URSA Mini Pro 12K in The Desperate Hour
Image Credit: Blackmagic Design

URSA Mini Pro 12K, other Blackmagic Design equipment used in The Desperate Hour

An upcoming film used the URSA Mini Pro 12K as the primary camera, Blackmagic Design announced.

There were many challenges in the filming process in addition to shooting during a global pandemic. The majority of the film features only one actor, but that character is constantly running through rugged terrains.

Cinematographer John Brawley selected the URSA Mini Pro 12K due to the camera’s ability to keep up with the fast-paced filming. He also used a Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 6K Pro (BMPCC6K Pro) for various additional shots.

Brawley paired the URSA Mini Pro 12K with Zeiss Supreme lenses to match the 12K resolution.

The URSA Mini Pro 12K in The Desperate Hour
Image Credit: Blackmagic Design

Stabilizing Shots on the URSA Mini Pro 12K

Due to the nature of the film, Brawley needed a camera that could easily be rigged in multiple ways to handle the different challenges. This included a variety of environments and motions.

An additional challenge involved rigging the camera to an electric motorcycle. Brawley paired the lightweight URSA Mini Pro 12K with an SRH3 Stabilized Remote Head to make a small package that made it easy to weave in and out of the trees.

The URSA Mini Pro 12K also offers a higher resolution – and that was part of the decision making process for Brawley. He knew they would have to stabilize shots during the filming process. The camera’s ability to shoot in 12K or 8K mode without losing field of view provided an advantage. The rolling shutter in 8K mode helped eliminate skewing verticals in action sequences.

While making his decision, Brawley shot a test using the URSA Mini Pro 12K and another cinema camera. The film’s director and producers all preferred the look of the Blackmagic Design camera.

The Benefit of BRAW

Brawley knew that combining the URSA Mini Pro 12K with Blackmagic RAW (BRAW) would help him achieve the image quality he needed for the film.

“It is unique the way the sensor works. We were shooting in autumn, and we knew the colors in the forest would be a big part of it. Production design chose the locations for the look, but the location was a character as well. With the URSA Mini Pro 12K we had a camera that could give that vibrancy, nuance and subtlety justice, because there are some beautiful autumnal colors in that forest. Especially when you’re grading, it feels like you see a lot more subtlety. When you’re looking at Naomi’s face, you can see the sky color reflected on her forehead.”

John Brawley, Cinematographer

Overall, he selected the Blackmagic RAW Constant Quality ‘Q’ settings, recording most of the film at Q3. Q3 at 12K is about one terabyte per hour and provides a beautiful image.

About the Film

“The Desperate Hour” is a pulse-pounding thriller that unfolds in real time. It chronicles the story of a recently widowed mother, her young daughter and teenage son during the events of a school shooting. The film was directed by Phillip Noyce and stars Academy Award nominee Naomi Watts.

You can watch “The Desperate Hour” in theaters or on demand starting February 25, 2022.

Curious to see what other movies featured Blackmagic design products like the URSA Mini Pro 12K? Check out this article that details all of the projects from the Sundance Film Festival.

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