Blackmagic Design released a major software update for its URSA digital film camera. The update (v. 1.9.9) has been developed in conjunction with cinematographers that are using URSA cameras for high-end work.
Available from the company’s website, the update adds support for higher frame rate recording up to 80 fps, which allows enhanced slow-motion shooting with a more fluid feel to shots.
The frame rate settings in URSA have been changed and now the recording frame rate is not limited by the video frame rate. This means customers can select the frame rate they want to work at, such as 24 fps for a feature film shoot, and then independently select the recording rate from 5 all the way up to 80 fps. The advantage of this is that users can shoot slow-motion or fast-motion shots, but the recorded video files are always set to the video rate, and users can see the effect of the higher or slower frame rate when playing. This means users can play back the exact same look on the cameras that they will see in the timeline of editing software.
The update also offers a new CinemaDNG 12-bit RAW format that uses 3:1 compression to allow RAW files to be recorded in one third of the size of uncompressed RAW files. This new format allows higher frames to be recorded in the CFast cards, while retaining all the advantages of RAW recording.
Blackmagic Camera 1.9.9 also supports in-camera formatting of CFast cards so when on a shoot, a computer is not needed to prepare CFast cards for use. Unlike formatting on a computer, the camera analyzes the CFast card’s memory storage structure and will optimize formatting for best performance. This means a card formatted in URSA can get much better performance than a card formatted on a computer.
The update also adds multiple user interface changes, including a new Dashboard menu screen and scrolling menus.
New menu settings included in Blackmagic Camera 1.9.9 include on-screen framing guides allowing a range of common feature film aspect ratios to be displayed on the fold-out monitor, such as 2.35:1 or 1.85:1. These framing guides are displayed as translucent letterbox overlays and the opacity can also be adjusted by the user. Multiple other framing assistance guides can also be displayed.