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When a Small Move Makes All the Difference: Kessler Crane’s CineSlider

  • September 17, 2010
  • Shane Hurlbut, ASC
When a Small Move Makes All the Difference: Kessler Crane’s CineSlider

When I started the 5 week Marine’s commercial two months ago, I knew we would be in wide open spaces as well as tight quarters on the Amphibious Assault Destroyer. The project required gear that was versatile, so I turned to Kessler Crane’s CineSlider.  NAB was where I first saw this baby in action.  It was smooth, lightweight and quiet but beefy enough to take a Arri III.

 

Shane lines up the shot on the Amphibious Assault Destroyer where the Kessler Cine-Slider gave us that epic shot as the Osprey lifted off the flight Deck
Shane lines up the shot on the Amphibious Assault Destroyer where the Kessler CineSlider gave us that epic shot as the Osprey lifted off the flight Deck
Over the shoulder of the 5D with a 19mm R Series Leica moving from left to right to capture the Osprey's take off
Over the shoulder of the 5D with a 19mm R Series Leica moving from left to right to capture the Osprey’s take off

The first place we used it was on the Assault Destroyer in the middle of the Atlantic.  I was positioned up on the Crow’s nest of the ship and did a very subtle move from left to right as a C-22 Osprey lifted off and banked right.  I had the railings in the foreground and I looked down the whole flight deck to what would have been a beautiful lock off shot, yet this small 3’ move gave it a big screen cinematic feel.

 Elite Team member Bodie Orman assist's Shane with the sunrise Cine-Slider shot at the Iwo Jima Memoiral
Elite Team member Bodie Orman assist’s Shane with the sunrise CineSlider shot at the Iwo Jima Memorial
Over the shoulder of the 5D with a 100mm Kowa at sunrise in Washington D.C.
Over the shoulder of the 5D with a 100mm Kowa at sunrise in Washington D.C.
3 Camera set-up at sunrise at the Iwo Jima Memorial. Shane and Pedro the agency Art Director discuss the shot
3 Camera set-up at sunrise at the Iwo Jima Memorial. Shane and Pedro the agency Art Director discuss the shot.  CineSlider A Camera
6:23am Cine-Slider still shot just before the suns flares us out
6:23am CineSlider still shot just before the suns flares us out

 

From there we moved to Washington D.C. To shoot the Iwo Jima memorial at Sunrise. I positioned the CineSlider high up on the bank under the trees to get that classic stack: Iwo Jima Memorial, Washington Monument, and the Capital in the background.  Again we did a subtle move from left to right, the shot revealed the memorial from behind a tree that was in the foreground, and as we drifted across on a Kowa 100mm on the 5D the sun blasted the lens and flared us out.  When I saw this happen I knew this would be the out of the spot.  Perfect.

I love the feeling of being one with the camera and moving it by hand. I don’t use the crank handle that also moves the camera left or right.  Elite team member Dave Knudson rigged up the CineSlider so that I could mount it on a Sachtler head for ease of tilting and panning.  He then tapped out the center sled to accept our Hurlbut Visuals base-plate so that we could quickly convert different cameras to the CineSlider.

Bodie Orman in action again, but now behind the dolly, we are filmmakers to the core. Shane flies by as the train races into the graphic China Town station
Bodie Orman in action again, but now behind the dolly, we are filmmakers to the core. Shane flies by as the train races into the graphic China Town station

 

Next, to the Subway station.  I set up a 30’ dolly track on the mezzanine level of the China Town station.  While they were building that we went down to the subway platform to grab a shot of a businessman on his way to work.  We had to stay very small for us to be able to shoot at this location to begin with.  So one set of sticks and the CineSlider and we were able to move across a background extra as she crossed and dragged the camera into a close up of our businessman as the train entered the station.  The light flashing and dancing on his face was spectacular.

Elite Team member Marc Margulies stabilizes the Cine-Slider to be able to handle the Arri III
Elite Team member Marc Margulies stabilizes the CineSlider to be able to handle the Arri III
Over the shoulder of the Arri III on the Cine-Slider as the Marines stand at attention during Morning Colors
Over the shoulder of the Arri III on the CineSlider as the Marines stand at attention during Morning Colors
The Marines and Morning Colors at Sunrise with the Kessler Cine-Slider
The Marines and Morning Colors at Sunrise with the Kessler CineSlider
Cine-Slider enabled us to be able to leap frog to a Fisher 10 dolly shot that was all set up to take advantage of the small window of light. Elite Team member Dave Knudson is at the ready with matching hats
CineSlider enabled us to be able to leap frog to a Fisher 10 dolly shot that was all set up to take advantage of the small window of light. Elite Team member Dave Knudson is at the ready with matching hats

 

We used the CineSlider again at the Parris Island location in South Carolina.  The dolly shot was set up in the trees.  I needed to be able to go from one set up to the next because we had a very limited window of light.  So, I wanted a move on the two Marines in their dress blues holding the flag.  As the flag was raised up the flag pole, I slid across the flag unfurling in the foreground to reveal the two Marines.  This worked so well that we wrapped that set up and were able to move right over to the dolly shot in leap frog fashion.

Elite Team member Bodie Orman operates B Camera with the Kessler Cine-Slider behind a waterfall in this stunning Spa in Cancun, Mexico
Elite Team member Bodie Orman operates B Camera with the Kessler CineSlider behind a waterfall in this stunning Spa in Cancun, Mexico
Always thinking out of the box, the visuals through the waterfall were stunning with our Argentinean actress enjoying a playful plunge
Always thinking out of the box, the visuals through the waterfall were stunning with our Argentinean actress enjoying a playful plunge

I am writing this while on a plane to Cancun with the Kessler CineSlider in my overhead bin space.  The Elite Team and I are going to shoot a travel and tourism spot in Mexico with director Rob Lawe. The spot involves tight bathrooms and unique angles at spas where we will need to sneak under waterfalls to capture a couples massage, beneath sink plumbing to capture the romantic setting of an indoor outdoor shower at Secrets resort.  Sliding over candles, a tub full of bubbles and a beautiful couple enjoying a refreshing shower. The CineSlider will be in invaluable to us on this project.

A simple move can change the scope of a shot, the mood, and accent an actor’s performance.  It can bring about intimacy with a slight push in, reveal actors or plot points, punctuate a dramatic moment, or close a scene with a drift backwards.  You name it, a camera move used in the right moment changes the shot from something ordinary to extraordinary.  What do you use to move your camera?  I would love to hear your thoughts.

 

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