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REVIEW Blackmagic Studio Camera by Mark Stopher B lackmagic Design recently released their new Studio Camera - it’s a small, portable broadcast camera, intended for live studio productions. There’s an HD version that you can pick up for £1,289 and a 4K version is said to be shipping soon. At tv-bay we were shooting some product demonstration videos in our studio - so we put it to the test! The main feature that grabs you on this camera is the huge viewfinder on the back. It’s 10 inches and attached completely to the body - so it is fixed on the same axis as the lens. Now, Blackmagic wanted this to feel ergonomic - so you don’t have to look higher up, or to the side to see what you’re shooting. I get that, it feels pretty natural. However – it offers no way of tilting the screen - it’s rock solid. For a vertically challenged (cough) operator like myself, it makes it a bit difficult when the camera needs to be higher up. There is a significant hood covering the screen. The camera is very light, and seriously small - which makes it great for a portable kit. The body itself is magnesium alloy - damn strong and it looks nice. I felt like the menu controls would have been nicer as touch-screen, but apparently Blackmagic didn’t want to add that kind of coating to the monitor - to reduce glare. The actual menu is nice - it gives you plenty of options like zebra and focus peaking, but can be challenging to navigate as the buttons themselves feel a little soft, and need to be pushed quite hard, a longer term test would be interesting to see how they would serve being used every day. There is no inbuilt recording on the camera, it is intended specifically for live use - Blackmagic suggest using their HyperDeck Shuttle for capture. This would also allow playback of what you just recorded, through their PGM input. That’s cool. You could also display your program feed during a live show via the SDI in. You just hit the PGM button, and it pops up! In our case we used an Atomos Samurai Blade to capture our footage - and it still worked well. In terms of connectivity, it has SDI in/out, optical in/out and LANC for remote controlling some lenses. I really liked the fact that it has 2 phantom powered XLR inputs - we had a radio lapel mic on one, and a shotgun mic on the other. The camera also has built in talkback - embedded in the SDI or optical connection - so you don’t have to run separate cables. It has a general aviation headset connection on the side - useful. It also has a nice illuminated tally on the front, and back. However, tally is done via the SDI return link - this is a non-configurable signal which the ATEM sends - so you can’t integrate the tally functionality with any other switcher which is a bit of a shame. I believe you then need the Blackmagic Studio Converter if you actually want to use the optical fiber or SDI to add talk-back functionality with multiple Studio Cameras. You could also use it for a single camera. The Studio Converter 66 | TV-BAY MAGAZINE: ISSUE 92 AUGUST 2014 TV-BAY092AUG14.indd 66 08/08/2014 15:29