2018-11-07

Android App for Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K

Project history 

  1. Previous project: LPG/CNG Price Reporter
  2. last step: none
  3. current posting
  4. next step: Mysterious crash
  5. Next project: none

Screenshots

Minimal start screen while recording...
...while idle...

...and before a connected to a camera.
Very early version of the focus slider.

Android Wear smartwatch.
Selection of some settings values.

Intention


I've just written an Android app that is capable of starting and stopping a recording on the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K  (BMPCC4K) and the
URSA Mini Pro (no wireless focus supports on the EF mount version) as well as the
URSA Mini Broadcast.

It can
  • Start/Stop a recording remotely
  • Start and Stop using an Android Wear smartwatch (for Vloggers)
  • display a live timecode, remaining time on storage medium and the most important parameters
  • pull wireless live focus and zoom via touchscreen
  • store and recall 3 combinations of focus and zoom with a smooth transition
  • change parameters - codec, resolution and frame rate (some values not offered yet)
  • edit metadata

I am still adding features.
I plan to
  1. allow syncing the GPS-time of the phone to the camera(s)
  2. allow to start/stop recording on multiple cameras e.g. for multicam interviews. (No idea for a good user interface yet. Proposals?)
  3. Support the Panasonic GH5 / GH4R / GH4 camera via Wifi in addition to Blackmagic cameras via Bluetooth Low Energy
Limitations beyond my control:
  • My idea to also display audio meters will not work because the camera does not seem to send these via Bluetooth.
  • DCI 4K and 4.6K resolutions can not be selected because Blackmagic forgot to define the values in the protocol 
    • Support ticket DEV-144. These will be fixed in a future firmware.
  • Also the camera does not seem to report the selected storage medium correctly.
    • I'm getting a small CFast card to experiment with this.


Stable Releases:

Open Beta Test: (early access to improvements)

Pricing

Yes, I did put a reasonable price tag of 10€ on it.
That's 20% the price of a power-cable set or 14% of an original Canon-battery or a meal at McDonalds.
Sales tax gets 19% of the shown price (depending on the country) and Google a cut of 30%. So it's just about 6,30€ that actually end up in my pocket to pay for small expenses.

Privacy Policy

(This is required by Google Play Store.)

This app does not collect, use or distribute any kind of personal data.
End of story.

Updates

version "1.2.36 Beta" (13.07.2019)

  • bugfix in preset selection

version "1.2.35 Beta" (06.07.2019)

  • show valid shutter angle values if camera is set to shutter time

version "1.2.34 Beta" (27.06.2019)

  • Added support for the URSA Mini Pro G2

version "1.2.34 Beta" (16.06.2019)

  • BMPCC4K: Ability to select DCI 4K with Camera firmware 6.3 or newer (Blackmagic FINALLY fixed this)
    • Tested and DOESN'T WORK YET (at least not the way it was documented). Am currently in contact with Blackmagic.
  • URSA Mini Pro: Ability to select Anamorphioc 3K, DCI 4K, 4K 16:9, 4.6K 1.4:1 and 4.6K resolutions (untested, that's why it's beta)
  • Dropped the "new firmware" note in the BM-RAW codecs
  • Text "connection lost" is no longer obscured by the card-slot buttons

vesion "1.2.33" (01.06.2019)

vesion "1.2.31 Beta" (18.05.2019)

vesion "1.2.29" (16.03.2019)

  • Permissions prepared for Android 'Q'
  • focus transition screen published as non-beta

version "1.2.24 Beta" (07.03.2019)

  • Experimental, programmable focus tansision screen with duration and ease in/out.

version "1.2.23" (07.03.2019)

  • Fixed black icon colors in newer Android versions
  • Fixed autofocus button overlapping focus rocker on some screen sizes

version "1.2.22" (07.03.2019)

  • Blackmagic raw selectable on Pocket Cinema Camera 4K (since firmware 6.2)
  • Cinema DNG is marked as "old firmware"

version "1.2.21" (07.02.2019)

  • Tested with Firmware 6.1. Sadly Blackmagic still did not add "DCI 4K" and"4.6K" as selectable resolutions
  • Support for lenses with no aperture control by the camera.

version "1.2.19" (28.12.2018)

  • Minor fix with the record start/stop command to be compatible with more strict Blackmagic camera firmwares.
  • Fixed white on white text for dialog buttons in Android 8
  • Aperture and shutter angle can be controlled
  • Only slots with a card in it can be selected
  • Better fit for slim displays
  • Settings become 2 screens to be less cluttered

22.12.2018

  • I finally figured out what I did wrong in decoding f-stop values. Aperture control is coming after the holidays.

Version "1.2.13" (17.12.2018)

  •  Can display and change active storage card

15.12.2018

  • On this day I'll hopefully see the very first money from the November sales in Google Play Store. It should actually pay for 35% of my Samsung T5 SSD (without the cage mount) practically required to do anything useful with this camera. The 30% cut for Google after the 19% cut for sales tax is quite heavy. Given my actual hourly wage this side project will never turn any profit in a hundred years but that's okay. It's fun.

Version "1.2.11" (10.12.2018)

  • For Some reason Play Store shows this version as "1.2.1" instead of "1.2.11".
  • I manually fixed the old name still shown in Play Store.
  • Fixed crash on k6000 Plus (Android 8.0) for Bluetooth device with no name
  • Unknown camera models can be reported for addition via email

Version "1.2.10" (6.12.2018)

  • Fixed crash on Pixel 2 (Android 9) when aborting a scan for bluetooth devices in range
  • Nicer display of remaining time on storage medium
  • >M-rate framerates selectable (29.97,...)

Version "1.2.7" (24.11.2018)

  • Yes, on the same day as the earlier 1.2.6.
  • Reverse engineered the storage-related broadcasts. It now displays the remaining time on card slot II.
  • I'm trying to get my hands on a CFast card to try card slot I.

Version "1.2.6" (24.11.2018)

  • I got a new icon drawn by a facebook user. Thanks a lot!!!
  • I also changed the name from "BMPCC4K Record Button" to "BMPCC4K Control" because the app does so much more nowadays"
  • I was able to add entering metadata.

Version "1.2.4" (20.11.2018)

  • Power zoom rocker and a zoom slider added.
  • Also you can store and recall 3 focus+zoom positions now.

Version "1.2.1" (15.11.2018)

  • Yes, on the same day as the earlier 1.2.0.
  • Wireless follow focus slider added.

Version "1.1.1" (13.11.2018)

  • Huge improvements to my Bluetooth Low Energy stage-engine. Searching for the camera(s) is MUCH faster now

Version "1.0.4" (12.11.2018)

  • I figured out how to detect someone on the camera starting a recording instead of starting it via the app (and by extension the case of a recording already running when the app is started).

Links