Blackmagic URSA

Sue Lawson at NAB 2014 talks with Dan May from Blackmagic about the URSA 4K camera

The Blackmagic URSA camera is a definite step up from the Blackmagic cinema camera that they released last year. They were amazed by how many people were stacking on tens of thousands of dollars of gear onto the camera. They saw an opportunity to create kind of this full-size production camera. That’s really the seed that was behind the Blackmagic URSA. The URSA is a more traditional sized camera in the sense that it has the more traditional rectangle, but we would want to add this new and modern design. What stands out first on the camera is an amazing 10 inch 1920×1080 monitor.

The camera is built as both a single-user camera and a camera that is usable by multiple people that have multiple function. It also includes a big touchscreen that can be used to adjust a number of functions including metadata while viewing information within the camera. So if you’re a single person on a tripod, you can use the screen on the left side of the camera.

On the other side you have an extra SDI out to go with a shoulder mount. When you go with multiple users, there is an extra monitor on the side. Making this a three monitor camera for adding an assistant camera operator to pull focus or using the slate to add meta data and organize the shots for post. Another option is to have audio person to adjust the audio with the headphones and looking at the audio levels. The camera is designed around multiple zones for specific jobs making the URSA a full-size production camera.

The camera records to Cfast 2.0 cards that is a solid state media that is really great for video because of it’s small form factor and generates less heat. Because it small, the URSA is able to hold 2 cards. After the first card fills up, the recording moves to the second card. Making them hot-swappable for continuous recording. May also pointed out that the camera records in both Ultra HD as well a HD. It uses the same sensor that Blackmagic has on their current production 4K camera. It is available with the option of an EF or a PL mount lens. Another option is to remove the sensor and lens mount package and upgraded. Blackmagic announced the development of a B4 version of the camera with a different sensor making it very configurable and user-friendly.

May stated that Blackmagic is always about trying to empower customers and creating new product for them. The price for the Blackmagic URSA with the EF mount starts at $5995 making it an aspirational purchase that is really is quite obtainable for a lot of people. A litmus test of the camera is would a twenty-something year-old person want this camera and could they actually go and get it. May said, “As much as I’d like to tackle all the different market segments out there, it’s really always has to be the empowering as many people as possible. So we got to say I’m 22 again can I go and get this start to do real work? And we truly believe that this is a full functioning your production camera.”

Most of the current batteries designed for the URSA will last about an hour, despite the fact they have three monitors being driven making it a flexible solution for people. However 2 of the monitors can be turned of by closing the side panel that will enable the battery to run slightly longer.

Sue Lawson is Sr. Editor at

More info on Blackmagic Design & the URSA UltraHD camera

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