Using Mics With The Blackmagic Cinema Camera
Recording quality audio on the Blackmagic Cinema Camera can be a challenge. The non standard 1/4″ balanced inputs, no phantom power, finicky touch screen level controls and until recently, no VU meters have made it difficult to attach, control and monitor levels from normal audio gear to this camera.
Our DXA-BMD adapter was designed years ago to solve many of these issues by providing standard balanced XLR inputs, phantom power, real trim controls and VU meters. Since the adapter uses simple passive circuitry, the gain is unity which means that the output level is only as strong as the input level. The beauty of passive circuitry is that it provides pure clean audio to the camera without any electronics to get in the way.
However, the constant changes to the input sensitivity of the camera by each new firmware release is playing havoc with the recording levels. For some inexplicable reason known only to Blackmagic, they have added varying amounts of digital attenuation to the audio signals with each firmware upgrade. This often results in very low recording levels and excessive hiss. To eliminate this issue, the best solution is to use a preamplifier when using wired mics with this camera. Therefore, we now recommend that our passive DXA-BMD adapter be only used for amplified signals from mixing boards or wireless mics. These audio sources continue to work well with this adapter.
We have two high quality audio solutions for people that want to use wireless and wired mics with the Cinema Camera: [wpanchor id=”Cinema Camera”]
1) DXA-SLR ULTRA. This mounts to the bottom of the camera and also provides phantom power, limiters, transformer balanced inputs and a headphone jack with loopback monitoring. All you would need to make this work on the Blackmagic Cinema Camera is a special “Y” cable to connect to the 1/4″ balanced inputs.
2) DXA-CONNECT. This mounts to the top of the camera and provides phantom power as well as several cold shoes for mounting various gear. You would need the same “Y” cable as above. You can easily attach it to a cage or other rig. If you wish to attach it directly to the top of the camera, this inexpensive cold shoe from RedRock micro works well.
Both of these adapters have built-in low noise preamplifiers that provide up to 30dB of gain. This is more than enough gain to provide plenty of signal to the camera and the audio levels will no longer be dependent on future firmware changes. This will allow you to record high quality audio directly to the camera from virtually any audio source.