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BRollTheIntern

Blackmagic Ursa Mini 4.6K QC Issues & Extra Thoughts

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Posted · Original PosterOP

Relevant Information

YES I am aware that Blackmagic has since Monday released a new 4.0 BETA firmware for the Ursa Mini 4.6K, but since I sent the camera back before this was out I made this video using firmware 3.3. The new firmware does add A LOT of awesome features including quicker access to controls, so thumbs up to Blackmagic for getting that rolled out. 

 

Camera Body

I/O aside the Blackmagic had a few quirks that I will mention here for anyone considering on purchasing an Ursa Mini 4.6K. The first is that all the threaded mounting points on the camera are sized for ¼”-20 screws. The reason this could be a small issue for some is that most tripod plates come with a single ¼”-20 screw and a single 3/8” screw, meaning that you will need to have extra ¼”-20 screws on hand to prevent your tripod plate from twisting loose.

 

My second minor gripe with the Ursa Mini’s body is that the power button is ONLY on the inside of the monitor. This was particularly annoying when I was using the camera handheld eventually needing to switch batteries and in order to do so I had to take the camera off my shoulder open the monitor, power the camera off, set the camera down or have someone hold it then finally change batteries. When trying to work quickly with a crew in particular this was a minor but noticeable annoyance.

 

My third and final physical complaint is the omission of the global shutter. While I understand that Blackmagic could not make the process work with both the promised DR and the Global shutter it is a bit of a let down. The silver lining to this is the rolling shutter on the Ursa is very solid and was never an issue even when using the camera handheld. In all the work I put this camera through not once did it cross my mind that the rolling shutter made the image much worse. I consider Global Shutter to be a feature reserved for higher end cameras and there aren't many cameras close to the Ursa's price point that have it. 

 

QC Issues

Like all of Blackmagic’s releases this camera has been in high demand and had a lot of people in line with pre-orders. While I can only guess, this seems to have led to difficulties in their QC process. Our unit from B&H had a small imperfection on the cameras monitor that was not generally noticeable when you had an image on screen but was definitely visible going through the cameras menus. This could very easily be damage the camera received during shipping but ether way we ended up with it, annoying.

 

The second more pressing issue we had physically was the REAR SDI out on the camera did not work at any point in time. I tried multiple camera and full size desktop monitors and half a dozen SDI cables with no luck. This was disappointing but not something I believe Blackmagic would fix if my past customer service experience with them is any indication. This is however something that many will find unacceptable since you will be without your camera for up to several weeks depending on where you live.

 

The last and possibly the most talked about QC issue that people have been mentioning is the magenta cast that some of the 4.6K sensors seem to be exhibiting. While I was shooting with the Ursa Mini I was using a GenusTech Variable ND filter and a Hoya IR Cut Filter since I was often outside shooting for this video and the short film. When using those two filters together I did not notice any magenta cast in any of the footage I shot, making sure to go through every shot start to finish checking for it. The corners of the frame seem to be the dead giveaway on other owners units but I did not experience such a drastic issue. That being said when I was not using the ND filter with the IR cut filter I did notice a SLIGHT magenta cast in some of my evening footage particularly at 800 ISO (Will be adding screen grabs in the morning)

 

When I first noticed it I was a tad bit concerned however after doing a simple tint correction with in Premiere Pro (nothing fancy) I was able to remove all signs it was ever there, in fact many shots in the video originally had the slight tint and I am fairly certain you would never know it was there to begin with after colour correction was done. It is a shame others are having issues with their copy of the camera but if most currently shipping Ursa Mini’s give the images I got from the one I tested I think there will be many happy owners of this camera out there still.

 

I do hope Blackmagic addresses this issue full swing as its one of main drawbacks being talked about this camera at the moment, but it is also something that should be fixable with time as these cameras begin shipping in larger numbers. It isn't something to brush past if you are considering this camera but if you can afford the time to correct it when it arrives the rest of the image will impress. 

 

Finally I hope you guys enjoy the video and if you have any other specific questions about the Ursa Mini 4.6k please done hesitate to ask me on twitter: @Brandon_Y_lee

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Camera is pretty nice. I saw the video...danm. Looked liked a movie. You should have channel dedicated just for camera footage of the camera and behind the scenes of Linus Media Group. You can make a dope movie at Linus Media Group with the camera!

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25 minutes ago, BRollTheIntern said:

I/O aside the Blackmagic had a few quirks that I will mention here for anyone considering on purchasing an Ursa Mini 4.6K. The first is that all the threaded mounting points on the camera are sized for ¼”-20 screws. The reason this could be a small issue for some is that most tripod plates come with a single ¼”-20 screw and a single 3/8” screw, meaning that you will need to have extra ¼”-20 screws on hand to prevent your tripod plate from twisting loose.

