Last Breath: process trailer!

For those of you who don’t know, “process trailer” is Hollywood slang for a big flatbed trailer that you park a car on so you can put a camera outside the window and tow it around and make it look like the car is moving, even though nobody is driving it. Last week I got to ride outside one and pull focus. In our case, the tow vehicle was a modified ambulance. The director and all the production staff rode in the back of the ambulance and watched playback on a monitor. Check it out:

Here’s me swapping very expensive lenses (don’t worry, the trailer isn’t moving in this shot):

Swapping lenses on a process trailer

And here’s a picture of the “hostess tray” that hooks onto the picture car and supports the camera:

hostess tray

Last Breath: camera department

We have just finished our first production week on Last Breath. It’s been a lot of hard work, but also seriously fun. A typical day for me consists of me waking up around 3:30 or 4:00 in the morning, riding with Matt and our gaffer Randy out to some obscure location, building up the camera package, spending the day carting the camera around, changing lenses, wrangling cables and pulling focus, then breaking down the camera, packing it back up and spending what little evening remains dumping cards, backing up footage and charging batteries.

Here is our production camera:

production camera for "Last Breath"

That’s a Canon EOS 7D, modified by Pr├Ązisions-Entwicklung Denz in Germany to accept PL-mount cinema lenses*. We’re shooting the whole thing on prime (non-zoom) lenses for their characteristic sharpness and clarity that zooms can’t compete with; our lens kit consists of six Zeiss primes in the following focal lengths: Continue reading

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