URSA Broadcast Camera

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Tony Esposito

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URSA Broadcast Camera

PostThu Mar 22, 2018 9:38 pm

Can Blackmagic post a bunch of footage of this camera in action or ask people that have bought one to do so. There is very little out there and there is "1" review on B&H and he bashes it for low light and other things. I need to grab something with interchangeable lens for live event work and it's between this or Sony F7 unless something comes out at NAB before I do.

Here is the review:

Just sent mine back due to problems By Andy
Mine arrived with a crack in the Menu wheel (which didn't seem to work), so I sent it back. B&H is fantastic about returns of items with problems. I'm supposed to get a replacement but having tried the camera out I have some serious Misgivings. First issue ... I have a great 1.8 Fujinon 2/3 HD ENG lens that gives me pristine images on my Panasonic ENG camera. But because of the long B4 mount on the Ursa Broadcast camera I seem to be losing about a stop and a half to 2 stops of light, maybe more. They don't tell you about that in the description. I thought I might be able to make that up by using the Gain but no way. The camera is surprisingly noisy even at 0 DB and just got worse when I tried to compensate for the light loss by adding 3, 6, and then 12 DB of gain. All I got was increasingly worse grainy imagery. I tried in HD 1080P and then in UHD 4K and the grain was bad in both cases. Worse still, the moment I went to 4K, I got this Cross Hatched footage. Unacceptable. I film the performing arts for a living and an ENG Camera is usually perfect for me, so I was extremely hopeful about the Ursa Broadcast but there is no way it could handle even a touch of underexposure let alone the low contrasty light conditions I work in (Black backdrops and wings on stage). I can't imagine how this could be acceptable to a news organization working in the street at night. Unless they lit everything. So.. i'm very disappointed. Not sure if it was just this unit, or if it's inherent in the Ursa. I should have waited to see what others said when they bought it.

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Denny Smith

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Re: URSA Broadcast Camera

PostThu Mar 22, 2018 10:15 pm

First of all, I doubt this is a real review. He mentions loosing 1.5 to 2 stops with the B4 Mount, the actual light loss is 1-stop, as the B4 Mount is a 1.5X tele extender optical block. Next he mentions adding +3 dB of Gain, the Camera is set for -6, 0, +6 and +12 dB of gain, with 0 being it’s apparent native ISO (400), which is very clean according to a few reviews I have read. Erik Naso shot the Broadcast csmera at +12dB Gain, and got increased video noise, but no cross hatching in very low light. Again, the B&H review does not seem to report realistic or accurate information. These reviews have been known to be bogus in the past.

For a real review and more info, see Erik’s review: https://www.newsshooter.com/2018/03/22/ ... am-camera/
Cheers
Last edited by Denny Smith on Fri Apr 13, 2018 12:25 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Tony Esposito

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Re: URSA Broadcast Camera

PostThu Mar 22, 2018 11:07 pm

Thanks, I've seen this one in my research. He does mention how it gets noisy for him at +6 and just wanted to see more footage. For the money it's a great deal even after adding in the rest of what you need to complete it. I did just pick up you have to go out of the SDI out for 1080i record. Most of the people in my area have the F7's and I've always been a Sony guy but I do love my blackmagic gear including 2 switchers and control surfaces and want to see about this one.
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Denny Smith

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Re: URSA Broadcast Camera

PostThu Mar 22, 2018 11:59 pm

Actually, Tony stated, the Broadcast Camera can record 1080i to DNxHD internally, but not to ProRes, for that, as you said, you need to go out externally to a VA or other recorder. But 1080i is more of a live broadcasting and video switching resolution. You can always render internal 1080p29.97 files to 1080i in the NLE for final delivery.

Erik did say. His +6 footage shot outdoors in lower light conditions was very useable, but t+6 Gain inside a well lit studio with good contrast lighting was noisy, as it is with any csmera I ever used in a studio. We always kept the cameras a 0 Gain to avoid this.
Cheers
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Tony Esposito

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Re: URSA Broadcast Camera

PostFri Mar 23, 2018 12:22 am

Good points Denny.

Thanks,
Tony
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Robert Betzner

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Re: URSA Broadcast Camera

PostFri Mar 23, 2018 4:51 pm

We published our own test of the Ursa Broadcast today. There is lots of footage to look at and to download.

