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A fun day out with an Ursa Mini


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#1 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 16 December 2015 - 10:11 PM

Macro is cheating...


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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 17 December 2015 - 01:14 AM

Looks great, very high-end stuff.


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#3 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 17 December 2015 - 02:00 AM

Nice work Phil, lovely textures and color.


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#4 Miguel Angel

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Posted 17 December 2015 - 07:20 AM

It looks fab!
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#5 Bill DiPietra

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Posted 17 December 2015 - 12:15 PM

Looks great, very high-end stuff.

 

See, Phil?!  I told ya' it looked like a professional commercial! :D

 

Nice work, buddy.


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#6 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 17 December 2015 - 12:19 PM

Yeah, but still - macro is cheating!

 

I do also notice there's a moment about 21 seconds in where the rather uneven iris shape of the Canon EF-S 60mm macro prime is visible, but you can't really complain - for the price it's still my go-to lens for this sort of thing.

 

BTS, for what it's worth:

 

flashlight.JPG

 

P


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#7 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 17 December 2015 - 12:28 PM

Is there a simple way of controlling the speed of a phonograph turntable?


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#8 Mark Dunn

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Posted 17 December 2015 - 12:34 PM

Simple for Phil, yes- some electronics or other. Or maybe he just drags his thumb on it.


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#9 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 17 December 2015 - 12:34 PM

No. They're usually three-phase motors with crystal controlled oscillator drivers, for accurate speed control, and I don't think it would bend that far (I could possibly try it). I pushed it round by hand, though using a long push rod (a length of aluminium tube) so that I was twisting on a very small diameter with a lot of force, so the mechanical disadvantage smooths things out. Dragging your thumb on the outer edge gives you a lot of mechanical advantage and that isn't good for smoothness.

 

I have a rig involving a very small highly-geared-down motor which will friction drive things, but usually you don't actually want endless spinning, you want a nicely-feathered turn-and-landing effect, and I find it's often better done by hand.

 

Higher end people would use a motion control rig. I know of someone who used a multi-axis mill (as in the machine shop tool), controlled by CNC engineering software, to do this sort of thing.

 

P


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#10 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 17 December 2015 - 01:59 PM

It does look quite good Phil. Have you done any more testing with it yet?
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#11 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 17 December 2015 - 02:00 PM

I've shot a few things with it. If any of them end up looking any good, I'll report back!

 

P


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#12 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 17 December 2015 - 03:32 PM

Schweet! I'm interested in how you feel about the camera over-all as well. I don't have the money to buy one now, but I will be buying one next year for sure, the 4.6k version though.
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#13 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 17 December 2015 - 03:44 PM

Generally very positive, for reasons entirely related to its ergonomics. The pictures are broadly what Blackmagic have had since the Production Camera came out.

 

To get the downsides out of the way, there are only a few daft choices in it:

 

- No widely-compatible micro-four-thirds lens mount option. One hopes this will emerge.

- No ND filter wheel, the importance of which varies with your application

- The power button is under the flip-out LCD

- Requires expensive cfast cards.

 

Otherwise it's one of the most interesting cameras in ages. If the 4.6K is half of what we all hope it will be (and I suspect it will be half of what we hope it will be) then it'll be very interesting indeed.

 

P


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#14 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 17 December 2015 - 04:04 PM

Do you think the 4k isn't up to snuff? People really don't like that 4k sensor. The standard URSA has it and there have been wild complaints about it't latitude.

IDK, just wanna hear some outside thoughts about that.

Also... did you buy the viewfinder? Is it any good?
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#15 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 17 December 2015 - 05:13 PM

I should be clear, this is a camera I have on review, not something I've bought. I have not received any incentive to be nice about it, nor is there any expectation that I specifically use it for anything in particular, nor that I write about it. This thread is about the production, not the camera. Just to be clear.

 

Anyway, yes, they supplied the shoulder kit and viewfinder. I don't really think it's that useful without them; they may call it the Ursa Mini, but really it's better described as the Ursa Normal, or the Ursa No Longer Huge. With anything but a tiny lens, the supplied side handle you get with the body is not a nice way to shoot. It's too heavy. Body only, the Ursa Mini doesn't feel particularly mini. Fully rigged it feels like a decent ENG camera, in a good way.

 

The viewfinder itself is reasonably good. The apparent image size is not enormous. I believe that at the time of announcement, if not launch, it was the only true 1080p viewfinder available, albeit at a time when we've now gone largely to 4K cameras (though I shot the watch promo in 1080). The viewfinder is not staggeringly bright, since it's an OLED and they generally aren't, but it seems pretty accurate in terms of its clip point, which the flip-out isn't. Mechanically it is very much like the rest of the Ursa range - very chunky. Naturally this contributes to bulk and weight, but there's a reassuring solidity to the whole camera that I rather like. The mechanics won't fall apart. Probably the connectors will start to fall off the PCBs - that's usually the failure mode of this sort of thing. The BNCs aren't actually bolted through the metal case walls, they're attached to a little plastic subassembly. Still, y'know. $3k.

 

I have no objection to the 4K sensor. A few years ago, everyone was  effervescing with joy over 11- or 12-stop cameras such as Viper. The Blackmagic 4K cameras are 11- or 12-stop devices. More is more, of course, and personally yes I'd be waiting for the 4.6K version, but the camera has no failing that is any excuse for poor pictures.

 

I think part of the reason that people gripe about the 4K is that it doesn't produce pictures as nice as the 2.5K Cinema Camera, and this is quite true. The thing is that the 2.5K is an aberration; absent the rolling shutter, the 2.5K produces very, very, very nice pictures which are smooth and beautiful and full of gently-rendered colour and dynamic range and sharpness. It was never realistic to expect the 4K, with its higher resolution and global shutter, to compete, and it doesn't. It probably still isn't reasonable to expect the 4.6K to compete, either, but that's what everyone seems to be expecting. 

 

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#16 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 17 December 2015 - 06:43 PM

Cool, thanks for that! I've messed with the 4k, but only with artificial lighting.
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