Somehow, I have found myself serving as the Director of Photography on another racing film. Most people that know me realize i’m not a huge sports fan, I’m a movie guy. However, over half my career so far has been consumed by films set in a sports backdrop. Yet, this new project, “Shifting Gears” has me extremely excited.
Anytime you mix cameras with high speed cars, stunts and adrenaline you are guaranteed an incredibly challenging and exciting shoot. The challenge of this film though is even more pronounce. Due to the complicated nature of the action sequences we have selected a variety of camera systems to produce the film on. Our primary camera will be the Canon C-500 utilizing the Odyssey 7Q+ 4K recorder along with the Red Dragon, Red Scarlet, a number of Blackmagic 2.5 K Cinema camera and the Sony F65 4K camera. Also, we have elected to use the GoPro Hero4’s as crash cams.
I am also excited at the fact this will be the first feature that I lens on a full set of Canon Cine Primes including the 14 mm, 24 mm, 35mm, 50 mm, 85 mm, and 135mm. These lenses are absolutely gorgeous and produce stunning results no matter what camera system they are mounted to.
Small HD, also based here in North Carolina, has been incredible in providing a number of their DP7-Pro OLED Field Monitors for the production. These are key elements to my team being able to produce consistent images throughout the production of the film. If you haven’t checked them out, do yourself a favor and get your hands on one. The fact that these monitors easily allow me to view 3D LUTs and create custom looks utilizing layers of 3D LUTs mean the world to this production because with this many camera systems being used to capture the images for this film, my main concern is creating a consistent visual style throughout. The use of the small HD monitors along with the 4K Blackmagic production monitor, that also allows the use of 3D LUTs, gives me the opportunity to create custom look profiles for each camera system that will closely match one another.
Shifting Gears is a family comedy/action sports film so in many ways we have two different films mixed into one. The Canon C-500, with its high color reproduction and overall sensitivity will allow us to create a warm and inviting high-saturation family comedy feel for the first half of the film. Once we enter the racing sequences, Director Jason Winn has elected to have a fast-paced edit so that the adrenaline is infused with the tone and style of the film. This will blend well with the use of multiple camera systems as we plan on photographing a very stylized, energetic and visually engaging set of racing sequences.
Production Designer, Nathan Krochmal has been doing an incredible job in designing the sets. We will be spending almost half of our shoot in the comfort of a sound stage and the designs that Nathan has been creating will breathe life into the film. Everyday that I walk onto the sound stage and see new elements come to life excites me. I find myself walking the studded out frame of the hero house finding new angles and new inspiration for the photography of the film.
There is a real recipe for success developing with this project. With the support of the producers of the film, the strong camera and G&E teams that have been assembled and the amazing support from companies such as Small HD, I’m entering the last phase of pre-production confident, energized (a bit tired as well) and ready to see this film through to the end of production. We are currently 2 weeks out from day 1 and with any luck, we are going to make a film as entertaining and thrilling as it is shaping up to produce.
For more info on the film, check out: https://www.facebook.com/ShiftingGearsMovie