I recently shot a project on the new Blackmagic Ursa Mini Pro 4.6K G2 for champion boxer Seniesa “Superbad” Estrada. Seniesa is an amazing athlete and the UMP 4.6k G2 combined with Sigma Cine primes went above and beyond capturing beautiful images of her in action using several frame rates up to 120FPS.
We had a very tight budget and had to work with minimal lighting, including and single source toplight in the boxing scene’s. What I find incredible about this camera is that it’s a true cinema camera at an incredibly low cost. In my opinion the image quality is equal and in some cases beyond that of some of the top of the line highly priced cinema cameras.
This being said, my camera has been built out to interface with top of the line professional accessories, this includes PL mount, (BMD has a mount that can be purchased), custom baseplate to align to Arri Alexa lens center, D-BOX power with 12v 2 pin Lemo and 24v 3 Pin Fischer power connections as well as additional P-Tap and USB power. I’m using an Ikan wireless video assist which performs perfectly and Bright Tangerine matte boxes, sliding dovetail baseplate as well as their beautifully engineered follow focus system.
Now, I am not going to breakdown the functions and specifications of the camera, there is much information out there on that. What I do want to talk about is what this camera brings to a cinematographer and some of the mostly unfounded complaints about this camera.
Firstly the knock I hear from many is that it looks like a handy-cam. There is some truth to that with the fold out door on the side and the cast alloy body. That being said those thing do have an upside. The fold out screen allows access to all camera menu functions quickly and easily as well as providing and additional viewing monitor. The cast alloy body does make the camera very light which is also a plus. I would like to see a more robust body design in the future but I really like this camera regardless.
I also read a lot of complaints about noise in the blacks and shadows. I have found this to have no merit. All the examples I have seen are obviously under exposed and not lit well. Any image will have noise if under exposed and lifted in color grade including film.
As you can see in the stills of the boxing work, it was very low light, single source top light which was the Hudson Spider with no diffusion. Other than that we had LED tubes on the back wall. Everything stayed very clean with beautiful dynamic range.
The number one thing any cinematographer is looking for is image quality and the Ursa mini pro 4.6K G2 delivers. It’s Braw format, HDR sensor, combined with generation 4 color science, and 15 stops of dynamic range gives you an incredibly beautiful as well as very accurate skin tones.
Another valuable tool I used in this piece was high frame rates, I shot 23.98 FPS 60FPS and 120 FPS all at 4.6K. I cannot speak highly enough about the beautiful film like images I was able to capture with this camera in combination with Sigma Cine primes.
After the shoot, I dropped some shots into DaVinci resolve just to test. The results are stunning and with the Braw format, getting a look was very simple with minimum amount of work. The camera and DaVinci software work together flawlessly. This was a final real world test for me to decide if I should shoot my next feature film next spring on the Ursa G2. The answer is a resounding yes.
When this boxing spot is finished, after professional color grading by Marshall Plante at Oleo Creative, I will share on my site. I’m sure you will like what you see.