Ursa Mini Pro for Documentary

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Edward Chalupa

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Ursa Mini Pro for Documentary

PostThu Aug 24, 2017 2:26 pm

I have quite a bit of shoots coming up and I thought I would see what everyone thinks here on the forums. For most of my shoots I usually end up renting a C300 and the clients are pretty happy. These shoots tend to be fairly run and gun in nature, and I feel that is what the C300 is built for.

However, I recently have begun a passion project, which is projected to be a feature length documentary. Which has me thinking about my next camera purchase. Believe it or not, I have not purchased a camera since the release of the BMPCC. While I love the BMPCC, I have grown tired of having to rig it, and it certainly is not what I would consider to be a documentary camera (too much rigging).

Right now I feel that I have a couple of choices, with the Ursa Mini Pro being among the top. I am torn between the Canon C200, Panasonic EVA-1, and the Ursa Mini Pro. They all fill certain criteria that I am looking for. I am concerned that the UMP will not hold up too well in a run and gun documentary environment. Blackmagic cameras are some of my most favorite cameras that I have used but they are not without their problems. Would you be willing to say that the UMP has ironed out most of those FPN issues and such?

Having owned the Ursa Mini 4k in the past (and returning after sending in the camera three times) I am a bit weary of buying another Mini. That said, it appears that the UMP has matured a lot since the initial release of the Mini 4k.

I know that these three cameras are constantly being compared right now but specs aside, I would like to hear from some people who have had real world experience as solo operators with the UMP in a documentary environment.

Phew. That is a lot of text. I appreciate anyone's input on the matter, as this is my first big camera purchase (firm believer in renting).

Thanks!
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rick.lang

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Re: Ursa Mini Pro for Documentary

PostThu Aug 24, 2017 4:34 pm

Edward, this thread has the potential to dominate the forum for the next 8 months (exactly). You should take it down now as the energy saved will likely be enough to bring your country in line with the Paris Accord in the next year!

My short answer is a question: How important is the image in your documentary? If it's your first priority, stay here and adapt to the camera's shortcomings. It's a little heavy, it needs light, it eats storage, it doesn't have an auto focus, it's always going to look its best when you're manual everything but only if you take care. I'm sure it's a long list of problems, but at the end of the day, if image is your top priority, you'll make it work.

If you have other priorities, you may do very well with your alternatives suggested. However the devil is in the details and those newer cameras may not have revealed their flaws yet. Here we air our dirty laundry, but still love that 4.6K sensor.


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Edward Chalupa

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Re: Ursa Mini Pro for Documentary

PostThu Aug 24, 2017 4:51 pm

rick.lang wrote:Edward, this thread has the potential to dominate the forum for the next 8 months (exactly). You should take it down now as the energy saved will likely be enough to bring your country in line with the Paris Accord in the next year!

My short answer is a question: How important is the image in your documentary? If it's your first priority, stay here and adapt to the camera's shortcomings. It's a little heavy, it needs light, it eats storage, it doesn't have an auto focus, it's always going to look its best when you're manual everything but only if you take care. I'm sure it's a long list of problems, but at the end of the day, if image is your top priority, you'll make it work.

If you have other priorities, you may do very well with your alternatives suggested. However the devil is in the details and those newer cameras may not have revealed their flaws yet. Here we air our dirty laundry, but still love that 4.6K sensor.


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Apologies Rick!

I don't want to start controversy. BM cameras are hands down my favorite, but everyone keeps telling me to stay away if I want to do a documentary. When it comes down to it, I care the most about the story and what will be easiest for me to tell it.

The low light surely is not that bad, is it?
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Dustin Svehlak

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Re: Ursa Mini Pro for Documentary

PostThu Aug 24, 2017 5:12 pm

I'll be up front, I have only handled the non-Pro version of the Ursa Mini so my comments come from a place of ignorance. Example- I have no idea if the audio is improved on the Ursa Mini Pro (UMP) but we had an unusable interview segment due to the poor audio of the previous Ursa Mini on a doc project last year.

That said, i have shot a ton of doc work and even had a healthy amount of BMCC and BMPCC on a doc a shot a couple years back. I only really used the BMPCC for any run and gun stuff but the images speak for themselves. Also, we always had audio recorded on a separate device as (beating a dead horse but sorry) the audio would have been pretty poor from the camera. I would say that if you have a sound person on this and you have access to a UMP, go that route. If you need to do more run and gun, I don't think you can beat the "all-in-one" nature of the C300 or even the MKII of that camera.

All of this is going to come down to personal preference though. If you have a UMP already, I would shoot a mini-doc as a test and see if the ergonomics work for you. At worst, you shoot something on the C300, which is pretty much standard in doc work at this point. At best, you're offering something different than the other doc filmmakers with the UMP.

EDIT: quick note, I think the biggest advantage of the C200 is the RAW capabilities but that would be overkill for doc work. You would be better off with the C300 in that regard. I agree with Rick in terms of using "new to market" gear on a paid gig. I think I'd want it to be proven first. That EVA-1 looks REALLY enticing but it's not even due to ship until October.
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rick.lang

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Re: Ursa Mini Pro for Documentary

PostThu Aug 24, 2017 5:23 pm

Edward, good one! Yes, the story is paramount. And you can shoot a wonderful story on any camera or mobile phone. I was responding entirely from the perspective of the tools, not your creativity and storytelling.

Good advice from Dustin. The audio has been improved on the URSA Mini Pro versus the Mini 4.6K. But if possible, you want to use external audio in a feature with something like the Sound Device MixPre-3/6 for superior audio.


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Denny Smith

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Re: Ursa Mini Pro for Documentary

PostThu Aug 24, 2017 5:28 pm

Each camera has is pros and cons. Which one will depend on what you want for a final deliverable product, your shooting style, and your budget. If possible, try renting a UM Pro and a C300 to give the options a test. The C300 is going to need a 3rd party shoulder rig, the Pro has an OEM solution for under $400, the EVA-1 looks like a quick, easy to handle camera with autofocus using Canon EF lenses.

Another factor is going to be what lenses are you going to use, onlymthe UM Pro offered changeable mounts, increasing lens choice, and with the PL mount, you can use relatively inexpensive used ENG B4 zooms. The EF mounts will require a Canon CL-E servo zoom to get this functionality.

What video recording codec do you prefer, is Rae recording a requirement? What N!E will be used, you need to use a codec that will be useable without a lot of time eating transcoding.

Points to consider in your deliberations... :roll:
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Edward Chalupa

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Re: Ursa Mini Pro for Documentary

PostThu Aug 24, 2017 7:37 pm

Let me start with a big thank you to all who have responded.

This forum has the best community and I truly appreciate all of the storied advice provided by the users here. I did shoot a preview of the film I am trying to make in the link below. I shot everything on the BMPCC with the standard Sigma/Metabones setup.

One of the issues that I had noticed after the shoot was that I had botched the audio in this amazing hour long interview I was doing with the subject. I must have bumped one of the knobs on my Tascam. So instead I had to cut what I could from the good audio I had. It is basically a video that establishes the tone I am looking for.

My favorite NLE's are FCPX, Resolve, Avid, and Premiere (in that order). I consider myself to mostly be an editor but people seem to be happy to pay me to shoot for them. As an editor, I tend to obsess over codecs, and to me ProRes/RAW are king.

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Mark Wyatt

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Re: Ursa Mini Pro for Documentary

PostThu Aug 24, 2017 10:01 pm

I can't recommend enough shooting with the either the 4.6k or the Pro. There is no other camera in the price range that gives you the look and colour these cameras do. If you want to save space, film in prores 1080 hq or 444. The image is fantastic. I also actually find the weight and size very easy to manage. The only thing I wish they did is record a proxy backup. However, a video assist can do fix this issue. I've been shooting 10-12 hour days lately with these cams with no issues.
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Stephen Press

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Re: Ursa Mini Pro for Documentary

PostThu Aug 24, 2017 11:12 pm

For me the C300 is a terrible camera for Docos. I like its pictures but its totally un-ergonomic and even in some Frankenstein rig I feel by the end of the day like I've run a marathon to get the basic shots I need.
It shouldn't have to be that hard.
The Mini on the other hand is a piece of cake for a doco shoot.
I've never had a sound issue but then I have a background in sound so I know how to set it up properly.
The Pro with it ND filters and switched on the outside should even be better. To me its a no brainer.

