Gear Reviews

NAB 2015 | Blackmagic Camera Breakdown

Blackmagic made a ton of camera announcements at NAB and we shot a quick overview with them explaining the differences between the- Blackmagic URSA 4.6K, Blackmagic URSA Mini, Blackmagic Micro Cinema Camera and Blackmagic Micro Studio Camera models.

In the video we mention that we have the complete breakdowns on each camera and those will be forthcoming, in the meantime we hope this video will help clarify things!

https://www.blackmagicdesign.com/products/blackmagicursa

Blackmagic URSA Viewfinder

When we originally designed URSA, we included an SDI output, power connector and mounting position for a viewfinder on the front of the camera. Now we are introducing our new Blackmagic URSA Viewfinder which is designed to be a perfect match to the URSA camera.

The Blackmagic URSA Viewfinder has been designed to meet the needs of high end cinematographers as it has a high resolution 1920 x 1080 color OLED display. This means the display is so sharp you cannot see the pixels and so it’s very similar to using an optical viewfinder.

The viewfinder also has proper custom designed precision glass optics as well as a finely adjustable diopter and built in digital focus chart so you can get perfect focus for your eye. There is also a sensor so the OLED is only turned on when you are using the viewfinder. It works really well and preserves OLED life.

It simply bolts onto the front of the URSA camera and then the SDI and power plug into the sockets on the side. It’s adjustable for left and right eye use and there are built in overlays, focus zooming, focus peaking and a tally record light on the viewfinder as well.

The Blackmagic URSA Viewfinder will be available in July for $1,495

https://www.blackmagicdesign.com/products/blackmagicursa

Blackmagic URSA Mini

When we introduced our first Blackmagic Cinema Camera, we really designed it to be hand held, like how a DLSR is used, but its was a true digital film camera with wide dynamic range. Of course a lot of people wanted to use it shoulder mounted and tripod mounted and it was not as good for that kind of use.

Our URSA camera solved these issues, however URSA is designed for a larger crew so it has multiple screens, scopes, high performance and higher frame rates and more. This makes it larger and not as portable as the original Blackmagic Cinema Camera.

The result of all this work is URSA Mini. It’s a portable URSA based digital film camera, and while it does not have all the features of URSA, it has a lot and it uses the same sensors and core processing of URSA. It features magnesium alloy for its design so it’s very small and very lightweight which is perfect for portable and hand held use.

URSA Mini features the same 4K and 4.6K sensor options as URSA and is compatible with the new Blackmagic URSA Viewfinder. It features frame rates up to 60 fps, and it has a bright 5 inch full HD touch screen that folds out and angles. Like URSA, URSA Mini also has dual CFast card recorders so you can continue to record while changing cards and uses the same battery options.

URSA and URSA Mini shoot the same looking images so you can easily use both cameras on the same shoot and intercut the shots perfectly.

URSA Mini is a true digital film camera so it can be used on feature films, television shows, commercials, indies, documentaries, music videos and more. The stunning quality of the 4.6K sensor with 15 stops of dynamic range really lets you capture cinematic shots, while its small size is perfect for solo shooting or intimate handheld shots.

URSA Mini has multiple mounting points so it can be easily accessorized with lenses, rails, matte boxes and more. There is an optional Blackmagic URSA Mini Shoulder Kit, which features a shoulder pad with a quick release mount built into it so it can go from handheld to shoulder or to a tripod without changing any of the rig. The shoulder kit has been designed specifically for URSA Mini so when its used and the Blackmagic URSA Viewfinder is added, this camera looks amazing!

It has an included side handle as standard that has a LANC based record, focus and iris buttons, however when the shoulder kit is used, you can relocate that handle to one of the front rosettes and really hold the camera well on your shoulder. It’s a great shoulder mounted camera rig!

There are 4 models of URSA Mini as there is two lens mounts and two sensor options. URSA Mini 4K EF is $2,995, URSA Mini 4K PL is $3,495. With the new 4.6K sensor, URSA Mini 4.6K EF is $4,995 and URSA Mini 4.6K PL is $5,495. URSA Mini will be available late July and a lot more information is available on our URSA Mini web site below.

https://www.blackmagicdesign.com/products/blackmagicursamini

Blackmagic Micro Cinema Camera

Our Pocket Cinema Camera has been popular because it’s an incredibly tiny digital film camera that’s super portable. It does not even look like a digital film camera!

It’s a great handheld design, however, it’s also been used for shooting remote shots and it was not really designed for that. So we have been working on a digital film camera that’s specifically designed for remote shooting, and it’s even smaller!

The result is the Blackmagic Micro Cinema Camera, which is a miniaturized Super 16mm professional digital film camera with a new expansion port that lets you use PWM and S.Bus model airplane remote controls to operate the camera wirelessly for capturing action anywhere.

