Ursa Mini 4.6K Review & Tips

 

1

 

Write up:


 

(UPDATE! Downloadable 4.6K Prores files & Luts added at the bottom of the page)

So the 4.6k Ursa Mini from Blackmagic Design is now Officially shipping…

But there is some changes, no Global Shutter or GPS!

The rolling shutter in the camera isn’t bad, so not much need to worry. Its probably about the same as the RED EPIC. If it was as bad as the rolling shutter in the Sony A7SII, then I can understand people’s frustration haha

So both versions of the Ursa Mini are now shipping, which one do you get…4K or 4.6k.

Having used the Big Ursa, 4K Ursa Mini and now the 4.6K. In my opinion the 4.6K is the best one. The dynamic range is a BIG step up from the 4k model and the lowlight is much much better.

One thing to note with the 4.6k, if you plan on shooting Prores, your wont actually get recording at 4.6k, only option is UHD 3840X2160 Prores or 1080.

4.6k is only available in RAW, allowing real 4.6k 4608×2592 or 4096×2160 and 2K 2048×1080

Since its now officially released and not running in beta mode…we can finally share what the new bmdfilm looks like from the camera, here are some frames I shot.

bmdfilm

rocks bmdfilm

graded

rocks grade

bmdfilm

step bmdfilm

graded

step grade

bmdfilm

phone2 bmdfilm

graded

phone2 grade

bmdfilm

face bmdfilm

graded

face grade

The last 4 grabs are from a film I wrote, shot, edited and did sound for ( i don’t recommend doing all that yourself, haha)  as I basically wanted to test the camera by jumping straight in. The audio for the piece was recorded straight into the cameras xlr inputs.

watch it below:

 

When the new 4.6k sensor update for the big Ursa becomes available…then that camera will be slightly better with slow-motion…but I really don’t miss the size and weight of the Big Ursa haha

So speaking of slow-motion, both ursa mini’s shoot 2K windowed crop 120fps and 1080p windowed crop 120fps. I decided to try and push that slow-motion and upscale it to UHD, just to see how it copes with UHD 24fps and 60fps. It actually holds up well….I don’t always recommend upscaling footage but it can be done if needed.

see below:

 

Dynamic Range, is there really 15 stops? Haven’t scientifically tested but so far so good:

Is the lowlight better…YES! 800 is very very clean and 1600 is usable too

I haven’t experienced any fixed pattern noise yet

Here is a test done with just a candle:

 

Exposing for the camera I’ve found it to be little different, you can easily expose to the right and still recover highlights. But I’ve found when exposing evenly, my colors look more natural looking. Each person likes to shoot differently but below is where I like to nail exposure with the 4.6k sensor.

exposure

Just under the histogram is the battery indicators, I like to make sure my highlights don’t go past the 2nd battery bar. Since shooting this way, I find my grades and colors come out great each time.

Filters I like to use are the Tiffen Var-Nd and Firecrest Formatt-Hitech

filters

When using the tiffen, I don’t like to shoot any faster then f2.2, wide open I find there is a color shift and vignetting. This is when I prefer using the Formatt-Hitech, see results below:

Sigma 18-35mm at 1.8 with Tiffen Vari-ND

tiffen

Sigma 18-35mm at 1.8 with Formatt Hitech

firecrest

Sigma 18-35mm at 1.8 with Tiffen Vari-ND

tiffen2

Sigma 18-35mm at 1.8 with Formatt Hitech

firecrest2

Accessories …as I mentioned in my 4K review. I’m not a fan of using the shoulder rig/evf top handle set up. It’s too time consuming to set up when you want to use it without the handle or pack the camera away to move from location to location.

Here is how I like to set up the camera:

handle

I use the Smallrig Safety rail 46mm, mount that to the camera:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00N1TN5EU?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00

Then I slide the handle on the rail:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00OGWIAH8?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00

handle 2

Then using the smaller bolt thats comes with the BMD shoulder kit (not sure why this doesn’t ship with the evf) I use this bolt to connect the evf

bolt

set up

This allows my set up to be small and quick. I can now attach and detach the handle and evf fast with no tools needed.

I also like to use the IDX DUO 150 Batteries, 2 of these batteries last me all day

camera battery

 

 

Hope people find this helpful, drop any questions below!

