November 25, 2015

We've Finally Got Some Brand New Blackmagic URSA Mini 4.6K Footage

Kholi New Blackmagic URSA Mini 4.6K Footage
We might be one step closer to a shipping Blackmagic URSA Mini 4.6K, as a bunch of brand new footage has been uploaded from a number of different shooters.

There are a bit more URSA Mini 4Ks in the wild, but since that version uses the same sensor found in the Blackmagic 4K and original URSA, footage is essentially identical. With this new 4.6K camera, there is a completely new sensor that was supposedly designed by Blackmagic, and not a sensor originally designed for scientific or industrial purposes (as their other sensors have been). At NAB 2015, there was a great clip shown from Hook who works at Blackmagic, which you can check out here. It's worth keeping in mind that all of that original footage was shot with a 1/4 Hollywood Blackmagic filter, which is likely what's blooming the highlights.

Here's what Hook said recently:

The log curve for this sensor is flatter than any of our previous cameras, because of the extra dynamic range. But we've tried to make it easier to grade than previously at the same time.

The constant thread in most of the comments from those who've worked with the footage is that it's the nicest overall image from any of the BM cameras so far. That shouldn't really come as a surprise, but some have also said that this is more of a successor to the original BMCC, as that camera arguably had a nicer image overall to go along with some of its quirks.

None of the shooters here seem to be using the global shutter mode, which gives you no rolling shutter at the expense of dynamic range. For most uses, rolling shutter looks to be improved enough that the global shutter mode won't be necessary for the majority of situations. It's hard to tell how much dynamic range is in the shots just from these samples, but it certainly doesn't look any worse than anything else Blackmagic has put out there. 

First up, here is some brand new stuff from , with the specs of this video:

1/3rd of the video is ProRes HQ 1080 and the rest is UHD HQ. The couple slow motion shots are 1080 HQ 120fps windowed mode. There is no 4.6K Raw in this video, it's all ProRes. I shot everything with the "Full" sensor read out, only slow motion shots were windowed. None of the footage was shot with Global Shutter, as the mode has yet to be employed. I used inexpensive vintage glass: Zeiss Contax & Canon FDs. Most everything was shot at 800 iso, with a few shots @1600. Hoya NDs were used for most of the daylight shots. Thanks for watching, and much better footage is soon to come!

And here are some of Roman's thoughts on the camera:

The new Film log is something else. Gone are the days of needing a LUT just to "correct" your footage in order to get it where it needs to be. There's enough contrast / saturation built into the log to get your images looking right in just 1 or 2 nodes. But there's a ton of flexibility. I'm able to dig a little deeper into the shadows, reach a little higher in the highlights and bend the image like I've never really been able to before.

Dynamic range is pretty significant and feels like no less than 2 full strong stops over the 2.5K. It's a little jarring to see so much information in both the shadows and highlights at the same time. It kind of made me want to crush some of the shadows and create "hard stops" to what we can see, because otherwise it just keeps going... 

IR / Infrared. I don't think I'm really noticing any, or at least nothing that made me want to use the IR cut filter; none of the footage here had the IR Cut. 

Noise / Low light: I have 2 night shots (the last 2 night ones in the video) which were at 1600 ISO. I decided not to use neat video or reduce the noise so you could see what that looks like. At 800 though, it's amazing and so contained it becomes a HUGE sigh of relief knowing I can go under by 1-2 stops, bring it up and see about as much noise as the 2.5K exposed properly @800. When exposed properly, it goes from good to perfect. Like... the noise is so well handled that adding in extra grain might be attractive for some (but it sure doesn't need it). In the video, there's quite a number of underexposed shots that I brought up 1-2.5 stops without doing anything to reduce noise and it was still looking solid. 

Aliasing / Moire: If there is any, I haven't seen it anywhere. 

And here's some from Kholi, who has been working with Blackmagic since the beginning, and has been shooting quite a bit with the Blackmagic URSA Mini 4.6K. Though he mentioned that he had some trouble in the beginning, eventually the ProRes became as easy, if not easier to grade than some stuff he's graded with ALEXA (not to say the quality is the same, just that it was easier):

Tom Majerski also shot a bunch of new stuff. Here are the specs for the video:

I shot in 1080p because at the time I just needed as much footage as possible to practice and get used to the camera with. I had x1 128GB Cfast card with me and wanted to be able to store as much as possible. The downscale is quite good from the full 4.6k sensor image. 

You reminded me to mention - every single shot on that video is in Rolling shutter mode - it was all on the shoulder shooting at 35mm - so it should give you guys an idea of how minimal the RS effect is.

Here's some of what he said:

Moire - its better in that the higher resolution makes it less likely to occur - not impossible of course, but just how the 4k cam suffered less than the 2.5k cam - this time its another step better. I think that shooting a downscaled resolution (ie: 1080p in camera) will make it appear more than if you shot at full res and downscaled in in post.

IR pollution - I havent put my filter on the camera yet - and I have not yet seen any evidence of it. I would guess that it will be there under ND filtration, but considering the range of the camera and how dull the light is where I live at the moment - I have not yet needed to use any ND's. It is on my to-do list. 

Native white balance - Here is something which I don't think has been said yet- and it is actually a big plus for me, so I will highlight it in bold for those skim reading: 

tungsten lit shots look a lot better than before on this camera. It previously took a bit more work in the grade to stop tungsten shots looking a bit monochromatic (on the cinema/pocket cam). I shoot a lot in a studio lit mostly with Arri Tungsten Halogen lighting, and I hate gelling my lights - so this is a big plus point. On the cinema cam, I pushed for people to shoot at 4500k and then fix the wb in post for better results - this time I dont think its necessary. 

