How fast can you shoot 12K?

It’s been a few weeks since Blackmagic Design announced their radical new sensor design packaged in the form of the Ursa Mini Pro 12K camera.

I’m in pre-production on a film shooting on northern Ontario Canada.  In the story weather plays a big part and I’ve started gathering shots of weather and sunsets to use in the film.

There are some pretty spectacular sunsets in the town I’m based in, North Bay and I thought this might be a good example to show you the great look this sensor can do with colour in the natural environment and into low light.   I want to share with you all the spectacular images and colour the 12K sensor is capable of doing.

But then I also realised it’s also a pretty cool case study or example of just how fast the BMD 12k RAW workflow can be.

A lot of the comments I’ve seen online have been scoffing at the need for 12K and making comments about needing a massive super computer to work with the files and insane amounts of storage.

Let me blow those misconceptions entirely out of the water.

I spent about 2 hours shooting this one sunset. My 150Wh AB battery still was at 30% when I wrapped.

Shooting 12K @ Q3 I shot about 57 mins of footage and that footage took up about 227Gb across two old 128 Gb CFAST cards that I have.

I copied those files onto a 2TB T5 SSD in about 12 mins, and I started cutting on my 2017 MacBook Pro. After about 3 hours I had this cut that’s about 5 mins. The shots are shown in the same order they are shot. I was able to cut this before my battery from the shoot finished recharging.

If you want to see some spectacular colour, then skip to about 2 mins in.

Here’s another thing. These aren’t graded. This is what came out of camera with “extended video” applied to them in the RAW tab. No other grade.

It took about 1 hour to render the 4K H264 file from Resolve. And then my slow internet to upload it.

Let’s recap.

2 hours shooting, for 57 mins footage totally 220Gb in 12K Q3 using a single battery.

Edited on a 3 year old MacBook and with the default grade applied.

So yeah. No huge hard drives, no massive computer required. If you can edit 4K now, you can also edit 12K BRAW.

Shot with Zeiss Compact Primes.

So remember, this is cut in the same order that it was shot.  If 5 mins of sunset isn’t too interesting to you, then the sun sets at about 2 mins and the colour starts to get really interesting at about the 4 min mark.

On with the show.

OH.  Also, related to the same film, but unrelated footage for anyone looking for some more RAW files, here you go.

Short 12K clips

About johnbrawley

Director Of Photography striving to create compelling images
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15 Responses to How fast can you shoot 12K?

  1. Eric Santiago says:

    Been awhile since I’ve visited North Bay. Nice frames JB, any issues with noise? Can’t really tell on my iPhone.

    • Daniel Natzke says:

      Yes, I would like to know more about your opinions on the noise performance. I have played with some of the official sample footage and have noticed some noise, but to my tastes and opinions, it is more than acceptable. I did see what looked like noise in this video, but it is hard to know if that is in fact noise, or if it is compression artifacts.

      I will take a look at the files you shared later, but I am interested in your opinions on the noise performance.

      Also, what is your take on the dynamic range? Do you feel that it is a true 14 stops or perhaps a little less? Either way, its an incredible camera and I cannot what to get my hands on one to play around with.


  2. Eric says:

    Thanks. Appreciate the info.

  3. Ron Coker. says:

    I enjoyed this thanks, John.🎥 👍

  4. Sharon Peers says:

    Dear John, fabulous footage. So proud of you and your achievements. Love all your work .

  5. Terry Forrester says:

    Hi John, that sensor is delivering an incredible dynamic range. And thats without grading?
    Congrats on the atoms background music choice, hope the humidity and the mozzies are being kind.

  6. Flowers says:

    The color and dynamic range feel natural, that’s impressive. Being able to punch in on these shots adds to the fun too. So many creative options to think about. It’s a wonderful time to be a filmmaker. Nice work John.

  7. Pingback: Download More Blackmagic URSA 12K Footage by DP John Brawley

  8. Daniel says:

    Hey John, I have been playing around with some of the footage and have been realizing a lot of the footage is a surprisingly soft and has a fair bit of color noise throughout. I know that Blackmagic has a brand new CFA for this camera, but I think this could be a considerable problem. Do you think this is something that they can fix with their demosaicing processing or is it a deeper problem?

    This isn’t to say that I don’t love the colors, or think it is unusable by any stretch of the imagination, but I do see the softness issues potentially causing many to not see this as a real 12k camera.

  9. Will says:


    I know you’ve shot The Great with the Ursa Mini Pro G2, so I was wondering how you would compare the G2 to the 12K? I’ve heard some people say the G2 is actually a better camera than the 12K, and from the footages I’m seeing on youtube/vimeo, I’ve been feeling the G2 footages look better as well…

    Would you see the 12K replacing the G2 in your next shoot? I don’t care for the resolution, but the actual image it produces.

    Also, in your older post comparing the Ursa mini to an alexa, you mentioned “URSA 4.6K creating perfect images as still pictures but with motion I immediatly feel this videoish, soap opera effect which is caused by the way of motion blur rendered,shutter and pixel ghosting ratios.” Is this videoish motion still a thing in the G2 and 12K? I’ve been noticing that in most blackmagic footages this videoish motion is definitely noticeable.

    I’m currently debating between an Ursa G2, the 12K, or a used Arri Amira for my next camera purchase.

    • John Brawley says:

      Hi Will. I’m not sure where you have found this comment attributed to me about motion and pixel ghosting? Can you link to where I’ve said that? I don’t think I have ever actually said that?

      In any case, I love the look of the 12K over the G2 in almost every way. Since publishing this post, I’ve used it on a feature film and on a TV series that is currently in production for a major streamer and everyone’s been VERY impressed with the camera and the look.

      Any new camera, especially with a radical new sensor takes a bit of time for people to get to know and get the best from. It took me some time to be able to grade the images in the way that I wanted from the camera. It’s natural that a camera that has a two year head start in terms of look as a more mature user base in terms of footage you can find online.

      I find the motion cadence of the G2 to be great, and the 12K gives you the option to be nearly the same integration time as the G2 if you shoot at 8K which is also about the same as an Alexa, and about the same as the G1 if you shoot at 12K.

      Motion isn’t a problem on this camera for me.

      I can’t tell you what camera to get. But you could perhaps rent a 12K and see if it will suit your needs before you make the investment ?


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