URSA Mini 4.6K Shipping, New Footage, but No Global Shutter

March 17th, 2016
URSA Mini 4.6K Shipping, New Footage, but No Global Shutter

The Blackmagic URSA mini 4.6k was announced at NAB 2015—much to the excitement of the filmmaking community. It was to be damn near perfect, in every sense, and everybody wanted a piece of perfection pie. The buzz was electric, pre-orders were through the roof and then… nothing. We were expecting the camera to burst onto the scenes, with parties thrown in its honor.

A year later we have finally received the news we were all waiting for. The URSA Mini 4.6K is shipping. It has lethargically ambled into reality and despite being an immense piece of kit, in all honesty, it has not lived up to the marketing department’s promises. Before I begin, let me just make one thing clear. A year is a long time. Leonardo Di Caprio finally won an Oscar, Bruce Jenner is now named Caitlyn, and Donald Trump’s toupe is making (and somehow gaining momentum in) its bid for world domination.

For causing Blackmagic nightmares and their customers to wait, Global Shutter has been axed. As disappointing as that may be for those that have waited for the URSA Mini to ship, it is understandable. Including Global Shutter in a sub-$5k camera was a bold move—and this time it hasn’t paid off.

Without further ado, let’s look at the camera that is set to ship and finally answer the question on everybody that pre-ordered the URSA Mini’s mind: “should I have ordered a RED RAVEN?”

ursa2

URSA Mini 4.6K Key Features

  • 4 models, with a choice of two sensors (4K and 4.6K, EF or PL mount)
  • Dual CFast 2.0 recorders
  • Open file formats
  • CinemaDNG 4.6K RAW, ProRes 4444 XQ, ProRes 4444, ProRes 422 HQ, ProRes 422, ProRes 422 LT, ProRes 422 Proxy recording at 4K, Ultra HD and HD
  • Dual XLR mic/line audio inputs with phantom, 12G-SDI output for monitoring with a camera status overlay and an XLR 4 pin output for viewfinders, headphone jack, LANC remote control and standard 4 pin 12V DC power connections
  • Built in HQ stereo microphone
  • 5-inch 1080p folding touch screen for monitoring and menu settings
  • The optional URSA Mini Shoulder Kit (for tripod/shoulder interchangeability)

Still a lot of bang for the buck?

I didn’t even pre-order the URSA Mini 4.6K and I still find the removal of a feature which was key to the marketing surrounding the camera a little unfair. Fortunately, Blackmagic do seem to be accepting that those who pre-ordered may have changed their minds given the news. There’s just one problem. Any refund given will not include the 12 months of their life that has passed—and those that have cancelled their order may think twice before they opt for a Blackmagic product again.

Putting my personal issues aside for one minute and taking an unbiased look at the camera, though, I have to admit I am impressed.

ursa-mini-featured-new

Impressive: New footage from the URSA Mini 4.6K, downloadable in UHD from the Blackmagic website.

 

While the URSA Mini is not the camera we were expecting, it still almost definitely offers the best bang for your buck at under $5,000. The image quality is awesome (just look at the new footage that was just released on their website) and the camera looks and acts the part, but removing features just to speed the shipping process isn’t the best course of action Blackmagic Design could have taken. Maybe Blackmagic should have been more conservative in their marketing last year. Fortunately, two positives have come out of this whole ordeal.

  1. The URSA Mini is undeniably excellent in almost every sense (as long as you don’t need Global Shutter)
  2. Manufacturers now know that Global Shutter may be plausible in this price range, and hopefully more companies will be looking at ways to (smoothly) integrate it into future designs

As impressive as the camera is, everything that has happened regarding this product since Blackmagic stole the show at NAB 2015 has been a circus—and that’s something that will stick in the minds of filmmakers the next time they see an announcement from the company.

I just hope, for Blackmagic’s sake, that the awesome quality of the URSA Mini is what it is remembered for rather than the shipping/Global Shutter fiasco. After all, they produce some absolutely brilliant products and I honestly would not like to see their future innovations suffer because of this.

Micro Cinema Camera also shipping, also lacking promised global shutter

blackmagic_design_cinecammichdmft_micro_cinema_camera_1428959948000_1137292

On a side note, also the Blackmagic Design Micro Cinema Camera, the little HD sibling of the Micro Studio Camera 4K, started shipping – unfortunately also lacking its key feature, the global shutter, which would have made a big dent in the universe of drone cinematography, where rolling shutter issues are notoriously problematic.

