I made it! Kilimanjaro!!

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I has been the hardest most challenging shoot I’ve been on. A small crew, me and another photographer, a producer and a host.  10 day trip with rain, wind, moisture and cold.  We’ve travelled with an amazing expedition crew, Expeditions Resor, led my World Class Explorers OLA SKINNARMO and ROBIN TRYGG. who’ve been very helpful.  Time schedule was very tight as we followed a regular group trip and on top of walking 7-10 hours a day we’ve hopefully managed to film for the 1hr show on Swedish Public TV.

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me doing my own audio as producer was feeing ill due to altitude.
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Audio setup. Sound Devices 633 mixer, 4 channels of Wisycom Audio, TimeCode Systems Wave as Master TC. In the back Sony Fs7 as both “A” and “B” camera and the Sony A7sii as “C” cam

Everything worked great technically.  All the gear really held up amazingly to some pretty rough weather and transport.  Cameras were hand carried 8-10 hrs a days as well as the mixer package, all other support/backup gear was packed away in Pelicases carried by our amazing porters.  We had some pretty severe rain for a couple of days and the desiccant bags were hard as work as night trying to keep everything working.

Great adventure and hopefully a good hours television later this fall. 🙂

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Kilimanjaro shoot

On January 17th 2016 I am heading to Kilimanjaro, Tanzania to try and summit.  It is a show for Swedish TV (SVT) where will be filming a 1hr show about the trek up there and cooking along the way.

I’ll be bringing 2 x Sony FS7, an A7sii and a couple of GoPros.  It will be a 2 camera shoot and audio will be run externally.

In the next couple of weeks Ill post some thought and preparations for the trip…  It is a a pretty extensive plan as we won’t have any power or backup for the 10 days shoot.

Please have a look back for more posts. / marcus

 

"Kibo summit of Mt Kilimanjaro 001" av Yosemite
“Kibo summit of Mt Kilimanjaro 001” av Yosemite

 

Smart box

Jokerbox

Sometimes you see things that you just fall in love with. (Loving gear is a problem, I know…)
Seems simple enough. A wooden box with dividers. So smart, so simple, I want them!  Check it out.

 

 http://jokerboxes.com

P.s. I reached out about 5 days ago to see about buying these in Europe but still no response, so I can’t speak for their customer support… :/

 

Disclaimer:  No connection with Jokerbox in any way

GoPro car rig

We just finished a project (Anne på väg, SVT) where we shot interviews with multiple GoPro camera inside a car. I was asked to setup the solution for this and one of the things we wanted was to be able to monitor the cameras from a follow car to make sure the cameras were rolling, composition etc.
The rig is pretty simple. (After all the HDMI mess) we hook up each GoPro to continues power to bypass the battery problem. A micro HDMI is also attached to each camera and all the cables are run to the back of the trunk. Here we installed the control plate with the HDMI-SDI converters and our quad split. The signal from the quad so then transmit to the follow car for monitoring.

First we have the control panel.

Contol panel
Contol panel

1 Convergent Design Odyssey 7q which acts as our monitor and quad split.  We could easily switch between full frame (for composition) and the quad. Then we have 3 Aja HMDI-SDI converters which converts the GoPro signal to SDI for the quad.  The 4th camera in the car was wild and unmonitored. Everything in the back is DC powered by V-lock batteries.  We left the OSD (On Screen Display) on in the GoPros so to see that the REC was on. The quad signal from the Odyssey 7Q was sent to a Pix240 which recorded a proxy with timecode for logging purpose and the signal was looped on to the link.

The trick here was to sync the GoPros for the edit.  For budget reasons external recorder with locked TC was opted out which would have been the easy choice. Instead we had our Master Timecode in the Sound Bag, which was a TIMECODY BUDDY, feed an iPad with synced code.  This code visually slated each go pro to easy sync in post.  (Actually every goPro clip was later transcoded into a new clip with correct/soundmatched timecode and DNxHD.) Very easy way to establish correct Timecode to non-timecode cameras.

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Timecode buddy
Timecode buddy
Timecode Buddy
Timecode Buddy

For the link to the follow car we chose the Bolt2000 from Teradek. We put the antennas externally on the car with helped with range. This is a line of sight system which looses the connection if you drive around the corner of a street. It will reconnect however one yore back in line of sight.  The system has one problem though.  If power is lost the units they don’t reconnect, it seems, without a reboot.   This needs to be addressed in future firmwares!   The system worked ok. It had some drops but recovered once back in range. It was really only a backup system for us to be able check that the cameras were rolling during the 20-30 min takes.  Audio was easily monitored via a wireless boosting a 1w transmitter, with great quality and reliability.

