Things I'd like to see in the next URSA Mini Pro

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ebinrock2

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Things I'd like to see in the next URSA Mini Pro

PostWed May 16, 2018 7:24 pm

First, great job on the current URSA Mini Pro! I love the fact that a company has finally made a single camera that can be used for film or film-type industrial work and have that look, OR use it for run-and-gun broadcast-type situations (or event shooting comes to mind) simply by attaching a B4 mount. However, as with all cameras, none are flawless, and the current URSA Mini Pro is no exception. Here's all what I'd like to see in the next URSA Mini Pro ("URSA Mini Pro Mark II"?):

* The lighter weight (than typical shoulder-mount cameras) of a little over 5 pounds is good; however, could you try to get that down to around 2-3 pounds, maybe like the Canon C series cameras? If one outfits the Mini Pro with the shoulder kit, lens (especially a pro/broadcast TV servo zoom lens + B4 mount), Anton Bauer battery, and even a basic set of rods and matte box, we're starting to get into similar weight to a traditional broadcast camera. I'd like to see a camera whose weight approaches what JVC has done (e.g., with their GY-HM850U and similar models) or what Sony has done with their PMW-300K1 - very lightweight shoulder cameras but lacking the large sensor that the URSA Mini Pro has. I don't think the camera would necessarily become too front-heavy, as long as Anton Bauer keeps making those large batteries to go on the back (coupled with a wireless mic receiver, etc.). Now if only the manufacturers of lenses, matte boxes, batteries, and wireless mic receivers could reduce their weights!

* Stud on the top of the camera body where the focal plane is, to be able to easily use a cinematographer's tape measure.

* The optional mic mount accessory should mount to the right side of the field viewfinder, not to the top handle. We need space for our hand to grab the handle!

* Speaking of the top handle, it should be longer at the top, even if it has less length at the bottom to mount to the camera body - kind of like those handles on kettle balls or some tea kettles. The logic behind that is so that the operator has ample room to grab onto the camera handle yet still have room for mounting holes at the front and back ends of the handle, leaving the middle of the handle solid for the operator's hand to carry. (Logically, can you carry a camera at all using a handle that could potentially have all kinds of things mounted to EVERY part of the handle anyway, including the part the operator has to carry? Therefore, there should be some part of the handle that's solely dedicated for the operator's hand at all times.)

* All the lens mounts should have a simple quick release mechanism or twist-lock system. No tiny screws to lose! I should be able to go from a B4 lens to Canon EF mount in seconds with no fuss.

* Some have complained that the flip-out LCD covers some critical controls on the body that are in front of the LCD. Put the LCD at the *very most forward part* of the left side of the body and keep all other buttons below and to the back of the LCD on the left side of the body. Whatever is on the backside of the LCD video display (i.e., the timecode and other readouts) should absolutely, completely be duplicated in the OSD of the video display (which I think already is).

* Some have also complained that the optional field viewfinder isn't fully adjustable; it should be made fully adjustable like that of a traditional full-size ENG shoulder camcorder - front-to-back and side-to-side.

* Also, that field viewfinder should have a shoe mount in the front of it for an on-camera light. The shoe mount should be removable, revealing a 1/4"-20 or 3/8"-16 threaded hole as an alternative mount.

* Likewise, toward the back of the camera, there should be a shoe mount as well, for studio viewfinders, removable to reveal a 1/4"-20 or 3/8"-16 threaded hole as an alternative mount.

* You could do the above by moving those top XLR inputs *to the rear of the camera* where they belong - at least where they've belonged for years with traditional ENG shoulder-mount cameras. That brings me to my next point. I don't like anything you have to deal with operationally to be on the top of the camera. You might have the camera mounted fairly high for a high-angle shot - or even if you don't, even if you have the camera mounted eye-level or slightly higher, it's still hard to see what you're doing if you're having to do something with the top of the camera, like in this case, plugging in mics. The rear of the camera is, IMO, THE most convenient place of all to plug in mics; why have so many camera manufacturers of late put the XLR inputs on the side, or in your case, on the top, of the camera?

* For the shoulder mount kit, I noticed in various online demo videos that only the front of the shoulder pad/baseplate attaches to the tripod's VCT plate, but not the back. To the rear of the shoulder pad there is nothing else. Usually on traditional ENG cameras, in addition to the V-lock plate on the front, there is also a little "keyhole" hook on the back that grabs onto a small stud on the back of the VCT plate when latching on/off the camera. This helps increase stability overall. What about this - in addition to the V-lock on the front of your shoulder pad/baseplate, you have a short extended section in the back with the keyhole hook to mount fully onto a standard VCT plate (or, if a standard length VCT plate is too long for your shoulder pad/baseplate, then make your own custom VCT plate like Canon did with their TA-100). Then, have a couple of extra 15mm rod holes in the back of the baseplate for potential additional gear!

