LIGHTBOX Films based in Porto Portugal recently put Miller Arrow tripod systems to the test on two very different jobs and utilised the versatile range of Miller tripod legs on offer to achieve the demands of each client’s project.
LIGHTBOX Films was established in 2005, developed from a youth association of cinematic arts, AACV (which started in 1986). LIGHTBOX Films started as a company focused on alternative drama production in the form of long feature films. The first big production was “Bullets & Cookies” (original title: Balas & Bolinhos, 2001), a first step in a very alternative and typical comedy style. After the first film was made, soon the team felt like it would be nice to create a sequel (the first one ever made in Portugal!). So, the LIGHTBOX Films team had to make something really big. “Bullets & Cookies 2 – The Return” (original title: Balas & Bolinhos 2 –O Regresso, 2004) was shot in a very fresh and innovative style, this film was a huge national success and soon it received the label of a “cult movie”. The very low cost budget was tough and with no sponsorships from the Portuguese State, the team has struggled to get enough money to get this movie distributed on the big screen. But, when there is a will there is always a way and LIGHTBOX Films made it!
These days LIGHTBOX Filmswork is divided in several areas: TV commercial spots, Institutionalmovies, Drama, Documentary, Music Videos, Event Coverage, short and long Feature Films, and all the work is now shot solely in High Definition.
The latest project where LIGHTBOX Films utilised the Arrow Tripod Systems from Miller was the shoot for the Xtreme Jet promotional video. When LIGHTBOX Films received the “green light” for this job, they wanted to make the viewer feel the adrenaline, as if they were really there, experiencing the jet boat ride. Shooting in a “inside view” style, was one of LIGHTBOX creative’s first demands. High speed driving, water all around, crazy moves with the boats… it was a very difficult and challenging job.
The LIGHTBOX Films crew decided the Arrow 25 system with Miller Solo ENG legs was the perfect camera support to film the adrenalin-packed promo for Xtreme Jet. The Jet boat had to be fully loaded, as if the boat crew was doing their job without our presence. There was no room for any crew members to be inside the boat shooting. The first option was to use a traditional car mount on the boat, but the surface of the boat was not very level, therefore making it difficult to use that mounting system. So the crew hatched a plan to use the Arrow 25 and solo legs with the idea that they could try to use it over the boat. Also, the higher angle would work a lot better than the initial idea of the car mount. The overall mounting of the tripod to the front of the boat worked very well and the Solo system revealed itself to be a “true miracle” for the shooting of this video. The crew were satisfied with the mounting flexibility the amazing spreaderless tripod had with it’s independently leg angle lock control with the solo tripod becoming a must have tool for the LIGHTBOX Films crew.
You can see the promotional videos of “Xtreme Jet boat River Safari” online at:http://www.xtremejet.pt/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=32&Itemid=53 or http://www.vimeo.com/1581037
For a different client, LIGHTBOX Films were to shoot a TV Christmas commercial in their studios using three different camera setups, providing different angles and camera looks: The first setup was a Miller Arrow 55 with Carbon Fibre HD legs (#1741 system) plus a #480 studio dolly, supporting Sony’s XDCAM HD camera, model PDW-F330 with Canon’s HD wide angle lens. The second setup was Miller’s Arrow 25 head with Sprinter ENG Carbon Fibre legs (#1778 system), supporting Sony’s XDCAM EX camera, model PMW-EX3. And the third setup was a Miller Arrow 25 head with MovieTech’s cine dolly on tracks, supporting JVC’s GY-HD251 camera with PL mount adapter and Optar Illumina 16mm lens. This particular commercial was made for the biggest distribution group of supermarkets in Portugal.
LIGHTBOX Films choice to use Miller on these two projects is influenced by their long relationship with equipment supplier EAC (Emilio de Azevedo Campos, S.A) who supply Miller Camera Support tripod systems in Portugal.
Luis Ismael from LIGHTBOX Films explains their choice of support, “Last year, we decided we needed to invest in a new tripod, so we have tested two brands: Miller and Sachtler. EAC has loaned us two different systems for several days and trained us how to use the tripods to make good use of all the advantages from both systems.” After testing, the Arrow 25 with Solo ENG legs and the Arrow 55 with Heavy Duty Carbon Fibre legs as well as the Sachtler System 12 SB ENG 2D, LIGHTBOX Films had a hard decision. When the results of the side by side test results came in the choice was to remain as Miller Camera Support users and they secured a Arrow 25 Solo package (#1793 system) and the Arrow 55 HD CF (#1741 system).
The reasons behind LIGHTBOX Films choice of support derived from the huge diversity of shooting scenarios; from easy set ups to extremely difficult conditions. Miller’s tripods revealed some very important advantages: the main reason was that the Miller tripods are fast and easy to set up and they are robust and solid in the field. The crew from LIGHTBOX Films were keen to note that the Arrow 25 Solo system was a very practical all terrain solution, that provided them the freedom to shoot on uneven surfaces such as stairs, ramps, boats, and also the versatile range in tripod height, to shoot low angles and also “above the crowd”. And their choice for Arrow 55 HD CF System was a really rock solid solution for Heavy Duty work when they are shooting in demanding and tough conditions.