I have noticed (especially on many not all of the youtube reviews) that a lot of people who say the Mini or the Pro are not ENG or Doco cameras are not what I would regard as real world experienced ENG or doco cameramen.

lights fuse and steps well back... :P
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Edward Chalupa

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Re: Ursa Mini Pro for Documentary

PostThu Aug 24, 2017 11:58 pm

Mark Wyatt wrote:I can't recommend enough shooting with the either the 4.6k or the Pro. There is no other camera in the price range that gives you the look and colour these cameras do. If you want to save space, film in prores 1080 hq or 444. The image is fantastic. I also actually find the weight and size very easy to manage. The only thing I wish they did is record a proxy backup. However, a video assist can do fix this issue. I've been shooting 10-12 hour days lately with these cams with no issues.


Mark, I have to say, I've seen your videos before, and I think they are some of the most stunning examples of the Ursa Mini. I know I am in the Blackmagic forum, so I expect some bias, but you can not argue with the image from these cameras.

I have no earthly idea why some people give this company a bad rep. Are there any lenses you like in particular?
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Re: Ursa Mini Pro for Documentary

PostFri Aug 25, 2017 12:24 am

Edward Chalupa wrote:I have no earthly idea why some people give this company a bad rep.


Really? See your comment below.

Edward Chalupa wrote:Having owned the Ursa Mini 4k in the past (and returning after sending in the camera three times) I am a bit weary of buying another Mini.


There's your answer right there imo, you should be weary. Reliability issues are not anecdotal for you but are based on your actual past experience. Do you think that your experience with the pro will be any different than the mini? It might (depending on whether the particular camera you get happens to be error/fault free). Can you trust this camera not to fail/be defective/etc (assuming you're not doing multicam work) on your shoots? I wouldn't. Just peruse the forums if you have any doubts about this. Multiple examples of people whose cameras have failed right before or during gigs. Excuses and rationalizations from BM diehards as to why this issue should be ignored. Don't mean to start a flame war about this, but I really wished BM would do a better job with QC on their camera manufacturing. Just my opinion. Others here will disagree.

Right now I feel that I have a couple of choices, with the Ursa Mini Pro being among the top. I am torn between the Canon C200, Panasonic EVA-1, and the Ursa Mini Pro.


The Panasonic EVA-1 would be my choice if and when it becomes available. It's more expensive, but I happen to like the Panasonic color science/look and it will work/be reliable. I would choose the Ursa if were not such a reliability crap shoot.
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Edward Chalupa

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Re: Ursa Mini Pro for Documentary

PostFri Aug 25, 2017 12:52 am

Carlos Garcia-Diaz wrote:
Edward Chalupa wrote:I have no earthly idea why some people give this company a bad rep.


Really? See your comment below.

Edward Chalupa wrote:Having owned the Ursa Mini 4k in the past (and returning after sending in the camera three times) I am a bit weary of buying another Mini.


There's your answer right there imo, you should be weary. Reliability issues are not anecdotal for you but are based on your actual past experience. Do you think that your experience with the pro will be any different than the mini? It might (depending on whether the particular camera you get happens to be error/fault free). Can you trust this camera not to fail/be defective/etc (assuming you're not doing multicam work) on your shoots? I wouldn't. Just peruse the forums if you have any doubts about this. Multiple examples of people whose cameras have failed right before or during gigs. Excuses and rationalizations from BM diehards as to why this issue should be ignored. Don't mean to start a flame war about this, but I really wished BM would do a better job with QC on their camera manufacturing. Just my opinion. Others here will disagree.

Right now I feel that I have a couple of choices, with the Ursa Mini Pro being among the top. I am torn between the Canon C200, Panasonic EVA-1, and the Ursa Mini Pro.


The Panasonic EVA-1 would be my choice if and when it becomes available. It's more expensive, but I happen to like the Panasonic color science/look and it will work/be reliable. I would choose the Ursa if were not such a reliability crap shoot.


Ahhh Carlos, you are so right. That alone is probably the biggest reason why it is hard for me to pull the trigger. I still have PTSD from that camera. I suppose I am hoping that the UMP has fixed a lot of those problems. It may just be wishful thinking...
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Re: Ursa Mini Pro for Documentary

PostFri Aug 25, 2017 3:03 am

Edward Chalupa wrote:
Carlos Garcia-Diaz wrote:
Edward Chalupa wrote:Ahhh Carlos, you are so right. That alone is probably the biggest reason why it is hard for me to pull the trigger.


