Blackmagic URSA Mini Pro G2 Introduced, Pocket 4K Gets Blackmagic RAW, No More DNG

March 5th, 2019
Blackmagic URSA Mini Pro G2 Introduced, Pocket 4K Gets Blackmagic RAW, No More DNG

Blackmagic Design just announced the URSA Mini Pro G2, the second generation of its flagship shoulder camera, plus the long sought-after Blackmagic RAW update to the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K.

To get an extensive run-down of all the new products and features that Blackmagic Design introduced today, watch CEO Grant Petty in this 35 minute video below:

But if you want to save some time, you can also read my summary here:

Blackmagic URSA Mini Pro G2

This is the new second generation of the popular URSA Mini Pro. It replaces the previous model and while it looks similar, Blackmagic have redesigned all the electronics inside the camera and it includes a new generation 4.6K sensor. Blackmagic claims that this camera has 15 stops of dynamic range. (Here’s our dynamic range test of Blackmagic RAW on the original URSA Mini Pro in case you missed it.)

The new electronics allowed them to ramp up the camera frame rates. They have doubled the frame rate in Blackmagic RAW and in ProRes.

Frame rates in Blackmagic RAW:

  • 120 fps in 4.6K in Blackmagic RAW
  • 150 fps in 4K DCI in Blackmagic RAW (windowed)
  • 150 fps in UHD 4K in Blackmagic RAW (windowed)
  • 300 fps in HD in Blackmagic RAW (windowed)

For the higher frame rates, you will need 12:1 compression.

Frame rates in ProRes:

  • 80 fps in 4.6K in ProRes
  • 120 fps in UHD in ProRes (windowed)
  • 240fps in HD in ProRes (windowed)

The read-out from the sensor is faster which results in less rolling shutter. Image calibration on the camera was upgraded: new black calibration, improvement to the Version 4 Color Science and 3D LUTs are now integrated.

The camera already runs Blackmagic RAW 1.3. This version integrated 3D LUTs into the Blackmagic RAW footage itself, which can be read out by the latest version of DaVinci Resolve. It’s in the file, but it’s not burned in, it can be switched on and off. This feature can be accessed by any software that uses the Blackmagic RAW SDK 1.3.

Blackmagic have also improved the audio circuitry for quad-XLR audio inputs. I really hope that means that also audio monitoring will be improved with this new camera because I think one of the biggest downsides of the original URSA Mini Pro was the noticeable lag in audio monitoring through the mini jack, which made monitoring audio on this camera (while recording) a quite jarring experience.

The URSA Mini Pro G2 can also do USB-C recoding to flash disks now, just like the Pocket Cinema Camera 4k.

With regards to lenses, the EF Mount is interchangeable to PL (optional purchase mount) and even B4 broadcast lenses.

In addition to the improvements above, Blackmagic has enhanced the displayed information on heads-up display (like for example ND status), and it’s now also easier to format media.

Here’s my review of the original Blackmagic URSA Mini Pro, in case you missed it:

Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4k goes Blackmagic RAW

When first introduced in September last year, Blackmagic RAW was only made available for the URSA Mini Pro. It’s a compressed 12-bit RAW format that’s easier to use than traditional RAW formats – footage comes in a single file and it uses about as much (constant) data as a ProRes 422 HQ file (which is only 10-bit and a much older format). Of course, everyone wanted to see Blackmagic RAW on the long-anticipated Pocket Cinema Camera 4k as well, and now is the time that Blackmagic is introducing it to that camera.

The Blackmagic RAW update for the Pocket 4K comes as part of the Blackmagic Camera 6.2 update which is freely available from their website. The new format means that you can record the highest available quality and resolution on that camera at a lower data rate – for example, you can fit 2 hours of Blackmagic RAW footage in 4K on one 256GB SD UHS-II card. Blackmagic RAW 12:1 makes it even possible to record 4K DCI images to an SD card, which wasn’t possible before. The RAW compression rates that are available in the camera are 3:1, 5:1, 8:1 and 12:1 in constant bit rates, or alternatively you chose constant quality between “Q0” and “Q5” settings.

That means that you can prioritize either image quality or file size by choosing one of the two options to set your quality – essentially toggling between a constant and a variable bitrate mode, while still remaining in the (supposedly) superior Blackmagic RAW codec.

