Blackmagic Updates URSA for High Frame Rate Recording

80 FPS 4K, Compressed Raw now supported

By James DeRuvo (doddleNEWS)

Blackmagic has announced a new firmware update to the Blackmagic URSA camera which provides a host of new features including high frame rate recording to up to 80 frames per second and compressed Raw 3-1. The menu design continues to evolve, with new slide up and down access. But that’s only the tip of the URSA iceberg …

“This is a massive update for all URSA customers. There are so many new features in this software, it’s like having a whole new camera …” –  Grant Petty, CEO, Blackmagic Design.

When Petty says that vs. 1.9.9 of the Blackmagic Camera firmware is a massive update, he isn’t kidding. Looking at the laundry list of features, it’s easy to see why URSA users would want to download and install this update as it contains high frame rate recording of up to 80 FPS (frames per second), compressed Raw 3:1, a new adjustable sensor rate that works independently from the recorded frame rate for slow motion recording, and in camera formatting of CFast cards in HFS+ and XFat.

On the latter feature, Petty points out that the URSA does more than just format CFast cards, it optimizes them so that they provide the highest possible performance while recording.

But for longer form shooting, like hours of interviews or reality based TV, the URSA has a new Raw format called compressed 3:1, which gives shooters twice the recording length on the camera’s CFast cards without compromising quality. New, updated menus, provide a slide to access feature to make it easier to scroll between different format features, and offers multiple new user interfaces including a new Dashboard menu. There’s also on screen framing guides allowing for easier transition to common film aspect ratios from 2.35:1, 1.85:1 and more. The framing guides are then displayed as a translucent letterbox overlays and the opacity can be adjusted to the user’s liking.

Blackmagic also brought back the sensor frame rate feature which will enable users to change frame rate independently from the sensor frame rate so you can adjust frame rate while keeping the sensor write rate the same. This is particularly beneficial for shooting in slow motion as the URSA will then allow you to see just what you shot at high frame rate, while leaving the file at a lower frame rate of 24 fps.

Other URSA updates include:

  • Adds new compressed RAW 3:1 support: Recording time with RAW: 7 minutes on 128 GB CFast card, 14 minutes with RAW 3:1
  • Enable 80 fps support in 4K for ProRes and RAW 3:1
  • Enable variable frame rate feature so off-speed clips now playback in project frame rate
  • Enabled phantom power support
  • Added more frame guide options for the 10″ display: 2.40:1, 2.39:1, 2:35:1, 1.85:1, 1.78:1, 4:3, Thirds
  • Enabled in-camera formatting for CFast 2.0 media
  • Scrollable Menus

Here is a video of CEO Grant Petty going through the new update.

The Blackmagic Camera 1.9.9. firmware update is available for free download now from the Blackmagic Design website here:

Blackmagic Camera Utility 1.9.9 — Mac

Blackmagic Camera Utility 1.9.9 — Windows


Press Release:

Blackmagic Design adds 80fps recording to URSA Digital Film Camera

Major update includes 80 fps 4K recording, new 3:1 compressed RAW, frame guides, slow-mo playback, CFast formatting, scrolling menus and much more.

Fremont, CA – November 20, 2014 – Blackmagic Design today announced Blackmagic Camera 1.9.9, a major software update with multiple new features for the Blackmagic URSA digital film camera. This new update has been developed in conjunction with the high end cinematographers that are using URSA cameras for high end work.

Blackmagic Camera 1.9.9 can be downloaded now from the Blackmagic Design web site.

One of the most powerful new features in Blackmagic Camera 1.9.9 is support for higher frame rate recording combined with the new menu control of recording frames rates for URSA cameras. This new software increases the recording frame rate up to 80 frames per second, which allows enhanced slow motion shooting with a more fluid feel to shots.

The frame rate settings in URSA have been changed and now the record frame rate is not limited by the video frame rate. This means customers can select the frame rate they want their work to be done, such as 24 frames per second for a feature film shoot, and then independently select the recording rate from 5 all the way up to 80 frames per second. The advantage of this is the URSA camera can shoot slow motion or fast motion shots but all the recorded video files are always set to the video rate, and you can see the effect of the higher or slower frame rate when playing. This means you can playback the exact same look on the cameras as the clips will play in a time line of editing software.

