether it is just a business decision is open to speculation. As Arri will probably never offer us a camera at the Blackmagic’s price is it fair to call it a “Baby Alexa”?
There is no doubt they do share some similar (although not the same) traits. Both offer the ability to record either RAW or directly to ProRes and they both offer a simple to use interface. Now while the RAW and ProRes solutions are different they are the only two cameras to my knowledge that currently offer both of these options. Does this mean that the cameras can be compared as equals? There are many technical and practical reasons that differentiate the two cameras, that’s why they really shouldn’t be compared too closely in the same discussion. In saying that though, the BMCC has proved that the quality gap between the high end cameras and those that are now affordable to the entry level user keeps getting smaller and smaller. That extra level of performance is what costs you a lot more. This is true with countless other everyday items, whether it be a car, a home stereo or a watch there will always be a market and/or a need for higher end products. Take a car for example. You can buy a car that does 0-60mph in 8 seconds and it may cost you $30,000. If you want to buy a car that does 0-60mph in 4 seconds it may cost $150,000. My point is once you reach a certain level of performance the price is not always proportional to the amount of gain you receive.
Both the Arri Alexa and the BMCC are great products but they are designed from the outset for different users. Cameras shouldn’t be judged or specs or price, but on whether or not is it the right camera for the job. Yes this is an old cliche now but it still rings true.
The addition of the ARRI accessories for this camera does give it more street cred. I am sureis absolutely flattered that it is even being mentioned in the same sentence as Arri. Blackmagic’s CEO Grant Petty had this to say: “Seeing the addition of ARRI accessories for our Blackmagic Cinema Camera is incredibly exciting”. Stephan Schenk of Arri enthuses: “The idea behind our Pro Camera Accessories range is to make film-style functionality available to users of all professional cameras that are real players in the market, which the new Blackmagic camera clearly is. Both Blackmagic and ARRI have responded quickly to customer demand, working together to create an accessory kit that improves the interface between camera and operator.”
Now while Arri makes supports for plenty of other cameras I can’t remember a case where both companies went out of their way to make their mutual admiration clear.
Does this make thecinema camera a “Baby Alexa”? I leave that for you to decide.
About Matthew Allard, Aljazeera Senior Field Cameraman, Kuala Lumpur:
Matt has been a Camera/Editor in TV news for more 20 years, previously working for both Channel 9 and Channel 10 in Australia. Twice Network Ten Australia’s cameraman of the year as well as being a Walkley Finalist for outstanding camerawork in 2006 (for coverage of the Cronulla Race Riots) and a Logie Finalist for outstanding news coverage 2006 (Bali 9). He is a multiple ACS (Australian Cinematographers Society) award winner. His Sword Maker story that was shot on a won the prestigious Neil Davis International News Golden Tripod at the 2011 ACS Awards. He has covered news events in more than 35 countries, from major sporting events to terrorist bombings. Based out of the Kuala Lumpur broadcast centre in Malaysia he is an avid user and follower of new technology, shooting stories on HD broadcast cameras, the as well as new Canon DSLRs.