Sports Update – The Great One

A recent shoot day for Monumental Sports & Entertainment involved a brief in-and-out with The Great One, Wayne Gretzky.

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He recorded a personal congratulations to one of his favorite hockey players, Alex Ovechkin, on Alex’s milestone 500th NHL goal.

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9000 Marines In Action

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At the very top, traffic on the busy California freeway. Below the cliffs are a convoy of landing crafts filled with Marines. At the bottom, armored vehicles unloaded from giant hovercrafts.

I recently had the privilege of roaming the beaches and cliffs of the Marine Base at Camp Pendleton and composing shots of some of our nations proudest and bravest –the 9000 marines that made up the forces of the massive training operation “Steel Knight.” The huge event involved a warship offshore, two LCAC’s which are 100′ long hovercraft that carry tanks and trucks through the surf to shore, and a dozen landing craft that I will call floating tanks. They also are designed to power through the surf.

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This was all part of the amphibious landing training that Marines engage in. I want to tell you, its an impressive sight to see through a 250mm lens in high definition.  And I am happy to report that even with miles of beach-walking and scrub-brush wading (you go where the Marines go) not a speck of dust, sand or sea water on the lens – Yay!Screen Shot 2015-12-15 at 11.55.37 AM

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Doing an on-the-fly interview with a Marine policeman.

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A Very Heavy Production

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Shooting a recent web video edition of “Ford – Tough Science” was a pretty hair-raising spectacle.  Those are seven full-size Ford pickups hanging from a 2017 F-150 chassis frame.  Before we were finished, two more were added for a total of 60,000 lbs.

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Production manager Ron Contreras pulled together an amazing crew from my buddies at Base Productions. We had four primary cameras, Sony FS700′s and of course a mess of Go-Pros along with a drone and a Ronin stabilizer and a 20′ jib. With eleven cameras rolling, the main concern was figuring out placement so they wouldn’t be shooting each other.  Then there was the BTS crew and a corporate production shooting with an Red Epic also.   Frame rates ranged from 1FPS to 240fpsFord Tough Science1

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HALLOWEEN Haunting

Photos by Lily Landes

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The Halloween Spirit comes early this year. Last week I went to Philadelphia to shoot at one of the most intense haunted attractions in the country.Terror Behind The Walls is a massive haunted house in a real haunted prison.

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It was scary fun following our two daring show hosts for this Travel Channel Halloween Special, Kari Byron and Tori Bellaci as they made their way through the intense 45 min ordeal of Terror.

 

 

There are 200 actors, or should I say zombies, creatures, escaped lunatics and things, that roam the 11-acre madhouse.  There is no better way to get in the Halloween spirit than this!
The show is going to look AWESOME despite the challenges of low-to-no-light. It involved two custom Go-Pro POV rigs, spectacular drone work INT and EXT, and three Sony FS700 cameras cranked up to very high ISO sensitivity.

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A Real Hollywood Auteur

At his palatial Hollywood Hills mansion (built in the 20′s for William Randolph Hearst) I spent most of a day shooting an interview with cult film producer-director Larry Cohen. He is a highly original and resilient talent whose credits also include screenplay writing during the past 40 years and include more than 40 films. His creative versatility has enabled him to produce films outside the studio system for decades resulting in highly admired, well crafted works created with budgets that wouldn’t cover the craft services costs of a studio picture.

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His observations on the state of the industry and how it has evolved during his long career are fascinating, and will be included in the feature-length documentary being produced by La-La Land Records.

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Larry created the hit TV series “The Invaders” and “Branded”(starring Chuck Connors) in the 60′s. His film credits include Phone Booth, It’s Alive, Daddy’s Gone A Hunting, The Stuff and a whole myriad of sci-fi, horror and action films.

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The Fastest Camera In The World

In the world of video cameras it is absolutely fascinating that the fastest cameras only operate at the extreme ends of the visible light-gathering universe. At one end you have your Miros and Phantoms, Photrons and For-A VFC’s — all of which suck up vast quantities of light to achieve high frame rates. At the other extreme you have awesomely light sensitive cameras that see beautifully in very low light at ISO speeds of 25,000, 64,000 and even 102,000. Both of these vastly different types of cameras are FAST.

But EXTREME just got way bigger. Now welcome THE 800 POUND GORILLA OF FAST!

 

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Thrill Factor Premieres on Travel Channel

Travel Channel can’t wait to air my latest show.  Air Date moved one month sooner: http://www.yourentertainmentcorner.com/travel-channel-new-seriesthrill-factor-premieres-aug-12/

Here is an inside look at our experiences on the production:
Another of the unusual places we went to shoot a show about thrill rides this summer was the Stratosphere Tower in Las Vegas. Did anyone have an idea that there are THREE RIDES on the top of it?  Here’s the awesome view.
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Our show hosts Kari Byron and Tory Belleci, fresh from their success on “Mythbusters,” took the giant plunge of more than 800 feet from the top of the tower on a wire.   That’s a Ride!!?
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Stratosphere1Yes, you step off the platform into thin air!

 

 

Here’s another ride at the stratosphere that we didn’t get to try due to approaching severe weather. This spins around enough to magnify the dizzy feeling of staring down 850 feet to the ground below.

Stratosphere5Those black clouds are the July monsoon with pouring rain and winds. Minutes later the outside platforms were evacuated because of lightning strikes in the area.

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Thrills of Shooting TV -Then & Now

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Santa Claus, Indiana was the location for Episode One of the new Travel Channel series I have been shooting – “THRILL FACTOR.” Who is up or down for Thrill Rides??
 
 

Our hosts are those wacky and lovable personalities from Myth Busters, Kari and Tory. In this show they plunge feet-first (and sometimes head-first) into the most challenging, fear-inducing and FUN amusement park and specialty thrill rides.
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We spent the day shooting at Holiday World amusement park. The cast and crew tried out the incredible Thunderbird. Its a steel coaster that launches you out of the station at 60mph in two seconds.

Twenty years ago I shot the home video release “America’s Greatest Roller Coasters” and it was REAL tricky mounting a lipstick camera cabled to a Betacam deck in those coasters. This time it was a breeze. THANK GOD FOR GO-PRO’s!

Watch for the series to premiere on Travel Channel on August 12, Wednesday at 8:30pm Pacific Time.

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Talent 14 Feet High

On a recent DISNEY XD shoot I had my hands full with our co-stars, the 7-foot tall (each) identical twins Brook and Robin Lopez.

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They’re Stanford basketball stars who now play in the NBA on opposing teams.
Lopez twins I haven’t shot talent that big since Shaq. And they are equally friendly and agreeable to doing anything it takes to get the shots. It was a pleasure working with them. In fact the hardest thing about the day was getting the camera up high enough to be on their level–and to see through the viewfinder!Disney XD Slate

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Strong Island Films Pilot

walkway 1328 I recently flew to New Jersey for an intense schedule of re-enactments.  Strong Island Films’ Rob Dorfmann and Cindy DePasquale are creating a compelling pilot presentation that re-creates true stories involving groups of friends and murders.

Shooting at multiple locations, and being often in sight of Manhattan presented great opportunities for visuals.  We shot with a small crew and lots of on-camera talent.  We used Canon cameras, some off-speed frame rates, suggestive lighting and quirky angles to enhance the emotional range of the story.  It will keep audiences riveted.  I guarantee it.  The style will be a blend of whodunit and docusoap intrigue.  Stay tuned.

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Added bonus - the project became a rare opportunity to shoot the Historic Hoboken train station.

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