Thomas Boland has released a whole load of information and new detail on where the Nexus G1 Blackmagic box camera project is in its development and when it will be released.
The Nexus G1 has been a huge story ever since it broke cover at the start of the year. Basically, it’s a modular box form-factor cinema camera built around the sensor and main electronics of the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6k, and its very existence has been a matter of some debate. Some thought it was a scam, others doubted it could be done at that speed and that price, but pretty much everyone thought it was a good idea.
Box cameras are popular, and the ability to rig them any which way you fancy is a considerable draw (though one that is not necessarily without it’s downsides). As such, and possibly because it’s staying resolutely self-funded and not going down the Kickstarter route, there is rather more attention on the Nexus G1 Project than you would expect from a project at this stage.
So, it’s good that main mover behind the project, Thomas Boland, has updated the Project’s Facebook page with a whole tranche of information about where the project is and where it’s going.
In 𝗣𝗿𝗼𝗷𝗲𝗰𝘁 𝗨𝗽𝗱𝗮𝘁𝗲 #𝟮, he provides an update on locking down the form factor and how the team is starting to work out how to customize the way the Nexus G1 will work, such as adding physical audio gain knobs. And in the long-awaited FAQ document, he collates all the publicly available information into one place and presents it from the horse's mouth.
So, from that, we now know that 2024 is still the target in terms of date, and $3000 or lower is still the target in terms of price. And we learn that if all goes to plan, the team is then looking at modding other Blackmagic cameras, with the 4k and Cinema 6K Fullframe as the two main contenders.
The video that started it all...
Nexus G1 𝗣𝗿𝗼𝗷𝗲𝗰𝘁 𝗨𝗽𝗱𝗮𝘁𝗲 #𝟮
“Since last update, we have been finalizing the design brief, sourcing components for some new exciting features we’re looking at including (will make a post about these if they come to fruition), and working on the exterior body design,” he writes. “Because once the exterior of the Nexus G1 is right, we can then dive into the insides – engineering the sub-frame, and deciding where everything goes.
“To get the body design right it is important to have physical references we can see, feel and hold – so we have produced various mockups, and most recently resin printed the semi-final body form which allowed us to attach a lens and v-mount battery (the short clip your see is of that SLA 3D print). We will show off a prototype once a more polished one is created - the current ones are pretty rough mockups just for our reference.
“So I am glad to say, we are now extremely happy with the overall body form. It measures only 110mm (4.33”) wide, 120mm (4.72”) tall, 170mm (6.69”) long (or 117mm (4.6”) long with EF mount, without protrusions). It's now less chunky, more optimized and shorter. It is a brilliant little shape, and I can't stop picking it up all the time! So now the overall form and shape is right, we can progress further into designing the details to make it all work.
• We are looking more closely at the audio side of the camera, since the built in audio system is quite powerful and useful in many circumstances. Considering adding physical audio gain knobs for channel one and two to allow the audio system to be utilized more easily.
• We are now building the camera based on the Blackmagic pocket 6K G2, because no stock is available for 6K G1 any longer. This means there will be an EVF port which will work with the blackmagic EVF, and also two XLR ports. We will also consider making a DIY version of the Nexus for 6K G1 owners to mod their own cameras if enough people are interested.
• We have started development of the built in touch display control system - and have sourced samples of a brilliant 3.5” display which is viewable from any angle and in direct sunlight.”
Nexus G1: 𝗙𝗿𝗲𝗾𝘂𝗲𝗻𝘁𝗹𝘆 𝗔𝘀𝗸𝗲𝗱 𝗤𝘂𝗲𝘀𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻𝘀
𝗤1: 𝗪𝗶𝗹𝗹 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗡𝗲𝘅𝘂𝘀 𝗯𝗲 𝗹𝗶𝗺𝗶𝘁𝗲𝗱 𝘁𝗼 𝗺𝗶𝗻𝗶 𝗩-𝗺𝗼𝘂𝗻𝘁? 𝗪𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗮𝗯𝗼𝘂𝘁 𝗼𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗿 𝗯𝗮𝘁𝘁𝗲𝗿𝘆 𝘁𝘆𝗽𝗲𝘀, 𝗹𝗶𝗸𝗲 𝗳𝘂𝗹𝗹-𝘀𝗶𝘇𝗲 𝗩-𝗺𝗼𝘂𝗻𝘁, 𝗚𝗼𝗹𝗱 𝗺𝗼𝘂𝗻𝘁, 𝗡𝗣𝗙, 𝗲𝘁𝗰.
