Blackmagic Design today announced that independent filmmaker Aaron Dunleavy has produced his latest short film, Strays, using the Blackmagic URSA Mini 4.6K digital film camera and DaVinci Resolve for color correction.
Commissioned for Channel 4s Random Acts, the film explores a dark and unsettling world taken over by children. Strays has been scheduled for broadcast in series 4 of Channel 4's Random Acts.
The Random Acts education, training and production program is backed by Arts Council England in partnership with Channel 4 and delivered in the North of England by Tyneside Cinema (Newcastle), HOME (Manchester) and True North Productions (Leeds).
Aaron worked with DoP, Chris Spurdens, with whom he has collaborated on both of his previous short films. As all of my work is heavily improvised, it takes an enormous amount of flexibility and skill from a DoP to capture a scene so spontaneously, begins Dunleavy. There were many one-off moments caught by Chris; it takes a lot of trust and understanding to work in this way.
Having shot his earlier shorts on smaller DSLRs and mirrorless cameras, stepping up to the URSA Mini 4.6K was a big deal according to Aaron. Without even mentioning the obvious benefits of improved image quality and formats, the production process improves dramatically.
Spurdens adds: We rigged up the camera with a whole range of accessories, including an ARRI Mattebox with 4x5 ND Filters, a Teradek HD-SDI wireless transmitter and even an Easyrig camera support. I am amazed at just how versatile and adaptable the URSA Mini is. It can be small and lightweight if required, or built up into a fully fledged cinema rig when needed.
Aside from the physical form factor, the ecosystem and software were a dream to work with compared to DSLR or Mirrorless systems. Working within broadcast standards, we had to ensure that we were recording to a professional and high-quality format, and the URSA Mini enabled us to do so with ease. The workflow and transition from production to post-production was seamless.
Aaron completed the entire post process, including edit and grade on a mid 2012 specced MacBook Pro. Having completed the offline edit, I then took the project XML into DaVinci Resolve for the online edit and grade. I wanted to retain the gritty visual style, established in my previous work, but with a more stylized cinematic aesthetic. The workflow and transition from production to post was seamless. In fact we recorded everything in ProRes 4444 at 50fps and used off board recording on the URSA Mini so that we could review everything on set as it would appear in post, he explains.
Shooting on film has always been a massive dream of mine and so the opportunity to work with Blackmagics 4.6K sensor gave us a nice hybrid approach, concludes Dunleavy. Not only did it allow us to capture a film like texture digitally, we also had plenty of dynamic range to work with in post which allowed us to heighten those qualities in the grade.