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Behind The Scenes: Kessler Crane Key West Shoot from Cristina Valdivieso + Jon Connor on Vimeo.

It’s taken me a while to finish this piece, a lot longer than usual, mainly down to my crazy schedule here in the states. I am currently in Lewiston, Idaho shooting a documentary on the 7D, 5Dmkii and 1Dmkiv. It’s going to be really good I hope, I can’t say much more until it is edited then I will do a blog on it. Been great fun shooting and big thanks to Preston Kanak my intern. He has been amazing…more from him soon as he has a great project at the moment, making a 3 minute film every day of this year!

I shot this about 2 weeks or so ago down in Key West. I was down with my good friend Eric Kessler of Kessler Crane. We were testing out gear, some of it very new. Amongst the gear we tested were the excellent “Pocket Jib”, the Oracle system and the new Philip Bloom signature edition Pocket Dolly, yes you are reading that correctly. I love the Cineslider and I love the PD V2 so Eric said “why don’t I simply make a special one to your specs” and he did. It’s awesome, I have the traveller 2 foot length but there will be a 3 foot one too. It has the drag control of the Cineslider and the different gearing and crank of the Cineslider too. Love it…it will be out for sale in September hopefully. Price TBA. It’s a perfect slider for me. Am very happy with it! It works with all the motor stuff and Oracle too and does the vertical moves as demonstrated by Eric using the V2 3 foot pocket dolly at the bottom of this post. The normal V2 one is still great, this will just have more features but it will cost more for sure. It will be $995 including the outrigger feet which cost $150 normally, a special case to carry it in, gearing taking from the Cineslider as well as the crank mechanism and the drag control from the Cineslider.  This is not a replacement for the V2, simply a higher spec version made to my requirements.

Shooting Lewiston Documentary using "Philip Bloom" Pocket Dolly

The Pocket Jib is simply awesome. Very easy to set up and smooth as anything. We got a permit to film in Mallory Square for 2 evenings in Key West, no way we could have gone guerilla with this! I had some help. Eric was there as were CanonFilmmakers.com’s Jon Connor and Cristina Valdivieso filming BTS and training videos. The jib ads SO much to your shots, admittedly it is a bit overused in the below shoot but as the short was to show of the toys it made sense to use it a lot! Normally one MAYBE two shots in a piece like this would be enough. The jib costs just $1200 , amazing quality for this price!

With the jib we had the K-Pod tripod system which is a joy for this as it has wheels. You can use your own 100mm bowl tripod but make sure it can take the weight! We got the balance weights from a local sports shop…flying with them is daft and expensive!

If you cannot afford the Pocket Jib they make a KC-Lite which is great for DSLRs and costs about $400! It’s not as good as the Pocket Jib or the Kessler Cranes but if you are on a budget there is nothing else out there that touches the KC-Lite at that price.
Lens wise I used the 14mm F2.8L for most of the jib stuff…a 50mm F1.2L, 100mm F2.8L macro and a 70-200 F4 IS. All sound was done in camera using the manual setting of the 5DmkII and the superb camera mic, the RODE video mic. Aspect ratio is 2.55:1 cropped in FCP.
The film below is different from my usual stuff. Quite episodic and quirky. I simply love the Pocket Jib shots…shame I had to give it back to Eric!
Next stop on the road for me is Monument Valley. A place I have always wanted to visit ever since I feel in love with the John Ford movie “The Searchers”. I should have my film of that done by the end of the week!! Then home FINALLY! I cannot wait to see my family, cats and friends!

2 nights in Mallory Square from Philip Bloom on Vimeo.

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Comments

  1. SKC says:

    nice stuff with the basket weaver. not so into the crane moves. a lot of them seemed forced, but you know that judging by your write up

    1. Graeme says:

      Philip did I hear you say “yes f**k off” at about 50 seconds in???

      1. pbloom says:

        no i said “lock it off”!

  2. Luke says:

    monument valley! so jealous!!!

    would love to explore that area with a camera one day! am sure you will make it look stunning short on it philip!

    keep up the awesome work,

    Luke

  3. DonBurroni says:

    I want one, a great film as always Philip! I know its a movie but it looks like film, top notch old boy.

