Blackmagic’s 4K URSA Camera Shoots Predictably Spectacular Video
by Stephan Jukic – August 12th, 2014
The 4K video production camera maker Blackmagic announced the upcoming release of its $6,000 USD 4K URSA camera back in April at this year’s National Association of Broadcasters trade show.
And now that the camera is out on the market and some of the first video of its performance has been released. The results are truly stunning.
The video, shoot by professional cinematographer John Brawley, was shared on his personal Vimeo page and takes the camera through a diverse number of situations, with tests done on its dynamic range, frame-rate capacities and light sensitivity under some very rough filming scenes.
The URSA is quite a bit different from the previous cameras that Blackmagic has come up with. This new camera comes with a 10 inch 1080p HD display and also utilizes a more traditional form factor that’s more like what’s been seen in in older camcorders. However, there’s nothing old fashioned about its other key features. This camera comes with a user-replaceable 4K sensor, global shutter and is capable of giving up 4K video at a very comfortable 60 frames per second, which is a considerable improvement from the more common 30 fps of many other 4k video cameras.
In the case of the video footage shot by Brawley, he used a Cooke 25-2590 MK3 T3.7 (PL Mount) zoom lens while shooting in Ultra HD resolution at 3,840 x 2,160 pixels and saved all video to a set of SanDisk 128 GB CF cards.
No while the footage being displayed on the Vimeo footage released by the cinematographer on the web is truly beautiful, he also claims that it doesn’t at all compare in spectacular clarity to the original UHD raw footage that came straight out of the camera when viewed on a real 4K capable screen.
The URSA is a true professional 4K video shooting camera and as such it comes with some heavy duty characteristics and specs. For one thing, at roughly 16.5 lbs without the lens, it’s quite a heavy camera but due to a well-balanced design, the heaviness is more manageable than it would otherwise be.
Other notable and very professional specs include the 4K Super 35mm global shutter sensor, real camera form factor, the above-mentioned 10.1 inch HD fold-out display and an additional two 5 inch 800 x 480 pixel displays. The camera also comes with interchangeable lenses and sensors, allowing users to upgrade to better sensing capacity and lens power easily.
Another major factor that bumps the cameras high cost up considerably are the needed CF memory cards for storing its video media at maximum quality. At $1000 per 120 GB, they are 10 times more expensive than more typical SSD storage devices.
Blackmagic is putting four different versions of its URSA camera on sale at different prices based on different specs and features. The more expensive and professional of them will be the URSA PL and URSA Broadcast cameras.
Story by 4k.com