Following on from our previous post, in our move to 4K HDR we've looked at various options and finally decided that the Blackmagic Design URSA Mini Pro covers all bases for us.
When everything had arrived; we took a snap of what we called "Christmas 2.0".
It's so easy for us to stick with Blackmagic Design as we're well used to their cameras, studio hardware and software and for the price point; it's really hard to find anything better.
The primary use of our cameras is to provide beautiful, cinematic images so we need great dynamic range and a lovely sensor.
The new Super 35mm 4.6K sensor is a wonderful thing, with 15 stops of dynamic range it's fantastic and can deliver some truly stunning images.
The URSA Viewfinder is incredibly sharp making focus and composition much easier.
The additional URSA Mini Pro Nikon F Mount that we've added to the camera allows us to use the same Nikon lenses on all cameras that we use which makes matching compositions much easier.
Run and gun
One thing that's blocked a few productions we've had in mind has been the inability to run and gun with our camera gear. Fully manual lenses and the requirement for ND filters means that everything we do takes time.
This is fine when you're shooting a carefully planned scene but for things like documentary it's pretty much impossible.
The URSA Mini Pro includes tons of features that make this type of shooting a breeze, built-in ND filters and a multitude of ergonomic manual controls means that we're able to capture those critical moments in perfect clarity.
The Shoulder Mount Kit along with the URSA Viewfinder make the camera a joy to use on the shoulder which also greatly simplifies this type of filmmaking.
We've added a nice, wooden grip handle from Smallrig on the left-side to allow for easier maneuvering and tighter control where required; sitting below the follow focus when using Nikon glass is also pretty tidy.
We've just ordered the URSA Mini Mic Mount as this will give us more options with our Rode and Sennheiser shotgun microphones.
Canon EF lens
Having the Nikon mount is excellent for us as we've always used Nikon glass (and chosen our cameras accordingly) due to having a lot of it already, but the fact that Nikon doesn't allow 3rd party vendors the use of the electronics we're always stuck with manual focus and aperture which is fine for cinematography but can be awkward for run & gun shooting.
As the URSA Mini Pro comes with a Canon EF mount as standard we thought that fitting a nifty fifty EF lens would be good to see what a difference it makes having the extra controls availble.
We chose to give the Yongnuo EF YN 50mm F/1.8 a go as it gets great reviews and at £35 brand new, it's certanly worth a try.
URSA Mini SSD Recorder
The URSA Mini 4K relied on CFAST Cards; which whilst being an excellent choice for high resolution recording have the downside of being extremely expensive compared to other digital media.
The Ursa Mini Pro has the option of the URSA Mini SSD Recorder which we've bought to immediately fit into our existing workflow with the Blackmagic Design Multidock 2 and we're happy to find that our existing SSD media is capable of recording 4.6K RAW without issue.
We're yet to put the URSA Mini Pro 4.6K through its paces but the quick tests we've performed with the camera have been hugely fullfilling.
The ergonomics are seriously impressive; coming from the older Cinema Camera 2.5K the differences are poles apart.
We've acquired a V-Lock QR plate for our tripod so the shoulder kit can stay on the camera and we can drop it straight on when we need to.
What about the Cinema Camera 2.5K?
We're keeping hold of the trusty old BMCC as it creates absolutely beautiful images and the 2.5K footage upscales to 4K very well so we may or may not use it alongside the URSA Mini Pro and the Micro Studio Camera 4K at times, depending on the production and requirements.