In an unexpected streaming presentation, Blackmagic Design CEO Grant Petty highlighted a trio of new products, including the next generation Blackmagic URSA Mini Pro, which he says is actually three cameras in one.
The time has come to create a new camera design. Professional DoP’s and cinematographers love the incredible image quality of URSA Mini and we have been working with them and listening to their feedback. URSA Mini Pro is so exciting because it combines high end digital film quality with broadcast camera and live production features, all into a single camera. URSA Mini Pro is powerful enough to be used on high end feature films and television shows, versatile enough to be used for broadcast news and live multi camera event production, and affordable enough for indie filmmakers and even students! It’s like getting 3 cameras in one!” – Grant Petty, CEO, Blackmagic Design
The key takeaway here is that DPs and Camera operators can be shooting cinema one day, documentary the next, and then move into studio for live broadcast or studio camera work, all from the same camera.
The URSA Mini Pro offers the ability to swap out lens mounts from EF to PL to B4 mounts, and later this summer, they will be adding a Nikon F mount with a special mechanical aperture control. The PL Mount also has metadata communication for lens data, and the URSA Mini Pro also has three built in neutral density filters that can dial in the amount of darkness you want for the image in bright ambient sunlight.
Shooting with 15 stops of wide dynamic range, the URSA Mini can record 4.6K 12 bit Raw at up to 60 fps to either two SD or CFast 2 cards, or use all four together for redundancy, in a hot swappable configuration for long interviews. There’s also an optional SSD recorder that can mount to the battery plate, which will be coming in the summer.
Other features include:
- Digital film camera with15 stops of dynamic range.
- Super 35mm 4.6K sensor with third generation Blackmagic Design color science processing of raw sensor data.
- Interchangeable lens mount with EF mount included as standard. Optional PL and B4 lens mount available separately. High quality 2, 4 and 6 stop ND filters with IR compensation designed to specifically match the colorimetry and color science of URSA Mini Pro.
- Fully redundant controls including ergonomically designed tactile 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.
- Built in dual C-Fast 2.0 recorders and dual SD/UHS-II card recorders allow unlimited duration recording in high quality.
- LCD status display for quickly checking timecode, shutter and lens settings, battery, recording status, and audio levels.
- Support for CinemaDNG 4.6K RAW files and ProRes 4444 XQ, ProRes 4444, ProRes 422 HQ, ProRes 422, ProRes 422 LT, ProRes 422 Proxy recording at Ultra HD and HD resolutions.
- Supports up to 60 fps 4.6K resolution capture in RAW. 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.
Price of the URSA Mini Pro is $5995, and it’s available now at B&H [affiliate link] and other retailers. Lens mounts start at $175 for the EF mount, $245 for PL, and $385 for B4. The Nikon mount is TBD at this point, but we should know more before it’s released this summer.
Other accessories like Talley and on set displays are also available. When asked why the URSA hadn’t been updated, Petty explained that they had been working on it, but that there was relatively low demand as shooters were happy with the platform as it was. Still, current users of the URSA platform also have the option to trade in their existing cameras for the URSA Mini Pro, and get a special price of $3995.
In other news, Blackmagic also announced a pair of color correction consoles for the DaVinci Resolve interface. Petty mentioned quite pointedly, that as DaVinci has evolved into a full on post-production suite that many filmmakers have used it as their primary editor, as well as for color correction, and it’s proving to be quite popular.
To that end, Blackmagic is offering the DaVinci Resolve Micro Panel at $995, and the DaVinci Resolve Mini Panel at $2995. Both have three dedicated track balls with tactile control to dial in color, contrast and luminance, as well as dedicated buttons and knobs to get the minutest detail of the image just right. The Mini Panel also has dual LCD screens and can be powered either via AC or battery power. It also has a USB-C connection.
Lastly, Petty announced that DaVinci Resolve is now supported on both Redhat and CentOS Linux, and can use both panels via the USB connection.
My guess is Blackmagic is going to have more to announced at NAB this year, with new cameras and accessories, that they really wanted to kick off the 2017 show season early to get people talking. While I’m still holding out hope that we’ll see a 4K Pocket Cinema Camera this year, one thing is certain, the first day of NAB is never boring thanks to Blackmagic.