People that finally have the camera, grading from the new BMDFILM can be tricky, so I created some LUTS below:

LUT Linkhttps://sellfy.com/p/u3IJ/

Available for:

Adobe Premiere CC

FCPX

Davinci Resolve

Payable by, Credit Card or Paypal

BASE2 LUT

BASE2

Film III LUT

FILM III

FADE LUT

FADE

Warm Base LUT

warm base

Cool Base LUT

cool base

Plus many more….

4.6k Luts: https://sellfy.com/p/u3IJ/


 

(a list of some recording formats & frame rates, not all formats but the main ones)

Prores Recording info: 


 

Prores 444 – UHD 3840×2160

Sandisk 120GB Cfast 2.0 : 24fps = 15min

Lexar 256GB Cfast 2.0 : 24fps = 29min

Sandisk 120GB Cfast 2.0 : 25fps = 14min

Lexar 256GB Cfast 2.0 : 25fps = 28min

Sandisk 120GB Cfast 2.0 : 40fps max full sensor or windowed = 8min

Lexar 256GB Cfast 2.0 : 40fps max full sensor or windowed = 17min

 

Prores 422 – UHD 3840×2160 

Sandisk 120GB Cfast 2.0 :  24fps = 30min

Lexar 256GB Cfast 2.0 : 24fps = 1hr 4min

Sandisk 120GB Cfast 2.0 :  25fps = 29min

Lexar 256GB Cfast 2.0 : 25fps = 1hr 2min

Sandisk 120GB Cfast 2.0 :  60fps max full sensor or windowed = 12min

Lexar 256GB Cfast 2.0 : 60fps max full sensor or windowed = 26min

 

Prores 444 – UHD 1920×1080 windowed/crop

Sandisk 120GB Cfast 2.0 : 80fps max  = 16min

Lexar 256GB Cfast 2.0 : 80fps max = 35min

 

Prores 422 – UHD 1920×1080 windowed/crop 

Sandisk 120GB Cfast 2.0 : 120fps max  = 24min

Lexar 256GB Cfast 2.0 : 120fps max = 52min


 

RAW Recording info:


 

RAW 4608×2592

Sandisk 120GB Cfast 2.0 : 24fps  = 7min

Lexar 256GB Cfast 2.0 : 24fps = 14min

Sandisk 120GB Cfast 2.0 : 25fps  = 6min

Lexar 256GB Cfast 2.0 : 25fps = 14min

Sandisk 120GB Cfast 2.0 : 60fps  = 3min

Lexar 256GB Cfast 2.0 : 60fps = 6min

 

RAW 3:1 4608×2592

Sandisk 120GB Cfast 2.0 : 24fps  = 12min

Lexar 256GB Cfast 2.0 : 24fps = 26min

Sandisk 120GB Cfast 2.0 : 25fps  = 12min

Lexar 256GB Cfast 2.0 : 25fps = 25min

Sandisk 120GB Cfast 2.0 : 60fps max  = 5min

Lexar 256GB Cfast 2.0 : 60fps max = 11min

 

RAW 4:1 4608×2592

Sandisk 120GB Cfast 2.0 : 24fps  = 15min

Lexar 256GB Cfast 2.0 : 24fps = 32min

Sandisk 120GB Cfast 2.0 : 25fps  = 15min

Lexar 256GB Cfast 2.0 : 25fps = 31min

Sandisk 120GB Cfast 2.0 : 60fps max  = 6min

Lexar 256GB Cfast 2.0 : 60fps max = 13min

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54 Comments on “Ursa Mini 4.6K Review & Tips

  1. Hi the candle footage is simply stunning. Would it be possible to release any of it as a download? Was it shot RAW or PreRes? And honestly, hand on heart, not FPN? How was the general video noise, did it look like film grain like the BMCC? Thanks, Pete

  2. Thanks Dan! I didn’t read it anywhere but what did you record in for all your videos? Prores?

  3. Hej Daniel,
    thanks for the review.
    But i got worried about your stills.
    Actually i’ve got a tiffen vari ND. But in your stills above are a huge different between Tiffen ND and the Formatt Hitech. So i am sure Formatt Hitech has an IR-Cut..
    With the Formatt Hitech you got some nice, rich color saturation of the sky etc.. With the tiffen you got a hard magenta cast..
    Is the difference really as big as your stills shows??

    Because now i am thinking to buy a Formatt Hitech

  4. hello dan !!
    How is the performance of evf?
    And what about the drain on the battery?

    Sorry, i don’t I am not good at English

    p.s your hansome~!!

