Blackmagic Design has just released updates aimed primarily at its URSA camera, which adds a new RAW 3:1 compression format and ups the maximum frame rate to 80 fps in 4K for ProRes and RAW 3:1. The latter roughly doubles the amount of recording time you get with your cards, and the update now makes your camera¡¯s format setting independent of your frame rate. This allows you to set your camera to shoot UHD at 24 fps, for example, and then change the frame rate from 5 to 80 fps in one-frame increments (in RAW 3:1) without having to change the recording format, whereas previously you had to change the format to shoot at different frame rates. Additionally, any footage you shoot is tagged at the format you are shooting. So if you do shoot 80 fps while the format is set at 24 fps, the camera will play back your footage captured at 80 fps at 24 fps, providing you with slow motion.
Along with the increased functionality, this update allows in-camera formatting of CFast cards. Nowadays it¡¯s preferable to format your media in the camera, so we¡¯re happy that Blackmagic has finally allowed this functionality¡ªbetter late than never. Other features include adjustable frame guides, phantom power for audio equipment, and interface improvements that enable scrolling through with the swipe of a finger, allowing access to your settings without having to dig through pages of menus. This update also brings improved in-camera formatting reliability to both the Pocket Cinema and Cinema cameras.
When updating your camera, you first have to uninstall the previous version of the camera utility, download and install the updated utility, then connect your camera to your computer. Remember to use your power adapter, as you don¡¯t want to lose power while updating the firmware, unless of course you want to risk turning your camera into a very expensive brick.
Other news from Blackmagic Design includes the acquisition and release of Fusion 7 as a free product. Fusion is a powerful node-based compositing interface that¡¯s used to create many of the effects seen in theatrical films. Although currently only available on the Windows platform, Blackmagic has revealed that they¡¯re working on a Mac compatible version, although a timetable for its release has yet to be announced.