URSA Mini 4.6K and Micro Cinema Camera now shipping

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Grant Petty

Blackmagic Design

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URSA Mini 4.6K and Micro Cinema Camera now shipping

PostThu Mar 17, 2016 12:42 pm

Hi:

I wanted to update everyone on some news about the URSA Mini 4.6K and Micro Cinema Cameras. Both of these cameras are now shipping and we are working hard to fill back orders for them.

I have done an update video, if you would like to watch this, it’s posted on our web site at https://www.blackmagicdesign.com/support/video/93298de7281044cf990b1f8783ef7827

We have really appreciated everyone’s patience in waiting for these cameras and apologize for the delay. It took much longer than we had thought to get the cameras to where we needed them to be, but I am incredibly proud to bring 15 stop, Super 35 true digital film cameras to everyone.

Over the past several months we have been working with beta testers across the world, and the images they are getting out of the cameras are just amazing. They have been used on feature films, global TV shows, concert footage. You name it.

However the big reason for the delay is the problems we were having with the global shutter feature in both of these cameras. The problems are different between the models and on the Micro Cinema Camera we have been seeing random bad pixels when in global shutter mode. On the URSA Mini 4.6K we have been seeing problems with sensor calibration when using global shutter.

Our engineers have been killing themselves working on this for months, but the performance is just not where it needs to be for us to feel comfortable shipping with global shutter, and so we have had to remove the global shutter feature from both these cameras to allow them to ship.

Obviously this is very upsetting for us, as we really wanted to produce high dynamic range cameras that also had a global shutter for an all in one design. The reality is that this is just one feature on cameras that are ready right now to shoot with and get incredible results. So we have made the decision to ship now.

But this camera is truly amazing and the images are just so filmic. Anyone can throw a lot of pixels behind a lens, but what we wanted to create is true digital film.

The 15 stops of wide dynamic range and high frame rate capabilities of rolling shutter are where the camera really shines and is already producing amazing results. It’s important to know that this change has done nothing to limit the high end capability of this camera and the work its been doing has been amazing.

The testers have understood that wide latitude is the most important feature and the new color science we have in the 4.6K model has been really impressing them. We have added some of these amazing projects to a new gallery page on the URSA Mini web site and you can go here to view their work.
https://www.blackmagicdesign.com/products/blackmagicursamini/gallery.

Another thing we wanted to do was shoot a short film ourselves to get a feel for what the camera could do first hand. We got a bunch of our own staff together and did this shoot under all kinds of difficult shooting conditions to see how the camera would perform. It has been a lot of fun to do and you can also go to our web site and view this film. We also shot a “making of” video so you can see some of the styles of shooting we used to do the film.

We shot everything in RAW and then had the final result edited and color graded on DaVinci Resolve. You can see the short film at the link below as well as the making of video. You can also download these files in Ultra HD resolution so you can see the detail in the image.

We have also selected 3 shots from the short film that you can download and color grade yourself. They are RAW direct from the camera unaltered. This means you can see what the camera can do and experiment with different styles of color grade to get a creative feel for the wide latitude and color science of the camera.

https://www.blackmagicdesign.com/products/blackmagicursamini

It’s important to download and use the latest DaVinci Resolve to view these shots as then you will see the images looking the best and with all the color needed to recover the dynamic range. You can just open the images in any software that can read DNG's but there may be some chroma clipping, as some software is not yet able to utilize the full latitude and color science of the files.

So what does this mean for the 2 types of image sensor in URSA Mini models?

We originally intended for the URSA Mini 4K to be the entry level model and the URSA Mini 4.6K would be the higher end model with more features. But now with this change, the cameras are really now quite different.

Now they are really two different types of cameras and you can choose URSA Mini 4K if you want global shutter and URSA Mini 4.6K if you need wide dynamic range for shooting feature films and high end television programming.

The URSA Mini 4K model is now our global shutter model and it can do global shutter in 4K up to 60 frames per second. This model is perfect for fast action sports type shooting.

Of course if you have a back order and don't like this feature change then we understand and fully support you if you want to alter your order with your reseller.