    • the evf is great, really helps in bright day scenes…performs well and hardly drains the battery

      also thanks for the kind words haha

  5. I’m glad you said the RS is good, I’m 99% sure I’m going to get this camera, but I’ve recently picked up a client where they want a car commercial, would this camera be good with shooting cars driving around or would i be best looking elsewhere, I’ve always wanted this camera, a bit sad (not angry though) that RS has been dropped.

  6. Thanks for all the insights and tips for this camera over the last few months! My question is about processing the footage: do you edit primarily on an iMac? I’m making the jump from dslr to BM and I’m worried my iMac won’t be able to handle Davinci + 4.6k RAW video, trying to decide if a Mac Pro might be necessary.

  7. Great read! 🙂
    im going for a smallrig setup as well and its been very helpful to check out your setup! But since im not buying the shoulder mount im a little concerned when you mentioned something about a smaller bolt for the EVF, I was assuming its just regular 1/4 bolts?.. Do you have any hint or tip of measures or where I can locate a bolt of similar size if it is needed?

    Would also be super helpful to know the distances from the different mounting holes on the top 🙂

    cheers

    • thanks for the support Tony…you might have some luck emailing BMD for the bolt, its the 1/4 bolt

      Otherwise I’m not sure, maybe try camera sites or amazon for a similar bolt

  8. Great read! 🙂
    im going for a small rig setup as well and its been very helpful to check your setup! But since im not buying the shoulder mount im a little concerned when you mentioned something about a smaller bolt for the EVF, I was assuming its just regular 1/4 bolts?.. Do you have any hint or tip of measures or where I can locate a bolt of similar size if it is needed?

    Would also be super helpful to know the distances from the different mounting holes on the top 🙂

  9. Hi Daniel – thanks so much for being the first to post some extensive thoughts on this beast. One thing I haven’t seen mentioned anywhere is the audio quality straight from the xlr inputs on the camera. Are the pre amps decent or are you still recording audio externally?
    Cheers mate!

    • Hi Joel

      So far the xlr inputs are fine. The piece i shot ‘Just My Luck’ was recorded using in camera xlr’s, same as the ‘Quarter Horse Coffee’ piece

      hope that helps

  10. Hey Daniel,

    Thanks so much for posting some downloadable prores clips. I’m quite blown away by the dynamic range of the 4.6k. I hate to be too picky, but if you can remember, would you mind sharing what your iso was set to while recording the clips you posted? Thanks again! Happy shooting.

  11. Hi Dan. Awesome work man, thanks so much for letting us play with your footage while we wait patiently for ours! Though, mine gets here tomorrow! Is 4:1 RAW really smaller files that Prores 444? If so, is workflow the only reason not to shot in 4:1 over Prores 444?

    • Thanks Simon… depending on your workflow, 444 will be easier to edit, grade. Otherwise raw 4:1 is fine.
      I like to shoot 422 for file size and so far I’ve been happy with results.

      • Do you lose Dynamic Range when shooting from Raw to Pro-Res, I keep seeing different things it either does nothing or brings it down by 2 stops.

  12. Hi Dan, Really nice review!

    Have you seen what you get from the 4.6 using the Atoch C2S Bulk Loader ( https://www.facebook.com/AtochC2S/photos/a.928030490572376.1073741828.902185319823560/1058280497547374/?type=3&theater )?

    This accessory allows you to use cost saveing SSDs rather than CFAST cards.
    When used with the Samsung 850 Pro Series SSD, you will see

    – uncompressed 4K Raw at 55 fps, 3:31 Compressed 4K Raw
    – ProRes HQ UHD and ProRes HQ 1080p at all frame rates
    – 52 minutes record time across 2x 512GB SSD
    – 1 hour 44 minutes record time across 2x 1TB SSD
    – 3 hours 28 minutes record time across 2x 2TB SSD

    The Atoch C2S will be at NAB in the display booth at the Blackmagic booth and on an URSA Mini 4.6 in the Blueshape booth. Hope to see you there!

  13. Hey Daniel
    Could you give details about the speed of the Lexar cards you used? x3400 or x3600? There have been discussion about dropped frames with the x3400

    Thanks

    • its the x3400 card, haven’t experienced any dropped frames yet but I don’t record raw.

      I think most peoples issues is when recording raw at 60fps

  14. As far as settings go- when you’re in 3k, 2k or 1080 at 24fps is it windowed. I know it is for the 120, but can you get 24, 30, 60 with the full senso? Also, with the 3k anamorphic mode what is the squeeze factor? Thanks!

