I can admit it. I'm obsessed with camera and lighting gear. Everyday I visit the same handful of websites to check out what's going on in the filmmaking world and to read about the latest gear. I watch crappy Youtube camera and lighting reviews by unqualified people who mostly have no idea what they are talking about. I scroll through dozens of Facebook posts on Shane's Inner Circle where tons of other cinematographers are discussing gear and lighting setups.
Gear obsession is a bad thing. Don't get me wrong - it's fun. I wish I could own just about every camera out there, but I've told myself over and over again I need to be practical and buy wisely for my business.
With that said - I just bought an Ursa Mini Pro and I think it was a wise decision. I'm going to list my rationale for my decision and leave it to you, my loyal ardent reader, to call me out on any bullshit:
1. Let's not beat around the bush - The Ursa Mini 4.6K camera has a lot of people in the industry excited and the images the camera produces lives up to the hype. Adding ND filters and the ability to record at lower resolutions to SD cards is a major selling point for the Ursa Mini Pro. There is simply no other camera system at this price point that allows you to record at these resolutions with internal ProRes and RAW at this price. Let's not forget that the purchase includes a full copy of my favorite coloring software, Davinci Resolve. A cherry on top - interchangeable lens mounts for when you score that big commercial gig and get to rent some fancy lenses.
2. I'm a big proponent of the Canon EOS C100 Mark II - I think it's a great camera. I don't care about all the other filmmakers who are trying to shit all over Canon. Let them shoot with their crappy Sony cameras and keep producing the world's most horrific skin tones. There is still a place in my camera arsenal for the Mark II - the Ursa Mini Pro is not a replacement. The Mark II will still be my go to for documentary run and gun work, quick and dirty corporate work, events, and my interview B-Cam. The Ursa Mini Pro steps in for all my narrative film and music video work as well as an A-Cam for interviews.
3. I'm a small business owner. The simple fact is, I need to have expenses. A wise business owner spreads expenses out across a fiscal year. Maybe I'm not that wise because i've been leaving that purchasing towards the end of every year. I'm addressing the needs of my business now by making this purchase.
4. I'm gear obsessed, but I try to be smart about it. A lot of cinematographers and videographers like myself dream of owning a RED. It's not the right camera for everything, but no camera is. I can't afford a RED, and the Ursa Mini Pro doesn't have all the bells and whistles a RED does, but it's a step in the direction of a more professional workflow.
5. I need to keep pace with everyone else. I've never had a client ask for 4K acquisition and delivery, but many others have. As the landscape of video production changes, I need to be able to offer my clients the same as others can.
I know you're thinking about buying a new camera or maybe you just did. Feel free to share your thoughts, questions, or experiences with everyone below.
Coming soon - Ursa Mini Pro vs C100 Mark II comparisons if you want it