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Science Channel's Legends of the Deep shot with Pocket Cinema Camera 4K and URSA Mini Pro
Blackmagic Design announced that Canada based Echo Bay Media used two Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4Ks and a Blackmagic URSA Mini Pro on the all new Science Channel series, “Legends of the Deep.” The Pocket Cinema Camera 4Ks captured underwater shots for the aquatic series, and then DaVinci Resolve Studio was used for the final color grade by Marc Bachli of Sim Post Toronto.
Science Channel's Legends of the Deep shot with Pocket Cinema Camera 4K and URSA Mini Pro
“Legends of the Deep” follows Céline and Fabien Cousteau as they set out to explore shipwrecks, strange scientific occurrences and mysterious natural anomalies, all beneath the sea. Produced by Cineflix Productions, Curve Media Limited, and INE Entertainment L.L.C. for Discovery Inc.’s Science Channel, the four part series debuted on June 9, 2019.

To shoot on location in Belize, Bermuda, Nova Scotia and Cyprus, Cineflix enlisted the help of Producers and Cofounders of Echo Bay Media Scott Wilson and Andre Dupuis due to their extensive experience shooting underwater. To capture underwater shots, Wilson and Dupuis selected two Pocket Cinema Camera 4Ks for their usability, portability, and cinematic footage that easily matched the other cameras in their shooting package.

“Leading up to the first shoot in Belize, we knew that we’d be filming from inside very small, confined three seat submersibles that are underwater for hours at a time. Space was at a premium, so we needed compact cameras that were incredibly reliable. Due to the submersibles’ size, there was often only room for the camera operator and two hosts, so we couldn’t be there ourselves to help troubleshoot if anything went wrong. Fortunately, we were able to confidently rely on the Pocket Cinema Camera 4Ks to capture exactly what we needed in difficult underwater shooting conditions,” said Wilson.

Controlling the lighting in underwater environments is very challenging, particularly when an ancillary submersible is providing external light, so the Echo Bay Media team relied on the cameras’ low light capabilities and dynamic range, as well as DaVinci Resolve Studio’s noise reduction features.

According to Dupuis, “It’s very dark underwater so we had our ISO set at 5,000. Even at that level, it was only a matter of minor noise reduction in DaVinci Resolve Studio, which we were able to easily take care of ourselves. Although a second submarine was on location providing some light, communication is very challenging underwater, so we’d either have very dark or extremely bright lighting conditions. Fortunately, it didn’t create an issue because of the cameras’ dynamic range.”

Bachli added, “Since the lighting was so difficult in the underwater shots, we had to mitigate some of the resulting grain with DaVinci Resolve Studio. We were cutting these low light shots with very well exposed ones, so we wanted to make sure that everything flowed together smoothly. Often times in this situation, we’d add grain to the well exposed shots to make them aesthetically similar. However, DaVinci Resolve Studio’s shadow control and noise reduction tools provided exceptional results. Initially, there were serious concerns about the possibility of matching these shots but those concerns went away quickly as soon as we saw what was possible with DaVinci Resolve Studio.”

In addition to leveraging the cameras’ small footprint inside the submersibles, Wilson and Dupuis also used the Pocket Cinema Camera 4K for interior vehicle narrative shots of the Cousteaus.

“The narrative shots of Céline and Fabien in the car were done very quickly. The Pocket Cinema Camera 4Ks’ setup time is so minimal that it was easy for us to experiment with different setups without wasting valuable production time. We were able to quickly configure a dashboard mount with one unit on each host and then quickly switch to one unit outside of the car looking in. Having these options on a run and gun shoot such as this allowed us to try things we may not have ordinarily been able to and guaranteed the best look possible. Additionally, the color science of the camera is incredible, so skin tones just come alive,” added Dupuis.

Echo Bay Media also used an URSA Mini Pro while shooting the series. According to Dupuis, “Thanks to its uncompromising value, we knew we were in a great position to use the URSA Mini Pro on this series. The URSA Mini Pro proved to be rugged and quick to setup with great latitude, wonderful color and comparably light weight.”

Dupuis concluded, “The great thing about the Pocket Cinema Camera 4K and the URSA Mini Pro is that they’re incredibly affordable without compromising quality. The Pocket Cinema Camera 4K is such an amazing compact camera in terms of what you get out of something so small; I’m getting shallow depth of field with incredible dynamic range, and the color is amazing. Paired with DaVinci Resolve Studio, we were able to achieve world class production value at a fraction of the cost.”

Info: www.blackmagicdesign.com

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