As they always do Blackmagic Design has announced a whole bunch of new products at NAB. Over 16 new models to be exact. I’ll touch on a few here.
FROM BLACKMAGIC: URSA Studio Viewfinder: The Blackmagic Studio Viewfinder completely transforms the URSA into a professional studio camera. It looks amazing and it simply plugs into where the normal viewfinder would connect on the front of the camera. The ergonomics of the viewfinder were designed for maximum comfort which is vital when working on shoots where the camera team can be standing for hours at a time. When we designed this viewfinder the number 1 feature we worked on was to make the best articulated mounting we had seen on any viewfinder at any cost. These joints have an amazing range of tension adjustment so you can set them to the perfect resistance you need. So what this means is you can pan and tilt the viewfinder to the position you need, which is vital when the camera is high up and you need to tilt it down. There are knobs for controlling brightness and contrast and also a knob for focus peaking so you can set the level you need. There’s a menu dial for navigating viewfinder settings, plus 3 assignable function buttons. There is a sun shield included and a tally indicator under the sun shield as well as above the sun shield for the camera operator.
FROM BLACKMAGIC: Video Assist 4K: This new model Video Assist 4K lets you add a bright 7 inch monitor and broadcast quality recorder to any SDI or HDMI camera. By adding a Video Assist to a DLSR camera you can get a nice large screen that ensures you get perfect focus every time. Video Assist has built in focus aids such as focus peaking and focus zoom. You can also use the histogram to help set exposure. Because Video Assist has built in recorders, you can bypass the low quality video files or even tape based recorders in many cameras. The Video Assist uses high quality ProRes and DNx recording, so you get great quality and full compatibility with all editing software. You also get much longer recording times because Video Assist 4K features 2 SD card slots, so you can change cards while recording.
FROM BLACKMAGIC: URSA Mini Full Operating System User Interface 2: Next we are going to be demonstrating a whole new user interface for our URSA Mini cameras. The most visible part of the new URSA Mini operating system is the user interface of the camera and it’s now much faster to use and has also been totally redesigned. Now touching any setting on the LCD lets you directly adjust that setting without going into menus. A good example is lens control. Now you can just select iris and step though the F stops, or just slide the iris open and closed with your finger on the LCD. If you want to adjust audio level then just touch the audio meters and now you can change levels and if you rotate the audio knob, the adjustments are also displayed automatically. This new operating system adds a lot of intelligence to the camera as well. A good example of this is shutter angles. Setting shutter angles to eliminate flicker from lighting can be tricky, but now settings are recommended to eliminate flicker from lighting. You can still set any angle you want, but there are also recommendations that calculated for you. It recommends angles when you over or under crank the frame rates.
All of these great new things from Blackmagic Design are coming soon!
We’ve already had a small handful of URSA cameras come through our doors. I still haven’t really had a chance to get “hands on” with one yet. But i do know it is heavy. I’m willing to bet it’s heavier then the published 17 pounds. I also know that it can’t be used right out of the box in any other way then mounting it on a tripod.
Enter the Blackmagic Design URSA Shoulder Kit. Or, as i like to call it, stuff that should be on any camera right out of the box. I don’t know if BMD always intended on creating this kit or if they rushed it out based on user feedback, but it does strike me as odd that this kit was not in the URSA literature until a few weeks ago, just before the camera started to ship.
The Shoulder Kit for the URSA provides the bottom of the camera with a shoulder pad, a V wedge plate for a long ENG-style tripod plate, and a rosette on ether side of the camera to mount front handles on the camera. Now it seems to be that tripod quick release, front handles, and padding on the shoulder are all features that most users will want. The shoulder kit is selling for $345. So add that to the $5,995 for your URSA purchase. Your going to want it.
