During IBC 2022 we had a chance to talk to Pietro Vignali, the director of the Italian BlueShpe battery solutions manufacturer, who shared with us some of the company’s existing and upcoming products.
The future is in B mount batteries
V-mount batteries have been the industry standard for quite a few years now (in the U.S., especially in certain cities Gold mount is much more common but these still make for a pretty small percentage of the global market). V-mount however is showing its age as more power-hungry cameras and high-power LEDs are becoming increasingly more common.
Maybe the biggest problem with V-mount is when higher voltages are required (24V etc.). Although some manufacturers created higher voltage V-mounts batteries – these are potentially dangerous and if used on 14V equipment by accident can cause damage to the equipment.
Arri was eager to find a solution and together with German Manufacturer Bebob developed the B-Mount battery interface around 2019 as an open industry standard with several more companies following up with their own products including BlueShpe.
During IBC we saw several manufacturers promoting new and upcoming B mount batteries and adapters and it is clear that battery manufacturers understand the potential of the new standard. Blueshape is currently working on a two upcoming 24V B-mount batteries one with a capacity of 290Wh and a huge 435Wh battery (both with a more efficient cell design). The company is also working on an upcoming V-mount to B-mount adapter that allows users to use their existing 14V V-mount batteries on 24V B-mount cameras.
Our perspective on the current status of the battery market is that we are in the early stages of a big change when it comes to batteries for the video and cinema industries. While some camera manufacturers (especially Arri which pushed for this standard) will probably embrace this standard very quickly, lighting manufacturers may take some time to embrace the technology and we will likely not see widespread adoption of B-mount in high-power lighting gear anytime soon (some initial support might come to a handful of lights in the next year or two but not much more).
A small but very useful new product by BlueShpe that we saw during the show was the BlueShpe CMDUAL-PD. This is a dual L mount battery charger that uses USB-C PD to quickly charge two batteries.
The charger supports simultaneous charging of both 7.2V and 14.4V batteries with up to 2.5A of charge current, reducing the charge time up to 3 times compared to other chargers (the charger can also charge both 7.2V battery and a 14.4V battery without any performance issues which is always useful if you have different batteries that need charging at the same time).
The CMDUAL-PD charger supports USB power delivery – an industry first! This allows you to use the same AC adaptor for your CMDUAL-PD, camera, laptop, and any other USB Type-C powered devices, perfect for traveling light.
Moving away from relatively small and compact batteries to some of the most high-power batteries, Vignali showed us the BlueShpe PG700E which was announced earlier this year and is a heavy-duty portable “power generator”.
The PG700E has four internal 300Wh battery modules (1200Wh in total) that charge via AC and it comes in either 220/110V AC 50/60Hz outlet versions and can provide up to 700W of continuous AC power for use on set and has a charge time of about 7 hours.
The unit is placed in a Pelican-style case with wheels and has a weight of 18kg/39.6lbs. The PG700E can replace a small generator and is mostly silent (it has some fans for cooling but its noise level should be pretty low).
the BlueShpe PG700E “power generator”
Vignali also mentioned something interesting at the end of the interview. Apparently, the company is working on the next generation of large batteries that will come in a modular form factor so you will be able to add more power as needed.
Pricing and availability
When it comes to pricing only some of the products discussed here are available while the others (like the B-mount batteries and adaptors) are still in development.
- The BlueShpe CMDUAL-PD sells for around $190.
- BlueShpe PG700E sells for around $3200.
For more of our coverage on LensVid from IBC 2022 – please visit the following link.