Blackmagic URSA Gets UHD ProRes 4444 Up to 60fps and 80fps in 1080p

Blackmagic Design continue their commitment to improving their flagship camera the 4K URSA as well as all their other cameras with a steady flow of free firmware updates. Today, the Australian based equipment manufacturer released Camera Utility 2.0 which adds the much desired 12bit ProRes 4444 flavour to the URSA up to 60fps in UltraHD as well as ProRes 4444 up to 80fps in 1080p. This is quite significant as now the URSA has a higher quality codec for stringent grading or VFX work when 4K Raw is not an option for some productions. Now that the URSA has a 3:1 Raw compression, added in a previous firmware update, the new ProRes 4444 codec adds even more creative flexibility in post-production by saving time in your workflow.

Images by: Marc-Linnhoff/Bartosch Salmanski

See the full details of Camera Utility 2.0 below from Blackmagic Design:

What’s new in Blackmagic Camera Utility 2.0

Blackmagic URSA

  • Adds support for Apple ProRes 444 recording in 4K and HD

Blackmagic Studio Camera 4K

  • Performance improvements for optical fiber output

Blackmagic Studio Camera

  • Fixes an issue where the overlays settings are not remembered after turning off camera

Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera

  • Fixes an issue where dropped frames are occurring during ProRes LT and Proxy recording

Blackmagic Cinema Camera

  • Performance enhancements and improvements

Blackmagic Production Camera 4K

  • No changes

Minimum system requirements for Mac OS X

  • Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite
  • Mac OS X 10.9 Mavericks or later
  • A suitable USB 2.0 port
  • Thunderbolt port for UltraScope and Media Express when using Blackmagic Cinema Camera or Blackmagic Production Camera 4K

Minimum system requirements for Windows

  • Microsoft Windows 8 64-bit
  • Microsoft Windows 7 64-bit
  • A suitable USB 2.0 port
  • A suitable Thunderbolt port when using Blackmagic Cinema Camera or Blackmagic Production Camera 4K

Installing Blackmagic Camera Utility

Before installing the software, we recommend that you run “Uninstall Camera Utility” first.

After loading the software on the Blackmagic Cinema Camera EF or MFT, you may notice a slight flickering on the built-in LCD screen. This is normal and expected behaviour. The flickering will go away after a few minutes of operation.

The Blackmagic Camera Installer package installs:

  • Blackmagic Camera Utility
  • Blackmagic Media Express
  • Blackmagic UltraScope
  • Blackmagic Disk Speed Test

Download Camera Utility 2.0 for PC

Download Camera Utility 2.0 for Mac OS X

John Brawley, a long-time Blackmagic Design cameras collaborator, also shared some interesting info on the latest firmware update:

I like that the URSA now has this option, not so much for the colour sampling, but for the fact that 4444 ProRes is a 12 bit file vs the 10 bit 422 HQ. Interestingly though the data rate for 4k RAW 3:1 is a little less that 4444 ProRes…I wonder if people will choose RAW over the 4K 4444…

John also has some stills and motion files for download over on his website. Also be sure to check out his full post on the lens tests he did too.

Overall, I think this is solid update for the URSA, which has been getting a steady stream of new functions, just as BMD promised when they announced the camera. The questions is here thought – how long before we can see similar update for the BMPC and the rest of the lineup?

I, just like many BMCC users, have been longing for higher frame rates (at least 60p) which I understand can be challenging, (or impossible) on especially something like the Pocket cinema camera, due to the internal hardware limitations such as the lack of a built-in fan. The hope still remains for the BMCC and the BMPC, which have fans. Time will tell, and with NAB in a couple of months, who knows…

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