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 Learvis Templeton Jr
Learvis Templeton Jr
MemberMarch 17th, 2016

With it being this close to NAB (three weeks away) I decided to just wait and see what other makers are offering. I have one on preorder but will end up cancelling it. I think they had to get it out of the way before NAB I’m sure they will announce another offering not 4.6k but in some form like a pocket II.

Razvan George
Razvan George
GuestMarch 18th, 2016

by far not ok. there are dslr cameras that perform better

Matteo Bertoli
Matteo Bertoli
GuestMarch 18th, 2016

You mean mirrorless, dslrs sucks!

 Markus Magnon
Markus Magnon
MemberMarch 18th, 2016

pfff. take a look at the footage again and tell me wich DSLR or mirrorless camera perfoms better that the URSA.

Gene Nemetz
Gene Nemetz
GuestMarch 19th, 2016

Many commenters still insist the Canon 5D is better than everything except an ARRI. He might mean that. But I don’t know. Canon has been out of the video game for a couple years though. They say they’re going back out front with the new cameras coming out soon. We’ll see…. It’s standing room only now at the top of the “affordable” video world. Got to have sharp elbows to stay there. And Canon has never had sharp elbows with video. (TheySony’s a7 cameras seem to be cutting things up there now.

Palmer Woodrow
Palmer Woodrow
MemberMarch 23rd, 2016

Assuming you mean “DSLR” cameras (you should get your Shift keys fixed), no… no there aren’t.

Tell us which SLR can shoot raw motion pictures, or even intraframe-compressed motion pictures at the bitrates of the BlackMagics.

Palmer Woodrow
Palmer Woodrow
MemberMay 23rd, 2016

DSLR

Matteo Bertoli
Matteo Bertoli
GuestMarch 18th, 2016

That’s the reason why it took one year… They had to remove the global shutter… Lol

Eduardo Gonzalez
MemberMarch 18th, 2016

I’ll leave the same comment here I did on another article. My thoughts are this. I appreciate what Blackmagic is striving to do I really do, but I would caution them on something from a business advice standpoint. Stop announcing cameras! Just stop! This year at NAB please say nothing. Here is why. Each and every year they announce the best camera for the price. They then proceed to keep telling potential customers about unforeseen problems which invariably cause delays. Can you imagine if they’d said nothing last year? Here’s how it would’ve gone down. “We are working on special things” when people would ask them at the booth. That’s it! Now thy would’ve kept the global shutter problem a secret and they should have. We never would’ve known these problems. Beta testers would sign non disclosure agreement. Then you hire an actor that is fairly well known and a director and a great script writer. Film a great short. Then when it’s ready release the camera. Announce it and say “Shipping tomorrow!” And boom you’d have consumer confidence. None of this anger that goes back and forth year after year. Grant should never have had to share the secret of how we almost had both rolling and global shutter. Keep it within the group that are beta testing and call it a day. I really would like to see companies like this succeed but they don’t allow any time to pass before announcing a camera or two prematurely. Be patient. It’s a virtue

Joe Nation
MemberMarch 18th, 2016

Love the story of the BMC Ursa 4.6K video. Young man inherits daddy’s fortune 500 company, oh and his guest house. Nice work!

Anonymous
Anonymous
GuestMarch 18th, 2016

dude has a hard life, probably worried about his blackmagic stock plummeting… compelling!

Joe Nation
MemberMarch 18th, 2016

Hahahah!
Seriously tho… I would have LOVED to make BM a video. Would have put a little more thought into it.

 Nicola Verdi
Nicola Verdi
MemberMarch 18th, 2016

What is all this ugly Grain/Noise ???

Johnnie Behiri
Johnnie Behiri
AdminMarch 18th, 2016

It’s truly fascinating to see how the marketing effort shifts from “global shutter” to “15 stops of dynamic range”. Cann’t wait to see our independent dynamic range lab test results.

Anonymous
Anonymous
GuestMarch 18th, 2016

Do you know when is that going to happen?

Barend Van Der Watt
Barend Van Der Watt
GuestMarch 18th, 2016

Blackmagic Design is a joke! They never keep to their release dates nor to their spec promises.

David Smolík
David Smolík
GuestMarch 18th, 2016

Wow, I actually totally forgot about this camera.. :)

Philipp Peyer
Philipp Peyer
GuestMarch 18th, 2016

ist diese GS-RS geschichte rein auf Firmwarebasis, oder wird das schon auf elektrischer Ebene beschränkt?
anders gefragt: kann man auf ein Firmware-update in 2 jahren hoffen, das das nachrüstet ?

