Shooting a Doc Series and experimenting with new gear
I've had the amazing opportunity to join a group of incredibly talented, motivated and hardworking people over at The Years Project. The show they produce is Years of Living Dangerously, an enlightening but terrifying look at the current global warming crisis. They address the issues based in cold hard facts and present potential solutions. Its been an eye opening experience to say the least. I hope, come its release, people can pay attention to all this show has to say.
I joined the team during the second season which we are still actively shooting. The series maintains a cinematic aesthetic to present the information which has been a real treat for myself and the many DPs on board. Ronin is utilized frequently which has allowed me to sharpen my gimbal operating skills. The Years team is big on having the right tools to stay efficient and move quickly which leads to another great part of working with the team. On many of the shoots I am able to test out new gear. So far, here a few things that I've tested out.
* FlowCine's Serene Arm *
Serene Arm is an invaluable tool IF you are forced to use an EZ Rig. I personally am not a fan of the EZ Rig for Ronin application. Some people swear by it but it just doesn't work for me. I enjoyed the exoskeleton design more (which I wrote about previously). I'm also interested in other designs for this very specific application. ANYWAY, the Serene Arm was pretty incredible in my experience. The Ronin is an amazing piece of equipment but when walking it is nearly impossible to maintain that vertical axis. Its especially noticeable when you are moving along a straight horizontal line or surface. It helped minimize the movement in the vertical axis and allows for a much (vertically) stable image. Additionally, it has a slick look and it is very easy to use. If you are an EZRig supporter I would highly recommend using it.
*Redrock microRemote *
The tool I primarily utilized out of this kit was the FingerWheel for the Ronin (and any other gimbal). Because this is a docu series, I rarely have a dedicated AC to just pull focus. The AC is often split on duties between two operators. Plus in doc, Its just easier for the operator to handle his or her own focus. This tool was awesome. I am generally not a huge fan of Redrock. I feel like the motor and basestation could be more compact - especially since they are advertising to all of the gimbal operators out there. I also found the basestation to be a bit annoying. I find that both the manual and auto calibration tends to be finnicky. We were in a bit of a rush setting up the rig so perfecting the fingerwheel wasn't an option. It seems like Redrock could use some spacers to use when using thinner handle bars because the fingerwheel wouldn't stay snug. I found an alternative solution to keep it from moving. I think Redrock should get onto the Ronin bandwagon and try to make an all in one motor/transmitter. At the end of the day the system worked, albeit not perfectly. Its still a great tool for gimbal work and seems to be one of the only ones on the market. I would definitely recommend checking it out and seeing if it works well for you.
Cool tools. Useful applications. Stay posted for more.