“Forged in the fires of Mount Doom”

Behind the scenes in Video Production Cinema Style

A few months ago we finished the cinematic documentary for Birmingham based jeweller Samson Gold. It was a great project to work on and we’ve written more about in an earlier blog. During the shoot, we took an extra camera with us to shoot some ‘behind-the-scenes’ material. It has been rather busy at Film Division HQ and we’ve finally got some time to edit it all together for your enjoyment. Get ready to see how we approach video production cinema style.

Camera Set-up

There are a few aspects in this video that I want to highlight. The first thing being the camera set-up. For this shoot we used the RED Scarlet-W as the body. This amazing piece of kit allows us to film 5K resolution. The sensor in this camera is actually the same sensor as as used to film the Hobbit trilogy. A logical choice for cinematic video production featuring a goldsmith isn’t it?

We used two different types of lenses in this shoot. Because we are filming small objects in great detail, we needed get close with a macro lens. Our choice was the Zeiss Distagon 100mm Macro lens. This prime lens, meaning that it doesn’t zoom, gave us great precision in filming. Lenses that don’t zoom have less moving parts and will generally let in more light. That gives you a shallower depth of field, allowing us to have the tiny diamonds in focus with a blurry background. The second type of lenses we used were the Canon Cinema Primes. These lenses don’t zoom either and allowed us to focus on the eyes of the craftsmen. A normal zoom lens wouldn’t give you the depth of field we’re looking for.

Samson Gold Behind The Scenes

Glide Rail

As said earlier, the lenses we used don’t zoom. If we want to film an object getting bigger on screen, we have to get the camera physically closer. The challenge here is to avoid rocking the camera. Any sudden movement in the wrong direction creates an unstable result. The solution we brought to this shoot was a gliderail. This is simply a rail with a special camera mount that allows you to move the camera forward and backward on one axis. We can adjust the friction on the rail to ensure a continuous shot without sudden movements. It’s a great piece of kit to create stable but dynamic shots. It does take some practice, but when you master it, the results are amazing.  

Video production cinema glide rail

Atomos Shogun Monitor

The final essential piece of kit was the Shogun monitor. This little monitor had a direct wireless video feed from the camera. It showed exactly the same picture as the camera operator saw on his screen. To us, this is one of the most important pieces of kit when we are working with a client. It allows us to show our client the exact shots while we were filming.

The biggest benefit of this approach is that the client can give their immediate feedback on location instead of getting the feedback in post-production. Nothing is worse than getting client comments in post-production that require you to re-shoot certain scenes. It saved us hours in post-production, we received the feedback when it actually mattered: on the shoot itself.

Samson _Gold_BTS_Shogun

Final Remarks

It was a challenging and exciting shoot; working in tight spaces with loads of kit and a big crew. But we pulled it off. We managed to shoot it all in one day thanks to meticulous preparation. Our timeline approach dictates exactly what to film and how to film. That makes the process smooth and efficient. And that, my dear readers, is how we love to approach video production cinema style.

Below, you can watch the final video.

 

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