Andreas Schwarz
MemberMarch 18th, 2016

no…it is a hardware thing. No updates!

Nino Leitner
Nino Leitner
GuestMarch 18th, 2016

Unlikely

Emmanuel Sapolsky
Emmanuel Sapolsky
GuestMarch 18th, 2016

Blackmagic has never deserved its name so much… They do magic tricks every year in Vegas, but we all come to realize it’s totally fake.

Stephan Knight
Stephan Knight
GuestMarch 18th, 2016

Paulie Paul?????????????

Paulie Paul
Paulie Paul
GuestMarch 18th, 2016

dont even speak to me about this shit Stephan haha

Stephan Knight
Stephan Knight
GuestMarch 18th, 2016

Paulie Paul when? Is it going to be in your hands?

Paulie Paul
Paulie Paul
GuestMarch 18th, 2016

end of next week apparently

Stephan Knight
Stephan Knight
GuestMarch 18th, 2016

Paulie Paul ?

Palmer Woodrow
Palmer Woodrow
MemberMarch 23rd, 2016

Who let the 10-year-olds in?

Andreas Schwarz
MemberMarch 18th, 2016

…shipping the camera without price reduction is a bad move from BMD…and a bad marketing strategy. I think, the next years will become very hard for them to sell products…

 the SUBVERSIVE
the SUBVERSIVE
MemberMarch 18th, 2016

I doubt because there is nothing close to it at this price range, maybe they should offer something like a bundle for those that pre-ordered, but other than that, the price is still a steal.

Fran Cisco
MemberMarch 18th, 2016

Just for reference. You talk about global shutter at that price range. But they already released a global shutter camera under 5k. Need to check facts it isnt the be all and end all either. A lot of high end cinema cameras use fast readout rolling shutter which works great. Also i would never have sacrificed 3 stops of dynamic range to use it on the ursa mini. So its a non issue.

 the SUBVERSIVE
the SUBVERSIVE
MemberMarch 18th, 2016

The thing is global shutter in a 15+ stops, they had global shutter for 12 stops, that’s a huge difference.

Peter Borrud
MemberMarch 20th, 2016

I agree, I don’t think I would have used Global Shutter very much with a 3 stop loss in dynamic range. So for me I’m not really upset and just glad its finally shipping.

Luca Acerbi
MemberMarch 18th, 2016

Marketing and production in BMD leave on different solar systems… this story of delays is usual for them… i wonder why so many people still believe in their announcements and place pre-order

Daniel Schweinert
Daniel Schweinert
GuestMarch 18th, 2016

Maybe they present at NAB a new MarkII that will ship in July? :-) BWAAA HA HA HA

Amir Kuro
Amir Kuro
GuestMarch 18th, 2016

shite

Oscar M
MemberMarch 18th, 2016

They are slowly but surely becoming a joke if they don´t get the products right. BM talk to much and deliver to little….

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bnCXBgcf1ug

Palmer Woodrow
Palmer Woodrow
MemberMarch 23rd, 2016

“BM talk to much and deliver to little”

That doesn’t make sense…

Piotrek Naumowicz
MemberMarch 18th, 2016

I understand that as consumers you could be sceptic and angry about BMD and their policy, but let’s be frank – this camera could and probably will be kind of a game changer – even without the Global shutter. Show me other camera in price range that can do 4k raw internaly up to 60p with 15 stops of DR (even if it will be only real 13 stops – it is still far more than competitirs). I shot a lot of stuff on different cameras. Red, Sony, Blackmagic, Panasonic, Canon. With and exeption of RED and Alexa I will choose BMCC everytime over A7S, GH4, C100, C300, FS5 or even FS7, 8 bit codecs sucks, sony color sience is wierd an unnatural. Color depth and good color sience is far more important than GS or even 4K. I’m not a fanboy of BMD – for example URSA, and URSA MINI 4K are not for me – 400 base iso and 12 stops (only on paper) of DR is not enough. But before You start complaining about the camera – download the footage and check yourself.

Anonymous
Anonymous
GuestMarch 18th, 2016

BM is a total complicated mess of innovation and OMG why did they do that all in one package. As Piotrek states, check out the footage and you see some truly cinematic, dynamic, and gorgeous stuff arguably exceptional and the color science to my trained eye looks very very good.

