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Andrew Reid

Blackmagic URSA - a $6k 4K professional cinema camera with interchangeable sensor

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Guest Ebrahim Saadawi

That picture... is this real or did you just Photoshop that? 

Wish I was that good in Photoshop! 

It's on their official website: Looks absolutely RIDICULOUS! :D But it's an interesting concept actually. You can use any sensor on any camera ever made in URSA.They sell the camera without the sensor box, so you can attach any camera via an HDMI/HDSDI and record to the Cfast cards taking advantage of all the cameras controls/audio/features, just without the sensor. Very keen on knowing what the price will be for the camera without the sensor, it says price "coming soon". 

Here scroll down: http://www.blackmagicdesign.com/products/blackmagicursa/uses

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EOSHD Pro Color for Sony cameras EOSHD Pro LOG for Sony CamerasEOSHD C-LOG and Film Profiles for All Canon DSLRs

spec wise it ticks all the boxes

super 35mm size sensor 4k and global shutter in a usable body form like an Alexa -

what more do you want

Blackmagic have listened to all the feedback off their other 3 cameras

 

indie film makers will jump all over this - superb!!

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"I think what he is saying is Panasonic actually finishes their low end products before pushing out newer high end products."

--------------------------------------------------------------

I always thought this place was for the artist? The guy who will jump through hoops to get a beautiful image? The guy who will use a $200 Nikon to get a taste for 4K/Raw/60p?

 

Now, all of a sudden, a couple of firmware glitches (that I also want fixed, but don't live or die by) coupled with the news of them pushing on with a new camera and they are "turning their back on the indie community"?

 

In a perfect world, my £650 cinema camera would show me how much SD card I have left, but I just work out my GB per minute and guesstimate, erring on the cautious.

 

As long as BM keeping giving me huge bangs for bucks, they'll keep getting my bucks... A bit of firmware angst and some new cameras wont change that. They are still firmly the great shining light of the indie community.

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spec wise it ticks all the boxes

super 35mm size sensor 4k and global shutter in a usable body form like an Alexa -

what more do you want

Blackmagic have listened to all the feedback off their other 3 cameras

 

indie film makers will jump all over this - superb!!

 

I honestly don't see it this way mate.

 

Trend is to go smaller and lighter.

 

This goes in complete opposite direction.

 

We already have the same 4K capabilities and likely even same sensor in the Production Camera. Rig a monitor up to that and you have Ursa without the bulk.

 

Also those ProRes HQ 4K files are virtually unmanageable when it comes to archiving footage. Be prepared to delete and compress a lot of master files if working with those. I am already dreading it with the A7S... And will be begging all the recorder manufacturers to come out with some lighter codecs for it.

 

The URSA doesn't suit me as a filmmaker but that's not to say I haven't considered the possibilities and who it WOULD suit.

 

I just don't think it's well conceptualised or designed to be honest. A massive heavy screen on a little hinge? A 7.5kg camera body? No thank you.
 

It smacks of greed to go after the production market before you have even satisfied the indie crowd... who are constantly asking for basic features and updates.

 

I'm afraid I don't be shooting any Blackmagic in 2014. What a shame.

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"I think what he is saying is Panasonic actually finishes their low end products before pushing out newer high end products."

--------------------------------------------------------------

I always thought this place was for the artist? The guy who will jump through hoops to get a beautiful image? The guy who will use a $200 Nikon to get a taste for 4K/Raw/60p?

 

Now, all of a sudden, a couple of firmware glitches (that I also want fixed, but don't live or die by) coupled with the news of them pushing on with a new camera and they are "turning their back on the indie community"?

 

In a perfect world, my £650 cinema camera would show me how much SD card I have left, but I just work out my GB per minute and guesstimate, erring on the cautious.

 

As long as BM keeping giving me huge bangs for bucks, they'll keep getting my bucks... A bit of firmware angst and some new cameras wont change that. They are still firmly the great shining light of the indie community.

 

In a perfect world? How about in the REAL world. We are talking basic functionality. Stuff that can kill you on a shoot and end up losing you your job. If you have a mega expensive unrepeatable shot ready to roll and the camera just cuts in the middle because the card is full without warning, I'd love for you to come back on the EOSHD forum and sing the praises of your £650 cinema camera.

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Geeze, lay off it a bit. Everyone's rather polarized here. We haven't seen jack squat out of most of these cameras, GH4 and A7s included. 

