Blackmagic URSA 4K camera

Blackmagic Design announce the revolutionary 4K URSA camera

Blackmagic Design have unveiled yet another 4K camera at NAB2014 :The URSA

Introducing Blackmagic URSA, the world’s first high end digital film camera designed to revolutionize workflow on set. Built to handle the ergonomics of large film crews as well as single person use, URSA has everything built in, including a massive 10 inch fold out on set monitor, large user upgradeable Super 35 global shutter 4K image sensor, 12G-SDI and internal dual RAW and ProRes recorders. Because the sensor and lens mount assembly can be changed, you can choose EF or PL lens mounts, or even a broadcast video sensor with B4 mount. This means you can upgrade to the latest sensor technology in the future and keep your investment in the camera body!

The URSA ticks a lot of boxes for professional camera-folk who are used to the more traditional ‘shoulder-mount’ design – it’s the right shape!

The added ability for the user to change the lens mount so that Canon EF, movie standard PL or B4 broadcast lenses can be used makes this a very versatile camera. There is a 10-inch flip out screen which will prove very useful at times, although the lack of a proper integrated viewfinder is a bit of a disappointment! Whilst this keeps the price down and allows for flexibility/customisation/use of existing equipment it still leaves the camera operator with having to rig and stabilise some sort of monitor/eyepiece. this can work out OK, but can be a real pain if the viewfinder isn’t rock solid or doesn’t have a sunshade. The AJA CION is the same

URSA 10 inch screen
URSA 10 inch screen

The URSA records to RAW format or Prores, same as the CION, although to non proprietry media, CFAST cards, which will be very expensive at launch, although the prices should become more affordable within a year or two. Again, like the CION, there is no support for legacy ‘broadcast’ codecs such as 50Mbps XDCAM, and no  plans to do so currently.

In response to my question about theses legacy codecs Matthew Plant,Sales Administrator EMEA, Blackmagic Design, replied:-

At this moment in time the only compressed recording formats that the URSA will support are: lossless compresses CinemaDNG RAW and Apple ProRes (HQ)

There are no plans to implement any new recording formats at this moment in time, however I recommend you check the forums for any information firmware updates.

As with all these cameras, there is the option to use third party devices to record to different codecs which allow longer record times/smaller media file sizes, and cheaper recording media, all of which become a big factor if you are shooting several hours of footage a day on a documentary – which the shape and styling of the URSA and the CION were surely designed for?

These devices will add extra weight and bulk to the cameras and require power, all a hassle when this could be implemented in the camera, to my mind, as Sony have shown us by announcing new codec support for the F5/55 (albeit through a hardware upgrade, but why not design it into  a new camera from the start – apart from the obvious licensing and cost implications).

via Blackmagic Design: URSA.

Blackmagic URSA EF

Technical Specifications


Get the URSA camera with the EF lens mount and amazing 4K Super 35 image sensor with global shutter installed. The EF lens mount includes active lens control for compatibility with both active and passive EF mount lenses. URSA EF makes it easy to use a wide range of high quality lenses such as low cost DSLR photo lenses from companies such as Canon, Zeiss and more!



Camera Features

Effective Sensor Size

21.12mm x 11.88mm (Super 35)

Effective Resolution

3840 x 2160

Shooting Resolutions

3840 x 2160, 1920 x 1080

Frame Rates

3840 x 2160p23.98, 3840 x 2160p24, 3840 x 2160p25, 3840 x 2160p29.97, 3840 x 2160p30, 3840 x 2160p50, 3840 x 2160p60, 1920 x 1080p23.98, 1920 x 1080p24, 1920 x 1080p25, 1920 x 1080p29.97, 1920 x 1080p30, 1920 x 1080p50, 1920 x 1080p59.94, 1920 x 1080p60, 1920 x 1080i50, 1920 x 1080i59.94 and 1920 x 1080i60

Sensor frame rate support

Up to 60 fps

Dynamic Range

12 stops


Focus button turns on peaking, focus bubbles, auto focus available on active lens mount.

Iris Control

Iris button automatically adjusts the lens iris settings so no pixel is clipped in film mode. Scene average auto exposure in video mode.

Lens Mount

EF 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.


Touch screen menus on 5” screen. Push button controls for navigating menus.


Integrated mono microphone


Integrated mono speaker

Mounting Options

Multiple 1/4”-20 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 Type

CFast 2.0

Storage Rates

Approx 880 Mbps using Apple ProRes 422 (HQ) at 3840 x 2160. Approx 220 Mbps using Apple ProRes 422 (HQ) at 1920 x 1080.

Compressed Recording Formats

Lossless compressed CinemaDNG RAW with film dynamic range at 3840 x 2160. Apple ProRes 422 (HQ) at 3840 x 2160 and 1920 x 1080 with either film or video dynamic range.


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 Reference Input

Timecode Input

1 x Timecode Input

Timecode Output

1 x 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, Iris Control and Focus.

Computer Interface

USB 2.0 Mini-B port for software updates.


SDI Compliance


SDI Audio Sampling

48 kHz and 24-bit


Software Included

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

Operating Systems

Icn Mac MavericksMac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion or later.
Icn -windowsWindows 7 or later.

Power Requirements

External Power Input

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

External Power Ouput

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


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


Optional Accessories

Adapter plate with 15mm Light Weight Support and Rosettes.

Physical Specifications

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

Active EF Mount turret

Turret Dust Cap

12V AC Adapter

Tripod mounting plate adapter

DaVinci Resolve


Product Warranty

12 Month Limited Manufacturer’s Warranty.

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I am a Freelance Lighting cameraman living in London. I have worked in broadcast television, films and corporate videos for nearly 25 years, starting at the very bottom as a tea boy and working my way up to the heady heights of Lighting Cameraman in London, working all over the UK, Europe and the rest of the world. It's been an interesting journey: from corporate films to news, commercials, children's and reality TV to feature films, working along the way as a runner, clapper loader, spark(electrician), focus puller, camera operator and lighting cameraman. I have met and learnt from all sorts of fascinating people in my working career, many of whom are firm friends to this day.

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