A few months ago, I had fun shooting Beartooth’s “Aggressive” music video for their recent album released on Redbull Records. The video was directed by Drew Russ and shot on my home turf of Pittsburgh, PA.
The creative called for POV shots of an “aggressive youth” which is revealed at the end of the video as well as a night exterior performance, shot on the Sony FS7. The POV was all captured on a GoPro head rig. I had a lot of fun creating the look of the video with a custom B/W LUT in DaVinci Resolve, which was also viewed on set to help keep us on track.
Lighting for the night exterior was almost primarily LED lights… Sufa Bullet, Arri L10, Arri L7’s and one of my personal fav’s, the Kino Flo Celeb 400Q. This gave us the ability to light a wide shot on a back street without having to use anything more than two 3K portable generators! I also used some road flares for a few shots.Props to the amazing G&E crew at Central Grip & Lighting for their consistently amazing work & attitudes!
The video for “Aggressive” can be seen HERE.
A few days later, I flew down to Orlando, FL to shoot A Day To Remember’s “Bad Vibrations” music video, also directed by Drew Russ.
We shot with a Canon 1014 XL with a modified gate for a 16:9 aspect ratio, as well as a Canon 5D MKIII. I hadn’t shot with super 8mm film since Blood Brother / 2012 so I had a blast with this opportunity to shoot it again. Shot wide open most of the time, manually (f1.4). Stock was 500T. I used the 5D to approximate exposure, being that we shot both cameras for each take! Of course, I ended liking the film more 🙂 The 5D was used for lens whacking (I hate that term but am obsessed with the effect..evident in a lot of the projects I shoot) and I stayed on a classic Zeiss ZF 35mm f1.4 the entire time.
The creative called for an evolution in color as the film becomes more intense or “toxic”. I lit primarily with tungsten units.. 2K fresnels, a few 650w fresnels and a constantly moving 1K open face and Lite Panel Astra. Lights were gelled according to the particular parts of the song. The light is so erratic that the video has a epileptic seizure warning!! Major props go out to our swing, Nori for wielding a 1K open face in the rafters of the practice space… for hours upon hours. Tuff az Nailz.
The band, Drew, an electrician and myself were enclosed in a huge wall of amps, drums, cabinets and tarps. Drew wanted a claustrophobic ode to some older green day videos and indeed… it was tight.
Drew did a text & graphic treatment to accentuate lyrics and the “bad vibrations” resonating in the final crescendo of the song.
The video for “Bad Vibrations” can be seen HERE.
I was first intrigued by the MoVI while in pre-pro for principle photography for Gennadiy, an upcoming documentary with Blood Brother’s Steve Hoover & Danny Yourd. The first thought in my mind was how amazing this tool would be for the story we were about to shoot in Ukraine. Unfortunately, it wasn’t in full on production at the time and we didn’t have the cash to bring the freefly crew out. However, it’s impression didn’t leave me for one second….
I decided to make the full investment in November 2013 and started working with it right away. First thing that I realized was that the M10 is not a grab and go tool. It’s precision mechanics that requires time & understanding of how to utilize it. This is a good thing in my mind because it’s a CRAFT, not a toy. There’s a freedom with the MoVI unlike anything I have experienced. Being able to improvise on the fly with cinematic, complex movements and blocking fires me up! Especially for documentary work or small crews on commercials. In my circles of collaboration, I knew it would be a hit.
After putting it through the test on a slew of jobs of various sizes, crew, budgets, cameras and traveling across the world with it, I’ve learned a thing or two about effectively and efficiently using the MoVI…
For starters…the MoVI really is a two man minimum operation. I am fortunate to know and work with Tyson VanSkiver in Pittsburgh. Wouldn’t want to be on a job without him. My experience with it so far has been acting as both the DP and the operator on set. Tyson takes the responsibility of tuning, balancing and maintaining the MoVI throughout the day. On top of that, he’s a killer focus puller if we’re in majestic mode. When the controller is needed, we’ll have an AC pull focus.
The MoVI is quite the technical orchestration. On top of the 3 axis stabilization, there’s wireless video, power distribution, remote focus pulling, camera maintenance, lens changing, balancing, tuning, operator technique, as well as controller pan & tilt skills (I’ll go into technical details on individual pieces of gear in near future blog posts but we’ll stay at birds eye view for now). These are all things to take into consideration when wanting “fast, cheap and good” all at once. I’ve learned the hard way a few times when people are staring at you because camera isn’t ready or malfunctioning 🙂 Treat it with respect, have a thoroughly tested set up & plan of execution, know how to troubleshoot it quickly and MAYBE allot time for a little bit of blocking.
For my next blog post, I’ll break down a few jobs we did recently and talk about the positives of my experience with the MoVI as well as the challenges we’ve learned from.
Exciting time to be a cinematographer and MoVI owner! More to come…
FYI…currently for hire (inquire for rates)
- MoVI M10 (owner operator only at this time)
- Hocus Focus Axis 1 Wireless FF
- Paralinx Wireless Video System w/ 3 receiver units
- Atomos HDMI to HD-SDI converter kit
- Custom Controller bag & harness
- SmallHD Monitors
- Red Epic Run Cable for Wireless FF Control
- Canon C300 Run Cable for Wireless FF Control
- Red Epic, Scarlet, C300 & Canon DSLR’s
- Experience with Canon Cinema Primes & EOS primes, zooms