I recently returned from a documentary shoot in South Africa, where thanks to G-Technology and ZEISS (who sponsored this production), my crew and I were able to produce a compelling piece about the efforts taken against the poaching of rhinos. The rhino is a severely endangered species, with the black rhinoceros now considered critically endangered or even extinct. This is mostly down to illegal horn trade, where the entire animal is killed in order to “harvest” only the horn of the animal, mostly because of beliefs by traditional Chinese medicine that the horn inhabits particular qualities that are useful for various medical issues (and which has been proven to be wrong by many scientific studies over and over again). Head Ranger at Shamwari Game Reserve, Andrew Kearney. © Nino Film GmbH We shot this documentary in the Shamwari Game Reserve in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa over the course of just 4-5 days. I teamed up with the Falk Eggert’s and Nic Divischek’s production company Highspeedworx based in Cape Town, who specialise in high speed cinematography with the Phantom Flex4K camera. With it, we were able to get amazing slow motion shots of animals in the wild. Phantom Flex4K with the ZEISS Compact Zoom 70-200 in an Artemis Maxima gimbal. The main documentary camera was a Sony FS7 with ZEISS lenses on the shoulder, plus two Sony a7S cameras for MøVi shots (e.g. car tracking shots) and behind-the-scenes and a RED DRAGON for some special shots that required more highlight retention. We also had a FoMa Maxima gimbal (which we reported about here) to experiment with particularly long lenses (like the ZEISS Compact Zoom 70-200mm) in a moving vehicle at higher velocities. In a game reserve, it’s often not possible to leave the car because of safety concerns and the fact that you might scare away the shy animals, so versatility in your gear is a necessity. I will be writing a separate post about lens choices on this production sometime later, with a behind-the-scenes video to go with it. This is a project with a very fast turnaround from concept to screen, we are talking about little over a month, including all the necessary traveling. The immense amount of 4K high speed data we had to wrangle was only possible to be stored thanks to the generous support of G-Technology, who supplied us with the G-Speed Shuttle XL RAID for this shoot (separate post will follow). Without the unbelievable efforts of everyone involved, this would not have been possible – everyone who worked on this was invaluable, and we were a very small team. As director and cinematographer of this piece, I want to particularly highlight the unrelenting efforts that Nic Divischek in South Africa (as producer and operator on the ground, with his great partner Falk Eggert) and my cinema5D partner and friend Sebastian Wöber (as editor in Vienna) made to make this film to what it is now. And of course the people working on the Shamwari Game Reserve, without their support we would have nothing at all. Feel free to shoot any questions you might have and I will gladly answer. There will be separate posts highlighting different aspects of this production in the near future – with the first one covering the storage workflow of Phantom Flex4K and other footage with the G-Speed Shuttle XL RAID. High speed frame grap from the Phantom Flex4K. © Nino Film GmbH High speed frame grap from the Phantom Flex4K. © Nino Film GmbH High speed frame grap from the Phantom Flex4K. © Nino Film GmbH Nic Divischek with the Phantom Flex4K. © Nino Film GmbH Freefly Systems MøVi M5 with a Sony a7S and a ZEISS Milvus 21mm lens. © Nino Film GmbH Zacuto Gratical HD viewfinder on the Sony FS7 with Vocas follow focus. © Nino Film GmbHRead more
Watch previous episodes of ON THE COUCH & ON THE GO by clicking here! Visit our Vimeo and YouTube playlists, and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes! Watch part 1 and part 2 of episode 20 by clicking here – in case you missed it! In the 3rd and final part of episode 20 of ON THE COUCH, I talked with pro photographers Kamil Tamiola, Tom Barnes and Lucas Gilman about the sheer amounts of data we have to deal with in photography and filmmaking these days, and how to deal with these amounts. Kamil mentioned that he is shooting a lot for Phase One with their own cameras, producing 50 or 80 Megapixels per frame – in 16 bits. After layering changes onto his files in post production, he ends up with photos which are 5 to 6 Gigabytes easily. Tom talks about how he is almost exclusively shooting tethered on his photo shoots – even going so far that his clients get iPad Mini’s into their hands to check out the shots and rate them right after he took them, which of course speeds up his selection and post production process tremendously. On the stresses of photographing new prototype cars for JEEP, Kamil said how he can see Wifi connected cameras are the future especially when you have fast turn around shoots with little time to mess stuff up – clients can get an idea of what’s being shot while they are there, which also keeps them off your back as a shooter. Additionally, an assistant can already do temporary image processing for previews. Finally, Tom showed off his incredibly portable location workstation, a custom built Pelican 1510 Case which houses a MacBook with a large external battery that can power it three or four times over a normal charge, plus a couple of tethered G-Technology G-Drive ev SSDs for instant backups when shooting tethered with a DSLR. For details, head over to Tom’s blog post about his location workstation. In the next episode of ON THE COUCH, we will have representatives from ZEISS, Samyang and SLR Magic talking about their different – and similar – approaches when it comes to lens development, as well as their new products. Tune back in next Friday! Watch all other episodes of ON THE COUCH so far by clicking here! Please visit our sponsors’ websites to keep new episodes of ON THE COUCH coming! Thanks to G-Technology, Røde Microphones, Movidiam, FilmConvert & F&V.Read more
Watch previous episodes of ON THE COUCH & ON THE GO by clicking here! Visit our Vimeo and YouTube playlists, and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes! To see part 1 of episode 19, click here. To see part 2 of episode 19, click here. In the 3rd part of episode 19 of ON THE COUCH, we talk about the importance of audio on a shoot. After all, audio is 50% of a film, but nevertheless, it’s often neglected in shooting environments especially by cameramen who are concentrated on created compelling images by their very nature. Ryan Burke from Røde, Philip Bloom and George Olver from Movidiam.com and I engaged in a compelling conversation about the reasons for this problem and also the difficulties of convincing some clients on smaller jobs that a sound person is actually pretty essential to have. Ryan also talked about Røde’s new Stereo VideoMic X, a new heavy-duty on-camera mic designed to record a very immersive audio experience using a pair of true condenser capsules. We touched on where to actually use it as opposed to a standard shotgun mic, which is usually the go-to mic for many shooters on small gigs, when they have to do the audio themselves. Check back in a week for the 4th and final part of this episode, where we talk about the future of filmmaking!Read more
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