Saturday, December 6, 2014

What camera to buy!


The most common question I get asked is, "How do I film with the Glidecam? "  Today I will address the second most common question I get asked, "What camera should I buy?"

I am going to answer this question for everyone! PLEASE keep in mind that this is only MY OPINION. It isn't fact, but it is based on everything I learned from film school.  From actually filming with LOTS of cameras and doing everything I can to be educated on all the options out there.

Camera technology is ALWAYS evolving, so what is hot this year, might be outdated by next year. Most cameras in our generation have a functional duration of around 3 years.

The first and most important thing to keep in mind when filming (even more important than the camera itself) is the story that you are trying to share. Content is KING! Just because you have a really expensive camera, doesn't mean you will be successful. Some of the most watched films on the internet are from people filming on $100 cameras, with no training or experience. It goes to show that the story you tell with the camera is far more important than the camera itself. Once you can learn how to tell stories that connect people, then you can use a camera to capture the story the best way that you can.

So now that we have all that out of the way, let's get started :)

Look at cameras like different tools. You use different tools for different jobs. The same thing happens with cameras. Team Supertramp doesn't use the same camera all the time.  Sometimes we will use a GoPro over the 5D because we can't tell the story any other way. When people ask what camera they should buy, it's always difficult to address that question because I don't know what story they are trying to tell, and I may suggest different cameras and lenses for different stories.  For example, an action movie will be totally different from a drama. So my recommendation is for the most all-encompassing basic setup.

Every camera/lens we have ever bought, has been purchased on amazon.com. You can buy everything we own there, EXCEPT for the high end cameras (Canon 1D-C, and Red cameras (those you'll need to buy off their websites)). I will discuss my recommendations for the "basic" cameras below.  You can click on the camera link and it will take you straight to the camera that I would suggest buying.  It comes directly from amazon, it is the cheapest place to buy them that I personally trust.  Clicking on these links, rather than directing your browser straight to Amazon will help support Team Supertramp.  If you follow the link Amazon will throw a few bucks our way off the sale!  You don't get charged ANYTHING extra for that, it's just a way to help us out. I just wanted to make sure I was transparent on that. :)

Price Range:

$0 Budget:
Borrow a camera from a friend, just be careful :)
I'm sure someone you know owns a smart phone. Now days, phones have amazing capabilities.  They work great as a beginner's camera to start/learn from.  I personally would suggest using the latest iPhone.
Here's a video Freddiew (a very successful Youtube filmmaker) made, using a cell phone. Here's the behind the scenes and main video:

Behind The Scenes:


Main Video:


$500 Budget:
GoPro 4

Pros:
- They can film in 4K.
- Film in slow motion.

Cons:
-You can't put lenses on them.
-Most don't have a screen on them to view, but you can use a smart phone to view the image.

$500 - $1000 Budget:
Canon 60D or Canon T5i
I haven't actually used the Canon 60D personally, but from what I've read, it seems like an awesome camera for this budget. When we started out, we were using the Canon T2i as our secondary camera.  It is now the Canon T5i, so it's much nicer than the one we used.


$1000 - $2000 Budget:
Canon 7D Mark II
We used the Canon 7D Mark I in our early days on Youtube.  It worked awesome!  It's great for photography as well.  However, it doesn't have a "full-frame".

Panasonic GH4
This camera is not Canon, so we haven't used it very much.  It is 4K capable, and can produce amazing images. Keep in mind however, it is not amazing in low light. My friends filmed a video with it.  Here is a reference of what it can do. This video was shot mostly in slow motion (another capability of this camera) and in 1080P.




$3000 - $4000 Budget:
Canon 5D Mark III
Love this camera! Our entire careers have been built utilizing this camera, and it's older brother, the Canon 5D Mark II. It is a full frame camera. Amazing in low light!

$30,000 - $70,000 Budget:

Red Dragon
I would definitely not suggest starting out with this one! :)  It's something to work towards. This is currently our main camera.  It has become a Hollywood standard for many of the movies you see on the big screen. The camera is much bigger, the small batteries only last 30 minutes.  It ideally takes two people to run it.  Examples of Hollywood movies that were mostly shot on this camera are:
The Hobbit
Jurassic World
Exodus
Transformers 4
The Amazing Spiderman
Thor

The list goes on...

Click here to see a list of a lot of films shot on the Red.

Here's our first Assassin's Creed video we filmed with the Red. The biggest downfall, in my opinion to this camera, is it's much heavier, the batteries last half an hour, compared to DSLR cameras that will last most the day, and the camera stands out a lot more.



Here's another example as well, shot with the Dragon. This one is much more "cinematic".