I would guess the native WB is the same as before, probably about 5600k? 

Native ISO - 800. And this time 800 is even cleaner than before. So you get the full range of the camera with a cleaner image (where previously you might want to shoot at say 400 instead)

Monitor - the new monitor is bright and much higher resolution. The screen is still reflective but perhaps not as bad as before. I find that peaking is less important now because of how sharp the new flip out screen is. Having said all this - I do prefer to use the EVF - as its OLED, the colour is amazing - blacks perfect and it is also very very sharp and clear.

And another from Tom:

Shot in ProRes 422 again, a few shots in UHD, mostly in 1080p. Some Crop sensor mode 120fps, some full sensor 60fps. 

In some of the running shots there is some clipping here and there - but not much. Again - all Rolling shutter here. 

Expect to see a lot more footage in the coming days. This may or may not mean shipping before the new year, but we can hope. For more on all of these comments, check out the BMCuser post here.      

Your Comment

100 Comments

Hi, Tom Majerski here - some of my comments and work have been featured above. I will try to answer any questions you guys have about the 4.6k camera.
Fire away!

November 25, 2015 at 3:09PM, Edited November 25, 3:09PM

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Tom Majerski
Video Producer & Filmmaker
302

What's the size of files?

November 25, 2015 at 4:50PM

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Andy Tokarski
Director, Editor, Colorist
1212

4.6k Raw lossless = about 10.5MB per frame. 4.6k 3:1 Lossy = about 4MB per frame.

November 25, 2015 at 5:18PM, Edited November 25, 5:18PM

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Tom Majerski
Video Producer & Filmmaker
302

I hate to be that guy, and I'm sure the camera is great in many ways, but the highlights look almost unusable to me. They don't seem to roll off at all, and they look like big blobs. Is it just me? Are you adding any kind of "glow" or softening in the highlights in the grade? Your lighting and shooting is on point, but if the sensor renders highlights that way then I think it's a deal breaker for me..... thoughts? Do you have any footage where the highlights roll of more gradually?

November 25, 2015 at 5:55PM

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JP Summers
Director of Photography
81

Hi, In the video's I have shared, there is pretty much no clipped highlights at all - but both days were very thick overcast and sometimes foggy too.
No glow or diffusion has been added on my videos - but the lenses I have used aren't exactly known for being sharp.

Perhaps part of it is that I have tried to grade the images with a moderate amount of contrast (aiming for a natural response)?

In this shot for example: https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CUjqXtNWcAAPr_x.jpg:large
There is no clipping in the shot - but the brightest parts are close to clipping. The highlight detail is quite recoverable - similar to the BMCC and pocket camera.

I think future demo shots where we shot recovered highlights might better address your concerns though.

November 26, 2015 at 4:09AM

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Tom Majerski
Video Producer & Filmmaker
302

I'd be interested in seeing ungraded footage. I understand you crushed the blacks in the grade, but how much information was there in the first place?

November 25, 2015 at 6:46PM

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I wouldn't say I crushed the blacks (to me that would suggest pushing the signal down so that it becomes flattened at the bottom end) but I did give the image a decent amount of contrast. The shadows are quite clean even at ASA 800.

Here is a shot where the blacks are a bit more lifted:
http://tommajerski.com/bmd/public/im9.jpg

But you're right - once ungraded footage is shared, I think you will get a better idea of how flexible the image can be.

November 26, 2015 at 4:12AM

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Tom Majerski
Video Producer & Filmmaker
302

Ahh, I see. Thanks! It doesn't feel like it holds a lot of information in the shadows, but it is clean and the way it moves into them looks nice.

November 26, 2015 at 9:03PM

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I'm not posting to discuss the 4.6 sensor in general but rather compliment
Tom Majerski's footage under the fog and hazy conditions,
I have to say Tom your footage looked amazing, skin tone looked spot on
Nice Job!

November 25, 2015 at 11:18PM

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Darryl Gregory
Director of Photography
103

What's the dynamic range in Global Shutter?

BTW Skin tone looks amazing! Just like RED Dragon if not better!

November 26, 2015 at 12:07AM, Edited November 26, 12:07AM

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Rayhanur kabir
Director, DP
110

sorry to finally be the one to say this, but the camera isn't the thing to blame per say here. it could well be the footage and the grade. i'm sure in the right hands, this camera is phenomenal. 4.6k raw is there but it all depends what you do with it. a 60d looks better than some of this with the right footage and grade.

November 28, 2015 at 10:52PM

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Hey Tom!
So, I know this is not supposed to be a low light camera at all, but did you try pushing the ISO a bit? what are your thoughts?

December 2, 2015 at 12:02AM

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Cedric
8

Hey Tom, thanks for sharing the videos and chiming in on the comments. I'm curious how difficult the new URSA Mini is to operate. Is it closer to a cine camera, or can you still run and gun with it? I love the specs of this, but don't have any experience with BM cameras and need something that's easy to grab and go. And is this 100% manual focus, or will AF work with Canon glass? I'm capturing both people and moving vehicles, so focus is a concern.

January 4, 2016 at 3:08PM

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Ryan Kartzke
Content Strategist
4

Meh.
More of the same from BMD. Not impressed.

November 25, 2015 at 3:13PM

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Brandon Shafto
Cinematographer
269

Care to elaborate? I have shot a lot on the Cinema, pocket and Production 4k - and this camera is very different ergonomically and is quite a leap forward in terms of the image it produces.

