In June 2021, a Hawk Vintage´74 Front Anamorphic Zoom 45-90mm/T 2.9 and Camera Ambassador’s very own Atlas Orion EF/PL 40mm T2.0 Anamorphic Lens flew up in a Shotover F1 - the very first time that both rig and lens were used together.
The Shotover rig and Atlas Orion EF/PL 40mm T2.0 Anamorphic Lens for the shoot | We Deliver Productions
“No one’s ever run an Orion and Hawk anamorphic lens in that rig,” Jason Price announces while showing pictures of the venture on his phone.
Owner of We Deliver Productions and an Operator/Technician for Shotovers, Movi/Ronin, and Camera Car Motorcranes, Jason Price is an expert on all things gimbals-related. In June, he was hired by John Trapman, Owner of Vancal Cine, who was approached by a TV show. The project wanted to use anamorphic lenses while filming an aerial scene.
The only problem? The helicopter rig - the Shotover F1 - doesn't normally house the requested anamorphic lenses.
“With the Shotover F1, there are different types of lenses that go in them - normally really big lenses that people use all the time like the Angenieux lenses,” Jason explains, “but the Director and DP wanted to use some newer pieces”.
When Shotover F1 techs have to swap payloads (lenses), they must also replace the entire tray and the lens map saved on the board. Furthermore, the six-axis gimbal’s build is incredibly specific - right down to the millimeter in the way it’s balanced. The fact that the anamorphic lenses had never been in them therefore proved to be troublesome, as there were no custom parts that allowed them to fit properly.
Enter: Camera Ambassador’s brand new 3D Printer.
Eric Silver, Camera Ambassador’s Lead Technician and Pun Master, loves problem-solving. So, he was incredibly excited when Camera Ambassador finally received a 3D Printer.
“I’m always asking people to find a camera parts problem that they want me to figure out,” says Eric, “and Jason always gives me a ton of puzzles to solve.”
So far, Eric’s solved several little mysteries such as: less invasive ways to mount Teradeks, improvements for cable management, pieces that make using the Easy Rig more comfortable, and a custom matte box adapter ring for the specific lens size that wasn’t initially on the market. As a result, Eric was more than up to the challenge when Jason contacted him for help.
First, Eric conducted research on the pre-existing parts for the other lenses already in use. He then reached out to the gimbal owner, John Trapman, who measured out, live on the FaceTime call, the different dimensions for the sizes Eric needed. Finally, Eric then conceptualized the parts, digitized the schematics, and printed the pieces.
Since it was time-sensitive, Eric ended up creating two different rings overnight - one for each lens's filter retainer. With Eric’s innovation and tech-savvy, the lenses were then able to be flown up successfully and safely.
Jason Price (pictured here) finishing up a Shotover rig in an aircraft hangar | Eric Silver
In the prep room of Camera Ambassador, Jason Price is already tinkering with his next new venture: a bug-eyed four-light structure. This piece of equipment is for a project by Nick Blaising (Co-Founder of Aeriform Cinema) and will be used on a Freeflight ALTA Drone which Nick pilots, Jason techs, and is owned and operated by Colin Hinkle (Owner of Soaring Badger). Yet, Jason still makes time to happily recount his beginnings as an aircraft gimbal operator and technician.
“Colin started doing a lot of aerial rendering stuff and was hiring out helicopters, so I was helping him do a bunch of camera setting stuff,” Jason recalls, “Colin started hiring us (including Eric), and just by all of us hanging out, we’ve ended up in a creative collaboration”.
On the other hand, filming as a Gimbal Tech/Op can be difficult and demanding. Oftentimes, Jason is simply told the end goal and to figure out the mechanics on his own.
“Having the resources like you guys and making these custom pieces like you’re doing right now totally elevates us from the norm,” Jason notes.
“So, you guys handling this was really awesome.”