B Blob

Blackmagic Design fixes the Pocket Camera's 'white orb' issue

Info - Blackmagic Design fixes the Pocket Camera's 'white orb' issue

UPDATED & RESOLVED! - Blackmagic Design seems to be responding to the (by now) well known issues. The most recent response is to the white orb issue. This will 'bloom' out specular highlights into white blobs/orbs in the footage. Joe Rubinstein from the Digital Bolex D16 already suspected that it would be a calibration error, and now Blackmagic Design confirms this.

Issue has been resolved. Updates are added at the bottom of this post.

For those who are not aware of the problem, here's a link to a topic on Blackmagic's support forum. It contains lots of samples.

Below I've posted the official response from a Blackmagic representative on their user support forum.


Hi guys,

As promised, here’s an update on the ‘blooming’ sensor topic.

All sensors, be it CCD or CMOS, will have a ‘blooming’ effect when during severe overexposure, the pixel is over saturated and excessive charges overflow to neighbouring pixels. It just looks different depending on the sensor type. 

We are not seeing this on some of our test cameras so it might be something that is calibration related. Please contact your nearest support office and we’ll run another calibration on the camera.


Kristian Lam
Blackmagic Design


So they confirm the issue exists, and offer to fix it if your camera is affected. What I take from this is that it means that the issue shouldn't be there in the first place, and Blackmagic can now easily screen their batches before shipping them. Hopefully they will apply a more strict quality control from now on.

For those who are living near their retailers, it's even more simple. When you go to pick up your unit - test it in-store before taking it home. If it blooms - let the store handle the return and support. For those who already have their cam and live ways away from their retailer or the support center, it's more of a complicated issue. There'll be logistic costs involved and nothing is being said about that.

There has not been -as far as I know- a official response to the black-dot issue. But it seems that one has been around since the first Blackmagic 2.5K Cinema Camera (link to a topic).

On another note: while there hasn't been a formal response to the many request for adding Audio Meters, a Blackmagic Design rep did state that this is the most requested feature and they'll look into it for a future firmware update. But he also stated that the current priority lies on getting CinemaDNG out to their customers. So don't expect the monitoring on the short term.



2013/9/6 - In the post at the Blackmagic support forum it seems that the re-calibration of the sensor will indeed fix the blooming-issue with the BMPCC. This is good news. Most likely the newer batches will come without The Bloom, but this last bit is still unverified.

Blackmagic has taken active stance in the topic to reply to user questions and remarks. Another good development, communication has begun!

 Pocket Cinema Camera White Blob issue fixed!

2013/9/7 - The issue has been fixed. In the past couple of days there has been (a lot!) of communication with Blackmagic on this topic and it seems the issue has been resolved. The image above shows a pre-fix (left) and post-fix (right) of the sensor (click for full-size). When looking at the spotlight it's easy to see that the fix works like magic.

If a camera suffers from the white-blob issue, it can be fixed through a recalibration of the sensor at one of BMD's Support Centers. According to Joshua they shipped camera's back with an extra battery to offer some compensation to the one-way-shipping expenses people had to make.

Since the beginning of this week all newly produced camera's will come with this new calibration-setting.

I personally believe we can now call this issue resolved


2013/9/20 - During IBC it became clear that the black spot-issue also has been resolved in the newly available firmware update (version 1.4.2). If you're running into the blooming/orb issue (or hard clipping which it really is) you'll still need to send the camera in for re-calibration, that cannot be done through a firmware adjustment sadly.

In the time ramping up to IBC there was a little debate on wether or not the orb-issue was really resolved. Looking at results from several shooters with different camera's, I think it has been. The re-calibration makes the roll-off of highlights look much more pleasing and natural. There still is a little blooming, but in all honesty - that's to be expected, isn't it? We're not talking about the $40k+ RED Epic Dragon here, this is a sub-$1k pocket camera. 


The image above the post is a graded still from the ungraded footage posted by Dan Chung from DSLR News Shooter, which clearly shows the 'white orb' issue.

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