5:00 MINUTES WITH ... Simon Westland

5 minutes with Simon Westland
Simon Westland.
Simon Westland.

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Tell us about BlackMagic’s expanded camera portfolio
It’s a couple of years now since we launched our original cinema camera. I think one of the issues when we launched it was that we had one camera and everybody tried to do everything with that camera. The way we designed it was quite specific – a handheld digital cinema camera with lots of wide dynamic range and raw shooting.

We now have a range of cameras and by having a range we can appeal to people very directly with a camera that’s got features for their particular needs; so we have a studio camera without built-in recording and without a handle or strap because its designed to sit on a pedestal or tripod. That goes all the way to Ursa, which is the big camera. Ursa is a professional full size 4K camera. The camera body has all of the connectivity with the external XLR audio inputs, SDI, audio metering, all built in to the camera body. We have a range that suits the different applications of the users.

We’ve added a PL version of the cinema camera, which was previously available in EF and MFT mounts. The lens mount is PL, which suits professional film lenses that people use on higher end cameras. We have also introduceda PL version of our 4K production camera.

Studio cameras and other cameras have been very well received, not just in terms of independent film but we’ve got quite a number of high-end features coming through the camera. We are starting to see quite a bit of pick up for the cameras in high-ends film, which was not originally a target, but they have found their own way into that market.

What changes are you seeing in the industry?
Nowadays building a studio isn’t just the domain of a broadcaster. Historically if you wanted to build yourself a studio you had to have deep pockets. It was an expensive business, you needed a lot of space, a lot of lighting, many of those items were expensive to purchase. Our studio camera, the HD model is about 1500 euros so people can by three or four of those and get multi camera production and they can buy the cameras and switcher and still take change home from 10,000 euros.

A lot of people who would have gone out and used a studio can now put their own studio in house because they can afford to, because the cost of equipping a studio is now not that different from renting one for a few days. Colleges, corporate institutions, banks and manufacturing companies they’re all building their own in house TV facilities.

Globally, people recognise that video is a great way of putting their message across whether that’s training, communication or news, product information, product launches. Video is a core component of companies and organisations reaching their customers. We now expect to watch HD video on tablets, and with mobile data capacity that is a reality. People who have embraced that want their own studio.

How has Blackmagic responded to these changes?
Over last two or three years we have added more links in that chain – we go from cameras through switchers, disk recorders, video routers and monitoring. So from the signal path of camera in and that might be all the way through to Resolve for editing and grading, we have got product that sits all along that pipeline. From the point of view of cameras, our family of cameras has been very well received, not just in terms of independent film and television but we’ve got quite a number of high-end features coming through the camera.

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