I was recently hired to shoot some BTS for the Felder + Felder show at London Fashion Week 2014. The Director wanted something a bit different, so I suggested we use my Freefly Cinema MoVi M5, as what else would work as well following models down the catwalk. Although, it wasn’t only the catwalk shots I wanted to use the MoVi for, I also felt it would be great at all the typical backstage shots we needed to get. Normally I would shoot these handheld with my 1DC or 5D using the Zacuto Z-finder for that extra point of contact and ease of focus, but I still feel even that can be a little ‘static’ at times.
Another option I wanted to explore for the shoot was the Canon C100’s new Dual Pixel Autofocus technology. Normally I would use the Redrock MicroRemote FF or even my trusted Okii FC1 focus remote to pick my focus, but with all the quick action happening backstage, as well as the catwalk walks, I felt the Continuous AF might be the way to go.
Well, it worked like a charm. The AF picked it’s focus perfectly nearly every time. I think it would have been impossible to keep focus with the catwalk as a single operator without the C100 AF. I would have had to employ a remote focus puller to achieve anything like the results we got, which just wouldn’t have been practical due to both space and budget. Filming of the models, clothes and hair backstage was also pleasure to film, and the C100 AF allowed me to move around the subjects, keeping perfect focus at all times.
Due to the restrictions of the M5 and the size of the C100 (you have to remove the top and side handles), it’s still not the perfect combination as you get no sound (unless you plug in a mic like a Rode VideoMicthrough mini-jack), and you lose your ‘Start/stop’ and menu control functionality from the handgrip. This can be rectified by either mounting the side handle onto the MoVi handle using a Zacuto grip relocator(which I don’t have yet) or you can assign the back menu buttons to control Iris, WB, act as the joystick etc. This is how I change settings when the C100 is mounted on the MoVi – it’s a bit fiddly, and far from ideal, but it gets the job done.
Here’s the final video, so you can see for yourself how well the Freefly Cinema MoVi M5 and C100 with Dual Pixel Autofocus performed. I still wouldn’t use this combination for everything, but for something like this, where there was a lot of tracking, and close-up MoVi work, it was a dream combination.