A: The Nexus will have a mini V-mount plate, however modules will be made that allow you to use other battery types, such as full size V-mount, gold mount, potentially NP-F.
𝗤2: 𝗪𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗶𝘀 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗰𝘂𝗿𝗿𝗲𝗻𝘁 𝗱𝗲𝘃𝗲𝗹𝗼𝗽𝗺𝗲𝗻𝘁 𝘀𝘁𝗮𝘁𝘂𝘀 𝗼𝗳 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗽𝗿𝗼𝗷𝗲𝗰𝘁?
A: The Nexus project is currently In early development – we have a well fleshed out external design, mockups, and are currently undergoing design and development of the internal workings of the camera.
𝗤3: 𝗪𝗵𝗲𝗻 𝘄𝗶𝗹𝗹 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗡𝗲𝘅𝘂𝘀 𝗚𝟭 𝗿𝗲𝗹𝗲𝗮𝘀𝗲?
A: It is too early in development to give a date with any certainty, however it's safe to say within 2024. The earlier the better.
𝗤4: 𝗪𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝘄𝗶𝗹𝗹 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗽𝗿𝗶𝗰𝗲 𝗯𝗲?
A: It is too early in development to give an accurate price, however we are aiming for US$3,000 or under (lower is better) for the prebuilt ready to shoot Nexus G1, including the Pocket 6K underlying camera, excluding optional accessories.
𝗤5: 𝗪𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗟𝗖𝗗 𝘀𝗰𝗿𝗲𝗲𝗻𝘀 𝘄𝗶𝗹𝗹 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗡𝗲𝘅𝘂𝘀 𝗚𝟭 𝗵𝗮𝘃𝗲?
A: The Nexus comes with a built in 3.5” touchscreen, which is mounted in the top surface of the camera. This will serve as a control panel to control the camera’s settings, including resolutions, FPS, audio, and most of what you see in the original Blackmagic menus. This display will not serve as a video monitor, is only a control panel. The second screen, will be the original 5” screen from the camera, which gets transformed into an external monitor which can be mounted anywhere on the camera. The 5” touchscreen screen will work like normal and will connect to the camera via an unpluggable cable, similar to HDMI. This display can be disconnected and removed if you prefer to use a HDMI or SDI monitor, as the 3.5” control panel will still allow you to control settings.
𝗤6: 𝗪𝗵𝗼 𝗶𝘀 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝘁𝗲𝗮𝗺 𝗯𝗲𝗵𝗶𝗻𝗱 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗽𝗿𝗼𝗷𝗲𝗰𝘁?
A: The Nexus project in the beginning was just me (Thomas Boland), but it has grown quickly, so my brother Timothy, and my industrial designer father Brian have now joined the project too. We work together, our consulting company is AVID Nexus - a multi-discipline creative studio in Australia, offering filmmaking, industrial design, graphic design, CGI and other services to businesses.
𝗤7: 𝗪𝗵𝘆 𝗱𝗶𝗱 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗡𝗲𝘅𝘂𝘀 𝗽𝗿𝗼𝗷𝗲𝗰𝘁 𝘀𝘁𝗮𝗿𝘁 𝗶𝗻 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗳𝗶𝗿𝘀𝘁 𝗽𝗹𝗮𝗰𝗲?
A: The Nexus Project began as a mission to optimise our own commercial film production and design company's production process. We realised that for small teams like us, or solo filmmakers, technical tasks often overshadowed creative focus. By optimizing our filmmaking tools, especially the camera system, we found that more attention could be directed towards the creative vision. This resulted in a smoother production experience and creatively superior outcomes. However, as we endeavoured to address the Pocket 6k's limitations through rigging and external accessories, we encountered new problems. These included the need for constant rig modifications, difficulties in controlling the camera due to blocked screen, weight issues affecting gimbal usage, and the camera's wide body posing mounting challenges. Despite these problems, we recognized the world-class image quality and brilliant user interface of the Pocket 6k. Realizing there was no better alternative within reach for solo filmmakers than the Pocket 6k, i realized the best option is to redesign it. Thus, The Nexus Project was born, driven by our determination to bridge the gap between technical constraints and creative freedom in small film production.