And then we have the no global shutter, and not Variable Neutral Density Filter, and expensive add ons bringing the oh so inexpensive affordable camera up and up.

Just makes me wonder what the heck is going on with them. They allegedly have a very tight vertically integrated development team that theoretically should not be making these errors. Beats me!

And yes, why don’t they drop the price point somewhat with the NO global shutter? On this point alone after waiting a year on them I may look elsewhere despite very much liking what I see in the footage.

Nicholas Tran
MemberMarch 18th, 2016

Could not agree more.

I really like the image… but I don’t know if that’s enough. This company is not one I want to support. I can understand hiccups for a growing company, but this has been their personality from day one. Overpromise and under deliver. And anyone who knows a thing about building customer confidence is that it should always be the other way around.

Palmer Woodrow
Palmer Woodrow
MemberMarch 24th, 2016

Agree somewhat, but this isn’t an ENG camera.

The problem is the failure to learn, and the regressions. For instance, they choice of standard SSDs was so refreshing in comparison to Sony and Panasonic’s proprietary-storage rip-offs. But then BM went to overpriced CFast cards, on BIGGER cameras. WTF? At least it’s not a totally proprietary rip-off, but let’s face it: The prices are not going to plummet, because (unlike SD or CF many years ago) there will be no widespread consumer adoption of CFast.

And still no HDMI out. This is mystifying. You sell a low-priced camera but then force all your customers to be far-more-expensive SDI-capable viewfinders, monitors, and everything else? While managing to put HDMI on the pocket camera? Dumb. Even Reds have HDMI out, because (as Red states from checking logs from cameras that are sent in for service) tons of customers use it… a lot. The BMPC had a Thunderbolt port, but it couldn’t be hooked up to a monitor (despite the fact that Thunderbolt ports are also DIsplayPorts). If it could have, a $5 DisplayPort-to-HDMI adapter would’ve solved the problem.

Still no wheel to control the iris on electronic lenses. Again, how many models do they have to sell with clumsy and basically impossible-to-ride pushbutton-based iris controls before they get the message on this?

When it comes down to it, they need to focus on usability and image quality. And nothing else, not for quite a while. Not even audio. Come on, the camera audio is scratch. Buy a $250 outboard flash recorder.

Luca Acerbi
MemberMarch 20th, 2016

Ok so tomorrow I will announce a super sensor 36 Fstop dynamic range camera and take millions of pre-orders…. then I will start to look around to build the product itself

Sascha Reinhardt
Sascha Reinhardt
GuestMarch 18th, 2016

Lol

William Malone
MemberMarch 18th, 2016

I am a fan of BlackMagic and in some ways can understand why they did what they did. I can imagine that a small company like this is underfunded and being able to go to the bank and show them massive pre-orders would be “handy”. However, the backlash is not good for the companies image. I suspect they didn’t realized just how long it would take to get this camera out. I honestly think they should learn from companies like Canon – DON’T announce anything until you’re ready to deliver and a product is fully tested.” I support them and hope they will learn from this and flourish.

Palmer Woodrow
Palmer Woodrow
MemberMarch 24th, 2016

Yes, except unlike Canon…. make something that motion-picture shooters will want to use.

Jan Hermann von Bayern
MemberMarch 18th, 2016

I now have been shooting on my FS-700 odyssey 7q combo for years with fantastic results. Just waiting for the next drop from Sony that will eliminate this retarded camera.

Gene Nemetz
Gene Nemetz
GuestMarch 19th, 2016

The image characteristics look nice, no doubt. The cliff wall in the dawn driving scene looked great. But the color palette is still a bit off, as with all BlackMagic cameras. Flesh tones are a bit off. To me it still doesn’t beat the AJA Cion (both near the same price) for color presentation, even though it has better image characteristics than the Cion. The Cion has such eye catching color, despite the complaints of its color science not being up to par with high end cameras.

Clayton Moore
MemberMarch 20th, 2016

I think its simple. Black Magic Design (before its foray into cameras) had a good reputation with solid products. That part has not changed. This is a company that has jumped into the deep end of the pool on cameras and its not that surprising that they are struggling this way. If the global shutter things had not been an issue then he camera would have shipped months ago and BMD would be hero’s. So they’re going to have problems this is not such a travesty, the real problem as many have stated is setting expectations.

Apple Inc. learned a long time ago how to keep secrets and NEVER to announce until they are 100% sure they can deliver as announced. If their not sure, its simple, DONT announce.

