Feature Image by: Ben Maurice // @sinkorsurface

intheopenair | A Film by Sam Curtin and Sink or Surface

14th April 2020

“Intheopenair” is a project I had been thinking about creating for a couple of years before it actually happened. After moving cities and primarily filming weddings for work, it had been awhile since I had taken on a winter surf film project. Sam Curtin and myself had a new film in the making after sharing ideas in the car park during a run of incredible local swells.

Intheopenair was shot on two Canon EOS 5D Mark IV’s and utilised the gear I had been using to film weddings. One EOS 5D Mark IV was used to film from the beach and the second sat beside me either handheld or mounted to a DJI Ronin M. If you’re shooting Canon you know why you love it. It feels good in the hand, it fires when you need it to and you just simply can’t beat the Canon colour science. There are so many stand out functions of the EOS 5D Mark IV but for this specific project here are some of the features which stood out to me the most.

intheopenair movie still

Weather Sealing

Weather sealing is key to anyone shooting in the outdoors. For this project each day was spent out in the elements recording for around 4 hours at a time in the middle of winter. The camera never missed a beat and I credit this to the build quality of the EOS 5D Mark IV – I was pleasantly shocked by it’s ability to keep recording all day long when the air temperature sat around 7 degrees.

intheopenair movie still

Auto Focus

With one hand in my jacket pocket to keep warm and the other on the tripod I could confidently trust the autofocus of the EOS 5D Mark IV. In past projects I often found myself missing moments while manual focusing but with the 5D IV Dual Pixel Autofocus I can confidently say we didn’t miss a thing. The camera tracked Sam on every wave he caught.

My second EOS 5D Mark IV was often mounted to a Ronin M. With a slow tracking auto focus I could operate the gimbal with both my hands and let the camera track the landscape on its own. I could rely on the Dual Pixel Autofocus to keep the subject in focus, without having to use an external focus assist.

intheopenair movie still

CLOG

Canon Log has made such a noticeable difference to harsh sunlight filming. The difference between the highlights of a broken wave and the dark shadow of a surfer can be extremely hard to expose for. Shooting in Canon Log lets me see into those highlights and shadows and gives me so much more leverage and detail when it comes to colour grading.

We were lucky enough to see the final film play in the Aotearoa Surf Film Festival on a large cinema screen. It was here that I could definitely see the benefit of Canon Log. I was genuinely impressed by the detail on the big screen.

Shooting tip: the Canon Log viewing assist LUT made filming in log so much easier. Often with harsh light or glare it’s hard to see what is over or under exposed with a log file. Therefore, the pre installed viewing assist LUT meant I could perfectly expose the shot and also have a reference of what the final image would look like. This viewing assist LUT does not affect the final image.

intheopenair movie still

Menu layout

With over 150 waves in total, it’s hard to remember what waves were noteworthy. To make things easier during post production Sam and I reviewed the footage on location each day to decide what shots were keepers for the final film. We used the rate button function to categorize each shot right then and there. We nailed this down to three different ratings, full rides, partial rides and maybes - locking these decisions in with the rate button function. Being able to rate on the go helped speed up the editing process and make sense of all the footage we had.

This project was filmed over two winter months and gave us the chance to appreciate those much loved elements of the EOS 5D Mark IV. I credit a lot of this film back to the camera and the way it performs during long days in harsh conditions.

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Ben Maurice is a New Zealand based wedding and lifestyle videographer, hailing from windy Wellington. From slow motion details to the carefully selected and edited soundtracks, each film that Ben creates focuses on capturing chronological memories on the most special of days.

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