Blackmagic studio cameras finally support 720p!

Now ±41 720p networks in the US —plus countless others in other countries— may consider using Blackmagic studio cameras.

720p forgotten 640

I was happily amazed this morning when I received a private email from Blackmagic’s public relations department: The 720p option we requested in April of 2014 has finally arrived in Blackmagic Camera Setup version 2.5! Now the Blackmagic studio cameras can offer 720p50 (common in PAL and ex-PAL regions), 720p59.94 (common in the NTSC and ex-NTSC regions) and even 720p60 (which is non-standard). Now ±41 720p networks in the US (and all of those outside of the US) can consider using Blackmagic studio cameras. Ahead is the complete information.

Blackmagic Studio Camera

New support for 720p50 (common in PAL and ex-PAL regions), 720p59.94 (common in the NTSC and ex-NTSC regions) and even 720p60 (which is non-standard).

Blackmagic Studio Camera 4K

New support for 720p50, 720p59.94 and 720p60

Updated 6G-SDI to match updated SMPTE draft specification

Blackmagic Production Camera 4K

No changes

Blackmagic URSA

No changes

Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera

No changes

Blackmagic Cinema Camera

No changes

Minimum system requirements for Mac OS X

  • Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite
  • Mac OS X 10.9 Mavericks or later
  • A suitable USB 2.0 port
  • Thunderbolt port for UltraScope and Media Express when using Blackmagic Cinema Camera or Blackmagic Production Camera 4K

Minimum system requirements for Windows

  • Microsoft Windows 8 64-bit
  • Microsoft Windows 7 64-bit
  • A suitable USB 2.0 port
  • A suitable Thunderbolt port when using Blackmagic Cinema Camera or Blackmagic Production Camera 4K

Installing Blackmagic Camera Setup

Before installing the software, Blackmagic recommends that you run “Uninstall Camera Utility” first.

After loading the software on the Blackmagic Cinema Camera EF or MFT, you may notice a slight flickering on the built-in LCD screen. Blackmagic says that this is normal and expected behavior. The flickering will go away after a few minutes of operation.

The Blackmagic Camera Installer package installs:

  • Blackmagic Camera Setup
  • Blackmagic Media Express
  • Blackmagic UltraScope
  • Blackmagic Disk Speed Test
  • Blackmagic Multibridge Utility

±41 TV networks that currently use 720p in the US

Here is a list of ±41 TV networks that currently broadcast 720p in the US. This list is likely to be incomplete, and does not include any of the 720p networks in Canada, the rest of the Americas, and the rest of the world. That’s why I am so relieved that Blackmagic has added 720p support.

  • ABC
  • ABC Family
  • Al Jazeera America
  • Audience Network
  • BeIN Sport
  • BeIN Sport (en castellano)
  • Big Ten Network
  • Crime & Investigation Network
  • Daystar
  • Disney Channel
  • Disney Junior
  • Disney XD
  • ESPN
  • ESPN2
  • ESPNews
  • ESPN Deportes
  • Fox
  • Fox Business Network
  • Fox College Sports
  • Fox Deportes
  • Fox News Channel
  • Fox Soccer Plus
  • Fox Sports 1
  • Fox Sports 2
  • Fox Sports Networks
  • FX
  • FX Movie Channel
  • FXX
  • FMP
  • FXX
  • Fyi
  • Ion
  • MLB Network
  • MLB StrikeZone
  • MyNetworkTV
  • Nat Geo
  • Nat Geo Wild
  • Reelz
  • Root Sports
  • SEC Network

Source: here.

Why do some networks choose 720 over 1080?

All current terrestrial HDTV systems (as approved by ATSC, DVB, and ISDB, and all of their variants I know about) have established both 720 and 1080 has approved HD formats. The 720 system favors a higher progressive framerate (i.e. temporal resolution), while, the current 1080 system favors a higher spatial resolution (more pixels), with a lower maximum framerate while maintaining progressive video. Considering that traditional films have a low framerate (24, which is often conformed to 23.976 or 25 for TV), many movie networks chose 1080 so they could have higher spatial resolution (1920×1080 progressive pixels) especially since their framerate is naturally low. On the other hand, many sports and some news networks preferred (and continue to prefer) to have a very high temporal resolution (50 or 59.94 progressive frames) with less spatial resolution (less pixels). Many of them insisted that with a screen under 60″ measured diagonally, test subjects couldn’t perceive any difference between 1280×720 and 1920×1080 at couch distance. The other reason is that with certain 720p formats, many news TV stations can continue to use their microwave system leftover from the standard definition days.

Upcoming articles, reviews, and books

Stand by for upcoming articles, reviews, and books. Sign up to my free mailing list by clicking here.

Si deseas suscribirte a mi lista en castellano, visita aquí. Si prefieres, puedes suscribirte a ambas listas (castellano e inglés).

Books, consulting, articles, seminars & audio programs

estandarte Capicua con cara y lema 605


Contact Allan Tépper for consulting, or find a full listing of his books, articles and upcoming seminars and webinars at Listen to his CapicúaFM program at Capicú in iTunes or Stitcher.

My latest book (paperback + ebook)

My most recent book is available in two languages, and in paperback as well as an ebook. The ebook format is Kindle, but even if you don’t have a Kindle device, you can read Kindle books on many other devices using a free Kindle app. That includes iPad, Android tablets, Mac computers, and Windows computers. Although generally speaking, Kindle books are readable on smartphones like Androids and iPhones, I don’t recommend it for this particular book since it contains both color photos and color comparison charts. The ebook is also DRM-free.

In English, it’s The Castilian Conspiracy. Click here and you will be automatically sent to the closest Amazon book page to you based upon your IP address. Or request ISBN–10: 1456310232 or ISBN–13: 978–1456310233 in your favorite local bookstore.

En castellano, se llama La conspiración del castellano. Haz clic aquí para llegar al instante a la página del libro correspondiente a tu zona y moneda en Amazon, según tu dirección IP. De lo contrario, solicítalo en tu librería preferida con los ISBN–10: 1492783390 ó el ISBN–13: 978–1492783398.

FTC disclosure

No manufacturer is specifically paying Allan Tépper or TecnoTur LLC to write this article or the mentioned books. Some of the other manufacturers listed above have contracted Tépper and/or TecnoTur LLC to carry out consulting and/or translations/localizations/transcreations. Many of the manufacturers listed above have sent Allan Tépper review units. So far, none of the manufacturers listed above is/are sponsors of the TecnoTur programs, although they are welcome to do so, and some are, may be (or may have been) sponsors of ProVideo Coalition magazine. Some links to third parties listed in this article and/or on this web page may indirectly benefit TecnoTur LLC via affiliate programs.

Copyright and use of this article

The articles contained in the TecnoTur channel in ProVideo Coalition magazine are copyright Allan Tépper/TecnoTur LLC, except where otherwise attributed. Unauthorized use is prohibited without prior approval, except for short quotes which link back to this page, which are encouraged!


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Born in Connecticut, United States, Allan Tépper is an award-winning broadcaster & podcaster, bilingual consultant, multi-title author, tech journalist, translator, and language activist who has been working with professional video since the eighties. Since 1994,…

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