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Download My Alexa-Style LUT For The URSA Mini 4.6K Here + First Impressions Of The New Firmware

The URSA Mini seems to just keep getting better with each new update. The latest beta firmware (4.0) is the biggest leap forward yet, and one of it’s flagship features offers users the ability to load and export custom LUTs from the camera. Having just installed the firmware a couple of days ago, I decided to run some tests by creating custom LUTs that could be loaded onto the URSA Mini 4.6K for future use on set.

As I was trying to decide which custom LUTs would be most useful to have loaded into the camera,  I thought – why not make a LUT that is designed to emulate the Arri Alexa look.

One of the reasons I love the URSA Mini 4.6K is that it’s look can be very Alexa-like. That said, it is a different camera, and there are some notable differences in the colors, contrast, and other visual parameters, as no two cameras will ever look identical. With that in mind, my goal was to take the already filmic image from the URSA Mini 4.6K, and tweak it just slightly to get it to look more like native Alexa footage.

It took a lot of heavy lifting to do this, which might be surprising considering the results of the LUT when applied are actually quite subtle.

Using DaVinci Resolve, a ton of Alexa footage (including lots of color charts), and even more URSA Mini 4.6K footage, I slowly but surely was able to develop a LUT that I believe gives URSA Mini 4.6K Film footage a look that is closer to Alexa.

While my LUT building process initially started by lining up color chart footage shot on both Alexa and URSA Mini 4.6K and matching each color square individually, it quickly evolved from there. I later took my initial version of the LUT and applied it to regular footage, making very small adjustments to my eye. So really, the creation of this LUT was half scientific and half instinctual.

The difference between my Alexa-style LUT and the standard 4.6K to Video LUT isn’t massively different, and it’s not supposed to be. As I mentioned above, the 4.6K already has a very Alexa-like quality to it, so the differences between these two LUTs are not intended to be monumental.

Take a look at some examples below.

All of the images were shot in 4.6K 2.4:1 aspect ratio in ProRes HQ Film mode.

RAW

URSA_MINI_RAW_1

URSA MINI 4.6K VIDEO LUT

URSA_BMD_VIDEO_1

URSA MINI 4.6K TO ALEXA LUT

URSA_MINI_ALEXA_LOOK_1

The differences between the two LUTs are subtle, but still distinct – especially in the rendering of greens and magentas, as well as the overall contrast. The two samples above have not been graded other than using the LUTs, but below are two more examples of the same shot that are slightly graded (using the exact same grade) to bring back the window detail.

URSA MINI 4.6K VIDEO LUT – GRADED

URSA_BMD_VIDEO_GRADED_1

URSA MINI 4.6K TO ALEXA LUT – GRADED

URSA_MINI_ALEXA_GRADED_1

What’s great about this LUT is that it’s effects will be different depending on the scene you are shooting, since there were a high volume of tiny changes made in the process of creating the LUT. In other words, depending on the color palette of any given scene, the effect of the LUT may be more or less obvious, since some 4.6K colors are natively closer to Alexa than others.

Here are a couple more examples.

RAW

URSA_MINI_RAW_3

URSA MINI 4.6K VIDEO LUT

URSA_BMD_VIDEO_GRADED_3

URSA MINI 4.6K TO ALEXA LUT

URSA_MINI_ALEXA_GRADED_3

RAW

URSA_MINI_RAW_2

URSA MINI 4.6K VIDEO LUT

URSA_BMD_VIDEO_GRADED_2

URSA MINI 4.6K TO ALEXA LUT

URSA_MINI_ALEXA_GRADED_2

You can download the URSA to Alexa LUT by clicking here.

FIRMWARE 4.0

I’ve only been shooting with the new firmware for a couple of days now, so I’m not going to write a detailed breakdown of my thoughts on it just yet. But for now, I can tell those of you that haven’t tried it out yet that practically everything has changed from a UI/design perspective on version 4.0, and for the better. At the same time, the simplistic design Blackmagic is known for hasn’t been lost in the process which is really nice to see.

URSA-Mini-Firmware-4

There have seemingly been countless new features added in version 4.0, and I feel like I’m discovering more of them each time I use the camera. There are far too many new additions to list here, but here are a few of my personal highlights:

  • Beautifully designed new operating system
  • Heads up display
  • Individual monitoring control for each SDI output
  • Ability to load and export 3D LUTs
  • Auto white balance
  • Tint control
  • Customizable focus peaking colors and settings
  • 2.4:1 aspect ratio in 4.6K
  • 3K anamorphic recording
  • Custom camera settings presets

The heads up display is probably the most useful of the new features when shooting a real world project. It’s essentially a menu overlayed on your LCD screen, which makes changing basic settings like ISO or white balance way quicker. All of your settings and parameters are laid out on the top and bottom of your screen, and if you want to change something (let’s say the audio input levels), it’s as simple as tapping the audio meters and making an adjustment right there on your screen. There’s no need to step into the menu using the buttons on the camera body.