Even though these movies were shot on the Red. The lenses they used were just as crucial as the camera.  The Hollywood films produced today are shot with lenses that cost around $20K-$100K per lens. We use Canon lenses which are much cheaper and may not look as clean as these super expensive lenses, but keep in mind that it's not just the camera that plays a role.

PHANTOM MIRO:
Our last main camera that we own, and use a lot is the Phantom Miro.



This camera is a very specialty camera. You would never use it to film an entire movie, etc. It can film 1540 frames per second at 1200P, which is a little higher resolution then 1080P.

This camera package runs around 70K. Which is by far the most expensive camera we own. The reason WHY we bought it was for several reasons.

1. It would allow us to get shots no one has seen before. We are all about "getting the shot no one else can get", so it fit in line with that.
2. We wanted to evolve as film makers and this camera would push us.
3. We film a ton of action sports, and this camera is perfect for that.

We actually just launched a brand new Youtube Channel called Chrono. We put up super slow motion videos shot exclusively on the Phantom Miro Monday through Friday. Here' are a couple videos from that channel, so make sure to subscribe :) We haven't launched the channel publicly yet, so you'll be one of the first subscribers :)

Here's a couple videos from the channel:







We also incorporate super slow motion shots into our main videos. Here's an example of that, with Red Dragon footage mixed with Phantom Miro footage.



Buying the Phantom Miro was a big risk on our end. I wouldn't suggest anyone doing it, haha. Unless you wanted to get in a very niche market.

I think something that I would love to communicate to everyone. We do a lot of "brand deals" on Youtube. The reason we do that is because it allows us to grow as filmmakers, as storytellers. With anything that we make, we have it go right back into our Youtube channel so that evolution can happen. So THANK YOU for supporting us. I remember going to film school, thinking how amazing it would be to film with a Red camera, now we own two reds. I started out just borrowing my friends small cameras though. So don't get discouraged about what you don't have. As you work for it, you'll be amazing at the opportunities that will come your way.


So to condense it all down. If your just starting out, and budget isn't an issue. These are the cameras I personally would suggest, in order:

1. Canon 5D Mark III
2. Panasonic GH4
3. GoPro 4

OUR CAMERA STORY:

Now that I've shared my personal recommendations for cameras, I want to let you know our story.  I will share with you how we have evolved as filmmakers with our equipment and the reasons why we changed cameras.  Hopefully this will help you understand why I made the above camera suggestions.

When we began our Youtube channel in 2010 we had ZERO dollars to make movies.  The first five videos we shot were all filmed with cameras I borrowed from friends. I did not own a camera when I started my Youtube channel. So what does that mean for you? I hope the same thing :) You don't need to own a camera to succeed as a film maker.  It does help, but it is not a requirement.

Currently our our main channel has 143 videos. Below is a rough breakdown of the number of videos we shot on each camera, starting with the first cameras we used, the Canon 5D Mark II and Canon T2i.

143 Total Videos Filmed:

First 50 Videos:
Filmed on the Canon 5D Mark II (films in 1080P, no slow motion)
(3 of them we used the Canon T2i and the original GoPro1)
(6 used the Canon 7D as a 2nd camera)

37 Videos:
Canon 5D Mark III (films in 1080P and can film slow motion at 60FPS in 1080P)

30 Videos:
Canon 1D-C (films in 4K)

26 Videos:
RED Dragon camera (films in 6K)

So that's a break down on all the cameras we have used. We have always used a GoPro or a Contour as our action camera. We have used the best action camera possible (small camera). Currently right now, the GoPro 4, is our go to small action camera, as it is the only one we know of that can shoot 4K.

When I started my channel, I was filming with the Canon 5D Mark II. It was one of the first DSLR cameras that could film 1080P, and it was the cheapest camera that could produce the results that it did.  You could put lenses on it, which was a huge deal to make things look visually "cinematic". I borrowed the camera from the company I worked with. I was the one who suggested they buy it originally.


I had found out about the 5D Mark II while in film school. I was learning how to film on the Hollywood standard movie cameras. While at film school, an amazing cinematographer came out with the first video to show off the Canon 5D Mark II. When I saw the video he captured I was blown away. It was the FIRST video to be so cinematic, while on a very cheap budget. The 5D when first released could only film in 30 frames per second, or 30FPS.  When I finally got the camera, it could do 24FPS, which is what most hollywood movies film at. Here's the film by Vincent Laforet that inspired me, and showed me what the DSLR camera was capable of.  This film is what influenced me in the direction I took.




On the first couple of shoots for videos on my Youtube channel, I used the Canon 5D Mark II, and my other friend, Jace LeRoy,brought along his Canon T2i, which the image wasn't as clean as the 5D, but it could still edit together really well.

