“Petit Bateau” – An Experimental Short Film Shot Entirely With The Blackmagic URSA 4K Camera

Undoubtedly, Blackmagic Design has done a lot of work in the last year. They have not only improved their existing line-up of cameras with highly demanded, regular and efficient firmware updates but released some new cameras as well.The 4K URSA camera, announced at this years NAB, was welcomed with controversial feelings by the filmmakers community, however as with any other recently released tool, it needs some time before it justifies any expectations.

Ever since we saw the first official footage from the URSA, as well as when the previously featured few examples of some cool slow motion footage, we’ve been amazed by the quality of this camera. However, the limited amount of footage from the camera available on the web isn’t sufficient for one to evaluate more objectively what are the real pros and cons of the camera. Hence, why today we cover an interesting experimental short film directed by the French filmmaker Marc Linnhoff called “Petit Bateau.” It was shot entirely with the URSA 4K camera.

Petit Bateau / shot on URSA from Marc Linnhoff on Vimeo.

Petit Bateau was shot in 4K RAW mode. Check out what Marc shared with us about the shoot:

“A few weeks ago, the French dealer Digistore lent me the Blackmagic URSA camera including a set of Canon CN-E lenses. We shot “Petit Bateau” with the camera, an experimental short film based on the characters of the previous music videos “Don’t Stop” (https://vimeo.com/64712637) and “Hunter”(https://vimeo.com/103727637), that I had directed and shot with my BMCC. This short clip tells the story of a young man, who rows a body-building machine under the control of his horrible mother.

When you have watched the previous music videos, you will understand why! I set the codec to 4K RAW, shot at 400 ASA. We connected my SQN3 mixer to the camera, recorded 24bits 48000khz wav files internally. The camera has multiple screens; I especially like to use the largest one. The audio VU meters and audio waveforms that display on the right side I find very practical too. I had no compatible shoulder pad; we had few dolly shots, but many handheld shots.

The URSA is robust, should I mention that it is heavy? We had only two 60GB CFast cards and my computer ready to load the DNGs. This was not sufficient. When you want to shoot 4K RAW, my advice is that you have at least three 120GB cards ready for use.I had the following workflow on this project:

– I first generated prores proxies out of my DNGs in Resolve
– Imported them in FCPX where I did the editing
– Reconnected my FCPX project (timeline) in Resolve via XML
– CC in Resolve, then I exported an UHD Prores 422HQ master file

I do love to grade my films in Resolve. I started to use it when I bought my BMCC: it is an incredible piece of software! In this particular Petit Bateau project, I first set the RAW settings to match each shot together, added contrast and pushed the colors a little bit. Then I tried to do few adjustments to particular colors/areas/objects, sometime by only adding/mixing Luts (the Impulz one for example), I created masks, tracked and made details sharper…

I like the possibility to change the sensor of URSA and the global shutter on the actual sensor, its color science, too. I look forward to the future sensors and their abilities, which Blackmagic Design will develop and offer, I hope for an interesting price.”

In case you want to test and play with the raw dng files from the URSA camera, you can download some samples here. At this point, filmmakers, who have already shot with the URSA share an overall positive experience with the camera. All are quite impressed by the side 10 inch LCD screen that turns to be quite useful on set.

The media offload time is fast as well and the image quality is pristine, free of moire and aliasing artefacts, almost identical to the one produced by the BMPC 4k camera. We are also eager to hear your 4K story and share your recent shooting experience with the 4k shooters community. You could send us more information about your current 4K projects at [email protected]

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