Blackmagic adds webcam mode and more to Pocket cameras with Camera 8.6 beta

Blackmagic Cinema Camera 6K

Blackmagic has announced a new 8.6 beta version of Blackmagic Camera. No, not the smartphone app, the firmware update for your Blackmagic cameras. It adds, amongst other things, the ability to use our Pocket (or non-Pocket Cinema Camera 6K) as a webcam.

It also now supports USB-C tethering to your smartphone. This means easy uploads to Blackmagic Cloud when away from WiFi. SMB Sharing has also been added, direct upload to Resolve projects and a lot more.

Blackmagic Camera 8.6 Beta

The new Blackmagic Camera 8.6 Beta update affects several cameras in Blackmagic’s lineup. In this case, that means the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera series, along with the non-Pocket (which is still a Pocket, really) Cinema Camera 6K.

Here’s the complete list of changes:

What’s new in Blackmagic Camera 8.6

The following models have new features:

Pocket Cinema Camera 4K
Pocket Cinema Camera 6K
Pocket Cinema Camera 6K G2
Pocket Cinema Camera 6K Pro
Cinema Camera 6K

  • Adds support for using camera as a webcam or UVC device.
  • Adds media pool file browser.
  • Adds clip deletion support.
  • Adds Blackmagic Cloud clip uploads.
  • Adds direct uploads to DaVinci Resolve projects.
  • Adds ability to update and manage camera via ethernet.
  • Adds REST control API for remote control.
  • Adds login and secure certificate support.
  • Adds network time protocol support.
  • Adds web media manager support.
  • Adds file transfer protocol support.
  • Adds SMB file sharing support.
  • Adds mobile phone tethering support for some models.
  • Improves gyro metadata reliability.
  • Improves USB-C drive detection reliability.

Minimum system requirements for Mac OS

  • macOS 13.0 Ventura or later
  • macOS 14.0 Sonoma or later

Minimum system requirements for Windows

  • Windows 10 64-bit or later
  • Windows 11 64-bit or later

Additional Information

Some applications may use third party code under license. For details please refer to the included “Third Party Licenses.rtf” document.

Improved USB Support

One of the biggest changes in the new beta is the improvements to USB. It adds a couple of big features to the cameras, including the ability to operate as a webcam. This feature started appearing natively in cameras during the pandemic but now appears to have become a standard feature.

Blackmagic doesn’t say whether it offers 1080p or 4K output, but I would suspect 1080p – given that the HDMI ports on those cameras also put out 1080p. But even at 1080p, for Zoom meetings and YouTube live streams, it’ll be enough.

Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K ProBlackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K Pro

Tethering and Workflow

The other USB benefit is tethering to your smartphone. The Pocket lineup now supports USB tethering to your smartphone. Presumably, this means pretty much all USB-C Android devices and – perhaps – the most recent iPhone 15 models.

This lets you upload clips to the Blackmagic Cloud when away from regular WiFi. The new update also allows direct uploads straight into DaVinci Resolve projects. This lets people start colour-correcting, grading and editing as the files come in. They don’t need to wait for the entire shoot to be done before copying all of the files.

Blackmagic hasn’t clarified the exact smartphone models and operating systems, just that it supports “some models”.

Update: A little clarification from Blackmagic. This feature is only being added for the Pocket Cinema Camera 6K and 6K Pro and the regular Cinema Camera 6K. We’ve still not received a response on smartphone compatibility, but we will update this post when we receive more information.

Blackmagic Cloud Storage DevicesBlackmagic Cloud Storage Devices

You’re also able to update and control the camera over ethernet, and a REST API has been added for remote control. Network Time Protocol helps to ensure your cameras are always running at the current time – handy with the clocks changing in most of the world about now.

SMB Sharing – Network attached storage

The Blackmagic Camera 8.6 beta also adds SMB file sharing. This is the native file sharing used in Windows to let you access folders across a network. You can then mount these remotely on a Windows PC as a new drive letter.

Of course, you’re not limited to Windows. You can also access these shares with macOS and Linux – both of which support DaVinci Resolve.

This means that when your camera’s on the network, you can just fire up Explorer (or Finder, or whatever) and browse to the camera over your network to copy files directly to your system – or perhaps a NAS unit mounted on your system.

Price and Availability

The Blackmagic Camera 8.6 Beta update is available to download now for free from the Blackmagic website. Remember, this is a beta, so upgrade your camera at your own risk – and definitely don’t do it if you have jobs lined up and no spare backup cameras!

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