May 12, 2019

Previz with Fusion and Legos: Doing A New Kind of Shot

To create the "Geostationary" camera for the Everyone You Know music video "The Drive," silent tapes brought in all the previz tools in the book and then some.

As the filmmaking team behind the video for "The Drive" by Everyone You Know understand, sometimes it's hard to explain technical creative concepts to outsiders. When pitching the video, they smartly avoided leading with "it's a camera inside on a car on a turntable," since who knows what image that would actually create in the mind of the band and label. Instead, they used a variety of previsualization tools in order to help them sell, then plan, then finally executive a "geostationary" camera.

What does that even mean? Well, if you watch the opening of the video, a fantastic sensation of "lightness" is created as both the camera and the car rotate. While we've all seen cameras mounted in cars doing 360° shots before (though it's still pretty cool to such great choregraphy between the camera move and the performers), the extra twist here is that the car itself is on a turntable, floating in cricles. That means that the camera can point down the street and the car can "float" around it, which requires moving both the turntable and the camera at precisely the same speed, in opposite directions. Like most great things in film, this requires effectively planning to execute, which this team did with a gusto.

The biggest takeaway here is that planning was a multi stage process. They started with using Blackmagic Fusion and a 3D model of the card for an initital previz which likely helped them land the job, but also clearly helped them fully visualize what they wanted to accommplish. However, rather than going straight form there to the full sized card, they took the time to build a card model out of lego's, put it on a turntable, and mount aGoPro inside of it. This multi-step prep work is how amazing results are created. Fusion is free. Legos are cheap.  Most filmakers own a GoPro or can borrow one.  It was time that these cost, but by putting in the time, a really unique single shot video was created that captured a feeling for a song in a way that stands out.

Where the budget clearly starts to go up is when pulling off the final shot, with buying a car that can drive for the driving but where you can cut a hole in the roof. Then mounting a motion control camera mount to bolt to the roof. Rigging it up with DMX controllable lights. Renting a programmable turntable. Shutting down a pretty large area for the driving.  Even renting a RED Gemini for it's low light capabilities. But all of that money is much better spent, and gets a much cooler video, for all that time that went into prepping it. Definitely worth checking out.     

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