April 14th, 2015

Blackmagic Design Intros Ursa Mini, Micro Cinema Cam and 4.6K Sensor at NAB 2015

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Blackmagic has put its cinema cameras on a diet, rolling out a Mini version of its Ursa 4K camera and a Micro edition of its Cinema Camera at the NAB show.

The new Mini will weigh approximately 7 pounds, less than half the weight of the original Ursa. It will shed the Ursa’s three monitors, including the 10-inch flip-out display, in favor of a single, 5-inch touch screen HD monitor.

The Mini will record 4K footage to a pair of CFast 2.0 cards in Apple ProRes (up to 444 XQ) or Cinema DNG 12-bit RAW. It will have dual XLR inputs with phantom power, a built-in stereo mic, and a 12G-SDI connection.

The Ursa Mini will be sold with either Blackmagic’s new 4.6K Super 35mm-sized image sensor or a 4K sensor.

The 4.6K (4608 x 2592) sensor versions boasts 15 stops of dynamic range and delivers 60 fps 4K frame rates with rolling shutter or 30 fps with global shutter. It will be sold in EF and PL mounts for $4,995 and $5,495, respectively.

If you opt for the less expensive Ursa Mini with a 4K sensor ($2,995 EF mount), you’ll enjoy frame rates at 120 fps with rolling shutter and up to 60 fps with a global shutter.

Both 4K and 4.6K Ursa Mini editions will ship in July.

As announced late last week, owners of the original Ursa will be able to upgrade their cameras with the new 4.6K sensor for $2,000. Blackmagic will begin shipping the new sensor mount in the summer. The price of the Ursa with the original 4K sensor drops to $4,995 for an EF mount version.

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The Micro Cinema Camera is a downsized variant of the Pocket Cinema Camera that Blackmagic is targeting for aerial use and in places where an action camera like a GoPro might otherwise be placed. The Micro has front facing controls, an active Micro Four Thirds lens mount, global shutter for up to 30 fps capture and an HD sensor that captures 13 stops of dynamic range. You can get faster 60 fps frame rates if you switch to a rolling shutter. It records 12-bit log CinemaDNG files and ProRes.

While the camera isn’t weather-resistant, it’s built from a durable magnesium alloy. It features a 3.5mm stereo input, plus an HDMI output for video monitoring. Video is saved internally to SD cards.

The side of the camera will feature an expansion port that will enable 3rd party accessory makers to create camera remote controls via a standardized interface typically used for model airplane remote controls. A composite video output in the expansion port will allow 3rd party accessories access to a live view from the camera as well as information on current settings.

The Micro Cinema Camera ships in July for $995. It will join the Pocket Cinema Camera, which is staying on the market.

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Finally, the company launched a touch screen  field monitor/recorder, dubbed the Video Assist, that can be used with any HDMI or SDI camera. It features a 5-inch HD display with a viewing angle of 135 degrees. It records to SD card and supports up to 10-bit 422 ProRes footage. The Video Assist accepts two LP-E6 batteries with an intelligent power management system that draws one battery down completely first before pulling power from the second (it will pull power from the lowest capacity battery if both batteries are below 100 percent). Batteries can be hot-swapped.

The Video Assist will ship in July and retail for $495.

With the advent of the Video Assist, the HDMI Mount option for the Ursa, which the company had mentioned as a future option, is no longer on the roadmap, the company said.

June 20th, 2013

Instagram Demonstrates Powerful Video Stabilization – on a Smartphone

shaky-videoProfessional photographers don’t often turn to a smartphone to shoot video. But in the new video offering announced by Instagram today is technology that could eventually be a great addition to the toolkit.

A new video option for the photo sharing site can literally take jumpy, hand-held video and turn it into something watchable. Technology like that could someday be used to help rescue video footage that might otherwise be given up for loss because of a shaky hand.

Here’s a clip of the announcement about the new technology, taken from today’s live stream of the Instagram press event.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=rB5WrX3NLBU

To watch the replay of the live streaming of the whole Facebook/Instagram event, beginning to end, go this Live Stream page.

–Erik Sherman