May 18, 2013 by Anya
At DGA, we pride ourselves not only on the stories we are fortunate enough to tell, but on the relationships we cultivate along the way. These relationships define us and are an integral part of our company fabric.
We’ve come across many incredible people over the years – from producers with ambitious visions, to talent with captivating stories. We are privileged to share in these experiences.
Recently, ESPN’s Drew Gallagher, asked us to collaborate on a project that hit very close to home. Gallagher is producing a piece on the life of Pete Frates – a Boston College graduate who at the young age of 27 was diagnosed with ALS. Coincidentally, Frates is the nephew of Ken Fraser, a longtime friend and colleague of DGA Productions. We felt compelled to join Gallagher in documenting this incredible story.
Pete, former BC Baseball captain, current Director of Baseball Operations, natural comedian, passionate advocate and role model, was diagnosed with ALS in March of 2012. Despite this devastating diagnosis, Pete remains, well, Pete.
Our first shoot with Pete took place at the end of January, and within minutes of being welcomed into his home, all sadness subsided. As soon as his interview began, he had us rolling on the floor. His positive energy and unwavering passion carried through every word he spoke. Speaking mostly about ALS patients, Pete explained how easy it could be to draw into oneself and abandon all hope, given the merciless characteristics of the disease, but for Pete, accepting defeat was not an option. Instead he chose to fight harder.
There is no slowing down for Pete, no pausing or doubting or flailing. And the community of support behind him and his cause, the crowds of people pouring in after him at each event, attest to his character. Pete’s sole purpose now is to educate the world about ALS . . . and that he is doing – just take a peek at his calendar: full to the brim. This coming Sunday, May 19th, Pete will be at Harpoon Brewery’s 5-Miler, supporting ALS research and benefiting The Angel Fund. This is just one of MANY events coming up that he will take part in.
A few weeks ago, our Director of Photography, Aaron Frutman, joined Drew Gallagher and Pete and Team FrateTrain at BC’s ALS Awareness Game, where the Boston College Eagles took on Virginia Tech’s Hokies. Both schools and those in attendance stood together on the same team to fight against ALS. Boston College also contributed to the cause by donating BC sports memorabilia for an online auction to benefit The Pete Frates #3 Fund.
Pete remains ever hopeful and continues to approach his battle head on, hosting fundraiser after fundraiser, his drive is unstoppable. If you have time, please visit The Pete Frates #3 Fund online for donation information and a calendar of upcoming events.
Apr 25, 2013 by Anya
While AFAR Magazine searched for videos to headline their new online feature, the folks from the experiential travel guide dug through Vimeo, YouTube, and all over the World Wide Web. DGA is excited to report that one of our very own has been recognized in this category – Travel Videos Worth a Damn.
You may have caught “Mostar” on our home page, or Vimeo. The piece is a collaboration between DGA’s Aaron Frutman and Michael Andrus, with producer Matt Doyle for Kenny Mayne’s “Wider World of Sports” brought to you by ESPN.
“On any other week the Stari Most bridge looks like any other beautiful bridge in Europe. Dig a bit deeper and you’ll find that this bridge has an incredible story” – Joseph Diaz, AFAR Founder.
Humbled and overjoyed by this honor!
Apr 16, 2013 by aaron
Equipment manager Jeremy Bond and I spent a few days in Vegas checking out the miles of new gear on the market. We came to look mostly at cameras, but also spent a fair amount of time on various camera rigs, sliders, and lights. Some thoughts on what we saw:
4K may become a standard quicker than we think (at least for acquisition):
While RED, Alexa, Black Magic and even Go Pro have been putting out images above 1080 for some time, most applications above HD have been for movies, high end commercials, and graphics heavy outputs. Images may be originating in 2k or 4k, but end up getting dumbed down to 1080 or 720 so the world can see them on their TV’s or laptops. Now with 4k acquisition so cheap to capture, the affordability of the monitors becomes key. While professional monitors are still in the $25,000 range, Best Buy is currently selling 4k TV’s for $5,000 Those who watch home movies through service based subscriptions will be the benefactors, as broadcasting 4k to ones house through cable feels a few years away. That said, its tough to argue putting off 4k much longer for the standard production shoot. By shooting 4k now, the corporate/commercial client future proofs their images without busting their budget. They can also do one shot wide on an interview subject, then punch in 4x’s for a closeup with the same image (assuming your final product is in HD). Two frames with one camera. Of course still images can be pulled from 4k at high quality also. Easy sell with a 4k camera being a three in one option, taking the place of 2 video cameras and a still camera!
4k Cameras we looked at:
Sony F5 ($15,000) and F55 ($30,000) – Virtually the same camera on the outside, these two offerings from Sony had people declaring a game changer in 4k acquisition. The camera looks like an Alexa and feels great on the shoulder. Add a Fujinon Cabrio 19-90 t2.9 or a 85-300 t2.95 (both with zoom rockers for around $40,000ish each) and you have the potential to capture cinema style images with video feeling zoom lenses. Form factor here has been perfected. You pick the camera up like a Varicam, put your hand on the zoom rocker, and off you go (the lens talks to the camera through the contacts, no cable!). It feels very ENG (a good thing). Because the F55 acquires 4K onboard with SxS PRO cards, it eliminates the wonkiness of external recording (plus Sony makes an external recorder for $5k that fits on the back like a battery to record externally (needed for F5 to record 4k)). 120 fps at 4k and 240 at 2k are excellent options for most slo mo applications. PL mount is smart for universal lens adaptation. The global shutter eliminates motion distortion. 14 stops of dynamic range is incredible. The OLED viewfinder pops vividly. So many positives. Yes the audio inputs are in a weird spot, and the Fuji zoom lenses are expensive, and most of the menu functions we saw still had many bugs, but overall, we love this camera and may move this direction in the near future.
