Blackmagic Design’s URSA Mini 4.6K model is now shipping (as well as their Micro Cinema Camera), with a couple of small changes to its feature set, trading global shutter for high dynamic range.
The delayed release of both the URSA Mini and Micro Cinema Camera came as the result of the same issue: global shutter. Despite their best efforts, Blackmagic does not want to ship both cameras without a global shutter that wouldn’t be “up to the high-quality level that Blackmagic Design strives to give it’s customers, Blackmagic Design have decided to ship both of the cameras without the global shutter feature.”
What does this mean exactly? It means that you may experience the undesirable effects of “image jello” or “wobble” during fast moving sequences, such as a door slamming shut or a subject moving along a picket fence. However you do get 15 stops of dynamic range, despite the chance you might see some artifacting from the rolling shutter, though from what we’ve seen from some of the tests done by cinematographers and DPs, there is no artifacting. For the vast majority of scenes, a fast rolling shutter is well-suited since this has been the standard for over a century. However, with select specialized applications, sometimes a global shutter can be helpful. If you plan on shooting fast action, such as sports or moving vehicles, Grant Petty (Blackmagic Design founder and CEO) recommends the URSA Mini 4K, which does have a global shutter as mentioned in the press release:
“However, now these two cameras are targeted for different kinds of work as customers can choose between URSA Mini 4K if they want global shutter for fast action sports and URSA Mini 4.6K if they want wide dynamic range for high end digital film work.”
All this aside, the test footage from cinematographers just looks amazing, especially the footage from Director, DP and Editor Bobby Hewitt who filmed video of Tommy Lee & Mötley Crüe. There’s a lot of shots with motion (that might typically be marred by rolling shutter) that look awesome. Specifically Tommy Lee’s drum sticks as they don’t bow or wobble, nor does the motion of the lights or the people. So is this a big problem? Not when you consider the trade off of those 15 stops of dynamic range.
Beyond the high dynamic range features of the Ursa Mini 4.6K here’s a list of specs:
- Super-35mm CMOS Sensor
- 4608 x 2592 Video up to 60p
- Compressed Raw Recording
- Ready-to-Edit ProRes 444 + 422 Recording
- Dual CFast 2.0 Memory Card Slots
- 12G-SDI Output, Timecode and REF Input
- 1080p Flip-Out Screen
- Touchscreen Interface
- 2x XLR Audio Inputs with Phantom Power
- Magnesium Alloy Body
- Shooting Resolutions 4608 x 2592, 4096 x 2304 (4K 16:9), 4608 x 1920 (4K 2.4:1), 3840 x 2160 (Ultra HD), 3072 x 2560 (3K Anamorphic), 2048 x 1152 (2K 16:9), 1920 x 1080
- Frame Rates 23.98, 24, 25, 29.97, 30, 50, 59.94, 60 fps
- Recording Formats CinemaDNG Raw (Uncompressed or Lossless 3:1/4:1 Compressed) @ 4608 x 2592, 4096 x 2304, 4608 x 1920, 3072 x 2560, and 2048 x 1152 (film dynamic range) Apple ProRes @ 3840 x 2160, 1920 x 1080 (film or video dynamic range)
- Microphone 2 x Built-in cardioid microphones for stereo recording with -10dB pad and low-cut filter
- Weight 5 lb / 2.3 kg
That’s a monster payload even without the global shutter. However, if you pre-ordered the URSA Mini 4.6K and the absence of global shutter is a deal breaker, then according to Grant Petty, they understand:
“Of course if you have a back order and you don’t like this feature change, then we understand and we fully support you if you want to alter your order.”
Blackmagic URSA Mini 4.6K is now available from Blackmagic Design resellers worldwide for US$4,995 for the EF model and US$5,495 for the PL model.
For more information about the Ursa Mini 4K and the Ursa Mini 4.6K go to the Blackmagic Design website at www.blackmagicdesign.com
Here’s more from the Blackmagic Design Press Release:
Blackmagic Design announces URSA Mini 4.6K and Micro Cinema Camera now shipping
Fremont, California, USA – March 17, 2016 – Blackmagic Design today announced that Blackmagic URSA Mini 4.6K and the Blackmagic Micro Cinema Camera have commenced shipping and that the specifications of the two cameras have been changed. This announcement can also be viewed as a video available at www.blackmagicdesign.com/
Blackmagic Design have also announced the release of a short film that shows off the power of the URSA Mini 4.6K camera as well as a “making of” video that shows how the camera was used on this shoot. This short film is available on the URSA Mini product page at www.blackmagicdesign.com/
Since being announced, Blackmagic Design have been working hard to get the new URSA Mini 4.6K and Micro Cinema Cameras into production and to fill backorders. The good news for our customers is that both these cameras are now shipping.
