Reuben and the Dark

This was an intimate video where we worked closely with the artists, Reuben and the Dark and minimalist DP Mike McLaughlin of Blackroad Productions. This video was made in two days in the forests of British Columbia.

Charlotte’s Song Preview

Bringing the 1930’s to life with visual splendour, feat. Iwan Rheon of Game of Thrones — a.k.a Ramsay Snow; here’s a taste of Charlotte’s Song, a first feature film for producer duo Jessica Leigh Clark-Bojin and Lindsey Mann of Done Four Productions who did an amazing job putting together this unique period piece film. It was an action-packed journey creating director Nicholas Humphries‘ enchanting world with DOP Naim Sutherland — who is no-stranger to dark visual storytelling.  There promises to be much more to come from this fun film. A young girl with a special gift comes of age during one of the most desolate periods in American history in this dark fantasy inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Little Mermaid. Think “Pan’s Labyrinth” meets “Carnivale” – gritty human drama with a supernatural twist, situated in the 1930s Oklahoma Dust Bowl. Inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Little Mermaid”, “Charlotte’s Song” tells the story of Charlotte, a young girl coming of age in the midst of one of the most desolate and desperate periods in American history. The untimely death of her mother triggers a downward spiral for her father, five sisters and their family-run song and dance act. Help comes from an unlikely source when a gangster named Randall offers to pay off their debt in exchange for making some unsavoury changes to the family business. Matters are complicated when it is discovered that Charlotte, like her mother before her, is in fact a mermaid capable of controlling humans with her voice. What follows is a sophisticated magical turf war in which antagonists from many camps seek to take advantage of Charlotte’s power.  

Music Video Roundup

It’s been 8 Months since the last posting. Goes to show we’re really working doesn’t it? We admit, it’s been busy — full time on Tomorrowland since the summer — but we did do some CMT music videos on the weekends. Who needs weekends anyway? The above pyrotechnics were done by BrantFX on Wes Mack’s video for One More Girl – “Love Like Mine” featuring up and coming: Carly McKillip and Britt McKillip — who have been turning eyes across Canada as a young sister duet. The other two video are for Wes Mack — “Our Soundtrack” & “Duet”. The second one is a collaboration with Carly McKillip. We enjoyed working with DOP Jan Klompje on all of theses videos and look forward to working with him again soon.  

’68 Chevy Impala – Camera Rig

For all the hip hop and muscle car lovers out there (click for an homage)….Here’s a shameless promotion for TALCO’s Camera Car Mounts — featuring an incredibly versatile hostess tray / side mount from Modern. It even comes in deluxe gold plating for wrapper’s delight — and it holds more then a 32 ounce drink with a burger and fries**. ** Roller skates and mini skirts coming soon.