I should stress that the grades here have been done in a very conservative way - aiming for realistic accuracy rather than anything complicated or "filmic"

November 25, 2015 at 3:18PM

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Tom Majerski
Video Producer & Filmmaker
302

Tom, I'm not knocking your work. I respect you as a filmmaker and a business man. I'm simply not impressed with the Ursa Mini image. That's all.

November 25, 2015 at 6:58PM

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Brandon Shafto
Cinematographer
269

Seriously? You must be joking.

November 25, 2015 at 3:23PM, Edited November 25, 3:23PM

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Sean Tracy
Filmmaker/Photographer
145

Yes I'm serious, Sean. I'm not joking. I'm not impressed with the image. It's okay for me to feel that way.

November 25, 2015 at 6:59PM

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Brandon Shafto
Cinematographer
269

Honestly, I'm not impressed either. The image is not grabbing my eye. What does look attractive about this camera is, everything on the camera, i.e., the interface.

November 26, 2015 at 2:41PM, Edited November 26, 2:41PM

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Gene Nemetz
live streaming
757

I agree, I don't see anything here that is amazing. Which is a disappointment really, because of course we want it all at a price we can afford. But when it comes to image quality I just don't think the URSA mini, with its impressive spec sheet, is worth the discounted price. I remember seeing a video on BM's website with the 4.6k sensor for the URSA that impressed me, but it looks nothing like these clips featured in this post.

November 27, 2015 at 12:48PM, Edited November 27, 12:48PM

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JP Summers
Director of Photography
81

I think baring more tests, this camera will get you a look as good as the red dragon in skin tone, saturation, less noise, etc. Not a good roll-off on highlights - but seriously this camera will look as good if not better than the f55, c300markII, scarlet, raven, alexa, fs7, fs5, etc.

And with a great form factor. And it's clean up to 800 ASA - that's amazing.
I think any nay-sayers are fools! :)

November 25, 2015 at 5:37PM

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Ed David
Director of Photography
1412

Thank you for your opinion, Ed. We'll agree to disagree like gentleman. Cheers!

November 25, 2015 at 7:00PM

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Brandon Shafto
Cinematographer
269

I agree that it's not quite what I am hoping for as far as the overall look, especially having seen the first 4.6k images we saw on the BMD site. But I am curious to know what are you shooting on that makes this so unimpressive. And if you have any sample footage I could take a look at. Perhaps I could change my mind about getting the Ursa Mini.

November 25, 2015 at 10:11PM, Edited November 25, 10:11PM

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Scott Dastrup
Owner at Slant Video
74

I don't know if specifics as to why he doesn't like it so much are needed. I don't think it looks so great either, just because it doesn't look so great. For the cost of the Blackmagic URSA Mini 4.6K body ONLY ($5000.00), you could get a Sony a7S ($2200.00), an Atomos Shogun ($1700.00), and some expensive glass ($1100.00), and end up with a more professional looking image than what we see this camera do in these videos. You could also get the AJA Cion 4K body and get a better, more appealing image than this.

I've been saying this camera looks good when you take into account how much it costs. But I'm not saying that anymore.

I'm starting to think this camera has only a niche market.

November 28, 2015 at 10:58AM, Edited November 28, 11:12AM

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Gene Nemetz
live streaming
757

You might be the first person I've seen comment favorably on the AJA Cion image.

November 28, 2015 at 5:24PM

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Zack Wallnau
Cinematographer & Tinkerer
462

Have you read many comment threads? That camera is fantastic.

November 29, 2015 at 3:28PM

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Gene Nemetz
live streaming
757

Yeah ! I'm not sure anyone else agrees with you. http://www.provideocoalition.com/in-a-parallel-universe-aja-s-cion-is-am...

November 29, 2015 at 5:42PM

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John Brawley
Cinematographer
95

That was an article written by one person. He says that other reviews he read were good for the camera. One was even "glowing". But in his opinion, one man, it's not great.

So how can you say not "anyone else" is agreeing with me?

Kinda odd to me that he thinks it's important to point out Arri looks better than the AJA Cion. Of course it does. The Cion 4K costs $5000.00, the ARRI $30,000.00. His argument is not fair.

He's saying they can't be cut together. But they could be. It's just, to him, it can't, or shouldn't be done.

November 29, 2015 at 9:18PM, Edited November 29, 9:35PM

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Gene Nemetz
live streaming
757

November 26, 2015 at 2:37AM

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Gilles van Leeuwen
Filmmaker
379

I think it's cool to "agree to disagree" but it's difficult to understand where you're coming from when you don't give a reason for why you don't like the image.

Ed lists the things he likes so I'd be really interested to know exactly what it is you don't like.

November 26, 2015 at 5:47AM

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Jake Gorton
Producer
309

Jake Gorton

I don't see why he needs to list specific reasons. He is not impressed. I am not either. The image is underwhelming.

November 28, 2015 at 11:09AM

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Gene Nemetz
live streaming
757

Sure, but don't you consider this site in some ways a place for us to all learn from each other? Emotional criticism doesn't ncessarily warrant a post, but that's just my opinion. I'd like to know what people like and dislike about things, because maybe it's something I missed or something I'd like to take into account going forward. "I don't like it" serves no purpose in posting other than to the poster.

November 28, 2015 at 7:04PM, Edited November 28, 7:05PM

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Ian Mora
Writer, Director, Editor, Camera Operator
185

It's just that saying "Me no like" is basically not enlightening in any way, or even interesting. It's basically useless garbage.

