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Butterfly Atrium at the Gardens at Hershey

Right Tool for the Job

  |   Business, Technology

Whenever I’m asked to describe my profession I have two “go to” phrases to describe  the image acquisition portion; the first is DIGITAL CINEMATOGRAPHY…It has an erudite ring to it, conjuring images of prime lenses, ISO settings,  shutter degree angles and craft services.  The second is, uh you know, a cameraman, and it’s associations with paparazzi, Columbia 3 season logo jackets and an encyclopedic memory for all the places you’ve shot house fires and car accidents in your metro area.  The commonality for those two diverse descriptors is both jobs, are recording images to tell the story of the event.

Take One Productions’ roots go back to the “golden age” of video tape, 40 pound tape machines connected via 28 pin cables to tube cameras that required “burning in”, we can trade format and technology stories with the best of them.

Kevin in Kim with an old 2 piece camcorder

Her: I think we should move this section…
Him: I’m so glad to sit down that rig is heavy

Kevin with 2 piece camcorder unit.

The “Good Old Days”? Cameramen couldn’t be weaklings. That’s a lot of weight to carry around and make images with!

This breadth of experience continues to inform the choices we make when it comes to our equipment.

In 2021 there isn’t a panacea camera that applies to all situations. Some jobs require the ability to get into a tight space and keep a small footprint, some require the 2-ton grip truck, lenses with names that are hard to pronounce (I’m looking at you Angénieux) and professional actors, others still, require the ability to cover an event from multiple locations with limited time.

Recently TOP was tasked to cover the Butterfly Atrium at the Gardens at Hershey.  We had to interview three people, shoot b-roll of those people in their environment, try to capture some butterflies doing their thing, and then record a separate segment in a different location of the property- and we had 2 hours. With the Varicam we’re there for double the time, at least. The images would be manifique! However, the Sony F-800’s sensor makes delightful images its camcorder style body facilitates portability, the par-focal Fujinon ENG lens makes shot composition quick and easy.  It was the proper tool for the job.

Sony F-800 isn't afraid of spiders

The zoom lens on the F-800 allows the viewer to get up close to creep crawly guys, while the “uh, cameraman” keeps a comfortable distance.

Sony F-800 in Action

Butterflies don’t hang out in one spot for long, being able to move quickly helps capture their beauty. The F-800 allows TOP directors to “Float Like a Butterfly”.

Our Panasonic Varicam LT rules all eternal (shout out to 80’s metal heads) but it is not the tool for when you have only 1 hour to make 25 set ups in 10 locations, for that you need the Sony F-800 camcorder. Should the client want a cinematic look but doesn’t have a large budget, our Sony a7sii enters the chat.

Today’s productions require a variety of recording platforms not every job requires a DIGITAL CINEMATOGRAPHER, some just need that 2 hour press conference covered that’s a job for the, you know, cameraman.

TOP's Panasonic Varicam LT in action

The lens on our Varicam LT weighs almost 10 pounds alone. It makes great pictures but it is not a run and gun platform

We have the tools and expertise to scale our production level to your budget. Your show will always look great because of the operators and directors; it will be on budget because of the tools in the kit.