Recently I bought a Blackmagic Design URSA Mini 4.6K for it’s very good image quality, codec options and versatility at a very good price point. In this article I will go over the parts I use to unlock the cameras full potential and I will update this article as I add new components to the rig.
Straight out of the box the URSA Mini camera body is kind of usable but it is missing a top handle which is needed as the machine is hard to lift out of a bag and not optimal to properly handheld without. I looked around for top plates and other accessories that would fit my shooting style. Blackmagic’s own accessories look very good but take a lot of time to assemble and are not tool less. I need something very modular that can be stripped down to a small body in seconds without tools for gimbal or steadycam operation.
The Base Rig
The best options for the top and side plate as well as the top handle I found, that are not too budget intensive are produced by the company SmallRig and are available through their own web store.
On the left is the older SmallRig URSA Mini Top Plate, on the right is the new one top plate. I first tried the smaller new edition that is wider, a little bit higher but not as long as the older model. Both feature many mounting positions for magic arms and other accessories. Two hot shoe mounts are only present on the new model:
The plates fit very well on the camera and allows for a nato rail extension to be easily mounted on top of it. With a NATO rail it gets very easy to mount or remove the also very good SmallRig top handle on the fly in a matter of seconds, which is far better than the Blackmagic top handle that has to be screwed in. A downside of this is that there is no native mounting solution for the Blackmagic EVF, but I will come back to this at a later stage of this review.
The main difference between the new and the old plate are the more flexible extension mounting points on the front that allow me to add a pair of 15mm rods directly to the camera above the lens for mounting accessories like a wireless follow focus motor that stays there even if the top handle and base plate is removed. As this plate is a little big longer, the space on top of the camera is better utilized and mounting accessories above the lens becomes easier. The plate is mounted to the camera with four 1/4-20 screws in all of the URSA’s top mounting spots for maximum stability. On the top handle I added another rod clamp for further mounting options.
SmallRig also offers a very handy URSA Mini Side Plate that features another NATO rail and hot shoe mount built into it as well as many mounting threads and an ARRI rosette that is in a very good position for mounting the side handle:
This is my base rig that allows for fast shooting, quick disassembly to a base camera in seconds and very stable handheld operation while staying light and also very portable.