December 12, 2015 at 5:18PM

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Brandon - I actually see it your way now. It kind of has a video-y motion cadence in these clips of video in the camp comet clips and the magenta flare from the highlights reminds me of red mx footage. These are the first clips though - I know the first clips out of any camera can look not so good. Also highlight handling looks a little video-y - like the red mx stuff. However the skintones and resolution looks really nice.
If John Brawley can pull such beautiful images from the BMCC and so can Juan Melera - I think pulling beautiful images from a 12-bit log file or the raw stuff or all of it is going to be really incredible. Also that it seems clean at 800 ASA and not 400 and has less moire - and it's not a micro 4/3 size sensor - all these things will make it better than the BMCC. Will it be better than the red raven or alexa mini or sony f35, f65, etc etc? We will need to see some tests first. These quick clips aren't really much to base that many opinions on. I remember seeing the first dragon footage and being blown away, but then after using it, not seeing that much more than the MX sensor for skintones, etc etc.

November 26, 2015 at 10:05AM, Edited November 26, 10:06AM

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Ed David
Director of Photography
1412

When I eat at a restaurant where I don't like the food I don't need to explain what the ingredients were and what the chef did with them to make the food turn out how I don't like. I just know I don't like it as I eat it.

I am not impressed with this camera either. I can't see why an itemized list of why is needed.

November 28, 2015 at 1:23PM

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Gene Nemetz
live streaming
757

None of these videos impressed me either, but I understand the cam op, cam settings, filming conditions, and particularly the grading play a huge part. I'm surprised that there are a number of videos from the 4.6k out and no one's really nailed one to show us the true potential. We need something from Hook I guess. His URSA video is probably the one you saw that you liked.

They should take a page out of AJA's book, where the later CION demo videos look absolutely spectacular - Arri-like in places - because they were filmed to the camera's strengths, even though the usable dynamic range (some 8.2 stops) is rather unforgivable.

I've seen RED Epic footage get botched so hard by the cam op that it looked like it was shot on a 7D. When you experience that enough, you get some perspective.

December 4, 2015 at 10:37PM

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(double post, sorry)

November 25, 2015 at 3:13PM, Edited November 25, 3:15PM

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Tom Majerski
Video Producer & Filmmaker
302

But still no news on the Blackmagic Micro cinema? :(

November 25, 2015 at 3:15PM

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I was worried about how the windowed 120fps would look but it holds up pretty well to the 4k - just a bit noisier.

November 25, 2015 at 3:18PM, Edited November 25, 3:18PM

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Daniel Guillaro
Director of Photography, Editor
132

Yes, as the 120fps mode is a centre crop at 1080p - any noise will appear more visible. But the camera is cleaner than the cinema camera and much cleaner than the 4k production camera - so it's not so much of an issue as one might expect.

November 25, 2015 at 3:20PM

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Tom Majerski
Video Producer & Filmmaker
302

So confused right now. I looked at Tom's other work and everything looks to be super well done. Perhaps he's more crew based and doesn't usually do primary grades or film his own footage and acts as more of producer as listed and his NFS bio? But I likely doubt that...

I can't help but feel that the quality of this footage isn't really causing the excitement or buzz Blackmagic likely had hoped for, when providing Tom with this pre-production unit. Everything seems washed out and compared to the URSA Mini 4k footage that was posted on NFS a couple weeks ago it has me wondering if this camera can't really live up to it's hype. Even the footage on Blackmagic's 4.6k URSA Mini product page doesn't have that impressive of a feeling to it. I understand this is all subjective and is totally my personal opinion and with that said, I just got a lot less excited about the image coming out of this camera after seeing all the footage i've seen to date.

November 25, 2015 at 3:51PM, Edited November 25, 3:51PM

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Filmmaker Dude
Film stuff
88

Hi,

The two shoots here were done without any crew. I spend most of my days filming as a DP and Director - although the projects I work on often require producer work too.

I think it's important to give it some more time to make a full assessment - especially until ungraded footage can be shared. The filming I did was very much a case of grabbing the camera and filming as much as possible to try and get a feel for how best to use it. I shot both these films in the same weekend in 4 different locations and the intention was to start out doing very conservative and low key work for testing purposes. The grading was deliberately basic and as you can see - involved nothing but natural (and due to the weather) quite unexciting lighting.

I think once more time has passed and more substantial footage has been filmed - and ungraded shots are shared - you will see what we have experienced - which is:
A very clean image, a much higher DR than on their previous cameras, Very rich and deep colour and - if you get a chance to physically hold one - great ergonomics.

The 4k Mini is pretty much the same as the Ursa 4k and Production cam 4K - so working with that image is nothing new - hence more interesting and daring grades/shoots have happened.

It wouldn't make much sense to crew up and spend a lot of money doing a short film to test a camera so early on - first one would just do some quick walk about shots similar to what has been done here.

I think in the coming weeks - as more demo footage is released, you will regain your excitement.

November 25, 2015 at 4:01PM

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Tom Majerski
Video Producer & Filmmaker
302

Tom,

I appriciate the explanation and I really do think your work is killer and it's obvious why Blackmagic chose you to wield this pre-production unit. Thanks for taking the time to deliver us SOMETHING footage wise from this camera.

Happy Holidays,
- FMD

November 25, 2015 at 4:29PM

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Filmmaker Dude
Film stuff
88

I've noticed origin color cast in Almost All ursa mini 4.6 Videos And it looks like it is a serious issue .. and There are no details in the sky in almost all the footage ..

