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Blackmagic URSA Mini Pro 4.6K G2 Rig Suggestions


Daniel Hillel-Tuch
 

We're taking the plunge and we're investing in buying our own gear. We've settled on getting a Blackmagic URSA Mini Pro 4.6K G2, and now we’re lost in the endless research of rigging it out. I hope this is the right place to ask for this kind of advice and I greatly appreciate any insight you might be able to provide. 

The DoP/Cam-Op is a small 5’4” lady, but strong. We shoot a combination of narrative along with corporate commercials. Ideally we keep costs below €10K but we do want to have a system that is ready to go.

She generally doesn’t prefer shouting on her shoulder because she’s never found a shoulder mount that works for her. Her boney shoulders and short arms don’t give her the control she wants when operating, though we have made it work in the past with rental gear. This is why the EasyRig MiniMax with a Cinema Vest seems like an enticing option. Pricey though and it does mean we need to keep things below 15 lbs.

It would be fantastic if we could allow for focus pulling while operating in a convenient and accessible manner when on an EasyRig. Anybody have experience with using Titla Nucleus for these purposes? What’s also seemingly good about the complete Nucleus package is that we could have a remote focus puller if needed.

If using majority sticks and EasyRig solution it seems like a monitor is the better option over a viewfinder. Especially if we factor in cost.

If we do remote focus pulling though that would be another monitor and a wireless transmitter plus receiver.

Then of course there’s cfast cards, lenses, batteries, matte box, tripod, plus who knows what other arms, rods, and doodads.

I hope I’ve been specific enough and would love to hear any tips, experience, or recommendations overall.

P.S.

We're based in the Netherlands.

 


Robert Olding
 

When I purchased the regular 4.6K PL mount model, I initially ignored buying Blackmagic's URSA shoulder mount kit.  Once I broke down and bought it, I wondered what was I thinking.  It's very well designed and works great! I also purchased SmallRig's top handle, it's much easier to remove than the one Blackmagic makes.

I almost always shoot CinemaDNG RAW at 4.6K, if not, then I'm shooting ProRes 4444 at 4.6K.  I've never had any issue with CFast cards and I own those made by SanDisk (Extreme Pro), Lexar (3600X), and Angelbird (AV Pro).

I also purchased Blackmagic's EVF.  It works fine for the times I need to use it but if I'm on sticks I'll just use the URSA's LCD display and/or our ATOMOS Shogun 7. Contrary to popular believe, the ATOMOS works just fine with the camera.  I attach it to the 12G SDI connector and I'm able to use it as a monitor while recording 4K ProRes 422 at the same time.


***NOTE TO ROBERT***

Allowed this one through but please remember to sign your posts in future!!

Your friendly neighbourhood Listmum


Mitch Gross
 

I would highly suggest you and your DP take a look at the ErgoRig. It’s basically a vest with a protruding plate over the shoulder so the camera sits on the plate and the weight is distributed down to the hips instead of the shoulder. It was designed by a male and some females say it works great for them as well while others find in constricts their chests too much, but for those that it does work for they say they love it. I know at least one petite DP who said it completely changed how she was able to work in a good way. I would note that the ErgoRig allows operating in much the way one would when handheld, whereas an EasyRig can be both limiting and cumbersome. Some people are under the mistaken being that an EasyRig will smooth out shots like a gimbal or SteadiCam, which it will not. 

I’ve used the Tilta Nucleus kit and it works just fine, but you do need to get used to it. There’s lots of bits to it so give yourself time and expect to need to end up ordering some extra plates/brackets/cables once you get your setup tuned the way you like. Luckily they’re quite affordable. 

I’m assuming you mean the larger Nucleus-M kit with three motors, handgrip controls and AC remote. There’s a lot in that and you may fine a more basic kit is all you need (or just buy the big kit and leave parts in the box). If you’re thinking of the much smaller Nucleus-Nano kit, it’s nicely made and rather amazing for the low price. But a few things to note:

- You don’t have quite the same versatility and adjustability of the larger M controller. Can’t adjust the range rotation so you can’t go really fine for a limited focus range. 
- The included motor is quite small so if you’re going to be using lenses of any weight & rotational resistance, I suggest adding a Nucleus-M motor, which will work with the Nano controller. Still super inexpensive. 
- The motor can work with 5v-12v power, and you want to give it 12v for strongest torque. The controller uses the included rechargeable battery for remote operation or can run off 5v cabled, but don’t feed it 12v or you could damage it. Tilta only makes short cables but IndiPro Tools makes 24” P-Tap cables, including one with a 5v voltage regulator for the controller. So you can mount the controller on the camera front rods and run everything off the main brick via P-Tap. 
- The controller comes with a quick release mount with 1/4” mount holes, but you’ll need a rod clamp from a company like Wooden Camera or SmallRig to attach it to the rods where your DP will likely want it. SmallRig also make a more versatile quick release. Best thing about all this stuff is it’s super inexpensive. 