Here’s our initial video about Blackmagic RAW from IBC 2018:

Blackmagic Design Generation 4 Color Science

The update also introduces Blackmagic Design Generation 4 Color Science into the camera, which, according to the company, “is used for superior imaging that results in extremely accurate skin tones and gorgeous, lifelike colors”. We’ll take a look at how it compares to prior versions, but I personally was pretty happy about Blackmagic skin tones all along.

If you haven’t seen our full extensive Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4k video review before, please watch it below!

No More DNG RAW on URSA Mini Pro G2 and Pocket 4K

What comes as a bit of a surprise is that Blackmagic will no longer offer cinema DNG recording on the new URSA Mini Pro G2, the Pocket 4K or the original URSA Mini Pro, with the new camera update. Grant Petty mentions some patent issues in the video above, but quickly moves on to say that cDNG is an obsolete format anyway, considering the file size of the individual DNG files that are generated. While he might be right (DNG is eating up storage in no time which makes it really hard to shoot even for a lot of professional productions), there certainly will be a considerable disappointment by many users who have had to rely on this feature in the past. After all, the USP of Blackmagic cameras has been their ability to record RAW footage at a very low hardware cost … and while it’s true that now we have Blackmagic RAW as the new codec, some people might still prefer the individual still photo file structure of DNG files for their workflow, especially when we are talking about CGI intense post-production workflows.

We’ll see how the market and the communities react to this announcement.

Are you a Blackmagic camera user? Do you have or plan to own a Pocket 4K or URSA Mini Pro G2 in the future? What do you think about their discontinuation of DNG in their cameras? Let us know in the comments below!

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Anonymous
Anonymous
Guest
September 18th, 2019

BRAW is objectively inferior to DNG. DNG is not obsolete, to say it is is ignorant. Removal of DNG, the reason BRAW exists at all is the RED patent issue. BRAW isn’t RAW because it does half of debayering in camera. They specifically introduced this format to avoid RED suing BMD. The only reason BRAW exists is BMD is scared of RED. Not because it’s something well thought out. So before claiming DNG is obsolete educate yourself first.

There is a reason ARRI is better than RED and one of those reasons is ARRI offers uncompressed RAW. So they have better details than RED’s higher resolution cameras because it is uncompressed. This is why DNG is so important. With compressed RAW you get worse image quality than an uncompressed lower resolution image.

Javaughn Henry
Guest
March 23rd, 2019

I feel as if the issue between utilizing DNG raw Vs. the BRAW is mostly an issue of people don’t like losing something. People have been using this file format and don’t like switching their workflow. People said that digital was a bad switch because film was more organic, but then people learned how to adapt. If you had two of the same clips captured and graded, the whole 9 yards, with professionals I’m not sure that many people could tell the difference. We as the directors and cinematographers who have this project at heart could, but the cost to benefit ration is rather good for the switch.

 antoine amanieux
antoine amanieux
Member
March 10th, 2019

so you confirm that they lowered image quality on bmpcc4k after firmware 6.2 by removing cinemadng lossless raw and replacing it with lossy q0 which is now the highest quality available after firmware 6.2 update ? did they do that in order to no compete against their more expensive cameras, they claim it is a royalty issue but it seem like BS ?

Femi
Femi
Guest
March 9th, 2019

I think it’s a shame that after more than a year of the release of the pocket cinema camera we still have to wait almost 5 months to receive ours. I made an my order since January and I am afraid I won’t lay hands on mine till maybe September. It’s truly shameful, I think it will make people shift their purchase decision to a product/brand that is ready off the shelve……Again big shame

