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Blackmagic Announces the URSA Mini Pro 12K

Lewis McGregor

Blackmagic goes big with the jaw-dropping new URSA Mini Pro 12K. Yes, you read that right.

It’s that time of the year again, when a cryptic teaser announcement from Blackmagic whips camera and filmmaking fanatics into a frenzy, prompting them to wonder aloud and online to anyone who will listen — is today the day? Is today the day Blackmagic suddenly reveals another game-changing camera?

Yes. Yes it is.

Today, Blackmagic introduced the Ursa Mini Pro 12K.

Yes. 12K.

12K

While the body largely remains the same design as the other readily available models, the internal electronics have been completely ripped out and replaced. There’s a new sensor, a new film curve, new color science, and a whole new host of recording features.

First, let’s go ahead and talk about the elephant in the room. 12K. Why?

Most of the production world has finally just adjusted and adapted to the 4K and 6K pipeline. Why three times the resolution? Well, it’s not so much the aspect of gunning for 12K visuals, but rather to accommodate for a better 8K experience. Grant Petty addressed this in the announcement live stream:

“We’re really trying to address highest-end workflows, and when we really looked at that, there’s a bunch of reasons as to why to go beyond 8K — to get good 8K essentially. The obvious one is that it allows you to reframe shots. If you’ve got more resolution, you can go a little bit wide and reframe without losing resolution.”

Every year when the Oscars roll around, you’ll find lists documenting what cameras were used on nominated productions. It’s usually filled with Arri, some RED, and then a mix of smaller models used on foreign indie productions and in the documentary category. We hardly, if ever, see Blackmagic land on these lists.

While the company is popular with low-to-mid budget productions, it never seems to hit home with the big studios. Blackmagic seeks to change that with this camera.

The URSA Mini Pro 12K features a revolutionary new sensor with a native resolution of 12,288 x 6480, an incredible 80 megapixels per frame. The sensor isn’t a typical Bayer sensor — it’s symmetrical, which means an equal number of RGB colors in array. That’s not particularly useful for a 4K camera, but it means that this 12K camera can effectively produce full raster RGB 4K.

Similar to how 4K downsampled to 1080p gets you a better HD picture online, super sampling 12K gets you better color and resolution at 8K than native 8K sensors.

With that, there is no sensor crop when shifting resolutions as we’ve become accustomed to. Whether shooting 12K, 8K, or 4K, the Ursa uses in-sensor scaling to avoid cropping or adjusting the field of view. Additionally, Blackmagic boasted that there won’t be any aliasing issues with this new sensor operation.

And this looks to be the whole idea behind the camera. Getting the best results from 8K and the resolutions beneath, as opposed to directly producing 12K native footage. The Super 35 sensor also boasts 14 stops of dynamic range.

Features at a Glance

  • Blackmagic RAW across all resolutions
  • Up to 60fps 12K
  • 110fps at 8K
  • 220fps (Super 16 crop) at 4K
  • Interchangeable Lens Mount (ships with PL)
  • Built-in ND Filters
  • Dual CFast & USH-II SD
  • SuperSpeed USB-C Expansion Port
  • And, of course, it classically ships with the studio version of Resolve.

Price and Availability

Throughout the presentation, Grant continually suggested that the camera is aimed toward high-end work. Consequently, the initial models will ship to working DPs first.

As such, one would expect the release price to somewhat match, if not slightly undercut, current production models. No. Of course not. This is Blackmagic. The first 12K camera will be priced at $9,995.


We have lots more Blackmagic content where this came from…