 

1. Just because the GH4 does 4K and is a lightweight Mirrorless doesn't mean there's no place for a 7.5KG camera.

 

2. This new URSA, as Andy Lee pointed out, ticks an awful lot of boxes, even if it is heavy. 

 

3. It ditches that darned awful BMCC form factor.

 

4. I see physical buttons, thank the Lord.

 

Let's not condone or condemn a thing until all this has been tested in the field.

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I honestly don't see it this way mate.

 

Trend is to go smaller and lighter.

 

This goes in complete opposite direction.

 

We already have the same 4K capabilities and likely even same sensor in the Production Camera. Rig a monitor up to that and you have Ursa without the bulk.

 

Also those ProRes HQ 4K files are virtually unmanageable when it comes to archiving footage. Be prepared to delete and compress a lot of master files if working with those. I am already dreading it with the A7S... And will be begging all the recorder manufacturers to come out with some lighter codecs for it.

 

The URSA doesn't suit me as a filmmaker but that's not to say I haven't considered the possibilities and who it WOULD suit.

 

I just don't think it's well conceptualised or designed to be honest. A massive heavy screen on a little hinge? A 7.5kg camera body? No thank you.
 

It smacks of greed to go after the production market before you have even satisfied the indie crowd... who are constantly asking for basic features and updates.

 

I'm afraid I don't be shooting any Blackmagic in 2014. What a shame.

 

People make real films with Arri Alexas and Red Epics

this has a similar form factor and very good specs so I do really think indie film makers will jump all over this

 

is it is very very cheap !

Black Magic have seen what people want and designed a great product that film makers will want -

 

This camera is aimed quite squarely at film makers - I want one!!

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I used to shoot on AATON and Arri 16mm cameras then Sony DigiBeta Cam cameras only this last 6 years I've been on DSLRS

 

now the Blackmagic URSA is back in the form factor Im used to using  for many years - a proper camera!!

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"I think what he is saying is Panasonic actually finishes their low end products before pushing out newer high end products."

--------------------------------------------------------------

I always thought this place was for the artist? The guy who will jump through hoops to get a beautiful image? The guy who will use a $200 Nikon to get a taste for 4K/Raw/60p?

 

So do you tell everyone who watches your movies a harrowing tale about how you got each shot or do you let your work speak for itself?  Art is about the result in front of the viewer... not some gear related back story.  And if you must know my back story I have a fully stocked darkroom in my basement with multiple enlargers for everything from microfilm up to large format.  I develop my own film and print my on pictures.  I do it because I am going for a look.  I don't do it because I expect anyone who sees my pictures to care.  And I am always down to use things that make my life easier.

 

On the digital side I shoot raw from time to time with a hacked 50D but that doesn't prevent me from realizing what a pain in the @$$ the damn thing is.

 

 

 

Now, all of a sudden, a couple of firmware glitches...

 

Auto focus doesn't work.  I would not call that a "glitch."

 

 


As long as BM keeping giving me huge bangs for bucks, they'll keep getting my bucks...

 

Errr... what kind of "services" are you purchasing from Black Magic?!

 

You paid a fair retail price for a camera with no reliable autofocus... and that is what you got.  It's reasonable for some people but not a bargain.  If autofocus worked they wouldn't be charging $1,000 in the US.  It's as simple as that.

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JUST GIVE ME THE HIGHER FPS FOR MY BMPC 4K. 

 

you can keep the 3 monitors, the 7.5 kgs, and the spaceship buttons.

 

just give me the 60fps that my production camera deserves. 

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Ursa's an interesting proposition. It's size doesn't bother me for most productions I work (episodic, commercials, features and docs). It's back heavy so it'll balance on my shoulder nicely. But they should've recessed the bottom more to accommodate a low profile/low CG shoulder pad (see Amira). I do think the 10" screen will come in handy for evaluating a 4k image. But if they're targeting studio style production, they should have made it swappable to the left or right side. The last thing I need is an AC breathing down my back. If a cameraman were behind the design, it'd be EVF on operator's side and large monitor on the "dumb" side. Now AC/Director would have a nice big screen while the operator can zone out alone with an EVF.

 

Also on the shoulder I wouldn't be using a 10" screen three inches from my face, instead an EVF. But for most productions, I find the 10" screen would come in handy. It's one less piece of gack to be dangling from some kind of arm or rigging. The shoots I work, we're flinging cameras around on incredibly packed schedules and monitor mounts eventually come out of adjustment, waste time and add to frustration. 

