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Old April 20th, 2014, 02:49 AM   #31
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Re: Is the Blackmagic URSA a game changer?

Function can drive the shape of a camera.

Regarding the Bolex H16, it's a camera that has survived and developed since the 1930s and is still in use today. It's layout is based on the requirement for 2 x 100ft 16mm daylight loading spools (feed & take up) and having a spring motor. It survived by evolving and being versatile (variable frame rates, single frames, dissolves in camera and you can fit an external electric motor), at a reasonable cost. It's a bit of a camel, because of what it can do and where you can go with it. The camera was being used on major TV dramas into the early 2000s, but you can see its 1930s roots. It seems to also feature in a number of ads etc, so I guess it's become a classic. http://www.filmcentre.co.uk/images/c...ex_RX4_H16.jpg

Other approaches come if you only use electric motors. http://www.christies.com/lotfinderim.../d4813449r.jpg http://www.christies.com/lotfinderim.../d2048811r.jpg Both of these 1950s camera were designed with a mirror shutter reflex viewfinder, with the Bolex a reflex viewfinder was an add on. All these designs have to allow for those 2 16mm film spools.

Unfortunately, there does seem to be a tendency for modern cameras to become front heavy when rigged for shooting, This isn't helped by fitting a matte box and follow focus together with the increased weight of cine lenses. As Charles says, Moore's law doesn't apply to the optics, however, with the current use of electronic V/F instead of an optical V/F there is little excuse for designing the shoulder pad right at the back of the camera. The Amira's design addresses this issue with its arrangement: http://provideocoalition.com/images/..._1_640_404.jpg
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Old April 20th, 2014, 04:29 AM   #32
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Re: Is the Blackmagic URSA a game changer?

The subject of design is a bit of a non starter really, on a purely aesthetic level. Ergonomics, sure. But so many cameras these days above a certain threshold just look like a differently shaped brick with plugs and a lens.
The Ursa is a bit reminiscent of a "sports" PC case I suppose, but someone buys those things. The BMCC looked vaguely like an Apple-ish thing. So I guess they're spreading it around a bit.
If I had my way everything would look like it was designed in the 40s, 50s and 60s, but I guess that wouldn't fly either. I don't envy today's industrial designers trying to be interesting and popular at the same time.
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Old April 20th, 2014, 06:03 AM   #33
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Re: Is the Blackmagic URSA a game changer?

No reason why you can't pimp your own camera, using one of the nicest Betacam bodies for hand held work. Bodies for parts are pretty cheap.

The Hyper 35mm Camera. 5DmkII in a Sony Betacam body | Philip Bloom
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Old April 20th, 2014, 06:28 AM   #34
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Re: Is the Blackmagic URSA a game changer?

I was personally impressed with all the features of this camera, and I like its design, especially the ability to upgrade the sensor. As for complaining about having a too big 10" 1080 resolution screen along with two 5" screens... Really? It's like complaining that your pocket is too small to fit all your stacks of money.
If you don't use one of the screens, turn it off. You can always put less things in a too big bag, but you can never put more things in a too small bag...
This camera is designed to be used with a crew, and mostly on a tripod. Maybe it is not perfectly designed for such, but a professional crew would quickly adapt to all its little design quirks, and if its image and sound are great, who cares if the sound guy has to move a bit when the camera is panned?
If this was a bit smaller and lot lighter, I would happily adapt all its design quirks into my run and gun style.
For the price, if it works flawlessly and actually gets delivered, why wouldn't this become an industry standard for medium budget projects?
If they produce a complimentary run and gun version of this camera, iron out all the wrinkles that are unavoidable on the cutting edge of innovation, and improve their customer support, I would only be too happy to give them both my money and my loyalty.
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Old April 20th, 2014, 10:37 AM   #35
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Re: Is the Blackmagic URSA a game changer?

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Originally Posted by Brian David Melnyk View Post
This camera is designed to be used with a crew, and mostly on a tripod. Maybe it is not perfectly designed for such, but a professional crew would quickly adapt to all its little design quirks, and if its image and sound are great, who cares if the sound guy has to move a bit when the camera is panned?
Actually, I have seen a Sony F55 setup that used 3 displays, and only had a single operator (there was an AC to help with the jib, but she was not looking at the screens). Now, this may have been a bit specialized, but I still like the idea of my settings being on a separate display - no more (or at least fewer) annoying overlays :)
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Old April 20th, 2014, 12:40 PM   #36
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Re: Is the Blackmagic URSA a game changer?

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Originally Posted by Brian Drysdale View Post
No reason why you can't pimp your own camera, using one of the nicest Betacam bodies for hand held work. Bodies for parts are pretty cheap.

The Hyper 35mm Camera. 5DmkII in a Sony Betacam body | Philip Bloom
That's pretty cool. You do hear a lot of fondness for the Sonys of yore. It's like gas shocks and fuel injection in the ol Mustang. I wonder if one day we might see recastings in fibreglass with whatever innards you like (could be pushing the car thing too far here)
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Old April 20th, 2014, 01:42 PM   #37
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Re: Is the Blackmagic URSA a game changer?

That's a tad whimsical, along with the Ergocine Lion which mimics the shape of the Aaton mag, sticking a big chunk of wood behind the camera.

