Blackmagic Design Camera 1.9.9 Update Brings 80fps Shooting to URSA

Blackmagic Design today announced Blackmagic Camera 1.9.9 with a raft of new features for the Blackmagic URSA camera. Of particular note are recording frame rates of up to 80 frames per second and a new CinemaDNG 12-bit RAW format, which uses 3:1 compression to allow for smaller RAW files.

The support for higher recorded frame rates in Camera 1.9.9 — up to 80 fps support in 4K for ProRes and RAW 3:1 — at a project frame rate is a powerful addition. That's right. Off-speed clips now playback in project frame rate. [image:blog_post:54917]


Wait. Say what?


The record frame rate is no longer limited by the video frame rate. What does this mean? It means that a shooter can set a frame rate to match their project, say at 24fps, and then independently choose a recording frame rate between 5 and 80 frames per second. What this means for the lucky editors and post producers is that smooth fast or slow motion shots are all still captured at the correct video frame rate, but with the power of a very low or high frame rate.

All of these added frames mean more data, and therefore the addition of the 3:1 RAW compression option will be a welcome one. The change means that the new CinemaDNG 12-bit RAW files will be recorded in one third of the size of uncompressed RAW files, thus allowing double the storage capacity on the same sized CFast card. One idea behind this was that those shooters used to making a small sacrifice by choosing ProRes for file size will now have a similarly sized RAW option. It also means more footage will end up on every CFast card.[image:blog_post:54919]

To assist in the preparation of CFast in production environments, the Blackmagic Camera update 1.9.9 also includes in camera CFast card formatting, so a computer is not needed to prepare CFast cards for use when on shoots. Unlike formatting on a computer, the Blackmagic URSA camera technically analyzes the CFast card’s memory storage structure and will optimize formatting to allow best performance when used for real time digital film data recording. This means a card formatted in URSA will perform better than a card formatted on a computer.

“This is a massive update for all URSA customers,” said Grant Petty, CEO, Blackmagic Design. “There are so many new features in this software, it’s like having a whole new camera, just by updating the software! We have worked hard on this update and we think this software update is really showing off the power of the URSA hardware design and what it’s capable of doing. There is more to come!”

Grant Petty of Blackmagic Design does more than talk the talk. Check out this video on Blackmagic Design’s Support page where he walks us through the update:

For those needing a refresher on the URSA specs, here they are:

Blackmagic URSA Key Features

  •     Large high resolution 4K Super 35mm sized sensor with superior handing of image detail.
  •     Professional global shutter for smooth pans and image motion.
  •     Wide 12 stops of dynamic range allows capture of increased details for feature film look.
  •     Compatible with extremely high quality PL or EF mount lenses, depending on model.
  •     User upgradable design allows customers to upgrade and change the sensor and lens mount.
  •     Built in dual CFast 2.0 card recorders allow unlimited duration recording in high quality.
  •     Open file formats compatible with popular edit software, such as ProRes, CinemaDNG RAW and CinemaDNG RAW 3:1 in 12 bit. No custom file formats.
  •     Support for ProRes HQ, ProRes 422, ProRes LT, ProRes Proxy at resolutions up to Ultra HD.
  •     Features all standard connections, including dual XLR mic/line audio inputs with phantom power, 6G-SDI output for monitoring with camera status graphic overlay and separate XLR 4 pin power output for viewfinder power, 6G-SDI monitoring input, headphone jack, LANC remote control and standard 4 pin 12V DC power connection.
  •     Built in stereo microphones for recording sound.
  •     3 separate built in LCD monitors for camera settings and metadata entry. Large 10" screen folds out for full resolution HD monitoring with wide viewing angle and high brightness.
  •     Supports Ultra HD and 1080 HD resolution capture in 23.98, 24, 25, 29.97, 30 up to 60 fps.
  •     Liquid cooling system allowing higher frame rates when future sensors support this feature.
  •     Supports quick release tripod mounts and adding V-Mount or Anton/Bauer mount battery plates.
  •     Includes full copy of DaVinci Resolve software color grading and editing software.

The update to Camera Update 1.9.9 is available now for free from the Blackmagic Design website.

Shot anything on an URSA? We would love to see it! Post a link to your work in the comments below or hit us up on Twitter @videomaker.

Russ Fairley
Russ Fairley
Russ Fairley is a producer, editor and motion graphic designer. He also writes for Videomaker and several other publications.

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