However the development of the global shutter in these cameras has taken longer than expected, and has been the reason the cameras have been delayed in shipping as problems in implementing the global shutter feature has been holding up their release. Both cameras have problems with their global shutter but the problems are different between the URSA Mini 4.6K and the Micro Cinema Camera.
For the past 6 months, Blackmagic Design engineers have been working extremely had to resolve the issues. As the performance of the global shutter is not up to the high quality level that Blackmagic Design strives to give it’s customers, Blackmagic Design have decided to ship both of the cameras without the global shutter feature.
The prime reason for this decision is that over the last few months, professional cinematographers and DOP’s who have been beta testing the cameras on all types of different projects have reported incredible results. Their feedback is that the cameras should not be delayed for this feature as the main benefits of the cameras are the wide dynamic range, and that this dynamic range is only available when running without global shutter. The beta testers working in high end digital film and television production are urgently wanting to use cameras such as URSA Mini 4.6K to obtain the advantage of the 15 stops of wide dynamic range and high frame rate capabilities of the rolling shutter.
With the release of URSA Mini 4.6K, customers will be able to choose between two very different models of URSA Mini. Originally URSA Mini 4K was intended to be the entry level model and the URSA Mini 4.6K to be the higher end model with more features. However, now these two cameras are targeted for different kinds of work as customers can choose between URSA Mini 4K if they want global shutter for fast action sports and URSA Mini 4.6K if they want wide dynamic range for high end digital film work.
The URSA Mini 4K model has been received well since it started shipping and is the global shutter model, being able to shoot global shutter high frame rate 4K footage at up to 60 frames per second, making it the perfect camera for shooting fast action live sport. URSA Mini 4.6K is the high dynamic range model for high end digital film work with its extremely wide latitude at 15 stops of dynamic range. Customers can now simply choose between the two models depending on the work they do, either high frame rate global shutter or wide dynamic range models.
The good news is the high end customers who have been beta testing the camera, have been shocked by the extremely high quality and film look to the images they have been getting from it. They understand that wide latitude and film color science built into the cameras is the most important feature and the URSA Mini 4.6K has impressed them.
“Traditionally, I have worked with cameras that cost five times as much and am amazed at the capabilities of this new 4.6K sensor,” said Jody Eldred, Emmy award winning DoP, cameraman and Director whose credits include JAG, NCIS, NCIS: Los Angeles, Good Morning America, National Geographic and more. “The claim of 15 stops dynamic range is a reality, and my RAW footage of extremely high-contrast images graded in DaVinci Resolve 12 is clear testimony to that. Very clean blacks too. I’m pleasantly surprised, as was my colorist. I really think Blackmagic Design has captured some lighting in a bottle with the URSA Mini 4.6K camera.”
Blackmagic Design understands and accepts that some customers who have back ordered an URSA Mini 4.6K may like to change their order as a result of this feature change.
Blackmagic Design’s own design team wanted to experience the camera being used on set first hand, so we have produced a short test film that gave Blackmagic staff first hand experience with using the camera.
This short film was shot in a variety of conditions, ranging from a low light night time scene to extreme direct sunlight daytime shots using everything from tripods, to shoulder mounts, on a dolly, gimble and even mounted on a drone. The short film can be downloaded in 4K from the Blackmagic Design website at www.blackmagicdesign.com/
products/blackmagicursamini. Customers can also download a behind the scenes video that documents the making of the short film, plus 3 separate camera original RAW files that can be download so customers can try color grading the shots themselves using the free version of DaVinci Resolve, which they can also download from our website. By downloading original RAW shots from the camera, customers can really get a feel of the latitude of the camera and what it can do.
Blackmagic Design has also added a gallery page to the URSA Mini website that showcases the amazing work our beta testers have produced using the Blackmagic URSA Mini 4.6K. This gallery can be viewed at www.blackmagicdesign.com/
“We’re deeply sorry that it has taken much longer than expected to ship the Blackmagic URSA Mini 4.6K and Blackmagic Micro Cinema Camera, and extremely disappointed that we are unable to deliver a feature that we had previously announced. ”said Grant Petty, CEO, Blackmagic Design. “As an engineer, I have always felt that my job is to build a stage for customers to perform on, but until we ship a product we never know what kind of stage it is. This camera is truly amazing and images are just so filmic. The beta test cameras have been received so well that they have already been used on national campaigns and feature films. The images they have shot so far are way beyond anything we could have imagined when we first started making cameras, and I can’t wait to see all the incredible footage that will be shot on the new URSA Mini 4.6K camera.”
