Since the first clips of test footage surfaced online from the URSA, the camera has been gaining notice as a possible major player in 2015’s film and television production industry.
With pricing akin to Canon’s C100 Mark II and features in-line with Sony’s F55, as well as an active EF lens mount and a built-in swivel monitor the size of an iPad, many angles for many industries have been considered.
And right after the latest BlackMagic’s 1.9.9 firmware update, URSA owners and potential buyers have some new features to enjoy.
4K recording up to 80fps positions the camera above all other sub-$10,000 digital cinema cameras as an over-crank option. High speed shooting at over 60fps has largely only been an option with lower-resolution video options the likes of 720p or 1080i, if offered at all. Phantom, RED, and Sony have maintained a comfortable lead in that technology for a few years now. With word that the URSA’s sensor may also be capable of 4K 120fps with a future firmware update, that puts it’s high-speed capabilities in line with Panasonic’s upcoming 4K Varicam 35, and above everyone else this side of the Phantom Flex 4K.
Aside from the high-speed update, another promising new feature is a 3:1 compression option that looks to appease those without the luxury of having a nearby DIT and massive local storage (as 8 minutes of ProRes HQ 4K 60p footage will fill a 120GB CFast card). This makes documentary and industrial shooting more feasible with the URSA, even if it currently weighs-in at 20+lbs with a lens and battery attached.
Even with the camera only starting to make it’s way into the wild, the pomp and circumstance adjoining the URSA guarantees it will at least fare better than BlackMagic’s Studio Camera HD, as they return to the table that made them famous in independent filmmaking: with a camera that has features to appease a large market share, cost to operate included.
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