May 4, 2017 at 2:05PM, Edited May 4, 2:11PM

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Ursa Mini Pro 4.6 Ursa Mini 4K or C100 mark 1 with Atomos ninja

Hey all! I am trying to decide if I should purchase an URSA Mini Pro for 6,000 the URSA Mini 4k for 3,000 or just keep my C100 mark 1 with Ninja. I am shooting a low budget feature. I would purchase the EF version of the ursa cameras. Is the picture quality that much greater? I see mixed results from the URSAs however some are extremely good, similar to Alexa. I would be shooting mostly daylight limited lighting equipment. I plan on shooting several other projects this year as well. How deep in debt should I go? Is there an Adobe coloring that is on par with DaVinci?
Thanks!

11 Comments

I rarely comment on here, but I wanted to address this.

First of all, don't go in debt for a camera unless you have a concrete plan for making it pay back. And that doesn't mean YOU paying it back; that means the CAMERA making you the money to pay it back. Otherwise the camera is a poor investment and will bring you down.

You're shooting a feature. If that's the only thing you need the camera for, then I recommend renting instead. Most houses charge for a three-day week, which means you could probably rent an UM Pro for a month for HALF the cost of buying one and invest the rest of your money in actors (because actors will be the number one factor in the success of your feature film).

On the other hand, if you have lots of client work you're shooting on your C100 right now, and you feel like stepping up to an UM Pro for that is a good idea, then it may make sense to use it on your feature as well. Just don't buy a camera only for the sake of the feature--your money could be better managed.

As for your question about image. When the Ursa Mini works, it produces some great results. Better than the C100, in my opinion, and I really love the C100. But that's WHEN the camera works--I know several people who have had problems with their Ursa Mini classic, and I've already heard of some problems with the Pro. We'll see how it shakes out.

May 8, 2017 at 2:33PM

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Kenneth Merrill
Director
1205

Thanks for the feedback! I have found that the image quality of the Ursa Mini only marginally better than the c100. My research is based on online content viewed on a 15" macbook pro. Which in all likelyhood will be similar as to how my film will be viewed. So I'll probably just shoot on the c100. I'll just carry the savings onto the craft service table and a limo to the premiere!

May 12, 2017 at 2:11AM, Edited May 12, 2:26AM

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I'm right now making a short using Ursa Mini Pro. I rent it, but my production requires just 3-4 days of shooting, so renting was the way to go.

For Ursa Mini Pro you probably need to invest way more. Besides body, you need at least 2x CF Cards 128GB (around 500$ each), probably Viewfinder (1500$), shoulder mount (400$), extra batteries etc. So the overall price (without lenses) is around 10k $. You need to know that Ursa Mini Pro is a pretty heavy camera, you get tired quite a bit & it gives you less flexibility for camera movement (stabilization is more expensive & some shots are hard to pull off, because of its weight). About the image quality - in my opinion, Ursa Mini Pro is much better (very close to Alexa), but you need to remember that image quality is mostly about how well you light your scene. My experience with this camera is very good & I can recommend it. Besides, it's weight it's pretty much a perfect camera.

Btw. If you're gonna use RAW be ready to buy a lot of disks. I shot in 4.6k RAW 4:1 & 1h of the footage is around 500GB.

About grading in Adobe - there was SpeedGrade (not sure if it's not discontinued). I personally wouldn't grade in other suits than Resolve - it's the best grading software right now & it's pretty cheap (or you could just use Lite version, which is also quite powerful & free).

Kenneth - the question is for how much can you resale your camera after shooting? It might be better to just buy it & then resale than just rent it.

May 8, 2017 at 5:18PM, Edited May 8, 5:19PM

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Andy Tokarski
Director, Editor, Colorist
1105

For a cheaper alternative - you might invest in Blackmagic Cinema Camera + speedbooster. It's really great for price to quality & it's really light.

May 8, 2017 at 5:23PM

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Andy Tokarski
Director, Editor, Colorist
1105

I still love the image from this camera. It looks amazing.

May 10, 2017 at 5:30PM, Edited May 10, 5:30PM

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IMO as a C100 owner I say stick with that. You already own it so take the money you spend on a new camera and put it towards lenses and lighting and the often overlooked sound. The C100 can hold its own to most cameras image was unless you need to deliver 4k.

May 8, 2017 at 5:31PM

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Michael Militscher
Director / Commercial Producer
1998

This isn't filmmaking, these threads are detrimental. Read your script come up with a visual concept, test your cameras, and see which one produces a result that best fits the story and your production workflow. DO YOUR OWN HOMEWORK, your film will suffer if you make most of your decisions based on second hand information.

May 9, 2017 at 4:14PM

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Indie Guy
1071

I am a strong believer in the adage "Story Is King" I think these threads can be beneficial. Surely there is some bad info out there, but the more you read the more you can pick out the BS. Thanks for the comment!

May 12, 2017 at 2:19AM

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I think you are missing the point, test the cameras yourself, you can research for months online and that won't be as useful as one day with both cameras in your hands. If you are really want to make the rentals worth it, do proper testing. All your questions will be answered. Apologies for my tone, its just weird to me to approach a feature with second hand opinions to guide camera decisions. Personally I wouldn't take anyone else's word, they are not shooting in the specific conditions of my film, so I would just put in the pre-production time and make an educated choice. I can't help but think the issue is laziness.

May 12, 2017 at 3:57PM

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Indie Guy
1071

Indie Guy, it's one thing to make a suggestion about methodology on these things. You do have a really good point, and I agree with you for the most part. On the other hand, your condescending tone and ad hominem jabs suggest you're not really interested in helping; just showing off your superior methodology. I can't help but think the issue is you're an asshole.

May 12, 2017 at 5:12PM

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Kenneth Merrill
Director
1205

When I first entered the industry in 2002, my goal was to direct a feature film. If you were involved in the film industry then, you would know that unless you had a rich uncle or trust fund, the chances you had making your own feature film were slim to none. One of the cheapest cameras out there at the time with a crystal sync motor was the ARRI SR2, the cost to rent that with a sound man with a nagra, film stock, processing developing, renting an AVID or a Steenbock a basic lighting kit , stage time, actors, permits, insurance (100% of vendors back then would only rent to you if you had insurance) far eclipsed the budget of a penniless recent graduate (I was the first in my family to graduate college) from a working class innercity family. Robert Rodriguez's "Rebel without a crew" was inspirational, but his model didn't apply to my situation. I started to work in the industry from the bottom up, mostly on big budget Hollywood film sets working my way through the system. Meanwhile the age gap between myself and the Director /DP has gone down and now I am starting to be older than them. These kids are like 5 years out of school, but technology has given the indie world a much needed boost. You can now shoot and edit and have a platform to showcase your artistic voice, like never before.The previously unsurmountable divide of equipment and dollars has dramatically dropped. A kid with a smart phone can now ,hypothetically, have the same opportunity as a trust fund kid with a 100K. Wow am I rambling, my point being I take offense at your "laziness" comment. So with regards to taking 2nd hand opinions, I have to say "No shi* Sherlock", I am not going to blindly listen to what "Indie Guy" or anyone random person on the internet has to say. Of course I am going to test the camera, I was simply looking for constructive feedback from others who have possibly been in a similar situation on deciding what camera to shoot on. Relax your crack.

May 17, 2017 at 8:17PM

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