M.K.
M.K.
Guest
March 9th, 2019

Also, One more thing….Cinema DNG, as envisioned by the Adobe-lead initiative is supposed to be an –industry wide, vendor neutral, open source format that is free from IP encumbrances or licenses–, that is on the radar of the ISO for evetual approval as an industry standard open format, so the fact that Mr. Petty issued a statement that he ‘doesn’t know the history’ of the format, which is -very- well documented as it moves toward an ISO adoption, or the validity of the patent claim, is perplexing to me. Perhaps their own particular 12-bit Huffman Coded jpeg-9a compression scheme is not fully cleared of IP hurdles, but to drop it altogether when so many other manufacturers (and most of the industry itself) have adopted the standard and have had zero problems over the years (including Blackmagic) doesn’t add up to me. I could speculate but I won’t. All other manufacturers, at the time of this writing, have zero reservations about using cDNG. They obviously have their own problems to contend with over there and I wish them luck as a company. That said, it -is- an open source format, and the fact that they are moving away from it, for whatever reason, when they -could- look at the way the rest of us are doing things, and make an improvement to their version of it to fit better into the larger production ecosystem, rather than dropping it so that only -their- ecosystem is served, is counter-intuitive. Maybe the decision to drop cDNG is part of a marketing strategy they hope will fit into some future plan for a more expensive camera platform. Maybe there is some new flagship camera in the pipeline that they don’t want the URSA MINI PRO G2 to compete with..who knows. If they were/are serious about making the G2 the best it -could- be, they could just license another off the shelf compression scheme, and build it in to the new camera’s pricing structure. Or get one of their engineers to tweak/come up with one… JPEG, TIFF, etc., take your pick. cDNG is supposed to be open source, and there are avenues they could take/could have taken.

M.K.
M.K.
Guest
March 8th, 2019

No Cinema DNG means one less (widely used) high quality option with which to work in post. Perhaps they could have offered something like an a-la carte pricing option the way ARRI, among others, offers it’s high-speed license for a nominal extra cost, and just paid the licensing fee to keep cDNG, spreading it across the cost of the G2 camera run? I know ARRI makes more expensive cameras, and it isn’t technically the same, blah,blah,blah, but I would have paid an extra couple of Benjamins for them to keep it in, as I suspect -a lot- of us with established VFX workflows would have. cDNG is a discrete series of frames, and that does apply uniquely to certain VFX processes, and yes it is a pain, but a very high quality pain, and -every ounce- worth the hassle of processing/transcoding if you are using it for certain HQ VFX. Maybe not for everyone, but that is one thing this camera had the potential to be an asset for. BRAW will not exceed 12bit, and though it appears to be a ‘nice’ looking codec, it remains to be seen if BRAW-originated plates can stack up to cDNG with intensive compositing, on a large screen. I know this is a sub-6k MINI PRO camera body we are talking about so there are limitations on how hard things can be pushed (which may or may no apply in varying degrees to the new version), but I would love to see some side by side tests with the new sensor, and I don’t mean DaVinci resolve tests with simple shadow and highlight tweaks, or rudimentary keys, I mean full composites with stacked, ultra detailed plates, shot under demanding and dynamic lighting conditions, and complex VFX elements. (I am talking to you Blackmagic). You want to sell more cameras? Show me I can depend on your tools, not only for reliability and customer support (two things that go hand in hand), wide-use image formats, clean sensors that can consistently perform (even when pushed), etc. You get the idea. I -was- going to get an original Ursa Mini Pro as a low cost option for clients, but the loss of cDNG plus the already established reliability benchmarks of the previous version of this camera make me very wary…I want to see this thing shine before I spend -any- amount of money on one.

 Michael Antico
Michael Antico
Member
March 6th, 2019

Literally ordered the Ursa Mini Pro 4.6k yesterday. Should be arriving on Friday. Wondering if I should return it and order this new one. Any idea when it will be released/shipping? I can ask at NAB this year. But need a camera now. The rental costs are adding up renting a camera every week for work.

Matthew Hartman
Matthew Hartman
Member
March 7th, 2019
Reply to  Michael Antico

Tough call. It’s reported the G2 has a “new” sensor and if that’s true I would personally need to see a handful of footage in various shooting environments and applications before I made the call you’re facing.

Also, there’s a rumor of “something big” coming down the pipe from BMD, and some have speculated it refers to a fullframe 35mm sensor, if that sort of thing sets your sails. I doubt they’d canablize their top line sales by releasing a full frame Pocket, which is currently holding up well against the Ursa line as it is. But then again, BMD seems to operate as an anomaly within the standard practices of the industry, (which I personally appreciate) and as such has a weird release cadence, so tred with caution. I could see a new version of the Production 4k cam, even though the Pocket 4k is more of a predecessor to the Production 4k cam then the first Pocket.

I’m rambling.

