When Glen Ryan, owner/manager of silver dory productions, needed a setup that could stand the harsh conditions of the Canberra region of Australia to shoot the feature-length film BRINDABELLAS | edge of light, he turned to the Compass 25 Sprinter II Carbon Fibre System
from Miller Camera Support Equipment
, a leader in the production of innovating camera support solutions.
BRINDABELLAS | edge of light is a meditative interplay of mountain light, air and water as these elements transform across the seasons - from clouds and mist, to rain and snow, to frost and ice - over vast expanses of forest and sky and up close on the natural ecosystem, creeks and rivers that run through it. It was filmed in what is known as the Brindabella Range, the mountain backdrop to Australia's capital city of Canberra that can be seen from most locations in the capital and the surrounding region. Ryan and his co-developer, James van der Moezel, head of post-production at silver dory, needed a camera support system that could handle the demanding and diverse location, as well as shooting near-infrared footage.
"Most of BRINDABELLAS | edge of light was filmed with one camera and one cameraman in a range of challenging environments, from steep mountain terrain to fast flowing rivers," says Ryan. "The rig needed to be light and compact enough for one person to carry into the field, yet robust and reliable enough to handle the RED Digital Cinema cameras we were using in rain, snow and rapidly rising streams. We found the Compass 25 Fluid Head to be the perfect match for our RED rigs: robust and reliable, but still light enough to get into the all locations. The Sprinter legs were also light and easy to deploy in the field."
Ryan and van der Moezel chose to shoot in near-infrared for the heightened effect it gives to the images. Longer wavelengths used for other infrared applications, like thermal imaging, are not recorded when shooting this way. The edge of light images are not directly reflecting the temperature of the landscape: they are simply created from light that is slightly beyond the range of the human eye. Ryan says this technique gave the film a distinctive look and is ideal for capturing the detail and essence of natural landscapes.
"In sunny conditions near-infrared produces a striking combination of dark skies and water, perfect white clouds and ghostly pale glowing foliage," continues Ryan. "It also cuts through atmospheric haze and accentuates shadows in a landscape, particularly in the late afternoon or dusk. These bold shadows add an extra dimension to many landscapes and were a key visual component of BRINDABELLAS | edge of light, rather than the more traditional 'glowing foliage' look associated with near-infrared imaging. The aim of the cinematography was to capture a more surreal side of these everyday landscapes and seasonal transitions and thus reveal them in a slightly different light."
To help capture the feel of the movie that Ryan was chasing, he would use his Compass 25 for lower macro work, shots requiring the tripod to be submerged in creeks and streams, and shots requiring a Kessler jib. The flexibility of the Compass 25 proved extremely important for Ryan and his team's various setups.
The Compass 25 Fluid Head features a payload range of 4-14 kg (6.6-30.9 lbs) and four selectable positions of counterbalance. With a weight of 2.9 kg (6.4 lbs) and 5+0 selectable fluid drag positions, the Compass 25 was made for quick setups so that storytellers can quickly capture their shots. The Compass 25 also features a payload capacity of 14 kg (30.9 lbs), Calliper disc brake system, Quick Release Euro plate and illuminated bubble level.
The Sprinter II 2-Stage Carbon Fibre Tripod features a minimum height of 440 mm (17.3 in) and a maximum height of 1530 mm (60.2 in). It has a total weight of 3.2 kg (7.1 lbs) and a payload capacity of 45 kg (99.2 lbs).
Besides his Miller system, Ryan also used a RED EPIC and RED DRAGON, as well as Trost motion sliders and SmallHD monitors.
BRINDABELLAS | edge of light was recently released publicly in 4K as 22 chapters on www.brindabellas.com.au. The Australian Broadcast Commission (ABC) also features eight BRINDABELLAS | edge of light shorts on the Arts channel of its iView platform. To learn more about BRINDABELLAS | edge of light, please visit www.brindabellas.com.au.