Monday, January 23, 2012

Battles are War!

Two Sundays ago, I was privileged to be invited to help with the shooting of the Battle at F-Stop Ridge sequel.  I was just a "regular Joe" out in -25 degree weather with a bunch of the Camera Store staff, former staff members, and a Canon rep. So how did I (a.k.a. "Just a Guy") get in on this? Well, the Camera Store had a contest on their Facebook page where they asked followers to post what they'd like from the Camera Store for Christmas. Naturally a lot of people posted what lens, camera or flash they'd like. I wanted to stand out so I said that I'd like to see the sequel to the Battle at F-Stop Ridge and be in it. Jordan Drake, who directed the last one, contacted me and said that they saw my post and they could make it happen. It seemed like a lot of fun and and a great opportunity to learn so I asked Jordan for details etc.

Sunday rolled around and I was excited and nervous. I hardly slept the night before and I had no idea what to expect. With camera gear and extra warm clothes packed I headed out to the location of the shoot which was about 15 minutes outside of Turner Valley, Alberta.

Shooting in the cold always has its challenges and this was no exception. The cold weather drastically shortened most equipment's battery life. Oddly enough, the first battery I had in dropped two bars without even shooting a frame. I swapped to my other battery and after shooting a lot of frames during the action, and doing some video all with my Sigma which is notorious for killing batteries, I only lost one bar of power out of five. Others weren't quite so lucky and there were a couple of times between shots that Jordan had to call for another battery to keep the camera rolling.

Some people forget what happens when you take cold glass and bring it into a warm room. For myself, I was smart enough to leave my gear outside so my lenses wouldn't fog up but I wasn't smart enough to remember to bring my batteries in. Fortunately it didn't come back to haunt me later but its definitely lesson worth remembering.

Another challenge was the footing. With the extreme cold, the ground was quite hard and with it being covered in snow it was slippery at times. During one of the earlier scenes, our illustrious director took a tumble while running alongside our group and damaged his gear. (Hopefully not beyond repair!)

After the initial shooting of the group I was in ("The Attackers"), I hung back and took some behind the scenes video. I had my camera rested on the hood of a truck which should have been relatively stable. With the cold and because I wasn't moving around to keep warm anymore I was shivering badly. I am surprised I didn't hear my teeth chattering on the audio!

All in all, it was a lot fun to do. If I were asked to help with the third one I would probably do it...unless its -50 next time. :)