Here's an example of one of our first videos we filmed that has a mix of Canon 5D Mark II footage, Canon T2i footage, and the original GoPro being used. When you cut different cameras together, even though the quality isn't the same, it usually isn't a distraction at all.  Going back to what I mentioned earlier, the story, or content is always most important.



The biggest limitation with the Canon 5D Mark II is that it couldn't film slow motion, or 60FPS, so we would use the Canon T2i, and GoPro to do our slow motion.

Once the Canon 7D came out, it allowed us to do slow motion at 720P at 60FPS.

Here was the second video I ever uploaded to our channel. Filmed with the 5D Mark II, with all the slow motion being done at 720P, at 60FPS.



Once the Canon 5D Mark III came out a couple years later, it had several big improvements that have helped us. Here were the biggest selling points for me.
1. It could film slow motion, at 720P at 60FPS.
2. It had amazing low light abilities. I could film in 6400 ISO and still use it. The Canon 5D Mark II I could only use it best at 1600 ISO.
3. The camera could record longer than 12 minutes (which was only what the 5D Mark II could do.)

Our Assassin's Creed Parkour video, our first one, was actually one of the first cameras I used the Canon 5D Mark III on.  I actually waited for it to come out to film this, because I knew we were going to be filming with natural lighting, in very low light. I ended up filming a lot of it at ISO 6400, without any "grain" noticed.



To this day we still use the camera. We record almost every behind the scenes video with the Canon 5 5D Mark III.

As a filmmaker, we always have to evolve, and grow.  As we have had the opprotunity to work with brands/companies, we began to save some money, and that's when we bought the Canon 1D-C.

This camera was a huge step for us financially. The main reason we went with this was because it was the only DSLR camera that could film 4K. We thought about getting bigger more "Hollywood style" cameras, but decided to go with the 1D-C because it fit better with the style of how we film.  It allows us to keep a low profile and try to not grab too many people's attention. Here were the main reasons we went with this camera.

1. It filmed in 4K
2. It could film slow motion at 720P at 60FPS
3. It had amazing low light, could film around 12800 ISO, and still be able to use it
4. It's menus were almost identical to the Canon DSLR cameras that we were used to
5. Used the same lenses as Canon

Here's our first video we filmed with the Canon 1D-C, and in 4K as well, and it just happened to be another Assassin's Creed video.



Even though this isn't our primary 4K camera anymore, we still use it as a secondary 4K camera.  We use it when bigger cameras are not allowed. For example:
When we were in Jerusalem, and a lot of places in the Middle East, bigger cameras were not allowed (such as a Red camera), but we could bring in the 1D-C because it looked like just another still camera. So to this day, we factor that into what we film. If it's super "undercover", this is our best option for 4K.

The biggest downside though is the codec the camera records in. It does film 4K, but it isn't "raw". A big part of how we make a living and how we buy equipment is based on us selling "stock video footage". Companies would want to buy 4K footage, we would send them the footage from our 1D-C in 4K, and they said the image codec wasn't good enough. It was good enough sometimes, but not enough to keep on using the camera as our main 4K camera. So once that started to become a regular thing, we decided we would have to start saving our money for the Red Dragon, which could shoot 6K.

The Red Dragon is now our main camera that we film with. We film with it on almost everything we do, in 6K. We then use the Canon 1D-C, or Canon 5D Mark III to film the behind the scene videos. We use the GoPro 4 as our action camera, when we can't get the shot with the Red.


LENSES:
Now that we have gone over cameras, let's talk about lenses :)
Once again, this is based off of my opinion. These are the lenses that fit best for my style. Generally speaking though, here are the two lenses I ALWAYS bring everywhere I go, in order of preference.

1. Canon 16-35mm F/2.8 L
2. Canon 70-200mm F/2.8L

If you have a small budget for lenses, the go to lens I recommend to EVERYONE is the Canon 50mm F/1.4, which I'll talk about more in detail below.

Canon 50mm F/1.4


WHAT LENSES I USE AND WHY:
I'll go into more details of some of the lenses we use and why. I will post a couple still pictures that I took with that lens to give you an idea of what the image looks like.

Also, just a little tip about Canon lenses, if the lenses are white (only telephoto lenses), or if the lens has a red ring near the front, they are a L series lens. That means they are the best "glass" that Canon makes in that series/line up of lens. So if you are looking to compete with the top dogs, having a L series lens always helps.

However, on the opposite side of that, what's most important in getting the best picture/image is not on the lens, but on the person taking the picture, their artistic ability, and how they know how to push that lens to it's maximum potential.

