2015 Blackmagic Designs Production and URSA PL Camera Review - Reviewboard Magazine




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2015 Blackmagic Designs Production and URSA PL Camera Review

2015 Blackmagic Designs Production and URSA PL Camera Review

The Blackmagic Designs Production Camera and the Blackmagic Designs URSA PL camera are some of the best cameras you can get right now if you are a startup looking to product cinema quality output at a fraction of the price of the big stuff. The Production Camera 4K PL is about $3k US, and the URSA PL runs about $5500 US.

Both cameras are state of the art. The production 4k model is incredible and the price point is killer. What makes the URSA such a great deal is that it’s big enough to do some serious cinema and has a user upgradeable sensor and mount. The URSA has a modular camera turret that is removed by taking out 4 bolts. Once you remove the bolts you have access to the sensor, lens mount and the lens control connections. This can all be upgraded in the future when new types of sensors are developed. After all why are you buying a new camera again when all you need to do is change out the sensor?

Both cameras have super fast SSD drives, this is a HUGE advantage over most other pro digital film cameras that use proprietary media (and generally very costly as they are only available through the manufacturer at that).  The production 4k allows you to directly add metadata with the 5″ LCD touchscreen.  It’s like using a small tablet and is light years ahead of anything else we have seen in this price range.

Another great thing about the Blackmagic Designs cameras is they record directly in the file format you need (RAW, DNG, PRORES).  I’m not waiting around to convert huge files into another format, even the RAW format mode is openstandard CinemaDNG RAW so you get all the data off the sensor stored in a file that is completely compatible with almost any Post app.

The production 4k is pretty small and has a great wide dynamic range.  The Blackmagic Cinema camera shoots every frame with wide dynamic range so you get brighter highlights without clipping and rich detail with ultra shadows.  The quality is phenomenal.

If you need to shoot in Ultra HD than the URSA 4.6k is the way to go.  It has a SUPER 35 Size Sensor with 15 stops of dynamic range.  You are shooting at 4608×2592 pixels with 15 stops LOL!  The quality we saw out of the URSA 4.6k was better than most broadcast cameras, which is kind of cool considering you could have like 10 URSA 4.6k for the price of ONE broadcast camera. 12-bit lossless CinemaDNG RAW recording. You can even record Ultra HD or HD with ProRes so you can go straight to post to save time.

Tech Specs on the Production 4k Camera:

Camera Features

Sensor Size

22mm x 11.88mm (Super 35).

RAW Resolution

12-bit RAW files recorded at 4000 x 2160.

Shooting Resolutions

4K RAW at 4000 x 2160. ProRes at 3840 x 2160 and 1920 x 1080.

Frame Rates

4K RAW at 4000 x 2160p 23.98, 24, 25, 29.97, 30.
Ultra HD 2160p23.98, 24, 25, 29.97, 30.
HD 1080p23.98, 24, 25, 29.97, 30.

Dynamic Range

12 stops.

Focus

Focus button turns on peaking.

Iris Control

Compatible with manually operated PL mount lens.

Lens Mount

PL mount for manually operated lens with manual iris control.

Screen Dimensions

5” and 800 x 480 resolution.

Screen Type

Integrated LCD capacitive touchscreen.

Metadata Support

Automatic camera data and user data such as shot number, filenames, and keywords.

Controls

Onscreen touch menus and physical buttons for recording and transport control.

Microphone

Integrated mono microphone.

Speaker

Integrated mono speaker.

Mounting Options

3 x 1/4”-20 UNC thread mounting points on top of camera. 1 x 1/4”-20 UNC thread tripod mount with locator pin.

Storage Features

Storage Type

Removable 2.5” SSD.

Storage Format

Mac OS Extended or exFAT format. SSDs can be formatted in camera, or on any Mac or Windows computer. Formatting in camera recommended.

Storage Rates

4000 x 2160
CinemaDNG RAW – 265 MB/s
3840 x 2160
Apple ProRes 422 HQ – 110 MB/s
Apple ProRes 422 – 73.6 MB/s
Apple ProRes 422 LT – 51 MB/s
Apple ProRes Proxy – 22.4 MB/s
1920 x 1080
Apple ProRes 444 XQ – 62.5 MB/s
Apple ProRes 444 – 41.25 MB/s
Apple ProRes 422 HQ – 27.5 MB/s
Apple ProRes 422 – 18.4 MB/s
Apple ProRes 422 LT – 12.75 MB/s
Apple ProRes Proxy – 5.6 MB/s
Storage rates based on 30 frames per second.

