So straight up one of my big attractions to New York City is the concentration of filmmakers and opportunities to make stuff. Good grief the number of emails, direct messages, and coffee meetings I've been able to make the last few weeks has been fantastic. One of those coffee meetings was with a guy I met during the Film+Music Conference in Ft. Worth this past September. Dustin Ward is a Brooklyn based filmmaker and cool enough to point me towards Lighbulb Grip & Electric. Along with being a rental house, they do these free events called Latenights @ Lightbulb: Free Education for Filmmakers, by Filmmakers. Up this past week was Metro Camera Cars.
Just a heads up, this isn't a paid post and I've not worked with these guys – I did get a chance to meet them though. They've got a cool thing going and I'm down with what they're trying to do.
By no means am I swimming in budgets with cash to burn. I've had projects where we needed a driving shot and I've done my fair share of "let's-hang-the-camera-guy-out-the-car" setups to – hopefully – get what we needed. More often than not it wasn't safe, the shot looks like garbage, and again, hanging someone out of a car isn't safe. The guys at Metro Camera Cars are out to make "high-end, dynamic, fluid camera movement accessible for all budgets... With skilled drivers and technicians, [their] goal is to increase your production value while decreasing risk."
Cutting to the chase on all this, they've got fully motorized jib arm with a DJI Ronin 2 attached to the business end of it – you provide the camera and lens package. That whole setup is attached to a blacked out Honda Fit piloted by a stunt driver and filled with all kinds of gadgets and crew to make all the fluid and dynamic camera movement nonsense happen. Through their presentation they ran us through their gear, the basics of working with a camera car, and a solid Q&A session. Afterwards we all bundled up and went outside to actually see the setup. I've included my notes from the talk below.
Am I planning to hire out a camera car for an upcoming shoot? No. Do I now have a better idea as to what goes into a shoot with a camera car and a group to reach out to that would do a great job, especially with a tighter budget? Yes. Oh, and did I meet a solid handful of likeminded people who I may get a chance to work with at some point? Again, yes.