DEFINITION August 2019

URSA MI N I PRO G2 | USER REVI EW

too. The colours are lifelike and punchy but not oversaturated or ‘digital’ looking. It performs like a far more expensive camera. The camera now also allows you to embed 3D LUTs into Raw clips. A new LUT settings control in DaVinci Resolve makes this easier than ever and takes the guesswork out of shooting in Raw. You can also choose standard video-like codecs or flatter, filmic gammas in the menus. Shooting in Raw in contrasty light and exposing to retain highlight detail, the hidden shadow detail is incredible and you can really draw it out in post with hardly any noise. With an expanded ISO range of 200 to the new high of 3200, it’s a stop faster than the older camera was at launch. The original Ursa Mini Pro had its ISO range put up to 3200 with a firmware upgrade and the G2 also has this benefit. But it is still not a low-light monster. The Ursa Mini Pro G2 might not be the ideal camera in very low light but excels under controlled lighting or in natural daylight, especially contrasty conditions of full sunshine. ND FILTERS Also new on the G2 are improved ND filters with IR compensation, in two, four and six stop range, designed to match the way the camera processes colour and evenly compensate for both far red and infrared wave lengths to eliminate IR contamination. Unlike Sony’s variable ND filter system which is electronic, the G2 uses the traditional optical filters that move into place when the ND filter dial is turned. The results were always neutral, but we never had any issues with the filters on the older- generation camera anyway. The final new feature is the USB-C slot on the left side of the

“THE CAMERA REALLY COMES ALIVE WHILE USING BLACKMAGIC RAW”

ROLLING SHUTTER The readout from the sensor is also much faster than on the older model, so rolling shutter has been reduced. This artefact often rears its head in fast pans when using slow motion, where background objects can lean. But the Ursa Mini Pro G2 handles this well. Provoke it with whip pans and you can still freeze frame and see some bending of course, but in normal use it’s not a huge issue. The new sensor and faster processing means Blackmagic Design has also been able to come up with a new Generation 4 Colour Science which is where the camera really shines. Even if the fast frame rates don’t grab your attention, the improvement in colours will, especially in skin tones. This is helped when shooting the 12-bit Blackmagic Raw which is designed to provide the maximum amount of colour data and dynamic range. But you can also tell the difference when shooting in ProRes,

ABOVE The camera can be fully controlled remotely

high-speed work and is a favourite of sports and wildlife shooters everywhere. But the Sony can’t do it in ProRes422 HQ, only in its weaker internal codec. So it’s while using Blackmagic Raw that the camera really comes alive, unlocking not only the highest frame rates but also the highest- quality images, extensive metadata support and highly optimised GPU and CPU accelerated processing. You can even edit it on a MacBook Pro laptop, especially if you plug in one of Blackmagic’s eGPU accelerators which start at £599/$699. Other manufacturers also make similar products. Blackmagic Raw allows you to retain the advantages of working in Raw, such as the flexibility to adjust white-balance and rescue highlight and shadow detail as well as controlling sharpening precisely. But while many Raw formats choke up workflow as they are very large, the Blackmagic solution is to make the formats very easy to ingest and edit in the free full version of DaVinci Resolve Studio software that comes with the camera. Of course, there is a learning curve for using any software and also for learning how to get the best out of the files. But the DaVinci software makes this as painless as possible. Like the rival Apple ProRes Raw, Blackmagic Raw is a more efficient codec than CinemaDNG and can be treated like a conventional ProRes codec, albeit one with higher quality and ultimately more control.

RIGHT If you’re still shooting HD, and a lot of people are, you can get 300fps

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