CinemaDNG Support Removed from All Ursa Mini Pros in Wake of Patent Claim
Blackmagic Design has given its Ursa Mini Pro 4.6K a generational upgrade, replacing the previous model with a G2 version that supports frame rates of up to 150fps in 4K and a blistering 300fps in windowed 1080p HD mode — but only when recording to the 12-bit Blackmagic Raw format.
Getting the highest frame rates requires cranking the raw compression level all the way up to 12:1, according to Blackmagic CEO Grant Petty, who introduced the new camera in a video posted to YouTube. “That’s why we focused so hard on getting good quality [in Blackmagic Raw] at 12:1,” he explained. At the same time, ProRes recording tops out at 80fps at 4.6K, 120fps in UHD, and 240fps in HD.
Originally introduced at IBC 2018, Blackmagic Raw is the company’s attempt to take advantage of the latitude afforded by raw picture formats while stretching the definition of raw — in Blackmagic’s case, some of the picture processing is actually handled in camera, which reduces the computational power required to handle the footage in post but also means it’s no longer truly “raw” when it gets there.
Breaking down other new features of the Ursa Mini Pro 4.6K G2, Petty noted that it sports redesigned electronics and a new sensor, with improved colorimetry and color uniformity. The sensor also has a faster read-out speed than its predecessor, which Petty said should further reduce or eliminate any lingering rolling-shutter artifacts. With the latest Blackmagic Raw version (1.3) comes the ability to embed 3D LUTs directly in raw clips, rather than relying on sidecar files to carry the information. And Blackmagic Resolve is getting updated in the soon-to-be-released v15.3 with the ability to turn those embedded LUTs on and off in the software, Petty said. (He also promised that a more expansive Resolve upgrade will be shown at NAB next month.)
In addition to dual C-Fast 2.0 and dual SD UHS-II slots, the camera’s USB-C port enables a new recording option — you can connect a fast SSD, record out of the camera directly to that drive, and then use the same drive for editing. And the G2 also has improvements to audio, including quieter XLR inputs and line-level adjustments. The camera comes with an interchangeable EF lens mount that can be removed and replaced with an optional PL or B4 mount as needed.
There is one thing missing from the new camera entirely: CinemaDNG recording. “We’ve had a patent claim — someone is complaining that the DNG format that we’re using is infringing their patent,” Petty said, claiming that because the company didn’t invent CinemaDNG and isn’t familiar with the history of the format, Blackmagic is unsure about the validity of the claim. (Petty did not reveal the identity of the claimant.) “We know Blackmagic Raw really well. We’ve done a lot of research on Blackmagic Raw, and it’s a much better format, so we’ve decided to remove DNG from the camera.”
At the same time, a free v6.2 update to the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K is adding Blackmagic Raw support as a replacement for CinemaDNG. And, just a word of warning for Ursa Mini Pro owners: when you download the Blackmagic Camera 6.2 update, those cameras will lose CinemaDNG support, too, leaving you with only ProRes recording.
Decklink Quad HDMI Recorder
The new camera wasn’t all Blackmagic announced today. The company revealed the new Decklink Quad HDMI Recorder, a four-channel HDMI 2.0 capture card. Because the card has the ability to record independently, and in different formats up to 2160p60, from each HDMI input (including up to eight channels of embedded audio per input), it’s the functional equivalent of installing four different 4K-capable capture devices in a system while taking up just one PCIe slot. In addition to the usual array of HD and UHD options, the Decklink Quad supports oddball computer-graphics resolutions, from the venerable 640×480 all the way up to 2560×1440 and 2560×1600. With those resolutions in the mix for gamers, Blackmagic thinks it will be a great piece of all-purpose gear for multi-channel recording and live streaming.
To get full functionality, you’ll need to make sure you’ve installed the Decklink Quad HDMI Recorder in a PCIe Gen-3 slot. It’s due later this month for a list price of $545.
Decklink 8K Pro Upgrade
The Blackmagic Decklink 8K Pro is getting a free update that should improve its utility in broadcast workflows. The four 12G-SDI connections on the card will now be available for independent capture and playback of four separate streams. The 12G-SDI connections can be configured as independent capture or playback channels, or they can be used as up to two fill-and-key outputs, allowing the card to be used for compositing graphics in real time. The card will now support both static and dynamic HDR metadata, along with HLG and PQ transfer characteristics, and allows HDR content to be output via SDI. It’s also been updated to support a plethora of new frame rates, in large part to support HFR feature-film work in Resolve, Petty said. They include such exotic speeds as 47.95, 48, 95.9, 96, 100, 119.88 and 120fps. The new Decklink 8K Pro features can be turned on using the new Desktop Video 11.0 software upgrade, available now as a free download.
Blackmagic Duplicator 4K Upgrade
And we heard about the Blackmagic Duplicator 4K, originally debuted at NAB 2016. The SD-media-based duplication system, which can record incoming video to an array of 25 cards, is getting an upgrade with new longform modes that record to cards in sequence, rather than in parallel. Single disk recording mode records to each card in sequence until all available cards have been filled, then stops. (Cards can be swapped out with fresh media to allow a recording to continue indefinitely.) Alternately, infinite overwrite recording mode records to each card in sequence until all available cards have been filled, then goes back and overwrites the oldest card in the chain with new footage. The new modes are geared mainly toward surveillance applications that require recordings to run for days at a time, or even 24/7 indefinitely. But the Duplicator can still be operated in its original mode, which records a live video feed simultaneously to up to 25 SD cards, allowing users to make copies of a live event available immediately after it takes place.