November 25, 2015 at 4:20PM, Edited November 25, 4:25PM

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Arthur
186

Hi Arthur,

Where I shot, it was completely overcast every single day. I couldn't even get 5 minutes with the sun. The overcast was so bad, I couldn't any detail whatsoever in the clouds myself.

Tom over in England was encountering overcast / foggy conditions as well.

November 25, 2015 at 4:42PM, Edited November 25, 4:42PM

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Hi Arthur.

As Roman says - both days I shot were foggy and overcast - here is a photo of me filming on the day:
https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CSu-LnwXAAAfIrQ.jpg:large

Its just bad luck that where I am has been hit with fairly dull weather recently.

November 25, 2015 at 4:52PM

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Tom Majerski
Video Producer & Filmmaker
302

Tom I love your work and appreciate you going out of your way to shoot. I live in Utah and have some incredible landscapes here. I would love to have a pre-production 4.6k if you could make that happen. It would be so awesome!

November 25, 2015 at 8:17PM

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Caleb Rasak
Camera Operator / AC
388

Hey Tom thanks for sharing! is there any FPN present at 1600 - 3200 ISO?

November 25, 2015 at 4:24PM, Edited November 25, 4:24PM

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Benjamin Del Castillo
Visual Artist / Filmmaker
74

Not at 1600 - the camera doesn't have a 3200 option built in. I did film something in crazy low light at 1600 and pushed it way way up - I think you will find that the image will be full of random noise much sooner than you will see any FPN.

Remember that FPN is in every camera if you push it far enough.

I know some people will be cautious because the 4k cam was not suited to low light work - but I can assure you that if you were happy with the low light on the cinema camera, this is slightly better than that.

November 25, 2015 at 4:47PM

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Tom Majerski
Video Producer & Filmmaker
302

Thanks for your quick response!!

when you say
...if you were happy with the low light on the cinema camera, this is slightly better than that....

are you speaking about the 4K or 4.6K version?
Thanks!

November 25, 2015 at 5:02PM

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Benjamin Del Castillo
Visual Artist / Filmmaker
74

I am referring to the original 2.5k Cinema camera - which was better in low light than the 4K cams were.

November 25, 2015 at 5:18PM

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Tom Majerski
Video Producer & Filmmaker
302

As a Red Scarlet-X user, I have to say I'm very impressed with the noise floor, color, skin-tones, highlight rendition and over-all quality of the image this camera produces!

November 25, 2015 at 4:29PM, Edited November 25, 4:29PM

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Vladimir Druts
Founder & Director at Intangible.co
373

Which scarlet are you shooting with? MX or Dragon?

November 25, 2015 at 4:30PM

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Filmmaker Dude
Film stuff
88

I love the skin tones, the color...just everything about this image. For the price, this is simply the most disruptive camera on the market.

November 25, 2015 at 4:33PM, Edited November 25, 4:33PM

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Brad Jones
Director/Producer/Writer/Editor
523

For me it looks good enough to shoot on it instead RED & Alexa. It's way cheaper & quality is also great. Audience won't even notice difference in quality. Game changer imo.

November 25, 2015 at 4:37PM, Edited November 25, 4:37PM

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Andy Tokarski
Director, Editor, Colorist
1212

Tom, awesome footage. I'm more excited for this camera than I should be. It seems like something that would hold up on anything from weddings to big budget Hollywood movies. For 5k. That's just silly.
The ONLY thing that worries me a bit is how big those ProRes files get. Could really pile up and force you to consistently buy hard drives. That actually may quite literally be the only thing keeping me from putting up the money for this camera right now, is data efficiency (compared to an FS7, 5, etc.).

November 25, 2015 at 4:39PM, Edited November 25, 4:39PM

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Ben Meredith
Cinematographer/Filmmaker
1054

Prores proxy? ;-)

November 25, 2015 at 4:45PM

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Tom Majerski
Video Producer & Filmmaker
302

Haha, well that defeats the purpose! That being said, I am very choosy with what I shoot, and don't have gigs every single day, so maybe this will turn out to be the winning camera for me.

November 25, 2015 at 5:08PM

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Ben Meredith
Cinematographer/Filmmaker
1054

You could always shoot 1080p and still get the benefit of the improved dynamic range and oversampling from 4.6k. When you have the ability to buy more drives, you've got 4.6k waiting.

November 25, 2015 at 5:03PM

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Very true! Even at 1080p those files are pretty hefty, though. But, I have a pocket, I'm used to it :p.

November 25, 2015 at 5:08PM

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Ben Meredith
Cinematographer/Filmmaker
1054

"I decided not to use neat video or reduce the noise so you could see what that looks like"
Surely that statement doesn't make any sense since we're seeing internet footage. We could only truly assess that if we could download the original footage?

November 25, 2015 at 5:31PM, Edited November 25, 5:56PM

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Jonathon Sendall
Stories
1190

Very true, honestly I had no idea just how bad the compression would be... even though I constantly use Vimeo. Here though it is especially heinous; feel as though I'm watching my footage after it was transferred to VHS cassette.

It is available for download, but the file is simply massive. In my nativity I thought vimeo would compress a much larger 10bit file better than something that was already H.264.

I'll see what I can do to make a smaller version available for download

November 25, 2015 at 5:36PM

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Cheers, even 10 seconds worth with brights and darks in the same shot would be interesting to see.

November 25, 2015 at 5:55PM

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Jonathon Sendall
Stories
1190

Now that's what I want to see in a camera test - lots of skin tones, lots of movement, lots of difficult shooting situations.