We are speaking with our distributors worldwide and you should reach out to your resellers to find out when they will get their cameras. We are building and shipping cameras as fast as we can get sensors into our factory so we can fill back orders.

We also asked our beta testers what their thoughts of the URSA Mini 4.6K cameras were, as we wanted to get a feel for what they thought the cameras were like to use. I have included some of their quotes below and I think its been very nice to read their comments and get a true feel for the cameras ability and ergonomics.

When we work on products such as cameras, we can get so caught up in the technology side of things, we get a little distracted from using them creatively. That’s why going out and doing the test shoot was so good for us to do. But it’s also why getting some of this feedback from customers has also been great and really humbling.

I hope this update has been useful and once again, we are sorry to have to make this change to the camera specifications, however they are amazing cameras and just mind blowing. Every time I use the one I have I am so excited to have it. I can’t wait to see the work everyone can do with the cameras.

Regards,

Grant Petty
Blackmagic Design

USA URSA Mini 4.6K Beta Testers

Jody Eldred,
Emmy award winning DP/cameraman and Director, whose credits include JAG, NCIS, NCIS: Los Angeles, Good Morning America, National Geographic and more: “Coming from working with camera systems that cost five times as much, I am amazed at the capabilities of this camera. The claim of 15 stops dynamic range is a reality, and my RAW footage of extremely high-contrast images graded in Resolve 12 is clear testimony to that. Very clean blacks too. I’m pleasantly surprised, as was my colorist. I really think Blackmagic has captured some lighting in a bottle with the 4.6K URSA Mini.”

Affonso Beato, ASC, ABC
“After 50 years as a working cinematographer with more than 50 feature films lensed, most of them on film, I have experienced for the first time a camera/sensor that can deliver 15 stops of dynamic range in RAW files with the URSA Mini 4.6K. For me, this is the best price/performance cinema camera on the market right now.”

Marco Solorio, owner of OneRiver Media,
“I think one of the biggest impressions to me is that from a cinematic standpoint, the URSA Mini’s 4.6K sensor ranks among the easiest, most flexible, and most forgiving sensors I’ve ever shot with at any price-point, due to it’s wide dynamic range, deep color science, and high-detail resolution. I feel as though the footage I bring into the computer to work with doesn’t require as much finessing to get the image dialed in.

This includes both RAW and ProRes files. And even if you catch yourself under/over-exposed, there’s a ton of latitude to bring the image back where you need to. Likewise, the sensor is very forgiving because of its latitude. As I’ve said for many months now: this sensor is the real deal. It’s just so easy to work with and the latitude and detail is insane. To me, it’s not just about being a great sensor for a base camera starting at only $5k, it’s really about being a great sensor at any price. I think the beauty of this sensor is that the overall range is so incredibly smooth that you don’t really see how powerful it’s doing the job. The highlight roll off is so smooth that you easily miss it if you’re not looking for it.”

Bryan Grill, VFX Supervisor at Scanline VFX,
Credits include Captain America, The Winter Soldier, Iron Man 3, San Andreas and Hereafter. "Since we didn’t have a blue or green screen, we tried to find a place where most of the people could be shot over a hopefully blue sky. Unfortunately, we ended up with an overcast day so we knew a lot of rotoscope would be involved. Luckily, there was plenty of range in the RAW file we got from the camera, so with a little manipulation we were able to achieve the desired look. The URSA Mini 4.6K really helped in the post process. We were able to easily bring and convert the RAW images to linear images and have them work in our pipeline. The URSA Mini 4.6K had everything we needed to capture the elements needed for the shot. It was very easy to see how valuable this camera can be for filmmakers everywhere.”

Europe URSA Mini 4.6K Beta Testers

Ben Thornley, Sitcom Soldiers Ltd.,
"The thing that's impressed me is how it has not only matched, but also surpassed the quality and dynamic range offered by more expensive cameras. I've not seen a sensor capable of delivering this level of quality, and which offers 15 stops of dynamic range, for this price point. The colorists we’ve used on recent shoots have been blown away by just how much latitude was available during the grade. The image quality has, quite literally, left them watering at the mouth."

