Blackmagic enters the immersive VR world with a camera fit for Apple Vision Pro

We all wondered how the Apple Vision Pro was ever going to have enough high-quality VR content when there was apparently no camera in existence capable of shooting to those specs. Well, it seems as though Blackmagic may have the answer. Or it will soon, at least.

Blackmagic dropped the news on social media that it has been working with Apple to develop the Blackmagic URSA Cine Immersive. As well as a new camera, it also announced an update to Davinci Resolve that will allow filmmakers to edit fully immersive VR films. Exciting stuff!

So, back to the camera, what do we know so far? Well, it’s obviously a dual lens, probably fisheye with an extremely wide angle, in a stereoscopic pair. This is similar to Canon’s two dual fish eye lenses; the newest for APS-C will be available this month. These lenses allow the camera to shoot footage that can later be converted to 3D and work in a similar way to the human eye.

The specifications of the Blackmagic URSA Cine Immersive are impressive and far exceed what Canon has come up with so far. According to the Facebook post, it features a fixed, custom lens system with a sensor that has 8160 x 7200 resolution per eye with pixel-level synchronization. Read that again—that’s per eye, not total. The total is going to be around 17K; we’re all gonna need a bigger hard drive!

It also has an extremely wide 16 stops of dynamic range and shoots at 90 fps stereoscopic into a Blackmagic RAW Immersive file. Canon’s hybrid R5 C is capable of shooting 8K resolution at 60 fps, but this camera is a considerable step up from that.

Blackmagic is also updating the post-production aspect of immersive video production, which honestly can only be a good thing.

“The immersive lens data is mapped, calibrated, and stored per eye in the Blackmagic RAW file, so it travels through the post-production process in the Blackmagic RAW Immersive file itself. That eliminates the need for multiple files to capture an immersive scene,” says the description.

Finally, hopefully, we will be able to edit VR videos in one platform without the need for costly subscriptions or extra plugins that don’t really work (yes, Adobe, I’m looking at you).

The Davinci updates will also let editors pan, tilt, and roll clips for viewing on 2D monitors, which is useful because it’s always nice to have footage that can be viewed in more traditional ways without having to shoot on separate cameras and edit it multiple times.

Clearly, Blackmagic is going for the high end of the playing field with this camera. I cannot imagine that this will be cheap, and honestly, filming and editing, heck, even storing files of these sorts of resolutions, is going to be complicated and costly. We had issues dealing with 8K, so I don’t even want to imagine handling 17K! This camera is not for the likes of mere mortals and part-time VR filmmakers.

Still, it’s exciting to think that there will be major advances in VR and the Apple Vision Pro, and the teaser image of the camera on a drone could make for some interesting footage (if they can balance the thing!).

It makes sense now that Canon is aiming its sights at the mid to lower end of the VR market. Yesterday, it announced a new dual fisheye for shooting on an APS-C sensor camera body with a maximum resolution of 4K and a reduced angle of view. I think there’s space for all levels of creator in this virtual reality space, and its great that there are more options for more people of all levels of interest and investment.

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