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Ursa or Ursa Mini- Upgradeablility vs. Versatility

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  • Ursa or Ursa Mini- Upgradeablility vs. Versatility

    I'm in a pickle. I was an early adopter of the 2.5k and I love it, but I am taking a more studied approach to the new stuff because it seems like BMD is redefining itself at every NAB.

    I have a worry about the hardware architecture remaining relevant enough to offer more than just a year or two of upgrades to the big Ursa as was referenced in other posts. There has been diligent conversation about the internals of the original Cinema and how that limits the implementation of certain upgraded features enabled by firmware updates. I don't want to get caught with my pants down again.

    I love what the mini offers, but there isn't an upgrade path at all, save getting another camera. Also, it might be smart to wait for the middle of the camera's life cycle to get it just because BMD usually price drops, upgrades, or changes the damn game cartridge without warning...

    Now, I know it's no problem for the people who are renting out their cameras or have the clientele to buy 4 full kits, but I'm not a corporate guy. I make movies and TV exclusively. No client work whatsoever. So, I am wondering what people like me are thinking about as far as viability and longevity.
    Interested in what others are musing about this beyond the size difference and the obvious spec difference.

  • #2
    Look at the price difference between the URSA and URSA Mini, I'd just keep it in the bank for thr next camera.



    Also there is a point at which "good enough" is reached. Arguably photography is already there, no need to upgrade every model like in the past.

    With the URSA Mini 4.6K I think we're very close to seeing that point in time in the film world too.
    https://www.youtube.com/c/SoundSpeeding

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    • #3
      +1 to all that. What more do you need? Also today the prices are relatively so cheap that it would hardly be worth having an upgradeable camera - if the mini had a interchanheable sensor and a new one came out and you could bin your current one but keep the body you'd only save $2,000 and be left with a used body - is it worth it? When it was $100,000 for a camera, or even $35,000 for the RED One it was a different story.
      Steve

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      • #4
        4.6K @15 stops. That's good enough for rec 2020. 8K hardware has a long, long, long way to go. Let Arri worry about 8K in the 65mm equiv camera's.

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        • #5
          The URSA (original) is upgradable in terms of the turret and could easily still offer something new next year or perhaps the year after. But I think that might be it for the current design, in my ignorance. The Achilles Heel may be the CFast 2 technology which apparently is limited to write/read speeds of 750 MB/s. Currently Lexar writes 450 MB/s and reads over 500 MB/s so we're not far from the theoretical performance limits. The current URSA and the URSA Mini support dual card recording so you pretty much double the throughput when handling raw CinemaDNG, but ProRes is already extremely demanding (limited to single card recording) in terms of data rates if you want to record ProRes 12bit 444 XQ UHD! The limitation of the URSA Mini is just that you can't upgrade the turret. But with this 4.6K sensor, I believe it will provide many years of useful output. By the time it seems dated, buy a newer model with the money you didn't spend on buying the URSA and changing the turret two or three times... The overall cost will be the same for either camera.

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          • #6
            Yea I agree, you shouldn't worry about the next upgrade. Blackmagic won't really be getting all these orders out with the New sensor until either later this year or around the first few months of 2016. Then NAB will be coming up again in April. They will probably announce another camera.

            To me....I'm not sure if the Big Ursa has the horsepower for another sensor(Could be wrong). You would think if their was another sensor upgrade after the 4.6k...they would have to go to a higher resolution...would they go 5k? 6k?...I'm not sure...plus the 4.6k only maxes at 100fps at 4.6k(not sure if they expand it).....So any more resolution....would effect the high framerates and probably the heat restrictions. I'm just not so sure the Big Ursa can sustain another upgrade or multiples upgrades....It may be more likely, they build a new camera with more features.

            I think at some point Blackmagic will be offering interchangeable mounts. I can see them building a New lighter camera with maybe higher resolution, and framerates, and being able to buy a Pl, Nikon, Ef mount. It would have a design to let you easily switch mounts with ease. You could buy the Camera with your preferred mount, and pay extra for more mounts. Imo this would help them with other customers coming from different camera systems that are interested in trying Blackmagic Cameras. Blackmagic seem to listen to the thoughts of the customer base, and I think that would be a great option to explore. So imo If you were worried about if you should plan for the future...you should probably just buy the camera you like the most, with the mindset that they will make new and better cameras down the line. Plus like some posters mentioned...4.6k and 15 stops is excellent, you shouldn't feel the need to run out and upgrade every year.

