Friday, September 9, 2011
___At the end of August I worked as an assistant camera on a feature for the Hallmark channel called, "Love's Christmas Journey." It will be a total of a 40-day shoot that will make up a two part mini-series set to air around Christmas. This was a really cool shoot to work on for a ton of reasons; one being that it was my first Western. We started shooting at Melody Ranch which had a huge exterior western set complete with sheriff’s office, general store, saloon and more. We were shooting on 2 "Panavised" RED MX's, which was awesome. (ABOVE RIGHT) Panavision buys RED bodies and modifies them so they can be outfitted completely with Panavision accessories. The standard PL mount is removed from the RED body and a special mount is attached to fit the Panavision PRIMO ZOOMS that are used on both cameras. Panavision also developed a power box that bypasses RED's power system and allows the camera to be powered off two sources simultaneously. On set, the cameras are powered off a set of Dionic batteries, which mount to the top rail system, as well as a big lead Panavision block battery. The camera runs off block battery power while we are on sticks shooting, and then when we have to move the camera to a different set up, we switch to the Dionic power source. It's a really great system that is quick and easy and it allows us to run the camera constantly on set without powering down. The “panavised” RED’s also feature a side rail system for the swing away matte box, Panavision’s microforce zoom control and a bunch of other sweet Panavision accessories.
Over the course of the 7 days I was on the project, we shot some really awesome stuff including a small fight scene and a scene in which a barn goes up in flames. (LEFT) The D.P, Maximo Munzi, uplit a lot of the scenes in the film using “covered wagons.” They were pretty simple home made lights made up of 6 practicals on a 2x4 with chicken wire and light grid wrapped around the globes in a semi-circle. He placed them on the ground and used them as fill and even key at times. Mostly all of the smaller tungsten sources as well as any HMI lights that flew were outfitted with soft boxes and grids or shot through 4x4 frames of diff. He rarely ever used a hard source. For night exteriors we had a condor with two Maxibrutes shooting through 4x4 frames of opal or other diffusion. This was used mostly as a moonlight ambient source. He used 4x4 frames of double net to control light coming from broad sources at times, which was pretty cool. For day exteriors he used some powerful HMI’s as fill or table topped a 12x12 rag of ¼ silk or similar to soften the harsh overhead sunlight. He also used an ultra-bounce a lot as well. Overall it was a great shoot with a fun crew. I hope to continue working for Hallmark as I really like everyone in the camera and G/E department. I learned a lot about Panavision accessories and it was nice to work with some higher end camera equipment.