It looks good, very good.

November 25, 2015 at 6:18PM, Edited November 25, 6:18PM

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Stu Mannion
writer/dir/dp
664

I gotta say this footage looks great and I'm excited to try one out sometime. As an Epic MX owner and regular user of the Dragon, does the image look as natural and robust? No, but wow, it could make some BEAUTIFUL images. Considering the price or not, it looks great!

November 25, 2015 at 6:41PM, Edited November 25, 6:41PM

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Hey Tom, what were the settings you used for Fog in Formby? What was your exposure, and what were the detail settings on the camera? Seems almost too sharp for my liking for some reason.

But I can't say how grateful I am for having some 4.6K footage to see finally! I've been waiting to see more from this camera. The early stuff that was put out honestly blew me away.

November 25, 2015 at 8:21PM, Edited November 25, 8:21PM

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Ben Howling
Writer / Director
620

Mostly it was at ASA 800, some 400 in there though.

For the grade i did a apply some sharpening,I usually find it helps with the softening effect of the streaming compression.

November 26, 2015 at 1:34AM

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Tom Majerski
Video Producer & Filmmaker
302

I think the base image out of this is magnificent, and I'm glad most of this footage isn't over produced (or even lit at all). For those who can't see any detail in the sky - surely you can tell the difference between an overcast, dull sky and a blown-out one? You can still see the color in there... Dynamic range seems very good. The skintones are totally convincing, it's very detailed without appearing sharpened, motion is natural. Alaivi's footage in particular seems like it's coming out a no-compromises camera - just look at some of his other camera tests for a comparison.

(my background is working with 60D, 5DmrkII, a lot of C300, some EPIC MX and ALEXA - clearly this reminds me most of the effortless image of the Alexa).

November 25, 2015 at 9:10PM

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Every time there is a close-up, you see those awful-looking over-sharpened pores that are the direct result of no OLPF. Yuck (and not that easy to fix in post without it looking fake, and not really possible to fully fix with diffusion filters either. Besides, diffusion should be a choice, not a need.)

I'd rather shoot with a Gh4, let alone a "proper" camera like any Red, any Arri, and any number of Sony's F series.

I'm sorry, some other BM products I adore. Resolve has become an amazing grading tool for example. The cameras... No. I just can't be mean like that to my actors.

November 25, 2015 at 10:42PM, Edited November 25, 10:45PM

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Robert Ruffo
Director/DP
235

I added sharpening in post. The camera does not apply any NR or sharpening onto the footage.

November 26, 2015 at 1:31AM

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Tom Majerski
Video Producer & Filmmaker
302

I'm skeptical of this claim that there is no OLPF. Can anyone verify or refute this?

November 27, 2015 at 4:25PM

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Derek Means
Director of Photography
166

There is no OLPF, Blackmagic do not install them into any of their cameras.

November 27, 2015 at 6:10PM

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Tom Majerski
Video Producer & Filmmaker
302

Robert you clearly don't like to not have an OLPF, but i do think you're being a bit dramatic. I find it interesting to note that there's a trend to reducing or eliminating OLPF filters from stills cameras, which tend to be the lead for motion imaging directions. Witness the Nikon D800E, The Olympus E-M1, and My Leica M8 and ME don't have an OLPF either. Nor does their medium format beast the S2. Pretty sure a lot of the FUJI rangefinders don't have them either.

What is interesting is that you can get after market OLPF filters fitted to some of the pocket cameras, but plenty of users don't seem to find the need to. I also find it kind of telling that RED seem to have more OLPF options as well so clearly theres trade-off to having one optimized for different conditions, or even, not at all.

Again, having shot GH4's, as well as the Ursa Mini 4.6K, I can think of very very few situations where I wouldn't prefer the image coming from the Ursa Mini over a GH4.

JB

November 28, 2015 at 4:14AM, Edited November 28, 4:21AM

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John Brawley
Cinematographer
95

People seem to forget that this footage is coming from 5000 dolar camera. Red Epic Dragon is better for sure but costs 10 times more. You get what you pay for and for 5k this is really good

November 26, 2015 at 3:21AM, Edited November 26, 3:21AM

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Hi Tom,

Thanks for sharing the footage and also being around for any questions.

We're toying with getting one as an office camera for picking up lower budget TVCs and web videos/corporates but I'm starting to think we could use this in some mid range budget TVCs too.

How would you feel about using it on a "proper job" as it were, with a large crew/clients present? Is it going to stand up to an Alexa/RED or would you stick to just web videos/smaller budget ads?

The picture quality seems pretty damn good with a lot of flexibility in post.

Would be great to hear your thoughts on this.

Cheers!

November 26, 2015 at 5:56AM, Edited November 26, 5:59AM

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Jake Gorton
Producer
309

Hi Jake.
I think that despite its lower cost - visually it can stand up against Alexa/RED. I do a fair bit of Alexa grading and their LogC image is my favorite to grade with - one of the unexpected improvements with the Mini 4.6k is the new BMDfilm image - I find it even easier and just as flexible as the LogC image. So post production time/costs are minimal.

Unlike the big Ursa - this doesn't have several monitors for each operator to work with, it does have volume controls but they are inside where the LCD folds out - do it is much more of a single operator camera.

I haven't really tested the audio but my personal preference is to always use an external audio recorder anyway - keeps the sound guy/girl free to move around and means they aren't crowding me.

The different frame rate options, resolutions and recording formats help to scale up or down a project with very little difference in image quality - so this helps to have it be suitable for big or small budget stuff.