There’s a lot more questions you ask and this can get into lots of options and frankly personal preferences. I suggest you and your DP try to find a local equipment center where you can explore your options. Perhaps Camalot?

Mitch Gross
New York

On Aug 13, 2020, at 1:23 PM, daniel.hilleltuch@... wrote:



We're taking the plunge and we're investing in buying our own gear. We've settled on getting a Blackmagic URSA Mini Pro 4.6K G2, and now we’re lost in the endless research of rigging it out. I hope this is the right place to ask for this kind of advice and I greatly appreciate any insight you might be able to provide. 

The DoP/Cam-Op is a small 5’4” lady, but strong. We shoot a combination of narrative along with corporate commercials. Ideally we keep costs below €10K but we do want to have a system that is ready to go.

She generally doesn’t prefer shouting on her shoulder because she’s never found a shoulder mount that works for her. Her boney shoulders and short arms don’t give her the control she wants when operating, though we have made it work in the past with rental gear. This is why the EasyRig MiniMax with a Cinema Vest seems like an enticing option. Pricey though and it does mean we need to keep things below 15 lbs.

It would be fantastic if we could allow for focus pulling while operating in a convenient and accessible manner when on an EasyRig. Anybody have experience with using Titla Nucleus for these purposes? What’s also seemingly good about the complete Nucleus package is that we could have a remote focus puller if needed.

If using majority sticks and EasyRig solution it seems like a monitor is the better option over a viewfinder. Especially if we factor in cost.

If we do remote focus pulling though that would be another monitor and a wireless transmitter plus receiver.

Then of course there’s cfast cards, lenses, batteries, matte box, tripod, plus who knows what other arms, rods, and doodads.

I hope I’ve been specific enough and would love to hear any tips, experience, or recommendations overall.

P.S.

We're based in the Netherlands.

 


Jason Hall
 

Mitch has given a good insight into the Nucleus options but I would just add that you should go with the Nucleus M kit then be aware of its fluctuating power draw. I have my Red setup with two motors (zoom and focus) set to auto calibrate on boot, which seem to cause a spike in power draw and can occasionally cause a V-lock to go in to protection mode, meaning it has to be switched out and go back on the charger. I solved this issue by adding a dual battery plate but booting the motors and calibrating them individually will also work, but is slower and more laborious.

I think the weakest part of the Nucleus M system is the use of 18650 batteries in the hand grips - you have to keep an eye on the voltage as when it gets low you can get some inconsistent behaviour so it's worth having plenty of spare batteries on hand. I also think that the motors are overly torquey if using stills lenses even when dialled down. 

Don't get the wrong idea though - I think the Nucleus M is excellent and extremely good value, it's a little idiosyncratic in it's setup but once you get the menu system it should work well for you. As someone who shoots mostly documentary and does a lot of handheld then it has been invaluable to have focus and zoom on the handgrips. When paired with the Shape handles it's super quick to change positions with the camera and be able to operate in comfort.

I also have the Nucleus nano for gimbal work and it's a great little bit of kit - again somewhat idiosyncratic and the motor is only really for stills lenses but is super cheap and usable. 

With regards to the Ergorig I've tried it and liked it but I found it hard to justify the price. I thought the underslung mode is well thought out and in general I did prefer it over an Easyrig but as it's non mechanical I think it should be cheaper. Your DP may find that it is really helpful if she were to struggle with a heavier camera package and in that case it may be more valuable to you.

Cheers,

--
Jason Hall
DP // Camera
Bristol // London


Daniel Hillel-Tuch
 

Hey everyone, 


First of all I want to thank you for the incredible generous and detailed information you have provided so far. So Robert, Mitch, Jignesh, and Jason, thank you!


Mitch, despite your considerate points we’re still gravitating towards an EasyRig over the Egorig as we appreciate the Easyrig’s ability to provide a variety of quick and “handheld like” angels and quick set-ups. The Ergorig is clearly a good option as well for a more straight-up handheld style. We’re going to go visit an Easyrig dealer to make sure and check it out though.


Thanks all for your info on the Nucleus kit, sounds like it takes some getting used to but looks like an incredible option for a DP/Cam-Op who wants to have complete control. Then the remote for an AC if needed is a great bonus.


The Nucleus M is clearly the better choice for us. 


I’ve been really impressed with Zacuto’s  grip package as demonstrated here: 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZTM0HyyPHDE

store.zacuto.com/nucleus-dual-trigger-grips


The full package of this kit is not that cheap, usually hovering around 900 bucks, but it seems like a great option in combo with an easyrig and the nucleus wireless focus. 


Jignesh, I get what you’re saying about SSD but we don’t love how it forces the on camera monitor to remain open and it’s another piece of equipment that then needs to be mounted with more cables. CF-Fast ain’t cheap but it’s more clean.