Canon 16-35mm F/2.8 L series Lens




This is by far my favorite lens. I use it 90 percent of the time. A big part of film making/photography for me is about the location you use. So for me, a wide angle lens captures that better than anything else. Any other lens smaller than 16mm distorts the image and makes it become a "Fish Eye" lens. I like things to feel "real", so that's why I generally don't shoot with anything smaller than that.

I am constantly shooting on a glidecam/steadycam.  Wide angle lenses like this lens are the only really options with a glidecam, otherwise the image will get too shaky.

Another reason is that with wide angle lenses, the wider the lens, the more that is in focus. So with a lens like this, it makes it very easy to have everything in focus.

Canon 70-200mm F/2.8 L series Lens





I love this lens for capturing people. You will need a tripod for sure if you are shooting video, or it will get way too shaky. Before I shot video with Canon DSLR's I used this lens for every picture I took of people. I love the shallow depth of field and its "professional" look. This lens is always my first choice for photographing people :)

Canon 2X III Extender




This isn't a lens.  All it does is double the lens focal lengths. It only works on my Canon 70-200mm.  So when I attach it to that lens, it makes it a 140-400mm lens.  This is perfect for taking pictures of wild life and surfers from a far distance. Adding an attachment to a lens makes pictures not as sharp, but I haven't noticed a difference with video.

Canon 50mm 1.4mm





This lens is awesome for low light.  Generally that is the only time I pull it out.

The Canon 50mm 1.8mm is the BEST lens out there that ANYONE can buy for the money/payoff. It's awesome for taking pictures and filming people! It was the first lens I ever bought, besides the kit lens, when I first got into photography.

Canon 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM



A macro lens allows you to get super close shots where you normally wouldn't be able to go with any other lens. In all reality though, I haven't used this lens for any of my Youtube videos.  I've only used it for a couple product shots where I had to take pictures for commercial companies where they wanted super close shots to show details in their product. It's a good option to have for showing super close detail, but generally one I very rarely use.

So that's it! Those are the lenses I use and why :)

On my wish list, I have these on it.
Canon 85mm F/1.2
Canon 15mm F/2.8

The last thing I will cover is filters, since I get asked a lot what I use. I do not use any ND filters at all.  I do however use a Circular Polarizer.


This makes a HUGE DIFFERENCE on the outcome of your pictures. It brings out the blues and greens SIGNIFICANTLY! Especially the sky and water! Not all circular polarizers are created equally though... I did a TON of research on my own to find out the best brand.  After my own personal research I found the best brand was B+W.  It had the highest quality and brought out the colors the most.  It also happens to be the most expensive as well, imagine that, haha. But really it is worth it. There is no reason to go cheap on your filters if you're gonna be shooting with a nice camera and lenses. Here is a link to the one I own. I own two, one that fits my 70-200 mm lens, and one that fits my 16-35mm lens.

Circular Polarizer

Excuse my typos and grammatical errors.  Keep in mind that I am a videographer and not a writer.   :)

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Guatemala - Land of Eternal Spring!



Every so often TeamSupertramp takes on a project knowing very little about the destination or the people involved.  The WEAVESLEEVE project in Guatemala was one of those projects...  We (Parker and Carter) met up with Andy Thunel (Founder of Weavsleeve) in the airport terminal and it was there that he shared with us the story of his friends in Guatemala and his desire to help them out.  That 5 minute conversation as we boarded the plane changed EVERYTHING.  What started out as just another film trip turned into a passion-driven project that we all had our hearts invested into.  We realized that the idea of WeaveSleeve was SO much bigger than just helping Andy start a wallet business, and that we were going to provide a lifetime of opportunities for the Guatemalan families involved.  


As we mentioned earlier neither of us had any idea what to expect from "The Land of Eternal Spring" before we arrived.  The people, culture, and sights that Guatemala has to offer left us completely amazed every day that we were there.  The trip started off with a bang as we loaded up in a doorless helicopter to film the Mayan ruins in Northern Guatemala.  We decided to film with Defy's G2 Gimbal from the helicopter as we thought it would give us more stable shots in that situation.  Andy and Carter would hold the two sides of the DEFY while Parker would adjust the RED camera settings and control focus and zoom.  The only problem that we ran into was that the occasional G-Forces of the helicopter would cause the DEFY to wig out a little as we'd make sharp turns, but for the most part the shots turned out amazing. 



The camera attached to the gimbal was our trusty RED Dragon and Canon 14mm 2.8/f and Canon 16-35mm 2.8/f as are two main lenses.  We shot everything at 6k resolution, frame rates ranging from 24fps, 60fps, and 82fps, and shutter speeds relatively high to allow us to pull clearer stills from the video afterwards.

