Over the past semester I have started to really branch out an learn about as much independent filming as I could. I started to follow a lot of different websites such as Cinema 5D and my personal favorite Phillip Bloom's website and blog. Phillip Bloom is a British cinematographer who works on a higher professional level as well as making his own independent videos. The video I am focusing on today is "From Chicago to the Moon", one of his most recently pieces. This film was shot in 4k. 4k resolution is considered Ultra High definition. 4k resolution has 3840 pixels x 2160 compared to 1080p which is HDTV or 2k resolution. This explains why the video looks so beautiful and the reason why you may be asking your self why your videos don't look like that.
The cameras used for this film were the Sony F55 and the Canon 1DC. These two camera bodies combined cost around 40,000 dollars. Thats a lot compared to my Canon T3i which was 600. My first point I want to make is that you definitely get what you pay for. My T3i can produce awesome shots and its a great camera to start off with, however the two camera Phillip Bloom used are professional grade equipment and are worth every penny to a professional. The shots in this video are beautiful, its is almost spot on to what the human eye can capture, and thats why the equipment costs so much, quality. The quality of the shots in this video is what made it a Vimeo Staff Pick not the story, which kind of confuses me. I'm personally a big fan of using video as means of telling a story and when you break this video down, it is just a lot of B-roll. I'm not critiquing the quality or beauty of this piece of art, I'm saying is the content could have been more intriguing. However this video was shot in about 15 minutes. In the post about this video Phillip Bloom says he was at dinner and then had he saw something he had to capture but only had so much time to get the shots, luckily he had his equipment with him. Along with his two cameras he had an array of lenses including a 800m lens with two telephoto extenders making his 800m 4x its actual size. He used this to obtain the shots of the moon as well as the skyline. The shots of the moon were probably my favorite part of the film, the definition of an object so far away is just amazing. The shots of the skyscrapers were quite interesting as well, he says in his blog post that the shoot location was about 40 miles away from the city of chicago.
Overall the video is quite creative, my only problem with it is that it is getting so much reception without even a basic story line. There are plenty of ways you could bullshit the story or symbolism behind the video, but the plot should be observable to the viewer without to much effort. This video is however a great example of the mentality a cinematographer should have. Phillip Bloom saw something he like and he filmed it with what he had, granted he usually has a lot more available then you average film student but the general idea is there. If you want to be successful you should be shooting something at least once a week if not once a day, some footage will be shit, other footage will be great but thats all part of the process. The videographer of this video saw that the sun went down and he immediately started shoot the moon, thats the mindset you must have when you're shooting. There is always something else to shoot, even if it is as simple as the moon.