Robbie Williams' Documentary Tour Workflow Features URSA Mini Pro and DaVinci Resolve
James explains that the URSA Mini Pro fitted his specific touring requirements. “Not only did we have to turn around short edits for social media as we toured, but we also had to factor in that there might be a need for a longer form documentary at the end of the tour. Because of that, whatever I shot with needed to be reliable and roadworthy to handle the rigors of touring.“
James designed a gimbal setup with remote focus system for a 12mm Laowa f2.8 or Carl Zeiss ZE 50mm F1.4, together with clean audio running from the URSA Mini Pro’s top microphone. “The URSA Mini Pro’s size and weight matched the gimbal perfectly,” he reveals. “I even balanced the rig so I could use the built-in screen to make setup quicker and avoid adding additional hardware and weight. I hadn’t previously relied too much on the camera’s focus peaking, however it proved invaluable as I would often work alone, walking backward to follow Robbie on stage and adjust the ND filters while walking from inside to outside in one fluid shot.”
A handheld URSA Mini 4.6K complemented the gimbal and was paired with EF lenses, as well as a Blackmagic URSA Viewfinder for concert shooting and general backstage coverage. “I absolutely love the viewfinder; such a solid design and perfect for working in bright daylight,” continues James.
With improvements to its performance and handling of camera formats, DaVinci Resolve now forms an integral part of Hangman Studio’s production and post-production workflow according to James. “Anything we shot I’d offload into Resolve for review each night, adding corrective LUTs and correcting aspect ratio if we’d filmed in anamorphic. We’d then create proxies to work from and store on portable bus powered drives.”
“While sitting in Manchester station waiting to take a train back to London after a show, I was able to quickly proxy ten minutes of 8K and 5K footage into 1080p H.264 files using a five-year-old laptop and then upload via 4G back to the edit so we could meet an editing deadline. The fact that we were traveling at the time didn’t stop the process of delivering the files where they needed to be, or our ability to work with them. This is exactly what software should always be, a tool to enable creativity regardless of where you are and what you’re running it on.”