Blackmagic have once again introduced a camera that will no doubt aim to introduce disruption to the cinema camera market.
12k as in resolution, not price.
Blackmagic have announced a new generation of URSA mini pro.
The new Blackmagic URSA mini pro 12K is a new, higher resolution version of it's 4.6K camera. To compare, the URSA 4.6k shoots a max resolution of 4608 x 2592 upto 120fps, whereas the new 12K model maxes out at 12288x6480 upto 60fps. Higher frame-rates are available on the newer model of 8K upto 110fps and 4K upto 220 fps.
The new generation of camera makes use of Blackmagic's incredible Blackmagic RAW codec, which allows capture of all codecs and framerates in a 12bit format which allows changes of metadata in postproduction. Values such as white balance and ISO aren't baked in and are user-definable in post production.
Blackmagic RAW has a lot of flexibility with bit-rates, with the choice of constant quality or a constant bitrate, 5:1, 8:1, 12:1 and 18:1 compression ratios or with a Q0, Q1, Q3 and Q5 setting. Interestingly, there's no Prores support. I think Blackmagic are fairly confident that BMRAW is just as efficient as the Apple favorite.
Even better, the design of the codec is super efficient, and Blackmagic say that editing 12K on a laptop is a reality.
The application of this can be fairly substantial, Social media based advertisements for example (vertical video), will benefit having a large resolution available for crop, without losing detail, editable on the move with mobile work stations.
There are clips available to download on Blackmagic's website. At time of writing, you'll need to upgrade your version of Resolve to a beta build, and you'll need to be on a Mac OS based system.
The camera uses the user-definable and user-swappable EF and PL mounts. Allowing cinema lenses and the Canon based still lenses to be used on the system. Being a Super 35mm sensor, it supports a large library of anamorphic lenses that cover the sensor.
The URSA retains it's internal ND system, which allows of upto 6 stops of ND.
Cooke glass? No problem. Canon L series? No problem.
Blackmagic have also introduced Generation 5 colour science, which they state makes use of the massive amount of colour data from that 12k sensor - which delivers a better rendition of skin tones and highly saturated colours.
The image that comes from the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4k & 6K are very nice images, so hopefully this new generation will build and improve on the footage coming from the camera.
The URSA Mini 12k also allows recording to USB-C based external NVME SSD's in addition to the CFast and UHS-II SD card slots in the camera itself.
Blackmagic claim that the decision to increase the pixel count, is to create a better image in 8K or even 4K through downsampling the image.
The camera sensor also unique to the URSA Mini 12k. Instead of a bayer pattern sensor, it uses an equal amount of RBG pixels - the advantage of this setup means that should you choose to shoot 12K, 8K, 6K or 4K, the sensor can scale the RAW data without cropping - meaning that you still get the full super 35mm width of the sensor.
Price wise, the URSA Mini 12K runs at a staggering £8,095. Making it substantially cheaper than other similar style competitors (Red Helium) - and it still comes with a copy of Resolve Studio.
With any luck, we'll be able to grab one soon, and put the 12K files to the test. The concept of shooting 12K might be somewhat overwhelming at first, but with the efficiency of the codec and adaptability of the data rate, it might become a very viable system to integrate into without too much disruption.
Andrew McGovern is a Video Content Producer and DIT based in South West London. From big-budget feature films to commercial videos, 'Elvis' as he's known to his colleagues has experience in many types of filmmaking.
Instagram handle : @Andy_Elvis11