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DP Jason Newfield Shoots Sizzle Reels for Upcoming TV Season with URSA Mini 4K.


AmyDV began delivering backorders of the URSA mini camera to customers while Blackmagic Design announced that URSA Mini 4K digital film camera was used by DP Jason Newfield to shoot several sizzle reels for the upcoming television season. Newfield, who DPs for History Channel, Discovery Channel, National Geographic Channel and more, chose the URSA Mini 4K for its cinematic look, versatility and ergonomics during the shoots.

“I was asked to shoot a sizzle reel in a remote part of Alaska by Prometheus Entertainment, which had hired me to DP several shows for the History Channel a couple of years prior,” explained Newfield. “I used the URSA Mini 4K for stand up and sit down interviews shot in the field as well as some specialty shots, for which I relied on the camera’s slow motion capabilities and the global shutter, which eliminated any possibility of the dreaded ‘jello-ing’ effects on handheld or more frenetic shots. Also, it was cold and raining most of the time, with temperatures dipping down to the mid 20s (degrees Fahrenheit), but the URSA Mini 4K performed wonderfully.”

Conversely, it was hot and dry with temperatures reaching 90 degrees Fahrenheit when Newfield shot and produced, with his company Bayou Pictures, the sizzle reel for a sci-fi channel entirely on the URSA Mini 4K. “On this shoot, I used the camera for both daylight and lighted night green screen shooting all in the same day, and I shot in 4K ProRes for post keying and scaling purposes,” he said.

According to Newfield, even though the shoots took place in vastly different locations and conditions, they both required a cinematic look to them. “For the Alaska shoot, the URSA Mini’s large, Super 35mm 4K sensor helped give shallow depth of field to the interviewed subjects and shots. For the sci-fi project, the camera’s filmic look and adjustable shutter helped me achieve truly cinematic and dynamic shots,” he explained.

Newfield continued, “I have always enjoyed the ‘look’ that Blackmagic cameras provide. The skin tone replication on all the cameras, in my opinion, cannot be matched in its comparable camera price range. The URSA Mini’s updated body design and features lend itself to professional film and video use while maintaining an unrivaled price point.”

He added, “What I really appreciated about using the URSA Mini in the field was the ability to jump from shooting 1080p at a 180 degree shutter, to 4K with a 45 degree shutter, to 120fps for slow motion, to 5fps for time lapse photography, all in the same camera with only a few taps on the monitor. No special menus or setups to go through or adjust. Just pick your sensor frame rate, shutter angle, quality and go. All of this versatility in a compact and easy-to-use design makes the photography experience a true pleasure. Whether you are hiking through the forest of Alaska or on a green screen set, the URSA Mini has got your back when it comes to having what you need.”

Both productions required Newfield to pick up and move at any given moment to another spot or location, and the URSA Mini’s top handle and ergonomics made it easy for him to stay mobile. “I also used the URSA Viewfinder as I knew I would be working outdoors in bright sunlight or overcast conditions, which can make viewing on a monitor difficult. I found the URSA Viewfinder to be as versatile and intuitive as the camera,” he said. “The camera offers an expansive, yet easy-to-access menu and a sturdy, yet adjustable construction. It is a ‘must have’ for anyone who works in the field.

“Overall, the biggest benefit to using the URSA Mini 4K is its versatility. In my opinion, it is one of a few cameras that looks and acts like a real film camera, while giving you the options of a professional ENG, all in a compact design. It opens up all kinds of options for all types of film and video production, and it is a versatile tool that I intend on using for some time in the future,” he concluded.

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