Trailer for the new documentary that I DP’d “Confluence”

“The Lewiston / Clarkston valley has a rich history. It is here, at the confluence of the Clearwater and Snake Rivers, where Lewis and Clark camped on their westward journey over two hundred years ago. Residents boast that the valley is the gateway to Hells Canyon, that Lewiston was Idaho’s first capital. However, the valley also has a much darker past, one that many know about, but few publicly acknowledge. From 1979 to 1982, five people disappeared. Only three of the bodies have ever been found. All share one suspect.”

I have been waiting to share this for AGES!! I shot it in the summer of last year in Lewiston, Idaho over a period of about 10 days on the Canon 5DmkII and the 7D. Directed by Vernon Lott and Jennifer Anderson. I am incredibly proud of this film. It’s beautiful and very powerful.

The trailer is up, but I am not sure when it is being released. Last I heard it was either going to go round festivals or go onto iTunes. Check out the website here.

Shooting Confluence

I will do a write up of the shoot very soon now that the trailer is here. But in the meantime enjoy! My excellent assistant Preston Kanak did some of the pick up shots for this…

Also check out the end title track edited to shots from the film below the trailer.

It really shows you that the Canon DSLRs can produce some beautiful images!!

For the opening shot Preston simply held the Canon on the front of the boat. Simple as that. For the helicopter shots I shot everything with a simple open door, Canon 5DmkII with 24-105 F4 IS lens resting on a pillow then used smoothcam in FCP. You can see the test I did below…



  1. Philip can you ask the people that own the rights to also sell the movie on Amazon and XBOX 360 and PS3 PSN store and Vudu movie service.

    I have three Roku Boxs that I sometimes buy stuff for.

    I have a old Apple TV but buying content from iTunes is a pain. You have to back up what you buy. With all the other services you content is all in the cloud just stream it when you want.

  2. Very nice. I spent better part of a year shooting cold case stories, happy to say I’ve seen a couple of them solved. I always find shooting these kinds of stories very interesting.

    Look forward to seeing it.

  3. Loved the trailer …

    It just goes out to say, how the right tools in right hands can make so much of difference to a way how a story can be told.

    Please do keep us posted on the launch/release dates.

    And am def looking forward for the Host too 🙂


    1. @timothy
      I think Philip explained this in the post
      “For the helicopter shots I shot everything with a simple open door, Canon 5DmkII with 24-105 F4 IS lens resting on a pillow then used smoothcam in FCP”

      1. I’d love to know a few more details about how this was shot. I’m going up to shoot some footage out of a helicopter soon with my 5dmkII. This is the simplest solution I’ve come across so far to minimize vibrations without using a gyro. Do you have any behind the scenes footage from this shoot?

        – What kind of pillow was it? A small headrest one, foam or feathers or a larger one with springs?

        – Was the pillow placed on the floor of the helicopter?

        – Did you shoot it at 30p and slowed it down?

        I guess I’ll just have to bring a few options and try it out but if you do get a chance to reply I’d appreciate it!

  4. Really great work Philip! We’re also finishing production for a documentary on GH13’s investigating Natural Gas Drilling in the U.S., that we plan to have a trailer for this week… see a rough of one chapter:

    Is there any fundraising for this film (kickstarter)? I’d like to feature it in our + Truth page for The Public Herald when we launch the website next week.

    Anxious to see the full film soon.

  5. Seriously man, the shots are beautiful.

    Before I read this I actually thought some of the shots were from your new baby ..the ‘RED EPIC’.

    I dont even think ‘cinestyle’ was out then was it?

    awesome man

  6. FCP smoothc. and MB-
    Were you in “M” mode ?

    if so, whats with the sudden shift of light intensity @ 1:16 ?
    Looks like a change of f.stop or shutter speed?

    What happened.

  7. have you filmed this entirely on 5DMk II ? Or other DSLRs? I want to know what color sampling are you using ? Is 4:2:0 enough for this kind of project ?

  8. Awesome, the opening shot had some stabilization besides grabbing it on the boat? intense take.

    Looks like a good piece of documentary work. These cameras excel for people shots so good!

    I did notice some strange warping in the aerial shots that today with Warp Stabilizer in After effects might look less jumpy. Otherwise a flawless shoot!

  9. Hey Phillip, I love the way it looks and generally love everything you shoot, but I have to say I’m not sure the 5D is the best camera for a documentary. Or, maybe just scenics, but the interviews look so polished that it feels like a television PSA or commercial. Just a thought…

  10. Hey Philip,
    I’m an aspiring dp from New York, I stumbled onto your site a little over a year ago and I’ve watched all of your films and kept up with your commentaries, even your micro-blog. I just wanted to say that to me, your films always make me feel something and are not only truly inspiring, but you also manage to connect on a more personal level. Thank you so much for not just simply posting your work, but going into the depth of why and giving me info I would only really get by shadowing someone on set.

  11. I know this is a bit off topic but have you heard anything about this film coming out called “Act of Valor.” They say 90% of the film was shot on DSLRs 5D and 7D). I had to watch the trailer a few times because it looks like a RED at times.

    Back on topic

    Those shots are AMAZING! Like I expected some really good shots but it flows so well and I love the look and feel it produces.

  12. Was just watching the smooth cam footage for the helicopter, Big improvement after fcp Smoothcam. Which settings did you use and how does it stay so clean
    My experience and the experiences of most of the people i know with smooth cam are not so great. Mostly the background of the footage starts to become jumpy and a strange blur comes over the image. Am i looking over something?
    Thanks in advance

  13. I recall you mentioning on a podcast a while back that this job was coming up for you. This looks like a really chilling story. The footage has a really nice color to it and cuts well with the old newspaper articles. My favorite shot is at 30 seconds, but the editor couldn’t have picked a better opening shot. Can’t wait to watch the doc!

  14. Hey Philip, I am really excited to see this one – I am from the Lewiston area (how many of your followers can say that!). It’s a beautiful area and looking to seeing more of your shots and video from the area.

    Keep us posted on this, please!

  15. Love the aerial shots Mr. Bloom! The are already really smooth right out of the camera. What flat Picture Style do you prefer for the 7d and 5d?

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