James Tonkin, Hangman Studios,
"The combination of ergonomics and image is making the 4.6K stand out amongst the cameras we’re touring with. Either on the shoulder with the EVF or handheld using the screen, I’ve found the camera design is helping me get images quickly and easily even going from bright midday sunshine to darkly lit backstage areas. We keep it stripped down to the bare essentials and it’s light but flexible. Even after a month of use I’m still exploring what is possible from the sensor, experimenting with different LUTs and pulling different things from the the image within the grade. On tour we shoot in ProRes 4K UHD and the benefit in ProRes codecs directly into the edit clearly helps with our crazy edit schedules. It also means we can edit and grade on older Macbook Pro laptops on planes, buses, cars or where ever we might be without having to set up our MacPro suite.

The EVF is so well designed, with no horizontal movement so it’s always aligned correctly to the camera and also incredibly small and sturdy which is essential given how our camera is constantly being transported on the road. There’s no room for fragile gear when we tour. Also seeing a beautiful image from the EVF or 1080p screen is immensely rewarding when you’re filming and inspires you to film more, even when we film for at least 6-8 hours everyday for 2 months constantly! Being re-inspired by using new cameras and equipment is important as often the formula or content of what we're capturing is the same but it’s down to us to find new ways to visualize it differently and with a new angle every time. Being inspired by the equipment is an amazing thing."

Asia URSA Mini 4.6K Beta Testers

Hwang, Sung Woon, CEO & DP at ‘Hwang Pro’ production,
His crew used URSA Mini 4.6K to film models enjoying their time at a coffee shop: "In a scene where it required to capture delicate looks of the models and background, the wide dynamic range and high quality sensor of the URSA Mini 4.6K provided more than enough details in a RAW file for post works that eventually helped me to create desired tones and contrast in the image. In addition, the high resolution OLED display viewfinder was so helpful adjusting focus in any kind of situation. Unquestionably, shooting with the URSA Mini 4.6K was such gratifying experience for me, and I'm sure other DPs out there would feel the same."

DP “Pe Pia” Teerawat Rujenatham,
Credits include Tom Yum Koong 3D: “There is no BEST camera in this world, but there is a PERFECT camera that is right for your work. After using the USRA Mini 4.6K, its gorgeous wide Dynamic Range surprised me. I have been using the Blackmagic Cinema Camera, and the main reason for this is the quality and value that the user can get from Blackmagic cameras are much more than its the price. I am a DP that is very familiar with handheld cameras, and the design of the USRA Mini body and weight is just perfect for balancing on the shoulder without any additional accessory.”

DP “Pe Bright” Thanut Sripantawanusorn,
“The URSA Mini 4.6K’s size and weight are just right, not too small nor too light, and the camera menu is very easy to use and understand. More than that, the camera provides a very wide dynamic range and natural, beautiful skin tones. In addition, the Blackmagic Viewfinder is perfectly comfortable, and the preview monitor is a perfect size with great sharp quality.”

Japan URSA Mini 4.6K Beta Testers

DP Takashi Chiba,
"It’s unbelievable how powerful URSA Mini 4.6k is, especially considering its small body. The RAW image shot with URSA Mini 4.6K is very natural yet allows us to see a wide 15 stops of dynamic range. Its skin tones are very smooth and delicate and makes me feel as if we we are looking at silk fabrics. You can easily shoot rich video without getting noise even in the darkest situation you could think of. Moreover, this camera is very affordable yet performs amazingly along with other BMD products. In this chaotic era, where digital cameras are everywhere, I am sure that URSA Mini 4.6K will stand out as a game changer."

DP Kei Takahashi,
”The URSA Mini 4.6K has the elements needed in almost any situation from shooting Indie films to blockbuster movies. It enables us find the locations for film shooting a lot easier than it used to be, along with making it easier to manage all the meta data. Even more, the film look that is shot with Blackmagic Design products is astonishing and has wider range compared to other company’s log concepts. By using DaVinci Resolve Studio included in the same package, you will be easily able to make the look exactly what you or director wants.”

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