We’ve downloaded Blackmagic Design’s latest firmware update for the URSA Mini line of cameras and it’s chock full of awesome features. Narrowing it down to just five (well, six really… okay, seven) was difficult, but between an overhauled UI and tons of new features we’ve never seen before on any camera, there’s a lot to love about this update.
The 4.0 update has turned nearly everything you see into a shortcut, eliminating the journey through menus you used to take to find even the simplest of info. Chief among these shortcuts for us is the card info menu. Simply pressing the card readout at the bottom of the menu pulls up any and all info you need on remaining recording time, storage size, number of clips and more. Having this info and the ability to format the cards at your fingertips is a delight, and is one of the many examples of Blackmagic’s dedication to streamlining with this update.
Once again, with a simple press of an on screen shortcut, you can pull up the frame guides. Not only are all of these guides toggles that can be used on top of one another, but this is where we were introduced to the new slider that has been applied to many 4.0 features. This slider affords you the most control we’ve ever seen on a camera menu, and it continues to get better with each feature we found it on.
As before, simply pressing the frame rate will show the frame rate settings for you to adjust in real time. However here is where that slider comes into full effect. You can toggle “Off Speed Frame Rate” to slide between every single number between 12 and 60 to get the exact frame rate you want. Many will be quick to say this is useless, while many others will recognize the uncapping of creativity this unleashes, especially for those who love to shoot with higher or lower than normal frame rates.
Before, adjusting the ISO in a Blackmagic Camera was a bit clunky. You had to go into a menu, change it, exit the menu and assess. Now, like everything else, a quick tap of the ISO button at the top of the screen pulls up your ISO selection and allows you to change it in real time. No more menus, no more guess work, you simply adjust and look at the results in real time.
Another feature hidden behind a clunky control mechanism, the iris control has received a slider as well. While you can still use the directional buttons to adjust as before, now it’s easier than ever to do from the touch screen. Best of all it’s fluid as can be with no lag or stuttering while sliding whatsoever.
The absolute perfect on set de-stressor, Blackmagic has added an option that shows different information through an external monitor for either the director or cinematographer. The director’s screen is essentially a slate, showing FPS, reel number, scene/take numbers and so on. The cinematographer screen shows more in depth and technical info, the kind that draws questions from directors and can lead to the DP having to spend valuable time explaining things that don’t need addressing at that moment.
4.0’s all powerful slider rules white balance as well. Adjustable in real time and with numerous presets, it’s just another example of Blackmagic’s drive to make this the most efficient and easy to use camera menu out there.
The Blackmagic URSA Mini 4.0 update is currently in public beta and is free for all URSA Mini owners. We’ll be doing an in depth comparison of the URSA Mini and URSA Mini 4.6K soon to compare features, menus and more in the coming weeks, so stay tuned to HDSLR Shooter for more soon.