A couple of Ursa Mini Pro questions

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Mike Flynn

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A couple of Ursa Mini Pro questions

PostMon Nov 20, 2017 3:34 pm

I have had a BMPC for a couple of years and my only issue with it has been the fact that timecode is TOD only - no control over it and the actual clock in the camera not maintaining time of day. The latter is not huge as that is just part of my checklist for every camera before shooting is to check the clock and set it.

I see in the manual lots of TC talk - Is it reliable and usable in a professional studio environment that leverages TC for multi-cam sync and sound sync?

Is the clock any better? I always felt that the fact that the BMPC's clock was massively wrong every time I went to use it was a pretty cheesy oversight or unresolved issue with the camera.

Other than those 2 issues, the camera has been stellar but I am considering a mini pro and just want to make sure I am not going to have any of the same issues.

Thanks so much!
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rick.lang

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Re: A couple of Ursa Mini Pro questions

PostTue Nov 21, 2017 4:39 am

The camera will take Timecode In so you can jam sync multiple cameras and sound recorders.


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Quentin Devillers

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Re: A couple of Ursa Mini Pro questions

PostTue Nov 21, 2017 10:34 am

I will say that you must not trust the internal clock and put a tentacle device or similar.

All the best.
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Mike Flynn

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Re: A couple of Ursa Mini Pro questions

PostTue Nov 21, 2017 3:16 pm

Good to know I can jam sync it. Guessing that not trusting the internal clock, the camera has the same clock issues as the older cameras?

Does the battery indicator misbehave like the BMPC, BMPCC and VA?

Thanks!
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Denny Smith

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Re: A couple of Ursa Mini Pro questions

PostWed Nov 22, 2017 2:25 am

The UM internal clock has been reported by John Brawley and others, as being much more stable than the older cameras. The audio is also greatly improved. That said, with the camera unpowered and no battery mounted, any clock will drift. But jam syncing is always the best way to go, especially when using several cameras or an external recorder.
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Jamie LeJeune

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Re: A couple of Ursa Mini Pro questions

PostThu Nov 23, 2017 8:28 am

Quentin Devillers wrote:I will say that you must not trust the internal clock and put a tentacle device or similar.

+1 for Tentacle sync. It was easy to use, the timecode all lined up and visual sync has been good on my Ursa Mini (since the timecode issue was remedied in a firmware update from BMD earlier this year). One thing to note is that because the Tentacle isn't sending genlock, the waveforms from my audio recorder when compared against audio recorded in camera don't exactly line up and are typically about half a frame off from each other. Not an issue for visual sync, but if you were trying to mix audio recorded in camera with external audio (or audio from another camera) you'd need to do a bit of sub-frame slipping to get the waveforms to line up exactly.

EDIT: JB is correct below, firmware update was earlier this year with v4, not last year as I had remembered
Last edited by Jamie LeJeune on Sat Nov 25, 2017 11:47 am, edited 1 time in total.
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John Brawley

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Re: A couple of Ursa Mini Pro questions

PostThu Nov 23, 2017 2:47 pm

The Ursa Mini 4.6K post V4 firmware was really the first reliable TC Jam-able clock that would work reliably and consistently with an external full time clock.

That's how I've always done it.

I've been told that the UMPRO has an even more reliable internal clock, one that's designed to be able to hold sub-frame sync for more than a few hours.

So far, I've not actually tested it, I just use the same process of mounting a full time external clock to the camera (in my case a Moze)

My biggest issues now are the occasional cable issue from the Moze to the Camera TC in.

JB
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Leon Benzakein

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Re: A couple of Ursa Mini Pro questions

PostThu Nov 23, 2017 3:39 pm

I would appreciate a clearing up of a definition of the term "jam sync".

I know it to be that of using an external device with master time code being attached to a camera etc temporarily to sync that device to master time.(free run)
The master time code device is then removed and the camera etc runs on its internal time code generator.

If the internal time code generator is unreliable this method is unreliable.