I was in the same position. On the plus side, the ursa mini pro hits almost all of the features that I would want in a camera PLUS it can produce phenomenal looking footage. No debate about that. On the downside, Blackmagic's quality control on these cameras seems to be almost non-existant. That, in my opinion, negates all of the great qualities of these cameras. What good are these features if the camera is defective or fails to work during a shoot? Don't take my word for it, read through the forums and do some research on this, but that's not necessary since you've been through this yourself with the 4K. The Pany might be more expensive, but it will probably also be more reliable.
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Stephen Press

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Re: Ursa Mini Pro for Documentary

PostFri Aug 25, 2017 3:27 am

Yeah nah, I've had some shockers with Panny. Their biggest problem is their inability to admit there is a problem. Then magically they will sell you a solution to the not problem. Or come up with advice like "You are doing workflow wrong. Only use one P2 micro card in the camera at a time."
My last shoot with a C300 from a rental, the cable to the lcd and sound unit kept dropping out. halfway through a take, no audio. Brand new cables. Taped on still cut out.
So I don't think I would expect better quality control from either.
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Rakesh Malik

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Re: Ursa Mini Pro for Documentary

PostFri Aug 25, 2017 5:32 pm

Edward Chalupa wrote:The low light surely is not that bad, is it?


Not nearly as bad as some people seem to believe... mostly the people complaining about it are people who don't know squat about lighting, and generally speaking can be safely ignored. Let them have their A7sIIs, shooting their 100,000 ISO vimeography tests, and focus on your stories.

The only reason that I'd favor an FS7II over an UM 4.6K (either variant) for documentary is that it's easier to run it for longer periods than it is to run an UM 4.6K for long periods. The FS7 consumes less power and has a more space efficient codec. While it does just fine as a cinema camera in a competent cinematographer's hands, it might as well be custom tailed for documentary and event filming.

I prefer the UM 4.6K however, because while I like the FS7 image, I prefer the UM 4.6K's which generally means I'd have to do less grading than with an FS7.
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Denny Smith

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Re: Ursa Mini Pro for Documentary

PostFri Aug 25, 2017 6:15 pm

Yes, the choice in this market segment boils down to the Ursa Mini Pro, the Sony FS7II and the new Panasonic EVA1. There is no one "perfect" camera, each has is advantages and issues to be sorted out. Camera reliability is something you need to spend $30K or more on, like a Sony digital ENG or an Arri camera, you are not going to get that kind of build quality in a sub $9K camera.

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rick.lang

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Re: Ursa Mini Pro for Documentary

PostFri Aug 25, 2017 8:00 pm

Carlos, i think even the most ardent fanboys would wish for better quality control. That may increase the cost though and if so, would the increased reliability also increase sales to offset lost sales from those who turn to another solution?

No one wants to see components fail at any time or have a new camera go bad. But it happens. I hope BMD continues to improve their QC while keeping their cameras competitive in the 'budget cinema' camera category they created in 2012.


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Uli Plank

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Re: Ursa Mini Pro for Documentary

PostSat Aug 26, 2017 3:26 am

Well, I've seen a really expensive Sony camera (the 750) going down in the middle of a production, while working in a country where you wouldn't even find a lens cap for it, let alone any competent repair shop.

With BM's prices you could take a backup with you…
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rick.lang

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Re: Ursa Mini Pro for Documentary

PostSat Aug 26, 2017 3:46 am

Uli, are you suggesting I should buy an URSA Mini Pro after all to backup my beloved Mini 4.6K? Okay, I can see that might be a good plan. I'm going to start looking for that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow tomorrow.



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Re: Ursa Mini Pro for Documentary

PostSat Aug 26, 2017 12:45 pm

I was relating to what Denny wrote: "Camera reliability is something you need to spend $30K or more on, like a Sony digital ENG or an Arri camera,…"

Two BM bodies are definitely cheaper than $30K. And as long as both work, you'll have a B-cam too.
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Re: Ursa Mini Pro for Documentary

PostSat Aug 26, 2017 2:47 pm

But Edward had 3 and they all had issues and returned them. This is what the issue is(QC) and many are hesitant to go the Blackmagic route. It's like have a great athlete on your team but if he/she is often injured and not on the field, does you no good and you lose confidence.
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rick.lang

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Re: Ursa Mini Pro for Documentary

PostSat Aug 26, 2017 6:51 pm

Good analogy, Jay, as that is so common in sports. However eventually the athlete often gets back to peak form with another team and the fans lament he was ever traded for a song. We are always expecting BMD's 'athlete' will live up to the high expectations they set!


