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Saturday, March 15, 2014

••◊ Desert Yoga with Danielle Orner and Aerial Mob

I wanted to drop a few picture on ye ol' cinematography blog of our current production in progress.  Tommy and I had a chance to team up with Aerial Mob and Danielle Orner for a inspirational short film in the Anza-Borrego desert last weekend.  You can see our caravan parked at Stag Cove just off of Highway 78 in the photo above.

I was the director of photography and camera operator, so I could only whip out a point and shoot while we were stopped.  The first picture below shows the Panasonic GH-4 prototype camera that was on loan to us for the weekend.  We were shooting in 4k and even did some over cranking in HD at 96fps for one shot.  Jon, pictured in the white shirt, is one of the engineers at Aerial Mob and he acted as on-set engineer for the new handheld stabilizer they are developing.  A funny thing that you might notice in the picture is that we had to improvise a sun hood for the monitor with painter's tape and a Trader Joe's spanakopita cardboard box.  Thank goodness I was hungry for Greek food the week before the shoot.

Peter from Bad Cat Films, shown in the second photo below, was my AC and all around grip/gaffer/go-to guy to get things done.  We ended up not being able to use the 6x6 bounce frame in the shot and had to rely on a handheld silver bounce instead.  It was too windy with the Santa Ana's blowing through.  That, and I didn't want to explain to Video Gear why their Ultra-bounce had cactus needles piercing it everywhere.  However, we did end up using the shovel I brought to dig holes for c-stands when one of the guys got their van stuck in the sand.  Strangely, the Toyota Matrix made it through fine! 


Aerial Mob currently mostly does aerial shots using their octo-copter.  One thing I didn't realize is how short the flights have to be because the batteries get drained very, very fast.  On the copter we had a Red Epic camera from Blair Paulsen at Alacrity Media Epic with a 18-55mm zoom plus variable-ND and power coming from the copter rig to keep things light enough.  The lens was about the same weight as a 24mm Canon L-series prime, so given the choice we went with the zoom for quick change flexibility.  We took a chance with mixing the GH-4 with the Epic, so I'm hoping things work out in the color grade (fingers crossed!). 

Unfortunately it was too windy to fly until nearly 5pm due to the Santa Ana winds.  After that the Aerial Mob boys fired up the copter and buzzed Danielle a few times with epic model shots (no pun intended). 

Today Danielle recorded the voice over for the piece, so that part is at least done.  Next we need some music, editing, and color grading.  Hopefully we'll have something to show by the end of the month.  Lots of work to do.

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