The Blackmagic Cinema and Production 4K cameras are currently the most affordable cinema cameras capable of capturing 2.5K and 4K Ultra HD raw video. The system is one fourth the size of competing professional video rigs and only slightly bigger than a full size DSLR rig. With 13 stops of dynamic range on the Cinema camera and the increased shooting resolution of the Production 4K camera, Blackmagic offers two excellent options that fit into the same housing.
Nauticam has engineered an elegant way to access the camera’s touch screen controls that retract out of the way to avoid obscuring the cameras 5” LCD when not in use. Controls for record, iris open (skip forward), iris close (skip back), playback, and stop are brought out to the grips with easy to access levers. Oversized control dials for mechanical zoom and focus are placed underneath the left handle for fingertip control. The “focus” and “iris” commands are conveniently placed for thumb access at each handle. Please note, that the Blackmagic Cinema and Production cameras are manual focus only. The “focus” button is for turning on and off the focus assist feature. Nauticam’s Digital Cinema Gear System provides access to manual zoom and focus with several popular Canon EF Mount zoom lenses. The complete line of Nauticam DSLR gears is also supported by this housing. A lever to disengage the gear drive is included to ease camera installation in the housing.
Vacuum Check and Leak Detection System
Nauticam’s new integrated electronic vacuum and leak detection monitoring system is included with NA-BMCC as standard equipment. When used with an accessory vacuum valve, the operator can instantly see the vacuum/watertight status of the housing. A simple green LED confirms that a vacuum is present, and the housing is water tight. Leak detection is built into the same circuit, so if there is water intrusion, an audible and visual indication will occur.
An optional Nauticam 18650 battery holder mounts on top of the camera and accepts four protected 18650 lithium ion batteries. The power pack provides up to 3 1/2 hours total run time. Mounting to the camera, not the housing, allows this accessory to be used for extended topside shooting as well as underwater! HDMI monitoring is supported via a bracket for the Atomos Connect HD-SDI to HDMI converter feeding either SmallHD DP4 or Atomos Ninja monitors in external Nauticam housings. An accessory LCD Shade allows the camera’s 5″ LCD monitor to be used in bright light.
Nauticam’s NA-DP4 housing for the Small HD DP4 Monitor can take video performance to another level by rendering the video image in a position more amenable to the shooter. The monitor housing easily mounts to the top of the NA-BMCC and utilizes the optional HDMI Bulkhead for true HDMI connectivity. Utilizing DP4 features like Focus Peaking, Focus Assist, False Color, 1:1 Mapping and more, this larger monitor vastly improves composition, focus capability and exposure.
Test dive In the water, the housing is well balanced and extremely easy to operate. Ultimately the buoyancy characteristics will depend on your port, lens, and accessory options. I tested it with the Zen DP4 4”mini dome and Zen DP-230 9” dome and in both cases did not need to add trim weights or floats. Changing lenses is fast and simple with the Nauticam locking port release system. A lens release button is also included on the front of the housing so lens changes can be performed without removing the camera from the housing. It’s very reassuring to look down and see the green LED confirming that a vacuum seal is present and the housing is water tight. Both cameras record directly to a removable SSD, so after a shoot day, you can simply connect the SSD to your computer and edit or color correct your shots straight from the disk. The Nauticam NA-BMCC, combined with a Blackmagic Cinema or Production Camera, delivers high resolution, high dynamic range, raw video capture at a price point that every film maker can afford.