Blackmagic used to be mostly known for their color-grading software. But over the last few years, the company has gone into the camera development business and delivered some shockingly high-quality cameras. And their latest might just be their best, and most important, yet.
1. It Puts Professional 4K Filmmaking Into Your Budget
First, because it just has to be said, there’s the price. Most high resolution cinema cameras cost more than a luxury car and some cost more than a house. Blackmagic has consistently kept the costs low and the sizes small, delivering on the promise that a lot of independent camera companies like Red just never seem able to deliver on. And this is no exception: It costs just $6000.
2. It’s Got Everything You Need
More to the point, it’s built to be shockingly easy to use. It has a massive 10-inch viewscreen, a Super 35mm-sized sensor that shoots in 4K, two touchscreens, and, well, do you really need to know anything else?
3. It’s Fully Customizable
A nice touch that Blackmagic rarely gets credit for is that it’s dedicated to not locking you into a proprietary format or some other load of garbage. The Ursa is built from the ground up to accept industry standard connections; the idea is that whatever you’ve got lying around already will work with the Ursa without any adapters, problems, or futzing around. Just plug it in, fire it up, and get to work. As anybody who’s screwed around with adapters can tell you, that’s a blessing.
4. It’s Got Two Recorders
This may not sound like much at first, but for filmmakers, it’s a godsend; the Ursa comes with two onboard recorders, which take CFast cards. That means that instead of having to stop a shot because you’re running out of room, the camera just switches over to the next card, you can swap the full one out, and keep shooting. That’s a welcome change from previous cameras.
5. You Can Choose Your Sensor And Lens Mount
It’s fairly typical, among high-end cameras, that any system that’s “swappable” is, at best, a mess and at worst a proprietary nightmare that really only exists for a handful of major broadcasters with a lot of money to burn on equipment. A nice touch is that Blackmagic offers the Ursa in a range of lens mounts and sensor types. You can even get the equipment without a sensor and connect it to your current camera set up. That’s especially useful if you’ve already got the gear and just need to upgrade.
6. It Comes With Free Color Correction Software
Finally, there’s the whole reason Blackmagic, which sells color correction software, got into the camera game in the first place… to keep selling color correction software. Every camera you buy comes with free copies of their DaVinci Resolve software, which is highly respected color correction gear and some of the best stuff out there. So, on top of getting a camera built to actually make movies for far less than anywhere else, you also get software to make your footage look good. Not a bad deal.
Dan Seitz is an obsessive nerd living in New England. He lives in the Boston area with a fiancee, a dog, a cat, and far too many objects with processors.