Sci Fi Short Outpost Shot with URSA Mini Pro 12K and Graded in DaVinci Resolve Studio

Fremont, CA – June 26, 2023 – Blackmagic Design today announced that the science fiction short film “Outpost,” which premiered at the 2023 Dances With Films festival, was shot on the Blackmagic URSA Mini Pro 12K digital film camera, with post production completed in DaVinci Resolve Studio editing, grading, visual effects (VFX) and audio post production software.

In a futuristic wasteland, “Outpost” follows an overconfident marauder and his snarky robot companion as they pillage an abandoned bunker and have an unexpected encounter. The film stars Jamie Costa (“Robot Riot,” “Bring Him To Me”) and Steph Barkley (“Episodes from Apocalypse,” “Alone”), and was shot by cinematographer William Hellmuth. The project was produced by Julianna Ulrich, Brian Ulrich, Jamie Costa and Director Benjamin Anklam.

Long time collaborators and close friends Costa and Anklam had been musing about a project together for some time. “I had been wanting to do a story with this plot device for years,” said Anklam. “After I wrote the script I sent it to Jamie and he loved it and we said, ‘What if we just did this?’ We filmed the whole thing in one day, four weeks after I sent him my script.”

It was Costa that brought aboard Hellmuth as cinematographer. “He is so good at what he does and knows the vision immediately,” said Costa. “You can just stand back and let him go.” Hellmuth opted to shoot the project on the URSA Mini Pro 12K.

“I’ve been intrigued with the 12K’s non Bayer pattern sensor and wanted to see how far I could push the color in a project,” said Hellmuth. “The post apocalyptic, sci fi world of ‘Outpost,’ combined with our shooting location, provided immediate inspiration and I quickly realized it was the perfect opportunity to try a stylized look.”

Shooting the film in the winter, Hellmuth took advantage of the low sun angle to maximize the effect. “I wanted it to have a harsh, warm look, with lifted shadows and an almost old polaroid feel,” added Hellmuth. “With more extreme looks like this, it’s always best to expose specifically for what you want, rather than shooting neutral and finding it in post. In most cases, I exposed the camera just shy of clipping highlights, preserving as much shadow detail as possible. This way we could have flexibility in post to bring detail into the shadows without introducing noise.”

In developing the look, Hellmuth contacted colorist Wes Langdon to help create a shooting LUT. “Wes and I spent a few days in pre production discussing the look we wanted,” said Hellmuth. “I sent him stills from various films, saying things like ‘I want the gamma curve from this film, mixed with the color of this film.’ He’d send me grades using clips I’d shot before on the 12K in similar lighting conditions.”

Using footage shot on the same camera, Langdon was able to produce a shooting LUT that emulated Hellmuth’s preferred look, which Anklam and Costa both approved. “William and I had multiple conversations about the look, referencing ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ and ‘Star Wars’ among other things. Our main goal above all was to have it feel unique and set apart from the films that inspired us,” added Anklam.

Hellmuth took advantage of shooting in Blackmagic RAW to increase his flexibility in post production. “Being able to shoot in Blackmagic RAW, which is such an efficient yet dynamic format, was key on a shoot like this where we were out in the elements away from a lot of typical resources. Since Wes and I were planning and shooting for a pretty aggressive grade, being able to shoot Blackmagic RAW just gave us so much security and latitude in post.”

Anklam also filled the role of editor, working in DaVinci Resolve Studio, his preferred package. “This was the third project I’ve edited in DaVinci Resolve,” said Anklam. “For me, Resolve seems more intuitive than any other NLE, which is the most valuable factor. The UI also feels more concise and efficient. I also like how much editing I can do without having to use my mouse, even with just a standard qwerty keyboard. My favorite keyboard shortcut is a swapping feature, where you can move a clip right or left on the timeline by swapping it with the adjacent clip. I use that a lot when editing a narrative scene.”

For the final grade, Hellmuth was pleased he and Langdon had done early work on creating a shooting LUT. “Because the look was worked out in pre production, we were able to focus more on the details during the grade such as lifting shadows a bit here, boosting the sky there, etc, instead of trying to define all of our broad strokes,” said Hellmuth.

Langdon was able to take the visuals to another level based on his history with Hellmuth and his work. “I definitely tapped into Will’s love of ‘Star Wars’ by referencing Tatooine exteriors pretty early on,” said Langdon. “Shooting the time of day they did, framing the way Will did, really helped sell that western feel, but the production design and punchy color makes it feel more modern and sci fi. Color contrast goes a long way; there’s a Hue vs Sat node in my group look to drum up teal blues out of the skies, for example.”

“On that note, I like to think more photographically when grading narrative, and a big part of that for me is assessing the natural color contrast in the image and trying to have it work for you rather than fight it,” continued Langdon. “In this case, we have so much being anchored in that saturated earth palette that little pops like the Ciff character, blasters, and even the sky really jump out of the frame already.”

With the premiere of “Outpost” at Dances With Films, Costa and Anklam are already at work on continuing stories with the characters. “Ben and I have collaborated on several previous projects and have a built in friendship that goes back to when we were roommates, so it’s a classic ‘making movies with friends’ situation for us,” said Costa.

In addition to his acting work in larger films, Costa has produced many smaller projects as showcases of his and his friends’ talents. “I love that I can get the same quality from production to post with Blackmagic Design products as we get on big budget films. I’m huge on quality and adamant about getting the best look. Blackmagic straight up delivers, and is perfect for filmmakers across the board really trying to make something that stands out and feels right.”

Press Photography

Product photos of URSA Mini Pro 12K, DaVinci Resolve Studio and all other Blackmagic Design products are available at

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Blackmagic Design creates the world’s highest quality video editing products, digital film cameras, color correctors, video converters, video monitoring, routers, live production switchers, disk recorders, waveform monitors and real time film scanners for the feature film, post production and television broadcast industries. Blackmagic Design’s DeckLink capture cards launched a revolution in quality and affordability in post-production, while the company’s Emmy™ award winning DaVinci color correction products have dominated the television and film industry since 1984. Blackmagic Design continues ground breaking innovations including 6G-SDI and 12G-SDI products and stereoscopic 3D and Ultra HD workflows. Founded by world leading post production editors and engineers, Blackmagic Design has offices in the USA, UK, Japan, Singapore and Australia. For more information, please go to

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