Post Magazine

February 2017

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Page 37 of 43 36 POST FEBRUARY 2017 REVIEW E ditors the world over cringe at these words — "Waste not thine time correcting the spelling of 'Hades,' but rather leave that most-tri- fling task to mine editor." While they are often spoken in jest when a production crew lacks the talent, patience or care to spend the time making an adjustment on the front end, the truth of these words extends deep into filmmaking history. One of the earliest recordings of this phrase came from the well-known historian and author Plato. He is said to have uttered these words to a scribe that was transcribing his oral dictation of The Iliad. A stretch, maybe, but there is often a grain of truth in a pound of sarcasm. And so the battle between production and post production rages on in various forms as it has ever since they were dis- engaged. Modern filmmaking has broken down many of the walls between the two crafts, and certainly smaller operations have a much easier time understanding what the other party does. However, communication isn't the only factor re- sponsible for easing the tension; technol- ogy has played a major role. Physical slating still has a place in modern production. On the other hand, today's cameras enable slating on a shot-by-shot basis to streamline logging and ingesting in post. One of these cam- eras is the Blackmagic Design Ursa Mini 4.6K EF. This 4.6k camera represents the contemporary crop of cinema camer- as with features traditionally found on video cameras only. Since there is an Ursa Mini, it logically follows that there is an Ursa. While the Ursa has a fold- out, touch-sensitive 10-inch LCD display, the Mini "only" has a five-inch display. Although there are other differences between these siblings, the Mini is a very capable cinema camera. The majority of shooters will find it adequate for their needs, especially given the reasonable sub-$10,000 price point. There are three main features in the Ursa Mini that will be of special interest to the editors among us — in-camera LUTs, metadata entry and proxy cre- ation. In order to best highlight these three features, I'm going to cover them each in turn, first from the perspective of the camera operator and then from the perspective of the editor receiving the finished product. LUTS (LOOKUP TABLES) While LUTs aren't useful for every production or every camera, a cine- ma camera such as the Ursa Mini will require some degree of color correc- tion or grading in post. Getting the full 4.6K image out of the camera requires you to shoot in raw of ProRes codecs, which provide a flat, neutral image. For quick or simple shoots, this may create excessive post work. But in order to get the most latitude out of the image in the grading stage, you want a neutral image. Think of it like trying to design your own T-shirt with some of those handy fabric pens marketed to kids of all ages. You wouldn't expect satisfaction when draw- ing on a navy blue T-shirt because your translucent colors would be tainted by the underlying blue of the fabric dye. The same is true when it comes to color-cor- recting your image. The challenge inherent in shooting the lifeless raw gamut is that it can be difficult to visualize your final look on-set with that grey pallor ever present. In order to aid your production crew while gathering content, it can be helpful for them to have the LUT you intend to use already overlaid onto their viewfinder. The Ursa Mini has three ways to display the LUT in use — LCD (fold-out screen), front SDI output and main SDI output. When using the camera with the optional viewfinder, the front SDI is used for its feed. The main or rear SDI output would be used for an additional external mon- itor, like a confidence or client monitor. Each of these displays can be custom- ized to show the image with or without the LUT. If your camera operator doesn't want the LUT to distract, he can disable it separately from the other feeds. The benefit to the editor in this case is fairly obvious. All the footage gath- ered was shot using the pre-determined LUT, so the imagery has already been envisioned using the look that's desired. Applying the LUT during the editing process shouldn't reveal any surprises where shadows disappear unexpectedly or highlights are blown out of gamut. Alternatively, if a production crewmem- ber has a LUT that he wants to experi- BLACKMAGIC DESIGN URSA MINI 4.6K EF BY PAUL SCHMUTZLER KNOXVILLE, TN EMAIL: PAUL@ THESCHMUTZLER.COM TWITTER: @THESCHMUTZLER A VERY CAPABLE 4.6K CINEMA CAMERA

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