That's why Blackmagic has the shoulder mount kit that costs about $400.  The shoulder mount plate comes with a VCT mount that requires a receiver plate on the tripod. The VCT solution is better and quicker for mounting/releasing then a standard "Manfrotto" style sliding QR plate, especially for video cameras.  Anyone who buys the Ursa Mini should consider getting the shoulder kit.

 

Color casting?  The  4K sensor versions of the Ursa and Ursa Mini had noticeable color cast towards the green, not surprised with the magenta for the 4.6K.  But it's not like the Ursa cameras are the only ones with color casting issues.  Other cameras from other manufacturers also have slight tinting issues, regardless of the price point.

 

People who are interested in the Ursa Mini should watch this video by Philip Bloom who addresses more issues that the camera has.  Such as the free turning audio level dials which also lack any sort of indicator.

 

 


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Posted · Original PosterOP
4 minutes ago, ALwin said:

That's why Blackmagic has the shoulder mount kit that costs about $400.  The shoulder mount plate comes with a VCT mount that requires a receiver plate on the tripod. The VCT solution is better and quicker for mounting/releasing then a standard "Manfrotto" style sliding QR plate, especially for video cameras.  Anyone who buys the Ursa Mini should consider getting the shoulder kit.

 

Color casting?  The  4K sensor versions of the Ursa and Ursa Mini had noticeable color cast towards the green, not surprised with the magenta for the 4.6K.  But it's not like the Ursa cameras are the only ones with color casting issues.  Other cameras from other manufacturers also have slight tinting issues, regardless of the price point.

 

People who are interested in the Ursa Mini should watch this video by Philip Bloom who addresses more issues that the camera has.  Such as the free turning audio level dials which also lack any sort of indicator.

 

 

Used BMs shoulder kit, its IMHO not very good, its great that it has VCT compatibility but it is not ever well balanced or comfortable thanks to the length of the arm for the cameras grip. We use Kessler's Kwik release plates for everything and I prefer it over VCT with the cameras we have now VCT does not make sense as a whole. 

That was mainly why I pointed it out because not everyone will want to use VCT nor is it always a good choice since the plates need to be so large.

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4 minutes ago, BRollTheIntern said:

Used BMs shoulder kit, its IMHO not every good its great that it has VCT compatibility but it is not ever well balanced or comfortable thanks to the length of the arm for the cameras grip. We use Kessler's Kwik release plates for everything and I prefer it over VCT with the cameras we have now VCT does not make sense as a whole. 

That was mainly why I pointed it out because not everyone will want to use VCT nor is it always a good choice since the plates need to be so large.

I never said the BM shoulder kit was the perfect solution, but it's one of the more affordable ones compared to the shoulder kits by Zacuto or Shape which are much better.  However a larger or longer QR plate system makes it easier to balance the camera on the tripod because one moment you can have a short light weight lens which means the center of gravity has moved towards the rear of the camera and another moment you can be using a longer heavier lens and the center of gravity will be more towards the front.

 

To me, a VCT system seems to make more sense for people who have to be able to quickly change between tripod mount use to a shoulder mount use.  i.e. ENG use, because you can simply snap the camera on the tripod or snap it off and the shoulder padding is between the front and back of the VCT locking mechanism.


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Posted · Original PosterOP
Just now, ALwin said:

I never said the BM shoulder kit was the perfect solution, but it's one of the more affordable ones compared to the shoulder kits by Zacuto or Shape which are much better.  However a larger or longer QR plate system makes it easier to balance the camera on the tripod because one moment you can have a short light weight lens which means the center of gravity has moved towards the rear of the camera and another moment you can be using a longer heavier lens and the center of gravity will be more towards the front.

Yup very true, which is why I choose to use the long Kessler kwik release plates is nearly the length of the front 1/4"-20 to the rear 1/4"-20 so it makes balancing much easier :) 

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6 minutes ago, BRollTheIntern said:

Yup very true, which is why I choose to use the long Kessler kwik release plates is nearly the length of the front 1/4"-20 to the rear 1/4"-20 so it makes balancing much easier :) 

How do you find using the CFast to SSD adapter compared to internal CFast cards, how did you mount it on the camera?  I know you mentioned in the review that it had inconsistency issues with different brands of SSD drives, but I'm more interested in whether you encountered frames dropping because the data transfer rate wasn't sustainable or whether the adapter failed (even with the SSD cards that worked) during shooting.  And also how you powered the adapter.

 

One of the things I like about having a proper video camera vs a DSLR system is NOT having too many extra accessories mounted outside the camera.


