Blackmagic's Pocket Cinema Camera aids 'Avengers'
June 2, 2015

Blackmagic's Pocket Cinema Camera aids 'Avengers'

FREMONT, CA — Blackmagic Design’s ( Pocket Cinema Camera was used extensively by the 2nd unit on the production of Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron. Joss Whedon’s successful sequel to Marvel’s The Avengers was lensed by cinematographer Ben Davis, whose credits also include Guardians of the Galaxy.
“The first [film] was about a coming together, whereas this film is about a coming apart, which is reflected in the tone of the script,” explains Davis. “The narrative of the film is far more dark and menacing, so the visual approach was grittier, darker and more earthbound.”

Avengers: Age of Ultron features an extensive amount of 2nd Unit work and Davis required a small, high-quality digital film camera for the film’s stunt sequences. 

“I was a big fan of what Anthony Dodd-Mantle had achieved on Rush using small camera platforms, especially when it came to mounting them in unusual places and the shots he was able to achieve,” he notes. “I decided to get a Pocket Cinema Camera in for testing after bumping into DIT friend of mine who’d recently purchased a one, and was raving about it. For me, it was a no-brainer really, it was all about the latitude and size. Suddenly I had a small camera which not only output a 12-bit RAW image, but it also had a latitude that was getting up to and around the level of high end digital cinema film cameras.

“There are two large battle sequences in particular during the film, the first is at the beginning and the second features in the third act, and we very much wanted these to be shot as a war correspondent would cover news in a conflict zone. What we needed was a lightweight camera that we could then distribute around the set during the filming of battle sequences that would give us more than twelve frames of good quality HD material that we could match with our main camera package. For this we used eight Pocket Cinema Cameras paired with either a 14mm pancake lens or a 12-35mm zoom, which we then mounted to impact points around the set. Say for example a truck was being blown up and thrown through the air and we wanted to capture it landing on top of a car, we would put one of the Pocket Cinema Cameras in a small metal housing and put it in the car. Another instance involved mounting the Blackmagic camera to a tank, because we could literally strap it one on the end of a magic arm and bolt it to almost anywhere we wanted it to be on the tank.”

Davis says he used the Pocket Cinema Cameras even more than he initially had anticipated. “The appealing thing about this camera is its size to quality ratio,” he notes. “The footage is usable for a much longer cut time than previous incarnations of small camera platforms and so the camera does in fact become far more useful.”