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 Roman Alaivi, 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.