Real Life Cinematography: College Football Hall of Fame by Matt Mahoney

In this fast paced world we live in, time is the ultimate commodity. Each one of these will begin with a TL;DR: Too Long Didn't Read. If the TL;DR interests you, you have a whole blog to read. If not, that's okay too.

1. Shot on a real football field, couldn't use the field lights.
2. Only had 4 hours to shoot the entire spot.
3. Had to use mismatched cameras and slow L glass.
4. Two out of the five lights I ordered didn't work on shoot day.
5. Couldn't move lights once placed.

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Real Life Cinematography: by Matt Mahoney

I thought it would be a cool idea to share my experiences throughout a series called "Real Life Cinematography:" Everywhere we look, on instagram, Facebook, there's a lot of DP's out there showing off their work. In some cases for good reason. It looks cool, they had big budgets or big toys to play with, or celebrities, etc. It doesn't even seem like real life. Some of these DP's who are getting these huge jobs are so young I can't help but wonder how the hell they got there so fast.

And that's great for them. But I don't live in that world, yet. I don't have the luxuries that my more established colleagues have. And that's okay too. I'm still working on projects that are bigger than my last and one day I'll get there too.

I'm doing this because there's a lot of us who aren't there either, and I thought I'd share my experiences. I hope this next blog series is informative, and I hope you get something out of it, even if it's just a digital way of saying: I totally understand.

RED Dragon Commercial Part V by Matt Mahoney

Today we're going to look at some pickup shots that we shot very quickly with our actress from the kitchen scene. She was available a few days after the house shoot and was so generous with providing her own wardrobe and makeup. We needed her to play a high school student on her way back from class. 

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RED Dragon Commercial Part IV by Matt Mahoney

Time is ticking and we still had to do our kitchen scene. We've got an island in the middle of the room with and space around it to place lights. If we shoot on the right side of the kitchen, we'll lose a lot of the details that make the room look so good. If we go onto the left side, all we'll see is the refrigerator and some cabinets. So the best option is to shoot off to the side of the room, tucking the camera into a small doorway that allows us to see the stove top, cooking utensils, sink, etc. This angle also gives us some depth by seeing the living room in the background. 

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Sony a7s to Resolve workflow by Matt Mahoney

I've been using the Sony a7s a lot recently and I'm pretty happy with the images I've been able to get out of that little camera. One nagging thing about it, more specifically, the XAVCs codec is the problem with getting an edited sequence into resolve. It's a pain in the ass really. I've gotten errors where the audio tracks won't play, or even worse, Resolve cannot link the footage with an XML exported from Premiere Pro. I get an error that says it can't link the media because there's no reel name and timecode. So as great as the internal codec of the sony is, there seems to be some difficulty retaining enough information within it to getan edited sequence to play nicely with Resolve. But fear not.

Here's a work-around I've found that seems to be a solution until the good people at blackmagicdesign can get an update out so that Resolve plays nicely with xml's.

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RAW Black Magic Ursa Footage by Matt Mahoney

I mentioned that I was given an Ursa to test out two weeks ago. My job was to stress the camera to see where the image breaks so that the studio heads knew it's limitations should they decide to invest in three of these cameras. Again, this isn't a scientific test.

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Blackmagic Ursa vs. Sony A7s by Matt Mahoney


I had a chance to shoot with the Blackmagic Ursa this week. I was tasked with testing the camera to find it's strengths and weaknesses by putting it into the situations I normally shoot and grade. So along the Sony A7s grade test I posted earlier, I also compared the Ursa to the A7s in a typical interview situation.

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A7s Grading with Davinci Resolve by Matt Mahoney

I had the opportunity at the studio today to test a BlackMagic Design URSA. The original idea was to put the URSA through a series of tests to see how and when the image would break during a lighting test of the over and under exposure. These tests take a long time though, more time than I had today which is a bummer. What I did do was briefly test it against the Sony A7s. I shot a wide, a MCU, and CU of a guy I work with in a simple lighting set up. I wanted to see if they would match, or if I could even get remotely close in the grade.

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