All ‘Reviews’ Articles
New ARRI Alexa underwater housing ! Zuccarini Design fabricated by Watershot LLC,
I had a chance to look this housing over and …….well it’s a work of art!
Complete access to all of the cameras functions, superlightweight construction (carbon Fiber&Alumn.)
Depth Rated at 135+ !!
Accepts Panavion Primos as well as, Cooke s4, Master Primes, Leica, Hawk V-lites and unheard of in a underwater housing Arri LWZ 15-45 and the Angenieux 16-42 optimos.
Complete access to camera side control panel.
and all other buttons as well.
Beautiful attention to detail
Naturally also has FOCUS and IRIS control of the lens.
Default Flat front port, many other port options available as well….Dome, extenders etc..
Large side handles and long top handle are extremely useful and necessary for the operator
left side view
THE END…..hopefully I will get to use this beautiful work of art soon and get wet with it!!
Please contact Peter Zuccarini himself at 305-661-2900 / email@example.com
Myself of course 310.592.8450 / firstname.lastname@example.org or Bobby Settlemire email@example.com for any questions or rental inquiries.
New 2nd Edition of Jerry Holway steadicam “Bible” is released!!
The second edition of the “The Steadicam Operator’s handbook” was released. Jerry Holway was nice enough to include some pictures of me operating a 3ality Technica ATOM 3D rig in the 3D steadicam section of the book. I want to publicly thank Jerry for including me in the most “sacred” of steadicam books. It truly is an honor. I remember reading the first edition when it came out and reading it all cover to cover in awe.
Here is the new book…..! I’m now the “guy in the book….literally!”
Here Is the 3D steadicam section…..featuring 2 pictures of me!
Second page of the 3D section.
So it seams…….if you look me up, I’m now “the guy” in the book! So if you your shooting 3D and need a 3D steadicam operator, I am the man! Hahahahaha………but seriously…..call me. 310.592.8450 or email me anytime…. firstname.lastname@example.org !!
Available at AMAZON.com
Or where i bought it in-store but they also have it online…..FilmTools.com
Here is the original version of the photo. Me operating a 3ality Technica Atom Rig with Red Epic cameras, Zeiss superspeeds.
This time I’m pictured operating another 3ality Technica Atom rig, Red Epic cameras, a prototype 3ality Technica IO balance compensator and the much debated Angeniuex Rouge with the V3 lenses modification with the oscillating iris feature……all which made it possibly the heaviest 3D rig I have ever flown……and pictured here in low mode!!! Low mode was extremely taxing and I did not operate very long in that configuration….
Initial test fitting for possible upcoming project. Great camera, I think we will be seeing it on alot of 3D sets soon.
Works great in the rig….
Testing the fitment with the Leica Summilux lenses.
Testing the fitment with the Angeniuex Rouge Zoom lenses.
ScreenPlane Production rig test….
Testing out the “Production rig with the Sony F65 on the Lambda head for a possible upcoming IMAX project.
This configuration works really nicely. It gives you complete freedom on the IA and you have good access to cameras and lenses. The F65 covers a 19mm with the Standard Mirror Box and a 14mm!!! with the Wide Angle Mirror Box, which is pretty amazing. You can see a screenshot of the 14mm from a monitor in underscan mode.
Fantastic rig with built in Cmotion rig and lens control.
WIDE MIRROR Box option
Cmotion Cvolution wireless lens controller in-depth walk through – Pt.2 3D
The new Cmotion Cvolution wireless lens controller has so many awesome new features that set it apart from others like Preston, I figured it was time to do a in-depth walk through video explaining all the features and benefits of this incredible system when used in 3D applications.
In PART 2 I go into all the 3D functions you need to master and use on a 3D production. The Cvolution will work with almost ALL the 3D rigs and in the market. It can record METADATA and lots of advanced functions.
The 8-Motor “Camin” pictured here is very small and compact and much smaller than Preston3D or Element Technica3D lens controller transmitters.
There are additional “advanced” functions that I don’t cover in this video that ONLY apply when you use the system with a ScreenPlane rig. I will cover those in another final video Part 3.
