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April 8, 2014

Get an In-Depth Overview of the New 4K Blackmagic URSA Camera

Blackmagic are stirring things up again with new developments and over a dozen new products at this year's NAB. Perhaps the biggest announcement from yesterday was the Blackmagic URSA, and our team on the floor in Vegas caught up with BMD president Dan May to talk about the new camera. Hit the jump to watch our video.

[Update]: Audio was not working for some people after the intro. That has been corrected:

What you can't tell in the video is that the camera is heavier than most cameras you may already be familiar with, clocking in at 16.5 lbs (without a lens), but the weight is mostly balanced, so it's a bit like using an ENG camera or an ALEXA. As we mentioned in the video, the expensive CFast cards that this camera requires really does bump it into a high price bracket for ownership than it might seem at first glance. At ~$1,200/120gb, that's nearly 10x the price of SSD media at ~$1.00/gig. Definitely worth noting for those of us out there drooling over the initial specs.

What are you thoughts on Blackmagic's URSA offering? Share in the comments below.

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NFS's coverage of NAB 2014 is brought to you by My RØDE Reel and Limelite. Subscribe to the No Film School YouTube channel for the latest video updates direct from NAB, as well as filmmaker interviews, tutorials, and behind-the-scenes features.

Your Comment

79 Comments

6 min RAW for 1,200.....

April 8, 2014

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Vick

Haha, best first response ever.

April 8, 2014

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Ben Corwin

My jaw literally dropped when I heard that.

If you shoot RAW.....Nail > Coffin

April 8, 2014

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sean

Who is this camera appealing to?

I feel Blackmagic should have stuck to the Pocket camera line. The consumer market still needs a small camera such as the pocket with a few improvements!

April 8, 2014

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matt

There's room for everyone and everything.

April 8, 2014

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Mr.Floppy

Not with the screen in my face and the sound guy stuck to the side of the camera and some random stranger F%$king with the left side screen while I'm shoulder mounted... hah. I got excited about this when i saw it the first day but now I'm thinking that the Studio camera they made was the best idea. I own the ATEM production switchers and Hyperdecks and a cost effective cam for B C D cams will be great. Still worried about BM cameras and low light tho. And have BM created a control room controlled iris and white balance setup yet.. i can't remember.

April 8, 2014

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The cards will get MUCH cheaper in the years to come, but it is a huge factor right now.

April 8, 2014

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years to come... They release totally new cameras recording to different media every year at NAB

April 9, 2014

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matt

Professionals that use the tool to make a living, like myself. I am a Steadicam operator and the 16.5 weight is perfect for flying on my steadi rig. Many other reasons as well, but all in all it comes down to having a system that is upgradable. The Ursa is liquid cooled. 4K generates a lot of heat and that heat is intensified by shooting higher frame rates. The size is perfect and will be a great tool for industry professionals.

August 2, 2014

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Tyson

Same Sensor as the current 4K production model, hmm heard it was pretty bad plus still had black orbs.Pass.

April 8, 2014

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Shaun Fontaine

True they need to update firmware on the 4k to address the black super-highlights.. but dismissing the sensor based on what you've 'heard' vs. what you've experienced first hand is silly. My 4k produces a beautiful image.

April 8, 2014

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Will Vincent

I saw some bad stuff going on with the 4K cinema camera. Apparently they're having some issues with the batteries. I saw something like 3 months ago of a guy who was shooting with the 4K and the camera exploded, some misfunction with the batteries, and let me tell you... it made consider a lot of buying blackmagic

April 8, 2014

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Winblee

That happens to every single peace of electronic equipped with a lithium battery. Ive seen examples from DSLRs, laptops, iPhones, RC-Cars (very common during races) etc etc.
So unless your camera is all mechanical its just as likely to happen to you.

April 8, 2014

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Mr L

Firstly, it was just a few weeks ago.
Secondly, That's the 2.5k MFT camera that came out 3 years ago that failed not the Production camera. the electronics failed and shorted in a Cinema camera. Still not even certain it was the battery.
Thirdly, there have been no issues with any other BMD camera batteries.
Fourthly, the Production 4k camera has been suffering a bunch of other issues. Including Vertical banding (FPN), Black hole sun (clipped super highlights) and still no RAW.

April 8, 2014

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O'Ryan

The weight is a deal breaker there. That's super super heavy.

April 8, 2014

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Good point - on a tripod it would remain stable and resistant to wind and vibration....oh wait. Its 16lbs isn't so bad after all.

April 8, 2014

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BlueRain

That weight isn't the worst thing in the world but you have to consider the rig around the camera. This weight basically ensures no tripod under $3000, 19mm rails will be a plus, and you'll probably have to get a beefier shoulder rig as well.

Hell, I remember using a Scarlet with a zacuto 15mm system and it felt like it could fall apart at any minute. This camera weighs more than twice as much.

April 12, 2014

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Oscar

Yes, I remember about 7 years ago I bought an Eclair ACL Super 16mm and it weighed about 18 lbs or so, body only. Not fun at all unless you have a several person crew. I do not miss heavy cameras at all. In fact, I like that my FS700 + 7Q (Body + Monitor) is right around 5 lbs, and even then I wish it were lighter sometimes.

April 8, 2014

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Gene Sung (non-...

Still can't format cards in camera, wow!

April 8, 2014

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I recently bought a hyperdeck studio SSD recorder from Blackmagic and found out it also cannot format the media. That is really weird, I never had a device that wasn't able to format its own recording media. Don't know what their problem with such a simple function is. I mean every still camera for a hundred bucks can format its own SD cards...

April 10, 2014

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Heiko

Those massive audio meters make me chuckle. Look what we added! smh

April 8, 2014

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Nynex

They are a little bit funny looking, like huge toy buttons. Not very subtle.

April 8, 2014

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Shaun Fontaine

Well, that could be useful for a sound guy standing a few meters away. I mean even when you are recording through a sound devices or similar mixer, it is still advisable to sometimes check the in-camera levels in case someone bumped them up or down accidentally. With these large meters, you don't have to walk over to the camera because you can see the levels from five meters away!

April 10, 2014

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Heiko

URSA means FEMALE BEAR in portuguese so, me being from Portugal, I couldn't think of a better name for this camera... It's ridiculous in every way.

April 8, 2014

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how dare you insult bears that way!!

April 8, 2014

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sean

i bet you wouldn't disrespect a female bear to her face.

April 8, 2014

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Juan Lindo

What is so ridiculous about a female bear? Seriously, I don't get it...

April 10, 2014

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Heiko

What do you mean by erasing data from the camera is not as important as who knows what?

I say the URSA is the future camera. You will be able to change the sensor, wait for the CFast cards to drop their prices, and take some stones out from the body.

Still, that screen is calling my attention.

April 8, 2014

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edgar

You want to try lugging around a 17lb camera on your next shoot? Have fun!

April 8, 2014

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Ok we get it. You are a wimp and don't like the weight. Get over it and buy something else. Stop trolling.

April 8, 2014

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BlueRain

Blue Rain - this is my last message to you - I'm not trolling - I'm bringing up a fact that will help people make a conscious decision on the gear. Weight is a very important factor in a camera - for handheld, tripod size - for all types of rigs.

Trolling is when a person harasses someone unfairly on a message board.

Also my name and website is there with my comments and I believe a troll is an anonymous person.

April 8, 2014

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So now weight is a problem for the URSA but not for the ALEXA? Sure.

April 8, 2014

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Mr.Floppy

You posted 4 comments about the weight in this thread and others.

Get over it.

April 8, 2014

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BlueRain

Says the guy with the profile pic with a huge camera rig.....

April 9, 2014

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Joey

Ursa was the name of a highly popular telecine made by cintel, the company was bought by black magic. Investigate first before making judgment on a name...

April 8, 2014

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mariano

This is the most informative stuff I've read or heard about this camera yet. Joe, thanks for asking the critical questions that no other blog seems to want to ask them—why expensive media, formatting cards in-camera, ship dates, etc.

April 8, 2014

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16 lbs is NOT super, super heavy. It might be relatively heavy in comparison to camcorders or DSLRs, but in relation to a traditional 16mm or 35mm production rig, its certainly in the ballpark.

The weight appears to be related to the cooling required for the resolution and frame-rate.

Anyway, its not like you are trying to schlep a Vistavision or 3 Strip Technicolor camera around...

April 8, 2014

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Frank

x100

April 8, 2014

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BlueRain

Too heavy for a MoVI though. Cion seems like a way better camera overall. Having 444 internal and 120 fps as an external option are big selling points. Not to mention, when you add the cost of the fast cf cards compared to the Aja SSD's they start to come out kind of even, with the Cion being a little more expensive. I will definitely be renting the Aja before I do the Ursa. Black Magic has a bad track record, great image but awful usability and almost no firmware updates.

April 8, 2014

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I bet someone will come up with a monopod'ish type rig that would let the operator remove the unit off his shoulders quickly. Otherwise, one should probably use body supports like EasyRig or Atlas.

April 9, 2014

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DLD

Shouldn't 12 SDI out allow for external recording?

April 8, 2014

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DLD

THey are offering a new kind of trade off not seen lately: Price + specs VS weight. I think I would pay 3,000.00 more for the AJA Cion (all things being equal) just for the weight saving. But I have the money to burn and back problems.

April 8, 2014

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matt

Forgot to change the battery on the mic? It happens...

April 8, 2014

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IvI

Haha was thinking the same thing.

April 8, 2014

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Jordan Oliver

Yeah, that is definitely not the sound from the rode mic he's holding right there. However the mic looks like a dynamic mic which usually doesn't need batteries, sooooo.... either they forgot to connect the cable, or the input was set to another channel, or it was set to "line" input.

There's so many things that can go wrong... but they wouldn't if somebody had been wearing headphones... duh!

April 10, 2014

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Heiko

Can you not use the huge screen while on handheld and use another monitor? I feel like it's gonna cover my entire face.

April 8, 2014

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JJ

You can. There are SDI outs for an EVF/monitor and I think that there are HDMI outs.

April 8, 2014

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Dominik

Again if the screen is closed you cannot access the touch screen inside so cannot control the menu. There are 6 hard buttons on the operators side. I can only hope its up down, left right, and enter or else we screwed :(

April 8, 2014

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No HDMI on this camera as far as I've seen.

April 8, 2014

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Grant

I am curious about that sound panel, will that be useful and comforable for a sound guy to work with?

April 8, 2014

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