Recording Formats

Lossless CinemaDNG RAW with film dynamic range at 4000 x 2160. Apple ProRes 422 HQ, ProRes 422, ProRes 422 (LT) and ProRes 422 (Proxy) at 3840 x 2160 and 1920 x 1080 10-bit YUV with either film or video dynamic range.

Connections

SDI Video Output

1 x 6G-SDI 10-bit 4:2:2 with choice of Film or Video dynamic range.

Analog Audio Input

2 x 1/4” jacks for professional balanced analog audio, switchable between mic and line levels.

Analog Audio Output

1 x 3.5mm stereo headphone output.

SDI Audio Output

2 channels 48 kHz and 24-bit.

Remote Control

1 x 2.5mm LANC for Record Start and Stop.

Computer Interface

Thunderbolt port for waveform monitoring of 1080 HD video, and capture of Ultra HD and 1080 HD video. USB 2.0 Mini-B port for software updates and configuration.

Blackmagic Production Camera 4K PL

Standards

SDI Compliance

SMPTE 292M, SMPTE 424M Level B , Draft SMPTE 2081-1.

SDI Audio Sampling

48 kHz and 24-bit

Software

Software Included

DaVinci Resolve Studio grading software including Resolve USB dongle for Mac OS X and Windows. Blackmagic UltraScope. Blackmagic Media Express software. Disk Speed Test.

Software Applications

DaVinci Resolve, Fusion, Final Cut Pro X, Premiere Pro CC, After Effects CC, Photoshop CC, Pro Tools, UltraScope, Media Express, Disk Speed Test.

Operating Systems

Mac IconMac OS X 10.9 Mavericks,
Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite or later.
Windows IconWindows 7 or Windows 8.

Power Requirements

Power

Integrated Lithium-Ion Polymer rechargeable battery. 11V-30V DC port for external battery power or use included 12V AC adapter.

External Power

12V-30V DC port for external battery power or use included 12V AC adapter.

Battery Life

Approximately 90 minutes.

Battery Charge Time

Approximately 2 hours when not in use.

Accessories

Optional Accessories

Blackmagic Cinema Camera Handles.

Physical Specifications

Blackmagic Production Camera 4K EF

Environmental Specifications

Operating Temperature

0° to 40° C (32° to 104° F)

Storage Temperature

-20° to 45° C (-4° to 113° F)

Relative Humidity

0% to 90% non-condensing

What’s Included

Blackmagic Production Camera 4K PL

Sun Shield

Camera Strap

Turret Dust Cap

12V AC Adapter

Warranty

Product Warranty

12 Month Limited Manufacturer’s Warranty.

Tech Specs on the URSA 4.6k Camera:

Camera Features

Sensor Size

22mm x 11.88mm (Super 35)

Shooting Resolutions

3840 x 2160, 1920 x 1080, 4000 x 2160 RAW

Frame Rates

30 fps in RAW

80 fps in RAW 3:1

80 fps in ProRes HD or ProRes UHD

Project frame rates of 23.98, 24, 25, 29.97, 30, 50, 59.94 and 60 fps supported.

Dynamic Range

12 stops

Focus

Manual

Iris Control

Manual

Lens Mount

PL Mount

Screen Dimensions

1 x 10.1” – 1920 x 1200
2 x 5” – 800 x 480

Screen Type

10.1” – TFT-LCD
5” – Integrated LCD capacitive touchscreen

Metadata Support

Automatic camera data and user data such as shot number, filenames and keywords.

Controls

Touchscreen menus on 5” screen. Push button controls for settings and navigating menus.

Microphone

Integrated stereo microphone.

Speaker

Integrated mono speaker

Mounting Options

Multiple 3/8”-16 UNC thread mounting on top of camera and on handle bar. Rosette on bottom. Integrated rods mounts compatible with 15mm Light Weight Support standard.

