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Andrew Reid

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

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Indeed. I thought Blackmagic had a nice unique product line going, providing for a genuine market that existed and needed the products... and then suddenly here they are putting all they R&D and best software features into a couple of high end cameras aimed at Arri and Sony, at a price tag too low for pros and too high for 90% of the previous user base.

 

For BMD as a company, releasing those first few cameras is what could be seen as a risk, considering the kind of non-camera products they make, those first "cheap" "low end" cameras could have alienated their user base.

 

It looks like they're now catering for their original user base with higher end cameras, more suited to their needs. Nothing wrong with that, the URSA sounds like an amazing concept, just not something I'd be interested in shooting with, and probably neither will the DSLR crowd.

 

I just wish they'd take a moment to finish what they started and make some proper improvements on the first cameras' firmware, I'm sure it's still holding back a lot of people from buying them.

 

I also wonder if these cameras's success could dictate a shift in their priorities again.

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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

But the size and weight are throwbacks to a bygone era.

 

And yet it will be considered compact by many types of production who had to kit out cameras in order to get all that functionality from different add-on devices. This is not a bad or expensive camera, it's just not a camera for "us", why waste time wishing it was something else?

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Got to remember its NAB & they are just setting out their stall - a bit naively, but hey.

The real crazy thing is that BM are totally dismissing their track record as far as after sales is concerned.

Can they seriously think that someone will buy this thing & regard it as a safe buy?

What really bugs me about this camera & its upgradability, is that they are quite obviously saying our 4K sensor ain't great but have it anyway until we make you buy a new one, which might be plagued with similar problems, along with dubious firmware updates - cynical yes, but deserved.

 

On a brighter note, there are reports that there will be more than 1 firmware update in the near future, but again the wait begins.

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I disagree. You can put a DSLR anywhere. You can do almost anything with one, put in a cupboard, shoot. Cramped spaces? Just shoot.

 

With an Alexa you need to start tearing down your sets. With an FS700 you... are just fucked. It's so bad.

 

Stunt shots are not significant pluses.  In virtually any of these cases the SI2K and One Cam are even better and can go into even tighter places than camera the size of a GH2. 

 

I'm talking about the shots composing 99% of all other shots and making films that don't care about putting a camera in a cupboard.  The best films that have ever been made, that might ever be made, were made with cameras that couldn't go in these tight places and, guess what, nobody missed not having a shot from a cupboard, or looking out a glove box, or from behind a steering wheel or whatever gimmick you care to come up with.

 

The DSLR is bad for general shooting and must be kitted out to move right and let the operator see what they're doing, be held in a good position, and often these things are at odds with one another.

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ursa-canon.jpg

 

For my needs I find the HDMI model a very useful companion for my future GH4; its a YAGH on steroids, its an external 4K recorder, it has an fullHD iPad-like video monitor, and more... all that in one single package, for me I found that convenient. 16 pounds of awesome, I know, a heavy price but its workable.

 

If I want light weight for run and gun gigs or get some quick shots just unplug it and you're good to go.

 

Now, price its not available for this model, if its more than $2k - $3k, I would not buy it... although thats the price for external recorders only, if you want XLR inputs thats another accessory...

 

Also, theres no info on whether it can be upgraded to add a sensor in the future.

 

I think it's to early to celebrate or complain, so will see.

 

PS: I honestly don't know WHY they used a 5D for the preview picture... makes no sense.

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ursa-canon.jpg

 

For my needs I find the HDMI model a very useful companion for my future GH4; its a YAGH on steroids, its an external 4K recorder, it has an fullHD iPad-like video monitor, and more... all that in one single package, for me I found that convenient. 16 pounds of awesome, I know, a heavy price but its workable.

 

If I want light weight for run and gun gigs or get some quick shots just unplug it and you're good to go.

 

Now, price its not available for this model, if its more than $2k - $3k, I would not buy it... although thats the price for external recorders only, if you want XLR inputs thats another accessory...

 

Also, theres no info on whether it can be upgraded to add a sensor in the future.

 

I think it's to early to celebrate or complain, so will see.

 

PS: I honestly don't know WHY they used a 5D for the preview picture... makes no sense.

 

Agree. GH4 would have made more sense.

 

Can see the advantage of unplugging if you want small size.

 

I just think what most people wanted was a similar solution but smaller and less overkill.

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The CION requires quite a bit of kitting to be on feature parity in many ways with the URSA. You need an external recorder for RAW. As far as I can see, there's no EVF or monitor beside that tiny side-mounted one, so you need one of those. There's only a single capture card. External controls are a lot more limited. I'm not saying that one is better than the other, but that it's important to note that they're using two very different design philosophies. The CION is intended to be kitted out, while the URSA is intended to have everything integrated. There are advantages to both.  

Good point. If I was in the studio camera market again for the money of either, I'd buy a used Red 1 MX. Better chip. Better IQ. 

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Why can't you have some empathy and stop forcing your world view on other people...

 

Fine, I will stop.

 

Dictatorship is a very unique way to run a forum, but I hope it works out for you.

 

Please delete my account, you stupid little cunt.

 

It didn't seem a lack of empathy to me.  More a skewed perspective from a privileged/professional position.

I don't feel I need any sympathy.  I was just ball busting.

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I am not so negativ about the success of this camera. Yesterday I was the whole day walking back and forth between the Pana, Sony, AJA and BMD cameras at the NAB show. To get to play with one of the Sonys or the GH4 it wasn't that a long waiting line. But wow, at AJA and especially at BMD it was crazy. Everybody has to see and play with this cam. From the people around me I often could hear them serious wanting to buy one of these big boys.

So just because it is maybe not made for most member here does not mean anything. Yesterday night I had a look at the Redusers forum and they like the URSA a lot.