𝗤8: 𝗪𝗵𝘆 𝗶𝘀 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗡𝗲𝘅𝘂𝘀 𝗯𝗮𝘀𝗲𝗱 𝗼𝗻 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗣𝗼𝗰𝗸𝗲𝘁 𝟲𝗞 𝗚𝟮?
A: The Nexus G1 will utilize the internals of the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K G2 because the 6K G1 is discontinued, and the 6K G2 is best value for the specifications in our view, and it is what we use for our work.
𝗤9: 𝗪𝗶𝗹𝗹 𝗮 𝗡𝗲𝘅𝘂𝘀 𝗯𝗲 𝗺𝗮𝗱𝗲 𝗯𝗮𝘀𝗲𝗱 𝗼𝗻 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗣𝗼𝗰𝗸𝗲𝘁 𝟰𝗞, 𝗼𝗿 𝗖𝗶𝗻𝗲𝗺𝗮 𝟲𝗞 𝗳𝘂𝗹𝗹 𝗳𝗿𝗮𝗺𝗲?
A: At a later date after the Nexus G1 is released, if all goes to plan we can then look at also modding other cameras, the 4k and cinema 6k fullframe are the two main contenders.
𝗤10: 𝗪𝗶𝗹𝗹 𝗮 𝗡𝗲𝘅𝘂𝘀 𝗯𝗲 𝗺𝗮𝗱𝗲 𝗯𝗮𝘀𝗲𝗱 𝗼𝗻 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗣𝗼𝗰𝗸𝗲𝘁 𝟲𝗞 𝗚𝟭?
A: The Nexus project originally started based on the 6K G1 because new stock was still available at the time, but the project has now grown, it has become apparent that most people will not be willing to mod their own camera, and new stock of the 6K G1 is now unavailable. The 6K G2 also has more features for the same price, so we switched to the 6K G2. However if enough people are interested in modding their own 6k G1, we could potentially make a Nexus DIY mod kit for the 6k G1.
𝗤11: 𝗛𝗼𝘄 𝘄𝗶𝗹𝗹 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗡𝗲𝘅𝘂𝘀 𝗚𝟭 𝗯𝗲 𝗱𝗲𝗹𝗶𝘃𝗲𝗿𝗲𝗱? 𝗔𝘀 𝗮 𝗗𝗜𝗬 𝗸𝗶𝘁, 𝗽𝗿𝗲𝗯𝘂𝗶𝗹𝘁 𝘂𝗻𝗶𝘁, 𝗼𝗿 𝗮 𝘀𝗲𝗿𝘃𝗶𝗰𝗲 𝘁𝗼 𝗺𝗼𝗱 𝗲𝘅𝗶𝘀𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝟲𝗞 𝗚𝟮𝘀?
A: The best way to get a Nexus G1 will be a prebuilt, ready to use unit. We will also consider making kits so people can mod their own 6K G2, however due the complexity it is likely best to go with prebuilt. We will also consider providing a service where you can send in your existing 6K G2 and have the conversion done, however this may not be cost effective in comparison to the other options due to shipping and labour cost.
𝗤12: 𝗜𝘀 𝗕𝗹𝗮𝗰𝗸𝗺𝗮𝗴𝗶𝗰 𝘀𝘂𝗽𝗽𝗼𝗿𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗡𝗲𝘅𝘂𝘀 𝗽𝗿𝗼𝗷𝗲𝗰𝘁?
A: We are totally independent and not affiliated with Blackmagic, and Blackmagic is not involved in the project, however they gave approval for the project to commence in the beginning, and their very helpful support staff have been assisting with our technical queries.
