Blackmagic Design Unveils URSA Broadcast Camera and Control Boards

By James DeRuvo (doddleNEWS)

Blackmagic Design CEO Grant Petty took to YouTube Live today to announce some new products, in their second straight year of live streaming their annual product announcement lineup. And what Petty showed us amounted to some pretty modern looking camera control and switcher stations, as well as an upgraded URSA cinema camera, that can now be used as a 4K broadcast studio camera system.  Let’s take a look.

“URSA Broadcast lets customers get the most out of their investment in cameras and lenses because it can be re-purposed and used on every type of project, whether it’s out in the field or in the studio. It’s like getting two cameras in one.” – Grant Petty, CEO, Blackmagic Design.

The biggest news was that Blackmagic continues to converge their cinema and broadcast studio camera packages by introducing the URSA Broadcast camera. Capable of mounting both older analog and digitally control B4 lenses, the URSA Broadcast camera can be used in both 4K and full HD broadcast productions. It comes with a new 4K sensor, upgraded with greater dynamic range three built in neutral density filters, and support for CFast, dual SD Cards, and SSD drive recorders.

Blackmagic URSA Broadcast Key Features

  • 4K sensor, extended video dynamic range, traditional external controls and buttons, built in optical ND filters, dual CFast and dual SD card recorders,
  • Advanced HD and Ultra HD broadcast camera with ⅔” B4 mount.
  • New extended video mode with better dynamic range and color fidelity producing images with amazing texture and detail, accurate skin tones, vibrant color and high dynamic range.
  • Full electronic B4 lens control support for adjusting focus, iris and zoom using the camera’s controls, or remotely from an ATEM switcher or ATEM Camera Control Panel.
  • Built in dual SD/UHS-II and CFast card recorders allow unlimited duration recording in high quality.
  • Records 1080i or 2160p video into standard .mov files using DNx145, DNx220X or ProRes for compatibility with existing broadcast systems and workflows. Standard .mxf will be added in future updates.
  • Support for DNxHD 220X, DNxHD 145, Apple ProRes 4444 XQ QuickTime, ProRes 4444 QuickTime, ProRes 422 HQ QuickTime, ProRes 422 QuickTime, ProRes 422 LT QuickTime and ProRes 422 Proxy QuickTime, CinemaDNG RAW, CinemaDNG RAW 3:1, CinemaDNG RAW 4:1.
  • High quality clear, 1/4, 1/16th and 1/64th stop neutral density (ND) filters with IR compensation designed to specifically match the colorimetry and color science of URSA Broadcast.
  • Fully redundant controls including external broadcast controls which allow direct access to the most important camera settings such as external power switch, ND filter wheel, ISO, shutter, white balance, record button, audio gain controls, lens and transport control, high frame rate button and more.
  • Interchangeable lens mount with B4 mount included as standard. Optional EF, PL and F mount available separately.
  • Status display for quickly checking timecode, shutter and lens settings, battery, recording status, and audio levels.
  • Features all standard connections, including dual XLR mic/line audio inputs with phantom power, 12G‑SDI output for monitoring with camera status graphic overlay and separate XLR 4 pin power output for viewfinder power, headphone jack, LANC remote control and standard 4 pin 12V DC power connection.
  • Built in high quality stereo microphones for recording sound.
  • 4 inch foldout touchscreen for on-set monitoring and menu settings.
  • Blackmagic SDI Control Protocol for external control or iPad control via Bluetooth®, 2 x 2.5mm LANC for lens and record control.

Blackmagic is also making 4K broadcast obscenely affordable as they always have, dropping the price of the URSA Broadcast to $3995, which has become the sweet spot for Blackmagic to launch a competitive camera array. Available now.