  4. Martin says:

    Hi Philip,
    really nice movie, love the new quirkiness and those characters!
    One question concerning the jib though, did you use it with the hercules head on the k-pod or did you use that swivel mount? Would you recommend one over the other? Guess the Hercules plays nice with a slider, but so does my normal tripod head. Anyway, that jib is a piece to get…

    Take care and travel safe,
    best,
    martin

    1. pbloom says:

      the kpod comes with it’s own head so you don’t need the hercules head for it.

  5. congrats to your signature slider!
    Also: these vertical slider shots look really f*cking amazing.

  6. thomas says:

    Hi Philip,

    nice short!

    different from your other shorts!
    i love the crane and the slides Shots!

    Greetings from The Netherlands =D

  7. Justin B. says:

    You know, I have to hand it to you Philip, you are really helping to deliver key tools to filmmakers everywhere. I really appreciate this and I know that others do too. I have been eyeing the Cineslider but now will most certainly check out the Pocket Dolly and Pocket Jib.

    A thousand thanks for your efforts and your art.

    JB.

  8. Jeff says:

    When is the “Philip Bloom” dolly going to become available?

  9. Mike says:

    It’s great to see you featuring more products that are useful for us users and can get that ‘epic’ look.

    It would be absolutely awesome if you could negotiate a discount from those manufacturers for your readers!!!

  10. Dale B-Smith says:

    Great choice of music Phil; can’t recall you ever using music by Mothersburgh in the past but Tenenbaums (and Mothersburgh) is a cracker and perfect music to accompany this specific short. Good work, love the jib stuff. Looking forward to finally seeing you back in Blighty for the meet up – I heard a rumour you were from here initially ;)

    1. pbloom says:

      I love that movie! Yes I am from England and am BLOODY homesick!! Cannot wait to get home

      1. Joe Rodriguez says:

        Do you ever get the shorts licensed for using the copyrighted tracks?

  11. Pretty cool Philip, and certainly the jib adds a lot to the production value, liked the POV camera as well.

    Regards

    Jose Luis Tamez

  12. Doug C says:

    Shame Spiderman let himself go like that.

    1. pbloom says:

      I want to make a short with that dude “Middle-aged overweight Spider-Man!”

      1. Greg says:

        Very nice philip, and I can’t wait to see more of the Bloom slider,
        Oh and spiderman looked great for his age but I’m guessing his spidey senses no longer funtion.

      2. Jon Connor says:

        Middle aged overweight spider man, spiderman didn’t quite make it to the scene of the crime. Thats okay. He’s overweight. That’s why he didn’t make it there. (sung to the tune of the Spiderman theme song)

  13. Ray Roman says:

    hey philip! make sure you hit me up when you get ready to film a short on south beach.

    -ray r.

  14. adam p says:

    i meant to ask you this in philly, did you have to get permission to set up the jib there or did you just go for it?

    1. pbloom says:

      Permit as mentioned in blog! ;)

  15. sean says:

    question: On the “hit the road jack part.” the angle changes but the audio stay consistent in the sound and video … how did you do that… multiple cameras?

    1. pbloom says:

      Multiple takes Sean, one camera

  16. kevin k says:

    Nice one phil !

    One question about the people your film.
    Do you ask ask permission for filming and publicatition of there apperiance, or/and let them sign a clerification ?

    Kevin.

    1. pbloom says:

      I simply ask and do a verbal release

  17. Michael Buffa says:

    Very nice Phil. That pocket jib looks pretty sweet. I can see why Jon has a new love obsession.

  18. Kevin H says:

    Great Stuff as always Philip!
    Eric’s gear is amazing, really allows for lots of additional creativity ;)
    Great meeting you in Key West! Hopefully one day you’ll make it
    it to Trinidad and have a Shark and Bake :)

  19. roberto says:

    The p.o.v at the table is genius. Did she see any firmware updates coming ?? You had the chance to ask so many questions..love, money, raw..he.he.

    Phil, any noticeable difference shooting 1080p over 720p? The file sizes seem the same.

    Love this short…ended too soon.

  20. LFK says:

    Awesome ! Stunning shots :O
    Never enough ultra wide travelings.
    just 2 questions :
    -why 2.55:1 aspect ratio instead of 2.40:1 (traditional cinemascope ratio) ?
    -what was the ISO setting for the night shots ? (1600 ?) I can’t see any noise and it’s so bright !
    It gets really noisy with my 550D when I go beyond iso 1600…

    Bravo :)

    1. pbloom says:

      i wanted super wide!

      your 550 won’t go above 1600 without getting noisy am afraid!