My confusion comes from some of the posts on this topic which mention jam sync but I am not sure if the posters are talking about a hardwired time code feed/external T/C generator or temporary sync feed.
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John Brawley

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Re: A couple of Ursa Mini Pro questions

PostThu Nov 23, 2017 4:04 pm

Leon Benzakein wrote:I would appreciate a clearing up of a definition of the term "jam sync".


Any time you connect an external TC clock to an Ursa Mini or Ursa Mini Pro, if the format is correct and the camera sees the external TC source the letters 'EXT" will appear in the top middle where the TC numbers are on the screen. You can toggle between clip TC and TOD TC here too by simply tapping the TC number.

As soon as the external TC source isn't connected, the letters "INT" will appear, showing you're running from the internal clock of the camera.

Leon Benzakein wrote:I know it to be that of using an external device with master time code being attached to a camera etc temporarily to sync that device to master time.(free run)


Free run time of day yes...

Now an aside....

You say "master" time code, but be careful with terminology.

Ideally you have a standalone master TC clock. This master clock can then jam sync other clocks. The other clocks MIGHT be another external stand-alone clock that you then put on your camera OR it might be the camera itself OR it might be the location sound recorder OR it might be a TC slate.

Some cheat and use a clock from say, the recording device itself to be the "master" clock.

This can be more risky, but is more or less common. Who wants to pay extra for a standalone clock right ? In my view, a true "master" clock is one that can TELL you the time difference between it's own clock and that of which you're jamming to. This helps greatly in troubleshooting.

For example you can plug an external TC clock into the master TC clock and it will tell you how much of a time difference the two clocks have. Or you can feed the TC output of a camera and it will tel you if the internal clock of that camera has drifted or is offset. If you DON"T use a clock like this and just re-jam everything, you never get to know what the TC drift or offsets are and it's harder to troubleshoot when things aren't working.

Here's an example of a true "master clock"

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/contro ... sku=427929



Leon Benzakein wrote:The master time code device is then removed and the camera etc runs on its internal time code generator.


That is only ONE way you can set this up. What I was saying earlier, is that I generally don't trust ANY camera internal clock, so I leave a jammed TC external clock plugged into the camera FULL TIME so that it constantly re-jams the internal clock as long as it's connected.

Here's an example of a slave TC clock
http://ambient.de/en/product/nanolockit/



Leon Benzakein wrote:If the internal time code generator is unreliable this method is unreliable.


It very often is, even on cameras that are said to be reliable. Alexa are pretty good for example (Ambient make their internal TC clocks), but you can still go wrong when you change the frame rate and shoot slow motion and then go back, or if you power down the camera for too long on a battery change.

This is why the full time external dedicated TC clock is considered the more correct and safer practice, though few but the more resourced productions practice this.

Leon Benzakein wrote:My confusion comes from some of the posts on this topic which mention jam sync but I am not sure if the posters are talking about a hardwired time code feed/external T/C generator or temporary sync feed.


It's often because people talk of jamming a camera. Unspoken is whether they are jamming it and taking away the master TC clock or using an external slave TC clock to jam and taking that away, or if they are leaving an external TC clock connected full time to continuously re-jam the internal clock.

It's 2017 and you would think sync should be a no brainer but there is still so much confusion about acceptable TC practices and the best way to go.

JB
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Mike Flynn

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Re: A couple of Ursa Mini Pro questions

PostFri Nov 24, 2017 2:30 pm

Thanks for all of the great responses here!

OK 2 final questions here. I have heard that the audio quality is not great and also that the built-in ND causes a rainbow flare to occur.

Are these 2 issues still a problem?

Thanks SO much everyone!
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Uli Plank

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Re: A couple of Ursa Mini Pro questions

PostSat Nov 25, 2017 2:49 pm

The audio is quite good compared to many other cameras, but a professional audio recorder is still better.
The 'rainbow' problem has been solved already.
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Jamie LeJeune

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Re: A couple of Ursa Mini Pro questions

PostSat Nov 25, 2017 10:13 pm

Uli Plank wrote:The 'rainbow' problem has been solved already.