    • Hi Kevin

      UHD and 1080p can be full sensor or windowed sensor in 24p or 25p. 2K is only available in windowed sensor and only available in RAW, RAW 3:1, RAW 4:1

      The anamorphic mode isn’t featured yet in the firmware and I believe its only the PL mount camera, not sure yet.

  15. Hey Dan, thanks for the info. I can’t seem to find any info anywhere on what the focus assist is like? Is it comparable to a C100/300 for example or is it just using peaking etc?

    Cheers for he help!

  16. Hi Dan;
    The two most important factors for me on a feature shoot
    is: 1. Camera reliability, and 2. Cadence.
    The cadence on the 4.6K UM is so beautifully cinematic.
    That quality of this camera alone won me over.
    My other concern though is reliability.
    Could you speak to this?
    Also, I plan to shoot in 2K ProRes 422. Is this camera capable of that
    without windowing, or if not would there be a future firmware update planned for that?
    Did you capture all these clips in UHD 4K Pro Res 422?
    George

    • Hi George

      I shot all these clips in Prores UHD and 1080p windowed 120fps

      Unfortunately 2K is only available in the RAW formats and only windowed…im sure sure about future firmware for 2K full sensor

  17. I haven’t been able to find this anywhere else. Can you maybe tell me how much of a crop there is when shooting windowed?
    Is it like a m43 crop?

  18. Thanks for all the awesome insight, Dan. I see some of your shots have a bit of hand shake, but always in a Hollywood, aesthetically-pleasing manner. Any notes on overall stability and shakiness of the camera, given its weight? I know you said you like to “shoot from the hip” rather than on a shoulder mount.

    I’m just extra curious because I just ordered this camera (Super pumped on it, Hope it doesn’t take eons for them to ship it haha) and I’m coming from the the world of sony mirrorless, with their awesome IBIS which helps a ton with image shake. Though with their tiny weight and footprint, I imagine camera shake is a lot easier to create.

    Would love to hear your thoughts and experience. This will be my first proper video camera! Appreciate your time. Cheers.

    • Heya

      I’ve always found cameras with a bit of weight and size like the ursa mini, RED, alexa etc make handheld look better. Something about the size and weight just translates better in the movement..

      Cameras with stabilisation is great but can often look fake and weird, just helps for quick run n gun shots

      • So in that case- the other big thing I’ve been wondering (coming from mirrorless shooting), is whether or not you can get “usable” shots without crazy shake and jitter with a camera like this, without having to lean on either being glued to a tripod/slider, or using IS or VC as a crutch.

        I’m trying to hand pick lenses that’ll work great for this and my photo kit (Canon 5DmkIII), and I was assuming that IS/VC will be a no brainer, but it also severely limits my selection of lenses (mainly to Tamron and a select few EF-S Canons. But now seeing your footage I’m thinking maybe not, since it is a bigger camera. And obviously I realize a great deal of practice and technique are still required to get “usable” shots hand held with a camera like this. But I’m mainly just fearing that you’ll be dead in the water for getting good moving shots without a gimbal or stabilized lens.

        Your thoughts? Thanks man!

      • I find handheld with this camera is much nicer and more realistic then smaller dslr’s…..the IS in cameras is nice but can often look weird when panning. but great to have when holding still

      • Oh and to piggy-back onto that, so you don’t have to keep comin’ back to reply a million times- any great recommendations for EF lenses for the Ursa 4.6K, from your time shooting with it? 🙂

      • Sigma Art lenses 18-35mm 1.8 and 50mm 1.4 or the newer 50-100mm 1.8 are great. Otherwise the Zeiss Milvus lenses

  19. Thanks for the videos. I have a question. I notice when I set the URSA Mini 4.6K to ProRes with Dynamic range: Film, the zebra stripes are unaffected by the ISO setting — but they do change with ISO settings with Dynanmic range: video mode. Would you know if I am right in assuming this is because the Film mode is fixed at the native 800ASA (like in RAW mode), and hence manually changing the ASA only affects the display LCD?

  20. Hi, I’m newer to film production and I was wondering about the ND filters that you used. You shot with the Sigma Art 18-35mm and used 77mm filters by the looks of it. Wouldn’t a 72mm filter be better for the Sigma or is there no difference? I was looking at that lens online and the recommended filters were all 72mm, that is why I was wondering. Thanks!

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