I think that's about all I can think of right now, except to suggest maybe a form on your website specifically for product development suggestions (with a dropdown that says something like "Which product would you like to see improvements on?" - that dropdown could also include an "Other/New Product Idea" choice if there's something needed in the pro film/video market that's not being addressed at all). Or instead of a dropdown, there could be checkboxes next to each product, and as soon as you check a box, a suggestion text box for that product appears directly below that item, with a header confirming "Suggestions for URSA Mini Pro" or "Suggestions for DaVinci Resolve", or what-have-you. (That way, you could submit suggestions for multiple products at the same time.)
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Tristan Pemberton

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Re: Things I'd like to see in the next URSA Mini Pro

PostThu May 17, 2018 6:26 am

Have you actually used one of these cameras yet?
ebinrock2 wrote:* Some have also complained that the optional field viewfinder isn't fully adjustable; it should be made fully adjustable like that of a traditional full-size ENG shoulder camcorder - front-to-back and side-to-side.

Umm, it has that adjustment already. More than a Sony 537, 637 and DXC-30, the last ENG cameras I used extensively.
ebinrock2 wrote:* Also, that field viewfinder should have a shoe mount in the front of it for an on-camera light. The shoe mount should be removable, revealing a 1/4"-20 or 3/8"-16 threaded hole as an alternative mount.

It already has a dedicated 1/4" mount. I use a $6 cold shoe mount from SmallRig to attached a camera light amongst other devices. (http://www.smallrig.com/smallrig-cold-shoe-1241.html)
ebinrock2 wrote:* For the shoulder mount kit, I noticed in various online demo videos that only the front of the shoulder pad/baseplate attaches to the tripod's VCT plate, but not the back.

Simply not true. It uses the standard two-points of contact like all VCT-14 systems.

Some of you comments may be useful, but I'd suggest you go out and use a camera extensively before providing a list of suggested improvements.
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ebinrock2

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Re: Things I'd like to see in the next URSA Mini Pro

PostThu May 17, 2018 1:13 pm

Tristan Pemberton wrote:Have you actually used one of these cameras yet?

No, and your point is valid - I intend to put my hands on this camera at the next pro video trade show in my state (I didn't make it to NAB) - but the things I was addressing were based on what various videos have clearly shown and what verified owners/users have reviewed on the website of one of the largest pro video dealers. Details below.

ebinrock2 wrote:* Some have also complained that the optional field viewfinder isn't fully adjustable; it should be made fully adjustable like that of a traditional full-size ENG shoulder camcorder - front-to-back and side-to-side.

Umm, it has that adjustment already. More than a Sony 537, 637 and DXC-30, the last ENG cameras I used extensively.

This was based on what more than one reviewer said on a prominent pro video dealer's site, just giving them the benefit of the doubt.

ebinrock2 wrote:* Also, that field viewfinder should have a shoe mount in the front of it for an on-camera light. The shoe mount should be removable, revealing a 1/4"-20 or 3/8"-16 threaded hole as an alternative mount.

It already has a dedicated 1/4" mount. I use a $6 cold shoe mount from SmallRig to attached a camera light amongst other devices.

Granted, I see that in the photos, but it would be nice instead to have an actual shoe mount (doesn't have to be a hot shoe, cold shoe is fine since most of these lights run off their own batteries anyway). Keeps you from having to spin something on and off rather than just slide and tighten - much quicker and easier to orient an accessory IMO. Same with a monitor mounted in the back. Not only that but, correct me if I'm wrong, it looks like the front mount on the viewfinder is slammed right up against the top handle that comes with the shoulder kit. Just judging from photos, it doesn't look like there's a whole lot of breathing room at all for mounting an accessory to the viewfinder.

ebinrock2 wrote:* For the shoulder mount kit, I noticed in various online demo videos that only the front of the shoulder pad/baseplate attaches to the tripod's VCT plate, but not the back.

Simply not true. It uses the standard two-points of contact like all VCT-14 systems.

Again, I'm willing to admit I'm wrong about that, but I could have sworn I saw a demo video showing someone mounting the camera to a VCT plate on a tripod and I could clearly see there was nothing beyond the shoulder pad, and only the front part mounted anywhere. Like I said, I'll take a look at the camera at the next trade show (I'm dying to). Otherwise, I think my other points are valid. Oh, and one other one - maybe there ought to be one or two other lesser codecs (but common like AVCHD/MP4) just in case the user has a smaller budget and doesn't have the edit hardware to support data/bandwidth-eating Apple ProRes (I've had even ProRes LT start to choke on the systems we use at my employer, and our systems aren't top-of-the-line, but they're not shabby either). Especially since Blackmagic is touting this camera as kind of all-purpose, from film-level projects to standard broadcast and pro video work (particularly since they offer a B4 lens mount to use it as a standard TV camera).

Some of you comments may be useful, but I'd suggest you go out and use a camera extensively before providing a list of suggested improvements.
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rick.lang

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Re: Things I'd like to see in the next URSA Mini Pro

PostFri May 18, 2018 12:03 am

Well the BMD viewfinder is adjustable with movement front to back and can use the left or right eye by extending it. It doesn’t have much movement in terms of up and down although the eyepiece does rotate so you can use it on your shoulder or looking down using a low tripod. With the Wooden Camera mod, it is much more flexible in placement.


