Miller Sharpshooters

Judd sandwiches Pickle between shoots

juddoverton1Judd Overton, cinematographer, was in no pickle about choosing the Miller DS60 for his most recent production, In a Pickle. The idea for Pickle started life as a Tropfest script, when a group of actors and film professionals put their heads together to create a 10 page epic.

It was the first project under the banner of Hulahoop for writer/director Rory Williamson and partner/ editor Janneke Fussell, and is a tale of one man’s experiences of impotence, old ladies and public toilets.

“The shoot could not have happened without the support of Miller tripods and the help of industry professionals and production companies.” explains Judd. “The production period on this film was two weeks from script to wrap. The producers wanted to shoot film. Following a number of successful video productions, and knowing the requirements of such a fast shoot and limited budget, I suggested Miller.”

Judd shot with an Arriflex SRII Kit from Panavision, Sydney and made use of Miller’s versatile DS60 fluid head and light weight tripod kit in combination with the Studio Tracker Dolly. “The flexibility of this system meant Focus Puller Richard Mansfield and I could set up shots ourselves very quickly. The versatility of the tripod’s multiple heights combined with the easy ‘click in’ nature of the Dolly added dramatically to the production value and simply saved us set up time which equals more shots per day.”

Six months later, Judd sensed Déjà vu as he turned up to the Pickle screening, only to be conscripted on Hulahoop production #2, Chucky. “Once again we shot on an Arriflex SRII from Panavision, Sydney and this time we really put the DS60 head to the test. Grip Chris Davies is the major supporter / user of equipment from German company GFM (Grip Factory Munich) and on this job we tried a wide range of his toys.”

DS60 great head for Panther and GFM

juddoverton4Chucky’s prime location was a supermarket interior, with shooting happening at dusk. Our lead actress was in the opening week of a stage play and was only available before 5pm and again after 8pm if she skipped her curtain call. Our first set up was a rapid rise from close detail of a car park to clear a Karmann Ghia as it screams to a halt. We used the DS-60 attached to the GFM Ubangi to position the camera over the centre line of the car and rather than adding plates to get the camera to shoot down at 90 degrees we used the Miller head’s sturdy lock offs in combination with the Ubangi’s rotating bowl. All of this was mounted on a Panther dolly which controlled the rapid assent.”

The Director’s Cut

juddoverton6Chucky was director Janneke Fussell’s first film as a ‘solo director’. She set the bar high from Scene 1. “Having worked with video I really wanted to experiment with film and after finishing In a Pickle (as producer) I really saw there was no other option.”

“The Karmann Ghia carpark shot was ambitious: Judd said it was pretty difficult but he was just the man to take the challenge! On the day (with the assistance of the very generous Heidi from Miller and Chris Davies our Grip who brought along lots of great equipment) we were able to achieve a shot I was absolutely thrilled with. Judd was great to work with: he understood exactly where I was going and came up with some awesome ideas to help tell the story in a creative but economical way… and his shots look so great!”

Giving young film makers a startjuddoverton5

“It doesn’t stop there. All our rushes have really come up a treat and it’s thanks to a wonderful creative team giving their time and talents, but also to people like Miller, Panavision, Kodak, Digital Pictures and Chris Davies who make a really generous effort to support up and coming film makers. It really would be impossible to stretch the boundaries without the support of professional entities. We would be forced with our little budget to go back to video and not achieve the look that we wanted.”

We are still in post with Chucky and I am absolutely thrilled with how it has come up. Keeping our fingers crossed for Tropfest but we have aspirations to enter Chucky and our other films in many international film festivals.

The Writer’s take

juddoverton3Rory Williamson, Director/Writer of In a Pickle explores the ins and outs of Hulahoop’s next production, Legacy. “Making films seems like such a great idea. It’s a wonderful moment when you come up with the initial concept for your next film, but it’s the beginning of a long journey….much longer than it seems at that joyous point of conception.”

“When you are starting out making films, you really depend on the kindness of strangers. Some strangers come to the party in a big way, some in a minor way, others won’t even return your calls (be sure never to use them when your rich and famous!).”

“Anyway Miller helped us out in a big way, not just by supplying us with a lot of gear, but supplying gear that was efficient, and extremely good at saving time: in our case their equipment literally saved our film.”

“We had 15 minutes of light, a park ranger who wanted to go home, and we needed to get a ridiculous amount of shots. We also had to find another child actor, as ours had eaten too many Fredo frogs, had a sugar OD and refused to perform. The kids scene was crucial to the story’s plot.”

juddoverton2Janneke saved the day when she saw some kids hopping into cars with there parents after soccer training. She flagged down the last car as it was leaving the park …the kid inside that car is now one of the stars of that film, he did a great job considering how freaked out his director was at that time. I guess the film was meant to happen.”

“With the use of the DS60 Head and lightweight user-friendly tripod kit, and the smooth three wheel dolly we were able to nail 8 crucial shots in 15 minutes - unthinkable really. It saved the film. Thank you Miller.”

Thank you Judd, thank you Janneke, thank you Rory.


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