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Overhead 12K Blackmagic Camera Used on ABC’s `Station 19’

Blackmagic
(Image credit: Blackmagic)

FREMONT, Calif.—“Station 19,” the ABC Signature/Shondaland production that follows a group of firefighters from the Seattle Fire Department, relied on a Blackmagic Design Ursa Mini Pro 12K camera to capture a dramatic overhead angle for an episode called “Comfortably Numb.”

In the episode, the character Ben faces surgery. While on the operating table, the audience is brought into the experience with an Ursa Mini Pro 12K suspended over the actor to capture his fear and anxiety.

“We had three camera crews with our regular cameras on the ‘Station 19’ set,” said cinematographer Christian Sebaldt, ASC, “but I felt it was crucial to get an additional top angle for the editor, since visual effects were going to affect the scene quite heavily.” 

The overhead angle covered the main character's face as he laid on his back. “I didn't want to take one of the three other cameras shooting the multiple actors in the scene and lose coverage on them, but I felt the single on Ben was critical to the story.”

Sebaldt began using the original Blackmagic Design Cinema cameras in 2016 on the CBS TV series “Rush Hour.” Since then, he’s used various models, carrying many in his personal gear kit.

“With a huge amount of action in every episode, having two extra angles in addition to the three main cameras was absolutely crucial to deliver exciting sequences,” he added.

For “Comfortably Numb,” Sebaldt rigged the Ursa Mini Pro 12K above Ben’s face but framed the shot with ample room around him

“With such high-resolution imagery, I knew that we could push in on the shot in editorial and reframe if needed due to the high quality of the 12K image. A lock off with a moving actor was no worry for me,” he said.

While Sebaldt said he appreciates the quality of the 12K imagery, he also values its “clean image” and wide dynamic range with a lot of “natural detail and no artifacts.” 

“All Blackmagic cameras I have used over the years have rendered beautiful skin tones and deep detail for easy matching or manipulation in final color sessions,” he said.

More information is available on the Blackmagic Design website

Phil Kurz

Phil Kurz is contributing editor to TV Technology