After an intense day of filming from the ground and the air, we started the flight back to our hotel only to run into the daily rainstorm. (It poured every day around 4 in the afternoon into the night...)   After unsuccessfully trying to cross the lake our pilot, Carlos, was forced to land in the closest place that he could find; a soccer field in a small village of San Carlos.  As you can imagine the whole village came out to see the spectacle of a helicopter landing in the center of their town.  

We wasted no time in making friends and joining in on the local soccer game.  The two hours we spent playing soccer in the rain with "Los Chapines" were by far the highlight of the trip and a moment that neither of us will ever forget.   There is something special about immersing yourself, unplanned and unscripted into a culture and and capturing real moments of enjoyment.  It is moments like this that we live for as film makers.  All of the shots from the rainy soccer game scene was shot using a Canon 70-200mm 2.8/f and the ground as the tripod :)



The next part of the trip was dedicated to the families and artisans that are a part of the WeaveSleave project.  We spent the next two days with them filming the WeaveSleave process from start to finish.  Everything from buying fabric from a local vendor in the next village over, to seeing some of their final projects for sale in their personal tienda (store).  




Andy had been planning a way to "give back" to all of the artisans and families for helping him and decided that he wanted them to experience something that they could not do on their own.  He came up with the idea to take his friends to Xetulul, a theme park near the southern coast of Guatemala.  The bus fare to the park is too expensive for these families, let alone the entrance fee to the theme park.  Andy rented a micro bus and we fit as many people as we could in it.  Every seat had multiple people in it not to mention lots of kids sitting on their parents laps, and one gentleman standing on the back bumper...  To be a part of and capture the excitement, fear, and pure joy of these people as they experienced a theme park for the first time was really humbling.  It was an experience that they thought only existed in television.  After a couple of hours with them at the theme park we decided to leave and let them be together as family and friends without the distraction of us and our cameras.  




After our time spent with the amazing people of Guatemala, We walked away with a new appreciation for the purity in the simplicity and happiness in the lives that these people live.  They have next to no earthly possessions, yet they are content, because they are grateful for what they do have.  They inspired us to have more positive attitudes and to love and life life to the fullest.  Their examples of humility have given us a new perspective on life and we left that country as better people.
Our goal with this video was to portray that valuable lessons that we learned and to deliver a positive uplifting video that would inspire our viewers the way we were inspired, to be happy, positive, grateful, and seek out the good and beauty in life.



If you would like to support to the cause of this film and WeaveSleeve who made it possible, pleases support them in their kickstarter campaign to help give these wonderful Guatemalan families full time jobs :)
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/weavesleevewallet/carry-your-cards-and-cash-phones-and-tablets-in-st

Monday, November 17, 2014

Far Cry 4 in Real Life

We just released our latest video we shot with Ubisoft, for their upcoming game that gets released tomorrow! Far Cry 4! We did one for Far Cry 3 almost exactly 2 years ago. You can watch that directly below.



We experimented with a bunch of new things on that one. Trying to film with a high quality camera, and use a green screen to put in the hands. We found out afterwards that we couldn't make it look as good as what was "ideal". We had originally thought about using a GoPro since we could strap the camera to the person, and that would tell the story really well, but at the time of our first Far Cry 3 video, the camera technology wasn't good enough, so we ended up shooting it on the Canon 5D Mark III.

Even though the video did really well, we had a backlash on comments saying they hated how we did the green screen effect on it. So we learned from our mistakes with the new Far Cry 4 video we did, and decided to do it with very little visual effects, and we made sure we stayed far from the green screen.

We filmed this video with the new gopro 4. In 4K, at 30FPS. We filmed it over two days. The 2nd day was made up of only filming the wingsuit scene since it involved traveling via helicopter. We tried to make the video look straight out of a "first person shooter" video game. We tried to mimic that as much as possible.

I had Jacob Schwarz produce this project. We actually worked on our first Far Cry 3 video together in Hawaii as well. So Jake did a bunch of research on how we could film with the GoPro and still have it stabilized, so it would look similar to the actual video game. That's when Jake discovered a gimbal made for the GoPro, and that's what we ended up using. Here's a link to that gimbal.

3 Axis GoPro Gimbal:
http://amzn.to/1zxVWrj

The process for this project started roughly 6 months ago when we knew we were going to be involved with this project. We began brainstorming with the Ubisoft team on ways we could incorporate what made the game unique, with things we thought our audience would like. The game features wingsuit flying, gyrocopters, and car chases, so we decided to try and throw in as much of that as possible. So I worked up a basic outline of how to incorporate all of that, with including one of the main characters from the game, Hurk. After that, we went back and forth with Ubisoft and making the story/video as strong as possible.

I then brought on Jacob Schwarz to the project, and he took it from there to carry out that vision. We were currently filming in Turkey and Nepal while Jake was getting everything ready. Once I got back, we filmed it, and deal with post production for a couple of weeks.

