NAB 2015: New Products from Blackmagic Design


For the third year in a row, Blackmagic Design is making a big splash at NAB with a massive product announcement. The Australian designer and manufacturer of professional video technology will be introducing 38 new products, including three new digital cinema cameras, a new image sensor for its URSA cameras, DaVinci Resolve 12, and a range of 12G-SDI-enabled products for broadcast, post production and live production.

New Blackmagic Cameras and Camera Accessories

Last year at NAB, Blackmagic Design announced the URSA, a user-upgradable digital cinema camera, and this year the company has announced the first URSA sensor-upgrade module. The upgrade module will be available with an EF or PL lens mount and features a Super 35mm-sized image sensor that boasts 4.6K resolution, 15 stops of dynamic range, and frame rates up to 120 fps. The sensor can also be switched between “rolling” and global shutter modes.

In addition to the URSA sensor upgrade, there is also an entirely new URSA camera. The slimmed-down URSA Mini features the same 4.6K sensor and core processing as the full-sized URSA, but comes in a significantly smaller and lighter magnesium-alloy body. The URSA Mini is limited to slower frame rates, versus the full-sized URSA, but it can still do up to 60 frames per second at 4.6K and up to 160 fps in Full HD 1080p.

The built-in, 5-inch LCD screen is articulated and features touchscreen functionality for navigating menus and entering custom metadata. Metadata is saved directly in the video files so you don’t have to worry about managing extra sidecar files. In addition, the URSA Mini’s built-in GPS and gyroscope sensor store information about camera position, including height and rotation around the X, Y, and Z axis, to help with compositing effects in post.

The URSA Mini also features two built-in cardioid microphones for stereo audio recordings, dual CFast 2.0 card slots so you never have to stop recording while you switch media, a removable side grip with a LANC connection and buttons for record Start/Stop, iris, and focus. The URSA Mini will be available with an EF or PL mount. There will also be a more cost-effective URSA Mini without a global shutter or gyroscope sensor that is “limited” to 4K (4000 x 2160) resolution and 12 stops of dynamic range. You can decide for yourself whether or not you consider that much of a limitation.

There will also be a range of new URSA accessories including an electronic viewfinder and a shoulder kit for the URSA Mini. The EVF is compatible with all of the URSA cameras and features a 1920 x 1080 OLED screen, glass optics, an adjustable diopter, a tally light, and an adjustable mounting bracket.

The URSA Mini shoulder kit includes a top handle and an ENG-style shoulder pad with built-in rosettes, rail mounts, and a tripod quick release.

Rounding out Blackmagic Design's line of digital cinema cameras, the Micro Cinema Camera and Micro Studio Camera are perhaps the most unique of the company’s 2015 offerings. Despite their compact form factor—they are about the size of an action camera—the new Micro cameras feature relatively large image sensors, an active MFT lens mount, and a host of professional input and output connections.

The “expansion port” is perhaps the most groundbreaking feature of Blackmagic’s new Micro cameras. This DB-HD15 serial connector provides support for power input, LANC input, S.Bus channel input, PWM channel input, genlock input, and composite video output. The PWM and S.Bus inputs enable the use of radio control gear, like the remote transmitter for a quadcopter, which control focus, iris, and record Start/Stop.

Although they look nearly identical, the Micro Cinema Camera and the Micro Studio Camera are quite different. The Micro Cinema Camera features a Super 16mm-sized image sensor with Full HD resolution, 13 stops of dynamic range and frame rates up to 60 fps. The Micro Cinema Camera can also be switched between global and “rolling” shutter modes. The global shutter mode is really a huge advantage for a camera that is designed to compete with action cameras, since users will never have to worry about their action-packed footage looking like wiggling gelatin.

The Micro Production Camera is a broadcast-quality UHD 4K studio camera. It can be used with an external recorder as a production camera but it is designed to be used with a live production switcher. The Micro Production Camera features 6G-SDI input and outputs connections and uses the same SDI control protocol as their studio cameras and ATEM switchers.

In addition to the expansion port features that we discussed above, the Micro Production Camera’s expansion port includes a PTZ serial connection and a B4 lens-control connection.

Blackmagic Design has also announced the Blackmagic Video Assist, a 5-inch Full HD 1920 x 1080 LCD screen with touchscreen controls and a built-in video recorder. This device can record uncompressed 10-bit Quicktime Apple ProRes 422 (HQ), Avid DNxHD Quicktime and Avid DNxHD MXF to a UHS SD card. The Blackmagic Video Assist also features input and output connectors for SDI and HDMI, a headphone jack, an external power connector, two battery slots for LP-E6 style batteries and metal frame machined from aircraft-grade aluminum.

New Blackmagic Design Software

DaVinci Resolve has been an industry-leading color-grading application for decades, and now DaVinci Resolve 12 is adding more than 80 new features, including multi-cam editing, new media-management tools, a new audio engine, an automatic shot-matching feature, a 3D keyer, a new 3D perspective tracker and enhanced curve editing. DaVinci Resolve 12 will also support remote rendering, so users can distribute rendering jobs to other Resolve systems on the same shared database and storage.

Fusion is a cutting-edge visual effects and motion graphics application, and Blackmagic Design will soon be releasing Fusion 8 Studio. The update will add support for Mac OS X and Linux. Windows users can download and try it now, free of charge.

New Blackmagic Design Production and Post-Production Peripherals

12G-SDI connectivity is the major advancement for Blackmagic Design’s new production and post-production peripherals. The 12G-SDI SMPTE standard enables the transmission of high-frame-rate UHD 4K over a single cable. These new devices include the Teranex Mini, ATEM 2, Hyperdeck Studio 12G, Smart Videohub 12G 40x40, Smart Videohub CleanSwitch 12x12, ATEM Talkback Converter 4K, UltraStudio 4K Extreme, and DeckLink 4K Pro. Several of these are also compatible with optical fiber.

In addition to 12G-SDI, the Teranex Mini adds an optional “smart” front panel. This means that users can simply remove the basic front panel from a Teranex Mini and replace it with a Teranex Mini Smart Panel, adding a spin knob, a color LCD screen and multiple buttons. The Teranex Mini is small enough to be hidden in a cable duct but can also be rack-mounted.

The ATEM 2 M/E Broadcast Studio 4K is a 12G-SDI-based switcher with 20 inputs. 12G-SDI enables Ultra HD 4K at up to 60 frames per second. The new switcher also has a media pool that is twice the size of its predecessor, two built-in UHD multi viewers and four built-in media players.

The UltraStudio 4K Extreme is a Thunderbolt and PCIe video capture and playback device, designed to work with high-quality, high-frame-rate video, up to 3D stereoscopic 4K at 60 frames per second. The UltraStudio 4K Extreme also features a built-in, multi-format, hardware-based codec encoder. This means you can encode high-frame-rate UHD footage to ProRes inside the UltraStudio and output a more manageable format to your laptop.

For more information on these and other products from Blackmagic Design, please visit the B&H SuperStore in New York City, call us at 1-800-606-6969 or contact our experts online via Live Chat.