Blackmagic Design URSA Mini Pro 12K – Interview with Craig Heffernan

October 22nd, 2020 icon / message-square 11

The Blackmagic Design URSA Mini Pro 12K was announced a couple of months ago, and it is now starting to ship. In this Gear News video, we caught up with Craig Heffernan from Blackmagic Design to talk about all the features of this camera and who it’s aimed at.

Blackmagic Design URSA Mini Pro 12K – Features

During a live stream in July 2020, Blackmagic Design announced a surprisingly high-resolution camera: the Blackmagic Design URSA Mini Pro 12K.

Image credit: Blackmagic Design

This camera is capable of shooting in an incredible 12,288 x 6,480 resolution in DCI 17:9 aspect ratio. In September 2020, Blackmagic Camera Setup 7.0 was released, and it allows the camera to capture footage in 12K at up to 75fps.

Here is a quick reminder of all the camera highlights:

  • The BMD URSA Mini Pro 12K features a Super35 sensor.
  • You can shoot in BRAW format in various resolutions and framerates:
    • 12K 2,4:1 at up to 75 fps.
    • 8K DCI, 16:9, and 6:5 Anamorphic at 120 fps
    • 8K 2.4:1, and 4K 2.4:1 at 160 fps.
    • 4K DCI, 16:9, and 6:5 Anamorphic at 120 fps.
    • 4K Super 16 at up to 240 fps.
  • The form factor is the same as the URSA Mini Pro, so all accessories are backward compatible with this camera.
BMDCameraSetup7_Featured
Image credit: Blackmagic Design
  • It now features a USB Type-C port at the back of the camera so you can record directly onto external SSD/flash drives. The camera records internally onto dual CFast and SD UHS-II cards.
  • The camera is compatible with the Blackmagic URSA Mini Recorder that lets you record 12-bit Blackmagic RAW files onto 2.5″ SSDs.
  • The camera comes with a PL-mount but offers an interchangeable lens mount to Canon EF mount or Nikon F mount.

Who is it for?

One of the main questions about this camera was, “who is it for”? We discussed with Craig about user cases and all the camera features during this Gear News video. The increase in resolution looks interesting if you’re doing a lot of VFX work or if you need to zoom in digitally in post.

Image credit: Blackmagic Design

Surprisingly, compared to other recording formats, thanks to deep integration with DaVinci Resolve, 12K BRAW footage looks fairly manageable, and you can edit your footage on a laptop.

Pricing and Availability

The Blackmagic Design URSA Mini Pro 12K is already available and starting to ship for a price of $9,995.

We will have more content around the URSA Mini Pro 12K soon on CineD – stay tuned. We are currently working on our lab test and also a hands-on experience.

What do you think about this URSA Mini Pro 12K? Do you think all the extra resolution would useful for you? Don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments below!

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Ian Taylor
Member
October 28th, 2020

12k native ISO is 800? It’s sad when a company admits to not using full frame sensors because it’s too expensive and blames their consumers. Panasonic thankfully does not think like this. omg I’m laughing

Jim Nicholls
Jim Nicholls
Member
October 26th, 2020

Thanks for this interview guys. Great information but I found myself distracted by the quality of the imaging setup for the BM guy. On the CineD side the lighting was really good in a total classical sense. Rim light with good modelling on face, and the camera settings seemed perfect. Unfortunately the BM guy was blasted with light, lacked modelling and looked overexposed.
Dare I say it but is this the difference between lighting done by a cinematographer and lighting done by an engineer? I sort of felt guilty being distracted from the content of the video cause Craig from BM did a great job explaining the features of the camera, but I found myself wondering what camera CineD was using because that’s the camera I’d go for!
Maybe Cine D could write a short article on their setup?

Member
October 25th, 2020

I think the technology is amazing and I love the form factor of the G2. Where BMC really missed the mark is not making it 8k instead of 12k. At 8k, you still would’ve satisfied the VFX market as well as stay below many lenses diffraction limits. More importantly, you’d half the max data rate, saving loads of drive space and double the pixel size, thereby increasing the sensitivity. I love my G2, but what I wouldn’t give for an extra stop of sensitivity.

