A few months ago I shared a Tamron video created by Shoots Media. I loved the way they told the story and the spin-off is a growing friendship with members of their team. Recently I watched their "2018 Reel" and loved how they told their story.
So, a call to Keith Nicholson at Shoots led to a great conversation about not only their use of Tamron lenses, but their camera and drone gear. I want to share at least part of the recipe for the short video below.
Our typical setup would include our Sony FS5 as well as two Sony A7sii's. Having the high dynamic range available with the FS5 paired with the ability to shoot in almost any lighting conditions with the A7sii, our setup is quite dynamic. Beyond this, our partnership with Tamron allows us to utilize their Di Series lenses at several focal lengths. From 15mm to 600mm, we have it covered!
But these days it's about a lot more than just the imaging gear or the skill of the photographer...
Our dedicated aerial team works exclusively with DJI products. Our two FAA Part 107 licensed pilots work with the DJI Inspire 1 Pro, the DJI Inspire 2 and the DJI Matrice (typically mounted with a DJI Ronin and A7sii). Being able to use some of the most cutting edge drone technology has allowed our team to work on some amazing projects including an episode for National Geographic's, "One Strange Rock".
The last question on my list was simply, "So how'd you do it?"
Two camera setup. FS5 is the A cam, A7sii is the B cam. One shot is the wide angle, the other is tight. We give ourselves options to intercut during some of the most important/emotional statements. 3+ point lighting setup. Depending on the scenario, we light our subject and their environment with varying lighting setups. If green screen is required, we will need much more light to ensure an even light source on the screen as well as our subject. This allows for a much easier keying process in post. Once lighting is set, we tweak it based on the project.
But that's only part of the skill set. Unfamiliar to so many of you is working with a drone...
One drone (DJI Inspire 1 or 2 or DJI Matrice). Two FAA Part 107 licensed pilots. Keith flies the UAS, Will operates the camera. What most people do not realize is that on any given aerial shoot, there are several people involved in the operation of the UAS. The Pilot, Keith is focused strictly on operating the aircraft in accordance with Will's creative vision. His eyes are on the drone at all times, with a focus on smooth, precise movements. Will on the other hand is focused solely on operating the gimbal. Where Keith moves the aircraft, Will is controlling the camera in order to get some of the more cinematic shots that you will see. He is dialing in the settings, composing the shots and giving the pilot criteria for flight. Teamwork is extremely crucial when working on an aerial production. Not only are we looking to create the best possible shot, but we are responsible for ensuring the safety of our crew and anyone involved in the production. Not to mention we never want to lose a drone!
It would be a considerable understatement to say I'm fascinated by this stuff. I know it's not for everybody and most of you aren't using drones for capturing your images. On the other hand, this is one of those new areas of imaging where knowing more about the technique is going to help you raise the bar on other aspects of your work.
My growing friendship with the crew at Shoots is another perfect example of the social side of social media. I met them thanks to Tamron USA. Tamron never slows down in helping photographers expand their skill set. Tamron recently launched it's 2018 tour. Click on the van below to find out where they're headed next and then make it a point to meet some of the most talented and diverse educators in photography!
About Shoots Media: Shoots Media team is a full-service film crew looking to project their client's stories onto the screen. Where things begin to get complicated is the scope of the work, and the range of the clients they work with. They embrace the challenges their clients provide and strive to continue creating cutting-edge content that leaves them wanting more!
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Check out "Why?" one of the most popular features on the SCU Blog. It's a very simple concept - one image, one artist and one short sound bite. Each artist shares what makes the image one of their most favorite. We're over 100 artists featured since the project started. Click on the link above and you can scroll through all of the episodes to date.