It was awesome working with Ubisoft again. They are one of my favorite companies to work with, and they have given us amazing opportunities to produce content that we are passionate about.

Without any further ado, here's the main video and the behind the scenes as well.







Monday, November 10, 2014

Epic Hot Air Balloon Rope Swing - With Citibank

Here's our latest adventures from around the world. This time from Las Vegas Nevada!




Anytime that a new sponsor comes into the picture and would like to make a video with Team Super Tramp, there is always a rush of excitement and an anxiety of knowing there is more pressure behind these shoots as compared to the ones that are done with out a sponsor.  Most recently Team Super Tramp was given the opportunity to pair up with Citibank and do a promotional video for their new credit card.  The concept was fairly simple, take two ideas that typically wouldn’t go together and then combine them to make something epic! Where this is not a television or commercial shoot, Team Super Tramp was given the creative reigns and were encouraged to come up with a stunt that they wanted to do but had not had the opportunity to do up to this point.
That’s where the balloon rope swing idea was born. 



Though the original stunt idea was actually much different than what ended up being the final product. Originally, Devin Graham had the idea to do a Tarzan style rope swing, where the stunt people would swing from rope to rope underneath multiple balloons until the person would reach the last rope and drop into a lake.  The idea was fun and innovative, but after speaking with multiple balloon companies, it was found that the Tarzan swing just was not very feasible. Which then led to the second idea which was to drop from the basket of one balloon, swing under the other and then drop into a lake.  Both Team Super Tramp and Citibank loved this idea, so they decided to move forward with it.





Seth Jones was put in charge of bringing this idea to life, but he was given a very short time frame to do so. (8 days to be exact) He started with trying to find a balloon company near their home base (Provo, UT) however, the weather was changing drastically from warm to cold and it became apparent after being turned down by every hot air balloon company in Utah that it was time to move a state over to Nevada.  There were a lot of hot air balloon companies in Las Vegas, and certainly at least one would want to be a part of the project.  So Seth decided to switch gears and set his sights on finding a location for this production to be filmed at.  When trying to find locations that have large bodies of water film on, a producer will typically look to national parks, state parks or BLM land.  However, when time is of the essence, getting filming permits on government land becomes nearly impossible because a lot of these national or state parks require a minimum of 14 days to process applications. And even after the application has been processed, there is still no guarantee that permission will be granted to film or do the stunt.  Seth was then put in a position to find a private lake near Las Vegas.  Seth is involved in the wake sports scene and after knowing that the Wake surf world championship was held at Lake Las Vegas, he know that would be the place to film.
After reaching out to some of the people who organized the Wake surf world championship, he was able to get in touch with the Reflection Bay Golf Course, who then agreed to let the team film there.  After finding a location the next thing to do was find a hot air balloon company who also wanted in on the action.  After doing some research, he was able to find Las Vegas Balloon Rides, one of the few companies who have been trying to progress what can be done with a Hot Air Balloon.  They were involved in a few previous stunts, including BASE jumping and Andy Lewis’ world record slackline it 6000ft.  Seth then contacted Doug and Las Vegas Balloon Rides and they were excited to be a part of making this dream come to life.


After doing a lot of organizing and getting people down to Las Vegas, on October 17 the team was finally ready to film the stunt.  However there was one major issue, the wind was not cooperating and the shoot had to be delayed.  The Team was hoping to be able to film a couple days later however, bad weather ensued and it was not looking promising to get the balloons in the air.  Devin, Parker and the rest of the film team also had to head back to Utah so that they could film the Far Cry 4 video (which will be coming out later this month).  Being on a time crunch with Citibank, the Seth and Devin were then asked to come up with a secondary idea to film just in case the first idea ended up not happening.  
That’s when the Team decided that no matter what they were going to still combine ropes and Hot air balloons.  But instead of over water, they would move the stunt over land to a spot where the wind was more predictable.  On Tuesday October 28th, they gave the balloon over water stunt one last try, unfortunately the wind was again too strong to preform the stunt and the team decided to move on to idea number 2.  The first cut of the video was due Friday, so realistically Wednesday was a do or die situation.  



