On the set of his new film In the Footsteps of Genghis Khan, indie documentary filmmaker JJ Osbun and partner Chris D. Nebe from Monarex Hollywood, asked Matthews Studio Equipment to design them a unique tripod head adapter for supporting their heavier Sony F3 and F55 cameras carrying ARRI Alura lenses.
JJ Osbun is no stranger to travelling. His work on documentaries such as Burma Road – Flying Tigers and Jiangsu: Land of Good Fortune has seen him film some of the most beautiful places in the world.
During principal photography of his 15th documentary in a series on Asia, Osbun and his crew realised the support they’d initially decided upon, wasn’t up to the job.
“After a few films struggling with the limitations of pro-sumer support equipment, I went with Floatcam’s DC Slider, which is a very serious tool for DSLR and small camera work,” Osbun explains. “However, we still needed more and the HD Slider with the Motion Control solved it all. It is all my previous equipment in one [piece].”
Pre-production for Khan was “a serious rush”. Obsun told us that after picking up his new support, “I realized that the shuttle couldn’t take a high-hat for bowl-based heads, like documentary productions typically utilize.”
“I figured, if I took out the securing screw in my 1030DS O’Connor head, we could put the male version on the shuttle and screw the head right onto it,” he said.
“JJ and I were able to come up with an idea for an adapter,” says Tyler Phillips, MSE Machining team. “We had our shop make two of them – and he was off to Mongolia. We made it work!”
“It was a hat trick to get done and literally came down to eight hours before my flight. I can safely say that my O’Connor head was the first of its kind to slide those rails, adding functionality that made it truly indispensable,” Osbun says.
“One of the most surprising moments was me ‘skeptically trying’ the Motion Control system at 4K with diopters at 80mm, six inches from a number of artifacts dating back to the days of Genghis Khan. The motor slid my 30lb rig without any visible jitter, shocking the entire crew. I’ve looked at it on big screens, and still amazingly smooth.”
“As soon as he got back, we met with JJ,” says Phillips. “He decided he wanted something a little fancier and permanent, so we sketched some things out together and the parts are currently going through our shop. We will soon have a new accessory for the Slider, and more importantly, a happy client.”
Osbun and his Monarax team are currently in preparation for more docs and a full feature to be shot in 2015.
Feature image: After spending time in Dali, we drove north to Lijiang and spent a few days. Here is Snow Mountain, a gorgeous sight (image: © Monarex).
Excerpts from Press Release