You can find aour test here:

https://mindandvision.tv/experten-blog- ... atest.html


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Denny Smith

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Re: URSA Broadcast Camera

PostFri Mar 23, 2018 7:24 pm

Yes, I gave it a look, nice review, left some comments on that thread.
Danke
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Tony Esposito

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Re: URSA Broadcast Camera

PostSat Mar 24, 2018 12:49 am

Very nice review! I wasn't scared away by the footage at all. The one thing that I did take from this was the repair/return policy with BM. I own a lot of BM gear. I had the glass on my assist get a bad pixel section where it's kind of a purple spot now. When I wrote to get it repaired it was $250 (on a $500 piece of gear). So I'm just living with it. Also in 2016 one of my ATEM's stopped holding the memory and we had to set it up each time on power up. I uninstalled/reinstalled, tried a couple tricks BM suggested and still couldn't get it back to normal. So I shipped it to them for them to just say they don't know what's happening and they are shipping it back. Then they didn't include my power cable which took another week to get back. She said I might want to look into upgrading to the newer model but they have no buy back/upgrade policy which sucks that you buy expensive gear that they want you to switch every 2 years. Small companies and large companies need to get 5+ years out of their expensive gear to make money with it.

So my question is since I've never own a BM camera, has anyone on here had to many issues with their cameras where they wished they got a different brand?

As stated before I was planning on going to the Sony F7, but for the price point on this I'm thinking I'll pull the trigger on this set up.

Thanks for the answers and video, if anyone has anything else to add that would make me switch back to the F7 thought let me know.
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Denny Smith

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Re: URSA Broadcast Camera

PostSat Mar 24, 2018 1:50 am

The Broadcast camera and a Sony FS7 are two entirely different beasts. The first is more of a Broadcast camera witha nice image out of the box, and the other more of a Cinema camera requiring post processing to get the most out of one.

As for BM Support, they fix anything in warranty, after that it is a case-by-case basis, depending on what broke. A $1K Pocket Camera based on. Single unified board, is less expensive to replace than fix, if it has a major problem. Minor issues are repaired if parts are available. I have a,ways had good luck with their Support, only ever had to return a VA with a desk spot issue which was quickly fixed (10-day turnaround door to door). Never had an issue with their Cameras. Owned a Pocket, Micro Cinema and Micro Studio Cameras.

If you want a Cinema type camera, with a large sensor, then look at the Ursa Mini 4.6 or Mini Pro (4.6) same body as the Broadcast Camera, but with a larger sensor.
Cheers
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Re: URSA Broadcast Camera

PostSat Mar 24, 2018 10:47 am

Tony Esposito wrote: She said I might want to look into upgrading to the newer model but they have no buy back/upgrade policy which sucks that you buy expensive gear that they want you to switch every 2 years. Small companies and large companies need to get 5+ years out of their expensive gear to make money with it.

Expensive gear??? Before BMD you had to buy really expensive gear.. It seems that people don't realise they are buying a mixer that have sort of the same functionality as the big Sony and Grass Valley mixers that start at the same price of a nice car.. :(

An Atem in rental costs about 1/20 to 1/30 of the price you buy it for. With 2 years of warranty on a device you looking at renting it out for say $150 / 200 for a 1Me or 2Me mixer.. A TVS HD does about $100 rental..

So in 10/15 times rental you earned the mixer back.. After that you earn money.. And after 2 years you will still get 1/3 of the original price. So you sell it and buy a new piece of gear.

Same applies to the camera.. If you are not able to earn it back in 2 years you should not buy the gear..
And yes a Sony or Panasonic ENG cam will last 5+ years.. But they also cost 7 to 10x as much!! ;) Don't forget that technology is cahnging very rapidly last few years.. In 2 to 3 years the 4K sensor will be much more light sensitive, Camera will be lighter.. More powerfull, new codecs, high frame rate and what else... I won't gamble anymore on a Camera that i need to run at least 5 years before it has paid itself back.. :geek:
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Denny Smith

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Re: URSA Broadcast Camera

PostSat Mar 24, 2018 5:38 pm

What does,the future hold? ENG cameras that float in the air, being controlled for a box the size of the ATEM HD, or smaller... Aftero all, it is 2018, and this technology was predicted in the 1960s (2001, Space Odyssey the Movie). :roll:
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Re: URSA Broadcast Camera

PostTue Mar 27, 2018 12:09 pm

Hi all,
New to the forum, but very interested in de URSA Broadcast Camera for both ENG and multi-camera-production.
Yesterday I had a demo of the URSA Broadcast Camera and I was surprised to see that the shading functionality is very bad. The setup was as follows:
- Ursa Broadcast Camera with both SDI-in and SDI-out connected to a ATEM Television Studio PRO HD.
- For the shading I used my MacBookPro with the ATEM control software connected through UTP-cable.

