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Control your Blackmagic camera with the Bluetooth+ app

In this article, I’m going to share with you a quick look at the Bluetooth+ for Blackmagic app. I’m using it with my Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K (BMPCC 4K). It also works with the Ursa Mini Pro. The app is currently only available for iOS devices.

Starting the app

Before starting the app, you’ll need to go into the BMPCC 4K Setup section and turn on Bluetooth. Once you’ve done that then start the Bluetooth+ app.

Below are screenshots that show what is looks like when I connect the BMPCC 4K to the Bluetooth+ app. The first screenshot is what you see when you first launch the app. The app will display the available cameras. In the next screenshot, I’ve clicked on the camera and then on Connect at the bottom of the screen. Once it’s connected it will display the last screenshot.

What’s it do?

Once you’ve connected the Bluetooth+ app you’ll be able to switch between the following screens.

Here’s some of what the app allows me to control.

  • Follow Focus (currently Pocket 4K with focus-by-wire lenses only)
  • Record Start/Stop
  • White Balance, including 5 helpful presets and Auto White Balance
  • Green/Magenta Tint
  • Trigger Autofocus (for supported electronic lenses with autofocus enabled on the lens)
  • Off-speed frame rates
  • Aperture (for supported electronic lenses)
  • Shutter Angle
  • ISO
  • Active Card
  • Power On/Off
  • Enter metadata in the Digital Slate (including location data from your iPhone or iPad if you give permission)

Why is this useful?

I find the application especially useful when the camera is mounted in a way that it is hard to see the screen. With this app, I’m able to make changes and see settings. I also use an Atomos Shinobi and so the combination is very powerful for me.

I use the focus screen on the Shinobi and adjust focus using the Bluetooth+ app. This eliminates the need for me to see the screen on the back of the BMPCC 4K, which at times can be a real pain, depending on how the camera is positioned — such as with a low shot or on a gimbal in suitcase mode. Really though, I find I use it all the time now as it also gives me the ability to start and stop recording without having to touch the camera.

The other feature I’ve been exploring is the ability to pull focus. I’m able to set up to three different focus points and then set the time it takes to get from one point to the next. With a little practice, I’m finding the works pretty well. Note that this only works on lenses that are focus by wire. The author of the application says that it works best on slow focus pull and not so well on fast ones. You’ll need to explore this to find what works best for you.

Conclusion

I find that I use this application all the time now. I use it for focus, to double-check Codec and Quality, to start and stop recording and to pull or adjust focus in combination with the Atomos Shinobi. It works well and I haven’t had any problems with it. For me, this is a highly recommended app for use with my BMPCC 4K.

You can find the Bluetooth+ for Blackmagic iPhone only app here.

Here’s an alternative for you Andriod users — The Blackmagic Camera Controller. I don’t have experience with it, but I’ve read good things. You can that here.

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