Filming in the Trenches

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Wed, 07/06/2016 - 11:58 -- Nick Dager

Director/DP Dave Craig, center, on location for the Operation Lion Claws Military Simulation Series.Operation Lion Claws Military Simulation Series, sponsor of the largest simulation aircraft battles in the country, hosts events that have been described as “three-day weekends where civilians and military, fathers, sons, daughters – just about anyone who wants to experience the closest thing to active duty without the concern of paying the ultimate sacrifice – are led into mock combat scenarios by retired military VIPs.” Director/DP Dave Craig, principal of Dream to Screen Productions of Los Angeles, California covers these events for his client the sponsor.

“Our format is to do a profile on the Area of Operation, with cinematic shots and drone aerials and tell a dual story about the location and the military simulation, capturing the action of the battles, getting interviews in the field, and intercutting this with narration about the history of the venue,” Craig said.

His camera of choice for this shoot was the Panasonic AG-DVX200 4K large-sensor handheld.

“In the field, there is no time to change a lens or get a second take. We’ve learned the DVX200 inside and out so that we can quickly manipulate focus, zoom, iris and ND filters while chasing subjects in and out of buildings without stopping, and hopefully without getting shot ourselves. I have found myself knee deep in a swamp, caught in a thunderstorm, rolling down a ravine while holding the DVX200, and in spite of all that, this is one of the toughest cameras that I have ever used,” Craig added.

“The DVX200, incredibly robust, is the perfect hybrid cinema/ENG run-and-gun camera, meaning I can get an incredibly cinematic look in an environment in which I have no control over the action, subjects, lighting, anything,” Craig said. “The only thing I can control is the camera, and if I have to stop to change a lens, I’ve missed something. At the same time, I get almost all the benefits of using an interchangeable lens system because of the DVX200’s large sensor, built-in ND filters and the ability to use up to 6db negative gain to open the iris even more. Carrying the DVX is like carrying a bag of lenses all in one robust package.”

Dream to Screen Productions