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Desert Trip's Bob Dylan show shot on Micro Studio Cameras

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  • Desert Trip's Bob Dylan show shot on Micro Studio Cameras

    hey guys, i know i havent been on this forum in a long long time, but i just wanted to share that i was called out for a dream job to work with Bob Dylan on creating his live performance visuals for the now Legendary Desert Trip Festival.

    apparently the first week they used a very big ASC DP that i cant name, but if you didnt hear the news he cut the cameras two songs in because he didnt like what he was seeing on the big screens behind him. Though Bob being very particular about every aspect of his show demanded he used his own lighting instead of the big stage arena style lighting and didnt want to use the broadcast cameras giving a very studio clean look of the band performing. he wanted to create something more interesting and fitting for him.

    so i got the call a few days before week 2 of the festival, with director references (that included very flarey old looking footage) and then got clips with meta data of what they tried to do. after analyzation i said, well i see you are using blackmagic micro cameras (i thought cinema ones at the time) and lumix and sigma lenses, which are kind of too modern for what you are looking to do, they are made to reduce flare and distortion. so i think i can help on at least 6 of the 12 cameras by putting some vintage lenses and filtration on the modern lenses, gave them my run down in an email and sent it off. with in about 15 minutes i get a call, hi, this is john hillcoat…gulp..hi john! if you dont know who he is google him, big a list feature director.
    i love what you have to say and if you can come and bring all that then you are hired, plus we got you two artists passes and parking for the rest of the festival, you just need to be on stage with me and Bob at 9am friday to set up all the angles and get them approved by him….whoa. the hard part, i was working that thursday on a shoot i knew would be wrapping at 1am…well long story short, wrapped, slept 3 hours, got up, drove 3 hours to the desert and was on stage with Bob setting up cameras a 9am.

    one piece of an anxiety when i got there was i noticed they were studio cameras with the bigger sensors and they are all tied into a broadcast truck. first thing i said was, oh these are the studio versions, so my lenses might vignette a bit, and they were like oh cool we would love that. i had kiev 16u lenses, flare factorys, russian mir, and c mount 10mm elgeet for 16mm…guess what, none of them had vignette!!
    i used the 12mm kiev on a main shot and yes it had a tiny bit as it does on the pocket but nothing more, the 10mm elgeet for regular 16mm didnt vignette at all, crazy right?
    so as i snapped them on, i was like, oh, well maybe not, haha.
    i also had sfx, hollywood black magics and a few more real old type of diffusion filters.
    anyway, i went on to call the cameras in the truck to what would be on each screen and it was a big success. so i just thought id share the experience and let you know that these camera systems are coming in handy and show you some pictures.


  • #2
    Whoa, that is a pretty amazing experience. How picky was Bob Dylan with the camera angles? What was it like working with John Hillcoat?


    • #3
      I think that's why BD is a great artist -- he's not afraid to take unconventional approaches. Looks like you jelled with him and his crew...


      • #4
        Congratulations, JP. Wonderful experience and how did you manage to sleep three hours? You’re just cool as a cucumber!


        • #5
          Dylan was extremely particular, there was 6 cameras that he knew the angles he wanted but i had to gently persuade him into better compositions, but he knew he didnt want any thing with him alone, there always had to be another band member in the shot. Then the other 6 cameras i could do what we wanted with and i worked with hillcoat to finesse those shots to being as artistic as possible, then bob came and approved them, a couple we had to talk him into. hillcoat was amazing to work with, i could imagine doing a film with him and having the best time. one of the most genuine, artistic and nicest directors i probably ever worked with. we also hung out the whole weekend after the show and without name dropping, let's just say we met a bunch of the actors from his films for various parts of the festival and had a good ol'e time!

          yes, i've always loved bob as a musician and artist, seen him play about 5 times in my life, but now i really get it.

          id like to think i slept those 3 hours, i kept telling myself i did, though sometime you just have to not give in to how excited you are to go do a particular job, haha.

          oh, i forgot to mention, i actually added 6 lekos to the stage setup so i could just iris them down to just hitting some of the lenses i setup. granted the lighting designer was not happy he had extra work, the secret was making friends with him as soon as i saw how mad he was i was adding lights, by the end he was climbing ladders and adjusting things for me without me even asking.

          here are some more pic of the set ups:

          flare factory lens with a led booklight flaring it


          Last edited by JLdp; 10-30-2016, 07:16 AM.


          • #6
            I see they used the Canon battery on the Micro cameras, or was that for backup power? If they ran battery only, did the batts hold up for the entire concert? Congrats on getting the gig. I had fun on the Father's Day set with Robin Williams, so know how you feel!


            • #7
              Awesome! When these type of gigs come along, you just have to seize the moment and enjoy the ride and sounds like you really knocked it out of the park. I'm sure this will only bring more great gigs for you. When you have chemistry with the director and rest of the crew, that bodes well for future projects.

              And by the way, I know exactly what you mean about those "3 hours" of sleep. I sometimes get so amped up about a shoot that I can't sleep, even if my eyes are closed. Marty Scorsese used to experience this too from what I understand.


              • #8
                Originally posted by Denny Smith View Post
                I see they used the Canon battery on the Micro cameras, or was that for backup power? If they ran battery only, did the batts hold up for the entire concert? Congrats on getting the gig. I had fun on the Father's Day set with Robin Williams, so know how you feel!
                they were all powered by AC, they just had batteries on there for when there was re-patching going on or incase of loss of power.


                • #9
                  Right on JL sounds like you had a good time, one of those "I love my job" moments.

                  This year I've been cutting a 9 camera imag show and we were going to put one in the can (MSG) so we mounted 5 M4Ks to our long lenses and jibs for wider angles that would be unusable for imag. We used Optar Illuminas at T2.4 and the footage holds up, the flares are the best part. We recorded to Pix E5s which make the VA look like Fisher Price by comparison.

                  Depending on the artist I'll cut 10-20 festival dates a year and invariably the vendor will have a couple GoPros that have terrible output lag and they'll want to put them on the drummer of all people, no thanks. I think by next summer we'll see these guys popping up more and more frequently. The M4k is highly underrated, save a couple of quirks, these guys were ready to go from day 1.