Real-World Digital Cinema Technology

Richard Lackey - Cinema Camera Specialist, Producer, Post Producer and Writer. Sharing honest opinions, experience and views on Digital Cinema Technology and Industry.

An Alexa for the Masses? – Blackmagic Design Aim For The Top

An Arri Alexa vs URSA comparison may seem like a stretch, but Blackmagic’s new 4.6K sensor will raise the bar for everyone in performance and price. I love disruptive technology, and my favourite manufacturers are the most disruptive ones. They are also the most innovative, able to change the game for everyone with a single, often unexpected product announcement. Arri…

The Academy Launches ACES As Global Standard

In my opinion, ACES is one of the most important landmark advancements in color management and post workflow ever. It promises to standardise image data in post to a scene linear floating point format that is both input and output device independent and encompasses the entire visible color gamut.

Digital Film? The Film vs Digital Debate Continues

The very first large sensor digital cinema camera, the Dalsa Origin showed at NAB in 2003. It ignited the long running film vs digital debate, one of the hottest topics of discussion among both celluloid and digital imaging aficionados (and those of us who love both equally). The fire was fuelled by an explosive mix of subjective opinion and objective scientific fact.…

“Gallipoli” Opening Sequence Shot on Blackmagic URSA EF

I finally tracked down the beautiful intro sequence to “Gallipoli”. Shot on Blackmagic URSA EF, the effect is not composited VFX, it’s all achieved in-camera.

Director Glendyn Ivin explains – “The opening sequence has to set the viewer up emotionally, and I came up with a simple, but beautiful idea. We filled a fish tank with water and then dropped vegetable oil, ink and kids school paints into the water. We then projected photos of the cast and action scenes onto the fish tank as it swirled and moved around with the different textures adding depth to the projected images. A simple idea, but it had to convey some complex ideas and I needed a camera to capture the footage in slow motion at very high quality.”

“Gallipoli” Uses Blackmagic URSA and Production Camera 4K

Keep an eye out for what looks to be a fantastic upcoming Australian mini-series “Gallipoli”. According to a Blackmagic Design press release on Monday URSA and Production Camera 4K were involved, along with DP John Brawley for VFX plates shot in Turkey. Congrats John!

“Blackmagic Design today announced the new television mini series “Gallipoli” used Blackmagic URSA EF and Blackmagic Production Camera 4K cameras to capture a variety of scenes and shots throughout the show. This included using the URSA to capture the show’s stunning opening title sequence.”

“Ivin used Blackmagic Production Camera 4K to capture VFX plates for CGI for the large number of battle scenes featured. Carrying the camera to the shores of Turkey with DOP John Brawley, Ivin was able to capture the plates in rugged terrain thanks to the camera’s lightweight yet tough build.”

Click here for the full press release.


Size Does Matter – Arri’s New Alexa Mini

With NAB still a month and a half away we’ve had two major announcements in a week from the top two players in digital cinema acquisition. Only a few days ago Red Digital Cinema’s Jarred Land announced initial details of the upcoming upgrade program for Dragon owners to a new camera body named Weapon. In true Red style, exact details…

URSA Footage – Sailing with the Blackmagic URSA in 4K UHD

I am excited to share my recent URSA test shoot. There is not much URSA footage out there at the moment so I am hoping that many find this of some interest. Shot in 4K RAW 3:1, mostly at 80fps and graded in DaVinci Resolve based on a Kodak 2383 print stock LUT. Uploaded to Youtube at 4K although I don’t have a 4K TV to see how it looks at full resolution.

Thanks to Marcel Beck ( for shooting such great images and RAK Sailing Academy ( for letting us shoot aboard their Lutra 30v1.

Make sure you set the quality setting to 1080p. I’d love to hear from anyone who streams and watches it at full 4K!

Stop Obsessing About Camera Specs

Dear aspiring filmmaker, here’s a tip to avoid being lost forever in an ocean of mediocrity. Stop obsessing about camera specs, in fact, forget about the damn camera and learn to craft a story, learn to write, learn to direct, find your voice. Your camera is a tiny, forever changing spec of insignificance. If you want to be a cinematographer, again,…