New Footage: Blackmagic Micro Cinema Camera (Training Day)

Last year Blackmagic Design unveiled a few new cameras at NAB 2015. While most people obviously gravitated towards the 4.6k Ursa Mini with it's high resolution Super 35 sensor, high frame rates, and many other pro level features, the Blackmagic Design Micro Cinema Camera with Super 16mm sensor seemingly slipped under the radar, in comparison.

With us now nearly in to the month of March, and NAB 2016 right around the corner, the customer anger (or RAGE?) is building day after day over the epic delays for these cameras that were promised to begin delivering back in July. Per usual, there is next to no communication from Blackmagic Design as to why any of this is happening, but finally some sample footage has begun trickling out from behind the "iron curtain" through it's secret network of beta testers.

This beta footage from the Micro Cinema Camera looks great, and shows just how amazing a feature like 60p can be. I'd say it's probably the most sorely missed capability of the original Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera, at least for us. That, and the horrific battery life - now seemingly fixed with the implementation Canon LP-E6 batteries in the Micro Cinema Camera.

I'm still not sure about the design of this diminutive camera, although I do like the "cube" form factor for cameras in general, as you can easily cage and bolt things to it, similar to RED cameras - known for their flexibility and modularity.

As it comes with no screen of any kind, you essentially need to have it rigged up with some kind of viewfinder or monitor to even see what your filming or what settings you are in, thus sort of defeating the purpose of the small form factor - sigh...

Although, it should be perfect for all instances you would of otherwise HAD TO use a GoPro, and get stuck with trying to mix that garbage image quality in with your other footage (yuck).

Even a small overall size increase, to add a simple display (similar to GoPro's tiny screen?) of some kind to show what settings you're in, would probably be welcomed by most.

NAB 2016 is looming large, and Blackamgic will surely look to grab all the attention again this year, as its kind of "their thing" now. So, who knows what they will introduce this year...

Maybe the mythical combination of:

  • Pocket Sized Camera
  • Super 35 Sensor
  • High Frames Rates (even modest ones)

Also, notice how I said "introduce" and not "ship"? Why would they ever want to do a thing like that!?  



Tangent Ripple: Update On $350 Color Grading Panel Release

At IBC 2015, Tangent Wave Ltd. debuted a working prototype of their new entry level color grading panel, with the intent to gather feedback from everyone ranging from post production professionals, to novice colorists who might not have previously had a color grading panel on their radar due to the extreme cost. (eg. Davinci Resolve Color Grading Panel - $29,995). They estimated the device to debut in early 2016 and cost a mind blowing $350.

Tangent has made some improvements since September at IBC, based on customer feedback, and has given a brief update to the design changes made. This is accompanied with a new release date pushed back to the end of April, with actual production units being displayed at NAB 2016 (early April).

Below is the brief update on this very exciting product:

09 February 2016: Ripple - Production design finalized

It’s been a while since we’ve made any announcements about Ripple so we thought we’d post a quick update.
At IBC we showed working prototypes of the panel and we came away with a few suggestions that we thought it would be worth incorporating into the final product. These were:
  • Increasing the size of the dials.
  • Increasing the distance the gap between the ball and the dial.
  • Making the “finger dimple” in the dial deeper.
  • Adding some kind of “grip” to the edge of dial.
All of the above were to make it easier to operate the dial. Click on the thumbnail to the left to see the final design that's now in production.
Incorporating the above changes has inevitably delayed the release date of Ripple. We had originally hoped to get the panel out some time in March, but it now looks most likely that it will start shipping at the end of April.
The good news is that we will be showing Ripple on our booth at NAB (SL5507) and on some of our partner’s booths, so you'll be able try out the production model there if you’ll be in Vegas for the show.

We can't wait to get our hands on one and start putting it through its paces on some projects! While it's obviously a more basic, less robust panel, the potential to take this product out of the edit bay and on the road with us is very exciting - but the true game changer is the $350 price tag. That is incredible value in comparison to what the "entry level" product pricing in the color grading panel realm is right now (somewhere in the $1500 range - Tangent Wave). At that price, even the average video person can start using real color grading equipment to learn the techniques and theory, without having to shell out the equivalent cost of a mid sized sedan!

As usual, NAB cant come soon enough!

Updated: Final Cut Pro X 10.2.3 (Motion 5 & Compressor too!)

Apple has released Final Cut Pro X version 10.2.3, Motion version 5.2.3, and Compressor version 4.2.2. Sadly, this is another "maintenance" (bug fix) style update and doesn't introduce many "features" to the Final Cut Pro X ecosystem.

