There is now a pocket-sized controller for the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K
The original Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera was named such because it could relatively easily fit in your pocket. The Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K (we’ll just call it the Pocket 4K from here) might be a continuation of that series, but it certainly doesn’t fit into most pockets.
There is some hope, though. No, the camera hasn’t shrunk and pockets haven’t gotten bigger, but there is now a pocket-sized controller for it. A new app from SayEffect offers complete remote control of the Pocket 4K from your Android device. And it does it by offering touchscreen menus that are almost identical to the camera itself.
The app will run in either horizontal or vertical mode, depending on how you feel most comfortable, and it offers access to all of the settings available on the back of the camera.
You can configure the frame rate, resolution, compression, iris, iso, white balance & tint, you can even remotely control the focus. The one thing it does not do, however, is stream video from the camera to your mobile device. So, you’ll still need to be within eyeshot of your Pocket 4K’s LCD or an external monitor in order to see the effect your changes are having. According to the app description, the basic features include…
- Start/Stop Recording
- Choose Recording codec/formats – ProRes and BRAW
- Choose Resolution, Frame-rate, Dynamic Range, Detail Sharpening (in ProRes)
- Manage Iris, Shutter and ISO and Auto Exposure (if your lens supports)
- Manage White Balance and Tint
- Lens Control – Focus and Zoom (if your lens supports)
- Play last clip
- Manage Camera LCD Frame Guides
- Manage Clip/Slate + Project and Lens Information
And they’re all very easily accessible through the app’s main display, with categories across the top, and then scrollable pages that look exactly like the menus found on the back of the Pocket 4K.
A list of more “exciting” features includes…
- Rack Focus
- Shutter Angle/Speed suggestions for an FPS as provided by BMPCC4K camera
- Single Click to toggle special off speed – 60/75/100/120
- Mobile Rotation
- Slate Mode – only Slate settings editable
- Customizable Minibar to view and speed click to a particular Setting
- Topbar indicators if enabled in camera – Off Speed, Timelapse, Windowed Mode
The single click for off speed is very handy, and the rack focus works very well, too, although the delay doesn’t seem to do much. Whether it’s set to 50ms or 10,000ms, it instantly zips from one focus point to the other.
The app requires minimum firmware of v6.2 on the camera. So if you’ve been holding onto an older version in the hopes of keeping CinemaDNG, sorry, you won’t get to use this. But beyond that, it’s just a case of turning Bluetooth on in the camera and your phone, pairing the two together and you’re good to go.
I’ve been playing with the app for a few days now, and it works very well. It’s well worth the purchase price for the convenience it offers. It would’ve been nice to see an app like this included with the camera, although it’s great that a 3rd party is able to come up with something that works this well as an alternative. It’s not perfect, but for a first version, it’s pretty close.
It costs $6.99 to download from the Google Play Store, but once you’ve bought it, then you can use it on as many devices as you like. So, if you own multiple Pocket 4Ks, and multiple Android devices, you only need to get it once to remote control them all. And despite the appearance of the app’s UI, SayEffect and this app are not affiliated with Blackmagic Design in any way.
SayEffect says they are currently working on an iOS version, too, which they suggest should be coming at some point in July.
John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.