The Blackmagic Pocket Camera Guide (Part Three): Viewfinders, External Monitoring, Audio and Power Supplies

In Part Two we looked at lenses, filters, matteboxes and follow focus systems for the Blackmagic Pocket Camera. In this part we’ll look at viewfinders, external monitors, audio and power supplies.

Viewfinders

This follows what I’ve written in the Chapter on Viewfinders in the Comprehensive Guide.

As you can see, the Blackmagic Pocket Camera has no optical viewfinder:

BMDPCC No Viewfinder

You are left with two options:

  • LCD Loupe
  • Electronic Viewfinder (EVF)

 
Loupes

There is a slight problem here. The Blackmagic Pocket camera has a 3.5″ LCD screen. Very few loupes can fit that size (most are made for 3″ DSLR screens).

Varavon makes a loupe that can cover a 3.5″ LCD, but you can see that the aspect ratio of the screen is intended to be 1.5, whereas the Blackmagic Pocket Camera LCD has an aspect ratio of roughly 1.66 (top and bottom used for overlay). Furthermore, the loupe is large, and might not fit the camera without additional plates or accessories.

Therefore, at this time, I am not aware of any loupes that will work perfectly with the Blackmagic Pocket Camera.

Electronic Viewfinders (EVF)

The Blackmagic Pocket camera has an HDMI port (type D) via which you will be able to connect an external electronic viewfinder (EVF). I recommend the:

Cineroid Pro EVF4RVW

Cineroid BMDPCC

The Cineroid has the following advantages:

  • SDI loop-through, so you can connect it via an external monitor.
  • Waveform and Vectorscope display.
  • 3.5″ LCD and a detachable loupe that can be used optically (whether or not it’ll fit the Blackmagic Pocket Camera is a different story).
  • 350 ppi resolution.

 
You could also use a ‘pure’ HDMI viewfinder, like the Zacuto Z-Finder EVF Pro.

External Monitoring

You can monitor via the HDMI port. It is a clean signal. If you like, you can overlay frame guides, aperture information, frame rates, etc.

I have written extensively about monitor sizes and how to choose the right size in the Chapter on External Monitors in the Comprehensive Guide. There is nothing more to add, really. One important accessory you might want is the:

HDMI Male Type-D to Type-A Adapter

Audio

The Blackmagic Pocket Camera has one 3.5mm audio input jack, which I will not recommend for anything but home movies. You will need a full external audio solution. A mixed signal can be routed to the camera so editing is easier, but if you’re recording in CinemaDNG, it might be an unncessary step.

Read the Chapter on Audio from the Comprehensive Guide to know what options you have.

Power

The Blackmagic Camera has a 0.7mm 12-20V DC port for external power.

The more convenient way to power the Blackmagic Pocket Camera is via easily available Nikon EN-EL20 rechargeable lithium ion batteries. One battery is included in your purchase. This battery can be charged while being used in camera.

The specifics are as follows:

  • Recording time: one hour. Standby time might be around 2 hours (live view drains battery).
  • Charging time: one hour and 15 minutes when camera is off. 2 hours when camera is switched on.
  • 7.4 Wh (1020 mAh), 7.2V, which pegs the camera power rating at about 7.4 Watts.

 
Based on these numbers, and the system I’ve outlined in the Chapter on Batteries in the Comprehensive Guide, I’d say on a professional shoot you might need at least 4-5 of these batteries, unless you have access to a charging point and can remember to charge them at the right moment.

If you’re looking for a single charger, I suggest you get the original Nikon MH-27 charger. However, I strongly recommend you get a dual charger like this one:

Kapaxen Dual Channel Charger for Nikon EN-EL20

You could get cheap clones of the EN-EL20, because an original Nikon battery costs about $45.

If your camera is going on a balanced rig, then I highly recommend you get an Anton Bauer or Switronix solution:

Switronix Solution for the BMCC

This way, you’ll only need two batteries and one charger, and don’t have to worry much about power at all. These batteries can also power an external monitor and so on.

On the other hand, if you intend to use the camera in ‘pocket’ mode, then go with the recommended batteries.

In Part Four we’ll look at rigs, tripods, accessories and data management.

 

2 replies on “The Blackmagic Pocket Camera Guide (Part Three): Viewfinders, External Monitoring, Audio and Power Supplies”

  1. Loupes: I’ve been using the KAMERAR QV-1 on the Pocket for over a year, attaches via a magnet tripod plate. I also screw in a PNC handle. The Pocket then looks and behaves like a Haminex 8mm camera.

    Cheaper External monitors are hard to find due to the Pockets Prores 422 HDMI output.

    Still looking

  2. Thanks for all this useful info. I’m renting this bmpcc for 10 days and have taken some of your suggestions to heart already. I do nature and wildlife shooting mostly and am interested in getting a different look than Panasonic GH cameras. Sure wish it did at least 60p, but that extra crop will get more Tele power. Looking forward to it, regardless.

    Thanks again.

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