I Do cover everything you need to know to setup and shoot in 3D with the Cmotion Cvolution system.
Watch the video on Vimeo in HD….in depth tutorial…
OR WATCH on YouTube.com
I hope you find it useful and educational!!
For Cvolution rentals for your production contact me –
For more manufacturer information
Thanks to our gracious hosts that allowed me to use thier location to shoot this video….use the amazing Screenplane rig and PANTHER TriStar Dolly
I recently had the pleasure of working with the talented people at a new 3D production company Golden Gate 3D more info on them on their website
The project was a beautiful 3D ballet performance in front of the Golden Gate bridge Directed by Kate DuHamel using the new Screenplane SteadiFlex rig with dual Epics and Ultra primes lenses.
It was simply amazing to work with the dancers, the director and the choreographer. Despite the extremely windy conditions we managed to pull together some amazing shots.
This marked my first job with the new ScreenPlane “Steadyflex” beamsplitter Rig. We used Ultra prime lenses and RED Epic cameras with Cmotion Cvolution wireless lens and rig control. The rig performed fantastically and worked like nothing else on my steadicam. We were able to do some incredibly dynamic shots with the dancers that would never have been done with heavier rigs. Not to mention as the operator I had very little time to rest in-between takes as we were racing the sun and the dancers only had a limited amount of stamina and it was also very cold so we had to keep rollin to try to keep some heat in thier bodies!
It was a fantastic shoot and I can’t wait to see the results!
Thanks to everyone for a great day of shooting in San Fransico!
Thank you to Golden Gate 3D for providing me with wonderful behind the scenes pictures.
Enjoy the gallery!
Last year I did some tests with a Focus Optics Ruby 14-24mm lens. I tested them on a 3D rig and underwater with a flat and dome port. So this is Part 2.
More info on the 3D lens testing here on my previous article where I tested a matched pair on a 3D Rig. (Part 1)
Using one of those lenses a RED One and a Element Technica REDONE underwater housing. Using a Dome port and a Flat port.
The purpose of this test is too determine how bad is a wider focal length underwater on a flat port.
When shooting underwater with a beam splitter you are forced to use a flat port. This is because of the (virtual) overlapping of the lenses. A dome port is simply impossible when using a beamsplitter.
At the same time we all know that wide lenses optically perform extremely poor with flat ports.
Flat ports exhibit a few main issues underwater, the flat port is unable to correct for the distortion produced by the differences between the indexes of light refraction in air and water. Using a flat port introduces a number of aberrations when used underwater. They are:
This is the bending of light waves as they pass through different mediums of optical density (the air inside the camera housing and the water outside the lens port). Light is refracted 25 percent, causing the lens to undergo the same magnification you would see through a facemask. The focal length of your lens also increases by approximately 25 percent.
Demonstrated here in this split level shot of my assistant. His body looks huge compared to his head. This is a clear demonstration of refraction and the magnification it produces.
If the subjects moves things get even worse! Needless to say split level shots with a flat port are not advised. Unless you want the effect!
Because flat ports do not distort light rays equally, they have a progressive radial distortion that becomes more obvious as wider lenses are used. The effect is a progressive blur, that increases with large apertures on wide lenses. Light rays passing through the center of the port are not affected because their direction of travel is at right angles to the water-air interface of the port.
White light, when refracted, is separated into the color spectrum. The component colors of white light do not travel at the same speed, and light rays passing from water to glass to air will be unequally bent. When light separates into its component colors, the different colors slightly overlap, causing a loss of sharpness and color saturation, which is more noticeable with wider lenses.
The dome port is a concentric lens that acts as an additional optical element to the camera lens. The dome port significantly reduces the problems of refraction, radial distortion and axial and chromatic aberrations when the curvature of the dome’s inside radius center is placed as close as possible to the nodal point of the lens. When a dome port is used, all the rays of light pass through un-refracted, which allows the “in-air” lens to retain its angle of view. Optically a “virtual image” is created inches in front of the lens. To photograph a subject underwater with a dome port you must focus the lens on the virtual image”, not the subject itself. The dome port makes the footage marks on the lens totally inaccurate for underwater focus. Therefore lenses should be calibrated underwater. The dome port offers no special optics above water and functions as a clear window.
It’s really too bad were are stuck with the Flat port for 3D but there is little we can do. Sure you can use a “side by side” configuration with dual dome ports but this would result in a large inter-axial which is really not ideal for feature film 3D production.
So the purpose of this test is just to get an idea how poor and what the loss is and if that will be acceptable to potential cinematographer for use on feature productions.
Here you see the lens in the housing before I put the final port on.
As you will see below I first shot the camera on the surface with no port, dome and flat. Then Underwater dome and flat at various focal lengths.
I setup a c-stand with my homemade geometrical chart i use for 3D aligment but I added 2 putora sharpness charts at each edge.
Now, naturally the results are predictable. The dome port performed well (not great, a bigger dome would of done even better) and the flat port performed poorly and got worse as we got wider. So we expected this. The questions really was how bad was it and is it acceptable?
My point is, the level of acceptable image quality is very subjective and is one that needs to be evaluated by the FX supervisor(post house), DP and Director. Ultimately in 3D feature productions we just don’t have a choice….we HAVE to use a flat port and in certain situations we might HAVE to use a 16mm lens.
I think that what might make it easier for Directors and Dp’s to “swallow” and image which is less than perfect so to speak is the fact that underwater and in 3D you tend not to put anything on the edges of frame to avoid “window violations” of the 3D space and in the center of the frame things are sharp. and the edges well they can tend to be the very “homogenous” blue ocean…. even when things are filling the frame if you also add motion blur into the mix a lot of shots can then get a “passing grade”. Just take the image of the anchor or the fish in my ocean shots below, you eyes are drawn towards the center and you tend to ignore the edges. I can guarantee that if those images were 3D that would be even more true.
To illustrate my point….
I was the stereographer on a $40 million feature called shark night 3D
This was our underwater camera rig…..a now aging but capable PACE|FUSION side by side rig/housing. Also used in James Cameron’s underwater documentaries “Aliens of the Deep” and “Ghost of the Abyss” and others blockbusters like “Sanctum” and Resident evil 3D.
Sony F950 cameras and poor quality Fujinon zooms (I forget the focal range but they were very wide on the wide end maybe 16mm equivalent) on a FLAT GLASS PORT.
Open rear view of the housing
Coming out of the water on set.
It has a massive 2.75″ IO poor quality Fujinon lenses(when compared to cinema lenses) and flat port.
Most of the shots were done on the wide end.
We shot many charts underwater for VFX/post to correct the images. Post then takes the chart and corrects the distortion and applies the corrections to all the underwater footage. This way it gets rid of one of the flat port side effects. Unfortunately there is nothing that can be done to correct the soft edges….so not everything can be fixed in post!
The Fujinon lenses even above water displayed CA and significant barrel distortion on the wide end. Underwater it just got worse.
********PACE now has a new underwater rig…..they used it on “Life of Pi”. I have first hand confirmation(from the camera crew) that they did have to use 16mm on a flat port at times.*********
Point is…..all these features saw theatrical release. All these features were able to correct the distortion and other issues with the images this rig created. To what degree? Well pop in the DVD and watch for yourself.
Furthermore…..here is the “Panavision 3D splash box” we used on some above water scenes………..the “box” had just come back from shooting “Pirates of the Carribean 4″ 3D on RED one cameras.
The “box/fishtank” features a large FLAT glass port”. Lens most used in this setup was…..you guess it a 16mm. I have friends that worked with the box on pirates and can verify that.
We used the Box/fishtank with a 18mm cooke zoom (18-40)
Here it is in all it’s glory.
Did you watch Pirates of Caribbean 4? Then you saw images created using this box/fishtank and a flat port with a wide lens.
Here is a side shot.
I’m not doubting the laws of physics that we are fighting. My job is test stuff and present it to people above my pay grade regardless how ridiculous it might seam.
It’s up to them (mostly VFX guys/post) to evaluate it work their million dollar post tools on it and tell us if it’s an image they can work with and make better.
That’s is the main purpose behind this test…..
Based of my past experiences (posted above) coupled with this test, I think that with a 5k epic (more pixels and data for post) great lenses (ruby) instead of Fujinons that 16mm will can be usable in a flat port.
I would generally advise going below 20mm but it’s up to them to decide.
Filmmakers “might” be willing to live with “good enough”. Certainly has been the case in the recent past as I pointed out.
Why this is relevant to me and others,
Because for feature film production we are forced to used “Beamsplitter” rig because this allows us the smaller IA needed for large screen 3D production. The only way to get parallax into reasonable parameters for large screen production is to use a beamsplitter and therefore we are also forced to live with Flat ports.
Here is the GATES “DEEP EPIC” underwater housing for the 3ality Technica “ATOM” rig.
The other feature quality (Red Epic 5k) underwater beamsplitter housing I will be using and that is currently available is the “Mocean Armor Magicine GV4″ Red Epic beamplitter housing. (full review article coming soon)
Used by underwater cinematographer Ken Corben recently in the Artic.
In the end I just point my camera at what the DP tell me to!
So I leave the final evaluation and decision to you the reader, DP, director…..etc….
Here some “real world” image grabs from video shot with a Red One with a Flat port in Catalina Island, CA (Casino Point) on a very sunny day…..
Bouey Anchor 30ft depth…
another chart shot…you can see the chromatic aberrations towards the edges and the distortion and the soft edges…..hehehe it’s all in this picture! Naturally notice the center is tack sharp.
Last image from my dive…I saw a shadow on the sea floor then looked up to see this….I was around 60ft unfortunately so most of my light was gone….it did give this a eerie feel to it.
1stAC E.Gunnar Mortensen for his help on this day.
Element Technica for use of their housing.
I’ll leave you with a gallery of the test,
Last week I reviewed the new BX4 rig from 21st Century 3D. I was impressed that a rig that size could be that light and work so well on my steadicam……well this week Sebastian from Camadeus invited me over to check out a steadicam specific 3D rig.
It raised the stakes!
Built by ScreenPlane in Germany this rig was purpose built for steadicam use, thus the name “Steady-flex”.
ScreenPlane rig has a unusual design. Very ingenious!
They have partnered with C-Motion lens Control and have built into the frame of the rig a “Camin transmitter” (like a preston MDR) The internal electronics control IO&Convergence Focus,Iris,Zoom of both cameras. Thus reducing the overall weight of the rig at the same time cleaning up the spaghetti of cables usually found on rigs.
The other major design aspect is that of the frame itself. It’s centered it’s mass instead of building more of a perimeter frame like on other rigs. This in addition to a few other design aspects enable this rig to be mounted “over-slung” on the steadicam rig. Meaning one camera points up instead of down. Usually on other rigs due to where there mass is and how far away it gets when overslung you end up with a long post and a heavy rig! Which is why on every other 3D rig we generally run “under-slung”.
Being able to use the rig in this “overslung mode” solves many 3D steadicam problems. The first of which is that when mounting the underslung rig on the steadicam you end up with a very front heavy rig. Which causes many problems. mainly you need to add weight to the back of the rig to counter all the front weight. This usually consists of mounting rods in the rear of the rig and mounting batteries, lock-it box, decimator and anything you can find to add rear weight. This also makes the rig really long! Which makes doing a “switchover” move all but impossible. As you have to push the rig so far away from your body ot get around all the rear weight that you had to run. This of course leaves your “dynamic” balance all out of whack. The other large issue with underslung mode is that usually your gimbal will at some point make contact with the bottom camera or camera plate. This means that on some rigs you can barely pan right. Many top rigs being used in the market today suffer from this. You end up have to pan with your body instead.
On the “Steady-flex” in overslung mode I can place my post exactly underneath the “CG” of the rig. This enables a much better fore-aft balance and removes any need to add any weight to the rear of the rig. This has tremendous consequences. The biggest is that I was able to dynamic balance the rig! (I open the video demonstrating this). Also I can keep the rig closer to my body because there is no “stuff” in the back of the rig. This helps with operator fatigue alot. The other is that I can now spin the rig 360 around my gimbal! So no issues with panning.
In this picture you can see how close the bottom camera is to my shoulder enabling the rig to be close to my body.
Once built out with a ambient box (to genlock the cameras), my decimator and all the necessary cables the complete rig (3D rig, sled, batteries) with RED Epics and UltraPrime LDS lenses came in at 52lbs. !!
This low weight coupled with the fact that we can dynamic balance the rig and pan freely presents a massive step forward in 3D steadicam.
Over the last 4 years or so I have flown just about every rig out there. I can honestly say this is the best rig for steadicam in the market. Compare 52lbs with the 75lb rig I flew just in December for Katy Perry 3D also on Epics and Ultra primes(altought that had a telecast copperhead on it).
I spent some time with the rig in my vest and was very happy. Then I threw it up on my segway and was just as happy, altough because of the overslung mode my post was a bit long. So if I ever opted to use it on a segway I would add some battery weight and collapse my post more.
I called my friend and legendary steadicam operator Randy Nolen, SOC to come check it out. He had just finished a job with a 70lbs rig so he was excited to try it out. He brought his friend a fellow SOC member Rick Drapkin to also check it out. He had a previous experience with 3D at around 80lbs!! So needless to say he was almost speechless.
I have a upcoming feature that we are planning on using the “steady-flex”. They want to shoot with the ARRI Alexa-M camera. So in a few weeks I will complete another test with the rig with Alexa-M cameras.
I look forward to flying this rig on the movie and posting a update to this test.
Watch and enjoy the video from the test.
Here some additional pictures from the test.
3D Steadicam…now with less fat!
This past week, famed 3D pioneer and Stereographer Jason Goodman invited me out to his LA offices to test out his new creation.
The BX4…what’s new?
Designed specifically for RED EPIC, RED Scarlet, Arri Alexa M, Canon C500 and C300, and other small form factor D-Cinema cameras, BX4 is among the lightest and most versatile rigs available. Weighing only 11lbs in its lightest configuration, BX4 is optimized for steadicam, handheld, and remote head applications.
In addition to motorized interaxial and convergence controls, all camera alignment functions can also be motorized for remote operation. naturally I always prefer to use my C-Motion Cvolution wireless lens and rig control. But….no built in electronics means no delays from electronic failures and no additional weight when motorized operation is not needed(this is key for keeping the steadicam light). All controls can be manually actuated as well.
One of the key new features with the BX 4 is, two optional filter holders, they can easily be attached or removed in the field.(once again keeping the steadicam config lighter) The two stage filter holder utilizes standard 4×5.65 drop in filters. The single stage rotating holder accommodates 5.65×5.65 filters and has unique click stop positions as well as angle markings that allow DPs and stereographers to utilize linear polarizing filters and easily match the angle for both cameras. Cinematographers have the option to creatively employ polarizing filters on a 3D rig. Managing reflections and shooting skies in 3D is greatly enhanced with BX4.
The other major design change is that now both cameras move. They move opposite of each other which keeps the steadicam sled in balance during IO changes mid shot.
Base price is $29,995. Optional filter holders are $2,495 each.
So how does it work on my steadicam?
Having previously operated the previous model the BX3 (later the 3.5) I can honestly say the BX4 is a massive step forward.
Like I mentioned, the “IO” (Inter-ocular or Inter-Axial) is now achieved by moving both cameras opposite each other. This keeps the rig “mostly” balanced on sled during IO changes mid-shot. I say mostly because there is some torque effect and some slight differences in weight that may cause a horizon change. This can easily be remedied by trimming the balance with a few small weights. Even without any trim weights the balanced is mostly unchanged. This allows the stereographer to alter the IO during the shot.
The rig is much lighter now. In fact, it’s an amazing 11lbs. at the moment! I set up the rig on my sled in “underslung” mode. This lowers the CG and allows me to run a shorter post. The rig was still front heavy but luckily I only needed a bit of weight out back to even things out. In the back of the rig you can see the decimator, the ambient TC and sync generator and also the Cvolution “camin” transmitter.
The total ready to shoot weight of the sled cam in at 58lbs. This was with Red zoom lenses. Also Jason mentioned a few small design changes to reduce weight even further.
One big design aspect that assists in practical operation for the steadicam operator is that fact that the bottom camera plate which is located in front of the gimbal is rather small. This results in quite alot of gimbal movement before contact. You can pan the rig quite a bit before there is any contact with the rig. This point cannot be understated. It is a huge pain in the butt to have to pull the gimbal handle closer to your body and make sure you don’t ruin you shot by hitting it on the rig. Thankfully due to his elegant design there is alot of room and this situation is greatly improved over other rigs/designs. In fact in “don juan” you wrist is free to assume it’s normal position and you have a clear view of the monitor.
Due to it’s lighter weight, running with the rig is now possible (see video) and generally I see no problems using this vest mounted in most situations. But when the situation comes when you need to zoom up and down a soccer field or chase actors down streets or do 4 page “walk and talks” there is nothing like a segway!
…on the segway.
Due to it’s lighter weight segway operational envelop is much larger. I found myself fighting the inertia of the rig much less. Due to it’s lighter weight and my resulting short post I had no issues with contacting the wheel on the segway.
All in all I came away very impressed by his new rig. The only other rig in the market that is lighter and better for steadicam is the ScreenPlane “Steady-flex” rig which is ready to shoot (Epic and ultra primes) at 52lbs. Full review coming soon.
The BX4 is a full size rig, with great optics and simple, robust, reliable adjusting mechanisms. All of which are things I value.
Can’t wait to use it!
For more information on the rig and rates, contact Jason Goodman – www.21c3d.com
For more information on my and my rates contact at www.pgfilms.tv
below is the full review video:
Here are some pictures taken during the test
The “LEDZ” lights & Slash’s “Gotten” music video
Recently I had the opportunity to DP a music video for the legendary guitar hero Slash. The music video was for a song that was a collaboration with Adam Levine (Maroon 5) called “Gotten”.
The project is intended to benefit Slash’s longtime charity “LA Youth Network” therefore the budget was very small. The cast and crew donated thier time and we were lucky enough that the vendors came onboard and donated some key equipment. The camera (ARRI AlexaPlus) and slider (Panther Ubangi) came from Camadeus Film Technologies, the lenses (Zeiss Master Primes) came from Radiant Images, I donated my steadicam and Cmotion Cvolution lens Controler. Finally CineMills saved the day and donated the use of thier brand new LED lights the “LEDZ”.(Superspot, Brute 9). So first and foremost I want to personally thank the sponsors. Right after reading the treatment for the first time I realized there would be no money to close streets, condors or 18k’s. While there is a portion of the video that occurs indoors the majority of the video was to be shot at night in downtown LA with limited permits and locations.
Due to the aforementioned lack of budget, I immediately realized I needed small, powerful, battery operated LED lights. A few with broad coverage and one with more punch. We also had a few car interiors to light so a small led would also be great. Immediately I thought of Litepanels as I had used them before. Unfortunately the one place I could rent them from didn’t have them in on the dates I needed it. Then I thought of CineMills line of led lights “LEDZ”. I had seen them on my facebook since I was friends with them. I checked out their website and took a look at their line of led lights and got excited! I contacted Carlos de Matos(owner) and arranged a visit to their Burbank factory and headquarters. Carlos and Mike welcomed me and walked me through their product line and were incredibly friendly and helpful. Thankfully were gracious enough to let me try out a couple their lights for the weekend on my shoot. They provided me with 2 lights.
First was their brand punchy new “Superspot”. It is the first in Led lighting as it provides a sharp, powerful circular beam, a throw that easily exceeds 40 feet, the SUPERSPOT is comparable to current 575w HMI fixtures, including the 5500k color temperature whilst only drawing a single amp. It is extremely robust with an all aluminum housing and yoke system with junior mounting pin. It has a slim profile so can be used in a multiple of lighting setups utilizing minimal space. The fixture produces no sound and very minimal heat, making it friendly in tight spaces. There are two built in dimmers on the fixture which allow for 100% – 0 output control with minimal color shift. It comes complete with a switchable power supply unit. There are additional accessories available including the LEDZ Speedframe, Chimera, filter frame, DMX capabilities and 12v battery options for mobile applications.
It has a double Anton Bauer gold battery mount which provided power for many hours on set. In addition we had the optional “Chimera” softbox option. Which I used alot in some of the interior scenes.
The second light was the small but surprisingly powerful “Brute 9”.
The Brute 9 provides an extremely bright, spread beam and comes with a Gel frame. The BRUTE 9 is a modular system and can be set up as a duo fixture with a conversion kit. It incorporates an on board dimmer for full intensity control. It equivalent to 200w HMI. It has a single Anton Bauer gold battery mount which provided power for us all night on a single dionic90!! For the night exterior scenes we mounted it on a gobo arm, slid a gel in it and mounted the battery. I would have an assistant simply hold this light in place during the scenes. In addition I would frequently diffuse it further as well.
Here it a close up of our workhorse for this project. You can also see the dimmer knob in this picture.
I would of loved to have one more but I was more than happy to get what I did. The rest of my lighting package consisted of a Kino “DIVA” …..and that’s it ! Even then to my surprise I only used the Kino in one scene. It honestly did surprise me how much I was able to accomplish with just these 2 lights and……..lets give credit where credit is due, also thanks in large part to the amazing ARRI Alexa and the beautiful Master Prime lenses. I think the best way for me to share how crucial the LEDZ lights were to our project is to just show a few of the frame grabs off the Alexa footage and a few behind the scenes of the same images. I managed to snap a few production and my friend and photographer Myron Parran also was on hand to take some key stills of the project. Lets highlight some of the lighting setups and their results.
Opening Scene – Slash Poster Closeup
I used the BRUTE 9 behind Slash with no diffusion to edge him and separate him from the background. It also illuminated the poster so it could be reflected in his Aviator RayBans.
Here is the result
Scene 1 – Living room
Slow push in on our lead actress and her birthday cake. The SUPERSPOT with a chimera was overhead above and to the left in the kitchen and way our key light for the parents in the background. I had the BRUTE 9 next to the camera dimmed down to provide our main key light on our actress. To augment the candle flicker we added 5 votive type candles at the base of the cake out of frame. These additional candles remain unseen by the camera and gave us great warmth and candle flicker. You can see here the BRUTE 9 to the left of camera (before we added a gel) 1stAC Daniel Schade and 2ndAC/loader Jazz look on. You can also see the Panther Ubangi slider we used for the “push in”
Here is a frame grab from the ALEXA footage showing the results of this setup.
Same shot on a 75mm (was used in the video)
Later for the parents coverage of thier argument in the background I bounced the BRUTE 9 off the ceiling at full power which worked great.
There are 3 main scenes that occur in the same bathroom. While I changed a few things to differentiate the scenes the basic setup remained the same. You can see the SUPERSPOT w/ chimera softbox giving us our key, we wrapped overhead light with blackwrap and created a “skirt” to give me some warmth and also a uglier downlight during one of the scenes where the keylight is off.
I used the BRUTE9 this time gel with some 1/2 CTO and controlled it with some black wrap to serve as my edgelight on the actresses blond hair.
…..and here is results…..Some Alexa frame grabs of this scene.
Scene 3 Bedroom
I this scene I used the SUPERSPOT to give me my colder light coming from a hallway entering the room thru a open door. This is the light you see on her face. We positioned the actress with the light alomst splitting her face in half. This way the light from the hallway creating a shadow from the door frame. This was for 2 reasons. First was a indicative of the character duality and struggle and more importantly when the abusive boyfriend walks into frame his shadow then covers her face in darkness and his whiskey bottle enters frame. Warmth was added back into the scene by placing the BRUTE9 w/ CTO behind and to the left of the actress. This gave us our backlight and glow on her hair and was also bouncing off of the yellow wall behind camera providing us with her FILL light. Furthermore we placed a practical lamp in shot to motivate the backlight from the brute9.
For the reverse on this scene on the boyfriend, we hardly had to change anything. We had the SUPERSPOT in the hallway giving us our backlight and we just bouced some of that light onto his face. The intention was for him to be a bit colder in color temp than her so this worked perfectly.
Scene 3 Steadicam sidewalk
Finally, moving onto one of the many exterior night time scenes. We find ourselves with a moving steadicam shot tracking our actress in a profile shot as Judd Nelson tries to get her attention in the background. Unfortunately the location I scouted for the shot had to be changed due to safety. None the less we found a great spot nearby to our basecamp. We took our workhorse the BRUTE9 gelled and diffused and mounted it on a gobo arm. An assistant walked in front of me doing his best not to change the direction of light (too much). This setup worked incredibly well and after a few takes we moved on!
…and here is the Alexa frame grab and I was happy with the results.
Scene 4 Slash Playing on the 6th St. Bridge
The first night I scouted this location I imagined slash playing with the defocus lights of his city in the background. We were lucky enough that we were able to pull it off. As I’m not so sure our permit would of held up on this one.
I had the assistant position the BRUTE9 about 10ft. off to camera right. this gave us the exposure we needed on Slash to give him a bit of an edge and pull him out from the background a bit. Luckily his signature leather top hat and leather jacket helped by reflecting some of that light.
Scene 5 Runaway sleeping next to dumpster
Another great simple example of us moving around the Brute9 on our gobo arm keeping us very flexible. You can see in the picture below the diffusion we wrapped around the light to soften it a bit.
The result was a very natural looking composition. The light you see on on face is the brute9 and the more orange light seen on her jacket and background is the overhead sodium vapor street lights.
Scene 6 – Car Interiors
There were a few car interior shots. I just used one of the car’s dome lights and the Brute9 in the back seat. You can see in the shot of Judd Nelson below the light coming from the back of the car.
Scene 7 – Motel room.
I used the SUPERSPOT outside the window thru the blinds at full power to give us the raked shadows we see. Then used the BRUTE9 off to the right.
I used the Panther Ubangi to push in towards the actresses face over the bed.
here is the final frame in camera…
Scene 8 – Under the Bridge
The last scene I leave you with is probably one of my favorites of the shoot. We shot this underneath the 6th st. bridge in downtown LA. The Alexa and the master primes were able to pick up and incredible amount of available light (1000iso & F2.0) . So all I had to do was fill in the actors face with the Brute9 once again diffused.
Here it is….Our director making a cameo here as well….Clifton Collins Jr.
All in all, by the end of the shoot I came away very impressed with both lights. I ended up using the Brute9 a lot more than I though I would. For that reason I was surprised that the Anton Bauer Dionic90 that I was using lasted all night in downtown LA. The SuperSpot is not as focused as a Fresnel but a lot more focused than any LED that I have used and played a crucial roll on the shoot. Lights like these open up a whole range of possibilities to every level of production.
It’s time take this opportunity to thank Carlos and everyone over there at CineMills for providing me with what I needed to use this perfect opportunity to try out their lights in a real world situation. I’m now left trying to figure out how I can afford to buy a few! Last but not least I’d like to thank the amazing cast and crew of the video who all donated thier time in hope of creating something can might change a few peoples lives for the better.
Director – Clifton Collins Jr.
Cinematographer – Pedro Guimaraes
Producer – Slash
Executive Producers – Clifton Collins Jr. – Talbert Morton
Slash as Himself
Runaway/Daughter Amanda Milchalka “AJ”
Street Thug 1 Sevier Crespo
Street Pimp-Jacob Vargas
Runaway Street Worker – Megan Ozurovich
Mother- Kristin Bauer
Boyfriend- Jack Rubio
Teacher/John- Judd Nelson
Gun Dealer- Clifton Collins Jr.
Operator/steadicam Pedro Guimaraes
1st AC Daniel Schade
2nd AC Nick Lantz
Digital Loader Jaswinder “Jazz” Bedi
Stills Myron Parran
Editor Alex Kirkwood
Colorist James LaViola
Original Recording of Gotten produced and mixed by
Camera provided by
Camadeus Film Technologies
ARRI & PANTHER Rentals
Lenses provided by
Lights provided by
CineMills – LEDZ
Cvolution remote lens control provided by
Post Services Provided by
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and watch the finished video here.
LINK TO VIDEO
Link to Behind the scenes video
Donate today on Slash’s website and download the song!!!
enjoy some behind the scenes photos!
Photo Credits Myron Parran, Pedro G.