The reality is that the Betacam form factor was ergonomic, but not well suited for production work. Everything was molded and cast into a gentle curve, there were virtually no flat surfaces. One 1/4"-20 mount at the front of the handle (and the handle wasn't flat, good luck mounting things to that). Attaching accessories was like trying to use a suction cup cel phone holder on the dash of a modern car--you can't find a flat part.

The solution, to paraphrase Steven, is to move forwards while looking backwards. Keep the ideas that work (a long, lowslung camera mass that sits on the shoulder "like a cat") and bring them forwards in flexible ways. My vision: the only piece that still has to be physically mated is the optics to the sensor, so start with that as a module and offset the rest of the system (processor/record module/IO module/viewing/battery) as needed. Gimbals and tight spaces (cars), use a long umbilical to separate the guts out and away. Handheld, use a short umbilical and a sliding baseplate to create a completely balanced assembly. Studio mode, push it all together and build it out. Things snap together quickly and easily, and you only use the pieces you need. A "power user" may need it all, a hobbyist can buy into the less expensive modules (HDMI vs HD-SDI for instance) and work their way up. And of course, when it's modular, the different components (sensor module) can be upgraded more easily.

But, that's just me.

I didn't get a chance to put the URSA on my shoulder at the show, but it would have been somewhat pointless without a viewfinder anyway. But, I'll stick the idea that if it sits perfectly balanced, it is going to feel better than a front heavy camera that weighs half as much.

What turned me off the camera for good was those touch screen menus. Not nearly responsible enough for me.
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Old April 20th, 2014, 02:28 PM   #38
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Re: Is the Blackmagic URSA a game changer?

Fitting accessories was a problem on the Betacams. The lightweight support bars seemed to be the first thing to come out, although at that time you wouldn't have fitted a monitor onto the camera. Panavision did a make over with the F900, it wasn't the lightest camera, but you could fit quite a few accessories.
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Old April 20th, 2014, 04:24 PM   #39
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Re: Is the Blackmagic URSA a game changer?

It is more than 16 pounds, there is the weight of the lens, as well as the battery.

Balanced on your shoulder the screen would literally be directly in front of your face, so it would be useless.
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Old April 20th, 2014, 05:11 PM   #40
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Re: Is the Blackmagic URSA a game changer?

Obviously the total payload is more than 16 lbs. The only way to compare camera weights has always been body only. Otherwise there is no baseline.

The flip out screen is not intended to be used for handheld work. Blackmagic is assuming, like many other manufacturers, that third party viewfinders will be used for that. The flip out screen is for conventional shooting.
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Old April 20th, 2014, 05:31 PM   #41
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Re: Is the Blackmagic URSA a game changer?

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Originally Posted by Charles Papert View Post
Actually, if you've never had the opportunity to put a properly balanced but "heavy" camera on your shoulder, you might find that the lessons of the past are worth paying attention to. It has long been a given that it's better to have a more balanced camera on the shoulder if it means a few extra pounds vs a front heavy and lighter camera. There is a sweet spot of camera mass that adds to the stability of a handheld camera--it can actually be less fatiguing to operate in the long run. Many agree that a properly balanced 25 lb camera is far better than a 5 lb camera perched on the wrist or 10lbs of front-heavy mass cantilevered off the shoulder.

Moore's law doesn't apply to physics, optics or the interface with the human body. Just because camera imaging technology is jumping ahead in leaps and bounds doesn't mean everything around it is starting from scratch. A user who has come up on DSLR rigs would probably be blown away at how solid and stable a 20 yr old Aaton or Betacam feels.
Well said, Charles. I agree completely.
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Old April 21st, 2014, 08:51 AM   #42
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Re: Is the Blackmagic URSA a game changer?

No doubt that's true for certain types of shooting. But you're also assuming you can leave the camera on your shoulder the entire time you are shooting. Try sticking a 25 lb camera above your head and hold it there for a few minutes. Or shoot with a 25 lb camera on a monopod. I'd much rather have my C300 in that situation.

As a documentary-style shooter that travels a lot, there is no way I'd return to the shoulder-mount camera. It is simply less nimble in the field and difficult to get on and off planes with. My camera goes under the seat in it's case, a necessity in my book. The shot variety I can get with a small camera far exceeds a shoulder mount camera.

Different strokes for different folks.
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Old April 21st, 2014, 09:26 AM   #43
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Re: Is the Blackmagic URSA a game changer?

I don't think the URSA is aimed at that sort of operation, although you could carry it on as hand baggage in the traditional ENG camera style. In a way, the C300 is closer to the Bolex mentioned earlier, than the shoulder mounted cameras. It really depends on the type of productions you're working on and the size of your crew.
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Old April 21st, 2014, 02:05 PM   #44
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Re: Is the Blackmagic URSA a game changer?

Yes, it is clearly designed to be a production camera. I would imagine for someone who is doing docs that oscillate between run and gun and produced material that the BM Production 4k camera with EF lenses would make a great B camera, perfect for the run and gun aspect.

A MORE perfect scenario is the one I detailed above, where a camera head as small as the Production camera (but better designed) can be built out in a modular fashion when the need arises. Maybe someone will make that.
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