To take care of the "rainbow flare" you need to contact BMD support with your Ursa Mini Pro serial number and they will send you a flare mask along with instructions on how to install it.
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Mike Flynn

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Re: A couple of Ursa Mini Pro questions

PostMon Nov 27, 2017 12:18 pm

Thanks everyone! The new camera came with the rainbow filter installed.
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Leon Benzakein

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Re: A couple of Ursa Mini Pro questions

PostMon Nov 27, 2017 3:15 pm

Thank you JB.

A lot of good info.

John Brawley wrote:It's 2017 and you would think sync should be a no brainer but there is still so much confusion about acceptable TC practices and the best way to go.


I agree.
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rick.lang

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Re: A couple of Ursa Mini Pro questions

PostMon Nov 27, 2017 4:59 pm

Congratulations, Mike!


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Mike Flynn

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Re: A couple of Ursa Mini Pro questions

PostFri Dec 01, 2017 10:55 pm

Thanks, Rick. I am blown away by this camera. Amazing. Bravo BlackMagic Design!
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Re: A couple of Ursa Mini Pro questions

PostSat Dec 02, 2017 12:45 am

In my personal experience BM cameras that exhibit aux audio latency will also exhibit about a 3 to 25 frame LTC delay either to or from in a JAM to free-run setup. TC on screen not earlier than TC on cable or the other way around. So taking a stillof both TC displays is not the best way to know you're good . I've not seen drift if at constant power - but instead simply offset of random number of frames. The device itself is accurate to produce 41.x milisecond intervals at 24fps and smaller fractions and even smaller ms differences for integration time. I guess the UMP 4.6k the firmware updates fix the offset, not the actual clock accuracy. Re-jamming the camera frequently is done on every set I've seen. However wearing external TC boxes on cameras I've not seen that often.
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Mike Flynn

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Re: A couple of Ursa Mini Pro questions

PostSat Dec 02, 2017 1:48 pm

I noticed the firmware in the camera was 4.5 and the current one is 4.7.1. So I applied the update and it said the camera was out of date and needed an update. So I performed the update and when it was done it said I have version 4.5...

Is that correct? Seemed odd...

TIA!

-M
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rick.lang

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Re: A couple of Ursa Mini Pro questions

PostSat Dec 02, 2017 6:04 pm

Mike, on the BMD Support webpage, you can bring up the Readme if any update and see if it applies to your URSA Mini Pro. You’ll have the same Readme in your Applications folder. If you also have the BM Viewfinder, you can plug in the BMVF after you have finished with the camera update to see if the BMVF is up-to-date as well.


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Re: A couple of Ursa Mini Pro questions

PostSat Dec 02, 2017 7:00 pm

Yes, not all firmware updates have changes for all cameras. FW 4.7 (4.7.1) are for the Micro camera’s only, adding SBus control changes on both Micros, and Gain (ISO) changes on the Micro Studio Camera. Nothing here for the Ursa. Mini cameras.
Cheers
Last edited by Denny Smith on Sun Dec 03, 2017 6:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Mike Flynn

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Re: A couple of Ursa Mini Pro questions

PostSun Dec 03, 2017 1:10 pm

Thanks Gents. I have done a ton of firmware updates on the old cameras. What surprised me here, I guess, is that normally if the camera does not need an update the software just says its up to date and does not do the update.

In this instance it performed a full update and left it at the original firmware version.

Having a blast with this camera :)

I found 1 bug tho - Sometimes if you record RAW and have the option to stop recording on a dropped frame turned off and it drops a frame, a few times now I have not been able to shut off the recording. In fact when the frame drops it actually stops recording but indicates to the user that it is still recording. Had to shut off the camera to stop it.
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Robert Niessner

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Re: A couple of Ursa Mini Pro questions

PostSun Dec 03, 2017 4:12 pm

Mike, what is your recording media?
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Re: A couple of Ursa Mini Pro questions

PostSun Dec 03, 2017 4:36 pm

Some slow SD cards that I expect to drop frames with that I am using until the SSD adapter arrives :)

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