About Blackmagic URSA Mini
Blackmagic URSA Mini is designed to be used on feature films, television shows, commercials, indies, documentaries, music videos and more. The stunning quality of its 4.6K sensor with 15 stops of dynamic range lets customers capture epic cinematic shots, while its compact size is perfect for solo shoots or smaller crews. URSA Mini features multiple mounting points so it can be easily accessorized with high quality cinema lenses, rails, matte boxes and more. The optional Blackmagic URSA Mini Shoulder Kit, which features a quick release mounting plate so it can go from handheld to shoulder or to a tripod in seconds, and the Blackmagic URSA Viewfinder, make URSA Mini perfect for pickup and run shooting situations.
Crafted from an advanced technology magnesium alloy, Blackmagic URSA Mini is rugged, yet extremely lightweight and comfortable enough to be used all day. It includes built in histograms, focus assist, audio level meters, dual RAW and ProRes recorders, a high quality stereo microphone and a 5 inch fold out screen that can be used as an on set monitor. That means customers can dramatically reduce on-set equipment because so much of what they need is already built into URSA Mini, making it easier for smaller crews to use in tight locations.
Blackmagic URSA Mini is a true professional digital film camera with a 4.6K sensor that captures 4608 x 2592 pixels. The sensor features a super wide 15 stops of dynamic range that delivers more latitude than traditional motion picture film. Blackmagic URSA Mini can also shoot up to 60 frames per second for customers that need to work at higher frame rates. Built in sensor refrigeration ensures maximum dynamic range for incredibly clean images that have amazing detail in both dark shadow and bright highlight areas of the picture. Images are saved using 12-bit lossless CinemaDNG RAW, or ProRes for easy post production workflows with minimum storage requirements.
URSA Mini includes 1Ž4” mounting points on the top and bottom of the camera for attaching standard accessories that customers are accustomed to using with larger, full size cameras. There is also a range of Blackmagic Design accessories that are designed to match and work perfectly with URSA cameras. Customers can choose from the Blackmagic URSA Mini Shoulder Kit which includes a shoulder pad with built in quick release tripod mount and a top handle.
Blackmagic URSA Mini Key Features
- Four models with the choice of two sensors, 4.6K or 4K sensor in EF or PL mount.
- Built in dual CFast 2.0 card recorders allow unlimited duration recording in high quality.
- Open file formats compatible with all popular editing software, such as DaVinci Resolve, Final Cut Pro, Avid Media Composer and Premiere Pro.
- Support for CinemaDNG 4.6K RAW, ProRes 4444 XQ, ProRes 4444, ProRes 422 HQ, ProRes 422, ProRes 422 LT and ProRes 422 Proxy recording at 4K, Ultra HD and HD resolutions.
- Features all standard connections, including dual XLR mic/line audio inputs with phantom power, 12G-SDI output for monitoring with camera status graphic overlay and separate XLR 4 pin power output for viewfinder power, headphone jack, LANC remote control and standard 4 pin 12V DC power connection.
- Built in high quality stereo microphone for recording sound.
- 5 inch foldout 1080 HD touchscreen for on-set monitoring and menu settings.
- Optional URSA Mini Shoulder Kit, allowing both tripod and shoulder use interchangeably.
- Includes full copy of DaVinci Resolve software color grading and editing software.
Availability and Price
Blackmagic URSA Mini 4.6K is now available from Blackmagic Design resellers worldwide for US$4,995 for the EF model and US$5,495 for the PL model.
Blackmagic URSA Mini Accessories
- Blackmagic URSA Mini Shoulder Kit features built in rosettes, rail mounts, integrated tripod quick lock release and top handle.
- Blackmagic URSA Viewfinder is a high resolution viewfinder that includes a full HD OLED display and true glass optics for perfect focus.
- Blackmagic URSA Mini B4 Mount for URSA Mini PL lets you use existing high quality broadcast lenses for shooting in high definition with lens control.
- URSA Vlock Battery Plate provides a VLock compatible plate for attaching third party batteries.
- URSA PL Shim Set is a set of 8 shims for changing the flange focal distance of PL lenses.