The next issue was to figure out how to rig the new swing over land as safely as possible, which required Seth and fellow riggers Creighton Baird and Paul Swindler to come up with a system which would allow multiple jumpers to jump from the same balloon but not require the balloon to have to go to the ground each time to retrieve the ropes for the next jumper to go.  They came up with a system that would make it possible for 6 jumpers to exit the balloon each on separate lines.  The system was made using 4 span sets, 2 3/8 shackles, 2 rigging plates, 2 steal carabineers and 12 ropes.  Each jumper would be attached to 2 ropes for safety reasons, and ropes were attached to jumpers directly into their harnesses using the standard figure 8 knot. (which is the most common knot used for climbing and other means of attaching rope)  All ropes used were 60m 9.8mm dynamic climbing ropes, which have up to 30% stretch.  The jumping lines where all roughly 150ft in length and after stretch usually made the ropes wing between 170ft and 180ft.
The morning of Wednesday rolled around and the team was finally met with no wind.  It was time for all the magic to happen!  The Balloons went up in the air and the first jumper was Creighton Baird. His jump went extremely well, which then led to 11 more jumps before the Hot air balloons started running out fuel and the shoot came to a wrap.

The hot air balloon rope swing was directed by Devin Graham. Cinematography by Devin Graham, Parker Walbeck and Dakota Walbeck; using the Red Dragon and Phantom Miro.  Video was also filmed using the new GoPro Hero 4 Black cameras in 4k.  All aerial shots were by Chris Newman with Cinechopper! Music was by the amazing Stephan Anderson.  The film was Directed by Devin Graham, Produced by Seth Jones and Edited by Devin Graham and Parker Walbeck.

Monday, December 17, 2012

My Passion Project - Halo First Person Shooter

So every so often I do what I call a "Passion Project". Basically it is exactly what it sounds like, me doing a project that I personally am super passionate/excited about, funding it myself because it's just something I really want to make!



Soooo,  with that being said..... What most people don't realize is everything I make off of making videos for youtube, television, etc, I invest right back into my youtube channel, with the hopes of making bigger and better projects long term, it's me trying to prove myself to the world I guess, with the hopes that the "big guys" will see what I can do, and then they in turn help me get to the next level :)

That's exactly what this Halo First Person shooter video was, I took all my savings of what I have made, and invested it right back into this project. In hopes that it could show people what I could do on a very large scale :)


I have been the biggest fan of Halo the game since it first came out on Xbox back in the day! And I wanted to recreate as close as possible the video game experience, but in real life! So I contacted my friend Tim Winn, who makes AMAZING costumes, and he got a group together from around the US to help with the project. I ended up flying in 8 people total (the guys you see in the costumes), to all be a part of the project. And they ALL made the costumes they wore themselves! They were all huge fans as well, I guess you have to be if your gonna spend hundreds of hours on spartan costumes ;)

Even the guns you see in the video were all hand made as well. They range from rocket launchers, flame throwers, to rifles. And they are all super detailed, as if they came straight out of the video game!


That's what I love about making these videos!!! I get to work with super passionate people that love what they do! Everyone you saw in the video volunteered there time, they even took off work to be apart of this all. Yes, I paid for there flights and hotel rooms, but they were willing to sacrifice there time for the cause, and because I didn't have enough to cover hiring them, ha.

For this video itself, because it was costing a lot to fly everyone in, I wanted to make sure we got as much out of it as possible. So we actually shot two videos, in two days, the first one was a first person shooter, and the second video was a music video done to the Halo theme song.

For the first person shooter, I was hugely inspired by youtube star Freddiew's first person shooter video he did on Call of Duty, which is his most watched video with almost 25 million views. I had noticed that no one had ever done anything with Halo, in real life, as far as first person shooters go (I'm guessing because getting all the costumes is a feat within itself is why it hadn't been done), so I wanted to do my own take on the series.


Since I started making youtube videos, it has swalled almost 100 percent of my time and energy.... Which means I have no time anymore to play video games, so right before the shoot I had to remind myself of all the scenerios, so I had to play Halo online to remind me, haha. But I wanted this video to feel as close to the video game as possible, but in real life, I wanted to use a lot of the same scenerios you see online, seen in this video, such as "bad internet connections, lagging, people camping", etc. I wanted to use as many scenerios as possible that would connect with the mass audience that played Halo.

Also, this video was all planned around the launch of Halo 4 that just recently came out. I new that would help push the video that much further. Originally the plan was to release the video right before the game came out (we shot it one week before it's release), however the visual effects, and everything else took MUCH longer then expected to get right, so I had to sadly push back the release date a month to make sure we got it right. I figured since I had put my whole heart into it already, it would be much better long term to release the best video possible then something half complete.

So yes, there you have it, the behind the scenes story on how these projects happened!

Here's the behind the scenes video I just released that will show you the entire process it took to make the video happen.



What has been awesome about this project for me, is when I have showed people the almost final version, many people thought it was footage from the actual game, when in reality it was all real life, haha. So a big part of this video in my opinion is making sure people know all the work that went into it to make that "look" achieved. So I'll be releasing a huge behind the scenes video late tonight going over the entire process from everyone's responsibity on the project. And then later this week I'll be releasing the video.

