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Marzano Keeps Pictorvision Eclipse Flying

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For a recent summer blockbuster, Marzano was asked to capture a seaplane taxiing on water while being pursued by the bad guys in a cluster of airboats with machine guns.
“Filmmaking in Europe over the past 12 months has been phenomenally busy and the highlight has undoubtedly been the arrival of the Pictorvision Eclipse to Flying Pictures in the UK,” says aerial camera operator and Director of Photography John Marzano. “It has significantly enhanced the creative element of aerial cinematography.”
Marzano chose to shoot with an ARRI 435, 1000-foot magazines and a Primo 11:1 zoom. “With Eclipse’s perfect horizon gyro technology I was able to do a filming pass across the action and have the pilot reposition the helicopter through some very tight turns in time to do a second and even a third pass before the end of the run,” he says. “That meant two or three takes in one action, where before only one would have been achievable.”
For a different summer release, Marzano was tasked with a very challenging visual effects shot. Again, he shot film with the Primo 11:1 zoom. This time he had to orbit the top of a castle prison tower (as yet to be created in CGI) to reveal a princess standing forlornly on the balcony at the top. “The balcony was supposed to be about 120 feet above ground level,” he explains. “With the CGI Geo Steering function of the Eclipse, I was able to lock to a point on the ground where the base of the tower would be, then dial in a vertical offset of 120 feet. I then had to trust the system to hold that point in space as we circled. We achieved a perfect orbit on several different lens sizes of an imaginary point in space with little or no visual references to orientate to.”
Marzano and Pictorvision’s Eclipse also tackled the world of 3D. “The company did a great job designing a 3D installation for us,” Marzano enthusiastically comments. “Two RED Epics, each with a Primo 4:1 zoom mounted in parallel with a fixed inter-ocular of 5.3 inches” and convergence of approximately 120’. The lenses were controlled by two Preston FIZ units slaved to track perfectly through the Eclipse 3D lens tracking software. We got amazing footage for this summer feature.”
And it didn’t end there. Marzano and the Eclipse helped a major spy thriller make the transition from film to digital, chasing a shot up a Land Rover and over rough terrain at 50 mph -- only a few feet off the ground!
“I’m very excited about several other projects that are happening in the near future,” he adds. “Pictorvision and Flying Pictures in the UK have worked hard together to provide a first rate service with top class crew and equipment. They continue to float new ideas for improvements and new features that will help me and the Eclipse capture even more and more excitement for the big screen.”
UK-based aerial cinematographer John Marzano’s credits include: The Tourist, Killers, Gulliver’s Travels, Season of the Witch, The Guide, X-Men: First Class, Captain America: The First Avenger, War Horse, Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol, The Dictator, Snow White and the Huntsman, Prometheus, The Expendables 2, Skyfall, Trance and Jack the Giant Killer.
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