Blackmagic Design Grant Victor Cares

Blackmagic Design’s URSA Mini Pro 12K has been used by UpHill Cinema to shoot their latest projects: Grant Victor Cares documentary and two commercials.

UpHill Cinema is an American production company that provides services for the production of feature films, documentaries, commercials and corporate videos. The company is headed by cinematographer Levi Whitney, who began using the URSA Mini Pro 12K model in September 2020 after years of working with other Blackmagic Design cameras and DaVinci Resolve Studio software.

Whitney believes that adopting the URSA Mini Pro 12K has marked a new era for his productions: “The 12K has a look that is for me is amazing. It doesn’t have a digital look, or overly sharp unless you want that, because It can give that to you. It has been vital for my career and creative freedom.”

First projects

Whitney’s first production with the URSA Mini Pro 12K was a series of nature videos in California and the Pacific Northwest, where he tested the camera’s ability to shoot on the fly and capture detail in natural lighting conditions. Next, UpHill was hired for the purpose of shooting a commercial and video for Joot Inc, a Utah-based company specializing in visual artificial intelligence. Next, she was responsible for a commercial for the launch of DotDot Dream’s DreamFit product line. In between, Whitney traveled to Kenya to film a documentary for the Grant Victor Cares charity.

In the case of the commercials for Joot, the client asked Whitney to keep the look simple and natural. The images show the company’s manager and staff at work, and the camera follows them as they move around in a corporate environment. Whitney took advantage of the URSA Mini Pro 12K’s two memory card slots to shoot in Blackmagic RAW format at 120 f/s in 8K and 75 f/s in 12K, with an aspect ratio of 2.4.1.

Whitney sums up his experience on this project: “They wanted a simple look too, meaning no crazy color grades and no more than two looks. The URSA Mini Pro 12K gave me everything I needed to easily meet the vision the client had. The sensor is amazing, and there’s a lot to the features. I loved the fact that I could do my own audio, have good internal ND filters, frame rates with no cropping and an easy to use user interface that didn’t force me to go through menu after menu.”

Blackmagic Design Grant Victor Cares 2

Filming in Kenya

Travelling to Kenya during the pandemic and with limited resources due to quarantines, Whitney had to be completely self-sufficient and rely on the equipment at her disposal. He travelled through remote villages, interviewing different people to show how they lived and worked under Covid-19.

To do this, Whitney shot 90% of the documentary in 12K, although other shots in the documentary, including slow-motion scenes, were shot in 8K, 6K and 4K in order to optimize memory card space. The film was delivered in 4K and eventually shown on an 18-meter screen that reduced the definition to 2K. Despite the 46-degree average he faced during the shoot, Whitney notes that the equipment “performed flawlessly.”

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By • 18 May, 2021
• Section: Catchment