For the most part, all of the features in version 4.0 seem to have been designed to not only make the camera more functional, but more useable. Once I’m able to shoot some more substantial material with the camera using this new firmware, I’ll be sure to post some more detailed feedback. For now, I would say it is definitely worth trying out if you are a 4.6K user – even while it’s still in beta mode.

As for the URSA 4.6K to Alexa LUT, I may create an updated version of it down the line once I get a chance to shoot with the camera more frequently. So for those of you that do use the LUT, please send me some feedback so I can continue to refine it over time.

And for any of you that aren’t URSA Mini 4.6K owners, but are looking for a similar Alexa-style LUT for your camera, be sure to comment and let me know below. I may make some more of these in the future for different camera platforms…

I also recently released 6 Cinematic LUT Packs, which have been carefully designed to help you achieve an organic, filmic look in post-production. They work perfectly with footage from virtually any camera, and I highly recommend them for filmmakers and cinematographers looking to achieve bold color results, while minimizing time in post-production. Be sure to check them out by clicking here!

And for more content like this, be sure to follow me on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter!

 

About Author

Noam Kroll is an award-winning Los Angeles based filmmaker, and the founder of the boutique production house, Creative Rebellion. His work can be seen at international film festivals, on network television, and in various publications across the globe. Follow Noam on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for more content like this!

38 Comments

  • alfredo bravo
    December 29, 2018 at 2:40 pm

    Hello, very useful the creation of the lut for ursa, I own a Ursa mini pro and wanted to know or the possibility of developing a Curb Log c of arri for said camera (UMP) before hand thank you very much for the attention …
    I attach the preset reigned …

    U-BMDFILM-4K-ALEXA-LOG-C-LTL.cube

    este no registra en mi camara…

    Reply
  • Joseph
    October 20, 2018 at 1:31 pm

    Noam,
    Any plans to do the same for BMD’s new v4 color science?

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      November 14, 2018 at 5:34 am

      Yes, I just picked up an Alexa and plan to do loads of new LUTs based off it’s color science!

      Reply
  • Oliver
    February 22, 2018 at 12:35 am

    Will this work for the Ursa Mini Pro as well? Thanks so much!

    Reply
  • patrick
    January 13, 2018 at 4:59 pm

    Sorry! What a muppet, I’ve just found the link! Tried it now, it was exactly what I was looking for – it works really well as a viewfinder lut for the bmd evf, which is way too contrasty. Thanks!!

    Reply
  • patrick
    January 13, 2018 at 3:49 pm

    is this lut still available?

    Reply
  • Assa Danon
    January 13, 2018 at 9:47 am

    can this work for the ursa mini 4k>

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      January 18, 2018 at 6:34 am

      It could to some degree, but it won’t be an exact match as it was built using footage from the 4.6K…

      Reply
  • Carlos
    January 8, 2018 at 12:23 am

    where can I download this lut for Blackmagic 4.6k?

    Reply
  • David Suddaby
    October 1, 2017 at 1:25 am

    The problem I’m having with the built in LUT (and most likely this one) is the way the camera displays a REC 709 output; it is overexposed and too bright and it clips. This camera performs best when the sensor is overexposed but not at all clipped, however the corresponding LUT then looks terrible. Unlike a RED camera I can saturate the sensor (RAW view) and then easily dial down the ISO on the REC 709 LUT to provide a correct looking exposure. How can I do this on the Ursa?

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      October 5, 2017 at 9:00 pm

      Interesting, David. I think this is a common issue as like you said, Blackmagic cameras typically perform best when overexposed, and LUTs designed for a more standard exposure aren’t as useful for monitoring in that case. I will certainly consider creating an “over exposure” LUT in the future to deal with this. Thanks for the note!

      Reply
  • Dan
    September 8, 2017 at 4:30 am

    Thanks Noam, since this LUT is not baked into the footage, how is it applied in post?
    Cheers

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      September 10, 2017 at 1:37 am

      No problem, Dan! You can simply apply the same LUT in your NLE or color grading software. There are many ways to do it depending on which software you’re working with… But just about any editing software will support .cube files these days.

      Reply
  • Simon
    March 1, 2017 at 1:59 pm

    Hey Noam,

    Been using your LUT as a starting point for some grading recently and it’s a really good place to start, thanks for creating this. And thanks for the other resources on blackmagic camera’s in general. I started with a pocket, sold that for a micro cinema camera and have now paired that with the UM4.6. Remember reading your thoughts numerous times on these camera’s before purchasing myself, and despite what some people say i have loved using these camera’s the past few years.

    Just wanted to say cheers!

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      March 2, 2017 at 7:32 pm

      Really great to hear Simon, and thanks for the note! I’ve never quite understood the harsh criticism of Blackmagic. Sure, their cameras (like everyone’s) have their own set of quirks or flaws… But delivering that type of image quality at that price is pretty remarkable. I’m still astonished by what they are doing! Glad you’re enjoying the posts…

      Reply
  • Law
    February 21, 2017 at 4:50 am

    Hey Noam,

    Just wondering one thing. Will this work with the URSA Mini 4k also ? Or did you specifically design it for the 4.6k ?

