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Behind the Camera: Randall Dark

Choosing the right tools for the right job is key for this filmmaker.

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NAME: Randall Dark @RandallPDark

COMPANY: Austin, Texas-based Randall Dark Productions (http://randalldarknews.blogspot.com). Dark and his companies have been involved in over 3,000 projects, including feature films, docs, commercials, music videos, corporate presentations and live events.

 

TITLE: Director/Cinematographer

 

WHAT CAMERA OR CAMERAS DO YOU USE?

We used a total of 22 different types of cameras for my new feature documentary “Redemption On The River”  — about 45 total cameras were used.

Blackmagic Cinema Camera EF

JVC 4k – GY-HMQ10

Sony HDcam 700A

Sony HDC-500

Sony EX1

Sony P1

Sony NEX5N – Mounted in a Drone for Aerials.

Canon 5D

Canon 7D

Canon XLHIS

Canon 60D

Canon HDCMOS

JVC Adixxion

VIXIA HFR100

Olympus HD

Pivothead High Definition Sunglasses (1080×1920 30p)

Go Pro Hero 1

Go Pro Hero 2

Galaxy Phone

iPhone

iPad

Contour

DO YOU PLAY FAVORITES?

Never. I love all types of camera technology and I utilize them where appropriate, necessary and what will work within the budget.

For Makarios: A Rising Tide, a documentary shot in the Dominican Republic, I used two Sony EX1’s. For Seadrift vs The Big Guy my primary cameras were the JVC 4K – GY-HMQ10, and the 5D Canons. The feature film, When Angels Sing used two Red Cameras.

I’m planning out my next feature, Tale of Sasquatch, and I’d like to shoot with a couple of Sony F65 CineAlta 4K cameras. However that final decision will be based purely on budget.

HOW DO YOU DECIDE WHICH CAMERA TO CALL ON FOR A PARTICULAR SHOT/SCENE?

This depends on what type of project I’m shooting. Many of my projects have been the run-and-gun type.  For those, my personal camera choice is based on it being a high-end camera that is light and easy to set up.

For my documentary “Redemption on the River” I also needed cameras the competing athletes could actually wear (i.e. Camera Sunglasses) as well as cameras that could be attached to their canoes. The canoe cameras had to not only be light and versatile, but also affordable. One camera sank to the bottom of the river during the shoot.

Controlled environments allow me the luxury to take the time to light properly and adjust settings to maximize the high-end cameras. Some times the deciding factor for a particular camera is based on how much control I have over the situation and environment.

WHAT IS YOUR LENS OF CHOICE? 

This really depends on the project, the camera and the look I am going for. “Redemption On The River” used a variety of lenses for particular types of shots. Here are a few that I used:

Canon EF-S 17-55mm

Canon EF 24-105mm

Canon HJ 9×5 w/extender

Canon Video Lens 20x XL 5.4-108mm

Canon 18-135mm

DO YOU WALK AROUND YOUR EVERY DAY LIFE WITH A CAMERA FOR STILLS?

I really never shoot digital stills. Moving images are my passion.

CAN YOU SHARE A SIMPLE TIP OR TWO ABOUT SHOOTING?

When you’re shooting a project that requires run-and-gun, shoot with both eyes open. My right eye frames the shot, while my left eye anticipates any action that is coming in from left to right.

CAN YOU NAME YOUR SCARIEST WORK EXPERIENCE EVER?

There are a few!

1. Getting too close to a jet car firing up its engine – I lost my eyebrows.

2. Getting between a mother bear and her cub during my shoot in Yellowstone Park.

3. Shooting mountain climbers out of a helicopter over the Canadian Rockies near Banff Alberta. Pilot yelled out “ We need to put her down ASAP.”  He landed us on TOP of a mountain.

CAN YOU NAME SOME PROJECTS YOU’VE WORKED?

When Angels Sing –Feature film to be released in 2013 – Executive Producer

(I shot behind the scenes footage.)

Seadrift vs. The Big Guy – Documentary released 2012 Director/Cinematographer Executive Producer

Makarios: A Rising Tide – Documentary Director / Cinematographer

Closing Escrow –Feature film released in 2007 Executive Producer

3 Cities in 3D  – 3D Documentary -Director

Sevierville in 3D – 3D Documentary – Cinematographer

RNC in 3D – Director

 


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