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Blackmagic URSA Mini Pro 12K BRAW Cinema Camera Announced

Move over 8K for $60K, Blackmagic’s in the house with 12K for $10K!

Blackmagic URSA Mini Pro 12K
Images by Blackmagic Design

Blackmagic Design just announced URSA Mini Pro 12K, the highest resolution digital cinema camera to date! The URSA Mini Pro 12K has a Super 35 sized (12,288 x 6,480) image sensor, that has been specifically developed in-house for Blackmagic RAW.

The sensor is rated at 14 stops of dynamic range. What is more impressive here is that the URSA Mini Pro 12K can record 12K/60fps using the full sensor. In addition, 8K/110fps and 4K/110fps are also available using the full sensor.

12K Digital Cinema Camera with Blackmagic RAW 

This new 3rd generation URSA Mini Pro supports the new Blackmagic Gen 5 Color Science, making a debut here.

In the live stream (which you can see below in full) CEO Grant Petty did mention the new colour science will trickle down to other models in the near future. 

Despite the similar camera body as the G2, the new URSA Mini Pro has significantly improved internals to cope with the insane resolutions, new sensor, and processing.

Blackmagic URSA Mini Pro 12K Features

  • 12K Super 35 (12,288 x 6,480) 80 Megapixels
    • Full RGB/Non-Bayer Sensor
    • optimised and developed for BRAW
    • 14 Stops Dynamic Range
    • Native ISO 800
  • Records 12bit Blackmagic Raw only
    • up to 900MB/s on 2 x Cfast 2.0
    • up to 500MB/s on 2 x SD UHS-II
  • Resolutions/Frame rates:
    • 12K 17:9 up to 60 fps at full-sensor
    • 8K DCI up to 110 fps at full-sensor
    • 4K DCI up to 110 fps at full-sensor
    • 8K 2.4:1 and 4K 2.4:1 up to 140 fps
    • 6K up to 120 fps (Super 16 crop mode)
    • 4K up to 220 fps (Super 16 crop mode)
  • Anamorphic Recording Modes
    • 12K Anamorphic (7680 x 6408)
    • 8K Anamorphic (5120 x 4272) 
    • 4K Anamorphic (2560 x 2136) 
  • Built-in 4 Stage IRND 
    • 2, 4, 6 stops (and clear)
  • Designed for high-end cinema work
  • 1 x 12G and 1 x 3G SDI outputs
  • New Blackmagic RAW for real time 12K editing.
  • Blackmagic RAW optimized for Metal, CUDA and OpenCL.
  • Generation 5 Color Science with new film curve.
  • Recording Media:
    • CFast 2.0 cards x 2
    • SD UHS-II x 2
    • or to SSD via USB Type-C 3.1 Gen 2 out
    • New URSA Mini SSD Recorder ($395)
  • Ships with PL mount
    • EF and Nikon F also available (interchangeable)
  • Price: $9,995 USD
  • Availability: End of July, 2020
  • Note: Ships to high-end DoPs first according to CEO Grant Petty

DaVinci Resolve 16.2.4 – read all the details about the latest update here.

ursa mini pro 12k braw
Image by Blackmagic Design

New, Full RGB 80 Megapixel 12K Sensor!

There is a lot to unpack from today’s announcement. Yes, 12K in a digital cinema camera (or any camera) is more than impressive. However, what is more interesting here is that the new sensor in the URSA Mini 12K does not have the typical Bayer pattern found on most CMOS chips on the market today. 

Blackmagic Design has apparently developed a S35 sensor in house with a Full RGB readout, similar to the way that is done on 3-chip shoulder cameras, but without the prism and the optical distortions. For those that want to nerd-out a bit more, skip to the -24:01 minute mark in the live stream for more details on how they’ve implemented this technology into the new camera. 

The 80 megapixel full RGB chip is also said to provide exceptional detail and color fidelity ‘beyond traditional motion picture film’.

According to Grant, users @will get the benefits of shooting with film including incredible detail, wide dynamic range and rich, deep color.’

Insane Crop-ability and Say Goodbye to Moire and Aliasing

Perfect for feature films, episodic television and immersive, large format IMAX. The incredible definition around objects makes it ideal for working with green screen and VFX including compositing live action and CGI. Super sampling at 12K means customers not only get better color and resolution at 8K, but also a smoothness that comes from making aliasing invisible.

The implications of having such a sensor is that apparently the scaling of raw is done in sensor. Furthermore, this means you get full readout in 12K, 8K, or 4K – it’s like having 3 cameras into 1. Needless to say the benefits and implications of this technologies are yet to be further explored. But I have a feeling that for a lot of people especially VFX and those frequently re-framing and stabilizing shots, filming with this camera will be a transformative experience. 

Of course, resolution isn’t everything, and this camera will hardly obsolete any of the existing cameras out there. On the contrary, it will provide another affordable tool for those that want to explore the flexibility of BRAW and higher resolutions. 

URSA Mini Pro 12K Menu

See a snapshot of the menu screen on the new camera above.

Images by Blackmagic Design

New Blackmagic URSA Mini Recorder

The new and improved Mini Recorder bolts onto the back of the camera in the same way as on the G2 and allows users to record BRAW onto fast 2.5 inch SSDs, including the latest U.2 NVMe Enterprise SSDs.

Moreover, SSDs such as the latest 7mm U.2 NVMe disks are super fast, delivering data transfer speeds of up to 900 MB/s. This blazing fast performance allows users to record for longer periods in full resolution 4K, 8K and 12K in the highest quality Q0 encoding.

Furthermore, the unit is controlled via the USB-C so you don’t have to worry about manually starting or stopping the SSD recorder. The new Mini Recorder is priced at $395 USD.

Blackmagic RAW Now Optimised for 12K Editing Workflow

And despite the intimidating data rates and 12K resolution in itself, according to Blackmagic Design, users should not be experiencing difficulties editing the footage. Of course, granted you are using a powerful PC or MacBook Pro (or MacPro). The editing experience is something that I am afraid will vary for most people, however BMD have come a long way and made BRAW very smooth to edit even in 8K+ resolutions as seen in the live stream. 

The proof however, is always in the pudding, so as Grant suggested in the live stream – they have made a few 12K clips available for download for all of us to play with and see how we get along. A caveat is that you will need to download a new beta verison of Resolve that supports 12K BRAW. I am yet to do so as of the writing of this article, I cannot confirm how easy or not it is to edit such high-res footage. 

Pricing and Availability

Blackmagic URSA Mini Pro 12K will be available in July 2020 for US$9,995. According to CEO Grant Petty, the camera will first ship to high-end DoPs and in two weeks time to the masses. 

Learn more over at Blackmagic Design here.

What do you think?

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