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12/12/2011

Pro Motion Capture 'Shipwrecked' Action

Pro Motion has been put the test after being marooned over 12,000 miles from home on a remote and tropical island for the filming of the latest season of Shipwrecked.
Deep in the crystal blue waters of the South Pacific, over 12,000 miles from the UK, lies a remote and tropical paradise island that had become home to ten castaways. RDF’s Shipwrecked is back! And this time it's everyone out for them self. With just one island, the new islanders had no chance of escape. During their stay, the islanders needed to build their own shelters, using the basic materials provided. Any extra food rations beyond those provided had to be sourced from the island's resident wildlife population. All the action was captured using Pro Motion Hire’s camera equipment.
Whilst the location was obviously extremely beautiful, which worked for the look of the show, the terrain and weather was harsh and unforgiving. Sand and salt water, put in harness with heat and humidity, tested the Pro Motion kit to the limits. The shoot was over a ten week period and included two camera crews, plus two self shooting DV Directors. Pro Motion supplied the Sony-PMW-500s, a Canon XF105 and a Canon 5D mkii using Canon EF lenses; an additional Canon XF305 was supplied by RDF for the self shooters. The crew were split into two teams with a camera operator and a DV Director. Along with this, they used a Canon 5D mkii to get specific motion control time lapses that were felt would add to the look and feel of the show. The two cameras (PMW-500 and XF305) were used to cross shoot at certain format points but otherwise one roamed whilst the main crew picked off as directed. With the 500 a cinematic approach was adopted and pushed the hyper gamma so the crew had greater range. The location consisted of large range of light and shade and this camera’s great contrast latitude allowed the crew to deal comfortably with this challenge.
Mark Littlewood, RDF’s resident cameraman and technical manager on the shoot comments on the PMW500, "The camera coped fantastically and both camera operators remarked on how well the cameras operated with the vast lighting contrasts. The camera also handled the elements unbelievably well. We had no issues with the camera in any way. Considering the fact that torrential rain storms hit without a moment’s notice the durability of these cameras is quite exceptional. The final thing that helped out the PMW-500 was the weight of the camera body. Compare it to probably any other, shoulder mounted HD camera and it is considerably lighter. Given the fact that the camera ops would be working 10 -12 hours in searing heat, we wanted to get them something that wasn't going to kill them. The PMW-500 was that beast."
Shipwrecked was a show of major challenges. The main reason for this was the fact that the edit was running concurrently with the filming. In fact, the first show went out less than a month after the crew had finished filming. The big challenge for the show was devising a tapeless workflow that would cause no massive issues with regards to transportation of the rushes and making it cost effective. With the location being fairly behind in modern technology, using any broadband solutions wasn’t a viable option; the internet was very slow so any web-based transferring was a no go. This was the first series of Shipwrecked to venture down the tapeless route and with the volume of footage shoot, plus the distance and time required for the rushes to be shipped back to the UK a robust storage option was needed. This is where the LTO came into play. The LTO is a robust digital tape and when using LTO-5, it’s capable of holding 1.4TBs of data. One LTO would hold more than 40hours of footage. The rushes were transferred to the LTO using the highly portable Cache-A ProCache 5 drive. Once the storage solution was decided upon the choice of the format was quite easy from that point onwards for RDF. As Littlewood comments, “We were sure that we wanted to go along the tapeless route, with the development in the sizes of card it was a fairly obvious choice. A 64 GB SxS card gave two hours footage on one card, having two cards in situ just made the format and therefore camera decision quite straightforward."
Pro Motion Hire provided initial support for the team at RDF liaising with Alain Lolliot, Pro Motion’s technical operations manager. A bespoke “how to” guide was created for filming in humid conditions, how to perform the APR (pixel noise reduction needed after flying) and confirmed that the camera would handle operating conditions. Littlewood adds, “Pro Motion Hire was essential link in the completion and smooth running of the project. The technical knowledge they provided at the start of the project when trying to decide on the workflow and how we might undertake the project was fantastic. From the very beginning they had our best interests at heart and helped in every possible way. The knowledge of the cameras and how far we could push it in that environment was the main reason for going with the hyper gamma. This shaped the look of the show. Through our time using Pro Motion, they have constantly given us quality. Quality across the board, from the equipment provided to the knowledge and expertise that is brought to the table when dealing with any member of their staff. Time and time again, they delivered exactly what we require, when we require it."
www.promotionhire.co.uk
(LB)
Solidmate Ltd Memory Card Hire London

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