Siyamalan Subramanian
Guest
March 6th, 2019

One tap autofocus stopped working on my pocket 4k after upgrading to 6.2. Luckily 6.1 was still available to download from blackmagicdesign website and i downgraded to keep one touch autofocus feature ( most wont care about autofocus but i found it very accurate).

Bob
Bob
Guest
March 6th, 2019

I read that it’s just changed to a tap and hold rather than just a tap. Upgrading should be fine.

Diogene
Diogene
Guest
March 6th, 2019

Anyone did a green screen review cDNG vs bmRAW?
A link is deeply appreciated.

But anything that has Adobe origin stay away from my life is a damn good thing.

What
Guest
March 9th, 2019
Reply to  Diogene

But for time-lapse, DNG makes the most sense. It’s uncompressed, and you’re not dealing with that many frames anyway.

I don’t know what the patent issue could have been, since it’s supposed to be an open format.

Of course, that doesn’t stop DJI from ripping people off for a “license” to use CDNG on their drones.

It also remains to be seen how BMD raw stacks up to ProRes Raw.

What Haveyou
Guest
March 9th, 2019
Reply to  Diogene

From Adobe’s site:

“Subject to the terms below and solely to permit the reading and writing of image files that comply with the DNG Specification, Adobe hereby grants all individuals and organizations the worldwide, royalty-free, nontransferable, nonexclusive right under all Essential Claims to make, have made, use, sell, import, and distribute Compliant Implementations.”

So… what patent problem?

 antoine amanieux
antoine amanieux
Member
March 10th, 2019
Reply to  What Haveyou

yes of course there is no problem with cinema dng licensing, it is BS they are just crippling the bmpcc4k image quality by replacing lossless raw with lossy raw that is of course not the same quality. my 2 cents is that bmpcc4k was canibalizing their higher priced camera sales so they downgrade bmpcc4k image quality to restore the balance in their product line, they are a for profit company like any other company.

Julien-Pier
Julien-Pier
Guest
March 23rd, 2019

I am 100% you wouldn’t be able to see a difference if I showed you a lot of frames side by side.

Javaughn Henry
Javaughn Henry
Guest
March 23rd, 2019

I would agree, you see that all the time, Canon is especially a culprit of doing this. But, even their brand new Ursa Pro G2 is being stripped of it, and that is their top of the line camera.

 Suchuāto Ritoru
Suchuāto Ritoru
Member
March 10th, 2019
Reply to  What Haveyou

Adobe is being sued as well most likely, rumor is its RED doing the sueing

Bora Sao
Guest
March 6th, 2019

Surprise

Michele C
Michele C
Guest
March 5th, 2019

Wow the new Decklink capture card at the beginning of the video is awesome. Just kidding give us the Ursa g2!!

Filipe Silva
Filipe Silva
Guest
March 5th, 2019

Can the 6.2 firmware be downgraded back to 6.1 to get cDNG?

Robert Niessner
Robert Niessner
Guest
March 5th, 2019
Reply to  Filipe Silva

On cameras before the UMPG2 – yes.

Filipe Silva
Filipe Silva
Guest
March 5th, 2019

I use cDNG exclusively, would enjoy to try braw, however with this patent thing going on I’m quite worried that they limit the downgrade from 6.2.
Can anyone actually test the downgrade?

Robert Niessner
Robert Niessner
Guest
March 5th, 2019
Reply to  Filipe Silva
Anonymous
Anonymous
Guest
September 18th, 2019

On new cameras after BRAW release it’s not possible to go back to DNG.

Matt Bianchi
Guest
March 5th, 2019

Josh DeForge oh my!

What Haveyou
Guest
March 9th, 2019
Reply to  Matt Bianchi

(random name) oh my!

Brilliant.

Jan Kek
Jan Kek
Guest
March 5th, 2019

I only ever shot cDNG on my pocket. It is compressed but lossless. And bRAW is not lossless. It can’t be the same even at 3:1 because some data is lost, unless some impossible compressed sensing is used – you can no longer reconstruct the data level. bRAW grabs the image data and compressed it before you debayer and process it. It is a codec, it is not raw. Changing ISO in post won’t be possible, sharpening and upscaling will be worse. It is a loss, and how come a patent conflict arise now? All cameras on 6.1 and below are still doing cDNG. We also use cDNG has part of our #grademydng Discord channel, that has to be changed now. It’s more difficult to grab an individual frame at raw level to share with others. I want to see an in depth comparison of how bRAW performs in sharpening and upscaling.

