PLAYA DEL REY, CALIF.—I was hired to shoot a music video for “Hoodie,” the latest single from California pop band Hey Violet’s debut album, “From the Outside.” To obtain a genuine film look, I shot the video with the Blackmagic URSA Mini Pro digital film camera.
There’s always something fascinating about indie music videos; they become a character in themselves simply by the virtue of the artistic expression. I had worked with Jesse Hill, the director of the “Hoodie” music video, on projects before and she has an incredibly creative approach, so my first step was to get gear that could handle anything she could conjure up without losing the “character” of our vision.
|The URSA Mini Pro shot footage at three different locations, including outdoor and indoor settings.
“Hoodie” had three set locations; the first was the band performing the hit single on a black limbo soundstage. The second featured lead vocalist Rena Lovelis walking with a love interest on the beach in the morning; both locations were shot in 2K for fast transfer. The third location—the basis for the music video itself—featured Rena singing the song in a low-lit Spanish-style house, which we shot in 4K 3:1 compression. To create a more dramatic backdrop for Rena’s solo performance, we projected the beach and soundstage video sequences on the house’s Grand Hall and main bedroom.
The URSA Mini Pro proved incredibly versatile in all three locations. It successfully kept a filmic look consistent and intact, even when two of the sequences originally shot with the camera were projected on the wall and recaptured back with the camera. It was really visually stunning.
The URSA Mini Pro’s high 15 stops of dynamic range allowed us to capture the finest details, which proved especially useful when shooting the beach scene. The highlights’ roll-off was really beautiful. Even the shadows, which can often times look muddy on other cameras, were crisp and detailed. All of this gave more footage for the post team, which used DaVinci Resolve Studio to grade the video. It also allowed them to package the content up quickly, which was important as the morning beach shoot was edited, graded and used later in the day for the house shoot.
What we had captured with just one URSA Mini Pro in a matter of hours was unbelievable. The camera’s slow motion capabilities, which we used often, are impressive. The camera also gave us tons of latitude with set lighting. We could really play around with it and it never compromised our results. At times, Rena would be standing in a darker area of the room that was underexposed, but the URSA Mini Pro really held up and maintained clear details of her shape without losing the dramatic vibe we were pursuing.
Looking ahead, I’m definitely going to be using the URSA Mini Pro in upcoming projects, as it offers a film look that no other digital camera out there can achieve at this price point. In addition to its portability, built-in ND filters, LCD status display, fold-out touch screen and user-friendly controls—not to mention interchangeable lens mounts—it doesn’t get better than this.
Vance Burberry has worked with top artists including Pearl Jam, John Mayer, The Weeknd, Britney Spears and more. He can be contacted at [email protected].
For more information, please visit www.blackmagicdesign.com or call 408-954-0500.