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Gadgets & Gizmos

My year has started off with a creative bang! And from these projects came a couple discoveries of some pretty cool gadgets and gizmos that really helped create unique and dynamic visuals.

First, from the Adam Cola "UR Mine" music video that I DP'd in January, came the stabilized camera system RC car that we lovingly refer to as "Jimmy." From the beginning, the director Arthur Khoshaba and I knew that we wanted some high speed shots to take advantage of the incredible airplane hangar location that we were shooting at. So David C Smith (my Key Geek/husband) built a completely stabilized camera system on top of a high speed RC car. The requirements were first to attach a Ronin gimbal to the top of the car. And then, to further remove vibrations from the gimbal, he built a spring loaded base plate that went between the gimbal and the RC car. Furthermore, various tests down the street and off our neighbors' curbs, he figured out just the right amount of shock absorption that was needed in the car shocks themselves to keep the car from flipping over. The finished product was a completely stabilized, high speed camera platform that could hold a DLSR with prime lens and wireless follow focus. Take a look at the BTS of Jimmy in action! This is a 360 video on YouTube, so be sure to drag the image around to see all the views.

And now to see how the shots worked. Take a look at the complete music video here! But if you wish to jump ahead and see the RC car shots, skip ahead to 2:15.

The next set of gadgets that I played with were small LED units from Cineo. I have been a fan of Cineo since the HS light which was one of my main two lights for my feature The Wedding Invitation. Two reasons for loving this LED company: the color temperature is just about perfect with its use of remote phosphor and the output is ridiculous for the amount of amps pulled! The Maverick (which I have owned for a couple of years now) is one of my main go to lights on set. It is equivalent to about a 1K zip but draws less than half an amp and can be battery powered! And two new units that I'm falling in love with are the Cineo Matchstix and Matchbox which also have the option of being battery powered and the output is incredible! The short I recently completed, Internet Gangster, Directed by Sam Friedlander and Written/Produced/Acted by Eddie Alfano, was lit almost completely with Cineo units for key lights and Dedos for architectural lights.

This first frame was lit from the Cineo Maverick working as the bluish "moonlight" key about 20 feet off camera left. The warm overhead was one simple Dedo working from the roof, and the interior warehouse was lit with a 1K Rifa streaking across the windows.

The following frames show the versatility of the Cineo units. The Maverick is providing the cooler light in the car, the distant "street light" is actually a battery powered Matchbox on a stand, and the interior warm fill is created by a Matchstix in the glove compartment. See the next frames for where the lights were placed.

Matchstix in the glove box providing the warm fill.

Maverick providing most of the larger moonlight for the scene. Less than 1/2 amp of power.

And in the distance, a very small battery powered Cineo Matchbox that served as deep alley street lamps. We burned this unit almost all night on two Sony batteries.

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