We have begun receiving our first Blackmagic Design URSA cameras. Unfortunately at this point we still haven’t had a chance to go fully hands-on with one yet. Hopefully we’ll have a demo model soon. If you are interested in seeing this camera please call us at 503-598-9142 or email email@example.com. Although it’s still early we’re quoting people about 2-4 weeks for delivery if you place your order right now. Of course Sony has recently announced the FS7 which appears to be positioned to steal a bit of the URSA’s thunder. It’s also a semi-shoulder mount camera that shoots 4K natively in-camera. It can record 4K RAW externally, the URSA can do so internally. The Sony has up to 240fps recording. The URSA has a 10 inch screen. 10 inches!
We are now taking pre-orders for an unnamed manufacturers camera, and for Blackmagic Design’s new camera, URSA. The Blackmagic camera is currently selling for $5,995 (EF-mount). The unnamed manufacturer’s camera is selling for $8,995. We ask that you pay a 10% deposit to hold your spot on our pre-order list. The deposit is fully refundable should you wish to cancel. If there is a price drop between the time you put in your order and when the camera ships (like what happened to the BMD Production 4K camera) you will only be charged for the lowest price. As a thank you for pre-ordering with us we have a special offer for you. Unfortunately we can’t say what that offer is here. Call us to find out, 503-598-9142.
Why pre-order with Professional Video? When these camera manufacturers start shipping these cameras they disperse them fairly evenly across the country. We are a relatively small dealer. That means we don’t get hundreds, or even dozens or customers pre-ordering from us. Simply put, our wait line is shorter. With the last few Blackmagic camera launches we filled our back orders with in a few weeks. That means whether you’re in the front of our line or the back of our line we’re going to get you your camera quickly. Post by Eric C. Petrie
Above picture may or may not represent unnamed manufacturers actual camera.
UPDATE: AJA has requested that we remove specific mention of the CION camera from this post.
Over the last couple of years Blackmagic has made their name in the camera world by offering cameras that made amazing looking images but were extremely sparse in features. Some might even say totally lacking in features. On top of very poor user interface design they lacked little things like any way to hold the camera, any way to check focus, any way to power the camera, any way to input pro audio into the camera. They required a kit that could equal or surpass the cost of the camera itself. Blackmagic has decided it’s time to introduce a camera that is more then a metal box with a sensor in it. Behold, URSA.
URSA starts off by taking the 4K global Super35mm sensor and processor out of the Production 4K camera and putting it into a larger housing. Format and image wise URSA can do all of the same things you expect from the Production camera. ProRes and RAW 4K are recorded internally, no outboard recorder necessary. 12-stops of HDR and a global shutter round off the image parameter list. Video is recorded onto CFast cards. Whats new is the housing. URSA is in a more familiar shoulder mount camera body (although it looks like an actual shoulder pad will have to come from 3rd parties). The body has 2 XLR inputs, SDI output, and timecode in and out. It even has a headphone jack. Although it doesn’t ship with a eye level viewfinder it does include 3 separate LCD screens. The primary monitor is a ten inch (yes 10”) flip out LCD screen that is 1080p resolution. On the left side of the camera you’ll find a 5” touch LCD for navigating camera settings. On the right side you’ll find another 5” LCD you’ll find read outs of all your key setting, a histogram, focus assist features, and audio meters.
The body of the camera has integrated handles and standard battery plates for V-mount or Gold Mount (three stud) batteries clip right to the back of the body. The front end features a very unusual design. This camera harkens back to the day of “dockable” camera systems where you had a head and a back recorder end. The “head” of this camera is interchangeable. Currently Blackmagic is offering it in 4 different builds, Super35mm sensor with a PL mount, Super35mm sensor with an EF mount, 2/3” broadcast sensor with a B4 mount, and finally dock recorder only with out head. Buying the dock recorder only gives you an HDMI input on the front end. This means you can mount any camera with a clean HDMI out (Panasonic GH4, Sony A7s) and use the Blackmagic back. The 2/3” B4 will mark one of the first, and certainly one of the most affordable, ENG broadcast style 4K cameras. This would be an amazing tool for sports, events, news, reality TV, and so on.
URSA with the EF mount is selling for $5995, the PL mount is $6495. These builds ship in July…. according to Blackmagic. The B4 and dock recorder only have not been priced out yet, nor is there word on availability. Post by Eric C. Petrie