They should have been more conservative ………. oh well you cant fix history.

 Luke P
Luke P
MemberMarch 23rd, 2016

That’s spot on. I like what Blackmagic is doing with a lot of their products (especially with Resolve and Fusion), but you’re absolutely right. They shouldn’t announce something if they can’t deliver on it. That sets up a lot of gear heads for a major disappointment. I’m still considering the 4.6k, but not at the moment. I’ll research and wait to see what people do with it.

Palmer Woodrow
Palmer Woodrow
MemberMarch 24th, 2016

I don’t know about Resolve. In fact, it appears to be more of the same there: Trying to throw the kitchen sink into a product, when it’s hobbled by major defects and design problems. For example, they’re trying to get everyone to use it as a full editor. No. Its performance sucks far too much to be practical for editing.

But meanwhile, the round-trip workflow with editing products is preposterously defective and cumbersome. It’s a miracle that people get projects finished with this thing.

Resolve enjoys an Adobe-like domination of its space, and that’s never a good thing for quality or the customer.

 Luke P
Luke P
MemberMarch 24th, 2016

I can’t say that I experienced any major defects with Resolve. Whats your GPU like? I have compared Resolve with a lot of Adobe applications, and its several times faster than anything CC. Especially when working with DNxHD. On a large scale, BMD is offering a lot of value up front. In the compositing world, the next up competitor costs $5,000 per seat, so I can’t complain.

Palmer Woodrow
Palmer Woodrow
MemberMarch 25th, 2016

it’s a top-of-the-line last-gen 5K iMac. Chosen over the Mac Pro because it is, overall, a more up-to-date design that’s likely to perform better for most of what I do.

There are lots of little bugs that add up to a tremendous amount of wasted time for users. For example, I recently worked on a project for a client who’d applied 2.35 letterboxing. It was impossible to remove in Resolve for most of an afternoon because, inexplicably, the menu to do so was greyed out, and it erroneously indicated that there was no letterboxing applied.

Another example: If you apply a transformation to a clip, Resolve will put the on-screen controls in the viewer, but manipulating them has no effect. Why? Because a different clip is selected in the timeline (different from the one the playhead is parked on). So it looks like the transformation is having no effect, and you have no idea that you’re screwing up a clip elsewhere in your project (because it may even be off-screen). Why does resolve put on-screen controls on a clip that isn’t being manipulated?

 Roberto Garces
Roberto Garces
MemberMarch 20th, 2016

Judging by the demo video, it still is a very good deal!

Narek Avetisyan
Narek Avetisyan
MemberMarch 21st, 2016

Wow even the Micro Cinema Camera that I have been waiting for a year to buy doesn’t have promissed Global Shutter that I need. And I had spent days if not months planning out the whole system around that camera.
I was feeling shit this morning and now after reading this news I am sugelly disapointed. :((((((

 Patrick Steele
Patrick Steele
MemberMarch 21st, 2016

I truly WANT to like BM cameras and support the company. However, when I see a reliability warning such as this posted on the Lenrentals.com site re: the Ursa 4K and Mini 4K, I fear it will be a similar thing with the 4.6K:

“WARNING:
We cannot recommend this product for professional work. We reached this decision after repeated failures in the field, experienced both first-hand by LR-folks and second-hand via rental clients. Though it might work much of the time, it is our opinion that this product’s performance is too unpredictable to be trusted on high-value projects. Use for casual testing or try-before-you-buy purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact us.”

 Tim Hubb
Tim Hubb
MemberMarch 22nd, 2016

Remember they were also supposed to have GPS and the 9 axis gimbal. I know they mentioned the GPS being removed but could never find them saying the 9 axis was removed.
The fact of removing GS, GPS, and the 9 axis while waiting a year for it to come out is pretty sad when it was announced at NAB it should have already been close to release.
Also you they are saying that if I want GS I would have to get the cheaper camera but to have DR I have to go with the the higher end that has no GS?
Makes no bit if sense.

Armando Ruggeri
MemberMarch 23rd, 2016

Wow! No GS on the MCC, why bother releasing it then? That was it’s whole reason for being…

Joy Elaine Watkins
MemberMay 22nd, 2016

This is beautiful! This may be worth a try the next time I hire camera equipment in London http://www.aimimage.com/camera-equipment-hire-in-london-aimimage-has-you-covered/

Palmer Woodrow
Palmer Woodrow
MemberMay 23rd, 2016

How about shoving your spam?

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