The weight is relatively low - so you won't need the top end rigging or tripods - which can add to the cost of any production of course.

It meets the technical requirements of the broadcasters (including netflix who I understand now demand 4k minimum) and when you factor in that you are shooting at 4.6k and downsampling it to 4k - that image is very crisp and full of colour and luma detail.

I cannot really think of many places or projects the camera wouldn't be ideal for (except for live ENG work or perhaps live events - thinking mostly about record time on Cfast cards more than anything)

Do you have any specific concerns which I could perhaps help you with?

November 26, 2015 at 6:22AM

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Tom Majerski
Video Producer & Filmmaker
302

That's fantastic to hear, thank you for such a detailed response.

From going over the specs it all seemed superb, it was just seeing the images it provides in the wild I suppose, and speaking to people such as yourself, who have first hand experience using it.

Stats and specs always sound great but it's not until you try and use it day to day that you really get to the nitty gritty. The main reason I've always used an Alexa over the RED is the post. We don't have red rocket cards so conversion is sloooow or costly. It's things like that you don't consider so much until you use the thing!

The lack of multi monitors could hopefully be rectified by using external monitors (as we would do with the alexa) and as you say, we always have a sound guy recording separately so the timecode in connector is a big plus too. It seems like it's potentially a rival to the Amira - a single op camera that can be tricked out a bit for bigger crews. Does that sound right to you?

The fact the image holds up in post to an Alexa is really great to hear as LogC is so good for grading. Always pleased to hear it maintains picture quality at different frame rates.

November 26, 2015 at 7:01AM

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Jake Gorton
Producer
309

Yes - I think it's very important to try out a camera system before investing in it. Even the most amazing cameras might not fit with how some people prefer to work.

I think that it could easily rival the Amira - although for DOC/ENG work - the Amira has the built in ND filters - which I suspect some people would want. Personally I have no issues with using non-built in ND filters, but I know for some they prefer the convenience of having it built in.

Red footage can look nice - but I find it requires a lot more work in the grade to get it to a good place. The Alexa is much easier - and I am starting to think that the Mini 4.6k is even easier still.

November 26, 2015 at 7:16AM

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Tom Majerski
Video Producer & Filmmaker
302

Looks great to me. Especially with regards to low light concerns and noise. Tom, did you take a look at the built in gyroscope? I'm very curious about this and whether it can be used in post for both stabilisation and/or exporting for graphics and VFX.

November 26, 2015 at 7:34AM, Edited November 26, 7:34AM

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Robert Dee
Director/Editor
88

Hi Robert.
I haven't tried it out yet, from what I understand though- the data will help vfx and probably stabilisation software with 3d tracking - but it would likely be in addition to images based tracking.

November 26, 2015 at 8:12AM

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Tom Majerski
Video Producer & Filmmaker
302

Thanks - and thanks for sharing your work. I imagine (or hope) the gyroscope will help for stabilisation to keep things portable. I'm liking the way it looks - hoping to invest in one by end of Spring. Hopefully that will give the cards a chance to drop in price too!

November 26, 2015 at 12:04PM

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Robert Dee
Director/Editor
88

Looks sweet to me.

November 26, 2015 at 12:00PM, Edited November 26, 12:00PM

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Steven Bailey
Writer/Director/Composer
894

Looks stunning to me! I've always loved the look of all Blackmagic cameras. I'm still surprised people are ok with the colour from the new Sony cameras, but I guess that's down to preference to some extent. I'm still happy I bought my c100 mk2 for now as I'm running and gunning a hell of a lot more than I thought I would and can setup a profile to look pretty damn nice without too much post. Makes me want to give my Pocket another go though and play around! Shot some music videos on it a while back and they still look great.

Back to running and gunning a little... what about the audio? They claim to have decent XLR's but did you try them out at all Tom?

November 26, 2015 at 12:56PM, Edited November 26, 12:56PM

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Liam Martin
DP, editor, part time director
483

So what the sales points of this camera are its softness in image and interface on the camera? The Sony a7S w/ Atomos Shogun, which costs less, makes a more interesting and appealing image than this, to me at least. But, with that set up you're dealing with two interfaces, and a bracket to hold both.

So what makes some love this camera so much is the softness and interface? This is a real question. I'm not taking a shot at BlackMagic. I like the influence they've had on the camera industry. They've made all companies lower prices while putting more in the camera.

November 26, 2015 at 2:52PM

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Gene Nemetz
live streaming
757

Softness? I'm not seeing it. Roman's footage was shot with vintage lenses, so that explains some of the softness in his footage, but everything else looks pretty sharp to me.

November 26, 2015 at 3:37PM

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David West
Writer/Director/Cinematographer/Editor
745

A7s / Shogun combo still doesn't address the A7s "thin" flesh tones. I've done loads of shooting of an A7s to 4k and it's still a POA to grade, and S Log 2 never grades as well as BMC, Canon, Arri or Red. Also, it still suffers from noise issues and even more so the rolling shutter makes it unusable in many situations, unless you like to shoot "post card" docs of buildings, trees, raindrops and birds.

December 1, 2015 at 2:58PM

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Tim Naylor - DP
Director of Photography
169

Apparently the a7 cameras have turned in to a boon for Sony.

December 4, 2015 at 12:00AM

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Gene Nemetz
live streaming
757

Sure, and so have the GH4. People will buy cheap cameras, not many are going to spend $5,000 and up. You're arguing for a price point not an image. I have a GH4 and I love it, but this looks more cinematic. So does a Red. They capture the color and general dynamic range so much better. But that's what you spend money for.