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Tristan Pemberton

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Re: Things I'd like to see in the next URSA Mini Pro

PostFri May 18, 2018 2:11 am

ebinrock2 wrote:Again, I'm willing to admit I'm wrong about that, but I could have sworn I saw a demo video showing someone mounting the camera to a VCT plate on a tripod and I could clearly see there was nothing beyond the shoulder pad, and only the front part mounted anywhere. Like I said, I'll take a look at the camera at the next trade show (I'm dying to).

I'll save you the time. As an ACTUAL owner of the camera, I'll repeat, it's got two points of contact.
ebinrock2 wrote:Oh, and one other one - maybe there ought to be one or two other lesser codecs (but common like AVCHD/MP4) just in case the user has a smaller budget and doesn't have the edit hardware to support data/bandwidth-eating Apple ProRes (I've had even ProRes LT start to choke on the systems we use at my employer, and our systems aren't top-of-the-line, but they're not shabby either).

You do realise that H.264 codecs (long GOP) are far more resource intensive (GPU & CPU) than ProRes (intraframe) codecs in post production? Not to mention 8 bit.
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Uli Plank

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Re: Things I'd like to see in the next URSA Mini Pro

PostFri May 18, 2018 2:19 am

Well, not necessarily 8 bit, but definitely worse for editing and grading.
Storage is definitely cheaper these days than computing power. Plus, if you need to save on storage for the camera, there's the SSD recorder.
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Re: Things I'd like to see in the next URSA Mini Pro

PostFri May 18, 2018 4:50 am

The guy (ebinrock2) is either a troll, or very miss-informed, relying on second or third party information that is obviously inaccurate.
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Robert Niessner

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Re: Things I'd like to see in the next URSA Mini Pro

PostFri May 18, 2018 3:14 pm

Denny, I'm sure Dale Cornibe isn't a troll. He has just leaned too heavy onto Youtuber reviews.

Dale, if you need first hand information about the UMP you will get it here and less with some of those Youtubers who are there more for clicks and less for real work with the camera (there are exceptions of course).
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Re: Things I'd like to see in the next URSA Mini Pro

PostFri May 18, 2018 4:06 pm

Robert, you are probably right, he just came across to me as trollish by posting a list of improvements he thinks is needed based on someone else’s opinion and not his own experience with the camera.

Sorry Dale for the quick judgement, but do try to rent or borrow the Ursa Mini Pro and get a feel for how the Camera actually works. Then post what you feel is needed based on your experience, not the armchair youtubers. ;)
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Tristan Pemberton

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Re: Things I'd like to see in the next URSA Mini Pro

PostFri May 18, 2018 9:25 pm

Denny Smith wrote: Then post what you feel is needed based on your experience, not the armchair youtubers.

Well said Denny. This is exactly how misinformation spreads in the first place.
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Denny Smith

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Re: Things I'd like to see in the next URSA Mini Pro

PostSat May 19, 2018 4:08 am

Thanks Tristan, this is a lesson I learned early on. We all tend to pass on information we read or hear elsewhere, that may or may not always be accurate.
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Re: Things I'd like to see in the next URSA Mini Pro

PostSat May 19, 2018 7:43 am

Inbuild place to attach a External USB-C SSD like Samsung T5.

These are small fast and durable and easy to attach directly to computer via USB-C or USB 3.0 Cable. The T5 provides above 450 Mb/s constant write and read speeds, and soon ve will have faster similar products.

I just bought a 500 Gb Samsung 5T 170 euros.
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Re: Things I'd like to see in the next URSA Mini Pro

PostSat May 19, 2018 8:12 am

If the new carbon fiber composite of the Pocket 4K proves to be strong, maybe they can reduce the weight a little bit by replacing some panels with the new material.

Only thing I want to see is maybe 4K 120fps.
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Tristan Pemberton

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Re: Things I'd like to see in the next URSA Mini Pro

PostSat May 19, 2018 10:22 pm

Uli Plank wrote:Well, not necessarily 8 bit...

You are right of course Uli, but cameras that shoot H264 in 10 bit are very few.
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Re: Things I'd like to see in the next URSA Mini Pro

PostSun May 20, 2018 1:26 am

When there are a few, others have to follow with the next generation. Competition is fierce and people are staring at numbers, even if they never grade their stuff.

I'm afraid, though, that manufacturers won't increase the data rate by the same amount, just like most didn't do it in the right proportion for 4K.
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Re: Things I'd like to see in the next URSA Mini Pro

PostSun May 20, 2018 5:03 am

What I want in the next gen camera:

Reduce size/weight as much as possible without sacrificing image or features. (Possibly use some of the new carbon fiber materials?)

4K 120fps and slightly faster sensor readout overall. Also 1080p 120fps full sensor.

Maybe source different ND filters. They are still usable, but they have slightly more IR pollution than comparable Firecrest, Nisi, Lee fitlers, etc. Maybe an maybe ND 2.4 would also be nice.

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