Back in April 2013, Blackmagic announced its 4k Production Camera, the first entry-level, affordable 4k camera to hit the market. In July 2020, Blackmagic made headlines once again when they announced the Ursa Mini Pro 12k, the largest resolution camera on the market.
Well, as of this week — Aug. 20, 2021 — Blackmagic is back in the press circles. The manufacturer announced a 40% reduction in price for this monumental camera, bringing its final price from $9,995 all the way down to $5,996.
Get to know the Ursa Mini Pro 12k
Obviously a reduced price can only be a good thing for filmmakers. But this specific shift opens up a whole new world of possibilities for indie filmmakers who would have never been able to consider such a high-end camera.
The Ursa Mini Pro not only has the Ks to brag about, but Blackmagic’s RAW codec (with their new Gen 5 color science) also offers some of the best image renderings on the market.
This camera is one many filmmakers have kept an eye on since it was revealed, and now we’re at a point where it’s become a realistic option for people.
Here are some of the great things you can expect from this camera:
- The Ursa Mini Pro 12 uses a super 35mm sensor that can record 12bit RAW at resolutions up to 12,288 x 6480 (For reference, 70mm IMAX is in the region of 18k — the digital gap is closing fast, and Blackmagic is pushing it forward).
- It shoots at frame rates of 60fps all the way up to 220 (4k at a super16 sensor crop).
- It comes natively with a PL lens mount so filmmakers can use higher-end cinema and anamorphic lenses. But it can easily be swapped out for a more user-friendly EF mount so you can stick with more affordable photo lenses you already own.
- It offers 12bit RAW compressions of up to 18:1, which makes the storage and editing of 12k files a much smoother process. That’s the sort of benefit that saves you time and effort during post-production, so it’s a feature that more than pays for itself.
- Its ergonomic body style lends itself well to shooting for both large-scale productions as well as more ENG/docustyle shooting. That includes internal NDs (always a huge perk), phantom powered XLR inputs, and an external digital display so you can quickly view important camera information.
What the Ursa Mini Pro price drop actually means for filmmakers
So, what does this actually mean for indie filmmakers?
For starters, I’d wager that most of us aren’t able to drop $40,000 on a new Arri Alexa (although I'm sure many of us would if we could). And that means we’re left with more of an entry-level selection — say, sub-$10,000.
When a company disrupts the industry with high-quality cameras at an affordable cost, it forces everyone else to compete. This is something Blackmagic has done since the beginning, pairing high-level cameras with an entry-level price tag.
Think about the first RED (One) to enter the market in 2007. That camera started out at around $20,000, and now RED recently announced its more affordable entry-level camera, the RED Komodo, which starts off at around $6,000.
When companies create better quality cameras at lower costs, it pushes every other manufacturer to match not only the camera qualities (better resolution, better frame rates, better image qualities, etc.) but also the price point.
In the end, this means indie filmmakers are able to afford better and better tools to make their projects.
And the barrier between those who have the money to afford the best tools, and those who do not, is slowly being whittled away.
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