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Posted · Original PosterOP
8 minutes ago, ALwin said:

How do you find using the CFast to SSD adapter compared to internal CFast cards, how did you mount it on the camera?  I know you mentioned in the review that it had inconsistency issues with different brands of SSD drives, but I'm more interested in whether you encountered frames dropping because the data transfer rate wasn't sustainable or whether the adapter failed (even with the SSD cards that worked) during shooting.  And also how you powered the adapter.

 

One of the things I like about having a proper video camera vs a DSLR system is NOT having too many extra accessories mounted outside the camera.

I am with you there, the less I can have on my rig the better.

Regarding the SSD to CFast Kingston drives I tried seemed to be inconsistent but every Samsung drive I used was rock solid with no dropped frames I tried an 840 & 850 and had no issues. When the Kingston KC400 actually read in the reader it was also rock solid but I didn't use it much since it was so inconsistent. Honestly I think it was more the readers fault than the camera, I have seen others doing a cheaper DIY version of that reader and it working out for them.

 

The reader is powered off the cameras battery plate through a D-tap to DC adapter, and I mounted it on the right of the camera through the rosette using the quick releases I talked about in a previous handy tech video. 

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18 minutes ago, BRollTheIntern said:

Regarding the SSD to CFast Kingston drives I tried seemed to be inconsistent but every Samsung drive I used was rock solid with no dropped frames I tried an 840 & 850 and had no issues. When the Kingston KC400 actually read in the reader it was also rock solid but I didn't use it much since it was so inconsistent. Honestly I think it was more the readers fault than the camera, I have seen others doing a cheaper DIY version of that reader and it working out for them.

I didn't know about the ATOCH adapter until a few days ago when helping someone answer camera questions.  Before, the only one I knew was the C-Box solution on kickstarter.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/648471422/rig-friendly-c-box-system-use-any-ssd-on-your-cfas

 

If and when you do get the Ursa Mini 4.6K as LMG's new camera, and you also get a CFast to SSD adapter, perhaps you can post a chart of SSD drives that work well and can handle the data rate of uncompressed 4K RAW of the camera.  It will be useful.

 

PS: I've had bad experiences with Kingston drives and memory cards that I tend to stay away from them.


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2 hours ago, BRollTheIntern said:

Used BMs shoulder kit, its IMHO not very good, its great that it has VCT compatibility but it is not ever well balanced or comfortable thanks to the length of the arm for the cameras grip. We use Kessler's Kwik release plates for everything and I prefer it over VCT with the cameras we have now VCT does not make sense as a whole. 

That was mainly why I pointed it out because not everyone will want to use VCT nor is it always a good choice since the plates need to be so large.

Where did you learn how tooperate cameras, did you go film school? You should do more shorts on a separate channel


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Loved that video man, loved the cinemascope format, loved the color, loved the camera. And video it produces. Just wow. Hope to see more of you (you did a great job as a reviewer ) and more of that beautiful camera shots. Keep up the good work Brandon. :) 

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Enjoyed the Video, was cool to see some more high end video equipment. I have owned an URSA mini 4.6k for a little while now and have been blown away by the quality footage it produces at its pricepoint. Here are some of my thoughts on the camera so far for future people interested in owning it. Inc wall of text.

 

In regards to the Cfast 2 cards, I feel like with the next generation of cameras seeming to slowly adopt Cfast 2 (nikon d5, Canon 1Dx Mk2, probably 5d mk 4)  the price will hopefully see a downward turn. On my personal rig I decided to go with CFast 2 over external SSD mainly due to not wanting too much more attached to the camera. I invested in a few 128 gig Lexar 3600x cards which in full raw give me about 7min recording time each. I would warn potential buyers of Sandisk Cfast 2 cards since they have been having some issues recently. Also in some cases people have had an issue with various cards in continuously recording mode from slot 1 to slot 2 causing corruption to the card, in my case however I have never encountered this issue with my Lexar 3600x ones.

 

I agree with your assessment of the Blackmagic EVF and I love how it integrates into the Black Magic shoulder rig carry handle. The shoulder rig does have its problems but when coupled with 15 mm rods and some good grips it seems more stable.

 

One issue that can be scary at times is the seldom screen flicker. Was on a model shoot in San Francisco and the damn screen started to flicker off and on like crazy. I don't believe it was  due to heating issues because of the below 60 degree average SF morning . It went away when I just powered off the camera and powered it on again and didn't seem to affect the recording thank god.

