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Showtime’s The Chi Uses Blackmagic Design Cameras to Bring Southside Chicago to Life

Hollywood, CA - June 4, 2019 - Blackmagic Design announced today that Showtime Networks’ “The Chi” incorporated a wide array of Blackmagic Design cameras, including URSA Mini Pros and Micro Studio Camera 4K, for Director of Photography Abraham Martinez’ naturalistic portrayal of Chicago’s south side.

“The Chi” portrays an average day for Chicago kids, prepping for school as their parents head off to work, young adults trying to make a living and the elders keeping an eye on things from their front porches. But in this tough neighborhood, real dangers threaten daily to squelch dreams, and the simplest decisions can have life or death consequences.

Martinez wanted this coming of age drama to feel grounded and realistic. “I wanted the camera to walk alongside our lead characters. I wanted to feel that we were in the middle of the ever evolving conditions of the city that pressed into our characters,” said Martinez. “So this meant, our cameras had to be flexible for the journey.”

Martinez used three Blackmagic URSA Mini Pros, one URSA Mini 4K and two Micro Studio Camera 4Ks recording into Blackmagic Video Assists 4K. Martinez feels his Blackmagic cameras have become an important part of his kit.

“I find that using my URSA Mini Pros has become somewhat of a paint brush stroke technique of my personal work flow. I’m able to have a half a dozen Blackmagic Design cameras around for my palette to fit the ever flexible work and city conditions that require me to adapt quickly.”

Shooting on location in Chicago was a must for this urban drama, and the visuals represent a naturalism that contrasted home life and the street. “The Chi” team used the colors of the environment to drive the style as well. “We celebrated color in many ways, from wardrobe to the set design,” said Martinez. “Our drama has many facets of story; the intersection of home/neighborhood/street life which is in contrast to the institutional aspects of the city, namely the prison and police corrections stories. I was able to build these two worlds in look and feel as we bounced between the delicate and interwoven story lines.“

While “The Chi” focused on a gritty realism, the shoot itself was rigorous at times, forcing the cinematography crew to move quickly. The Blackmagic cameras helped Martinez capture high quality imagery even if on the go. “My Blackmagic Design arsenal is always what I call ready at hand. If I needed a lock off camera ready for an additional angle, we shot with one of them. If I needed an establishing shot popped off during a company move, my URSA Mini Pro was ready for the task, helping us knock out the day’s work. As for the Micro Studio Cameras, we used them extensively throughout our shoot to power artistic angles, helping drive story and save time. We even had an URSA Mini Pro built into a full time gimbal system always ready to go. We were always ready for gimbal mode.”

With such a wide array of cameras, and a focus on color, Martinez had no fear about matching images. Working with Light Iron’s Steven Bodner, they had no problems matching looks between cameras or manufacturers. “The Blackmagic Design camera’s color space complimented the look and the feel of other cameras wonderfully.”

But beyond color, Martinez valued the combination of high end quality and ease of use. “The camera systems held up in the rigorous location moves and demands of the city,” said Martinez. “Speed was essential and it required very little to get the Blackmagic camera systems up and running. Often just a lens, card and battery and we were good to go.”

Press Photography
Product photos of the URSA Mini Pro, URSA Mini 4.6K, Micro Studio Camera 4K, Video Assist 4K and all other Blackmagic Design products are available at

About Blackmagic Design
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

About New Magic Australia Pty Ltd (Australian and New Zealand Blackmagic Design master distributor)
New Magic Australia Pty Ltd is a recognised leader in the distribution and marketing of multimedia hardware and software, representing a carefully selected range of innovative, leading manufacturers and catering for both the professional and consumer markets. New Magic Australia established in 1993 is the Australian distributor of Blackmagic Design, Convergent Design, Hauppauge Computer Works Inc, Cubix and Matrox Video products.