  21. ADRIAN P says:

    Hello Philip,
    i am a big fan of everything you do and am taking your class prior to westdoc
    on 9/11 in santa monica, just wondering if you will also be speaking at westdoc ? if so when ?

  22. Tricky Dan says:

    Fantastic stuff as usual Phil!

    There’s a tutorial on this site for a music video where you move the video up and down between the black bars via a FCP plugin so you weren’t confined to using just the center part of the image:

    1. Just wondering if you cropped the 2.55:1 ratio when you were exporting or if you used that plugin?

    2. And, if so, what was the name of it and is there one for Premiere? (couldn’t find one from a lot of searching!)

    1. pbloom says:

      i cropped within FCP and then just exported a quicktime with those dimensions…

    2. LFK says:

      with premiere you just have an effect called “crop”…
      If you want 2.40:1 AR then you set to ’27′ (or 26 I don’t remember)for the upper and bottom of your video.
      You didn’t search enough in premiere I guess ;)

  23. Peter Vandall says:

    Philip did you grade this piece? Or did you have picture profile set in the camera?

    1. pbloom says:

      flat PP and graded in Magic Bullet Looks!

  24. Imacanon says:

    great stuff man :)

    sometimes was it tough to see what you were shooting in the day shots while using the Jib cuz from the pics it looks like you were mainly using the LCD screen on the camera with no Marshall Monitor?

    1. pbloom says:

      I should have used my monitor…would have been a LOT easier!

  25. Chris says:

    Looks and sounds great, curious though did you use LiveView to focus the entire shoot? I’m awaiting delivery of a 7d and after spending money on the model and a coupla lens upgrades options are limited for a z-finder/LCDVF option or an external HDMI monitor… which do you find best for focusing?

    Your work is inspiring.

    1. pbloom says:

      hi Chris. i didn’t use a monitor or anything else. Handheld I need a Z-Finder. A monitor for tripod use usually…just not on this shoot!

  26. arif rasib says:

    very nice phil. was that you in spiderman outfit in the last shot. lol

  27. Devin p. says:

    Beautiful as always!
    just tried out a friends t2i, didn’t like it – going for the 7d :)

    I stumbled upon a do it yourself dolly/slider called the “zaza slider”? ($150) no idea if its any good or not. thought you might be interested.

  28. Michiel says:

    Hi Phil,
    Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant !
    You are the cause of my ever heavier backpack…
    I love the last shot of the bewildered Spiderman.
    Tell me… was that you ?

    Congrats with this, again, very inspiring piece of work,

    Michiel

  29. Devin p. says:

    I was also wondering how troublesome it was to pull focus while using the crane (with no monitor), I guess you just set it before you start your move and hope for the best?

    I know what its like to focus with the LCD, can be very difficult, but in those situations that’s what separates amateurs from pros. The end result was perfect Phil. great job man!

    -devin

    1. pbloom says:

      a remote follow focus and monitor would be needed for more controlled operation for sure…

  30. STR says:

    Great stuff Phil , congrats on your own signature edition Pocket Dolly!! be sure to post up more info as soon as it comes, definitely down for one.

    You got some really great characters in this piece which you nailed perfectly – night shots superb love to know what ISO were you sitting on mainly??

    p.s look forward to checking out episodes of middle aged spider man adventures in the future.

    man, after your travels – I bet your dying for some relaxo at home!

    take it easy

    Seb

    1. pbloom says:

      2500 ISO i think was max i used…

  31. Hi Phillip! ~ just loved your little shiny movie, so great man! Very inspiring, I am a photographer and v keen to start playing with my 5d mkii for some film projects, I travel a lot with photography work, and this is so exciting to see all the possibilities with the filming.. big thanks for the inspiration and all the great effort you make in your wonderful website.. top positive vibes!!
    Chris

    1. pbloom says:

      Thanks Chris

  32. cedric says:

    Great film Philip !

    This one goes with one of my favorite ” Venice’s people” with a more documentary approach, I like hearing the people you film.

    Thanks !