 

The power button design aspect also baffles me. They marketed the camera heavy on the idea of getting the EVF. In a run a gun situation on a shoulder rig ,with an EVF or external monitor, I have found it extremely inconvenient to open the damn screen and turn it on. This is especially bad when it's already on your shoulder and you have it set up so the screen closed lines up with the side of your face.... I also would have liked the damn screen to rotate fully all the way around, not sure why the didn't do that, maybe it was a design stability issue.

 

I have also found the camera to be pretty loud. The internal fans really can make a bit of noise, I could see how this might be an issue with an omni directional mic in a quiet, small space. But to be honest if you are using Lav's or a boom, or maybe even just a shotgun mic I don't think you will have any issues. Just be careful using any omnidirectional mic on top of the camera.

 

Last note, If you do go with this camera for future work I strongly recommend getting this bag to carry it in,  the Sachtler Dr. Bag 3. Its top access just makes it a pleasure to work with. https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1115050-REG/sachtler_sc003_dr_bag_3.html

I have found this bag to be the perfect size. I can have it kitted out and ready to go with carry handle, EVF, follow focus, shoulder plate with attached 15mm rails, and a lens, all fitting inside ready to pull out at a moment's notice. Depending on what battery you go with, you could also have that attached as well, maybe if you got some of those sexy slim anton bauer v mount ones. I went with a few cheap MAXOAK177(12000mAh/14.8V) batteries and they have been really great so far but have to be removed and placed next to the camera in the bag due to their size.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00RN76282/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpageie=UTF8&psc=1  

It also sports an internal LED strip light in the bag and has room for a few more lenses and accessories. It’s definitely my favorite camera bag I have ever used.


All in all, I have to say this camera despite its issues has been really wonderful. I love the dynamic range and the raw footage coupled with resolve color editing included has produced some stunning shots. I know black magic has had their issues with releasing this camera but despite those setbacks it’s still an amazing tool that when used right produces stunning footage for something cheaper then a Sony FS5 or FS7. I would definitely recommend it to other working professionals.

 

(edit): D5 uses dual XQD or CF cards not Cfast 2

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1 hour ago, Haunting said:

snip

The Nikon D5 is either dual CF (not CFast) or dual XQD memory cards.

 

CamRade also makes nice bags for video cameras.

 

I've heard people facing the screen flickering and loud fan issues, and a few others regarding noise or artifacting in some instances.  At least BM seems to have solved the black hole sun issue.


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Does this mean that from now on all LTT videos will have that movie-like feel with the black borders and different colour? (Sorry not professional, can't really tell whats different but the colour is definitely of a different tint or smth)


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Enjoyed the video. Good work and better quality than pretty much any camera review that wasn't done by Philip Bloom. Myself included :P Also, thanks for actually rendering the video in 21:9 and not hardcoding in the black bars! Looks beautiful. 

 

Still prefer the general physical layout and features of my big URSA, but that footage colour from the 4.6K has convinced me to upgrade my sensor turret when that drops. I was on the fence before. And did you find the viewfinder useable? I purchased one, but it was one of those drunken regret things and I ended up onselling it.

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13 minutes ago, ALwin said:

The Nikon D5 is either dual CF (not CFast) or dual XQD memory cards.

 

CamRade also makes nice bags for video cameras.

 

I've heard people facing the screen flickering and loud fan issues, and a few others regarding noise or artifacting in some instances.  At least BM seems to have solved the black hole sun issue.

My bad you are correct. Still think its an odd choice for nikon to go with old CF as an option, not that I can complain, having a ton laying around for my d800. 

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30 minutes ago, xxMega11xx said:

Why was this video 21:9 not the normal 16:9 if they are using it as their A cam dies that mean all of there future videos will be 21:9?

 

No, they wont be in 21:9, it was just cropped for cinematic effect


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i notice you said the color cast of green , i was want to buy a fullsize ursa 4.6k

have you ever use it? i think the ursa mini is perfact for me , but it release later ,so is any issues with fullsize usra ?

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On 8/31/2016 at 2:13 AM, Alceatraz said:

i notice you said the color cast of green , i was want to buy a fullsize ursa 4.6k

have you ever use it? i think the ursa mini is perfact for me , but it release later ,so is any issues with fullsize usra ?

I've heard people saying that the 4.6K version has a magenta cast, but any of these color casts can be corrected in post.

 

The big Ursa and Ursa Mini are very similar in terms of their recording capabilities, with minor differences in the high frame rates they are capable of recording.  The bigger differences are in their physical bodies, with the big Ursa having more screens and the ability to change the lens mount turret.


Guide: DSLR or Video camera?, Guide: Film/Photo makers' useful resources, Guide: Lenses, a quick primer

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ICT Consultant, Photographer, Video producer, Scuba diver and underwater explorer, Nature & humanitarian documentary producer

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