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February 2017

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Page 38 of 43 37 POST FEBRUARY 2017 REVIEW VITAL STATS MANUFACTURER: Blackmagic Design PRODUCT: Ursa Mini 4.6K EF PRICE: Starting at $4,995 WEBSITE: • In-camera LUTs • Metadata entry • Proxy creation ment with in the field, he can export those LUTs to one of the two CFast cards that the camera records to. Then the editor can import that same LUT into his NLE for use in post. METADATA ENTRY Editors really know the value of good metadata, while camera operators may only know the hassle of good metadata. There's a reason that production assis- tants have traditionally been tasked with the tedium of notating each shot from the camera while recording. It takes time and requires a good deal of concen- tration. There's simply no shortcut to getting good metadata, but Blackmagic tries to streamline the process in the Ursa Mini. Each card can have some universal metadata, like project name, director, camera (A, B, C, etc.) and camera oper- ator. Each clip can be uniquely defined with lens data, reel number, scene num- ber, take number, location (interior/exte- rior), time (day/night) and be marked as a good take or not. There's no way to do this externally from the camera, so each shot has to be logged individually on the camera's flip-out screen. This means that an operator either has to stop between each take to enter the data, or some- one must perform the task later, going through each clip in the playback menu. However, hard work on the front end results in a lighter load for the editor or pre-editor. Unfortunately, the most practical way to access this metadata is by using Blackmagic's own DaVinci Resolve software. Mostly known as a colorist's application, Resolve also houses a pre-edit module, basic nonlinear editor and media transcoding module. I tested importing media with Adobe Premiere Pro and found that only the most basic metadata came through properly (time/ date, resolution, frame rate, etc.). After questioning Blackmagic about this, I was told that only Resolve properly interprets all the metadata from the Ursa Mini. It's true that each camera may have its own unique way of creating this data, but it can put a real cramp in your workflow if you have to use a proprietary application to access it — especially if it's an applica- tion you don't otherwise need or use. On the upside, Blackmagic offers a free version of Resolve that allows you to import and manage these files and the associated metadata. In most cases, the pain of installing and using a separate application is worth it. Having this wealth of information readily available makes sorting through hundreds of clips less painful than without it. PROXY FILES When the massive resolution of UHD isn't required, there's a post-friendly proxy recording mode available in the Ursa Mini. This optimized codec will give a quality recording that's less taxing on computers for editing. And if your delivery mode is online only, then the compressed footage will be adequate for viewing. Should you choose not to record in proxy mode, you can later create proxy media for "offline" editing with the free or Studio version of DaVinci Resolve. After importing your media into a Resolve project, you can optimize the media in order to make playback smooth- er on older machines, and you can pre- pare proxy files to edit with until you're ready for final export. Of course, if you're a Premiere Pro user, you may decide to skip Resolve altogether and use the new automatic proxy creation that Adobe has recently introduced. Resolve has the add- ed advantage of working as a basic NLE, if one is needed for a quick and simple project. If you still want to work in your preferred NLE, you can export Avid AAF, Premiere Pro XML or Final Cut Pro files. CONCLUSION Where does the Ursa Mini 4.6K fit in the world of cinema cameras? Stalwarts like Sony, Arri and Panasonic have long dominated this high-end camera world with a steep entry fee. And I mean more than cash. There are decades of user loyalty, brand recognition, trial-and-er- ror and straight-up experience all barring the entryway from newcomers. Despite the old guard, Blackmagic has succeeded in entering the ultra-exclu- sive club of cinema cameras. However, entering a club does not guarantee a permanent membership. While the Ursa Mini is a camera with many capabilities, and perhaps enough for the vast majority of those in this market, the users will determine its long-term success. With a continued focus on meeting customers' needs and offering both hardware and software improve- ments that realize that focus, Blackmagic may yet solidify its place among the elite.

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