December 12, 2015 at 5:37PM

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Tom, how did you mount the FD lens? I have several....

November 26, 2015 at 4:40PM, Edited November 26, 4:40PM

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Lane McCall
Producer/Director
327

I didn't use any FD lenses - I believe Roman did though? I think he had them physically adapted for EF.

November 26, 2015 at 5:34PM

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Tom Majerski
Video Producer & Filmmaker
302

Tom how saturated is the new BMDFilm color space. Old BM colorspaces were very desaturated like Sony. Even with heavy contrast it required additional saturation. Is the 4.5k in that ballpark or is it in the Arri, RED, Canon ballpark where only a 1d contrast curve is needed to render a nice looking image?

November 27, 2015 at 10:53AM

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Indie Guy
681

More saturated yes, similar to the Alexa log-c. The hues are pretty perfect too, no need to do hue adjustments to get an accurate and tonally balanced image. Just add some contrast and a bit of saturation and you have a nice neutral grade. It's very easy and means the log footage has deeper and richer colour.

November 27, 2015 at 6:09PM

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Tom Majerski
Video Producer & Filmmaker
302

Hi Tom thank you for posting, I watched all the footage coming from beta-testers that were kind enough to release it to everyone that were patiently and impatiently waiting. I loved the fact that every footage I saw looked different coming from each beta tester. It shows what you can do with the sensor on this camera "pushing and pulling" the grade in a sense. I can see the difference in this sensor ..it's creamy and there is better highlight "roll off" than its predecessors just my opinion. So while some may give their opinions about not liking the footage, to each his own. For me personally after working with red and Alexa footage, I "Know" I can pull from this camera what I already do from higher priced manufacturers. Tom I have Schneider xenar 3's so I can't wait to place those in front of this sensor. It's also great to know I may not need IR filters. Thank you. Your footage is highly appreciated by myself and I'm sure countless others.

November 28, 2015 at 8:58PM

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I think overall, the footage looks pretty great for a $5000 camera. Really nice skin tones and color science.

Things that do concern me.

1) Most of it was shot in very un-demanding dynamic range situations so it's hard to gauge the highlights. The one shot of the lady's neck with the sun hitting it was totally blown out, which concerns me a bit as the previous URSA has pretty terrible highlights as evident from this video. Hopefully, they fix this in the Mini

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ziQqeU7lTAI

2) All previous BM cameras had some pretty serious issues upon release. Hopefully, this isn't the case with the Mini but I just don't feel safe buying a first batch BM camera

3) Did seem a bit noisy on some images where there should not be an issue with noise.

But yeah, for $5000 it looks pretty freaking great.

November 27, 2015 at 11:32AM

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Gene Sung
DP / Director
627

I've been trying to figure out what the camera's low frame rate capabilities are. Can you shoot at 1FPS to do time lapse in camera? I keep reading about the high frame rate abilities, but there is no mention of the low frame rate abilities. Would love to know what it's capable of doing before ordering. I've been using the FS700 for about 2 years and became very comfortable with how it shot low frame rate. Hoping the Ursa Mini 4.6K has similar features.

November 30, 2015 at 9:14AM

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Jason Kerschner
Director of Video Content
81

I'm not sure how so many people here judge the camera so harshly based on what is not appears to be just "playing around" footage. I'm sure this camera can deliver incredible footage under the right conditions, locations, talent, staging, framing, thought, and planning. Looks to me the filmmakers were just too excited with the new toy and just wanted to shoot something. Bravo! Once they're familiar with it's buttons and quirks, I'm any of them will start delivering great footage from this camera.

In spite of the footage, what grabbed me was the depth of the flesh tones. Someone here mentioned you could get a better image with an A7s II. I highly doubt that. As a former owner of one, it's color space is sorely lacking in the flesh department and let's not get started on rolling shutter.

In short, be patient, I'm sure in the right situation and hands, some compelling footage from this camera's around the corner.

The only thing that disappoints me is no built in ND or ability to use a Speedbooster. The latter would really turn things upside down. Imagine Full Frame image and the ISO effectively boosted to 3200. That would be something.

December 1, 2015 at 2:50PM

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Tim Naylor - DP
Director of Photography
169

This is always said of cameras that get the "underwhelmed" reaction. Maybe camera makers should approve the clips that are going to be used in blog posts. They would save themselves the tarnished image they get from the underwhelmed commenters.

December 1, 2015 at 10:16PM

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Gene Nemetz
live streaming
757

Blackmagic approved these clips before they could go public. After spending hundreds of thousands of dollars and months on R&D, it's safe to assume Grant Petty himself saw all of this stuff before it was sanctioned for public distribution.

December 5, 2015 at 11:39AM

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Hi Tom, I'm seeing a significant amount of magenta in the sky in the Fog in Formby piece. Is this what we can expect from the 4.6 or can you attribute it to anything else?
The BTS still shot you posted shows no magenta in the sky of the same day and conditions. Did you do a grey /white card custom balance before shooting or is this a preset WB?

December 4, 2015 at 12:43PM, Edited December 4, 12:43PM

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Benton Collins
Camera aimer
277

I think we all wanted for ursa mini, not the fs7 to be the baby Amira. But why is NO ONE saying; "looks awesome.." or "so filmic.." or "wow, so cinematic.." You know, the type of stuff camera nerds (me included) say.

I need to see more..

December 5, 2015 at 12:32PM, Edited December 5, 12:32PM

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