What this means is you can use the same low cost radio control gear that hobbyists use for model aircraft and quadcopters. Normally these receivers plug into “servos” which generate movement when the user adjusts a knob on the hand held transmitter. These connections use a voltage called PVM and we have the same connection on the Micro Cinema Camera. So this means you can plug into the camera and control the camera remotely.

You can even map what camera feature you want on what channel. So you could map the lens to adjust iris or focus. You could use a channel to start and stop recording, so you don’t fill the SD Card with RAW or ProRes files before you are ready for your shot!

To see what the camera is doing, it has a full sized HDMI connector and it even has composite NTSC/PAL out so you can use a low cost hobbyist video transmitter to see what the camera is doing and confirm its recording. Imagine having live feeds back from the camera when its in all kinds of hard to reach locations. I think its going to be exciting to see where this camera is mounted and what kinds of shots it gets.

Because it has an MFT lens mount you can put all kinds of really professional lenses on it, and adapt it easily to other lens mounts. On this camera we even put the buttons on the front of the camera so when it’s mounted on a wall or in a car, you can just start recording from the front. It also has a tally light on the front so you can see if its recording.

Image quality wise, its a true digital film camera because it has a wide 13 stops of dynamic range. This means it’s a big improvement in image quality over consumer “action-cam’s” so you can get all those high energy shots, without the consumer look.

The Blackmagic Micro Cinema Camera will be available in July for $995.

https://www.blackmagicdesign.com/products/blackmagicmicrocinemacamera

Blackmagic Micro Studio Camera 4K

With such a small Micro Cinema Camera design, we quickly realized that if we removed the built in recorder and digital film sensor cooling and replaced with SDI connections and a 4K video image sensor, we could build a really small studio camera for live production!

The Blackmagic Micro Studio Camera 4K looks the same as the new Micro Cinema Camera but it’s really a completely different camera because its a broadcast quality Ultra HD studio camera!

Although you can use it with an external recorder as a production camera, it’s really designed to be used in live production with a live production switcher. It has an Ultra HD sensor so it works in native Ultra HD and of course with a sensor at that high resolution, it makes an incredible HD camera also!

Because it’s a live camera, it’s features are almost identical to our Blackmagic Studio Camera 4K. It has SDI in and out, a built in color corrector and all the control to the camera can be sent via the SDI input so it uses the same SDI control protocol as our studio cameras and ATEM switchers. It uses 6G-SDI, so supports all Ultra HD frame rates up to 30 fps, but it does 1080 HD frame rates up to 60 fps using the full sensor size.

It includes an expansion connector, but it’s also different. This camera has a PTZ serial connection out and this can be used for controlling a remote head. Any pan, tilt and zoom commands sent to the camera via SDI from the switcher will be output on this PTZ connection and if you have a zoomable MFT lens, it will adjust the zoom on the lens as well.

Also on the expansion connector is a B4 lens control connection so we can control broadcast lenses. We have been asked for this a lot by high end broadcasters and now with this camera and the B4 lens connection you can use add accessories to turn this camera into a fully featured studio camera. Imagine using it as a full sized studio camera with external monitor and broadcast lens. Or using it on set concealed so you can get all kinds of exciting and interesting camera angles!

The Blackmagic Micro Studio Camera 4K will be available in July for $1,295.

https://www.blackmagicdesign.com/products/blackmagicmicrostudiocamera4k

Blackmagic Video Assist

Blackmagic Video Assist, a portable, all in one professional monitor and video recorder that can be used with any SDI or HDMI camera. Blackmagic Video Assist adds professional ProRes recording and full resolution HD monitoring to any camera or DLSR.

Blackmagic Video Assist is perfect when you need need better monitoring and higher quality recording than your camera has, or in the case of our Blackmagic Studio Cameras, you can use it to add a recorder. Also, a lot of older cameras often feature custom file or tape formats and consumer cameras often have strange file formats.

Blackmagic Video Assist solves this problem and it can be mounted on cameras as a large monitor for the entire crew to see, it can be handed to the cinematographer or DOP for setting up shots, or set on a table in front of the director to review each take.

With its larger screen, you check shot composition and check the camera is perfectly focused. It’s easy to use as the touch screen lets you use simple swipe gestures for changing settings and displaying video and audio levels on its “heads up” on screen displays.

Blackmagic Video Assist has a bright, 5 inch high resolution 1920 x 1080 HD monitor and touchscreen with a wide 135º viewing angle and it records broadcast quality 10-bit 4:2:2 video onto widely available SD cards in ProRes file formats. The SD cards can be mounted directly on a computer for cloning and backup using the included DaVinci Resolve Lite so you get a complete editing and color correction solution included.

Even though Blackmagic Video Assist is a HD product, it also has a 6G-SDI input so it can even be used as a Ultra HD monitor!

Blackmagic Video Assist will be available in July for $495.

https://www.blackmagicdesign.com/products/blackmagicvideoassist

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.