Roy H. Wagner ASC

Master Filmmaker
Staff member
I've spent the last five months photographing a feature musical in Canada. I had the option of using any camera I wished. I chose the Blackmagic Mini Ursa Pro 4.6. Why? Anyone that knows me has heard me speak about the value of technology over partners. I learned this very early with Panavision, MetroColor Labs and DeLuxe Labs. Why were these partners so valuable? Panavision cameras had the same camera movements as Mitchell and the same quality glass as other manufacturers. The labs used the same chemistry and procedures defined by Eastman Kodak. What was different? For me it was the value of being able to seek information or help when I was in the midst of production. As any cinematographer knows the job is a very lonely occupation in the midst of production; especially when you're in trouble. To be able to seek professional solutions no matter what time day or night is more valuable than any piece of equipment I've ever used. I had heard that Blackmagic's mantra was to produce high end equipment at a price that any filmmaker could afford. Their initial journey into filmmaking had it's bumps but this new camera is extraordinary. I can now put to rest the following:
The camera works incredibly well at low light levels.
It can capture dynamic saturation without noise.
It produces skin tones better than any current digital camera.
It holds highlights better than any camera I've tested.
The noise levels are incredibly low.
I hear about dynamic exposure values but I never hear if those values are measured as reflective or incident values. Measuring incident light values the camera can capture well over 15 stops.
With all of that value I know that it does not cost a cinematographer 50 to 100k. The camera is approximately $6K. Insanity. Put your money on the screen.
Every cinematographer is an artist and MUST do their own tests. Don't take my word for it. You must shake this camera technology to the bone and discover the value it has for you as a cinematic artist.