Why Blackmagic’s new firmware update is so important
Why Blackmagic’s new firmware update is so important
I overheard yesterday at Blackmagic’s event in Los Angeles that they would be releasing firmware similar to the 1.9 release for the rest of their line. This was confirmed on their forum:

What improved?
Here’s what firmware update 1.9 added to the 4K production camera yesterday:

  • Audio metering
  • Histogram
  • Time left on media
  • Improved sensor calibration
Blackmagic-4K-FPN-Firmware-Update-1.9-Histogram-Audio-Meter-Time-Remaining
Why is this so important?
BlackmagicAudioMonitorPic3

Audio Metering

Having audio metering on the LCD means you can see if your audio is clipping or not. This is necessary for capturing high-quality audio. It’s the sonic version of a zebra function or histogram. For cameras without XLR inputs, I always recommend getting a high-quality XLR adapter with metering to record audio with a shotgun mic into the camera. Some scenarios are fine with mics like the Rode Video Mic Pro that can plug directly into the camera’s 1/4″ mic input. But without the adapter, how would you ever know for sure if your audio is clipping? Having audio metering on the camera’s LCD is important whether you’re using an XLR adapter or not.

Histogram

This is another must-have. While the Blackmagic cameras do have a zebra function to display blown-out areas of your image, sometimes it’s annoying to toggle the zebra on and off. It can be very visually distracting since it sits over your image. With the histogram, all you have to do is glance at the HUD at the bottom of the LCD to see if anything is under- or over-exposed. In other words, it’s faster. Why? Because you don’t have to toggle it on and off and you can read shadows and highlights at the same time since the histogram reads the brightness of the entire spectrum of your image. A zebra function, on the other hand, has to be altered in menu settings to read underexposed shadows or blown-out highlights. It won’t do both simultaneously.

histogram
Blackmagic time left on media

Time left on media

What happens if you’re about to roll a long take but have no idea how much space is left on your card? What if it runs out of space in the middle of a critical performance or a once in a lifetime moment? Knowing how much space is left on your card, or whatever media you’re recording to, is absolutely necessary. For anyone shooting in 4K, you know how quickly media can fill up with those large files. That makes this a huge improvement for Blackmagic’s cameras.

In conclusion

Awesome! This is a fantastic update. It makes their entire line of cameras more functional in the field. While 1.9 is only available on the 4K Production camera, it’s been confirmed that this update will be released for the rest of their cameras in the next few weeks.

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