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Capturing News at KNN With Blackmagic URSA Broadcast G2s

KNN
Zak Holman and the news teams at Key News Network use several Blackmagic URSA Broadcast G2 cameras to deliver more than 100 news stories a month. (Image credit: Zak Holman)

LOS ANGELES—Capturing breaking news coverage with gear that allows me to deliver high-quality results while meeting my tight deadlines is a top priority for me. Since 2009, I have been shooting this type of content for TV and print publications in the Los Angeles area and over that time, I’ve covered some of the most compelling incidents in recent history and work with an incredibly talented team of professional photojournalists at Key News Network (KNN), covering breaking, live, and overnight news in California and other top U.S. markets. 

Recently we added several Blackmagic URSA Broadcast G2 cameras paired with B4 ENG lenses into our workflow to capture and supply footage ranging from house fires, physical rescues, homicide investigations, to protests, and more. Our content is also made available on KNN’s YouTube channel and the online site “News Break.” On average, we deliver more than 100 news stories a month, so quality of footage, reliability, and ease of use are key. 

Dynamic Range
Thanks to the URSA Broadcast G2s’ 13 stops of dynamic range and low light performance with dual gain ISO, we’ve been able to capture incredible shots with rich detail. All footage is currently captured in 4K, but it’s great to know we have the ability to shoot up to 6K if need be, because of the camera’s 3 in 1 design—a 4K production camera, 4K studio camera, or 6K digital cinema camera. 

With the URSA Broadcast G2s, we are no longer at the mercy of Mother Nature or concerned about bad conditions when out in the field. There have been instances when I think the conditions won’t allow us to shoot, but I’ve been proven wrong. This is a brilliant feeling of freedom as a photographer when I’m able to produce beyond what my eye can see. For example, when capturing a physical rescue with a dark subject area and harsh direct lighting for illumination is no longer an issue due to the cameras’ dynamic range. 

My team and I can also film in adverse situations far more clearly than before, which is a huge difference not just for us, but our clients as well. A standard house fire or physical rescue shots look cleaner and clearer. As we come into brush fire season in Southern California, I know I can rely on the URSA Broadcast G2s to capture clear visuals that the community needs to stay informed and safe.

The cameras have also integrated seamlessly into our workflow—our photographers  simply grab the cameras and start using them thanks to their intuitive design and the easy-to-navigate Blackmagic OS. 

Ready For Action
Because we’re on call to cover what is happening at any given moment, we need to be prepared at all times. Having gear like the URSA Broadcast G2s that we can just pick up and start using is very important for us. A slow boot-up time by seconds can be the difference between getting or missing the shot. All cameras are paired up with the URSA Viewfinder and URSA Mini Shoulder Kits, giving our team flexibility. 

Incorporating the URSA Broadcast G2s into our workflow has been a game changer. Not only does the gear keep up with our demanding work at a quality that never disappoints, but the company’s support team is also incredibly valuable. To me, Blackmagic Design will continue to be our “eyes” as we capture the world around us for a long time to come. 

Zak Holman is the director of photography at Key News Network and is based in Los Angeles. He can be reached at 323-455-4187 or info@keynews.tv. For more information on Key News Network, visit www.keynews.tv

For more information on URSA Broadcast G2 cameras, contact Blackmagic Design at 408-954-0500 or visit www.blackmagicdesign.com.

Zak Holman is the director of photography at Key News Network and is based in Los Angeles.