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Blackmagic Design Introduces URSA

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LR-BlackmagicURSAEF3QtrNoLensAt NAB this week in Las Vegas, Blackmagic Design introduced its new URSA high-end digital film camera. Built to handle the ergonomics of large film crews as well as single-person use, URSA has multiple accessories built in, including a 10 inch fold out monitor, large user upgradable Super 35 global shutter 4K image sensor and internal dual RAW and Apple ProRes recorders.

Because the sensor and lens mount assembly can be changed, customers can choose EF or PL lens mounts, or even a broadcast video sensor with B4 mount, then upgrade the camera in the future. The Blackmagic URSA EF model will retail for $5,995.

URSA is designed to be used on high end feature films, commercials, episodic television production, documentaries, electronic news gathering and music videos. When used on jobs with a large crew, customers can easily dress the camera with high quality cinema lenses, rails, follow focus and matte boxes.

The machined aluminum design has been designed for large film crews while being able to be field upgraded to new sensors by the user. Each area of the camera has been divided into separate DP, camera assistant and audio engineer work stations. In addition to the 10 inch monitor, the DP station features a separate 5 inch screen for settings, camera status and scopes. The camera assist station features a separate screen for camera settings, status and scopes and an audio station features audio meters, controls and audio connections.

The camera will offer a dynamic range of 12 stops and the Super 35 size sensor will allow for creative shallow depth of field shooting and high resolution Ultra HD, 12 bit lossless compressed Cinema DNG RAW and Apple ProRes.

There are currently 4 models to choose from, URSA PL supports PL mount lenses and URSA EF supports EF mount lenses from Canon and Zeiss. Both of these models include the large Super 35 sized global shutter digital film sensor. The URSA Broadcast B4 model, available late 2014, will feature a broadcast video Ultra HD sensor and B4 lens mount used in broadcast. The URSA HDMI model has no sensor and its lens mount is replaced by a “cheese plate” of mounting points and a HDMI input, allowing any third party camera to get the benefit of the URSA camera body features.

“Our goal when developing the URSA was to build a camera that had all the cooling capacity for higher frame rates, and a large on set monitor as well as built in scopes so you had everything you need built into the camera itself,” said Grant Petty, CEO, Blackmagic Design.

“The problem with spending so much money building in such incredible accessories is that they become outdated as sensor technology moves on. So we designed the ability to upgrade the sensor so customers can simply bolt on a new sensor and turret assembly in the future,” said Petty. “We think this is a revolution and this upgradable design means we have been able to put a lot more effort into the design of the camera body itself and the quality of the screens, recorders, cooling system and processing power than would normally be offered.”

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