When changing the iris I found that with both a Fujinon 4K 23x lens as with a Canon SD 22x lens it isn't possible to change the iris fluidly. That is a huge drawback I think, when using the camera in a live multi-cam-production. Having fluid control of the iris from the software / camera-control-panel is key.
It looks like as if the communication between the software and the lens is not realtime (or close to realtime). As if the communication is only with intervals.

Do any of you have the same experience with this and have any of you used the Ursa Broadcast in a multi-cam-setup already?
Hope to hear from you.
Thank!

Marc
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Denny Smith

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Re: URSA Broadcast Camera

PostTue Mar 27, 2018 5:41 pm

In most of the multi-camera live or “live to tape” Broadcast I have been involved in, Camera changes are not done live, but preset, and any tweaks made when the camera was off line (not live), like a small iris adjustment, so the slight delay should not be an issue. Iris control, as with most remote controlable lenses, will depend on the lens, and a B4 digital HD lens is going to work better than older analog controlled SD B4 lenses.
Cheers
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Xtreemtec

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Re: URSA Broadcast Camera

PostTue Mar 27, 2018 5:51 pm

From expierence the Iris data is kind of packetised in the sdi protocol. But i'm able to have a smooth result with my own box so if no hardware fault is made to the ursa's 12Pin connection it should be possible too in the ursa..

Must say i have not yet tested the camera shading on the ursa broadcast.. ** So freaking busy to get something done for NAB..
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Re: URSA Broadcast Camera

PostTue Mar 27, 2018 6:16 pm

Xtreemtec wrote:From expierence the Iris data is kind of packetised in the sdi protocol. But i'm able to have a smooth result with my own box so if no hardware fault is made to the ursa's 12Pin connection it should be possible too in the ursa..

Must say i have not yet tested the camera shading on the ursa broadcast.. ** So freaking busy to get something done for NAB..


Hi Xtreemtec,
Thanks for your reply.
I just got a message back from the company who gave the demo. They contacted Blackmagic Design and received a message back that the Iris-"problem" is a known one and that the development team is looking in to this. They hope that with a future update this problem will be solved.

Denny Smith wrote:In most of the multi-csmera live or “live to tape” Broadcast I have been involved in, Camera changes are not done live, but preset, and any tweaks made when the camera was off line (not live), like a small iris adjustment, so the slight delay should not be an issue. Iris control, as with most remote controlable lenses, will depend on the lens, and a B4 digital HD lens is going to work better than older analog controlled SD B4 lenses.
Cheers


Hi Denny, thanks for your reply. I guess in a studio-environment this is true. I, on the other hand, am involved in a lot of field-productions, even litteraly outside (talkshows, presentations, sporting-events and so on). So I am constantly changing the camera-settings depending on weather changes and so, even when live. The canon lenses we tested are the once we use on Sony HXC-100 bodies and that work smooth on those. I know that the comparison of a HXC-100 and an Ursa Broadcast doesn't held up. But if a company puts a camera (and accessories) on the market specifically for live-multi-cam-productions, this is one thing that should have been addressed. But that is, ofcourse, my personal opinion ;) . Other than that I was very enthousiastic about the camera. If this problem is solved, it could be a good investment for my smaller multi-cam-set.

Regards!
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Denny Smith

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Re: URSA Broadcast Camera

PostTue Mar 27, 2018 7:04 pm

Yes, I can see where you are coming from with this. But until the issue is sorted, you can always go to a wide cover shot, while adjusting a iris setting on another camera. I have had to do this.

I think it is more of “when” the iris remote issue is solved, BM is good about getting issues like this sorted, and every new camera has a few bugs to sort out. The Pocket camera has a big issue when it first was released, and was quickly sorted in a few months.
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Robert Betzner

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Re: URSA Broadcast Camera

PostWed Mar 28, 2018 10:23 am

Just for your information:

I extended my existing test with a low light shot from our Ursa Mini Pro.

Please have a look at the whole test. You will find a new section with a comparison bewteen the Ursa Mini Pro and the Ursa Broadcast regarding Low Light. That includes a Youtube video that compares both images side by side.

I also added the original Footage of the Ursa Mini Pro shot in the download section of the test.