 

I do find the swappable chip a smart consideration for future proofing, given that there will be a better chip in less than two years. They took a page from Red handbook. Also, the ability to go HDMI with another camera could have advantages for shooting in cramped quarters (car mounts, elevators, closets, etc) - a more budget friendly approach than Alexa M.

 

Regarding the gripes about size, when you put everything on a camera you need to operate in a pro environment you either end up with something the size of an Alexa, F55 or a rigged out frankencam or rigged out Epic. The all in one approach is simple and fast to set up. I started in film many years back and while I don't miss it, I do miss the simplicity of some of the better designs (Aaton, why have you forsaken us?).

 

At 6500.00 you can't bitch too hard. And I love anyone that takes a broadside at RED. It's biggest limitation to large productions adopting it is the 12 stop dynamic range and middling sensitivity. I recently did a spot on the 4k BMC and while I loved the over all color imagery, its highlight limitations (especially against skies and windows) made me wishing I had an Arri chip. I actually prefer aspects of the BMCPC over the BMC 4k image. Highlight clipping is the difference between doubling the output on your lighting package or walking lights way too close to bring up the fill or gelling windows. It's the main reason why despite the rental price, most indies in NYC seem to be shooting Alexa (and perhaps Dragon later). It saves you money and time elsewhere. On the budget end, the extra DR is what has me still loving the 5D3 hack and not so much the images of the GH4 (Panasonic rep on Zacuto interview pegs it at about 11 stops and change). 

 

In all I was hoping for someone to introduce a mini camera (GH4 or Pocket cam size), with a log style LUT, 13 + DR, large sensor and Pro rez. Hopefully the Chinese are listening.

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"I love anyone that takes a broadside at RED."

 

This, right here. Blackmagic just took a dump on everything offered by the competition that's north of $6500. I mean, I have to essentially factor in a 1080p monitor, an audio field recorder and a v-mount battery solution if I compare the URSA to anything else. Add to that the (likely) ability to upgrade my sensor . . . wow. URSA is a heavy woman, but she sure as heck ain't lacking.

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spec wise it ticks all the boxes

super 35mm size sensor 4k and global shutter in a usable body form like an Alexa -

what more do you want

Blackmagic have listened to all the feedback off their other 3 cameras

 

indie film makers will jump all over this - superb!!

does this camera remind you of the red mx?

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I disagree that BMD has abandonded the indie filmmaker. They're just offering a wider selection. Nowhere have they said that they're giving up on the smaller cams. Firmware updates could be coming, but at the end of the day I would gladly paid $1000 for the pocket cam even if there were guaranteed no firmware updates.

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Wish I was that good in Photoshop! 

It's on their official website: Looks absolutely RIDICULOUS! :D But it's an interesting concept actually. You can use any sensor on any camera ever made in URSA.They sell the camera without the sensor box, so you can attach any camera via an HDMI/HDSDI and record to the Cfast cards taking advantage of all the cameras controls/audio/features, just without the sensor. Very keen on knowing what the price will be for the camera without the sensor, it says price "coming soon". 

Here scroll down: http://www.blackmagicdesign.com/products/blackmagicursa/uses

 

The 5D weighs around 1 kg, adding a 7 kg recorder to it seems absolutely mental... on CF cards for bloody sake. I'd rather go with Atomos or Odyssey 

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Is that with the old 3840x2160 UHD sensor from the BMC 4K Production camera ? You would think it had DCI cinema 4K (4096x2160) like  other 4K cinema cameras and the 4K GH4.

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In case you missed it, Kristian Lam (from BM) posted this (http://forum.blackmagicdesign.com/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=20956):

--

Hi

We are working on an update that is in testing and already with some beta testers. 


This next updates includes:

1. New debayering for shooting directly to ProRes or DNxHD on the Blackmagic Cinema Camera 

2. Improved MFT lens support on the Pocket Cinema Camera. 

3. RAW support on the Production Camera 4K. 

4. Autofocus support for EF lenses on Blackmagic Cinema Camera EF and Production Camera 4K

This release should be out within a month's time from today.

--

 

Great I guess. To be honest I posted stating that I'm a glass half full kind of guy but I think not mentioning this at the beginning of today kind of backfired. The forum is going nuts.

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