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Old October 7th, 2015, 03:01 AM   #1
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URSA Mini 4.6K vs 4K

Blackmagic Design has taken a revolutionary step in filming and motion by introducing the URSA Mini due to mind-blowing features added to this camera at very reasonable and affordable pricing range. In order to help budget-limited individuals, the company has introduced 4.6K and 4K versions very much like other models. Comparing these two versions, it seems thats the differences are minor despite major difference in pricing ($4995 for 4.6K and $2995 for 4K).
One of the differences spotted on these two versions is the dynamic range. 15 stops are given for 4.6K and 12 stops for 4K. Do you think that 3 additional stops of dynamic range will make a significant difference in post production?
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Old October 7th, 2015, 07:34 AM   #2
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Re: URSA Mini 4.6K vs 4K

Haitham,

Here's the deal.
Most filmmakers today are too lazy to use light the way it should be used. They are poor and work in horrible condition with almost no crew, so they need a cam with 20+ stops of dynamic range, because all what matters is your gear. If you spend 5000 bucks for the 4.6K vs 3000 for the 4K, your zombie story will be way better. It's going to be something very original that nobody has seem before. Just imagine showing for the first time people who are dead, but actually can walk, and are slashed with machetes for 90 minutes. Zombie stories because most of them are shot at dawn or at night require a huge dynamic range. Most interesting stories, with amazing acting and something to say are best left to losers who stupidly believe that everything in the frame must be controlled, whether it's the sound of the light. Those idiots can get by with 10 stops of DN range, but really, they're disappearing very fast. I mean, can you imagine spending 2-3 hours just to compose a shot, and just spending 15 minutes to shoot it? I mean, what kind of loser do that?
So yes, by any means, just splurge that 4.6K. Besides as many people will tell you, it's a new sensors, the old one as sooooo crappy, all the problems such as FPN were fixed, but unfortunately it still requires that the filmmaker control his environment by spending a huge amount of time "painting" with light. The nice thing about the 4.6K is that Black Magic will sell it with a microphone that doesn't require any work as far as sound. You can stay way back, 30 feet from the actors, and the mic will take the sound as if it was hanging 6 inches from a boom above the head of the talent. Yes, now anybody with no story, no lights, no good sound can make a film!

I'm sorry, disregard this post.

Do you understand that a film called Tangerine was released in theaters and nobody complained about the quality of the image? Do you understand that all the negative comments about Tangerine came from people:

1-didn't give a damn about the story
2-Thought the story could have been better
3-Any other thing related to the content?

Why don't you buy a LX 100 or a NX 500 ? YOu'll have something way better than an iphone5.
Let me tell you something, a huge secret. You kids don't go see movies anymore. It's series, series, series, whether' they're made by HBO or Netflix. You can buy the 4.6K of the RED RAVEN, if you are not connected and don't have a deal and a huge amount of money your film wont' go anywhere, so what's left for you?
Surprise the world, mainly through festivals, with an amazing story and amazing actors. Forget about that cam.
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Old October 7th, 2015, 07:43 AM   #3
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Re: URSA Mini 4.6K vs 4K

Did you forget to take your medicine again Larry?

12 or 15 stop should make a big difference but I rather see some real world examples that show the difference instead of looking at numbers, only then you know if it's worth the extra 2K.
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Old October 7th, 2015, 08:02 AM   #4
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Re: URSA Mini 4.6K vs 4K

Yes, Noa, just found it under the bed. I feel much better now.
Going online to shop for that 4.6K.

Uh, Noa, about the difference you're expecting to see between those two cams, is one going to be operated by Spielberg's DP and the other one by somebody who's just starting? How are you going to know what were the shooting conditions? If if you do, where they ideal? On what kind of monitor or screen will you compare 4K and 4.6K?
Just to know.
Thanks.
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Old October 7th, 2015, 08:52 AM   #5
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Re: URSA Mini 4.6K vs 4K

You have no control over who shoots with these camera but after a while when more comparison videos appear you start to get a good idea if the difference in 3stops of DR is worth 2K extra, there might be some other advantages such as 4.6k res but not sure that alone warrants the price difference, he difference is DR might for some. That is what Haitham is asking for.
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Old October 7th, 2015, 09:50 AM   #6
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Re: URSA Mini 4.6K vs 4K

Noa,
If the shot is correctly exposed and the dark areas of the shot are correctly lit, are you still going to be able to tell the difference?
You might tell the difference if somebody is shot with those cams in a house in front of a windows, probably with a better DR you'll see details in the trees outside as opposed to a big blur with the lesser cam? But seriously, if you don't have such drastic contrast represented by the inside of a house and the outside through a window, is DR really an argument...as long as you have at least 12 stops?
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Old October 7th, 2015, 10:07 AM   #7
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Re: URSA Mini 4.6K vs 4K

Quote:
But seriously, if you don't have such drastic contrast represented by the inside of a house and the outside through a window, is DR really an argument...as long as you have at least 12 stops?
Until someone can show that it can make a big difference we only can guess based on numbers.
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Old October 7th, 2015, 12:41 PM   #8
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Re: URSA Mini 4.6K vs 4K

Thank you all for your response. Your discussions were fruitful and I can feel from your opinions that Dynamic Range plays a great role in video shooting and that every additional DR stop really matters and makes a real difference and adds more capability to better control the lightings and exposure in the scenes.
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Old October 7th, 2015, 01:56 PM   #9
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Re: URSA Mini 4.6K vs 4K