All in all this was a very successful setup. The wireless link had it’s dropout, mostly due to to travelling at speed in a car, but the rest of the system was rock solid! During 18 days, and countless hours of footage, we did NOT  loose 1 clip due to a GoPro shut down. The new firmware in the GoPro with options to the flat picture profile was great.

Bolt2000 receiver in follow car
Bolt2000 receiver in follow car
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Teradek Bolt 2000 transmitter in the hero car
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monitor setup in follow car
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antenna on the back of the hero car.

 

Running everything on DC, including some lights is a bit of a charging mess at night though.   I think we had something like 14 V-lock batteriers in use. 😉

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Behind the setup

Yesterday I shot six interviews for a friend and colleague who’s producing a promotional film for FIFH, Association Sport for Disabled.  He’s shot the rest of the film himself but wanted me to shoot the interviews. 

Our location was a small sports hall. First thought was to shoot against a black backdrop, limbo, but we decided to have a little bit of a background of some kind, dim and pretty diffused.   I shut all the lights down in the room and started from scratch.  This is a really nice quick basic setup with some tweaks to get it where I want. I was alone doing this, setup, lighting and sound.  In the morning I actually had my wife, who also does this for a living, helping me out lugging gear.

For a key I setup a 6x6ft white shiny bounce which I covered with a silk to take the harshness off the bounce.  I shot a 2K open face into it and filled the entire 6×6 which created a nice soft bounce.

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Big white soft bounce with a 2K into it.

For a hair/back light I used a frosted 250W on a boom and also added a 15oW Dedo, dimmed down, as an edge light.  That’s it.  This pretty much left  me with a 4-5,6 split to which I added 2 stop of ND a little and shot the interviews at f2+2/3 on a 85mm. Since all the overhead lights were turned off I needed to add lights to the black background.  I didn’t want to just “wash” the background with light but instead wanted some texture to it. a 650W Dedo and a 300w strategically placed gave a nice result I think.  On a couple of the interviews I hung some LED tubing which defocused looked like a light wand sort of… 😉

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Background setup with 2 lights adding texture to dark background
Christmas light LED tubing adding a "light shaft"
Christmas light LED tubing adding a “light shaft”

Everything was shot for a finished look with no grading in mind so I pushed the blacks just a little bit in camera and the frame grabs below have had nothing done to them.

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Ungraded image right out of C300
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Ungraded image right out of C300

 

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Ungraded image right out of C300

 

Funny story about doing things right and not cheating even though your in a rush.  In the first picture up top you see a C-stand with the arm point straight out.  I was rushing and didn’t do it right. It bit me, and drew blood! I walked right into it and almost knocked my teeth out!  Never cheat, do it right and save yourself the hurt. 🙂  Whenever possible try and place the arm with the empty side point up. That way it’s less likely to hit someone in the face…  Another tip is to put a tennis ball , with a whole cut out, on the empty end.

 

Empty side pointing up
Empty side pointing up

 

A little goes a long way…

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I recently shot package comedy bits for the talk show Robins which airs on Swedish TV SVT.  We shot a bunch of different short packages ranging from 30 sec to 2.30. Production tempo was high and I together with my sound person Göran were the only 2 in the tech crew.  Everything was shot on a Panasonic 2100!! 2/3 inch ENG camera. Big sensor would have been nice but SVT owns the 2100’s and the choice was theirs. Lighting package (package is a big word) was really minimal and a few LED panels and a 650 Frensel was about it.  Time was really a shortage and we were moving so fast quick solutions were in order. I brought along, and absolute savior, the Odyssey 7q monitor and and Arri Locaster for an accurate quick dialing light.  I also has a wireless monitor solution for our director to get cables to a minimum.  Since everything was straight-to-air (no post color correction) the Convergent design Odyssey 7Q was a life saver giving me an accurate image on set.

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Arri Locaster taped to car window. The color controls, plus/minus green is so incredibly handy with this light!

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Robins2

The first bit to open this season of Robins was to recreate the “talent introduction sequence” of the Swedish Song Contest. The real show is shot big sensor, short depth of field, lighting and such.  For us to recreate this in a garage, on an ENG camera, was going to be a challenge.   The easiest would have been to shoot the first shots on a big glass plate, recreate on the car window for the wide shot and go from there. Time and lighting would not allow so we opted to shoot everything through the car window.

