Miller Sharpshooters

Australian Film

 Baggage Claim was one of eight short films commissioned as part of the POV festival, an experiment in dramatic interpretation where eight teams of filmmakers were given the same basic script to work from.

The filmmakers were obliged to keep intact the dialogue from Brendan Cowell's original script, but could choose the location and tone of the film, and assign new names and genders to the characters. Each team was also required to come up with an appropriate climax for their particular story.

 Jason Harty

Baggage Claim was directed by Kate Riedl and produced by Karen Radzyner, and was shot in Pittwater and Sydney over four days in October 2002. Each of the films were shot on Mini DV format with a Canon XL1 camera supplied by the festival. Cinematographer Andy Commis was keen to push the boundaries of the Mini DV format, and after experimenting with several different looks, finally decided to use a typical household clingfilm as a filter. The result was images which softened the hard edges often produced by the Mini DV tape format and a diffusion of a lot of the colours, especially in scenes shot under low light conditions.

While a lot of the film was shot handheld, a Miller DS-10 camera support system played a crucial role in the final sequence of the film, according to Commis. "The steadiness of the final shots of the film helped convey a sense that the anxiety in the main character's life had passed," he said. Commis said he was impressed with the smooth action, good balance and good tension of the DS-10. "It was really well-suited to the type of camera we were using and the type of shooting we were doing."

The portability of the head and legs was also appreciated, especially as the crew was moving between difficult to get to locations, often travelling by boat. "It was a really compact system, which was what we needed for this production," he added. A second camera on the film was operated by Steve McDonald.
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