If you wait a bit then Larry can tell you how 15 stops of DR look like and if it's worth paying extra for it as he was shopping for the 4.6k Ursa.
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Old October 7th, 2015, 02:05 PM   #10
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Re: URSA Mini 4.6K vs 4K

Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry Secrest View Post
If you spend 5000 bucks for the 4.6K vs 3000 for the 4K, your zombie story will be way better.
Quoting this to save it for posterity. I love a good rant and I give this one a solid 7.5 out of ten. I'm hoping to work this quote into conversation sometime soon. With appropriate credit to Larry.
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Old October 9th, 2015, 09:41 AM   #11
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Re: URSA Mini 4.6K vs 4K

In other words, content, content, content, that's the only thing that can mesmerize me. A beautiful female zombie with a beautiful sunset background filmed in 6K with the best cam out there, I don't care.
I'll watch Death and The Maden or Harold and Maud filmed in super 8 by somebody who knows what he's doing.
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Old October 9th, 2015, 11:43 AM   #12
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Re: URSA Mini 4.6K vs 4K

What's your point Larry? the TS wanted to know if the 3 stops of DR would be worth the pricedifference, if I follow your logic we shouldn't be asking any questions anymore and just all start shooting with our Iphones. Everyone has different standards, for some jobs 15 stops of DR and raw is a requirement, for others a gopro will do fine.
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Old October 9th, 2015, 02:03 PM   #13
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Re: URSA Mini 4.6K vs 4K

Also, in another thread you are praising the bmcc over any other "compromised codecs" camera and even suggest that the new Ursa mini 4.6K might be substantially better. Will the bmcc make your zombiestorie look better? If content is the only thing that can mesmerize you, why are you so obsessed about the bmcc?
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Old October 10th, 2015, 07:03 PM   #14
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Re: URSA Mini 4.6K vs 4K

I can certainly understand the frustration one can have with a generation of filmmakers who are obsessed with pixel-peeping, spec sheets and hyped-up product launches when they should be spending that energy on honing their technique, artistry and storytelling skills. But there's not much point in launching rants against perfectly reasonably questions such as the OP's here. This site was born as a sharing of thoughts about cameras (well, one camera in particular back in the day) and dynamic range is an important factor for everyone, particular filmmakers working on a budget.

A few days ago I had to shoot a scene of two characters inside a car, watching two other characters across the street. Our shooting schedule forced me into a scenario where the car was parked in shade and the other folks were in blazing front-lit sun (iIt may come as a surprise for some to hear that a DP shooting a network series doesn't have the clout to insist that day exteriors be scheduled under their recommendations, but that's another story). Anyway, it took all of the firepower in my arsenal to bring the interior up to a level where I could manage both interior and exterior exposures in the same frame, and that included two 18K's, two M40's and two M18's, shooting Log C on the Alexa. In that instance, I was using all of my resources simply to balance exposure rather than make a creative lighting choice, while delivering the desire of the director to tell his story by tying the characters together in space.

There are certain aspects of camera technology that are big favorites for message boards that I agree have little to do with the final product. 1080 is still good enough for most applications yet so many no-budget filmmakers now trump "4K (or higher) or die" (yes, I know the various advantages of 4K origination for 1080 delivery, but none of them are mission-critical for most low-budget projects). High sensitivity sensors have a clear advantage for run-and-gun doc style shooting, but may indeed encourage laziness for narrative work with the "you don't lights" philosophy. I feel differently about high dynamic range; I consider taming daylight exposure as more of a chore than a creative choice most of the time and look forward to a day when I don't need a 20x20 flyswatter on a condor or a truck full of lights to be able to deliver images that our eyes can achieve normally.

I don't really shoot creative/personal projects much any more, I am lucky enough to be getting enough work that my free time for me is better spent on other pursuits. But it would be fun to be able to throw a camera in a backpack and go shoot a scene on a mountaintop without having to work around the contrast issues presented by ever-changing sunlight.

To answer the OP's question, "Do you think that 3 additional stops of dynamic range will make a significant difference in post production?", I would suggest that 3 stops of DR would actually affect production at least as much as it would post, as it would allow for smaller crews and gear packages to achieve similar results.
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Old October 13th, 2015, 02:16 PM   #15
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Re: URSA Mini 4.6K vs 4K

I definitely agree with everything Charles posted. I am working on the pre-production of a 5 minute short film. Currently I'm in the process of storyboarding, which in turn means that I am flexing my budget to make sure I can afford all the lighting and camera gear I will need to pull off my short. Part of that has to do with dynamic range of the camera.

I plan on renting the 4k URSA mini next spring to shoot because of the dynamic range advantages over something like a 5d mkiii. Without the RAW hack for the 5d, I'd have to spend more than triple on lighting than if I were to rent the URSA or even a Sony A7s (which actually blew me away when it comes to dynamic range.) Not to mention, I'd then have to power that lighting somehow without blowing the breakers in my little apartment, which have a horrible track record for such things.

Point being, I can focus more on the creative aspect of lighting if I know I can pull those highlights back from the windows behind my actors, as I have done many times with the A7s while shooting weddings. With the 5d, I'm stuck with over blown highlights that can't be remedied. That being said, that helps me keep my budget to a fraction of its potential.

Though this technology, as cheap as it is getting, means that many people without skill or vision get their hands on this kind of gear, doesn't mean that it is bad. It helps some of us unlock our creativity so that we can focus on the artistic side of filmmaking, as Charles talks about, I can now light so the mood fits the story instead of just lighting to fix exposure.
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