Next comes the Blackmagic ATEM 1 M/E Advanced Panel. Completely redesigned and scaled down for a modern broadcast studio or truck, the ATEM 1 M/E Advanced works with all ATEM switchers and features great new customization features built around several LCD based control bars that look similar to the TouchBar on Apple’s MacBook Pro. With this new kind of capability, the A1ME can switch to different configurations, or display the panel’s features in one of several different languages at the touch of a button. The button rows are also color coded by whatever configuration the switcher is set to, be it chromakey, live broadcast, and more.  The A1ME also supports the latest broadcast technology with  smooth professional buttons, knobs, T-Bar fader and joystick, a built in LCD and more.

The A1ME offers multi camera control through a wide variety of sources, and features some redesigned buttons that are designed to eliminate errant key presses that can go to a camera that isn’t ready. The compact size fits in a standard equipment rack or can be secured to the desk of a technical directing room or broadcast truck.

The ATEM 1 M/E Advanced Panel is available now for US$2,995.

Blackmagic also announced an upgraded ATEM, the ATEM 4 M/W Broadcast Studio 4k. This rack mounted controller provides the world’s most advanced high frame rate Ultra HD 2160p60 switcher with 20 inputs, 4 M/Es and 16 next generation ATEM Advanced Chroma Keyers at four per channel. In addition, the ATEM 4 M/E Broadcast Studio 4K features 2 Ultra HD multi viewers, full 2D DVE, built in SuperSource compositing engines with 4 picture in picture DVEs, full re-synchronization on each input and much more.

Other key features include:

  • Full 4 M/E switcher with each M/E featuring 4 ATEM Advanced Chroma Keyers.
  • Switcher can be switched between HD and Ultra HD video formats instantly.
  • 2 x built in Ultra HD multi view allows 16 sources, 2 x previews and program.
  • 20 x inputs for a total of 20 x 12G-SDI. All inputs feature auto re‑sync.
  • 1 x down converted program output.
  • Built in media pool graphics storage for 64 RGBA Ultra HD stills and 360 frames of Ultra HD clips.
  • Built in full motion 2D DVE with position, scale, resize and rotate features.
  • Built in SuperSource allows 4 DVEs and 4 keys layered as an independent video source.
  • 4 media players allow graphics to be connected to keyers for fill and key layering.
  • Transitions include cut, mix, dip to color, SMPTE wipes and more.
  • 16 new ATEM Advanced Chroma Keyers (4 per M/E row).
  • 2 downstream keyers.
  • 6 auxiliary outputs include front panel aux switching buttons and LCD screen for viewing.
  • Built in audio mixer live mixes embedded audio from all video inputs and independent audio inputs.
  • Balanced XLR stereo analog audio inputs and 1 HiFi RCA stereo audio input into built in audio mixer.
  • Audio mixer main and preview outputs onto balanced XLR audio outputs and on all video outputs.
  • Internal sources include black, color bars, two color generators and media pool.
  • Ethernet connection for control panel connection. Mac and Windows control panel software included.
  • Compatible with all ATEM Broadcast Panel control panels when hardware panel is required.
  • Black Burst and HD-Tri-Sync genlock input for integration into large systems.
  • Compact 2 rack unit size is perfect for when a lot of power is required in a portable solution.

Cost of the ATEM 4M/E Broadcast Studio 4K is $5995 and it’s available now. But before you list your 2ME for sale, Blackmagic has made sure that you don’t have to. With the free Switchers Update 7.3 software update, existing ATEM 2 M/E users can essentially upgrade their 2 M/E into a new 4 M/E for free!

There were several other really cool products announced including a multi camera controller for limited staffed studios, and a new power supply for the URSA Broadcast, plus several Fiber Converters for converting standard television converters to a single Fiber optic cable that can charger your camera up to 2KM away.  The power supply is designed to protect your gear in the event of connecting to damaged cables, and they will certainly be turning heads to those who get their hands on them this April at NAB.

Check out the entire presentation from YouTube below:


About James DeRuvo 801 Articles
Editor in Chief at doddleNEWS. James has been a writer and editor at doddleNEWS for nearly a decade. As a producer/director/writer James won a Telly Award in 2005 for his Short Film "Searching for Inspiration. James is a recovering talk show producer from KABC in Los Angeles, and a weekly guest on the Digital Production Buzz with Larry Jordan.

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