    1. pbloom says:

      thanks Cedric

  33. Greg Taylor says:

    Phil, it’d be great for you to strap on a go pro on your hairy face and hit record BEFORE you film your subjects. I’d love to hear what your ‘approach’ is to filming these people, as it’s your ability to a walk up to a stranger, stick a camera in someones face and still get them to act natural that is the big draw for me in your work. The gear, techniques and location are secondary (although cool). Alternatively, I’d be fine with you not doing so, though as you share enough already!!!

    1. pbloom says:

      one day Greg!

  34. vík says:

    …Did U leave a tip???….

  35. Xander Collier says:

    Great episode Phil! Hope you know how many people you inspire just by putting these up. Made my day!

    Great sound just from the rode mic, have any problems with the monitoring of it? Was it just 50mm F1.2L @ night that you used? or various?

    Also, off topic – any news from canon re: updates on unlocking raw shooting mode or updated models etc as heard in shootout?

    An appletini awaits in Sydney!

    Xan

    1. pbloom says:

      thanks Xander, Oz looks pretty certain, having a meeting about it Tuesday. Off the Appletini’s! Hendick’s and Tonic with cucumber please!

  36. Hi Philip … The end shot is absolute comedy genius.

    Its a different feel to this than your normal work, particularly in the grade, has a darker/dirtier feel but quite soft too .. very film like indeed and a real joy to watch.

    1. pbloom says:

      thanks v much Stephen

  37. Very nice Philip!, and congratulations on your signature dolly, that’s rad. I think I’m gonna have to get one of these.. I tried building my own Igus slider but it’s way to heavy and certainly not precision.. Is there any mirco wiggle room on the sliders contact points?

    Much love, more aloha, Kalani-

  38. Bill Vincent says:

    Fun stuff, loved it!

    1. pbloom says:

      thanks Bill

  39. Mark says:

    Where can I get one of those black T-shirts that you’re wearing with the cool dark-patch effect? Probably an expensive designer look…

    1. pbloom says:

      come to Florida and it comes natural!

  40. Javier says:

    Congrats! beautiful piece Philip. Last shot with Spidy is priceless, despite of the tip advice!:) I loved the framing on the “fortune-teller” with the languages sign. And of course all those characters that deserve a space in our lifes. BTW the crane seems to work pretty well although doen’t look very portable :) Cool!

    1. pbloom says:

      thanks Javier

  41. danesh says:

    http://vimeo.com/12392102

    I just wanted to chk 7d’s low light capabilities..
    2 DIY LED light panels+ DIY slider

  42. Madrid says:

    Simply genial, i like me the photography of this movie…..

    Me pareces un genio, me encanta tu dirección de fotografía y el uso de recursos económicos para la grabación . Vivo en Madrid y te sigo frecuentemente, trabajo en una cadena de televisión en edición y junto con mis compis seguimos todos tus trabajos. Siento mi pobre ingles.
    Gracias por tu web.
    Pd. Si vienes alguna vez a Madrid, me encantaría saludarte.

  43. Philip:

    I really like this one a lot–I’m going to use it as a model for my film students at NAU. I recently analyzed the composition of this piece for my blog, which you might find interesting! (http: kurtlancaster.com/dslr-cinema/

    Kurt

    1. pbloom says:

      cheers kurt, not my favourite piece but glad you like it!

  44. Tej Babra says:

    Congratulations on the Signature Series Pocket Dolly.
    It looks fantastic!

  45. Hello Philip, I am one of your site’s ardent follower based in Toronto. I am impressed with the 2 nights in Mallory shot. It is fantastic. The pocket job seems great. How did you do the focus?

    1. pbloom says:

      stopped down so my depth of field was deep

  46. Chuck Farris says:

    Greetings from Miami, Philip (you should’ve swung by!).
    Great film, mate!

    Your sense of humor helped capture the quirkiness that is Key West!
    I shot there a couple of months ago, but it was of home renovations.
    I missed the bizarreness of Mallory Square!

    GREAT timing on the sword swallower preparing, then swallowing the sword!
    The whole film, you work with the music so well (as always!).
    I guess you didn’t want natsound beneath the music?

    While using the crane without a monitor, did you just guess on the high shots? Did you play the shots back to check them?