As far as the Halo music video goes, that will be coming out later in January. The edit is totally done, we now have to get started on the visual effects.  And by me, I mean jared Moench, my friend who did all the visual effects :)

Also, one other final note I will add... There has been a ton of Halo games released, Halo 1-4, and Halo Reach. Each of them have there own look, slight adjustments on guns, etc. My take on this project was to not focus on recreating one of the games, but to combine them all in a mix, to make it still stay true to the Halo universe.

Other then that, I hope you all dig the video when it's released, and if not, for a project like this, because I invested so much into it, I would rather not know about it ;)

And for those not familar with the Halo universe, go ahead and watch the trailer for the latest Halo game.







Saturday, December 15, 2012

Zipline Catapult

So I've been trying to put out a video once a week... Which let me tell you... this has meant I don't sleep, and have been working around the clock 24/7. Not only am I creating the main video, but also the behind the scene videos, which is a full time job within itself... So yes, I don't sleep very often, haha.

Here's the latest video I shot a couple months back. In fact, I have shot 19 youtube videos within the last 3 months that I still have to release, I have a ton of content I shot during the warmer months, so I could release them each week, and be a head of schedule, but I often find that because I am a perfectionist, I don't have the videos done until the day I release them :)

These videos I did with my friends company at BlueHouse Ski Company! They provided the house boat, skis, food, and helped make it all happen! If you read the comments on a lot of the videos, everyone says that we must have rich parents, haha, when in reality, I'm able to pull off these videos because I get sponsors, and people that believe in what I'm doing, so they help pull resources together to make them happen, that's what happened with BlueHouse Skis. Here's the main video, and the behind the scene video below that.

Zipline Catapult


Behind The Scenes

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Far Cry 3 in Real Life Youtube Video

I had an awesome opprotunity working with the videogame company Ubisoft working on a youtube video to help promote their game Far Cry 3! It was one of the best experiences I've had working with a brand, and I got a budget to film it in Hawaii, so I can't complain at all :) A lot of things didn't go as planned while filming, which ALWAYS happens anyways, so I go over the whole film making process in the behind the scenes video that I have included down below! Here's the main video, behind the scenes video, and a game trailer so you can see how it all came together :)

 Main Video


Behind The Scenes


Far Cry 3 Game Trailer

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The power of Media


A couple weeks ago I released one of my latest youtube videos, "Parkour Meets Assassin's Creed in Real Life". It was able to hit 8 million hits in 2 weeks, making it my 2nd fastest growing youtube video, the first one being the human slingshot video.


Just last week though, my really good friend, who just happens to have my same name, Devin Dyer, he was driving down the road with his family when he saw two kids playing outside. One with a camera, and the other one was hanging off of a sign, haha.

Reminds me when I was that age, but to be honest, I think these guys are way ahead of me when I was that age!



He asked them what they were doing. And they responded that they were making an Assassin's Creed parkour video, haha, how cool is that? :) They had seen a video on youtube, and it had inspired them to pursue something positive :)

The reason I share this story, is because it's moments like this for me that make it all worth it. The endless nights of filming, editing, and traveling around the world. Just hearing how these kids were inspired reminded me the power that media has on the rest of the world, starting with this small community were these kids were making there own Assassin's Creed video. It's amazing to me how media has that power to change the world, for the better or worse.

And while were at it, here's the behind the scenes of our Assassin's Creed youtube video.


Friday, August 31, 2012

Shooting the Tube

Here's my latest video! Just released it a day ago, and it has over half a million hits!


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Camera Warfare!

Here's many of several WWII Youtube videos I did with the cast and crew of the film Saints and Soldiers: Airborne Creed.

Camera Warfare


Behind The Scenes


Airborne Creed



Here's the full credits to Camera Warfare:

Directed by Devin Graham
WWII Historian / Coordinator/Armorer/Costume/Weapons: Ray Meldrum
Produced by: Jacob Schwarz, Katie Crapo, Ray Meldrum, Adam Abel, Ryan Little, Devin Graham
SFX: CHARLES JOHNSON
Visual effects and Color Correction: Jacob Schwarz
Makeup: Ben Brooksby
Music: Stephen Anderson
Cinematographers: Devin Graham, Ryan Little, Jace Leroy, Chris McClain, Jacob Schwarz
Edited and Sound Design: Devin Graham
Behind the Scenes Video: Jared & Amanda Cook
Randy Beard Cast/Jeeps/Tanks/Weapons/Costumes
Cast/Motorcycle and side car/ Jeep: Loic Anthion
Cast/Jeeps: Greg Brubaker
Behind the Scenes photographer: Scott Jarvie

For the rest of the cast and crew, check out my blog post below:
http://devingraham.blogspot.com/