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Vulcan 2 behind the scenes

vulcan2-photo-glebWe’ve seen some very creative content produced using the iFootage S1A3 slider but nothing like this before. We were so amazed that we just had to contact Prague based, cinematographer Gleb Volkov and ask him a few questions about his innovative and creative use of our slider. Check out the full promo here:

Tell us about yourself

gleb-volkov

My name is Gleb Volkov, I am a director of photography based in Prague. www.glebv.com

I have been working in this field for almost 10 years. I come from a narrative storytelling background and this is what I do for the majority of my time, while also taking on interesting commercial and branded content projects from time to time.

What was your original brief

The original brief for the Vulcan 2 project was creating a teaser for a new upcoming model that will be revealed at a professional trade show in Q1 2018. The client wanted to intrigue the target audience, which was familiar with the previous model, and engage them to look into the new product and research on their own the benefits and improvements that have been implemented.

vulcan2-set-1

How did you come up with the concept and why

The concept for the Vulcan 2 air rifle teaser was inspired by the automotive industry advertising. The idea behind any teaser would be to reveal enough to get you interested, but not break out everything in detail, which is often what car manufacturers have to do. Diving too deep into the technology could potentially come at a price of diminishing the excitement and the emotional involvement, which is why we decided on revealing just a few key elements of the new product in a minimalistic way. Practically that meant working with very tight and precise macro shots of the small details on the rifle, and presenting those details in an attractive light, that doesn’t reveal a whole lot more about the entire product. That sits with my long standing belief that saying too much and revealing everything is the only surefire way to make things boring. This is how you lose your audience’s engagement. I believe it’s applicable to almost every genre and medium, both narrative and commercial.

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Describe some of the more technical and creative challenges that you faced

How did you overcome these challenges

The key pillars of the industry we were dealing with are precision, flawless execution and dependability. Also, our client’s main advantage over the competition is the quality of the product itself. To incorporate these elements in this spot I knew we had to present a perfect, absolutely precise execution. When working with macro shots and small details, the need for mechanisation of the camera movement is obvious. Motion control was the way to go. Since we were not dealing with human motion, using motion control also meant we could work with slow camera movements, which could be brought up to the required speed in post, if needed. That also meant we were able to shoot at a normal frame rate (as opposed to slow-motion), which led us to using a simpler and smaller lighting setup. Dealing with slow-motion, which is often used in this type of commercials, normally requires bigger and stronger lights, larger crew, larger power draw etc, all of which was not necessary in this case. When we use a motion control system every camera move can be programmed and fine-tuned to a very high degree of precision – both in time and space, and perfectly repeatable take after take.

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A positive side-effect of that was also not having to deal with large amounts of data for post production. We were shooting on the Red Epic-W in 8KHD raw (for a UHD delivery), and these files grow quick. Knowing our takes are perfectly repeatable meant were able to refine the movement in rehearsal and only record a take or two when we were completely satisfied. We were not dependent on variables during execution.

While prepping for the production and during test shoots we had before, we discovered that for some shots rotating the actual rifle (vs rotating the camera) was preferable, and due to the generous weight limit of the S1A3 slider we were able to mount and move the rifle itself on the slider. For example, we were able to achieve a shot where we needed to show a lever in both open and closed positions on the rifle, with these shots perfectly morphing into each other, using the programmed movement of the motion control.

vulcan2-set-4

Why the S1A3

What is it that you like about this particular slider

We tested the S1A3 ahead of production with the help of the guys at Hocus Focus (buySlider.com) and we were happy to find that we could safely and comfortably operate our intended camera setup (Epic-W + CP.2 Makro lenses + wireless follow focus) in any way we wanted. This was a good choice, that while being economical in resources, manpower and time to operate got us the precise results we needed. Many similar-sized moco systems are only designed to carry small mirrorless/DSLR cameras, which we didn’t intend to use. The system was quick to transport and set up, required only one technician to operate and didn’t cost our client an arm and a leg.

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