Finalist 2022

Blackmagic Camera Zoom and Focus Demands

Blackmagic Design

The Blackmagic Camera Zoom and Focus Demands offer professional remote control of lens functions directly from tripod handles.

The Blackmagic Camera Zoom and Focus Demands offer professional remote control of lens functions directly from tripod handles. For $245, they eliminate issues associated with manual lens adjustment, converting Blackmagic Studio Cameras into powerful, fully-featured broadcast cameras possessing the ergonomics, responsiveness and sensitivity only found in systems costing over $100,000.

Design Brief:

A major barrier to multi-camera live production is the incredibly high cost and impractical nature of traditional broadcast equipment. Existing, professional grade Zoom and Focus demands offer refined lens control, but at a cost of up to $6,000 per set. At this price point they are virtually unattainable for most independent broadcasters. Excluded from such technology, smaller broadcasters are must rely instead on manual lens control, which is slow, imprecise and prone to errors that are simply unacceptable in any professional live broadcast.

This project was developed by:

Design Process

Empowering independent live broadcasters, the Zoom and Focus Demands enable users to leverage affordable photography lenses to produce the same professional outcomes as expensive, industry standard broadcast systems. Possessing a precise feel for fine control, camera operators can frame and adjust lenses without removing their hands from tripod handles. This ensures instinctual reactions to changing situations, while eliminating camera shake and other unwanted defects common to manual lens adjustment. Assignable function buttons offer workflow flexibility, while CNC machined clamps allow secure tripod mounting. Integrated rosettes allow fine angle adjustment for optimal ergonomics for a range of users and shooting positions.

The Blackmagic Camera Zoom and Focus Demands truly democratise professional remote lens control. For less than $500, online creators, independent live broadcasters and grass-roots institutions can leverage the same high-end precision and responsiveness as large television studios. Highly affordable and easily connected to a Blackmagic Studio Camera via a single USB connection, the Camera Zoom and Focus Demands are facilitating the growth of an exploding online live broadcast industry eager to match their innovative creative ambitions with professional production values.

Design Excellence

Form, Function and Quality Aesthetics are a pivotal means of forming meaningful connections between Blackmagic Design products and their professional users. Ideally however, a camera operator should never need to look at either Zoom or Focus demand during use, and it is this concept that has driven a design in which form and aesthetics are intimately entwined with mechanical quality, tactile feedback and ergonomics.

ZOOM DEMAND: The comfortable central thumb rocker with integral bearings and unique cam rocker design translates input movement through a 12-bit absolute angle magnetic encoder with a rotational accuracy of 0.1° for smooth, consistent and professional zoom control. Its polished surface contrasts to the secure soft-touch handle, assisting blind operation and enhancing perceived quality. Sensitivity dial, and customisable function buttons are accessible without relinquishing control of the thumb rocker, critical in live productions in which camera operators must react instantly to changing conditions or situations.

FOCUS DEMAND: A fluid dampened, precision CNC core mechanism provides incredibly fine focus control with no backlash. Utilising the same 12-bit magnetic encoder, it obtains rotational input data from over 4000 points per rotation, yielding seamless, accurate focus control. Commerciality For the less then a single set of comparable Zoom and Focus demands, customers purchasing a Blackmagic Studio Camera and Blackmagic Zoom and Focus Demands can have TWO complete live broadcast camera systems, representing incredible affordability in a rapidly expanding, high volume market.

Design Innovation

The innovation inherent in the Blackmagic Camera Zoom and Focus demands is predicated not on unique aesthetics or a reinvention of camera control practices, but on a carefully considered rationalisation of parts, materials, engineering and manufacturing processes. Collectively, this strategy has delivered an architecture that retains the precision and feel expected by professional camera operators at a price point accessible to everybody. Leveraging new materials plays a pivotal role in Blackmagic Design’s process, and its ability to deliver such affordable, professional video technology to creative people.

The advanced Carbon Fiber Polycarbonate composite used in the Blackmagic Studio Camera is 50% lighter than die-cast metal and has equivalent strength, rigidity and finish for half the cost. The main enclosure mouldings also perform multiple functions, facilitating a dramatic reduction in part count and manufacturing complexity.

Design Impact

Democratisation is achieved not simply by making professional video technology more affordable, but by ensuring it remains accessible to almost anyone. Integral pieces in Blackmagic Design’s live broadcast workflow, the Camera Zoom and Focus Demands are easy to install and use for novice users, familiar to experts, and encourage discovery and learning through an intuitive and responsive camera control experience.

Affordable, accessible products such as this allow a wider range of creative people to realise their ideas exactly as they intended, free from the constraints of financial limitation or inferior technology. They also have the potential to transform entire industries, by breaking down traditional archetypes that equate professional outcomes to needlessly expensive, technology.

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