    Also wondering if you remember what you used in MB other than contrast?
    It’s a great look. Shame you didn’t get a perfect sunset while there.
    Will the Southernmost Point shots be in another film?

    Lastly- Venice Beach vs Mallory Square… who gets your vote for quirkiest?

    … be careful if Guilmette offers you a beer ;^) have a great shoot in Monument valley, and a safe trip home.
    And congratulations on your breath holding record!!!

    1. pbloom says:

      thanks Chuck. i had the lens closed down to make focus less of an issue

      venice beach is better for sure as it’s real!

      no plans to use southernmost point shots, they didn’t fit in the end.

  47. Dave Sullivan says:

    Hi Philip,

    Loved ’2 Nights in Mallory Square’. You managed to find some great characters, and really nicely shot!!
    I don’t know if anyone else has noticed, but your voice makes a guest appearance at 00.50, where you tell a member of your crew to, “Yeah, lock it off”……Error, or Hitchcock?
    Keep up the fantastic work Philip.

    All the very best from sunny Southampton.

    Dave

    1. pbloom says:

      deliberate! needed that bit of sound so had to keep it in!

  48. Shung says:

    Just a suggestion: If you could also upload your shorts to YouTube would be wonderful, cannot watch them with my iPad. Thanks.

    1. pbloom says:

      Most are on YouTube under philipbloom but all are playable on iPad/ iPhone via vimeo site

  49. Jon Chema says:

    Phil, what’s different about your signature slider? Better gearing, smoothness? Or does it just look cooler ;)

    1. pbloom says:

      Better gearing, drag control, nicer design, outrigger feet and bag

  50. Jon Chema says:

    Gotcha…so worth the extra money it seems! you are a bad influence :)

  51. afritz says:

    Thanks for all your posts a videos. Learnt much so far.

    One topic still unresolved by my self (and many others it seems) is that of dropping frames.

    We have started using 1DMK4 for filming hotels and have issues with frames dropping. This is only when panning. I didn’t want to pester you, but can’t find a solution anywhere else on the web (been searching literally for months!)

    From talking with others, the same problem occurs with the 5DMk2.

    Is there a solution to this do you know?

    Very much appreciate any feedback Phillip.

  52. Blake Everhart says:

    haha so do you tip the performers before putting a camera in their face?

    1. pbloom says:

      oh yeah money first. they are bloody full on gimme money now type people there

  53. Philipp Ulrich says:

    Really great BTS video there, love it!

  54. lunarphile says:

    Hey Philip,

    What is that Manfrotto head in your 3rd picture from the top and in the video? It looks like the 504HDV…
    If so do you have any experience with their 501 head? Was wondering what improvements you might notice between the two.

    1. pbloom says:

      503 HDV…501 is junk…this is just OK…i hear the 504 is good

  55. Bokes says:

    How can I mount the slider to a standard tripod legs such as a satchler and then mount the fluid head to the slider? I suppose I need extra mounting hardware?

    1. pbloom says:

      Get a ball mount to flat head adaptor and a hi hat for the slider

  56. Tal says:

    Philip, this is probably my favorite video of yours. Beautifully shot and funny.

    I haven’t seen anyone asking this question before in your blog, but I would really appreciate if you could give some real tips on how are you approaching those people in the streets. I live in Amsterdam and I find people in the streets, especially street performers very suspicious and not very cooperating, even if I tip them. How do you manage to get them relaxed? How do you present yourself? Do you tip each one? Do you just tell them to look straight into the camera? I know this could be mostly about karma.. but still if you have any tips that would be great.

    Thanks very much, Tal.

    p.s. any plans for a meet in Amsterdam?

  57. Love the 14mm 2.8 on the 5d. I’ve probably watch this over 10 times now. Great job Philip!

  58. Tim Bearder says:

    Hi Philip,

    I love the look of the KC Lite but I’m based in Oxford England and when I went to buy it online the postage was as much as the damn jib!

    I expect that this has been asked many times but is there a UK stockist or something similar in price that you would recommend to achieve the same kind of results?

    Cheers
    Tim

  59. Hello Philip
    i am just starting out – what equipment would be best for a interview ? i have a cannon 5 d mark 2 – 2 sets of lights – Zoom audio, tripod , slider and thats about it.

    Michael
    videolabs.com.au

    1. deneemotion says:

      off to buy a brand new one!