Blackmagic Cinema Camera Mysteriously Bursts Into Flames During Video Shoot

Malfunctions don’t get much more catastrophic than this when it comes to cameras. While shooting a Kickstarter video with a Blackmagic 2.5K Cinema Camera, Producer Forest Gibson reports that the camera “burst into flames filling [his] apartment with smoke.”

According to planet5D, the 6-month-old camera malfunctioned one week ago today while Gibson and his crew were shooting a Kickstarter video for a new video game. As soon as the camera started spewing smoke, they all got out of there, but wanting to recover the footage they returned soon after with damp rags over their mouths and filmed the footage you see above.

Although in the video Gibson blames the battery, further investigation over the past week has led them to discount that theory. The manufacturer of the battery told Planet 5D that they had spoken with Gibson and found the battery was working fine, and Gibson himself admits it was cool to the touch when he removed it.

Whatever the case may be — according to the battery manufacturer, Blackmagic is checking to see if the problem was a short in the camera itself — when Gibson returned to try to salvage his work, he found the Solid State Drive fried, all of the footage lost and the camera ‘beyond gone.’


It’s worth noting that this seems to be a one-time deal. No other Blackmagic cameras have done this that we or planet5D can find and BM has responded to the situation quickly and professionally to make sure that it isn’t a more widespread problem.

That being said, if your BM 2.5K cinema camera all of a sudden bursts into flames this week… well… you’re not alone.

(via planet5D)

  • Evan

    It looks like the vents were blocked at the bottom…

  • JanKloms

    you are sure it´s not a nikon?

  • Norshan Nusi

    Spontaneous Camera Combustion!?!?!??

  • Alessandro Aimonetto

    my d800, during a wedding videshoot, locked down showinf F33 in top lcd panel. No way to restart her, even with battery removal and reinsert. After 5 or 6 minutes, that damn thing was working again…maybe overheated, but since 2 weeks I have switched to canon, for reliability

  • Denny Archer

    Yeah, the crazy part about what you just said is that it is attached to a perfectly normal sized tripod mount, via the tripod socket that black magic themselves installed into the camera! This is a terrible assessment of the situation.

  • Mike

    Cheap lithium battery combustion, not so spontaneous.

  • ThatGuy

    Everybody’s scary camera breakdown story in 3…… 2……1……

  • NickE

    Looks like the SSD might be source of the heat by the amount of damage there…

  • gochugogi

    According to the article, the battery was one of the few parts still fine and working after the fire…

  • Renato Murakami

    Didn’t even know we had other parts in there other than the battery that could cause such a thing. Pretty damn weird that it wasn’t the battery, specially with all the smoking and apparently molten LCD panel.

  • Don Tusk

    Never mess with black magic !

  • Tim Durkan

    id be so depressed – let us know how any developments please.

  • Ken Elliott

    Sounds like an electronic component failed, and the battery provided the energy to cause the overheating. If it was part of the current regulator, you’d have excess current flowing to several components, and they’d get really hot and fry. SSD’s don’t like excessive current, either. This would not stop me from buying a BMC. But I bet they look at their circuits and consider a “fail open” rather than a “fail closed” design, or add a fusible link that blows in case of overcurrent.

    If it is a design flaw, I’d expect to see many by now – and we’ve not seen that AFAIK. But this does build a case for a removable battery that could be ejected.

  • Mike

    I really cannot imagine a component other than a huge capacitor, in a camera dedicated to video, that can catch fire with so much energy. I still suspect, until some proof is posted, that it is all related to the battery inside. Anyone can easily report a cool battery (which is a ridiculous thing, considering it’s just been in a burning camera) and hide the melted down, toxic, mess of a lithium pack gone wrong.
    Although I still only suspect this. I may be very wrong and the problem might just be the black magic in there, it’s really dangerous stuff, more than alkali metals, and no one on earth still understands black magic completely to fully control it.

  • Mike

    Wouldn’t the battery pack have some circuitry to prevent too much current?

  • Ken Elliott

    In my experience, the battery manufacturer does not know how much current the device needs, so they can’t know how much to limit. The circuit designer (Black Magic Design) should know this, and is the one responsible for limiting current to certain components. For example, you might limit current to the LCD display, but not to the power input for the storage drive – it could be a SSD or a hard drive (requiring lots of current to spin up the drive). There may be a current limiter on the battery pack, but it would allow far too much power for most semiconductor devices.

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