Lighting was done with 2 x 800W (added to light kit 😉 ) redheads bounced into foam core and the Arri Locaster taped to the car window. Shot everything wide open to achieve some depth of field on the small 2/3 sensor.
I really enjoyed this shoot. Everyone involved was Great and pulling in the same direction trying to get the most out of every minute!

All frame grabs are from iPad screen from SVT play streaming.

Robins -SVT episode 1

 

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Going nuts in the kitchen

 

Last week I shot a web series of quick kitchen tips/recipes for a production company in Lund who’s end client is a big food chain in Sweden.  I thought I’d share a few pictures and thoughts on the setup to explain how a situation that might not be ideal but will still produce a nice end product. During the course of 2 days we shot 14 tips and 4 promos.

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Framegrab straight from camera, no color correction. (JPG Compressed for Web)
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our kitchen with the big island

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I came in late into the project and was not part of any pre production.  We were assigned a test kitchen belonging to the client.  It was a fairly small kitchen with a big island in the middle of the room.  Preferably we would have liked to be working in a bigger space with the talent farther from the background, to get some depth, but this was not an option since the island was not movable.  I even asked to have it un-screwed from the floor and removed but this was not possible. Another issue with the island was that it was a little low, height wise. In a few shots we ended up seeing a little bit of floor in the background, out of focus but still.
Also, times and budgets being what they are, this was a solo tech gig. Yes, sound, lighting, camera and focus, all mine. 🙂 I could have said no but I really wanted to work with this client and this was something I knew I could handle alone and have a lot of fun doing it. Working in a small crew really has its rewards as well as its drawbacks.

This project was shot on the Sony F3, with a Red 17-50/2,8 zoom and a 5″ Tv-logic monitor for a “view finder”.  We wanted to achieve as much depth as possible so I lit the set to shoot wide open at f2.8 (light to f8 with 3 stop ND on camera). Everything was shot handheld and lens was set to 32mm -35mm except for the close ups at 50mm.  The Red zooms is great in that it has a really nice near focus range allowing to get close in on an object.  Since there was to be no grading I painted in-camera for a finished look or as close I could get.  We decided on a flat, low con, clean look.    Everything was shot in 35Mbit XDCam EX codec.  There was a quick turn around on this project and all “tips” were delivered just a few days after shooting.

Sound was a straight forward setup with a DPA 4071 lav, carefully hidden under her clothing. The downside of doing sound by your self is not being able to change levels during a take since your busy pulling focus.

All in all it was a  pretty simple setup. 7 lights total.

1 key light, which consisted of a chimera frame with an open face 2K into it.  I didn’t want the harder light of the shiny bounce surface so I added a diffusion on the bounce side.

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2K open face into bounce. Sony F3. TV-Logic monitor for VF. Black wrap as a hood.

 

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Key light, Shiny bounce and a diffusion to lessen the punch.

 

For fill I put up 2 x 800w open face lights bouncing into the white walls left of the kitchen island.  This filled the background nicely and gave some fill for our talent.  I added a neg fill on the left which gave our talent more contrast on her left side.  On this picture you also see the 150W Dedo which acted as a spot light for some of the background items.

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neg fill or flagging to give more contrast to her left side

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Back lights consisted of a 300 with 216 and a 250w with diff. It can be a good idea when using hot lights to tape some black wrap to the ceiling above the light to reflect some of the heat.

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300W back light
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250 Pro light with diff as back light

Then I wanted the light in the back to be on and tried to filter out some of the green and other ugly spectrums in there but lack of a full filter kit got me only so far.  It works and I got most of the green out with the filters in my kit.

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Kitchen fixture with attempt to filter out ugly colors.
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filtration taped directly onto fluorescent tube.

As a last light I put our Arri Locaster in the corner behind the talent.  this added a little fill for background.

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Arri Locaster

 

 

All that tungsten lights in that area you think… Yes it was pretty hot in that small kitchen but there was windows to open up to the fridgid air outside.  Cool lights would also have been an option but the lighting budget was for tungsten.

In retrospect it was a really fun shoot.  Great client and end-client.  Everybody pulling in the same direction and ready to help out wherever needed.  It would have been nice to have one more person in the tech dept., helping out with sound, lights and perhaps focus which was a challenge at times.  We could have opted to have more depth of field but the client likes the wide open look which de focused the background. The F3 is a great camera and looks just as great as it did before the F5/F55 came out and took over the market. 😉

Please not that all images are compressed for web.

End Client:  City Gross
Producer/Production company:  Anagram