Canon C500 ($30,000) – Full disclosure, we own (3) Canon C300’s with tons of lenses. Canon had their C500’s out in full force, generally with a 30-300mm ($45,000) cinema lens hanging on the front. The images are beautiful no doubt, but they didn’t solve the 3 major problems I see as road blocks for this camera. First off, the 4k must be recorded externally with a third party recorder (AJA $4000 or soon to be released Convergent Design $2300). Inconvenient with extra potential for mishaps. Two, the form factor stinks. It’s the same as the C300 so the shoulder rig and silly jet pack handle look are once again needed to have the camera live where its supposed to for handheld (especially if you need to rig recording devices to the camera). Third, the Canon zoom cinelenses do not have zoom rockers yet. You can power it with a remote zoom, but then things again get riggy and your right hand doesn’t sit where it should. Also, Canon forces you to record C-log and color correct in post. That’s great if it’s your project start to finish. But since most of us give up the footage after we shoot, you leave all the coloring in the hands of the editor, no matter scope or budget of your production. Canon is still behind RED and Sony in the race for a good 4k option.
RED – So RED won the biggest splash for booth creativity. They brought a working clean camera lab, allowing conference goers a peak at the swapping of the new RED Dragon Sensor into current RED Epic cameras. For $8,500, RED Dragon gives 6K recording up to 100fps. If you are buying the Epic-M Dragon new and not upgrading, the cost is just under $30k with preorders starting during NAB.
Blackmagic ($4,000) – This camera is very cool for the price. There are only prototypes now and it won’t be available til the summer so its hard to be certain on final specs. Here’s where they are now. 4k internal recording on generic SSD cards. EF mount for Canon lenses. 6GSDI out for single cable 4k external recording (3GSDI on F55 and C500 so 2 BNC cables needed for external 4K record and monitoring.) There are many negatives on this camera as expected for the cost. Limited internal battery, mini audio in, major stepping on iris control, rigging needed for shoulder mount. This camera feels like it would be a nice interview camera (on sticks next to a power supply). Blackmagic also announced a $1000 4k camera that looks very interesting. We have already preordered the $1000 camera.
Go pro ($400) - Not much to say here as we all know what go pro brings. Amazing video for a tiny cost. Stick it anywhere, operate wirelessly, auto everything, etc. Every DP at this point should own a few Go Pros. They also had the rowdiest crowds at their booth, showing off their cameras with mini helicopters and throwing around promotional giveaways.
Small company we were most impressed with – Edelkrone
These guys are out of Turkey and had some really cool sliders and camera rigs. Well built with unique designs, we ended up buying both a 3’ mini slider ($600) and follow focus ($625) from them. Their team of salespeople were extremely knowledgeable, and their products have an alluring simplicity that makes me think their accesories will grow in popularity.
Neatest slider/dolly device we saw – Polly
Wow, this little mechanical slider works with no motor even though it looks it with all the interwoven gears. A little pricey and not super practical for our purposes, we took a pass but the engineering alone put this little fella in the most interesting category.
Up and coming company – MYT Works
Check out their website. Very cool machine crafted sliders and dolly from big to small. These guys are artisans and craftsmen who happen to build film tools. Very impressive products but you have to pay for the quality. We preorded a slider skateboard dolly that works on speedrail. Very rugged and slick looking line of products.
Aayden had a display with their 650 equivalent HMI being doused with a constant stream of water to show how well it works in the rain. Their 2500 equivalent was blasting a stream of light so strong it could be seen quite a ways away in a bright room that was full of other lights doing the same thing. Zylight had their F8 out, a fresnel LED that comes in both daylight and tungsten options. The F8 was clearly built with durability in mind as it’s heavier (though smaller) than the Sola 6 offering from Litepanels. Because its not bi-color, the light is much brighter (though being able to dial in color temp has become a take for granted feature in the 1×1 lite panels that will be hard to give up). Arri had their 7C LED HMI out (1200 equivalent). This light looks great on display but I didn’t find it particularly bright and the price was high. Lite panels had nothing new, but the 1×1 bi color is a standard everywhere so no wonder they appear to be standing pat. Kino had their LED 4’ lights out that can go from 2700k to 5500k. (Favorite nerd bite of the week was when a guy asked the Kino rep if their light was LED or plasma). Sounds great but super pricey and the color didn’t appear clean like the old style kinos once enjoyed (the Divas and Parabeams are also weak for me because the lamps color shift so strongly to green and magenta).
- 3D was hardly represented as compared to previous years
- Time lapse sliders were everywhere with tons of knock offs from Korea and China.
- The Ikegami area looked very lonely. They announced their new partnership on the HDK97a with Arri but only had one of them on a tripod. Tough opportunity lost for Ikegami to capitalize on the hotness of the Alexa form.
- Panasonic didn’t bring much to the table, P2 Varicam (version 3) was hardly a centerpiece and I didn’t hear one DP mention it.
- Saw an iphone rigged to a cinestyle lens with full zoom and iris control. Not practical but crazy “dude in his basement” type stuff.
In summary: 4K good, 3D sad, and I suck at blackjack.