Evan Brandt
Evan Brandt
Member
October 23rd, 2020

I feel like people are missing the point of this camera. It’s BM’s first in house designed sensor. And it came with 12k at 75 FPS. Something I’ll remind all of you doesn’t exist yet especially not in a useable form factor and for only 10k. With a codec that can handle it. I understand full frame is the hot news right now. But to be honest I wouldn’t even get full frame because of Lens availability. Nor would I expect it for this price. Same with the dynamic range. Honestly red claims 15 stops with the Komodo but I haven’t seen any footage that I’ve enjoyed. The c70 has amazing footage already and is only 4K with 16 stops so if you want a good 4K camera with a good image go for that. This camera is BM’s halo throw the kitchen sink at it camera. It just represents what it can do while reusing the same body to save cost. They hear everyone’s screams for an 8k camera that costs $8k that is in a cube that’s full frame with 16 stops of DR. Don’t worry something similar to the success of the pocket 4K is coming. That’s just my 2 cents from a beginner.

Eugenia L
Member
October 24th, 2020
Reply to  Evan Brandt

You are mistaken about lens availability. You see, an S35 12k sensor, can only be usable below f/4. That’s the diffraction limit for such a camera. There are VERY FEW lenses that are ultra sharp below f/4. So, no, your “not enough full frame lenses” is not a legitimate argument, because the current 12k Ursa faces the same problem essentially.

As for “12k 75fps never existed before”, it’s also not a great argument because you need to ask the market first if that’s what they needed or not. Very few people will ever need 12k. Or 75 fps in 12k. It’s like saying that the new Tesla car has a built-in microwave oven. No other car does. But is it actually needed? If you see what most working filmmakers ask about, it’s 4k. Only some Youtubers want 6k or 8k, or some specialized uses require it. Most others, they’d like 4k in order to reframe easily, and most of the time, they even shoot at 1080p.

I believe that 8k cameras will become the norm at some point, but it will be used sparingly, for specialized uses, and most recording will take place at 4k. But 12k, I don’t see the point of existing for video.

Member
October 25th, 2020
Reply to  Evan Brandt

8k would’ve been a better choice. Less than 1/2 the data and much better lowlight performance while staying within the rez limits of more lenses.

Eugenia L
Member
October 23rd, 2020

Bad strategic mistake for BMD to go for an s35 12k sensor. Low diffraction limits, sharp glass limits and understanding of these limits from users, will only bring a bad vibe about the product. BMD needed to go 8k full frame, or even just 4k full frame. But 12k s35 makes no sense. While the resolution game makes some sense among photographers, it doesn’t among videographers, not as much at least.

Walter Vargas
Walter Vargas
Guest
October 23rd, 2020

BMD missed the boat here. Their big disadvantage is their chips’ poor low-light performance. THAT is what they should have been working on with all possible vigor, not creating chips with excessive “resolution.”

Raw Shooter
Raw Shooter
Guest
October 22nd, 2020

I saw a test compared to the C500 Mark II.
My big takeaways were lack of detail and noise.
And the BM doesn’t have autofocus.
The BM price is good.
Now that BMCuser is gone there isn’t a good place that I know of to track BM’s QC that isn’t the best.
I own a couple BM cameras but probably won’t be buying in the future.
The majors are offering similar features and with autofocus and reliability, I don’t need the cheap price.
Someone posted about the Komodo. It’s a great camera. I have a camera with global shutter and love it. But the ceiling on the Komodo is iso 1500 which is pretty low for these days.
Everyone’s needs are different.
If the BM 12K checks off your boxes, more power to you.

Caleb Genheimer
Caleb Genheimer
Member
October 22nd, 2020

With all that resolution they should just halve it and implement dual gain architecture like Arri/Canon for more DR.

Thibault Menu
Thibault Menu
Member
October 22nd, 2020

Looks amazing.
But I’m just waiting for their answer to the red Komodo :)

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