The first few moments of any message are critical…
We have all faced the inevitability of difficult choices in our lives. For kids growing up in an urban environment, these choices can literally be life changing, so we decided to start with one of these “moments”. We also wanted the viewer to experience the parallel of long distance running with the challenges of life; both involve “personal” battles that require overcoming self-doubt and the temptation to give up before reaching the finish line.
A second and critical element of the story was “transformation”. We wanted to be able to illustrate the incredible power of personal breakthrough even though much of this miracle is an “internal” event. So we opted to use three different aged runners to paint the picture of a very special life that evolved out of the struggle. We also decided that the “effects” that accompanied these “transition” points should be subtle yet effective. We utilized a number of impromptu focus groups to make sure we achieved the goal.
There were also some really cumbersome scheduling hurdles to jump, as well. The shoot had to be done at night, so this meant we couldn't start until around 10pm CST when traffic would be lighter. Working late also presented a few problems with coordinating talent schedules and finding ways of minimizing crew fatigue. Once midnight hits and you've worked a 12-hour day already, your brain powers down to about half speed. It took a concerted effort on the part of the entire cast & crew to keep everyone on point.
A night shot is always a huge challenge for any cinematographer, and with most cameras, this production would have been impossible to shoot without some additional lighting. Fortunately, we had recently invested in the new Canon C300. The camera proved to be incredibly adept at a wide spectrum of urban lighting and the latitude that it afforded blew us away.
The greatest technical challenge we faced was the stabilization of the running shots. In pre-production we ripped through several ideas that "would work but weren't ideal" and to be honest, our confidence was thin. We had seen so many uber-expensive gyro mounts for cars, and pricey gimble setups, and our fear was that we would have to break the budget to get quality running shots. But just when it seemed our options were slim to bleak, we came across a possible solution; The Sticky Pod.
The Sticky Pod essentially connects any tripod or fluid head to a series of support arms that can be suctioned onto any surface (in this case a car driving in front of our subject). It can support a lot of weight and is very customizable - it seemed to be the perfect solution. The one unknown was how it would perform absorbing the shock from bumps in the road. We immediately started testing the rig on our production vehicle, and we were floored by the results. Even on some really bumpy areas, our footage was coming out remarkably smooth.
In the end, this production was a fantastic experience and we were very gratified to hear how delighted our clients were with the results. A special thank you to all the talent, crew, and the Omaha Midnight Run for the opportunity to work on this amazing event.
Make sure to bring everyone you know to Omaha for a one of a kind experience.