Great-looking first footage from Blackmagic's URSA
The very first shots from the Blackmagic Ursa have finally arrived and if these first images are anything to go by it looks like the new modular camera could be a huge success in spite of its larger form factor. The footage has been shot by John Brawley who always produces great images and has a history of showing what Blackmagic cameras are really capable of - and this new footage would appear to be no exception.
"This clip was shot over a period of about 90 mins. I filled three of my four 128Gb SanDisk CFast 2.0 cards and did it on two Vlock batteries. Many of the shots were done before sunrise. Pretty impressive for 400 ISO @ T4 at that frame rate. All shots are ISO 400, 60 FPS at 4K UHD (3840 x 2160) ProRes HQ except for just one which was 24 FPS, the shot of the sun actually rising in shot."
John points out that the footage was shot on a vintage Cooke 25-250 MK3 T 3.7 zoom lens which being 30 years old is not as sharp as modern zoom lenses and suffers more from chromatic aberration too but I think the great footage speaks for itself. He also points out that he had to correct two shots for the black sun problem.
It’s worth checking out the comments on John Brawleys blog where he gives some really sensible and helpful replies. Tantalisingly John also suggests in the comments that there may be more footage on the way that is presently under embargo.
I think a lot of people are confused bythe price and size of this device. It's more than DSLRs and Blackmagic's other cinema cameras, and is bigger than typical run-and-gun cameras. But Blackmagic actually seem to have more in mind that this camera would be used in the same kind of context as the original Red One camera with professional film style crews.
Alongside other cameras?
I’m interested to see how URSA might shape up as a camera that could work alongside the Arri Amira in some fashion. They both use the same CFast cards so it would appear that a production shooting on both cameras could share the same media. Maybe productions could find a way to play to the strengths of each camera in some way?
Aside from how the images from the camera might compare to a camera like the Red One, it does have one huge advantage over that camera. I recently had the chance to see a pre-production model of the Ursa in real life and the similarity to the Red One form factor made me ask the question “how long does this thing take to boot up?”. I turned it off and back on again, and realised I must have just put the camera into some kind of standby mode as it came back up almost instantly. So I asked someone else checking out the camera if they could remove the 4 pin XLR power cable (which turned out to be a bit difficult to get out if you have large fingers as it is a bit too close to the bnc sockets). We waited a short time and then with the XLR cable back in, I turned the camera back on again and it came on almost instantly once more. Somewhat shocked I turned to the Blackmagic representative and asked if it had some kind of internal battery and standby mode but he insisted that it really does boot up almost instantly. “Wow” I exclaimed “That really is Blackmagic!”.
John Brawley's URSA video after the break
John Brawley's URSA footage