FREMONT, Calif. —Fox Sports 1’s first commercial, Happy Days Are Here Again, was directed by HSI Productions’ Joseph Kahn with aerial footage being shot with the Blackmagic Cinema Camera.
Launched on August 17, Fox Sports 1 includes coverage of NASCAR, UFC, college football, college basketball and soccer coverage, along with studio shows, such as Fox Football Daily and Fox Sports Live.
The commercial called for aerial shots of a NASCAR race, and HSI Productions turned to Mi6 Films, an aerial photography and video company based in Southern California. Because the NASCAR shoot took place at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Charlotte, NC, Mi6 Films partnered with Beaufort, SC-based Wollwerthfilms for the aerial shots.
Wollwerthfilms specializes in aerial cinematography and provided a high-tech RC aerial cinematography rig equipped with a Blackmagic Cinema Camera in order to help capture the intensity of a 200mph NASCAR race during the first day of shooting at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
“The director, Joseph Kahn, was looking for a really dramatic wipe reveal of the stadium and motor speedway with fans cheering and waving,” said Stephen Wollwerth, owner wollwerthfilms. “We were also able to capture a long straight high speed shot where we cleared the fence and dropped down to just over the track level as cars were passing underneath.”
In order to achieve these shots, they mounted a Blackmagic Cinema Camera on a 3X Pro v3 gimbal from PhotoShip One, which was then mounted on an aerial cinematography rig Wollwerth built himself. A Blackmagic Design Mini Converter SDI to Analog was also mounted on the helicopter to convert the video feed to analog and send it downlink from the helicopter wirelessly for ground viewing.
“We needed really high video quality to match the other high-end cameras that were used for shooting, and the Blackmagic Cinema Camera fit right in,” said Wollwerth. “The footage was shot in 2.5K CinemaDNG RAW format for optimum image quality, and the 13 stops of dynamic range really gave us the latitude we needed. Even DIT Jeremy Ball commented that the latitude of the footage was amazing.”
Jeremy Ball, colorist/DIT/post supervisor/owner of A Grade, a Charlotte-based post production facility, worked with Jeremy and Bryan Scibelli, of production and post facility Cinemanix, who were the DITs for the Charlotte location, They used the Blackmagic DaVinci Resolve color corrector for setting up look-up tables, data management, transcoding and rendering out on set dailies.
“We had a mix of Resolve and Resolve Lite, and we couldn’t have asked for a better organizational tool. Resolve’s ability to add in different types of metadata carried through the post process was invaluable, especially with the multi camera, multi location and multi day shoot,” said Ball.