In the first of our two-part series arising from attending the Blackmagic Design event in New York City last week, we chat with Blackmagic Americas President Dan May about the URSA Mini 4.6, dynamic range, black sun, fine pattern noise, pricing, shipping dates – and more.
We met Dan for the first time at NAB a few months ago, and ended up giving him an award for being the best sport (we had him run down each of their three new cameras in 15 seconds each, and he nailed it).
So it was nice to see Dan again in New York last week, where we were able to carve out some quality time to run through a pile of questions and actually heft the URSA Mini up on my shoulder (spoiler alert: it ain’t light, but it’s really well balanced – and a heckuva lot lighter than the original URSA).
Dan updated us on:
· shipping date (yeah, not going to make end of July);
· progress on black sun and fine pattern noise (solved on 4.6 sensor according to testing thus far);
· dynamic range (still a little fuzzy on whether the incremental two or three stops show up in shadows, highlights or both);
· internal ND filter (not likely);
· false color (ditto); and
· hows and whys of their pricing.
A NOTE ON THE VIDEO INTERVIEW: we recorded our conversation as part of an on-going, real world experiment to determine the limits of iPhone videography. In this instance, we shot the entire thing on an iPhone 6 using the built-in camera app and THAT’S IT. No external mic. No cage, rig, monopod, stabilizer – nada.
Only post was background noise reduction straight from FCP X.
Lesson learned. We HAVE to use an external mic. For our next interview with product specialist Jason Druss held just feet away, we wired him up with a $30 Audio Technica lav [B&H | Amazon ] connected to a TASCAM DR-70D [B&H | Amazon] which we synched in Final Cut Pro X. We also whipped out a MeFOTO Sidekick 360 [B&H | Amazon] and attached it to an Ultra Pod II [B&H | Amazon ] to create a four/five contact point platform: the three legs against Tom’s chest, with him holding the legs. Huge difference (the whole kit fit inside a Domke F-5XB bag [B&H | Amazon]. Up next? Testing the RØDE NTG-4+ [B&H | Amazon] with its built-in microphone under similar circumstance. We just need to figure out how to keep the whole package small.
Interview with Dan May of Blackmagic on URSA Mini 4.6 including first hands-on
(cover photo credit: snap from the video)
And always with the ambition of authenticity, humanity and wit.
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