Having said all that here’s a rough list of what we are thinking:



BM Ursa Mini G2

€ 6.000,00

Easy rig minimax with cinema vest

€ 2.375,00

Lens: sigma art 18-35mm EF-S

€ 800,00

VLock battery plate

€ 99,00

Batteries

€ 140,00

Cfast 2-pack

€ 370,00

SmallRig Accessory Kit for Blackmagic Ursa Mini/Ursa Mini Pro 1902

€ 168,00

full kit wireless focus nucleus m

€ 1.149,00

magic arm double articulate

€ 50,00

rods

€ 20,00

atomos monitor shinobi sdi

€ 360,00

Tripod

€ 500,00

Zacuto Dual Trigger Grip Base with nucleus relocators

€ 900,00


This brings us to a total of € 12.931,00 and we haven’t factored in for protective cases, extra batteries, and I’m sure there are a few other elements. 


A Matte Box and filters are also still in our search, and I know those can get pricey as well. 


Also as you can see we are still searching for what kind of tripod. Maybe  €500 for a good one is too hopeful.


We’re price conscious but recognize the value in investing now rather than paying up later. Any other hints, tips, and suggestions are very appreciated. 


Sincerely,
Daniel Hillel-Tuch


Mitch Gross
 

You definitely need more money for a decent tripod. Probably something in to 2500 Euro range to get good performance that won’t fall apart in a year. 

And your only lens is an 18-35?  It’s a great piece of glass but that’s highly limiting. I don’t know what material or style you’ll be shooting but I think you should consider adding a longer zoom as well, something in the 40-120ish range. There are several options from Sigma, Tokina and others. That’s probably the greatest limitation I see in the kit. Glass is probably the single most important consideration. 

Mitch Gross
New York

On Aug 16, 2020, at 8:56 AM, Daniel Hillel-Tuch <daniel.hilleltuch@...> wrote:



Hey everyone, 


First of all I want to thank you for the incredible generous and detailed information you have provided so far. So Robert, Mitch, Jignesh, and Jason, thank you!


Mitch, despite your considerate points we’re still gravitating towards an EasyRig over the Egorig as we appreciate the Easyrig’s ability to provide a variety of quick and “handheld like” angels and quick set-ups. The Ergorig is clearly a good option as well for a more straight-up handheld style. We’re going to go visit an Easyrig dealer to make sure and check it out though.


Thanks all for your info on the Nucleus kit, sounds like it takes some getting used to but looks like an incredible option for a DP/Cam-Op who wants to have complete control. Then the remote for an AC if needed is a great bonus.


The Nucleus M is clearly the better choice for us. 


I’ve been really impressed with Zacuto’s  grip package as demonstrated here: 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZTM0HyyPHDE

store.zacuto.com/nucleus-dual-trigger-grips


The full package of this kit is not that cheap, usually hovering around 900 bucks, but it seems like a great option in combo with an easyrig and the nucleus wireless focus. 


Jignesh, I get what you’re saying about SSD but we don’t love how it forces the on camera monitor to remain open and it’s another piece of equipment that then needs to be mounted with more cables. CF-Fast ain’t cheap but it’s more clean.


Having said all that here’s a rough list of what we are thinking:



BM Ursa Mini G2

€ 6.000,00

Easy rig minimax with cinema vest

€ 2.375,00

Lens: sigma art 18-35mm EF-S

€ 800,00

VLock battery plate

€ 99,00

Batteries

€ 140,00

Cfast 2-pack

€ 370,00

SmallRig Accessory Kit for Blackmagic Ursa Mini/Ursa Mini Pro 1902

€ 168,00

full kit wireless focus nucleus m

€ 1.149,00

magic arm double articulate

€ 50,00

rods

€ 20,00

atomos monitor shinobi sdi

€ 360,00

Tripod

€ 500,00

Zacuto Dual Trigger Grip Base with nucleus relocators

€ 900,00


This brings us to a total of € 12.931,00 and we haven’t factored in for protective cases, extra batteries, and I’m sure there are a few other elements. 


A Matte Box and filters are also still in our search, and I know those can get pricey as well. 


Also as you can see we are still searching for what kind of tripod. Maybe  €500 for a good one is too hopeful.


We’re price conscious but recognize the value in investing now rather than paying up later. Any other hints, tips, and suggestions are very appreciated. 


Sincerely,
Daniel Hillel-Tuch


Daniel Colmenares
 

Whatever you do do not compromise on the tripod. Out of all the things you are purchasing right now there is only one that will still offer the same value and functionality in 20 years. 

In my opinion a cartoni focus12 offers great value and works amazingly well as a lightweight tripod option. Sachtler DV8/10/12 are also great but more expensive. The O'Connor 1030/Satchler v18/20 are excellent but can get a bit heavy on long run and gun set ups.

Also there is almost zero reason to buy a new tripod, especially if you're trying to get the most bang for your buck. You can find some great deals on the used market.

That goes double for matteboxes and filters. Nothing a new mattebox can offer than say a used lmb-5 can't do at a lesser price. 

Daniel Colmenares
Cinematographer - Los Angeles