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      February 23, 2017 at 2:39 am

      Hi Law – I created it for the 4.6K, but you can certainly try it on the 4K as well… I’d be curious to hear how it works!

      Reply
  • Ash
    January 20, 2017 at 8:59 am

    Hey dude 🙂

    Hope your’e doing well. Just wondering if you’ll be releasing the update to this anytime soon? 🙂

    Thanks again

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      January 23, 2017 at 9:28 pm

      I’m working on it Ash! It’s been a crazy month as I am currently in production for a feature – but will try to get this out ASAP.

      Reply
  • vance Burberry
    January 11, 2017 at 2:12 pm

    Quick question, is the LUT giving me an Alexa Log-C or Rec 709, hoping its a Log-C

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      January 23, 2017 at 9:21 pm

      This is actually going to give you a more contrasty Rec 709 image, but will be more similar to the Alexa to REC 709 LUT as apposed to the URSA Mini to Rec 709 LUT.

      Reply
  • Matthew
    October 18, 2016 at 5:43 am

    Hi Noam,
    With the graded LUT to bring back the image in the window you mentioned you did a slight grade, may I ask briefly how you did this? Thanks mate, and love the LUT BTW having fun with it now

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      October 25, 2016 at 4:32 pm

      Thanks Matthew! To bring back the window, I believe I created a curves adjustment that brought just the highlights down.

      Reply
  • Dawson Boyle
    September 9, 2016 at 4:24 am

    I actually had a similar idea to create a lit that would take blackmagic film to log c to get an Alexa look, but this is great!

    Reply
    • Dawson Boyle
      September 9, 2016 at 4:25 am

      LUT*

      Reply
      • Noam Kroll
        September 19, 2016 at 2:30 pm

        Cool! I’m going to work on a V2 version at some point soon, so be sure to check back. Thanks for the note.

        Reply
  • J Parker
    September 6, 2016 at 9:40 pm

    Hey Noam

    I love the LUT! It’s really great, however there’s one thing I’ve noticed. It’s hard to use on women who might be wearing lip stick because the reds are forced 2 far into the orange hues. You have to do a lot of secondaries to get the lips to where they are supposed to be.

    Just my observation. Hope all is well.

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      September 7, 2016 at 7:14 am

      Thanks for the feedback! I’ll need to look into this on my end and potentially release a new version once I have a chance to refine it some more…

      Reply
      • Darren McPhee
        September 14, 2016 at 8:20 pm

        Hi Noam,

        Thanks for this LUT! I just wanted to second what Parker said about the reds. I did a few test shots around the studio and everything looks really good, except the red fire extinguisher on our wall looked more orange than red. Just wanted to pass that on.

        Reply
        • Noam Kroll
          September 19, 2016 at 2:41 pm

          Ok good to know! Definitely going to have to make the V2 version sooner than later. I appreciate the heads up…

          Reply
  • Liam
    August 22, 2016 at 9:18 am

    Would love to see some footage with this LUT when possible.

    Still on the fence about the 4.6k but really want to love it!

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      August 23, 2016 at 10:35 pm

      It’s pretty awesome! No camera is perfect, but for the price it’s damn close. What’s holding you back?

      Reply
      • Liam
        August 24, 2016 at 11:02 am

        Right now…money, ha.

        Not necessarily just the cam but the support as well, V-Mount batteries, CF2.0 cards and it adds up a bit. I reckon I’d need a heavier duty tripod too if I was being sensible.

        As for the image itself though, it was initially that there was a lot of footage out there that didn’t impress me, but now that it’s been around for a little longer I’ve seen a lot of really impressive footage which is definitely encouraging. Along with the firmware update to ease the magneta cast, which really bothered me at first.

        For now it’ll have to sit on my wish list unfortunately. I think there’s still a waiting list anyway.

        Reply
        • Noam Kroll
          August 25, 2016 at 7:12 pm

          Fair enough! The camera offers a lot of bang for your buck but it’s certainly not cheap by any standards… That said, I can say in terms of the image quality I think most people would really love the results the 4.6K can deliver and would be able to get great results once it’s given a fair shot, despite some of the early issues that were reported.

          Reply
  • Simone
    August 21, 2016 at 11:38 pm

    Great! Is it usable also with the Micro Cinema?
    I use the Micro and it gives me a great file, but I’m still faster with GH4 and G7… I have to learn to work faster with the little amazing Blackmagic 😉

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      August 23, 2016 at 10:35 pm

      Thanks Simone! This is actually designed specifically for the URSA Mini 4.6K, but I may create one for the Micro in the future. I’m hoping to get some suggestions from readers on which cameras they’d like to have these kinds of LUTs created for.

      Reply

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