            I do understand what your saying though...I'll be honest the Mini is more attractive to me...but I want those higher framerates. I am not really thinking about upgrades into the future. Now if Blackmagic can get the mini up to about 80fps in Raw....That would be great.
            Last edited by Mr. Shooterman217; 05-21-2015, 06:38 AM.

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            • #7
              Every one brings up great points but I am not a 4k guy yet. I have to make a choice which will bring me in alignment. Frankly, I didn't pull the 4k trigger for many of the same reasons that were given above, but the time has come to move up and I just want to make a choice that will help me filter out the noise and allow me to be satisfied with a number of things about the camera I choose.

              I remember, when I was shooting DVX, everyone saying that HDV was the thing. Then, when we got full raster 1080p, everyone said that's all we need... Blu-Ray is blah, blah blah, RED is overkill, Blah! Then the paradigm shifted and people began to say that the only intelligent way to get 1080p... was 4k! I mean Canon got blasted for making a 1080p camera, but then people remembered it was Canon and promptly resumed the fanboy fellatio.

              We all know that within 18-24 months, BMD will give us 6k and everyone will be all over that, others will find things to complain about, still others will curse them for doing it just as they bought the 4.6k sensor. I just want to be prepared and if I do start working with clients and other filmmakers, I want to be ready to give them a superior product from both the marketing and the actual standpoint (because this is as much about marketing and appearance as it is about talent and technique in many cases).

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              • #8
                lol everyting today is you have to have the next greatest thing... lol my last camera order was the DVX... now put an order in for the 4.6 mini... but that'll be it...
                www.imdb.com/name/nm0566053/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1

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                • #9
                  I think the new 4.6K URSA Mini is priced so well it's worth it over the URSA and upgradable sensor. For me I'm more interested in 2K acquisition and the Mini does pretty much what I need. As for not being upgradable? The URSA body and it's electronics could get in the way of new sensor design. As it advances processing power might have to be updated too and other components that are installed in the cameras boards. No way to see in the future but that concerns me. RED in some ways has this issue.
                  My Videos On Vimeo
                  http://www.vimeo.com/eriknaso
                  Twitter: ErikNaso
                  Blog www.eriknaso.com
                  Cams: C300, C100 and anything else I can get my hands on.
                  Lenses: More than my wife knows.

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                  • #10
                    With a 4.6K sensor with 15 stops of DR and global shutter for the Ursa Mini, I don't see myself upgrading to anther camera for quite sometime! Plus the quick release/tripod shoulder mount!

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by pharpsied View Post
                      I'm in a pickle. I was an early adopter of the 2.5k and I love it, but I am taking a more studied approach to the new stuff because it seems like BMD is redefining itself at every NAB.

                      I have a worry about the hardware architecture remaining relevant enough to offer more than just a year or two of upgrades to the big Ursa as was referenced in other posts. There has been diligent conversation about the internals of the original Cinema and how that limits the implementation of certain upgraded features enabled by firmware updates. I don't want to get caught with my pants down again.

                      I love what the mini offers, but there isn't an upgrade path at all, save getting another camera. Also, it might be smart to wait for the middle of the camera's life cycle to get it just because BMD usually price drops, upgrades, or changes the damn game cartridge without warning...

                      Now, I know it's no problem for the people who are renting out their cameras or have the clientele to buy 4 full kits, but I'm not a corporate guy. I make movies and TV exclusively. No client work whatsoever. So, I am wondering what people like me are thinking about as far as viability and longevity.
                      Interested in what others are musing about this beyond the size difference and the obvious spec difference.
                      If you have good content to shoot, or know how to acquire work as a DP you will never "get caught with your pants down", I'm seriously sick of hearing about how everyone thinks the next greatest camera will make them better DP's or help them shoot higher quality end product, and this includes the infatuation with 4K, 4K fanatics need to take a chill pill since we are just now seeing devices like affordable DTVs capable of viewing it.
                      I was one of the 4K fanatics not less than 10 months ago, and like a bright light I awoke and decided to keep
                      thinking about the content I shoot and the clients "I decide to work with", it's made me less decisive yet more
                      talented as a DP.


                      I still get over 60% of my clients wanting a DSLR, and for good reasons.
                      1. I don't charge as much as I would with for a cinema camera.
                      or
                      2. They have a limited budget.
                      or
                      3. It's going straight to the web.

                      It's not like I haven't tried to convince them to find the money to budget a better camera
                      But even my clients are smart enough to know that content is what's most important.

                      Now spend that extra money I just saved you and buy a nice leather belt to keep your pants up.
                      Last edited by Darryl Gregory; 05-22-2015, 07:54 PM.

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                      • #12
                        And sure enough just after my post above...
                        http://nofilmschool.com/2015/05/stop...ome-damn-films

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Darryl Gregory View Post
                          If you have good content to shoot, or know how to acquire work as a DP you will never "get caught with your pants down", I'm seriously sick of hearing about how everyone thinks the next greatest camera will make them better DP's or help them shoot higher quality end product, and this includes the infatuation with 4K, 4K fanatics need to take a chill pill since we are just now seeing devices like affordable DTVs capable of viewing it.
                          I was one of the 4K fanatics not less than 10 months ago, and like a bright light I awoke and decided to keep
                          thinking about the content I shoot and the clients "I decide to work with", it's made me less decisive yet more
                          talented as a DP.
                          Look, let me be painfully simple because Im sick of hearing this.

                          I know content is king. This is something that YOU don't have to educate me about. I asked a specific question about 2 cameras. What I did not ask for was a lecture on something I already know. My comment about getting caught with my pants down was not about my need to validate my self with a 4k camera. My comments have been about Blackmagic Designs proclivity to make their own products obsolete in the middle of its lifecycle. I bought the 2.5k, waited almost a year for it, and a few months after I got it, boom! They dropped the price a thousand dollars and I lost all value in the camera for resale and everything else... This is what I mean.

                          Bottom line:
                          I asked about two cameras. The Ursa and the Ursa Mini.
                          I asked whether the upgrade-ability of the Ursa out weighs the versatility of the Mini.
                          I alluded to the hardware and pondered if it will hold up over time and future upgrades.

                          That's it.

                          I don't need witty quips about keeping my pants up and whatever.
                          I don't need updates about how great your DSLR business is.
                          I don't need to be insulted with lines like, "even my clients are smart enough..."

                          Now, this may make me an asshole, but I didn't start proselytizing about a question you asked, did I?
                          I didn't assume you were some idiot chasing the 4k dragon, did I.
                          I didn't begin my interaction with you starting from a position of superiority, did I?

                          Yes, to answer your and everyone else's question, I am sensitive. Because I don't have time to fuck around with this. This is just one of a million decisions I have to make hourly and I turned to the community to get answers and Eric Naso and Rick Lang and the rest came to the table, did just that and I apprecite it.

                          Do you have a thought about the upgradeability of the Ursa vs. the versatility but lack of upgrade path of the Ursa Mini?

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                          • #14
                            Personally I think the mini is a great sweet spot between price and features for the future. I'm getting it because of that. I don't see myself upgrading for a good while. The only thing I'd want is the camera to be smaller so I really do think they will come out with a camera with similar features but smaller like say a RED/bmcc. Also I believe the Ursa mini will get firmware updates (like all other BMD cams) to improve it and also to add extra features (maybe even higher framerates in cropped modes) so I do think it will be "enough" for a good time to come.
                            Darren Scott
                            Freelance Director/Director of Photography


                            https://vimeo.com/jambredzvisions/videos

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                            • #15
                              Pharpsied, which way are you leaning? Too bad we don't have a crystal ball, technology changes quickly but often in 'step' increases rather than a smooth curve. By that I mean no doubt BMD will have improvements coming that URSA will accommodate, but at some point in the future the improvement will exceed the capacity of:
                              - the processor,
                              - the refrigerator,
                              - the CFast 2 media,
                              - something obvious we've overlooked or
                              - something only BMD currently understands.

                              I agree with Darren, sure the Mini won't be able to participate in these improvements unless BMD offers a mail-in upgrade service, but it's likely to be a very good camera for several years to come. Selectable global shutter or rolling shutter, up to 15 stops dynamic range, 12bit log raw and 12bit ProRes to produce 4K, UHD, 2K, HD deliverables from a 4.6K sensor or windows (including the industry's most efficient anamorphic support) is so succulently sweet. Yes, if you're shooting for the Japanese and South Korean markets where 8K broadcast is being championed, you might want an upgrade path; but for the rest of the world for the next five years, I think BMD will keep the updates rolling and that will extend the life of the URSA (via hardware and firmware) and the URSA Mini (via firmware). One might think this won't happen as it logically could curtail sales of new cameras. But I disagree as it will often mean your 'A' Mini camera will become your 'B' camera in a few years when you just have to have their new CYGNUS camera.
                              Last edited by rick.lang; 05-24-2015, 09:57 AM.

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