Black Magic Ursa Mini Workshop

This was the first time that I really got hands on with the new Black Magic Ursa Mini that is available in the Media Loan Shop at Coventry University.

  • We learnt a lot from
  • Set up of the camera
  • Resolution
  • Recording formats
  • Shutter angle
  • Post Production Process

The process of setting up the camera was straightforward with having previous skills sessions with Beck’s our Skills Instructor. I didn’t have much trouble of putting the pieces together on the tripod. I was very hands-on in this session. What helped was understanding the camera settings to be ready to film.

The first step was to understand the different resolution options available on this camera and what is best for our specific productions. It is useful to consider how much information we want to capture considering the equipment that can support 4K at university is very limited.

According to the Black Magic website these are the resolutions you can find on this camera

  • 4608 x 2592
  • 4096 x 2304 (4K 16:9)
  • 4608 x 1920 (4K 2.4:1)
  • 4096 x 2160 (4K DCI)
  • 3840 x 2160 (Ultra HD)
  • 3072 x 2560 (3K Anamorphic)
  • 2048 x 1152 (2K 16:9)
  • 2048×1080 (2K DCI)
  • 1920 x 1080
  • For this test we set ours to 1920 * 1080.

The recording format is also important to consider the resolution. This camera has a wide range of formats 

  • 4608 x 2592
  • CinemaDNG RAW – 513MB/s
  • CinemaDNG RAW 3:1 – 180 MB/s
  • CinemaDNG RAW 4:1 – 135 MB/s
  • 3840 x 2160
  • Apple ProRes 444 XQ – 250 MB/s
  • Apple ProRes 444 – 165 MB/s
  • Apple ProRes 422 HQ – 110 MB/s
  • Apple ProRes 422 – 73.6 MB/s
  • Apple ProRes 422 LT – 51 MB/s
  • Apple ProRes Proxy – 22.4 MB/s
  • 1920 x 1080
  • Apple ProRes 444 XQ – 62.5 MB/s
  • Apple ProRes 444 – 41.25 MB/s
  • Apple ProRes 422 HQ – 27.5 MB/s
  • Apple ProRes 422 – 18.4 MB/s
  • Apple ProRes 422 LT – 12.75 MB/s
  • Apple ProRes Proxy – 5.6 MB/s
  • Storage rates based on 30 frames per second.

On the website it shows the amount of space it will use, that is helpful to consider when not a lot of detail is needed and compressing can save safe. We were recommended to use RAW 3:1 that lowers the quality a little but also saves half the amount space those RAW files could contain. I would like to do a test run to see how much detail is lost between these settings.

After setting up the main settings, the one thing that was unfamiliar to everyone is the shutter angle. From my understanding the best way to explain a shutter angle is the amount of light that is exposed to the corresponding frame rate. It is almost the same as digital cameras shutter speed. ‘The term is a conceptual relic of rotary shutters, where a disc with an angled opening would spin and let in light once per revolution to expose each frame. The larger the angle, the slower the shutter speed’ (, n.d.)

So bigger the angle the more light is exposed, so a 360 degree shutter angle creates a smear of light. The most common is the 180 degree shutter angle because ‘motion appears more smeared since the end of blur in one frame extends closer to the start of blur in the next frame.’ (, n.d.) We have been told that 180 degree is what we should use while doing our FMP (Final Major Project)

Finally we learn the process of how professional postproduction works and how we should learn and practice this for our FMP. In university our typical student understanding of post production is to; film, import footage onto laptop, import into Premiere Pro, edit the footage/ color grade and then export.

Brad Porter taught us a different and professional way.

First to film and import the files on to the laptop, that’s the same. The next stage before anything is to back up as many times to not lose the footage for any hardware or software problems. Then to import them into to Davinci Resolve and to export all the RAW files in Low Res Proxy files and then import them into Premiere Pro to start editing. The reason was to make the editing process a lot faster for us because we do not have computers/ laptops that can handle the RAW files. Editing the Low Res files helps us edit offline until the edit decision list is locked and ready to go back into online. There are many export formats to consider that hold the information and rule of the final edit for the software to understand

  • AFF- stands for Advanced Authoring Format and is created by Avid Media and can hold a lot more data
  • XML- Extensible Markup Language created by Apple Final Cut this can also hold more data
  • EDL- Stands for Edit Decision List and works best with minimal amount of data, for example one video track and two audio tracks

Considering the edit software we are using we were advised to use AFF. After exporting and reconnecting the RAW files in Davinci for color grading and sound it becomes online editing again. It is also wise to back up along the way as well as a backup of the final edit and finished production.


Once you are finished then you can export it in several formats that included Archival, H.264 or DCP. We have always exported at the highest resolution H.264 possible to have a copy of that somewhere because if we need to compress it down it is easier. I have leant alot and enjoyed the workshop and in the near future I will explore and experiment with the Black Magic Ursa.

Bibliography (n.d.). Blackmagic Design: Blackmagic URSA Mini Tech Specs. [online] Available at: [Accessed 25 Nov. 2016]. (n.d.). Shutter Angles & Creative Control. [online] Available at: [Accessed 25 Nov. 2016].





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