When shooting higher frame rates for high end feature films and television commercials, where image quality is critical, this new Blackmagic Camera 1.9.9 update includes a new CinemaDNG 12 bit RAW format that uses 3:1 compression to allow RAW files to be recorded in one third of the size of uncompressed RAW files allowing double the storage capacity on the same sized CFast card. This new compressed RAW 3:1 format allows higher frames to be recorded in the CFast cards, while retaining all the advantages of RAW recording, where the image processing in software such as DaVinci Resolve can get access to every single bit of quality from the sensor data in the camera.

Blackmagic Camera 1.9.9 also includes in camera formatting of CFast cards so when on a shoot, a computer is not needed to prepare CFast cards for use. Unlike formatting on a computer, the Blackmagic URSA camera technically analyzes the CFast card’s memory storage structure and will optimize formatting to allow best performance when used for real time digital film data recording. This means a card formatted in URSA can get much better performance than a card formatted on a computer.

This new software update also adds multiple new user interface changes to the Blackmagic URSA camera, including the new Dashboard menu screen allowing features such as formatting and other settings to be selected. Also included in the new user interface is scrolling menus. The new scrolling menus allow customers to slide their finger on the touch screens vertically to scroll through a longer list of settings in the menus, vital on a camera with so many features that can be customized by the cinematographer.

New menu settings included in Blackmagic Camera 1.9.9 includes on screen framing guides allowing a range of common feature film aspect ratios to be displayed on the fold out monitor, such as 2.35:1, 1.85:1 and more. These framing guides are displayed as translucent letterbox overlays and the opacity can also be adjusted by the user. Multiple other framing assistance guides can also be displayed.

“This is a massive update for all URSA customers,” said Grant Petty, CEO, Blackmagic Design. “There are so many new features in this software, it’s like having a whole new camera, just by updating the software! We have worked hard on this update and we think this software update is really showing off the power of the URSA hardware design and what it’s capable of doing. There is more to come!”

Blackmagic URSA Key Features

  • Large high resolution 4K Super 35 mm sized sensor with superior handing of image detail.
  • Professional global shutter for smooth pans and image motion.
  • Wide 12 stops of dynamic range allows capture of increased details for feature film look.
  • Compatible with extremely high quality PL or EF mount lenses, depending on model.
  • User upgradable design allows customers to upgrade and change the sensor and lens mount.
  • Built in dual CFast 2.0 card recorders allow unlimited duration recording in high quality.
  • Open file formats compatible with popular edit software, such as ProRes, CinemaDNG RAW and CinemaDNG RAW 3:1 in 12 bit. No custom file formats.
  • Support for ProRes HQ, ProRes 422, ProRes LT, ProRes Proxy at resolutions up to Ultra HD.
  • Features all standard connections, including dual XLR mic/line audio inputs with phantom power, 6G-SDI output for monitoring with camera status graphic overlay and separate XLR 4 pin power output for viewfinder power, 6G-SDI monitoring input, headphone jack, LANC remote control and standard 4 pin 12V DC power connection.
  • Built in stereo microphones for recording sound.
  • 3 separate built in LCD monitors for camera settings and metadata entry. Large 10 inch screen folds out for full resolution HD monitoring with wide viewing angle and high brightness.
  • Supports Ultra HD and 1080 HD resolution capture in 23.98, 24, 25, 29.97, 30 up to 60 fps.
  • Liquid cooling system allowing higher frame rates when future sensors support this feature.
  • Supports quick release tripod mounts and adding V-Mount or Anton/Bauer mount battery plates.
  • Includes full copy of DaVinci Resolve software color grading and editing software.

Availability and Price

Blackmagic Camera 1.9.9. update is available for free download now from the Blackmagic Design website for all Blackmagic URSA customers.

About Blackmagic Design

Blackmagic Design creates the world’s highest quality video editing products, digital film cameras, color correctors, video converters, video monitoring, routers, live production switchers, disk recorders, waveform monitors and real time film scanners for the feature film, post production and television broadcast industries. Blackmagic Design’s DeckLink capture cards launched a revolution in quality and affordability in post production, while the company’s Emmy™ award winning DaVinci color correction products have dominated the television and film industry since 1984. Blackmagic Design continues ground breaking innovations including 6G-SDI and 12G-SDI products and stereoscopic 3D and Ultra HD workflows. Founded by world leading post production editors and engineers, Blackmagic Design has offices in the USA, UK, Japan, Singapore and Australia. For more information, please go

About doddle 16509 Articles
Doddlenews is the news division of the Digital Production Buzz, a leading online resource for filmmakers, covering news, reviews and tutorials for the video and film industry, along with movie and TV news, and podcasting.

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