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Re: Ursa Mini Pro for Documentary

PostSat Aug 26, 2017 8:15 pm

If you have 3 different cameras and none of them meet your expectations it's probably not a QC issue, simply the camera doesn't meet your expectations. There's a pretty clear pattern of those who return cameras several times requesting that BM fix it because it doesn't perform they way they feel it should. Eventually they get rid of it grumbling about QC issues when realistically it's about managing expectations and embracing both the strengths AND weaknesses for what they are.
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Re: Ursa Mini Pro for Documentary

PostSun Aug 27, 2017 12:35 am

This was my take in this also Howie. The OP needs to get a Varicam LT, or something similar, to get the reliability fsctor he needs. BM cameras are great, but QC and development issues you get with a product pushing the boundaries, can be an issue in a commercial environment. That said, several DOPs have successfully used the Ursa and Ursa Mini 4.6 in major productions/TV shows.
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Edward Chalupa

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Re: Ursa Mini Pro for Documentary

PostSun Aug 27, 2017 5:02 pm

Truth be told, I think the Ursa Mini 4k was a bit of an after thought. There was a myriad of issues with mine, such as multiple dead pixels and FPN galore. I purchased them to shoot video for Ferrari down at COTA in Austin, TX. The idea being that I would need global shutter on a 600mm lens. The price was great, so I never bothered to publicly complain. Although, there was with out a doubt, a lot of issues.

On the other hand, the BMPCC has been one of the cleanest images I have ever had the pleasure to shoot with. Unfortunately, its form factor has little benefit for a lot of what I do, and is mostly relegated to shooting things for fun on the weekends and music videos. I still think it is my best camera purchase I have made. Bought it in 2013 and it still runs with the big boys today.

Ive shot on the 4.6k and I believe that the sensor is leagues better than whatever was going on in the 4k. I could be wrong, but I think a lot of people on here bought the 4.6k and whenever there was an issue that a 4k Mini user had, it would get chalked up to 'operator error'... I digress.
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Re: Ursa Mini Pro for Documentary

PostMon Aug 28, 2017 1:58 am

No one camera is going to be perfect, they all,have their own unique quirks, advantages and disadvantages. So you end up getting what you think is going to be the best tool/camera for the job.
Even a Panasonic AF100 has been successfully used in major movie productions.
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Carlos Garcia-Diaz

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Re: Ursa Mini Pro for Documentary

PostMon Aug 28, 2017 4:14 am

rick.lang wrote:I hope BMD continues to improve their QC while keeping their cameras competitive in the 'budget cinema' camera category they created in 2012.
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This is the only reason why I bring up the QC issue: because I want BM cameras to be more reliable and professional. Everyone would gain from that. I think the FS7 or the Pany are better choices because of this. I prefer the look of the Ursa mini, but what use is that when it seems really hard to get a camera that functions properly?

Denny: I've been shooting Sony and Panasonic cameras for about 15 years, and while I would by no means claim to have the level of expertise or experience that you have, I can tell you that in all of that time I have only had 1 problem with these cameras. Plus, I've never purchased a camera from these manufacturers that was non-operational or defective when it was purchased. All anecdotal, of course, but so is the OP's experience (and that of many others) when it comes to the myriad of problems with BM cameras. Yeah, no camera is perfect and all cameras have their issues, but to say this whenever people point out the obvious QC problems that BM cameras have is tantamount to ignoring these problems (not saying you're saying that, but it's a common refrain on these boards). I want BM to improve QC so that I can buy their cameras. Love their look, but I wouldn't rely on them. I know others have and have done so successfully. That doesn't mean there isn't a problem.
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Re: Ursa Mini Pro for Documentary

PostMon Aug 28, 2017 5:13 am

I agree with you Carlos. I was only pointing out, the OP's experience was with the first ifmthe Ursa Mini 4K, camera and all,of,them"growing,pains" on the initial release of the Ursa Mini 4.6K, all'of which were probably released before they should have been, and BM should have caught many of these issues before the initial release. So, the early adopters become Beta testers. Yes, I have shot Sony and Panasonic cameras previously also. Sony has had some innovative cameras in the past, including the first Digital-Beta cameras, that were full of minor issues when they first came out also, the biggest being how loud the Digital-Beta tape drives were, especially on the editing decks.