This week I have to decide if I order the A7s, GH4, URSA or even Cion (the only PL mount is holding me back).

Ok, now I have to walk across the street to the NAB show again. Maybe today I will change my opinion.

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I disagree. You can put a DSLR anywhere. You can do almost anything with one, put in a cupboard, shoot. Cramped spaces? Just shoot.

 

With an Alexa you need to start tearing down your sets. With an FS700 you... are just fucked. It's so bad.

Bring the right tool to the job. Just worked on a high action Ford Mustang Commercial. We were flying Epics off Ultimate Arms, high speed chases, etc. Every toy you could ask for. But the best shots came from two Go Pros taped to a piece of plywood facing in opposite directions. The car drove over it at 80 mph. 

 

The relevant question should be: "what are shooting and who are you shooting for?". 

 

If I'm shooting with clients and need multiple feeds, XLR, wireless FIZ, supporting large zooms, precise focus cues, etc, if I use a DLSR body as my main camera, it'll be so trussed up with rigging that error and time wasted increases with every bit of crap attached. Yet in two weeks I'll be shooting doc footage in Sierra Leone. For a variety of reasons, I'm using primarily a BMC Pocket Cam and a pancake lens. d

 

The URSA is not for the lone clientless shooter. It's for people who want a tool to make a living. Having sound, monitoring, and visuals come out of one carrying case and ready to go seconds is attractive. Its form factor from a "bygone era" will suit 90% of the work out there. I'm confident at 6k, for most working cameramen, it'll have a far better return on investment than a DSLR.

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Let's put it this way , majority of the Cine market could not afford this, not financially but the way it requires and how it requires. And of course the whole original BMCC sector getting let down by having nothing ( no news is not always good news this time ) at all is even more depressing. In iteslf alone the cam is not really bad, but one have to question if its concept a bit of too much or rather too less this way and that way ... the big question is not how this cam work, but how the competition works. I am looking at the URSA and then I look at the BM production ( essentially 4K super35 version of the BMCC ) and I must ask myself, if its not better to have one over the others. And of course we now have to thrown in the like of Arri, RED, and plenty more ... and yes the Canon, Panasonic and Sony.

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Let's put it this way , majority of the Cine market could not afford this, not financially but the way it requires and how it requires. And of course the whole original BMCC sector getting let down by having nothing ( no news is not always good news this time ) at all is even more depressing.

 

Really how can customer not drawn to Panasonic and Sony, 

Not sure what the "Cine" market is. It's too expensive as a hobby. But anyone who plans to use it for work or looking to start out as a freelancer, it's a steal. An URSA will be paid off in less than 20 jobs in the first year.

 

My biggest disappointment with BMC is the slow chip, narrow DR, and no new firmware. I'd trade in global  shutter for a faster, wider DR chip. I'll pass for now.

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Let's put it this way , majority of the Cine market could not afford this

 

Seriously? 99% of what's on the screen these days (either TV or Theaters) is shot on much more expensive cameras, what do you mean???

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Let's put it this way , majority of the Cine market could not afford this, not financially but the way it requires and how it requires. And of course the whole original BMCC sector getting let down by having nothing ( no news is not always good news this time ) at all is even more depressing. In iteslf alone the cam is not really bad, but one have to question if its concept a bit of too much or rather too less this way and that way ... the big question is not how this cam work, but how the competition works. I am looking at the URSA and then I look at the BM production ( essentially 4K super35 version of the BMCC ) and I must ask myself, if its not better to have one over the others. And of course we now have to thrown in the like of Arri, RED, and plenty more ... and yes the Canon, Panasonic and Sony.

Franka, if you're looking at the Production cam to compare it with, budget in a cage/rig, rod support, XLR box, AB battery plate and mount, and then a decent HD monitor. It'll probably tip the scales over the URSA or be damn close. Both cams you'll need to buy AB batts / charger. Not cheap. If I was starting out as a free-lancer, on paper the URSA is more attractive.

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It didn't seem a lack of empathy to me.  More a skewed perspective from a privileged/professional position.

I don't feel I need any sympathy.  I was just ball busting.

 

Heh, I think you were talking to a young teen who thinks money grows from mummy and daddy's wallet.

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OMFG, who cares what cameras LOOK LIKE!!! Are you making films or are you trying to stand around in public while on-lookers gawk at your camera gear? What is the film world coming to?

 

And stop using buzz-words/terms like "form factor"... just say what you mean. Just say that you're not confident in your abilities and you want to just impress people with giant gear set-ups. I'm so f-ing sick of hearing "form factor" I could puke. There is no better form factor that something small like the Pocket Cine cam size. It's tiny, it fits on the back of the lens, and you can add whatever you want to it... bigger shoulder mount, more weight, whatever. Arguing against small cameras (which is really just innovation) is an irrational one, and can only be explained by the desire to have something "bigger looking" for the sake of impressing people and the facade of "professionalism".

 

Seriously, if you fall into this category of big-camera chasers... quit film making. Go buy a Harley Davidson or a Ford F-450 truck. It's not an insult... it's a genuine suggestion. You're probably just looking for some kind of personal validation.

 

That was very stupid. Form factor matters alot, theres a reason why its been the way it has for so long, not because it "looks" cool. It works, you hold a dslr and then you hold an old film camera or the equivalent shape. You will instantly notice the stability and comfort, along with the ability to use your other hands to do more things.

 

Think of it this way, sure small is great, but there a reason why people have to rig it up, and guess what shape seems to work so well: Over the shoulder. A Progression to a more suitable design is great, it doesnt take away from their previous design either, if this doesnt work for you then check out the prior models.

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Seriously the form factor and quality of my 550d are way better than this, PLUS an articulating screen and MAGIC LANTERN. duh 550d > URSA

 

The scary thing is that you might actually believe this!

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