You can find the test here:

https://mindandvision.tv/experten-blog- ... atest.html


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Re: URSA Broadcast Camera

PostThu Apr 12, 2018 7:25 pm

Denny Smith wrote:First of all, I doubt this is a real review.


I have hands on experience and can tell you his review, as far as low light is concerned, is 100% accurate.
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Denny Smith

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Re: URSA Broadcast Camera

PostFri Apr 13, 2018 12:23 am

I was not discounting his comments on low light, as the Broadcast 4K sensor is not a low light setup, but needs good lighting, so it is not going to fair well in low light.
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Re: URSA Broadcast Camera

PostFri Apr 13, 2018 2:34 am

That's true it does but the problem isn't that it's not good in low light, as in, it's noisy. It will only go so bright, at maximum gain even at f1.8 it cannot get bright enough to make an image. For example, at the absolute minimum light level to get correct skin tone on one of our workhorse Sony HXC100s (at zero gain, wide open) to match that on the Ursa it needs to be at maximum gain. This is also at 1/60th shutter (360 degrees), if you have video screens or projection in the shot it's necessary to bump up the angle to get rid of color scan lines (thankfully it can, not a lot of other 4k broadcast cams can) it gets even more dire.

This is supposed to be a broadcast camera, which needs to work in a variety of situations, most of the time not ideal. Picking up someone in a dimly lit part of a stadium, a Q&A question in the audience or getting ENG footage in failing light it's gonna be a problem. Blackmagic MUST add in more gain, even at the expense of image quality if they want it to succeed.

Btw the minimum light level on the Ursa to get skin tone is about 215-250 lux. Download an app on your phone, that's not even very dim.
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Re: URSA Broadcast Camera

PostMon Apr 16, 2018 5:57 pm

I just had a chance to test the Ursa Broadcast and a couple of questions popped up:

1.
First of all, the camera couldn't set the iris on our Fujinon HA22x7.8BERM-M48. The SD lenses do work, though.

2.
What about black balance? In Sony cameras dead pixels can get masked performing a black balance. I did not find any black balance here, which means, as soon as you have a dead pixel you can throw away the camera?

3.
Using the camera fiber / studio fiber converter combo I could not get the intercom to work and the return feed audio was very soft. I a noisy location, like a concert or a sports arena the headphone amp is not sufficent. I soldered an adapter SUB-D to XLR but could not get any sound on the producer channel. Yes, I read the pin-out and it was correctly configured.

I would like to buy several of these camera chains, so there is quite some money I would have to spend. For this reason I'd rather check out most problems before buying. :)

Can anybody help?

Thanks,
Knut
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Denny Smith

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Re: URSA Broadcast Camera

PostMon Apr 16, 2018 9:05 pm

Yes, Toasty, but the BM Broadcast and Micro Studio 4K sensor are only base ISO 400 sensors, and need a minimum amount of light for best results. If you need a low light camera, look at the new Pocket 4K, it has dual Gain sensor, and also has the extended Video mode. Also the B4 Mount on the Broadcast Camera is costing you 1-stop of light, so it already has boosted Gain to compensate the light loss, so a ISO gain of 800 is still only giving you a ISO 400 exposure level.

Knut, the BM Broadcadt Camera does an auto black balance on each boot up, as do most new ENG cameras. Manual B.B. was a carry over from tube cameras, and early sensor CCD and MOS sensor issues. Most CMOS sensor cameras do not need constant BB correction, but are factory calibrated to correct BB.
Cheers.
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Re: URSA Broadcast Camera

PostTue Apr 17, 2018 2:38 pm

Knut the whole Sub-D 25 connector is not working yet on those fiber basestations.. This is mentioned in a different topic here..

BMD is looking into it how to fix the issue at the moment..

I addressed my concerns about hot/deadpixels too at some people involved in the technical department of BMD.
The anwser was that they can fix a hotpixel / deadpixel most of the time by sending the cam in. They put there software on it and make some fix in the sensor / fpga.. I gave them an idea on how to do this in the camera realtime from the camera instead of sending each camera in for a stuck pixel... As we can not have a hotpixel / deadpixel in multicam situations.. For post production you can fix it with Resolve.. But live there is no fix..

Also the do stock more spare parts for the recent cameras.. So repair is getting better..