Phantom HD w/ Milos Raonic

In this TV spot for New Balance, TALCO goes face to face with Canadian olympic tennis star Milos Raonic. We teamed up with a New York based company hscusa.tv to bring Milos to life in full HD, high speed, glory. Filmed at frame rates upwards of 700 FPS using a Phantom HD camera we required special high frequency HMI ballasts that have only become available within the last few years. Paramount Production Support in Vancouver helped us obtain state of the art Power Gems 300hz capable electronic ballasts. This allowed us to use two 12k PAR and one 4k Par to shoot this high speed photography. We would not have been able to do this a few years ago using these types of luminaries. Click any of the following pictures to enlarge/slideshow. In the following picture you can see us setting up for the shoot with two 12k Par, an Ultra Bounce 12×12 frame, and some Power Gems ballasts. All HMI were using 300hz capable electronic ballasts and were flicker free at 700-1000 FPS high speeds for the Phantom camera. A few years ago HMI would have been out of the question for this type of photography. We would have had to use T12, 20k Tungsten Fresnels, or Maxi Brutes to get the amount of light we needed without flicker. For those who are not familiar with high speed photography, the photo frame is exposed so fast that it can detect the cooling down of a tungsten filament between cycles as it becomes energized on and off rapidly reacting to the sine-wave pattern of AC – alternating current (60 hz North America). Larger filaments – generally 5k and up — tend to be safer because they are so large they burn hot, so the cool down effect of the filament is not as perceivable. However, tungsten are large — we considered 20k Fresnel, T12’s, and Maxi Brutes — hot, and the light was too warm in color temperature for our commercial shoot. We wanted to be far away and unobtrusive with the lights. They needed to be cooler, and able to focus tighter beams. We considered Luminsys Softsun strobe lights by the makers of Lightning Strike. But they are an expensive specialty item and require special consideration to power. They also sometimes have issues of overheating we have found. Instead we choose a workhorse staple in the film industry: HMI PARS. HMI discharge lights operate differently then Tungsten. They use a transformer (ballast) which features a complex system of capacitors, coils, and circuits to build up high voltage electricity which arcs through a vacuum chamber of metal. The metal ignites into gas/vapour, then the voltage lowers and stabilizes to pulse through the vapour, causing it to emit light. In its most basic form — the heavy “boat anchor” magnetic ballast — the electricity passing through the vapour changes polarity 120 times per second at North American 60 hz frequency. With each polarity change the light momentarily strobes. This happens so fast that the human eye cannot detect it very well but the camera certainly can unless it is synchronized to a compatible shutter angle. Originally magnetic ballasts required cameras to be set to “hmi safe” speeds (frame rates which divide evenly into 120 (60/40/30/20fps) or the camera would catch an inconsistent amount of pulses per frame, creating a rolling strobe effect. Then electronic ballasts came out and offered Flicker Free, which was basically an electronic switching that chopped the sine-wave pattern into a tighter “square-wave” pattern making each individual pulse less discernible. This minimized the rolling strobe effect and allowed some irregular shutter rates, but the max speed possible to shoot at was still limited by the output frequency of the electronic drivers. HD Cameras have gotten faster as well. The technicalities of capturing, and then recording the millions of pixels involved in one thousand high definition pictures per second are astounding. The HMI technology has steadily kept up the pace. First electronic ballasts offered 100hz output cycles providing more pulses per second then at 60hz. Now Power Gems offers 300hz and Arri has 1000hz capabilities. The cameras can go upwards of 2500 fps theoretically pushing Arri’s 1000 hz to the test. Anyway, in our experience Power Gems lived up to their claim of flicker free up to 1000 fps using their 300hz output ballasts. These power gems ballasts are widely available in rental houses although some inventory may not have 300hz capability (although they can be sent back to Power Gems for an upgrade card to retrofit them if they don’t have the feature stock).  They may not be as fast as Arri’s 1000 hz ballasts, but for us and up to 1000 fps they were adequate and most importantly, readily available. Here’s a little spin-off second portion of our shoot which was used for Biotherm Canada called “Ace Your Serve”. This video was used as a comic promotion it was supposed to feel like candid television.  

Midnight Stallion (2013) trailer

An NGN film we did last summer with Pieter Stathis has been released. It stars legendary country singer Kris Kristofferson. You can find out more about the making of the film, including our horse rig in collaboration with BrantFX in our post from a few months ago, under the original title, Midnight Rider. Synopsis: Midnight Stallion (2013) – Kris Kristofferson and Jodelle Ferland star in this heartwarming and inspiring tale that celebrates the spirit of family and the amazing courage and determination it takes to defeat all odds. Fifteen-year-old Megan Shephard and her parents will do anything to save their struggling farm. When the family discovers a wild stallion in a nearby forest they begin to wonder if this could be the answer to their prayers. Stars: Kris Kristofferson (Joyful Noise, Dolphin Tale), Jodelle Ferland (The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, ParaNorman (voice), The Cabin in the Woods), Chelah Horsdal (Rise of the Planet of the Apes).