“Ships” (2/2)

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This past weekend our crew officially wrapped production on the music video for Secret Eyes — woohoo!! This video really pushed our experience to new levels by forcing us to tackle challenges that most other production companies wouldn’t dare attempt. Sometimes… a camera on a tripod just isn’t enough to get the shot you dream of. Now when that job comes along that requires us to lower the camera into an active volcano, we’ll be ready! **

** = definitely won’t be ready

For the underwater scene, we needed a special piece of equipment that would shield the camera from even the slightest bit of moisture. Since we were shooting with 323’s in-house RED Epic, the integrity of this protective enclosure was especially important. Only one brand of housing was sufficient for our needs, and that was the Gates Deep Epic. The problem was… nobody in the Pittsburgh area owns one of these units.

Enter: Bert Skura from Underwater Digital Cinema and Video in Santa Clarita, California. Bert was able to provide us with a Gates unit for this scene, and he even volunteered to assist us through the entire process, should we have any questions while on-set. Meanwhile, Bert was in the middle of his own shoot, and yet he still found the time to walk us through the assembly. His altruism impressed our crew beyond all measure, and if we ever find ourselves needing this equipment again, there’s no doubt we’ll be contacting him first. Hats off to you, Bert!

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There’s a camera in there somewhere.

Ron Vaughan served as the AC for this weekend’s scenes, and his experience using Gates housings was invaluable. We used a Canon 16-35 “L series” lens because its compatibility with the housing is well documented and was highly recommended by Bert. A 100ft waterproof HD-SDI cable was provided so that the video feed could be monitored from above the water. After assembling the unit, the last step to ensuring it’s readiness was hooking up the Gates Seal Check system. This little buddy gave us complete peace of mind by letting us know if there were any areas where water could get in.

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On a shoot like this, the opportunities for something to go incredibly wrong were plentiful. Fortunately, our crew took every precaution to make sure it went smoothly, and they deserve all the credit for a successful day filled with fun, laughter, and pizza. Kudos to director Alan Jaskiewicz, camera operator Blaine Miller, and actor Jake Reynolds for nearly destroying their lungs. But of course, the shoot wouldn’t have been possible without everyone who was present, including gaffer Eric Schwartzmiller, grip Kyle Stoner, and the assistant divers. Below is a still frame from the Epic:

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We’re looking forward to sharing the final video. Until then, onward to the next project!

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