Leading the Way In 2021


The moment many of us had hoped for is finally here. With the restart of productions, new cameras and important upgrades seem to be popping up all over the place. Yes, the production landscape continues to be changing and I don’t think we are done yet.  In part one, we will explore four cameras that have captured quite a bit of interest over the last couple of months. Part two will cover some of the incredible gear that is emerging in 2021 . Check it out! 

ARRI Amira Live

ARRI has a new version of its AMIRA camera: the AMIRA Live. Designed specifically for multi-camera live broadcasts, it eliminates external cabling between the camera body and the fiber adapter, configuration for live productions. Along with a new software update and the VMM-1 onboard monitor, AMIRA Live offers a combination of system camera efficiencies and cinematic images.  

Like other Super 35 format cinema cameras adapted for multi-camera broadcasting, AMIRA previously required several external cables connecting the camera to the fiber backend for SMPTE 311M signal transmission. Now, with a cable-less design, AMIRA Live has more in common with the system cameras typically used for multi-camera broadcasts. AMIRA Live uses ARRI’s  ALEV III Super 35 sensor—the same sensor design as used in all ALEXA cameras. This sensor and ARRI’s sophisticated color science allow AMIRA Live users to broadcast live images on a par with high-end movies, TV series, and OTT productions. 

Sony FX3

I love smart camera designs that fit well within a company’s vision of what a new camera can do. Designed to match into Sony’s existing color science scheme (read VENICE, FX9 FX6), the FX-3 is poised to fit in as one of those “B” cameras that might just end up being an “A” camera option on more shoots than you think. The Sony FX3 borrows from both the Cinema Line and Alpha series of cameras to create an optimized portable cinema camera. The FX3 features the imaging attributes from this class but has a newly designed body that has a smaller profile, designed to have the ability to secure accessories directly to the camera body.

The Sony FX3 has the 12.1MP Exmor R BSI CMOS sensor (10.2MP effective in video mode) pairs with a BIONZ XR processor to achieve UHD 4K video capture with internal 10-bit 4:2:2 sampling or 16-bit raw output. S-Cinetone mode can be used for matching to VENICE, FX9, or FX6 sources and there is also S-Log3/2 gamut support and 10-bit HLG for simple HDR productions. The FX3 also has an articulating 3.0″ touchscreen LCD, a removable shoe-mounted top handle with dual XLR mic inputs, and 5-axis mechanical image stabilization for smoother handheld recording. 

Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 6K Pro

I love these guys and here is the simple reason why. Blackmagic Design never stops improving what they bring to market. Cameras, switchers, editing software, they just never stop. Think of that old Stephen King movie “The Langoliers”. One of my older favorites.

Like the movie, Blackmagic Design just keeps coming. But for now I want to bring your attention to one of the latest new upgrades some would say that has gotten a lot of attention. With the Pocket Cinema Camera 6K, Blackmagic Design launches a more full-featured, compact Super35 camera to their cine-style line with the Pocket Cinema Camera 6K Pro. The 6K Pro features all the recording features, sensor, dynamic range, buttons, and ports as its predecessor, and adds a variety of important new features such as a 5″ tilting HDR capacitive touchscreen LCD with 1500 cd/m² brightness, a Pro EVF option, built-in clear/2/4/6-stop ND filters, dual mini-XLR inputs, an accurate timecode clock, an NP-F570 L-series battery slot, and updated Gen 5 color science. 

I really like that Blackmagic Design kept the same mindset with the physical layout, making it easier to make the jump to 6K. It also retains the active Canon EF mount, letting users take advantage of EF/EF-S mount lenses available. The EF mount supports iris, autofocus, and zoom functions using electronic communication when using compatible lenses. 

The 6K Pro can turn one frame into two by cropping a second shot from one frame, upscaling to 8K, or simply capturing rich, detailed footage with a EF/EF-S-mount lens. The updated Gen 5 internal color processing makes it possible to intercut 6K Pro, 6K, and BMPCC 4K footage. 

As mentioned, the compact 6K Pro retains the familiar controls and menu layout of the 6K model, such as ISO support up to 25,600, 13 stops of dynamic range, and 1920 x 1080 HDR monitor output. I am so happy that professional audio support now includes two mini XLR inputs with phantom +48V power, (love my XLRs) a 3.5mm stereo input, and a built-in stereo mic system.

Canon C70

Ok, so I know some of you will squawk that the Canon C70 is not a “new” camera as in two weeks old but where do you make the cut off line? With all of the delays and all that I think that the C70 got caught in the space time continuum(some of you will get that reference) and still deserves it’s day in the sun. Check it out. Incorporating Cinema EOS video tools in a mirrorless- style body, the Canon EOS C70 Cinema Camera has  a Super35 DGO (Dual Gain Output) sensor for capturing nuanced images with up to 16+ stops of high dynamic range. Video resolutions include DCI 4K capture at rates ranging from 23.98 to 60 fps, plus high-speed options up to 120 fps in UHD 4K and 180 fps in cropped 2K.

The C70 Cinema Camera fits into the Canon workflow as a B camera, as an upgrade for C200 or C100 users, or as an alternative for EOS R owners who are shooting an increasing amount of video. Its touchscreen LCD panel speeds your workflow by enabling you to turn functions on and off directly from the touchscreen. To provide greater flexibility in lens choices, the EOS C70 camera is also compatible with the separately available EF-EOS R 0.71X EF to RF lens mount adapter. This adapter converts full-frame lenses to Super35 format while also providing an aperture speed boost of around one stop. The EF adapter passes all the EF lens data through the RF mount, providing full Dual-Pixel Auto Focus and metadata information for select lenses. The EOS C70 is also the first Canon EOS cinema camera to feature the EOS iTR AF X autofocus function. 

The C70 records up to DCI 4K resolution video to dual slots using SD cards. High frame rates can be recorded in 4K up to 120 fps and up to 180 fps in a 2K cropped Super16 mode. Codec options include Canon’s XF-AVC, XF-AVC Intra, and XF-AVC Long GOP, providing up to 10-bit, 4:2:2 DCI 4K images with reduced storage requirements. 

For greater flexibility during post-production, the C70 also offers Canon’s Log 2 and Log 3 gamma modes, both of which provide an expanded dynamic range with excellent tonal reproduction for highlights and in low-light areas of your images. The EOS C70 also supports .cube 3D LUTs so you can get the most accurate color reproduction on both the LCD and your external viewing monitors.

That’s a wrap on cameras part one. There is a lot more coming up from Blackmagic Design (not a surprise) and other gear makers as we wind up the engines and get going into what will be a great production season.


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