If I were buying a mid-level camera today, and had the budget, the Varicam LT would be near the top of my list. I went from TV type ENG cameras to the AF100 to get better creative control of the image for personal work after I retired from independent TV production work. So moving up to BM cameras was interesting, and I find the creative controls available on these cameras at their price point, outstanding. Yes, they have their issues, but again, am not working for someone else anymore. If I were, my choices would be different, of course.

Today, the image quality of different cameras is growing closer together, so,the driving factor for me, is to have a camera that will allow me to use my favorite lenses, none of which are EF mount, mostly PL or B4. Once you use a pro PL mount lens or a quality B4 servo zoom for Documentary work, you will have a hard time going back to still camera mount lenses. That said, I still enjoy using the BM Micro S16 cameras with my vintage S16 PL lenses. So our choices are different and dictated by our requirements. One choice is not better than another, just different, meeting our individual needs.
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rick.lang

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Re: Ursa Mini Pro for Documentary

PostMon Aug 28, 2017 3:47 pm

Well put!


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Re: Ursa Mini Pro for Documentary

PostMon Aug 28, 2017 3:56 pm

Thanks Rick.
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Ian Henderson

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Re: Ursa Mini Pro for Documentary

PostFri Feb 23, 2018 6:52 am

Edward Chalupa wrote:Right now I feel that I have a couple of choices, with the Ursa Mini Pro being among the top. I am torn between the Canon C200, Panasonic EVA-1, and the Ursa Mini Pro. They all fill certain criteria that I am looking for. I am concerned that the UMP will not hold up too well in a run and gun documentary environment.
Thanks!


Hi Edward - I'm facing a very similar decision right now myself. Honestly, I think the FS7 is the most logical choice - it does everything well, even if it doesn't excel in any one area (RAW, autofocus etc.). There's a reason why they are dominating the doc market right now. I've shot on it a fair bit, but I just don't love it, for mostly irrational reasons. Same reason I don't drive a Toyota Corolla, I guess.

I've been very close to pulling the trigger on a C200. That proxy workflow makes RAW really feasible - edit on the 1080p proxy, and only pull in the RAW at grade. Autofocus and decent low light are real plusses, and the autofocus and light weight make it a Movi dream. But all of these cameras have their sticking points, and for the C200 it's if you want to put in on your shoulder. You need a rig, a Z-Finder or EVF, and then it blows loud, hot air into the side of your face. What were Canon thinking? Can't they reverse the flow and have it pump the air out the other side? Surely?? And of course, the mid-range 4K codec is flawed, even though people say it's much better than you'd expect. And dual pixel autofocus is great, but then you're stuck to Canon lenses.

I keep coming back to the damn UMP... as it sounds like you are. And I haven't even shot on one yet! All the footage I see is just so damn beautiful. The Canon footage looks like a gorgeous hi-res digital photo... but the best UMP footage looks like a Rembrandt. I guess that's why people keep comparing it to Arri - maybe it doesn't have quite the same rolloff or dynamic range, but the picture seems to have this same intangibly beautiful quality to it. And that's even the off-the-cuff doccie stuff.

I don't have any answers, but just to say I'm in the exact same position. C200 and FS7 are almost the same price when you've set them up, the UMP a bit cheaper, depending on how much media you need. There's no obvious rational solution. and a hundred arguments either way.

I think I'm about to complete my set of Contax primes and buy a UMP but that will probably change tomorrow.
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rick.lang

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Re: Ursa Mini Pro for Documentary

PostFri Feb 23, 2018 6:21 pm

Analysis paralysis. Just jump in the water and swim with the fishes!


