‘Mrs. Maisel’ Season 4 VFX Supervisor Captures Shots With Blackmagic URSA Mini Pro 12K

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
(Image credit: Christopher Saunders, Copyright Prime Video)

FREEMONT, Calif.—The visual effects team involved in the Amazon Prime series “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” used the Blackmagic Design URSA Mini Pro 12K digital film camera to capture VFX plates for the fourth season of the series, the company said this week.

VFX Supervisor Lesley Robson-Foster, who has served in that role for all four seasons, also used the URSA Mini Pro 12 as a witness camera for the series, capturing footage from all over New York City, including the Coney Island boardwalk, the top of the Wonder Wheel Ferris wheel and Central Park, it said. 

Robson-Foster’s approach for the show has evolved each season. Starting with a Blackmagic URSA Mini Pro 4.6K digital film camera for season one’s B roll, establishing shots and VFX plates and later adding a Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K digital film camera for the following seasons, she chose to use the URSA Mini Pro 12K shooting in Blackmagic RAW for season four due to its usability and ability to shoot in 12K, it said.

The camera was used for season four to capture VFX plates while riding the Wonder Wheel Ferris wheel on Coney Island. 

“In the pilot episode, the families [of the characters] go to the amusement park and several conversations unfold while riding the Wonder Wheel,” said Robson-Foster. “To capture the plates, I took the URSA Mini Pro 12K up on the actual ride. We took the doors off a carriage and got strapped in to capture the aerial views from the top of the ride. We then used the plates in our CG model to bring the actors, who were shot against a green screen, onto the Ferris wheel.”

“A camera’s usability is always important, but when you’re strapped in above the ground in a moving Ferris wheel, it is crucial,” she added. “One of the reasons I rely on the URSA Mini Pro 12K is that it’s very easy to use and the Blackmagic OS is intuitive. It allows the team to be very self-sufficient so we can easily go around New York City capturing the plates we need for such a VFX heavy project.”

The camera makes it easy for Robson-Foster’s team to shoot wherever and whatever is required, which is particular helpful when it comes to the series because it’s necessary to capture weather and seasonal-dependent plates, she said. 

“For this season, I had to go back to locations and shoot plates of things such as trees in bloom, since we originally captured the locations in winter, but they needed to appear as if in summer,” she said. “Due to the camera’s ease of use and comfortable design, we were able to shoot these plates at a moment’s notice, so we could stay flexible and creative.”

More information is available on the company’s website.

Phil Kurz

Phil Kurz is a contributing editor to TV Tech. He has written about TV and video technology for more than 30 years and served as editor of three leading industry magazines. He earned a Bachelor of Journalism and a Master’s Degree in Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism.