What does a filmmaker do when he or she needs a break from commercial work – and wants to rediscover the joy of the craft? Have you ever heard of the DJI X5 Camera?
In this case, Brent Foster set aside his larger tools of the trade and decided to simply go exploring in Rajasthan – taking only the simplest of gear.
Foster, of Foster Visuals, had just wrapped up a commercial shoot in India and was exhausted. “Burnt out,” he says.
There was no set agenda. In fact, it was quite the opposite. Foster wanted to see where those four days would take him – and made a conscious decision that he was going to say “Yes” to everything that was offered to him. He would see, and document, where synchronicity might take him.
“No matter how tired I was, I made sure I said ‘Yes’ to every opportunity. I took it as a way to create something really personal and just get back to enjoying filmmaking and not have to focus too much on the technical side… Just finding my passion again,” he says.
Foster made a deliberate decision to be fluid in his shooting. Rather than the usual sequence shooting of tight, medium, wide, Foster freed himself from those conventions. If he felt like using the gimbal to move from the subject toward the sky – he did so. It was a technique that ultimately gave him more freedom to connect shots, just as he did with people’s hands.
As a professional filmmaker, Foster is often encumbered with huge amounts of gear. To be going with a powerful piece of technology that discreetly fit in one hand, he says, was liberating. Not only in terms of weight, but also visibility.
He recalls, at one point, using the Osmo/X5 on a car mount. The small rig was unobtrusive – and he was sitting in the back seat of the car, controlling the camera with his phone. Cyclists, pedestrians, and other drivers were unaware of his presence, allowing him to invisibly capture scenes without in any way altering them.
“The OSMO and the X5 is really a pretty killer combo, where you’re packing a lot of punch with the camera that you’re using,” he says. “You wind up with a similar look to using, say, a Ronin yet at the same time you can be completely unobtrusive. I looked like a tourist the entire time…I could very easily get into places that wouldn’t have been so simple with a really large setup.”
Thankfully for us, he did.
“I think one of the things with the edit, and the approach to the edit, was (to convey) just how busy and how much of an assault on all of your senses India can really be,” he says. Shooting at 1920×1080 and 60 fps, Foster deliberately pushed his shutter speed – and for a specific reason.
“It’s beautiful and colourful and majestic, but it’s also just such an assault on every single sense, and I hoped that filming everything at a slightly higher shutter rate helped to convey that overall feel.”
Yet that frenzy also contrasts with the calming music, which so fluidly ties everything together. Foster had selected that composition prior to the shoot – and it guided him in both the shooting and editing process.
That music and the edit, much like the X5 and the Osmo, proved a perfect combination.
Awesome job, Brent Foster; that’s a piece of art.