Guest Article by our friend Ole Schell:
Ever wanted to make a film about an Australian supermodel driving a souped-up racecar against 30 motorcycles while she was being chased by a helicopter and airplane? Coincidence, so did I.
And by maximizing what we had around us, forging new relationships, seizing unexpected opportunities, and some old fashioned ingenuity, we did it for less than a few thousand bucks. You can watch it below.
We called the GoPro general tech support line and asked for some 3D help. Not only did they give it, but the very same GoPro tech offered to come on our first day of shooting personally at 5:30 am with a ton of equipment. He rigged our airplane (see video below), sponsored us with gear, and showed us the 3D GoPro ropes. Cost: $0
Find an airplane. Sounds expensive? Not really. We got a seaplane for exactly one hour and rigged the hell out of it with 3D GoPros. We then flew over and around the Golden Gate Bridge for master and establishing shots.
Instead of getting an expensive second aircraft to shoot the first plane, we put a wide angle GoPro on the end of the wing shooting back at the cockpit. Now our plane was shooting, and being shot, at the same time. Two birds with one stone! Cost: $450.
YouTube – Behind the Scenes: Mounting cameras on the seaplane
We also needed a helicopter to both appear in the film and get aerial shots of the bikes and car chase. We booked an R22 (small little whirlybird with no doors) for $350 an hour. We got a world class pilot with decades of shooting experience fired up about our project and took his chopper for exactly 90 minutes. We had a cameraman in the chopper shooting the action and also had cameras on the bikes shooting back at the helicopter. Again, it was shooting and being shot at the same time. More birds and stones covered!
Find a supermodel. A few years back, I made a documentary called Picture Me about the fashion industry in New York. So I called up Kasia Grabowski, an Australian model with a penchant for adventure, for drinks in Manhattan (again, two birds, one stone). She was up for the film.
When her flight came into SFO, I thought it only fair I offer to drive down the coast and pick her up in the racecar personally (so many birds). After all someone had to do it. More than a pretty face, Kasia was downright badass for enduring the company of 10 smelly young men, the frigid Pacific Ocean, and one sprained ankle. Cost of a plane ticket: $450.
Getting 30 motorcycles sounds expensive right? Wrong. We originally were going to only have one motorcycle. When our motorcycle professional told us he was part of a team of local pro riders and industry stuntmen who get together but have never worked in 3D, we thought we might be able to do something special. With years of experience, he agreed to be the field producer and wrangle all of the other riders.
Since we needed to keep costs down, timing with the plane and helicopter was crucial. There wasn’t a lot of time for second takes. Together we planned maneuvers, camera-mounting plans and schedules, which he would then convey to the rest of the team. It was his job to keep them excited and coordinated. We prayed to the weather gods and needed a manageable command and control structure of the two dozen person team which we created through delegation and trust. Cost: $450 in gas.
We needed a car! We turned to some local gear-heads who were happy to lend us a supercar in exchange for some great PR in 3D. Done!
Post-production: Here is where it got sticky. I nearly threw several computers and almost myself off the Golden Gate Bridge. I had worked a long time as a filmmaker but never in 3D. As a result, it took us over a year to complete the 8.5 minute film. It was a long and complicated path that led me from different 3D pros in San Francisco, back to New York, to Los Angeles, to China, to Thailand and finally back to LA. In the end, we got it right, but heavens to Betsy, 3D post is hard! Cost: My sanity (almost).
Benefits: A lifelong friend, Thai elephant and 3D expert, Al Caudullo.
And here is the entire shortfilm in 3D on YouTube