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Vess Stoytchev

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Re: Ursa Mini Pro for Documentary

PostFri Feb 23, 2018 8:09 pm

When we where buying a camera with my friend and associate the UMP was the nobrainder for us. He is a DoP and I edit. We both don't like Sony's picture and I can't even remember if we looked in Canon's direction. We wanted the image, as Rick said, and hope that technically our unit will be ok.
This camera is a charm. I power it on from time to time for no reason. :D
Our main subjects are docu-style for firms, commercials and shorts. Just buy the SSD recorder, grab a few Samsung 850 pro ssd's and you are cruising . :)

btw if you want documentary style review, check Garth De Bruno Austin's video:
UMP | i7 6700, gtx1070, win10 pro, resolve studio
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Ian Henderson

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Re: Ursa Mini Pro for Documentary

PostSat Feb 24, 2018 3:56 am

Vess Stoytchev wrote:...if you want documentary style review, check Garth De Bruno Austin's video


Another Saffer! Some extremely filmic looking imagery there - very nice! Thanks
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Leon Benzakein

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Re: Ursa Mini Pro for Documentary

PostSat Feb 24, 2018 4:01 pm

Ian Henderson wrote:Another Saffer!


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Jason R. Johnston

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Re: Ursa Mini Pro for Documentary

PostSat Feb 24, 2018 7:05 pm

I found an UMP system wound up being far more expensive than some of the other camera systems I researched. The cost of media, storage, and you’re stuck with brick batteries; the camera becomes very heavy and needs to live on a big tripod. It’s fine...but, it’s also expensive. And if I really, really needed raw I’d have gone for it.

Instead, I went for an FS7 Mark II. It does everythig I need, weighs less, costs less (now and in the long run), works out of the box with everything I need including an EVF/LCD with loupe. Storage media is inexpensive, batteries are compact, and I have plenty of later options due to the camera’s modularity when I (and my budget) decide I want them, or a client decides I need them...like raw.

Also, the FS7 pioneered this body style that everyone else, including UMP, currently emulates. That Aaton “cat on a shoulder” style revised for the digital age. FS7M2 gives me 10-bit 4:2:2 log in a decent intraframe codec, it’s built robust enough to take on most of my jobs in their working environments (locally between 45-115°F), gives me a Super 35 sensor, a locking mount that can be adapted to nearly any lens mount I want without hassle, and all the I/O ports I need without getting too fancy. Native ISO 2000. Also, electronic ND is the future.

Best part is I can squeeze an Alexa or Amira look out of it with the right LUT and zero hassle. And I do. Bought mine at the beginning of the month and I love it. It doesn’t give me raw right out of the box, but I never needed it. Again, if I did, I’d have spent a little more and got an UMP for sure.

There are other issues with UMP, of course, as we’ve all been reading on this forum. As much as I chalk up most of them to “operator error” and solutions as simple as “RTFM”, I’ve gotten tired of reading them. So, I moved on to a camera ecosystem that’s proven, reliable, and sought after. Simple as that.

Sure, you can shoot a documentary on UMP. Why can’t you? I’ve shot docus on my iPhone. Who cares? Content is king, especially with docus. What’s worse? Having a noisy image because the best camera you had on you was your phone but you got the shot, or getting no shot at all and relying on talking head testimony? I’d rather just get the shot by any means. Of course you can shoot a documentary on an UMP. It’s more than capable. Just learn your tool and use it knowing its limitations. Doesn’t matter what you use. All these cameras are basically the same nowadays. But some of them lean in directions more than others. If raw is important and you only have $9-11k then get an UMP. If it’s not, get something else. Get something that feels good on your shoulder. Can you live without an EVF? Is storage space a premium? Do you want a camera you know will work in crazy cold or crazy hot environments, or do you want to risk using a camera that has problems with FPN or whatever when exposed improperly? Ha. That’s hilarious because all cameras have FPN. Not to mention Schott noise. Whatever.

FS7M2 is what I went with after years of contemplation. Might not be the right camera for others but it certainly is the right one for me. If I could have bought two cameras I would have bought an UMP, as well. But, if I could only have one camera and money were no object, I’d have bought an Amira. Go figure. :)
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Ian Henderson

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Re: Ursa Mini Pro for Documentary

PostMon Mar 12, 2018 4:04 pm

Here's another interesting test comparing Amira, Raven, Varicam LT and C300mk2 to Ursa and even a Sony 6300. Quite the camera range...

https://www.agdok.de/de_DE/cameratest

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