@Denny.. I HIGHLY doubt it will do that in the short start up time of the camera.. Also every camera manufacturer says you have to do pixel compensation when the sensor is warm (run it for 30 minutes before doing pixel comp.) So doing a Pixel comp on a cold sensor has no effect at all.. Because it won't fix the pixels that appear when the sensor is getting warm..
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Re: URSA Broadcast Camera

PostWed Apr 18, 2018 1:24 pm

I just received my URSA Broadcast to test. I would like to get some feedback.... My current Hitachi Z4500 SD (triax to ccu to sdi) Camera with a 20x Canon runs at 0db gain around f8.0 with my DS Wash. The URSA Broadcast with the same lens runs at 0db gain at f2.8. Does this sound correct? SD Camera 480i59.94 URSA 1080p59.94. I understand that I am using an SD lens on a HD Camera but I feel like that is to much light loss. Anything that is low light is going to have to be gained up and with the music with lighting all over the place and lower its going to be hard to gain up 6db and add that noise Has anyone done test with a ENG HD Camera vs URSA Broadcast and can tell me what they had to get the cameras at to match each other?
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Denny Smith

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Re: URSA Broadcast Camera

PostWed Apr 18, 2018 5:14 pm

Daniel, yes, I agree. But pixel compensation is not a black balance per SE. For reference, Black Balance goes back to a Tube and CCD Cameras and it’s function was to:
The main purpose of black balance is to eliminate any residual current being output from the pixel sites under conditions of complete darkness, often referred to as thermal noise. This is why the camera automatically closes the iris completely when it does the black balance.

Conditions under which black balance are typically done are when the camera experiences a large change in operating temperature, especially from colder to warmer. Otherwise, it is a periodic thing to allow for other minor factors that could come into play.

With CMOS sensor technology, black balancing may not be as necessary as it is with CCD type devices. It is common to talk about how clean and relatively noise free CMOS sensors are by design.

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Re: URSA Broadcast Camera

PostThu Apr 19, 2018 7:51 pm

Blake Law wrote:I just received my URSA Broadcast to test. I would like to get some feedback.... My current Hitachi Z4500 SD (triax to ccu to sdi) Camera with a 20x Canon runs at 0db gain around f8.0 with my DS Wash. The URSA Broadcast with the same lens runs at 0db gain at f2.8. Does this sound correct? SD Camera 480i59.94 URSA 1080p59.94. I understand that I am using an SD lens on a HD Camera but I feel like that is to much light loss. Anything that is low light is going to have to be gained up and with the music with lighting all over the place and lower its going to be hard to gain up 6db and add that noise Has anyone done test with a ENG HD Camera vs URSA Broadcast and can tell me what they had to get the cameras at to match each other?


Unfortunately normal with this camera, it doesn't matter if it's an SD or HD lens. The lens mount has a glass focal enlarger that has a pretty huge light loss. You're either going to have to light much brighter or crank the gain (or both) than a regular B4 mount camera.
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Denny Smith

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Re: URSA Broadcast Camera

PostFri Apr 20, 2018 2:41 am

The B4 Mount includes a 1.5 tele Converter, that creates a 1-stop loss, so you need to offset that loss.
While 1-stop does not sound like much, it is the worthnif gain.
A low light camera it is not.
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Re: URSA Broadcast Camera

PostFri Apr 20, 2018 3:52 am

It's more than one stop, a lot more
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Re: URSA Broadcast Camera

PostFri Apr 20, 2018 7:17 am

Xtreemtec wrote:Knut the whole Sub-D 25 connector is not working yet on those fiber basestations.. This is mentioned in a different topic here..

BMD is looking into it how to fix the issue at the moment..


Daniel, where do you have this information from? All I could find in the forums was an earlier post stating that it will work using the pin out described in the manual:

https://forum.blackmagicdesign.com/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=69620&hilit=Sub+D+fiber

Furthermore, it is written in the manual that only the Producer (Prod) part of the intercom is supported for now (embedded in SDI channels 15/16). The Eng part (channel 13/14) is supposed to be enabled later on.

Did anybody get a partyline intercom working using the SUB-D connector?

And what about the volume of the headphone amp? It seems to be pretty low (when listening to the Program Channel of the return feed, which is working).

Knut
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Re: URSA Broadcast Camera

PostSun Apr 22, 2018 2:37 pm

Knut I read the complains about 2 or 3 topics that surfaced here..
Here is the main tread: viewtopic.php?f=4&t=71563

Official comment in one of the other topics was that BMD was aware of the problem. And engineers are looking into it now.... That was 2 weeks ago or so.. ;)
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