The upside to this rather underwhelming update is that the timing of it seems to point to the likelihood of a "feature" update to be coming out around NAB 2016 time, in April. This was the case last year,  just in time to "WOW!" everyone at the most important film and video trade show in the world.

While this software is already fantastic, and fully capable of almost all workflows and scenarios you can throw at it, there are still so many directions Apple could be headed towards as far as improvements and feature implementation in the next update.

FCPX 10.3?

Some popular requests amongst the FCPX community are audio improvements, including a proper mixer and more integration with Roles, true round-tripping with Motion 5, a more robust keyframe editor, true background rendering, etc. The list is somewhere between very long, and endless!

I think all of those previously mentioned features would be fantastic, much needed additions, although I'd equally like to see a few "How is this not already in FCPX?" kind of features added. For example, you can copy and past attributes between clips, but there is no way to remove attributes at this point, besides manually going through and deleting all the effects off the clip. What an epic time waste!

I can understand the challenges of adding new features to an application from scratch, and greatly appreciated the addition of Paste Attributes, but why would it have been released without some way to remove attributes to go along with it? it just seems kind of crazy...or maybe just half assed?

Another seemingly simple one is that currently FCPX is the only editing application that doesn't feature a scrolling timeline. The playhead simply starts sliding down the timeline after you press PLAY, and continues off the edge of the screen, leaving you guessing where you are in the project. Even other Apple apps feature this basic "DUH!" functionality, such as Logic X and the "amateur" focused iMovie! Yes, even the one for your iPad and iPhone... This one seems pretty inexcusable going on 5 years after the initial release of FCPX. Maybe just a toggle switch to turn this function on and off, if for some reason Apple really thinks its better in it's current way?

You've got to wonder what's taking so long for these "low hanging fruit" type of fixes to be dealt with by Apple, especially when they go 6 long months between mere "bug fix" updates...but hopefully all this "under the hood" work can allow them to start adding in real features more frequently, and continue progressing the application forward.


Here's what's new in the updates:

Final Cut Pro X

What’s New in Version 10.2.3

• Customizable Default Effect lets you choose both a video and audio effect that is assigned to a keyboard shortcut

• 4K export preset to create video files for Apple devices

• Improves speed when opening libraries on a SAN

• Resolves an issue that could affect the timecode display in the Dashboard on OS X El Capitan

• Import Canon XF-AVC including video files from the Canon C300 Mark II

• Ability to share video to multiple YouTube accounts

• Resolves an issue in which a disabled video effect could appear as Missing Effect when opening the project or when sharing to Compressor

• Addresses an issue in which black frames could appear in imported iPhone video clips that were trimmed on iPhone

• Fixes an issue that could cause the playhead to jump ahead when editing short titles

• Fixes an issue that could cause the timeline to stop playback when switching views in the Browser

• Fixes an issue in which points on a Bezier shape could incorrectly switch from Linear to Smooth

• Fixes an issue in which some objects within Motion templates render with soft edges

• Adds iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPad Pro, and Apple TV (4th generation) to the Apple Devices compatibility list in the share window


What’s New in Version 5.2.3

• 4K export preset to create video files for Apple devices

• Improves stability when adding Photoshop files to a project

• Improves stability when searching in iTunes and photo libraries

• Improves stability when using the Undo command after ungrouping a parent group

• Correctly saves percentage-based parameters in the Checkerboard generator after closing and reopening a project

• Correctly saves the preview movie for Motion templates created in German, Japanese, and Chinese

• Fixes an issue in which points on a Bezier shape could incorrectly switch from Linear to Smooth

• Fixes an issue in which some objects within Motion templates render with soft edges

• Adds iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPad Pro, and Apple TV (4th generation) to the Apple Devices compatibility list in the share window


What’s New in Version 4.2.2

• 4K export preset to create video files for Apple devices

• Fixes an issue in which Closed Caption files could be incorrectly labeled as SDH subtitles when creating an iTunes Store Package

• Fixes an issue in which the Navigation window fails to display the source clip when the Preview Window is zoomed

• Launch screen displays correctly on OS X El Capitan

• Adds iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPad Pro, and Apple TV (4th generation) to the Apple Devices compatibility list

You can find the update in the app store now, or learn more about FCPX at and the forums at

Also be sure to check out the Ripple Training guys (Steve Martin and Mark Spencer), where they produce the best educational content on FCPX, et al - just down the street from us in downtown Petaluma, CA.