We often break down entire video systems and give you an overview of everything we did on an install. This time we wanted to provide you with a glimpse into some of the thought processes of deciding what gear you should choose and how different combinations of equipment can change the result of your production.
While there is no wrong answer to what camera or lens you should select, you want it to fit your use case. When picking out the configuration of your AV gear, it can be hard to find the information required to even start to figure out what pieces you want, let alone what you actually need. We often see this come up with the Ursa Mini camera by Blackmagic Design. Blackmagic offers several Ursa Mini camera variations, and on top of that, multiple mounting options: Pl, B4, EF, etc. Let’s look at a quick overview of these.
PL mounts are commonly used in cinema and film production. They provide a very secure lens mount, but their drawback is not having any electronic data that communicates with the camera.
EF mounts are made by Canon and are used by numerous lens and camera manufacturers. EF stands for Electro-Focus and has electrical connections built into the mount and lens for communication between the camera and the lens.
B4 mounts are a standard broadcast mount. It has a similar twist locking mechanism to a PL mount for secure mounting. The B4 mount standard defines the mount specifications, some of the lens's optics, and the lens's electronic connections, such as focus and zoom inputs.
Now, let’s take a practical look at what choosing a lens mount meant for Rocky Mountain Calvary Church recently. Rocky Mountain Calvary (RMC) already had a couple of Ursa Mini 4.6k Pros with EF mounts and Canon lens on a tripod positioned in the back of their room. While all the components are excellent, it was not necessarily the best configuration for their needs. A few of the downsides of using an EF mount and lens are the lack of manual focus and zoom controls. The zoom range is often limited compared to a more standard broadcast lens.
This mismatch of features and use-case carries over and affects the camera operator. Without proper focus and zoom controls it becomes a more significant challenge for your camera operator to consistently hit critical focus and to have smooth and steady zooms.
Swapping the EF mount to a B4 mount on their Ursas allowed us to integrate B4 ENG lenses compatible with Fujinon's Focus and Zoom controls. This change gives the operator more precision and the ENG lens also provides a more extensive zoom range, allowing for tighter shots.
Having the right tools for your specific needs adds to the ease of use for everyone involved. It makes it easier to be consistent in hitting your goals, and when you accomplish that, it elevates the overall quality of your service, event, or show.
Have an interesting gear configuration, or are you looking for some information for a new setup? Reach out to us; we always love to talk shop and hear your ideas.
Or Text 22828
All of the Lambda Staff contribute to the Blog. If you have any questions about the info we provide, please don't hesitate to ask!
Check out our resources page for FREE checklists and tools we mention in articles! We are here to help you improve and maintain your Audio Visual Systems!