The first ever Sydney DSLR & Film makers meet-up was a great night! We were upstairs at the Camperdown Hotel, in Sydney, who were kind enough to fit us in last minute. The night started out with a few drinks, and some light food circling to help old friends re-unite, and strangers acquaint themselves with one-another, whilst I circled giving out lucky-door prize tickets. Thank you so much to all who were able to come, it would have been nothing if not for the attendees!!
A big thank you (as I’m sure all who attended will agree) to Steve and the crew from Genus, for kindly covering the tab for both food, and drinks! Genus’ support here was awesome. Thanks Steve!
We were lucky enough to have a highly respected, and well known director & DP as our main speaker. I must offer a massive thank you to our keynote speaker for the meet, Jason Wingrove. Along with being gracious enough to agree to speak at the meet, Jason was instrumental in assisting with promotion of the meet. For those not familiar with Jason or his work, he has been a DP and is currently a film director, along with Mike Seymour they host the “Red Centre” Podcasts, which if you don’t already listen to, download a few, they are great. (very geek worthy stuff)
Jason and I discussed how he was originally inspired into film making. He relayed stories of his childhood growing up near Pinewood Studios, and clambering over Broccoli’s sets from the James Bond films, and the Fortress of Solitude. After emigrating to Australia, this early life ultimately helped influence his decision to attend Film School at North Sydney College (now part of the NSI Tafe). His work through the camera department, and then onto being a director, and where he is today.
My jibe about “The camera that overthrew the PM?” is loosely based on fact. In a manner of speaking, Jason’s directorial and DP skills assisted in a pivotal shift in Australia’s government leadership, with his recent work on the Mining Council of Australia’s TVCs. As Australian’s will know, it was the Mining Council, that led to the spill that pushed out now ex-Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, by now Prime Minister Julia Gillard.
Jason took us through the commissioning of this series of commercials, which all happened very fast. The commercials had to be filmed all across Australia over 9 days, and had an extremely quick turn around time. The speed of all this, and the fact that the crew would need to be taking light aircraft to mining locations all across our great wide land, influenced Jason’s decision on what tools would be used to acquire these commercials. The lightweight, small, and easily portable nature of the Canon 5D Mark II, the beautiful imagery it captures, and its ability to capture 24p/25p, made Jason’s choice easier. That and the client wouldn’t be on set to see this small little “stills camera” being used!
The kit that Jason used, and that he directed the other DP’s to use was based on this decision. A Canon 5D Mark II & Canon 24-70mm 2.8L lens was chosen, using Stu Maschwitz’s Prolost “Flatten your 5D” settings, a Vari-ND for shooting at 2.8 in daylight, and assisting in dialling in exposure tweaks, a Genus Matte-Box, Genus LCD ViewFinder, Genus Elite Follow Focus and Gini/franken shoulder-rig to mount it.
Sound was acquired from the sound technician’s pre-leveled recording, which the soundie simultaneously transmitted to a receiver on Jason’s 5D rig. Jason mentioned that as this sound was pre-beautified by the tech, and due to extremley tight turn around, and sometimes being stuck at airports around Australia, the sound direct from the 5D was at times, used for the final cut that made it into the spots. In all the series of spots were filmed over 9 days, with Jason and the crews flying over 12,000kms around Australia. The post-production and editing needed to be just as swift, with the image from the 5D’s being so good, the colour grade was minimal, and then were put to air. The rest, as they say, is history. Some of the spots are available on Jason’s Vimeo.
Jason recently stunned the web with some beautiful teasers of personal work he has been filming. It’s a series of pieces on the Sea Pools of Australia, which you no doubt would have seen spread about the blogsphere, twittersphere, or vimeo. The first of the series simply titled “sea pool“. The film is embedded below, and well worth viewing fullscreen. So go ahead, click the full screen button on it. I’ll wait here…
Welcome back. Exquisite film isn’t it? That’s not really a question, but if you want to answer – feel free in the comments below.
Jason spoke to the 5D’s beautiful imagery, its accessible nature, and it’s ownabilty all combining to motivate him to get up before dawn, take the camera down to the sea pools, and film. The series may well turn into something else, but right now Jason’s sea pool work is a personal endeavour. The beautifully shot pieces are a tribute to a unique aspect of Australian seaside culture, and a creative outlet for Jason. Jason touched on the kit used for these, which consists of the Canon 5D Mark II, the Canon 50mm 1.2L or Canon 70-200mm 2.8L IS lenses, Joby Gorillapod Focus with Focus X ball head, and the vari-ND filter to tweak exposure. The shots are all capture with the Prolost custom settings, and at a variety of ISO’s dependent on lighting conditions.
If you haven’t already, take the time to view the rest of the ‘sea pool’ series that Jason has released to date. They are all beautiful pieces, which I hope to see continue and develop! Again, thank you for speaking Jason, it was hugely educational to hear about your experience, and how you are using these cameras in your professional work. I too am hoping to see the RED Scarlet.
Till then, we have these little cameras that can.
Steve Rushworth from Genus used the evening as an opportunity to announce a brand new Genus product – the Genus ND Fader Filter – which is available in a variety of sizes. The variable ND filter being such a useful tool for DSLR video work, Genus’ version of this is beautifully engineered with a unique grip on the front element, to more easily change exposure on the fly. It also has a convenient handle to easily adjust exposure, even when used with a matte-box.
After that – we were able to award some lucky door prizes! Huge thanks must go to the following for lucky door prize giveaways:
- Steve & the team from Genus & Scott from PhotoImports for a Genus Viewfinder prize
- Dan and the team from Imagine Products for ShotPut Pro
- Dave and the team from Red Giant Software for offering prizes of licences of: Magic Bullet Looks, Grinder AND Trapcode Particular (phew! Thank you guys!!)
- Cliff and the team from PureBlend Software for the MovieSlate prizes for iPad & iPhone.
- the team from Panavision Australia for offering a lucky door prize of a Panavision baseball cap.
- the team from AJA for their lucky door prize that can only be described as a ‘mind altering disco cup’
I’s also like to make special mention of the following:
- Scott from PhotoImports for bringing along all the Genus gear, literally all of it! Genus Matte-Boxes, Genus Bravo, Superior and Elite Follow Focus’, the Genus Shoulder Rig, Genus ViewFinder and the new Genus Fader ND filter. Scott – that Bravo follow focus is tempting me mate!
- Thanks to the team from Que Audio for showcasing their great lineup of mikes, and audio gear. Highly recommend you taking a look at their gear.
- Thanks to Mike Jones from litupdigital for bringing along speakers, Mac cables, and general support! Thanks mate! (next time we’ll check power sockets).
- Mick Jones also launched the brand new online store, DSLR Gear – providing a new online Australian reseller for Zacuto gear.
- Hani Arab and the team from Digital Logic for bringing along some of his DSLR rental rigs; especially drool-worthy was the 5D Mark II rig, with Zeiss CP.2 50mm lens, View-Factor cage, and customised RED top handle.
Once again, thank you to all attendees, it was great to see such an amazing turn out. Thank you to Jason. Thank you to our prize contributors, and thanks to the vendors for coming along with their gear to showcase.
I’m looking forward to organising the next meet for Sydney, I’ve got the Melbourne meet coming up on 7th September, so if you have any friends in film in Melbourne, spread the word!
Whilst we’re on that, to those that attended, did you enjoy it? Is there anything that you want to see next time? Are there any filmmakers you know in Sydney that you’d like to see speak next time? Hit me up in the comments, or on email so I can use the feedback.