Blackmagic goes ENG with the introduction of the Blackmagic URSA Mini B4 Mount which is a B4 lens mount modification for its new URSA Mini PL camera letting it use broadcast HD lenses. Priced at an inexpensive $295.00 the URSA Mini B4 Mount is designed to replace the existing PL lens mount on Blackmagic URSA Mini PL, turning it into a B4 camera for HD. To install the B4 mount, customers simply take the PL lens mount off where it is normally removed for shimming PL lenses and bolt on the B4 lens mount. Once the mount is installed, B4 lenses can be attached to the camera. Blackmagic URSA Mini PL also includes a new lens control connection that works with both PL and B4 lenses. This new connection supports both analog and digital lens control standards and also provides iris control and power for the lens.
The built in PL lens mount on URSA Mini PL can be changed to the B4 lens mount whenever needed, giving customers the flexibility to use URSA Mini with their existing B4 broadcast lenses for HD one day, and with PL cinema lenses for Ultra HD and 4K on the next. So is the B4 URSA Mini to be the ENG Camera of choice for news gathering and documentary work? Maybe. Maybe not. I could see a news station getting behind the idea of moving from a Panasonic-centric newsroom, what with their expensive P2 cards and readers, to a Blackmagic newsroom. Many stations already use Blackmagic products already. Where the C300 and FS7 might rule cinematic documentary work the broadcast camera operators I know are not huge fans of changing lenses often. The new B4 mount will give the lens broadcast shooters want with a camera capable of 15 stop dynamic range, easy to use codecs, and a global shutter.
Turning the URSA Mini into an ENG camera is a good idea. The URSA Mini is a rugged, yet extremely lightweight and well balanced shoulder mount camera that is comfortable enough to be used all day. There’s a 5” fold out monitor, complete technical scopes, professional audio recording, and dual ProRes recorders all built right in as well as the optional URSA Viewfinder and URSA Mini Shoulder Kit. With URSA Mini, news crews can shoot a story, mount the card on a computer in the van and begin editing immediately without having to convert files so they can get stories on air fast. One option that will make this an even easier sell to news stations will be including Avid’s DNxHD codecs or their new DNxHR codecs, which are not currently available on the URSA Mini, since many stations are on Avid systems.
The Blackmagic URSA Mini B4 Mount is a true lens mount replacement that features precision glass optics specifically designed to match Blackmagic URSA Mini’s sensor with high definition broadcast B4 lenses. The B4 mount also features spherical aberration correction so customers can use their lenses wide open with no blooming effect. The Blackmagic URSA Mini B4 Mount can be used with both 4K and 4.6K PL models of URSA Mini.
“Since we announced URSA Mini at NAB earlier this year, broadcasters have been asking us for a B4 lens mount,” said Grant Petty, CEO, Blackmagic Design. “We listened carefully and designed a way for them to use the B4 lenses they already have for high definition production, and still give them a camera that works for Ultra HD and 4K production because they can switch back to a PL mount lens whenever they need! The most exciting part about this announcement is that broadcasters using URSA Mini get the HD camera they need today with modern file formats like RAW, ProRes and DNx plus they also get wide dynamic range so the quality of the images are much better. From our conversations with broadcasters everybody is talking about the excitement of having digital film capability in an ENG style camera and they are aware of the extra creativity that can bring to their production work.”
Brian Hallett, is an award winning cameraman, editor, and producer. He has shot everything from Network broadcast news, promotional image campaigns, music videos, short films, and documentaries. Check out his reel at hallett-brian.com