Blackmagic Micro Camera

  • 2016

  • Product
    Consumer Electronics

Designed By:

  • Blackmagic Industrial Design Team

Commissioned By:

Blackmagic Design

Designed In:


The Blackmagic Micro Camera is the world’s first cinematic quality, removable-lens action cam. Impossibly small and incredibly light, it captures stunningly immersive Ultra HD footage from previously unattainable viewpoints. Designed specifically for remote use on drones, in documentaries and live sports, it offers new creative opportunities to filmmakers and live broadcasters.

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  • The creativity of filmmakers and broadcasters is limited by imagination, instinct and the viewpoints from which to shoot a subject. Capturing immersive footage requires innovative perspectives from the most unlikely of places. The revolutionary Blackmagic Micro Camera is the final word in miniaturisation of professional digital film cameras. A meticulous rationalisation of critical functions, parts and processes, the unique design is stripped of all excess to create the smallest conceivable form factor. While miniaturisation improved access, it was clear that to inspire shots from more obscure and restricted vantage points a concept was needed to address the unique challenges of such unusual situations.

  • The search for unique shots has seen a repurposing of compact cameras for use on drones, crash-cams and other such applications. A major limitation of such cameras in this context is an orthodox form factor, in which setting adjustments require movement of the camera to access rearward controls and display. The Micro Camera ensures critical continuity between every shot, turning this archetype on its head with front-facing controls for non-disruptive adjustment in 'back-to-the-wall' situations. The display was also removed, reducing volume to little more than that needed to house sensor, electronics and connectors. Users can operate the Micro Camera remotely or via connection to Blackmagic's Video Assist.

  • Capturing UHD video at high frames rates generates heat that leads to undesirable visual artefacts. This is compounded in ultra-compact forms with little mass to dissipate heat via conduction. With natural convection impractical due to obstructions from rigs, a radical thermal control concept was required. The Micro Camera solves this with a unique, transverse refrigerated cooling system. A central heatsink isolates sensor and processor into separate chambers, preventing thermal cross-contamination and external ingress. Integrated into the main chassis, it eliminates unnecessary parts by acting as a cowling for a centrifugal fan that cools the sensor on the inlet and processing chip on the outlet.

  • The Micro Camera's unique form is a dramatic visual expression of the environmental, functional and ergonomic challenges it addresses. Engineered for tough environments, the magnesium alloy 'Y-form' chassis evokes a sense of tactical durability, flaring just enough to allow front-facing controls while protecting delicate high-speed video connectors from incidental impact. In confined spaces, this striking form ensures constant airflow to the active refrigeration cooling system through dynamic side air intakes that reduce turbulence for silent, optimal airflow and thermal performance. Embedded with robust stainless steel thread blocks, it also provides secure mounting to a variety of rigs and gimbals.

    Formed with a cutting-edge high pressure moulding process, the Micro Camera's ultra-lightweight magnesium alloy chassis has virtually no porosity. This facilitates far superior structural integrity and surface finish than standard die cast or CNC machined parts, with much thinner wall sections. This represents a significant size and weight reduction, critical to mobile applications involving drones, helmet-cams or other wearable setups. To achieve the most spatially efficient design, the mechanical assembly was rationalised to just three main sub-assemblies. Central to this goal was the creation of highly space efficient, transverse thermal management system that performs multiple functional roles.

    A failing of most action cams is the limitations inherent in fixed lens systems and the compressed video formats they produce. Compressed files exhibit noise and other distracting artefacts making seamless integration with footage from standard high-end cinema cameras virtually impossible. With an exceptionally wide 13 stops of dynamic range, The Micro Camera produces footage with a compelling cinematic 'film look'. For a camera this size, it captures unparalleled depths of detail in high contrast and low-light environments. The high quality lossless CinemaDNG RAW files it records mean that virtually all sensor data is preserved, ensuring immersive detail and maximum creative flexibility in post-production.

    Action cams use fixed, wide angle lenses ideal for capturing sweeping panoramas. Due to their fixed nature and large field of view such lenses lack the flexibility and depth of field to produce truly engaging footage, especially in close up, personal scenes. The Micro Camera's Active MFT lens mount is engineered for precise optical calibration and full remote lens control. Accepting both inexpensive consumer optics and high-end cinematic lenses, it offers expansive creative freedom for amateur and professional alike. Completely open and customisable, the unique expansion port allows custom remote control, external power and monitoring solutions, representing unparalleled creative technical control.