Blackmagic Design today announced that live news footage for Law and Crime, a live trial network, is being shot with a Blackmagic URSA Broadcast G2 camera by Videographer William von Tagen. Since there are no second chances when it comes to breaking news, URSA Broadcast G2 helps von Tagen deliver on the requirements of a live ENG workflow, including its ability to easily shoot on the fly, regardless of the environment, as well as capture longform and archival content.
When von Tagen began working with Law and Crime, access to an ENG camera was part of the job requirement. “I knew URSA Broadcast G2 would offer the tools I need to get the job done,” he said. “There are plenty of affordable media options for recording, it has all the external connection ports my workflow requires, such as internal audio recording via full sized XLR inputs and an SDI output for a LiveU transmitter, and the menu system is perfect for fast, live shoots.”
“Having all the ENG camera controls accessible for changing settings without diving into a menu is imperative for a news gathering environment. You only get one shot, one take. I can’t stop the world while I scroll through menus to change brightness or increase audio levels. Those controls are at my fingertips with the URSA Broadcast G2, even in the viewfinder with its built in options and programable function buttons. False color is my most used tool, and I click it on and off constantly to make sure exposure is good on my reporter’s face, keeping it in a nice position in comparison to the ultra bright or dark backgrounds.”
von Tagen also finds the URSA Broadcast G2’s ND filters essential at the touch of a finger. “They are effective and easy to access without having to pull your eye from the viewfinder,” he noted. “Again, in a news environment where you have no control over light, and you can’t stop recording to reset or adjust, it’s important to effectively adjust your image on the fly. The NDs do just that, and they also have no noticeable impact on the color of the image, which itself is unbeatable.”
When it comes to the look of the footage, the URSA Broadcast G2 supports von Tagen every step of the way. “Let me put it this way, you are often shooting in the least picturesque settings: high noon, harsh light, busy background,” he explained. “However, your goal should still be to make a beautiful shot, which the URSA excels at. Especially coupled with the camera’s B4 mount, which provides the opportunity to use affordable, high quality lenses.”
“We can shoot from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., and the URSA Broadcast G2 does great in lower light during early mornings and evening. The dual ISO plays a role here, and I’m always transmitting a clean image,” von Tagen added. “If I shoot for a post workflow type situation instead of live, I know the camera will excel with its Blackmagic RAW and dual ISO capabilities. Also, while Law and Crime requires 1080i and getting that out of the URSA Broadcast G2 via the rear SDI is just a few menu steps away, I can also shoot 4K for archival needs, or longer form projects, and still output HD for immediate broadcast. It’s these details that make this a powerful camera for both daily use, as well as sweeps packages that need a little extra production value.”
With live news, getting the perfect shot relies, in part, on the tools supporting your workflow, and as von Tagen noted, it’s all the aforementioned factors coming together.
“The URSA Broadcast G2’s Super 35 sensor size is much larger than a typical broadcast camera. Even with the 4K UHD windowed mode, and my B4 lens set nearly wide open at f/1.9 or f/2.4, I’m able to get a very soft background with beautiful bokeh which isolates my reporter with very little effort,” he said. “With full ND and the dB, or ISO, set low, coupled with such fast glass, I can easily get the shot I want for my lives. Other photogs often ask me how this is possible.
“Many ENG cameras in the field still have very small sensor chips or permanently fixed zoom lenses that do not open very wide. I see photogs set up 15 ft. away from their reporters, zooming in to try and blur their background, while others must deal with a very flat image.”
“One could almost argue that the URSA Broadcast G2 is overkill for news, except for the fact that it is more affordable than anything I see in the press pool. This makes it something that I would think any news organization would gravitate toward,” concluded von Tagen. “It maintains a familiar build for veteran photogs and is accessible for newcomers. Best of all, if you need the features of Blackmagic RAW, 6K, ATEM switcher connectivity, high frame rate capture for overcranking, etc., it’s all there too. You can go from basic field lives and then use it to produce an hour long feature piece.”
About Blackmagic Design
Blackmagic Design creates the world’s highest quality video editing products, digital film cameras, color correctors, video converters, video monitoring, routers, live production switchers, disk recorders, waveform monitors and real time film scanners for the feature film, post production and television broadcast industries. Blackmagic Design’s DeckLink capture cards launched a revolution in quality and affordability in post production, while the company’s Emmy™ award winning DaVinci color correction products have dominated the television and film industry since 1984. Blackmagic Design continues ground breaking innovations including 6G-SDI and 12G-SDI products and stereoscopic 3D and Ultra HD workflows. Founded by world leading post production editors and engineers, Blackmagic Design has offices in the USA, UK, Japan, Singapore and Australia. For more information, please go to www.blackmagicdesign.com.
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