November 20, 2014

Blackmagic URSA Gets 4K Up to 80fps & New 3:1 RAW Compression

While they've done a great job updating their other cameras, the Blackmagic URSA just got a huge firmware update that should make the camera that much more usable. Camera Update 1.9.9 includes a higher-compression shooting mode, which will mean much more recording time while still retaining quality, very similar to the way RED compresses their RAW (it's lossy, but at a low enough compression like 3:1, you're retaining most of the information you started with). You've also got a new variable frame rate mode, which means you have much more flexibility with fast and slow motion directly in the camera, even in RAW. 

Some of the other cameras got better stability with in-camera formatting, but otherwise this was a mostly URSA update:

  • 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

I was told back in April that we would be getting higher frame rates in the URSA, and Blackmagic has come through on that. While 80fps isn't significantly higher, I would imagine they are going to try to squeeze everything they possibly can out of this current sensor. 

You can find links to the firmware update below.     

Your Comment

19 Comments

Isn't there 2 versions of this sensor? The first iteration was capable of 150fps and the second capable of 300fps?

I wonder if this is the 2nd sensor?

There's gonna be some serious battles between this and the FS7.

November 20, 2014 at 8:27PM

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Ben Howling
Writer / Director
565

It hasn't been confirmed one way or another what the sensor is capable of but I have a hard time seeing how they will be able to push more than 100, seeing as how they're already using water-cooling to achieve these framerates.

I also don't see how this would compete with the FS7. The FS7 is built as a one-man operator camera with ergonomics in mind. A smaller and lighter Almira if you will. The Ursa weighs more than the Alexa and will pretty much require at least one AC at all times. The weight of the camera also ensures you'll need to spend about as much on a tripod as the camera itself.

November 20, 2014 at 10:09PM

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Oscar Stegland
DP/Steadicam
1099

To my knowledge, the Alexa and URSA weigh the same. And no, I spent $1500 on a tripod and head that will handle the URSA with ease, even with a lens and follow focus.

November 21, 2014 at 12:38AM

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Jonesy Jones
Storymaker
719

jones which tripod is tht?...how cn i get it?...

November 21, 2014 at 4:39AM

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Edwin Mathenge
Cinematographer,Editor,Sound Editor,Director
122

November 21, 2014 at 4:15PM

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Jonesy Jones
Storymaker
719

Well your knowledge is over a kilo out. which is quite significant...

November 21, 2014 at 10:24AM

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keith
431

From Alexa's website "ALEXA body with SxS Module, electronic viewfinder and handle: 7.7 Kg/16.9 lbs." This is the lightest Alexa I believe, with a comparable URSA configuration. So.... the Alexa's heavier.

November 21, 2014 at 4:14PM

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Jonesy Jones
Storymaker
719

There will be no battle between this and the FS7. The Blackmagic Cameras are still low level and largely boutique - people who are finally upgrading their ex3's and FS100/700's are buying the crap out of the FS7. It's also finding its way into F5/F55 shoots as well, as the color science matches so nicely. Bottom line, Blackmagic doesn't really have the ecosystem or reputation that someone like Sony or Canon has.

November 21, 2014 at 4:29PM

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Alex Enman
Filmist/Colormaker
311

This is probably an editing 101 question, but how do you convert 80fps to 24fps?

November 20, 2014 at 9:31PM

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Benjamin Lebeau
Cinematographer, Colorist, Editor
349

You shoot 24fps

November 20, 2014 at 10:06PM, Edited November 20, 10:06PM

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Wentworth Kelly
DP/Colorist/Drone Op
2358

I got Dislikes for my comment... But if you convert your 80fps video to 24fps you are going to get slowmotion and not actual 24fps so if you want 24fps motion then shoot at 24fps and if you want your video to be played back in slowmotion then you'd shoot at 80fps and then slow it down but you wont get back that 24fps cinematic feel if you shoot at 80fps and play it back in a 24fps timeline. thats all im saying.

November 21, 2014 at 2:16PM

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Wentworth Kelly
DP/Colorist/Drone Op
2358

That depends on the editing software you use. It requires slowing the footage down (a.k.a. "conforming" it) to the speed you want it to play back at, however as of yesterday the URSA now allows you to set a separate project time code base that is independent of the fps you are shooting at. So, for example, you could shoot a video at 80fps, but then the video would automatically play back in slow motion and 24p.

November 21, 2014 at 12:19AM

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Justin Litton
DP, Editor, DIT
92

So is blackmagic done with their traditional camera bodies? Or will they place any new sensors in the old bodies if you want that instead of the Ursa?

I also heard a rumor that there was going to be a 4kbmpcc with a m4/3 mount.
That would be cool. They should also rip out the global shutter on it as well. I'd be all over that.

November 20, 2014 at 10:18PM

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Vincent Gortho
none
909

I'm assuming your asking about the blackmagic production camera with a m4/3 mount. Which is impossible due to it's aps-c sensor. As for ripping out the global shutter, as far as I know it's part of the sensor not something in front of it. So they would have to completely redesign the sensor.

November 21, 2014 at 11:19AM

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Zachary Will
Cinematographer
847

I'm assuming your asking about the blackmagic production camera with a m4/3 mount. Which is impossible due to it's aps-c sensor. As for ripping out the global shutter, as far as I know it's part of the sensor not something in front of it. So they would have to completely redesign the sensor.

November 21, 2014 at 11:19AM

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Zachary Will
Cinematographer
847

oh, okay. But As far as the mount. You would just use other lenses with speed boosters attached to it. m4/3 is supposed to be the most adaptable mount. JVC has a new camera that is super35 with an m4/3 mount.

November 21, 2014 at 2:17PM, Edited November 21, 2:17PM

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Vincent Gortho
none
909

That's a cool feature. Am I hearing that right. You shoot the project at 24 fps and the sensor at 80 fps. So you are shoot at 80 fps but it records a video that is encoded at 24 fps, so when you bring it into the NLE you con't have to conform it from 80 down to 24. It saves you that step. That's a useful feature.

November 21, 2014 at 12:39AM

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Michael Markham
Actor/Filmmaker
862

I for one actually really like the URSA. I have not had a chance to use it myself, but I got to see it at NAB last year and even though the big screen still makes me laugh, it's really awesome. All those screens can be set to show a bunch of different things and the big LED's are super cool. My only problem is the sensor. I for one wish this had the original BMCC sensor in it with an m4/3 mount. That extra stop of DR and what seems to be better low light are more important to me than 4k. I'm hoping that this year at NAB they announce a new sensor for this camera.

November 21, 2014 at 12:44AM

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Jonesy Jones
Storymaker
719

I think the updates for the URSA are great and the camera has a lot of potential. The footage looks more cinematic than the Sony cameras and the post grading in Resolve and editing in PP CS6 is very easy to work with. 80 FPS is enough to get in some really cool cinematic shots especially if you're telling an intriguing story. I mean that's what it's all about anyway, if you can't tell a good story then it doesn't matter if you're getting 1M FPS, or how heavy the camera is. No one's going to watch it.

November 27, 2014 at 5:26AM

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Tony Carter
Director/Writer
86