When you're doing 'Live Production' and switching multi camera angles, you don't have the luxury of matching camera 'looks' in post. The 4.6K Ursa Mini is even so different than the Ursa Mini 4K sensor in dynamic range and low light sensitivity, it's a hard camera to match. I've also found myself using the Ursa Mini 4.6K so often, I thought it would be great to have a B-Camera that matched during interview setups. Finally I just ended up picking up a 3rd one for other projects that need 3 camera angles. I was able to purchase all of these BlackMagic Design Ursa Mini 4.6K cameras over at http://DVEStore.com
If you're not a fan of the new BlackMagic Design Micro Cinema Camera, this video is most likely going to bore you. So you may want to skip this post. But if you're currently shooting with the BMMCC (and as obsessed as I am), i'm pretty sure you'll find this post super helpful - especially the part where I share a little of my DIY Remote Handle setup.
First let's talk a little about 'Why this BlackMagic Design Micro Cinema Camera?'. Simply put, it's under $1K and offers RAW video up to 60p. And it's incredibly tiny! No other camera offers this, and I love the color science. But it's not an easy camera to operate handheld as there is no screen and the menu is deep for changing small settings.
Originally frustrated with the handling and controls of this camera - my combination of parts and custom button mapping has allowed me to just grab this camera and shoot. It's now a camera I can enjoy shooting with. There's obviously no right way to rig a camera, and this is just how i've assembled it for my personal taste. For those asking, the 15mm rod above my BMMCC is held in place with a Pico Plate (below).
If you're looking to really run small, you can opt for using native Micro Four-Thirds lenses (instead of my Full Frame Rokinon Cinema lenses) or even the Veydra MFT Cinema Primes. You can also shrink your monitor down with something lighter, thinner, and smaller like the SmallHD 501. That would really make this BlackMagic Design Micro Cinema Camera a super portable system.
Rigged BMMCC size compared to Panasonic DVX100a
There are some benefits to using the BlackMagic Design Video Assist as a monitor though. I can set the internal recording to RAW, but if I decide to shoot in a lower format like ProRes, I can do that from the BMVA (without having to change in camera). Or I can record simultaneously RAW (in camera) and ProRes LT (in BMVA) for some quick proxy files to share or have a backup.
By the way, the Video Assist monitor doesn't add any controls with it's touch screen. It simply works as a Monitor and an HDMI Recorder. You can't communicate with the BMMCC.
Obviously they wanted to use small batteries on this camera to minimize the weight for Drone use, but I'm very happy with my Sony to Canon LP-E6 mod. It's a great way to add extra run time without adding an external battery system like a V-Mount. And I would hate to have to use their breakout cable which is a mess, and then have to input a 12V source. With my mod, it feels like i'm just using a bigger Canon battery, and i'm still using 7V.
The battery mod also allows me to power both camera and one extra accessory at 7.4V using my SWIT battery. Instead of using the 12V input on the Video Assist monitor, i'm using a Canon LP-E6 dummy battery to use basic 7V. (I really did put a lot of thought into this setup).
Hopefully the video explained how i'm creating changes in the camera in a way you can understand. When you join the two wires together from the analog PWM input, it sends a signal to change a setting. This works on many of the options, but not everything. For some items (like iris, focus) you'll need true PWM. The other 'con' if you will is that you can't go backwards. Not really a big deal as it's still much easier than diving into the menu for every small change.
I really wish BlackMagic Design would expand these PWM options to include changing FrameRates and changing from RAW to ProRes. That would really complete this camera, and many companies can create simple remote handles to control almost every aspect. They allow the use of S.Bus which means you can expand even further from the 4 basic analog inputs and control up to 18 more settings through a single channel input.
In any case, i'll stop rambling and hopefully this post has been helpful to other BMMCC shooters. If you're thinking about picking one up, it would be great if you consider DVEStore.com as they were the ones who put this camera into my hands to study, spend countless hours on, and share this information with you guys.
Oh and BTW, i'm far from done. I'm already designing an entire rig around this camera based on my setup, including a remote handle to operate some of the settings i've show in this video. A complete rig that will allow other BMMCC shooters to just add a camera + monitor and start shooting with similar ergonomics as a camcorder. So if this is something you're interested in seeing, simply like or share this post. It will let me know if it's something I should spend some time on.
I was lucky to get a BlackMagic Design URSA 4K Camera loaner from the DVEStore.com, so I decided to take my son out to the park and test it out. The URSA is capable of 4K 80fps, but because 4K 80fps requires a lot of data storage and a very fast card, I had to shoot this video at the lowest possible quality setting in 1080p ProRes Proxy. I also shot the whole piece handheld and my forearms were so cramped afterwards. This is a beast of a camera.
The card I was mainly using was the Atomos 128GB 1.0 CFAST Card which will only work with many of the lower quality and lower framerate settings. Trying other compression settings just continued to have dropped frames, and the only thing that worked well for 80fps was ProRes Proxy in 1080p. For lenses, I only used the Sigma 18-35mm as this is not a full frame sensor camera it works perfectly.
I know this camera is far better than what I can currently get out of it so I'm hoping to get another card that will allow me to shoot at least at 4K Compressed RAW at 80fps. The next step up to utilize more of URSA's power is to shoot with a Lexar 2.0 CFAST Card which is not very cheap.
After my recent build out with my BlackMagic Pocket Cinema Cameras (seen here), i'm inspired to use them a whole lot more. Still great cameras that deliver stunning quality and color, and now -$500 OFF! Should I get a third? [Make sure to use Use promo code: POCK500]
Still looking for a power solution to run your BlackMagic Pocket Cinema Camera? Here's a deal on the Switronix Pocketbase that uses two Canon LP-E6 batteries to give you hours of run time. Ok, so I do own this product and I wasn't an overall fan of paying $150+ dollars (kit with batteries), but if you knock off 40% then I guess there's not much to complain about.
Like many other people out there, I preordered my BlackMagic Design Pocket Cinema Cameras (while I was at NAB) the same day they announced it. With only a few cameras trickling in every week, it could be months before my name is up next. Fortunately, I had the chance to the BlackMagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera today thanks to DVEStore.com.
Apparently, the folks at the DVEStore has a few of these, with still a fairly reasonable small list of preorders to fill. There's a good chance the DVEStore will complete their list of preorders before larger retail stores can even scratch the surface with theirs.
If you're curious about seeing how long (or short) that list is, I suggest sending them an inquiry. The website can be found here: http://DVEStore.com.
Ok, now on to the next point of business. The BlackMagic Pocket Cinema Camera I have here is on loan. I have a short amount of time with it, but I've already reached out to a few friends to see if they can put it through the paces. We've planned a long weekend of travel and shooting a variety of footage with this camera.
I needed to buy additional bits just to get going on this camera (more info on that later), and also rented a few bits I think people will be interested in. The Pocket Cinema Camera does not shoot RAW (CinemaDNG) at this time, but the ProRes files are still impressive. A firmware update will add CinemaDNG capture.
We plan to shoot very short clips and upload them for you to download and play with (color grade). If you have any general questions about the product, leave some comments while I have it. Once I send this little guy back, I doubt I'll be seeing it again for several months. Over the next few days i'll be adding some additional information about working with this camera, so keep following...
Here's another product Giveaway and this time it's a Diva Ring Light sponsored by the DVEStore.com. If you're not familiar with the Diva Ring light, it's a round CFL Continuous light with dimming capabilities. There's a few example videos below showcasing the product in use.