Tag Archives: MOVI M5

Baccarat Trophy

I enjoy shooting the trophies for tennis tournaments. I like trying different moves, shots and editing techniques that keep the pieces fresh and watchable for the viewers/fans. This year I tried three new things. In addition to using a MoVi M5 gimbal to capture a pushing in shot, we tried in-camera light leaks using a prism. I would wave the prism in front of an 85mm f/1.2 lens. This creating transition points and ideally a classy bit of visual interest. To get the mountains to move behind the trophy, we used a 70-200mm lens on a 42″ Rhino Slider with the Rhino Arc. This combination allows an operator to program a specific move so that the subject (the trophy) always remains in the same position in the frame, but the background spins. This is called a parallax effect. To further compound the amount of movement in a shot of an object that is typically static, I brought a motorized weight-bearing turntable. The turntable spun the trophy in place while the camera slid along the track turning to create parallax.

I love the view of the San Jacinto Mountains from the tennis garden. The colors and the light change throughout the day. That view has such great depth. The supporting non-trophy broll in this piece was shot using the Inspire 2 drone paired with a 45mm lens. The X5s camera is a crop sensor, there’s a 4k crop too and then when you push into a 4k ultra high definition image for a 1920X1080p timeline, it means you’re essentially flying smooth shots with a 200mm lens. It’s one of the most effective and versatile ways to get telephoto aerials. Indian Wells is one of the best places to fly.

The western showdown music is also a track that I licensed and have held onto for years in the hopes of using it at Indian Wells eventually.

Five Stadium Vignettes

Above is the first of five videos on the five main stadiums at the French Open. In 2017 I was asked to make mini-movies that were solely composed of broll set to music. Because I do not speak French, including interviews or v/o did not make sense if I was to work autonomously.

As is the case these days, videos for social or website consumption need to be shorter and shorter. Having constraints and being creative within a boundaries is oftentimes helpful. The above video is for Court Philippe-Chatrier, the main stadium for the tennis complex. This is where I was most often because the top players were scheduled for matches in the largest venue. Because I had the most footage from this court it was a challenge to condense my footage to the best of the best. A fast song helps because the cuts can be quicker allowing me to pack more in.

A good and bad thing about the French Open is that there is no overarching brand standard that would keep me from using a dubstep track. At Wimbledon for example, this would be entirely inappropriate. But in Paris, their videos can vacillate from classical and stately to wild and rocking.

Rather than make all five videos with similar music, I switched it up but tied them together through the color grading. I had the work of Neels Castillon to base the colors off. Previously he had completed a branding film in 2015 that still plays on a loop throughout the grounds. I took cues on color and sound editing from this piece.

Because I lacked voiceover or an interview actuality for the videos, I tried to go above and beyond what I might normally do for sound effects. This Philippe-Chatrier video for example has something like 100 layered sfx. Some of it is purchased foley and other sounds were recorded live, edited modified and inserted.

Other teams were present on location working for the FFT to make videos with themes on “emotions” or “sounds” of Roland Garros. My videos were more all-encompassing. “Stadiums.” So I tried to put sounds and emotions in the videos too. Hopefully they turned into something different from the average highlight.

Here’s the video for the second largest court, Suzanne Lenglen. The architecture and look of the place was remarkably different and made me think 1980s synth pop. Again, a lot of attention went into sound effects. The editing on this video took the longest out of my French Open pieces because of all the editing and speed ramping to the beat. Note rackets colliding with balls on downbeats. Watch the patron heads snap together in unison. I also made use of CPS, Canon Professional Services. They were present on location and I with a photographer’s credential could check out gear as needed. Some of the closeups of balls being tossed or bounced were done with an 800mm lens and a 2X teleconverter. This essentially makes the camera a telescope. It can be very hard to track action with such a big lens. But when done right, it gets you so close to the action. If filming in 4K for a 1920X1080p piece, you also have additional room to zoom in while editing in post. Take the ball toss for example. You can see “Roland Garros 2017” printed on the side of it. I could only have achieved this ball toss with a ridiculously smooth TV camera with amazing panning or the way I did it, a monopod in 4k.

These final three videos are intended to be sentimental with a tingle of nostalgia. All three “stadiums” will be demolished over the coming two years as a part of the expansion into the neighboring Botanical Gardens. Court No. 1 is in particular a historic stadium. Fans like it because it’s a perfect round bowl like a bullring or the Colosseum. Court No. 2 is nice because of the cement X’s that are integrated into the architecture. Sun glints through them, they cast pretty shadows on the clay etc.

I used a lot of moving, floating shots done with the MoVi M5 to immerse the viewer in what it feels like to walk through the structures.

Flight Operations Safety

This was an outside-the-box piece for me to direct and shoot. The producer was Hendrik van Vuuren of Sting Marketing. A staff of writers polished up the shot list, storyboard and script on location. The objective was to make a flight safety operations piece for the Duke terminal at Charlotte-Douglass and Concord Regional Airports. Duke Energy maintains corporate jets and helicopters to transport executives across the nation quickly.

This was one of the first jobs where I used a hoverboard paired with a MOVI M5 to capture long smooth moving shots. Hoverboards, the fad of 2015, are very similar to a Segway. Cinematographers have been using Segways for years now as a way to move quickly with a steadicam-like device. I took the hoverboard and wide angle lens all through the hangar and onto the tarmac moving at 10mph. The footage is much smoother and more precise than if I had run and used post production software to stabilize the clips. Naturally I used a helmet and observed all safety protocols when filming.

It was a memorable shoot. We saved releasing the oxygen masks for last because they take forever to roll back up and tuck away in the overhead compartments.

Inside The All England Club

Players walk from the interior of the clubhouse onto Centre Court for the high profile matches at Wimbledon. While it is shown on television, the inside of the All England Club is not open to regular ticket holders. There is a strict dress code and a finite number of club members with a very long waiting list. Invitations to the Royal Box are given to celebrities, heads of state, members of the royal family, military personnel. This is all decided by the Chairman of the club. This past year, during one of his last days as the Prime Minister,  I watched David Cameron get booed by Centre Court then recede into the clubhouse balcony for afternoon tea. It is a very elite place.

For this video I arrived early one day before the club was open. The communications team at the Broadcast Centre received special permission for a video tour. I wanted to be prepared. I used the Sony A7sii with a Metabones adapter. This enables the use of Canon glass on a lightweight Sony mirrorless camera. I put the Sony on the MOVI M5 with the new Canon 11-24mm lens. The lens is the widest rectilinear lens available. My intent was to portray the space in a manner not seen on ESPN and the BBC. This meant wide floating shots showcasing access most fans will never get. The trophies were shot with a variety of lenses. The MOVI was used again with a 50mm f/1.8 Sony lens to get that parallax motion with the background completely blurred. A Macro was used on some of the finer details. The trophies against the perfectly manicured grass is to me, the ultimate sight and site for tennis.