New Products From Blackmagic Design at NAB 2016

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!

URSA Studio Viewfinder

Blackmagic Design URSA Update: Shoulder Kit

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.

URSA Shoulder Kit

Blackmagic URSA Begins Shipping

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 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!


Blackmagic Now Offers More PL Options

Blackmagic Design has made a minor announcement regarding their existing Cinema 2K and Production 4K digital cinema cameras. Both cameras are now available with native PL mounts on front. Originally the Cinema 2K was sold in electronic EF mount and passive M4/3 mount. The M4/3 could be adapted to PL via third party adapter. The Production 4K was only available with the active EF mount with no good PL options.

Well PL lens collection havers can relax. Now both cameras can be purchased with a native PL mount. You will pay $300 extra for the PL mount on the Cinema 2K camera. These will be shipping soon. For anyone with an existing camera that they want retrofitted we are selling Wooden Camera retrofitting for $1295.

BMD Lens Options

Wooden BMD Retrofit


Blackmagic Pocket Camera Still In-Stock

We’ve already documented how Blackmagic Designed messed up and tricked everyone into thinking they could get a Pocket new for $500. A few lucky people out there did get in on the deal. Most people did not. Pockets were sold out nation wide with in 48 hours of the announcement. Then, about a week after the announcement, Blackmagic rescinded the promotion by saying “the promotion was only going to run till the end of August but the Pocket will be back ordered till October.”.

Through all of this Professional Video has had Pocket cameras in-stock and ready to go most of the time. These were cameras that were on our shelf before they were discounted. While we can’t make up for Blackmagic’s mistake and offer these cameras for $499 we can make people a good deal on them. We’re selling our last Pockets for $842. We’re also including 2x FREE batteries with the camera (3 total, including the in-box battery). These cameras are in very very limited supply. If you’re interests in a good deal on a Pocket that you can buy today this is your chance.

BMD Pocket

Huge Price Cut on BMD Pocket: Updated

In a shocking move we’ve cut the price of the Blackmagic Pocket camera in half. Thats right, literally 50% off the regular price. This brings it down to $489. Plus we’re including a free extra BMD battery with the camera (you’ve heard how it eats batteries). They’re in stock in Portland today. If you’ve been on the fence this should push you over the edge. It was already a leader in it’s class. No camera offers the features it does, in the form factor it has, at any where near this price. This is truly the Professional choice for a point and shoot camera. $489 plus a free BMD battery. Currently this offer extends to August 31st. Post by Eric C. Petrie

UPDATED July 28th, ‘14: Blackmagic has informed us that the promotion was far more popular then they anticipated. Due to the flood of orders they have now canceled this promotion. Although this does seem extremely odd and maybe a bit unfair we here at Professional Video don’t have any control over that element of it. You’ll find that all major reputable dealers have returned to $995 as the standard pricing. We have a very limited supply of pocket cameras on hand here in Portland. We’re selling them for $842 plus we’re throwing in an extra battery. We’re hearing from Blackmagic that it may be 6-8 weeks before we see any more of these cameras in the U.S. so get them while you can.

BMD Pocket

Blackmagic Design Production 4K Camera In-Stock

We have the Blackmagic Design Production 4K camera in-stock and ready to ship. This is the camera you’ve been waiting for. 4K, ProRes, 10-bit, RAW, all below $3K. This camera is a DIY type of rig. When you purchas one of these you need to ask yourself a few question. What is your solution for audio? for handles to pick it up? for monitoring with a focus-level resolution monitor? for battery systems? We have all of these solutions. We’ve built up dozens of these camera systems. We know where you can save a little money on accessories and how to get the most bang for your buck. Post by Eric C. Petrie

03 Production 4K

Pre-Order Your BMD URSA or Other New Cameras Now & Get Rewarded

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

Blackmagic URSA 4KSCION

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.

NAB ’14 Camera Recap: What Did We Really Get

The annual NAB show has come and gone. It was a good year for cameras and it also saw the spreading of some interesting trends:

Dockable Cameras: What’s old is new again. The two piece camera concept, something big up through the late 90’s, is back. We saw two piece, head-dock combo cameras from Blackmagic Design with the URSA and from Panasonic with the new VariCam system. We’ll see if these dock systems catch on with more manufacturers and more models and if these docks actually pay off with the flexibility the makers claim 

High Speed: We’re starting to get to a point where 60p is just expected in a professional camera. But we’re also introducing the concept that to make a “high speed” camera you don’t have to be Phantom creating thousands of frames per second. Most users are very excited about 120 or 240. For a lot of camera makers frame rates in this range are now becoming very tangible specifications. AJA, Panasonic, Sony, and even JVC all showed cameras that could reach the 120 threshold.

ProRes & Other Beefy 10-Bit Codecs: ProRes is starting to become the closest thing the video industry has ever had to a high end “universal standard” codec. Blackmagic, AJA, and even Sony and Panasonic all showed ProRes recording cameras. And we have more options for ProRes external records then ever, thanks to AJA and Atomos. Beyond ProRes the theme was 10-bit. XAVC and AVC-Ultra where shown off on many new models, all recording in 10-bit. In some cases the compression schemes have become so good we can get a 10-bit signal out of a 25mbps package. RAW recording is starting to become more readily available, though i wouldn’t quite call it a “common” feature yet.

Super35mm: Large sensor “cinema” cameras have been the growing trend for the last 3-4 NAB shows. This year the ratio of cameras that specifically use the Super35mm standard compared to smaller sensors was the biggest it’s ever been. Panasonic, AJA, Blackmagic Design, JVC, and Sony all showed new cameras that make use of this format. There were very few cameras shown with smaller traditional broadcast 1/3” or 2/3” sensors.

Shoulder Mount/ Improved Ergonomics: Generally speaking there weren’t too many cameras that required kitting out shown this year. There was a very pleasant uptake in ready to go cameras. The Blackmagic URSA, The AJA CION, the new VariCams, and the new JVC all use shoulder mount designs. Sony’s even gone to the lengths of improving the F5 & F55 shoulder mount. Those cameras are already shoulder-mountable, and always have been. But now they’ve gone totally ENG with a new control layout and new features via a docking sled. JVC even showed an economically designed hand-held camera with a large Super35mm sensor. For some reason that’s a concept that hasn’t really been that prevalent before.

Post by Eric C. Petrie


Blackmagic Releases Their Take on Studio Cameras

Blackmagic always has a very interesting and unique take on industry standard technology. They already make most of the equipment you would need to assemble a small studio, now they’ve got the cameras too. The Blackmagic Studio Cameras are unlike anything you’ve ever seen. The camera is available in two flavors, 1080p and 4K. They have a 10” LCD screen on the backside, the same one found on the URSA. At it’s thickest point it is 4.5” thick, at it’s slimmest it’s about 1.75” thin. It’s just barely big enough to put on the necessary ports and a lens mount. The body has a remote port, headset & mic ports, 2 XLR audio in, optical fiber, SDI out and in, reference, and finally 4-pin 12v power. The lens mount is Micro Four Thirds. The sensor is an interesting similar 12.6x7mm (16mm film?) to that of the Pocket. So it’s smaller then a true Micro Four Thirds but it’s bigger then a 2/3” broadcast sensor. It’s about 1” diagonal. The 1080p model is only $1995 and the 4K model is $2995. The 1080p is shipping in less then 2 weeks and the 4K is shipping in about 8 weeks.

At first glance these seem like miraculous achievements and a perfect fit for any small studio, school, church, government, or community system. There is one big glaring issue that jumps out at me. Almost by definition a studio camera must have a very smooth fluid powered zoom lens. It would be incredibly difficult to run a studio camera with out the ability to smoothly zoom in and out from the handles of the tripod. The same is true of focus. Not being able to control the focus from a servo focus control would be very challenging. The nature of this cameras Micro Four Thirds mounts means that it’s most natively designed to take still photo lenses which have absolutely no such servo control. There are a few exceptions, photo lenses that have small built in servos. But the servo mechanism is a very poor excuse when compared to a real servo lens. So what are you to do? Adapting Micro Four Thirds to a B4 lens is possible with an adapter that is about $1,500. It’s expensive because there is a lot of optical correction that has to take place. You also lose light using the adapters. Then you have to rig external power for the lens because the powered servo zoom motors won’t be taking the power off the camera like a traditional studio camera. So there’s another $1,000 in a power solution for the servo lens. Now what about the lens itself? You’re not going to get into a powered zoom lens for less then $5000, average price is probably going to be closer to $10,000. So now you’ve taken your $2k BMD 1080p camera and added at least $8,000 of gear to the front of it in order to get proper zoom, focus, iris control, like someone would expect from a studio camera. Post by Eric C. Petrie.

Camera sides

AccessoriesViewfinder screen