What a surprise! While this camera is pretty tough to find right now, DVEStore.com was kind enough to lend me one of their BlackMagic Design URSA Mini Cameras. I really did enjoy the quality coming from the big URSA, but it was a beast of a camera to manage out in the field. It required a heavy duty tripod and couldn't be shouldered for very long without fatigue. The URSA MINI is less than 1/3rd the weight at just 5lbs (camera body) with a more compact form factor, so very easy to move around and travel with.
The most stand out feature over the BlackMagic Production 4K camera, is that the URSA MINI offers 4K RAW up to 60fps (yes 4K/60fps!) and for just $2995 (here). That's cheaper than a Sony A7RII. There's additional modes for 1080 up to 120fps if you need faster. If you want even better quality, the URSA Mini 4.6K sensor will offer 4K RAW up to 80fps.
The basic package for the new URSA Mini doesn't come with the top handle, shoulder pad, extension handle, battery plate, or URSA EVF which is all options you can purchase to make a full shoulder rig camera. For now, I've had to improvise by assembling my favorite rig parts together (as seen below).
I would say the 'core' of the rig you see above is the SHAPE C100/C300 Rig setup with the Paparazzi Top Handle + SHAPE Pro Dual Follow Focus. The long 15mm Rails are lightweight Carbon Fiber from PVGear.com. The CAME-TV Shoulder Pad is placed directly under the camera, so it's very well balanced. But when the camera sits this far back, you'll need an EVF upfront. I'm using my Cineroid Retina EVF + Loupe.
I'm using CAME-TV 15mm Handles with Rosette joints. The BlackMagic URSA Mini Remote Handle just happens to be the exact same so I was able to replace one handle with the URSA Mini Remote. Now that I have most of this put together it's time to take it out this week for some test footage. If you guys have any questions about this camera, I have one here in my hands and i'll try to answer some. Otherwise you can get more information by contacting or visiting DVEStore.com
@Jae - I don't know if the HD4000 could handle it. Might need something like the Steadicam Scout.
Hey emm! What stabilizer would you suggest with the Ursa Mini. Glidecam hd4000?
Never mind; I just read the part where you say that you had to improvise. I just assumed you had the top handle and Viewfinder. I know the EVF is available but don't know about the top handle, which is required to install the EVF on the Mini.
Why not just use the Shoulder Mount Kit and Viewfinder from Blackmagic?
Nice rig! I'm really curious whether this could be flown on a Ronin-M and other light gimbals -- will you be trying that?
Re low light performance, it would be interesting to see some underlit footage post-grading to look at how the IQ/grain holds up.
Thanks, Emm. I have a 4.6k on pre-order and want to use my current dslr rig so the photos of your setup are helpful.
Given that the ursa monitor may be too close for handheld rig, are there any issues ahead if I try to use my smallHD monitor? It appears I Would need an sdi to hdmi adapter to do so.
Also regarding power to this kind of rig, would you recommend one brand/type (i.e.: v mount) over others? Perhaps refer me to an article already posted on your site?
Love the color of the BMPC4K / UM4K
@Jason - To be clear there are two different options we are taking about. One is timelapse, and one is project settings. I have to test if both can deliver a final video in the way that you're suggesting.
I might be. The way the FS700 works, is you dial in your frame rate of 1FPS ... shoot your timelapse ... then it makes a clip for you that plays back at 24fps. It does the same thing at any frame rate. So at 240FPS, it plays back in camera at 24FPS. Similar for shooting light streaks you'd dial down your Frame Rate and match your shutterspeed, then in camera the final product plays back at 24fps.
@Jason - I will have to try this out, but I think you're thinking of it in reverse. It first shoots at a designated framerate, and then saves it to a project setting. So technically it would be shooting at 24fps, and then saving to 1fps (if possible). I'll have to double check this.
@Andy - When your shoulder is directly under the URSA Mini the monitor is right up against your face. But if you push the URSA Mini out further and have a shoulder pad placed behind it, then it's usable. This will add more weight over your arms, but it's not overly heavy, and if you can setup the right counterbalance behind your shoulder pad (v-mount battery, 15mm counterweights), then it's totally usable. The system will just be longer and heavier because of the configuration.
Hey Emm, just wondering if the built in LCD is usable when the Ursa's shoulder mounted? Is it possible to get a comfortable setup where it's far enough away from your eyes to actually see what's going on?
So it does have the ability to go all the way down to 1FPS and then automatically convert it in camera to 24FPS? Similar to the FS700?
@Jason - Yes it has a built in Timelapse feature and can shoot RAW. Not necessarily timelapse, but there is also has an interesting feature that allows you to select the framerate to shoot at while saving the video to a framerate you choose. So you can shoot 60p, and automatically save it in 24p (automatic slow motion). Or you can shoot at 60p and save it as 60p so you can do your slow motion in post. Using that setting, you can choose other project settings to save at too. You can choose some really odd numbers, even low frame rates in this option.
Can the camera shoot timelapse without adding an intervalometer? I've been reading about all of the high frame rate abilities, but there has been no mention of low frame rate.
@Steffen - Yeah this is not a strong low light camera, and ISO 800 still shows some noise. The best images you'll get from this camera is when you're outdoors, or if you're lighting your scenes. Lighting scenes is what a lot of people will do for interviews, feature films, and shorts. So not a totally unusable camera for some. The 4.6K Ursa Mini is supposed to have all the big changes (at $2K more).
The URSA Mini is just exciting because of it's price tag and features. In order to get 4K from a GH4 or Sony A7s, you'd have to buy an external recorder for over $1400 dollars. That still doesn't give you RAW or 4K/60fps (RAW too) and an A7s is still only 8 bit. If you're shooting on a GH4, you're going to have to spend $500+ for a SpeedBooster to get a wider view. The URSA is a Super 35 and even has two XLR inputs with Phantom power.
Basically by the time you've built up your rig for a GH4 or A7s you've spent much more than if you were shooting with the URSA Mini. But again this only gives you the best quality when you can control your lighting - which is perfect for a good amount of people, but not everyone.
Is ISO 800 much more usable than on the 4K sensor? Don´t mind a bit of denoising, but the ISO800 results on the "old" sensor were just close to unusable for highend work, hope this has been improved ..
@Curtis - I would have to say this is not a low light camera, especially compared to something like an A7s.
How does the low light compare to cameras like the Canon c100 and Sony a7s?