𝗤13: 𝗪𝗶𝗹𝗹 𝗼𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗿 𝗿𝗲𝗰𝗼𝗿𝗱𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗿𝗲𝘀𝗼𝗹𝘂𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻𝘀 𝗼𝗿 𝗙𝗣𝗦 𝗼𝗽𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻𝘀 𝗯𝗲 𝗮𝗱𝗱𝗲𝗱 𝘁𝗼 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗡𝗲𝘅𝘂𝘀, 𝗱𝗶𝗳𝗳𝗲𝗿𝗲𝗻𝘁 𝘁𝗼 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗼𝗿𝗶𝗴𝗶𝗻𝗮𝗹 𝗣𝗼𝗰𝗸𝗲𝘁 𝟲𝗞 𝗚𝟮?
A: No, it is not presently possible for us to make such modifications.
𝗤14: 𝗪𝗶𝗹𝗹 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗡𝗲𝘅𝘂𝘀 𝗵𝗮𝘃𝗲 𝗜𝗕𝗜𝗦?
A: No IBIS is not something we would be able to add.
𝗤15: 𝗪𝗶𝗹𝗹 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗡𝗲𝘅𝘂𝘀 𝗵𝗮𝘃𝗲 𝗔𝘂𝘁𝗼𝗳𝗼𝗰𝘂𝘀?
A: We have considered adding built in autofocus, however decided it is best to use a superior autofocus system like the latest DJI lidar. So the Nexus will be designed to work well with that system.
𝗤16: 𝗪𝗶𝗹𝗹 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗿𝗲 𝗯𝗲 𝗮 𝘀𝗽𝗲𝗲𝗱𝗯𝗼𝗼𝘀𝘁𝗲𝗿 𝗼𝗽𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻?
A: Yes there will be an option to use a 0.71x speedbooster on EF, potentially PL and other mounts. You can also use third party MFT mount adapter speed boosters as you like with the Nexus Multimount module installed, though third party adapters will only work passively.
𝗤17: 𝗪𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗹𝗲𝗻𝘀 𝗺𝗼𝘂𝗻𝘁 𝗼𝗽𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻𝘀 𝘄𝗶𝗹𝗹 𝗯𝗲 𝗮𝘃𝗮𝗶𝗹𝗮𝗯𝗹𝗲?
A: The Nexus G1 will come stock with a normal EF mount. There will also be an option to self install the Nexus Multimount (a custom designed positive lock MFT lens mount), which allows adaption to various other mount types, including PL, positive lock EF, and more.
𝗤18: 𝗪𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗺𝗼𝘂𝗻𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗽𝗼𝗶𝗻𝘁𝘀 𝘄𝗶𝗹𝗹 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗡𝗲𝘅𝘂𝘀 𝗚𝟭 𝗵𝗮𝘃𝗲?
A: The Nexus will have strong mounting points in all faces necessary for most use cases.
𝗤19: 𝗪𝗶𝗹𝗹 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗿𝗲 𝗯𝗲 𝗮 𝗖𝗮𝗴𝗲 𝗮𝘃𝗮𝗶𝗹𝗮𝗯𝗹𝗲 𝗶𝗳 𝘄𝗲 𝘄𝗮𝗻𝘁 𝗺𝗼𝗿𝗲 𝗺𝗼𝘂𝗻𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗽𝗼𝗶𝗻𝘁𝘀?
A: Yes there will be a cage-like option which the user can self install, which will provide cheese plate-like side panels which provide a multiplicity of mounting points.
𝗤20: 𝗪𝗶𝗹𝗹 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗿𝗲 𝗯𝗲 𝗮 𝗟𝗲𝗺𝗼 𝗽𝗼𝘄𝗲𝗿 𝗼𝗽𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻, 𝗼𝗿 𝗼𝗻𝗹𝘆 𝗗-𝘁𝗮𝗽?
A: Yes there will be a 2 pin Lemo power output option for those who use higher end accessories.
𝗤21: 𝗪𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗿𝗲𝘀𝗼𝗹𝘂𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻 𝘄𝗶𝗹𝗹 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗦𝗗𝗜 𝗼𝘂𝘁𝗽𝘂𝘁 𝗯𝗲?
A: The SDI module when installed in the Nexus will output 3G SDI at 1080p.
So that's it; that's everything Boland knows and, thus, everything we know about the Nexus G1 as of Saturday, February 3. It's actually really interesting to track this degree of publicly shared information about a camera's development and see how it changes and evolves according to the various constraints and desires it encounters along the way. Watch out for the next update hopefully soon...