A boy and his drone - suttlefilmFor me, 2013 was the year of technical growth and significant investment into new ideas and new technics in filmmaking. With the never ending onslaught of new cameras and formats, it has become difficult to stay on top of it all. I’ve never been one to want to know every detail of the hot new product on the market until I know it’s going to help me tell a simple story. It seems everyone is quick to debate formats, manufactures etc. without really asking themselves if it will positivly affect the story they are trying to tell.  That’s where my interest always begins and honestly, that’s where it ends.

James Suttles operating a Motion Mount Gimbal with Canon 5D

Most people who have worked with me know I’m a big believer in Red as a camera company and it’s become rare to see me shoot on anything else.  That’s partly because of my company (www.cinefoundry.com) having a Red Epic in our arsenal, partly because I truly love the aesthetic value the camera delivers, partly because I appreciate the companies approach to product development and their devotion to their customers and most importantly, it is a great tool to tell a story with.   I’d like to consider myself fairly camera platform agnostic even if my recent shooting history says otherwise but the truth is that I simply haven’t come across a technical development, camera or otherwise, that excites me the way Red did in 2007 with their release of the Red One.  That is until now…

Hexacopter Shoot

Over the past year, I’ve been working a lot with Michael Gentilini of (www.vidmuze.com) on aerial cinematography utilizing UAV’s.  It’s been incredibly liberating to free the camera of the ground and find a new perspective that is budget friendly and inspiring. One of the key elements of the new aerial systems is the gimbal that enables the smooth operation of the camera even in the roughest of conditions. Freefly Systems announced last year their development of a Motion Mount gimbal system, the Movi, that can be used on the ground, hand held in a variety of situations. I finally had an opportunity to put my hands on a system like this and all I have to say is… Amazing.  I haven’t been this energized and enthusiastic about a technical development since the Red One arrived on the set of Red Dirt Rising in September 2007, 2 weeks after it’s release.

I’m sure part of my excitement comes from the fact I will be shooting a film this year that is very personal to me and this films aesthetic has just taken a giant leap forward with the possibilities the new Motion Mount system provides.  Yet, I also believe that a new era of unrestricted, free flowing motion has been introduced to the world of cinema. It’s truly exciting to dream of the possibilities.

I’m sure that this new toy will find its way to numerous film sets and will probably be overused on countless projects because it’ll be used without regard of how it affects the story. Having said that, for the appropriate shot, for the appropriate mood and with the right approach, this is one of those moments I believe every filmmaker should be glad to live as a creative in these modern times.

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