“Blackmagic Design Unveils URSA Cine 17K: A Game-Changer for Cinematography”

While at NAB 2024, we visited Blackmagic Design’s booth to gather insights from Business Development Manager Stuart Ashton about their upcoming URSA Cine 17K. Although still in development and not slated for shipping until later this year, we managed to glean some details about what it has to offer. Let’s delve into it!

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NAB 2024

Blackmagic Design kicked off NAB 2024 by introducing three new cameras, including the PYXIS 6K, the URSA Cine 12K, and the remarkable URSA Cine 17K equipped with a 65mm sensor.

In this piece, we’ll focus on the 65mm model, but be sure to keep an eye on our NAB coverage for insights into the other cameras and a sneak peek into the latest AI-powered features of DaVinci Resolve 19.

To begin with, let’s recap the impressive specifications of the Blackmagic URSA Cine 17K’s 65mm sensor. While the body appears similar to its 12K counterpart, the sensor is massive, measuring 50.808×23.316mm (55.9mm diagonal) and boasting a resolution of 17.520×8.040 pixels, resulting in a pixel pitch of 2.8 microns.

According to Stuart, the sensor, developed in-house by Blackmagic Design, required significant time for its development, particularly to ensure it maintains a claimed dynamic range of 16 stops.

The camera will be offered with either an ARRI LPL or Hasselblad mount, providing users the flexibility to use large-format cinema glass or medium format lenses designed for still photography.

Traditionally, large format cinematography has been accessible only to a select group of professionals using high-end tools like ARRI’s ALEXA 65. However, with options like medium-format-to-full-frame speed boosters and hybrid medium-format mirrorless cameras, such as the FUJIFILM GFX100 II, there have been budget-friendly alternatives available.

Nonetheless, NAB 2024 signals a shift. OFG Customs recently unveiled a modified version of the FUJIFILM GFX100 II for cinema applications, and Blackmagic Design is stepping up with the URSA Cine 17K.

In addition to size, resolution becomes a key consideration with such a large sensor. While the need for 17K resolution might raise questions, specific applications like compositing, VFX, and heavy crops benefit from such high resolutions.

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