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CBC Original Series Arctic Vets Captured with URSA Mini Pro 12K

Blackmagic Design has announced that the new CBC original series “Arctic Vets” was shot using its URSA Mini Pro 12K digital film camera in Blackmagic RAW. The series, which was graded with DaVinci Resolve Studio, also relied on Pocket Cinema Camera 4Ks and 6Ks, as well as URSA Mini Pro 4.6K G2 cameras, to capture incredible wildlife such as polar bears, arctic foxes, wolves and more.

The 10 episode series, currently airing Fridays at 8:30 p.m. (9NT) on CBC, Canada’s national public broadcaster, offers viewers a closer look at the wildlife that inhabits Canada’s north and the veterinarians at the Assiniboine Park Conservancy who work tirelessly to keep them safe. The series is produced by independent studio, Entertainment One (eOne), with Andre Dupuis and Scott Wilson of Echo Bay Media serving as director of photography and camera and sound operator, respectively.

“We wanted to capture as many different settings as possible, so we divided our production crew into two teams,” said Dupuis. “The first team traveled with an URSA Mini Pro 12K and Pocket Cinema Camera 6K to remote locations with a group of veterinarians, capturing the polar bears as they migrated. The second crew stayed with veterinarians at the Assiniboine Park Conservancy, relying on two URSA Mini Pro 4.6K G2s, a Pocket Cinema Camera 6K and two Pocket Cinema Camera 4Ks.”

When traveling to Churchill, Manitoba, also known as the “polar bear capital of the world,” Dupuis and Wilson knew they needed gear that would allow them to capture exceptional footage of the polar bears while maintaining a safe distance.

“All the shots in the wild were captured with the URSA Mini Pro 12K to achieve a super high resolution, sharp image,” said Wilson. “Being able to shoot in 4K, 6K and 8K with just one camera is truly remarkable and makes the camera perfect for any filmmaker as it adapts to their production needs.

“The URSA Mini Pro 12K allowed us to film wildlife with long lenses to stabilize images and easily punch in on shots while retaining highly detailed images in post. Since we were ultimately mastering in 4K, being able to center crop an image without losing resolution was essential to us. This was crucial when dealing with wildlife, since it not only allowed us to maintain a safe distance but also provided some flexibility when framing shots, as the animals can be unpredictable. The camera’s resolution, 12-bit Blackmagic RAW and 14 stops of dynamic range also gave us the latitude we needed to properly capture the white polar bears against snow covered ground and relatively white and grey skies.”

While the team usually kept their distance from the wildlife, sometimes the veterinarians’ missions brought them up close and personal. In one such instance, a polar bear had to be transported to a location near the Nunavut border in northern Canada to be released into the wild. Wilson used a Pocket Cinema Camera 6K mounted on a gimbal for quick, close up shots while the polar bear was moved by a helicopter.

“Sometimes you need to move fast, especially if a polar bear is on tranquilizer,” explained Wilson. “The Pocket Cinema Camera 6K allowed us to move safely and came in handy when capturing alternative coverage, given its small form factor and ease of use.”

“We had an arsenal of gear with us during the whole shoot and one of the key benefits across locations was the shared Blackmagic OS. It allowed our crew members to switch cameras easily as all of the cameras looked and felt very similar, so we were able to adapt in a heartbeat,” Wilson concluded.

“Arctic Vets” was shot in Blackmagic RAW, which allowed eOne to retain high image quality at lower bitrates with reduced cost for storage and less time for data transfer. To color grade the series, eOne collaborated with JAXX Creative in Toronto, ON.

According to JAXX Creative Colorist Dave St. Louis, “When you’re working with a lot of footage at a quick pace and remotely, you need a tool that doesn’t fail you. With DaVinci Resolve Studio we were able to simplify our workflow and manage the RAW footage seamlessly.”

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