So it’s been a long time coming but this update really does round off the Blackmagic Cinema Camera (BMCC) and Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera (BMPCC) nicely, and with an all new installer to boot.

So what is new in 2.1? Lets get in under the skin of it.

First off the BMCC now has the same Lossless Compression when shoot in RAW as the BMPCC. This is big. It means you can shoot for longer on your SSD and you’ll have much less data to wrangle. The compression saves about 30% over the original RAW (2.5-3.5MB per frame vs 5MB previously – depending on the content of the frame) while still retaining all the data.

Next we have frame guides. This has been a long time request and a welcome addition. We now have a wide selection of frame guides: HDTV (this was available before), 4×3, 2.40:1, 2.39:1, 2.35:1, 1.85:1, and Thirds. All the aspect ratio guides are based on the blanking options in Resolve. It’s also be nicely implemented in that they can be turned on or off independently on the internal LCD and the external monitor. So you can view them just on the LCD if you’d like to record a clean signal externally or you can keep the LCD screen clear and only display the guides on the external monitor.

Additional fixes and tweaks:
A nice little user interface addition was also added to speed up menu access. Holding down MENU will now bypass Dashboard and go straight into settings. Pressing it again returns you to shooting mode. Skips a few extra clicks when under pressure.

The cameras now remember the peaking status after rebooting. This was an annoying little bug on the BMPCC and it’s nice to see that has been fixed.

Time remaining estimate when shooting RAW is now more inline with real world shooting. The time remaining when shooting compressed RAW has always been an estimate. It can’t be accurate because the nature of the compression means that the file size changes depending on what is in frame. A simple white frame is much smaller when compressed than a frame with lots of colour and detail.

What has happened is BM have adjusted the math on the estimation so it’s closer to real world shooting. There are no change to the compression.

Generally speaking you’ll get a little more recording time than the estimated time displayed on camera.

Here is an example test I ran on 2 different version of the firmware, both shooting the same static scene:
BMPCC running 1.9.10
13min remaining on screen after fresh format of 64BG card
Stopped recording with card full at: 21:51:18
31482 frames (61GB)
Frame size: 1.9MB (1,931,392 bytes)

BMPCC running 2.1
18min remaining on screen after fresh format of 64BG card
Stopped recording with card full at: 21:50:08
31448 frames (61GB)
Frame size:1.9MB (1,941,184 bytes)

As you can see there is no change in the RAW compression. Just an adjustment to the math on the time remaining estimates.

The BMPCC also gets Japanese and Chinese language menu support. Something I’m guessing will roll out to the other cameras in the future.

Having used the BMCC (along with the BMPCC and BMPC4K) since they started shipping it’s really nice to see how far we have come since version 1.1 of the firmware. For me this update completes the camera. The only thing I’d really like to see is the ability to record in Film colour space while outputting Video colour space to my external monitor / EVF. I’m sure those who shoot anamorphic would like more tools (4×3 and de-squeeze) but I’m not sure the BMCC has much processing power left.

Get the update here:

For advice on the update process see this thread: