Recently did a long shoot with director Eliot Rausch for Under Armour. We used two Red Epics with Angenieux Optimo zooms with Matty Taylor rocking the other camera. This was a two camera dance, rolling constantly and shooting it in a very doc style. Eliot is all about the story and so every scene took place in basketball meccas of the east coast. From the Dome in Baltimore to some of the best basketball high schools in NYC, and Philadelphia we shot with a mixture of NBA athletes, street legends and high school athletes and coaches.
We only used lights when necessary, always running and gunning trying to get Eliot authentic moments with the athletes.Their training was grueling and spending 10 hours a day running around them with cameras on our shoulders, I feel like we (DP’s) were getting similar (harder!) workouts. The agency, CP + B group was very involved every step of the way and this was a huge campaign in terms of days shots and amount of spots. They chose to use a very raw, milky color correct which although hard for a DP to like (I prefer to crush the colors more), I think works for the authenticity of the spots.
The camera is pretty heavily loaded for run and gun as you can see. We have multiple monitors, a wireless HD transmitter for agency and director, sound gear (sorry not sure what he put on there). It’s all on an Element Technica bridge plate system. (added) Although the camera is fully loaded, it’s important that all the accessories are centered and ergonomically balanced on your shoulder. It really doesn’t matter that much how much weight is on there (to some degree), only that it’s balanced on your shoulder. This is true for any camera. The best part of the EPIC is that you can truly strip it down to a very minimal set up if you don’t need all the client/director/sound accessories that is normal for most commercial shoots. I like the idea of being able to take the camera anywhere and discretely. That’s why I ended up buying my own Epic package. We got this camera package from the amazing Offhollywood in NYC along with a DIT station (which comes with the amazing DIT Patrick Cecilian folded inside his cart. He literally pops out of his cart and starts working. Magician).
1 Minute spot:
Because we were handheld the whole time and very run and gun (lightweight), we used a variety of techniques to keep motion smooth with the camera. Matt used formerly was on the path to be an olympic rollerblader (unconfirmed rumor!) so he rocked some fresh rollerblades to follow the action. We also needed a more controlled camera movement in a pinch, so we pieced together what we called “The Butt dolly” (see below). This consisted of a high hat, rolling spreaders and an occonor head with a fernie pad to sit on. We used the handle to push around. Below you can see a move we did that was a full rotation around an actor as he looked up into the rafters. We did a 360 circle getting closer and closer everytime until we came to a stop with our amazing 1st AC Sarah Hendrick nailing the focus everytime. It actually worked amazingly well although I dont think the shot ever made it to any of the spots.
Eliot calls our shooting camera technique “The two camera dance,” and it really is. With Matty we’re moving in and out of each others frames, constantly checking where to be, how to move around each other and the athletes. The director and the two shooters have to be very in sync with each other for it to work, and I think we successfully did. Honestly I think most of our best shots aren’t even in the cuts. You can see the rest of the spots below:
a couple 15 second spots: