The Island of Malta, hidden in the Mediterranean Sea, has been inhabited for roughly 7000 years. It lays claim to the oldest free standing human made structure in the world. It boasts the best of the sun, the sea and it can even treat you to romantically narrow streets of medieval walled cities built with the very seabed limestone that makes up the island itself.
It is beautiful and it is old. So it makes perfect sense that we would choose to bring the very latest camera equipment to film this beautiful country. Right? Yes of course it does! So when Cisco Systems' Script to Screen Department hired us to help tell thier story of helping Malta bring the latest and greatest WiFi Hotspots to the country, we put a similarly cutting edge package together of equipment to help empower their creative story telling.
Here is a break down of the equipment we used including some exciting firsts.
We traveled with the Sony FS700 S35 camcorder as our principal camera to be used for interviews and primary broll. We set the camera up in 4k RAW mode and took the feed right off the sensor and into our Convergent Design Odyssey 7Q via an HD SDI cable. For most of the interviews we recorded using the 7Q's built in 4k->1920 ProRes function which allowed us to have roughly 5 hours of record time per each of our two Convergent Design 500gig SSDs. That was plenty of space for each day of recording obviously and once our interviews were complete we could decide to shoot a variety of other modes with this combination camera and recorder. For a handful of locations that were too beautiful to pass up we shot RAW 4k Cinema DNG footage for the maximum resolution and flexibility to grade perfectly in post.
The footage looks amazing by the way! And for a number of sections of the film we knew we wanted steady and moving tracking shots of the people and sites of Malta. So for those we shot in the 2K slow motion mode; accomplishing up to 240 frames per second in continuous takes thanks to the latest firmware on the 7Q. While shooting 240fps give even the most shaky of hand held footage a final polished and silky smooth playback, we decided to bring our Freefly Movi M10 with us as well to allow an additional trick in post production. The Movi allowed us to get stable footage for long walking and driving shots through the city streets of the Valetta Malta. Now with these long clicks we can create really dynamic speed ramps through the streets and slow down to the 240fps at exactly just the right moment to help drive home an important element of the story. Running through the busy streets was a blast and we found many tourists and natives that were more than happy to let the crazy film crew circle around them, follow them down the street or even peak over their shoulders at an unbelievable view.
What was close to a highlight of the trip was having our locally hired grip and lighting crew create a camera truck out of their land rover. Cambine this with the Movi and some speed rail and we were driving through the street of this beautiful country getting footage that should have taken a far more substantial rig to accomplish. Thank you John and Charlie!!!
So what's most exciting about this is that we have been able to balance the Sony FS700 with a select few lenses on the Movi M10 and to output 4k feed to the Odyssey 7Q. This is something that according to the product literature we should really only be able to do once Freefly releases their upgrade M15. Since its not out yet, we improvised with some fishing weights and strategic choice of lens. Its a pretty rocking combination and the footage looks great again!
Thanks so much to Luke Paddington and Bob Stockwell of Cisco Systems for including me on this adventure!!