Storage Features

Storage Rates

4000 x 2160

CinemaDNG RAW – 265MB/s

CinemaDNG RAW 3:1 – 125 MB/s

3840 x 2160

Apple ProRes 444 XQ – 250 MB/s

Apple ProRes 444 – 165 MB/s

Apple ProRes 422 HQ – 110 MB/s

Apple ProRes 422 – 73.6 MB/s

Apple ProRes 422 LT – 51 MB/s

Apple ProRes Proxy – 22.4 MB/s

1920 x 1080

Apple ProRes 444 XQ – 62.5 MB/s

Apple ProRes 444 – 41.25 MB/s

Apple ProRes 422 HQ – 27.5 MB/s

Apple ProRes 422 – 18.4 MB/s

Apple ProRes 422 LT – 12.75 MB/s

Apple ProRes Proxy – 5.6 MB/s

Storage rates based on 30 frames per second.

Storage Type

CFast 2.0

Compressed Recording Formats

Lossless CinemaDNG RAW and RAW 3:1 with film dynamic range at 4000 x 2160. Apple ProRes 444, ProRes 422 HQ, 422, 422 LT and 422 Proxy at 3840 x 2160 and 1920 x 1080 with either film or video dynamic range. RAW 3:1 files compatible with DaVinci Resolve, but may be incompatible with other software applications. Please check with your software vendor for RAW 3:1 support updates.

Connections

SDI Video Output

1 x 12G-SDI 10-bit 4:2:2. 1 x 3G-SDI down converted for external monitoring

SDI Video Input

1 x 12G-SDI

Ref Input

1 x BNC Reference Input

Timecode Input

1 x BNC Timecode Input

Timecode Output

1 x BNC Timecode Output

Analog Audio Input

2 x XLR analog switchable between mic and line levels. Phantom power support.

Analog Audio Output

1/4” jack output for headphone monitoring

SDI Audio Output

2 channel

Remote Control

1 x 2.5mm LANC for Rec Start/Stop.

Computer Interface

USB 2.0 Mini-B port for software updates.

Blackmagic URSA PL

Standards

SDI Compliance

SMPTE 292M, SMPTE 424, Draft SMPTE 2081-1, Draft SMPTE 2082-1

SDI Audio Sampling

48 kHz and 24 bit

Software

Software Included

DaVinci Resolve Studio grading software including Resolve USB dongle for Mac OS X and Windows.
Blackmagic Media Express software.
Blackmagic Disk Speed Test.

Operating Systems

Mac IconMac OS X 10.9 Mavericks,
Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite or later.
Windows IconWindows 7 or Windows 8.

Power Requirements

External Power Input

1 x 4-pin XLR port for external power or battery use.

External Power Output

1 x 12V output using 4-pin XLR for powering external accessories such as EVF.

Power

Rear camera mount compatible with industry standard V-mount or Gold Mount battery plates.

Accessories

Optional Accessories

Shoulder Kit with 15mm Light Weight Support and Rosettes

Vlock Battery Plate

PL Mount Shim Kit

Physical Specifications

Blackmagic URSA PL

Environmental Specifications

Operating Temperature

0° to 40° C (32° to 104° F)

Storage Temperature

-20° to 45° C (-4° to 113° F)

Relative Humidity

0% to 90% non-condensing

What’s Included

Blackmagic URSA PL

PL Mount Turret

12V AC Adapter

Tripod mounting plate adapter

DaVinci Resolve Studio and dongle

Warranty

Product Warranty

12 Month Limited Manufacturer’s Warranty.

 

As you can see from the tech specs on both cameras they play nice in Windows or Mac.  The DaVinci software is amazing.  The fact they throw a full copy with dongle in with the camera just keeps showing BlackMagic Design’s Commitment to being your partner year after year.

This is really one of the best options out there right now.  Just the idea of being able to upgrade this… future proofs the URSA and rewarding a company that is looking to be in a relationship long term with you by saving you money is worth it right there. I give both the BlackMagic Design URSA and Production cameras 5 stars and award them with the Reviewboard Magazine’s 2015 Best Buy Award.  We will be posting more about this camera soon, and posting footage we shot with it when we are done with post.

2015-Reviewboard-Best-Buy-Award

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