Documenting the Fight to Save the Children of Ukraine

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Tue, 12/03/2013 - 11:59 -- Nick Dager

Gennadiy documents the plight of Ukraine's children.The documentary Gennadiy follows Gennadiy Mokhnenko, whose life cause is to save the children forced to the streets of Mariupol, Ukraine, since the day the Soviet Union fell. The filming challenges are often unexpected. “We had to be ready in a moment’s notice to adapt, whether it be moving locations or adjusting the story,” said producer/director Danny Yourd.

“A lot depends on this,” he continued, “so the equipment always reflects this challenge. We need to be able to carry everything and move – so it was crucial we take into account what we chose to bring with us. That’s why the portability and strength of the Sachtler Ace L and the safety and protection of Petrol bags are ideal for the project.”

Yourd and team chose the Red Epic, Canon C300, various lenses, and a slider to go along with the Sachtler Video 15 SB and Ace L – all packed in Petrol’s Deca Airflow and Digiback DSLR Backpacks, so they could “focus on both cinematography and storytelling yet have the ability to be as nimble as possible,” said Yourd. “Having a small footprint was important because of some of the situations we were expecting to be in. Also, we knew there would be a lot of night filming as well as daytime, utilizing only existing light. So, we wanted to make sure the tools would work in those environments.”

“I was introduced to the Sachtler DV6 SB a long time ago and have been an advocate ever since,” said cinematographer John Pope. “When we were in prep for Gennadiy, I chose the 15 SB for our Red Epic kit because I knew I could count on it for 21 straight days of shooting. We took it everywhere. It got wet, had a small road flare placed on it, got tossed in and out of vehicles, etc. I even brought it with me on covert rooftop missions for establishing shots of Mariupol. The wind was intense on the top of the building but the support was solid as a rock while still being agile.”

“The Sachtler Ace was perfect for our C300’s because of its small footprint and light weight,” Pope added. “We found ourselves in quite a few tight spaces. The Ace’s pan and tilt performance was impressive as well--even after taking a beating from constant location changes.”

Packing equipment safely but still giving the team quick access was crucial to the success of the project. “Both the Petrol backpacks were crucial because we had so many cameras and so many people shooting,” said Yourd. “We were able to configure each bag for a specific camera so that each had everything needed to film. The configuration and the way the bags are constructed made it incredibly easy to pull out, organize and assemble the cameras. We were able to leave the cameras completely built and ready to shoot in each bag.”

“The Petrol Bags were versatile and easy for our crew,” said Pope. “We were often changing camera configurations multiple times throughout the day. More often than not, our crew would split off into two teams in order to cover what we needed. The backpacks’ diversity and quick reconfiguring options allowed us to split at a moment’s notice, which was crucial to our workflow. Also, their durability was quite impressive. I felt confident that our gear was safe while bouncing around in the back of our suspension-less van.”

Yourd and team are now in post-production on Gennadiy and plan to submit to the festival circuit in early 2015.

Petrol Bags