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Oliver Daniel

I broke my rules and pre-ordered the URSA Mini 4.6k

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I try every camera before I buy and throw it straight into the thick of it. Away from all the usual (mostly boring) tests, this is the best test you can do! But i broke my rules for the first time and pre-ordered the camera (all bells and whistles) along with the BM Micro Camera and the Video Assist.

Why? Because I love the Blackmagic image (Cinema Camera) but never bought it because of the terrible ergonomics and lack of HFR. I like the FS7 but I absolutely can't stand the sloppy menu system and the lack of monitoring a LUT over Slog S+Q compositions. 

A bit of info on announcements...  I've spoken to a bunch of retailers in the UK about the Blackmagic products, including the new URSA Mini. They said they will only know the release date 48 hours before they actually get stock. Some said they think it's a marketing thing (can't get my head round that). 

They said the Video Assist will likely be the latest, with earliest release date expected 30/09/2015...but don't be surprised if it comes at Christmas. They have no idea regarding the other products. So I guess I've joined the waiting army..... 

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Guest Ebrahim Saadawi

But i broke my rules for the first time and pre-ordered the camera

Well you picked the perfect brand to start with *rollingeyes*

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I've spoke with the local rental houses and none of them are buying the URSA Mini. Their reply: "We find that people buy Blackmagic instead of rent." So this is a major obstacle for people like me who like to try first. 

I've gone with the gut feeling this time, looking forward to the ride!

 

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I pre-ordered within 5 minutes of it being available on B&H. I can always cancel. Probably will actually since my funds have dried up a bit. I am really excited though about this one. Can't wait to see some more footage.

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Yep, I did. 

I'm obviously going to become a cinematic genius - with no hair, severe anxiety disorders and terrible eye bags. :persevere:;)

And your last movie will suck bigtime.

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Guest Ebrahim Saadawi

Kidding aside yes Blackmagic historically is the worst company to pre-order from or be an early adopter, but, I do believe by now they have picked up their pace and the URSA mini will be ready when it comes out. The tweaking/lagging/firmware issues have all already been ironed out by this time. Even Red and Arri had those issues (and bigger issues) during their first two years. 

and as an internal philosophy, I think they'll try harder than any other company not to have these issues as they've just been bitten hard by them. 

 

I expect the downfalls of the camera compared to the rivals will be mainly limited to 

-Lowlight performance, 

-Power

-Media cost 

-Lack of internal ND filters 

lowlight capability vs the monsters (C100/300/FS7), I expect a huge difference in that regard (The company says it's similar to BM 2.5K in lowlight, which has 1600 ISO similar to 6400/10000 ISO on these new cameras) so if shooting at high ISOs is your thing it's probably going to be an major issue. If you shoot under 800 ISO anyway, no problem. 

Battery system is also going to be a minor downside vs the dirt cheap and forever-running FS7/C100/300 type batteries. Large power drain is a distinctive feature of all blackmagic products vs the older rivals, they EAT power, but if you're okay with using it Alexa/Red/35mm film V-Lock style then it's no problem, 

Another problem is going to be the enormous price of C-Fast 2 cards if you intend to use it at its full potential (Raw and Resolve). It will eat fast through a 500$ card so you'll need a few.

And the need for mattebox or carrying the old variable/fixed ND circles in the bag.

 

 

I don't expect anymore issues, previously Blackmagic had problems like

-enormous uncompressed raw files

-inadequate media,

-no waveforms/histogram,

-no audio meter or XLRs (in fact no audio at all based on the quality of it),

-Fixed pattern noise,

-hedious 200 ISO-only lowlight performance,

-black sun spots,

-need enormous rigs to go on the shoulder,

-no EVF or articulating screens,

all of these have been fixed.

These are only the downsides, the upsides of the URSA mini are way too long to list, and I predict a gorgeous image below 1600 ISO, with high resolution, top of the line DR, colour science, compression, rolloff, blackmagic do this part right, filmic images. But again, just based on their past/specs, I hope nothing turns out wrong with the new sensor/image.

Anyway the Ursa mini is not as dangerous as BM used to be, that's been mainly fixed, still a brave decision but I say go for it, unless lowlight/power/media cost/NDs are a problem. 

Actually, my first preorder ever is the Blackmagic Video Assist, at the day of annoucement, I do expect weird things like, as Aaron said image being upside down (and hence endless forum fights about how rotating an image is destructive at the pixel level), needs a bag of batteries, only records to one SD type that I don't have, self-destructs in a week, something, 

 

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From Hook's video to the review by OneRiverMedia, the footage coming off of that sensor is apparently jaw dropping. It'll just be something bizarre than needs a firmware update - like footage recording upside down or something.

Aaron, thanks for your comment. I had not read OneRiver's blog posts. I just did and they are so optimistic that I am very much reconsidering canceling my preorder.

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From Hook's video to the review by OneRiverMedia, the footage coming off of that sensor is apparently jaw dropping. It'll just be something bizarre than needs a firmware update - like footage recording upside down or something.

And it'll take a year for them to fix it. By the time they do, everyone will have built elaborate rigs for upside-down shooting.

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Yep, I did. 

I'm obviously going to become a cinematic genius - with no hair, severe anxiety disorders and terrible eye bags. :persevere:;)

Think that is known as Beta Tester Cinematic Genius ... adrenaline rush when it all works, crash when it doesn't.

I considered this but remembered a comment from an IBM executive early on ... consistent repeatable production without

errors trumps innovation when critical delivery is mandatory.

So ... I returned to HD from 4K in that I purchased a C100 Mk II ... will sell off my A7S CD Odyssey 7Q+ .

My D-Lux 109 will give me 4K to play.

Hope that the BM goes mainstream at some point as the quality of their image when it works is stunning.

Bob

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Quite a lot of negativity about Blackmagic here, and maybe rightly so. They do deserve credit though for being so aggressive. 

In terms of considering the extra bits... I have V-Locks, a lot of media storage, vari-ND's. Cfast2... bit annoying, but all cinema cameras have very expensive media. 

Low light.... I light everything. Lupolux, Dedolight's, Kino Flo's, Scorpions, reflectors, polyboard... always got it covered. :)

I built up my video business on a Canon 60d and two crappy EF lenses, so I'm quite proud to have the ability to go for these options today. 

 

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Aaron, thanks for your comment. I had not read OneRiver's blog posts. I just did and they are so optimistic that I am very much reconsidering canceling my preorder.

They are affiliated with or paid by Blackmagic. I've never read a negative thing about any BM cameras from them. 

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Sad to hear BMD Video Assist is going to be the most delayed :-(

Maybe I just shouldn't wait, and get a Video Devices PIX-E5 now. 

Yeah go for it, since you don't really upgrade them every year like cameras do now lol

I am waiting for the 5H version since I dont need SDI, I could use that $200 saving on something else (fund for A7000 or RX10 II..depend on how good A7000 is for video)

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