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Steve Cahill Steadicam on set for X Factor Bootcamp

Jimmy Jib on the X Factor Australia’s Boot Camp

Had the pleasure recently of being asked to operate Jimmy Jib on the X Factor Australia’s Boot Camp (top 100).

The decision was made by Freemantle Aust to try and use 35m sensor cameras with Cine lenses in an outside broadcast environment. Videocraft Aust where chosen for the job supplying F55’s and a plethora of lenses to choose from. To my knowledge this has not been done before in this country in a live formatted show.

The idea was to take advantage of the camera/lens shallow depth of field & use this in an artistic & exciting fashion. All cameras where running at T2:8 for the duration of the record. This kind of shallow in out of focus shot works extremely well when it can be controlled with a good edit but is extremely risky in a live scenario as you don’t get a second take.

The main problems that arose from not using an integrated OB system was not having return vision or program sound which we need to do our jobs properly. This was overcome by running extra monitors to the cameras that needed them with a feed of program or whatever they required (each others shots etc). Also getting IFB feeds to be able to listen to what was going on (thanks audio brothers). All this is being built into the system as we speak so will be ready to go soon.

Our main follow camera had a 50mm-1000mm Canon Cine Prime that was the first in the country, which is an amazing piece of glass and kept the operator on his toes constantly wrestling with focus.

Choosing a lens for the jib was tricky as I knew the client would want to make the room look as big as possible by getting the widest lens we could, but having said that, me not wanting to compromise to much on zoom length as we don’t want to loose all the great shots we would get on a longer lens also taking advantage of the shallow depth of field. The choice where an 18-120mm Cabrio, 19-90mm Cabrio, 14.5-60mm. In the end I chose the 14.5-60mm which was the perfect compromise. The Cabrio lenses are preferable on the jib as the zoom motors are a lot faster than the external motors we have to use with the Cine Zooms but again its always a compromise. I hope Canon are working on a 14-300mm as we speak.

I had a 2 Bartech remote follow focus systems running Iris & Focus. Luckily my focus puller didn’t have to worry too much about Iris as I made life pretty difficult for him in the focus department using the long end of the lens constantly and trying to work focus pulls & throws into it as much as possible. Also zooming in while hastily jibbing away to try and keep the shot size the same but still create movement. To his credit Conner (Deans) nailed it all night long. Great work.

Everyone was extremely happy with what was produced & our Director Garry Deans did an outstanding job in the chair. Congratulations to everyone involved in this groundbreaking event.

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