For our series What’s in Your Kit, we ask a range of working moviemakers to share the gear they can’t live without.
For this installment, we’re doing it a little differently (and yes, stretching the definition of “kit” a little). We asked director Ty Evans to talk us through all the items he and his team used to capture their feature documentary We Are Blood—which we feel confident in describing as the most high-tech skateboard doc of all time.
Skateboarding action happens so quickly. I’ve been making skate films for the past 20 years, and the most important thing to me is to be able to pick up a camera and shoot on the fly. Stabilization, too, is important when you’re trying to shoot while standing on a skateboard.
My kit has evolved with my filmmaking style. My team from the production company Brain Farm used the following items while filming the feature We are Blood, which documents, in ultra-HD 4K, the international adventures of a group of top skateboarders led by Paul “P-Rod” Rodriguez. We amassed so much 4K and 6K footage, we had to travel with 250 terabytes of storage space! Here’s what else we carried on our journey.
A. RED Epic Dragon / $50,000
The RED Epic Dragon has an incredible dynamic range, allowing it to capture amazing footage in the lightest and darkest of settings. We used this as our go-to camera on the Aerigon, the MōVI, in the SHOTOVER and on the ground.
B. Freefly MōVI M15 Stabilizer / $12,000
The MōVI is the latest in handheld stabilization technology to carry RED Dragon cameras with bigger lenses. We used it every day throughout filming to achieve the amazing skateboard tracking shots that are trademark to skateboard filmmaking.
C. SHOTOVER F1 Gimbal / $400,000
This six-axis, gyro-stabilized gimbal allows me to get my shot—even when I least expect it!
D. Ultimate Arm / Price on Request
We worked with Dubai Film’s Ultimate Arm to capture innovative camera moves not yet done in skateboarding films. The Ultimate Arm, which carried the RED Dragon and Phantom Flex4K on its gyro-stabilized gimbal, allowed for very dynamic shots with the truck moving, crane arm lifting, and gimbal head moving all in sync. Getting the shots was challenging for the camera operator to coordinate, considering that the driver, camera assistant, skate athletes and crane operator all needed to be working together.
E. Phantom Flex4K Digital High-Speed Camera / $150,000
Our Phantom Flex4K camera system shoots ultra-slow motion with 35mm depth of field at 4K resolutions. It is the ultimate specialty camera for capturing rapidly moving action and slowing it down to create an innovative new look. The camera can capture at any frame rate from 1 to 1,000 frames per second at full 4K resolution. A shot at 1000 fps roughly takes a four-second piece of action and turns it into a four-minute clip. This gives the viewer incredible detail in skateboarding action that cannot be seen with the naked eye.
F. Aerigon Airborne Camera Platform / $65,000
The Aerigon by Intuitive Aerial is the best unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) on the market for carrying the heavier payload of the RED Dragon and accompanying cinema lenses. Its stabilized gimbal and precise flying capabilities helped us to obtain amazing aerial angles that a full-size helicopter could not reach.
G. Ford E350 Van / $30,000 [Not Pictured]
These days my kit has gotten a little bit bigger—it’s transformed into a 15-passenger van. I ripped out the backseat and made custom shelving and storage for all of the camera gear.
H. Honda EU2000i Generator / $1,000 [Not Pictured]
House power is always a plus.
I. Plywood / $20 [Not Pictured]
We used 32 feet of dry walking area for when we were working on a wet or muddy surface and needed a dry place to set up base camp.
Gear I would love to have:
A new ankle
I can’t live without:
My crew for going on this crazy journey with me! MM
Presented by Mountain Dew Green Label Films in association with Brain Farm, We are Blood opened in theaters starting August 14, 2015, with screenings continuing into fall. Featured image by Trevor Vaughan.
For more cinematographers sharing their annotated kits, click here.