Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Blackmagic Design 4K Production Camera to break all records - for delays?


Back in May 2013 I wrote a blog about the mythical Blackmagic Design 4K Production camera and how I was expecting a long delay for its delivery. At the time of writing the Blackmagic Design website was showing this:

So let's allow a month or maybe two and then at least I should get my hands on a demo model. Nope. The "expected" date on my supplier's website keeps adding a month.

Blackmagic announce a plethora of new equipment throughout 2013 and on August 2nd Grant Petty posted:

The Blackmagic Production Camera 4K is not yet shipping as we need some more time. Our first batch of sensors was delivered only this week, so we have not been able to complete the software for the camera. We expect to start shipping in about 3 to 4 weeks once the final software work and testing is completed.

Followed by this on September 4th:

It's taking a bit longer than we expected to do this and we think its going to take about 3 to 4 weeks more to get those changes done and to get the QA process completed before we can start shipping.

Then on December 18th the boss posted some personally hand shot material and said:

As I have mentioned previously we have been working hard on redesigning part of the camera due to differences in the production sensors to what we experienced in the early camera builds, however that work is completed now and we are in final testing. 

The Blackmagic forum announcement for the camera has now had almost 26,000 views and 219 replies, which are becoming increasingly frustrated. But at least in January some DoPs managed to get their hand on beta versions for testing.

So you would expect me to be fuming about putting down a deposit on a camera and waiting more than 8 months to receive it. Well, I am several levels below fuming because it is about expectation management, and I expected this.

I have experience of trying to get a new product to market and despite best planning rarely does anything go to plan, particularly when dealing with micro-technology. The lessons learnt from the original cinema camera really didn't apply to the 4K, it was a clean sheet of paper with lots of new ideas written on it, which then got smudged.

There still is, 10 months on from its announcement, nothing on the market that matches the camera's specs and price and I am pretty certain that not many will have asked for their deposits back and lost their place in the queue. I am still excited by the prospect of the camera and can't wait to get my hands on one. 

The biggest worry is that the guy who updates the BM website knows something we don't as it shows that the camera will ship in Q4.

Let's hope he is just as clueless as the rest of us and hasn't updated it recently.

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