I won’t get a pocket 4k, If I ever get a new Blackmagic camera it will be a true sequel to the pocket, with such a form factor.

Keith Mullin
Keith Mullin
Guest
March 5th, 2019
Reply to  Jan Kek

I’ve already worked with the bRAW off of the URSA Mini Pro. You can in fact change the ISO in post, as well as any other RAW function you could hope for. The image is fantastic. Do not confuse data compression with visual compression. cDNG is a terrible way of doing things, as it is just a bunch of still images. It should be noted that the top tier bRAW options have the same, or similar data rates as cDNG did, so there is not a lack of information being recorded. bRAW 3:1 is the same amount of data as cDNG 3:1.

David
David
Guest
March 7th, 2019
Reply to  Keith Mullin

I’m very enthusiastic about BRAW- except Resolve is currently the only editing software to support it (not Avid, Premier…)

I’d love to be wrong about this?

Losing DNG could leave many stranded post wise.

Keith Mullin
Keith Mullin
Guest
March 7th, 2019
Reply to  David

Edit Ready supports bRAW already. It’s open source so I imagine that support is coming quickly to more platforms. Way more quickly than ProRes RAW will.

 antoine amanieux
antoine amanieux
Member
March 10th, 2019
Reply to  Jan Kek

i agree the only reason people buyBM camera is to get the highest image quality and braw q0 is inferior to lossless raw that they conveniently removed in this firmware update claiming it is a licensing issue but i notice that losless raw cinema dng is still available in their more expensive camera, so to me it looks like a crippling move from BM realizing they cannibalized their sales of more expensive cameras.

 Suchuāto Ritoru
Suchuāto Ritoru
Member
March 10th, 2019

You wrong. Use google search dng patent claims

 antoine amanieux
antoine amanieux
Member
March 12th, 2019

i may be wrong but it is suspicious. we will see, if BM end these speculations by adding a lossless option for BRAW in firmware 6.3 or if they remove lossless cinemadng raw in all their cameras.

 antoine amanieux
antoine amanieux
Member
March 14th, 2019
Reply to  Jan Kek

the patent issue may only come now because the patent holder was not bothered by blackmagic before. if the patent holder is adobe, adobe did not care about BM selling raw camera with cinemadng as it was pushing the sales of premiere as it was growing the market of people in need for a video editing software. but now that BM ships bmpcc4k with da vinci resolve it is now a competitor to premiere and it is fair business to slow BM down with this patent claim and protect their premiere sales.

Old BM
Old BM
Guest
April 2nd, 2019
Reply to  Jan Kek

I agree! Same here

Jamie LeJeune
Jamie LeJeune
Member
March 5th, 2019

One thing in the article needs correction: Gen4 color is not new to the 4K Pocket. It has been there since the camera was first released.

And as for 4K Pocket owners who want to continue to use cDNG, all they have to do is choose not to update to the latest firmware and they can keep on shooting cDNG. Pretty simple.
And, as far as I’ve experienced with BMD cameras, if owners keep a copy of the installer for the previous firmware that had cDNG, so even if they did update, they could use that old installer to roll back the firmware.

The only current BMD camera that will never have cDNG is the G2 Ursa Mini Pro.

Enrique Bartolo
Enrique Bartolo
Guest
March 5th, 2019
Reply to  Jamie LeJeune

How do you know gen4 was already on the bmpcc4k from the beginning? I’ve been trying to find that specific info through davanci resolve and the bmpcc4k menaul/menu but had no luck.

 Fausto Cantarella
Member
March 6th, 2019

It was enough just to read on the pocket site that Color science v4 was already implemented at the time of release.

Yannis Papanastasopoulos
Guest
March 5th, 2019

Alexandros Karpas no more DNG

What Haveyou
Guest
March 9th, 2019

(random name) no more DNG

How was that?

cinema5D
Guest
March 5th, 2019

Who of you will miss DNG on those cameras?

sven
sven
Guest
March 5th, 2019
Reply to  cinema5D

cdng was key to use the ump in an greenscreen environment, not gonna update it till they figure there own raw format completly out.

Wilco van den Akker
Guest
March 5th, 2019

WoW, Nice one. Want the Pocket so bad ?

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