April 28 saw the grand opening of China’s new mega-studio, Wanda Studios, which is said by many in the film industry to be so grand, it’s giving Paramount & Universal Studios a run for their money. In fact, not only does Wanda Group plan for the studio be the next major facility for film, but there has been investment of over $8 billion into the city of Qingdao to create the Qingdao Movie Metropolis, a 166-hectare site with 40 sound stages, production studios, hotels, roads and everything to make the film industry flock to this relatively unknown beachside city.
It’s undeniable that China wants a slice of the global entertainment pie, and this event - which invited A-list cinematographers, celebrities, government officials, studio executives and visitors - is the country’s way of making an introduction. Lucky for us, we were able to get an inside look.
Producing a Short Film, Live!
As part of the event, Wanda Studios wanted to present attendees with a glimpse of what the studio offers. This came in the form of a $1 million short film production that would be filmed 100% live and unedited. Made possible with DJI and U-Gear, a premier rental house in China.
“DJI was given the opportunity to create a realistic fight scene with multiple cameras and not only film it for post-production, but also send a live feed to the big screen where invited guests would watch the action. This was meant to showcase what the studio is capable of, and be a nice short production all parties could use for promotions,” said Eduardo Cardenas, Senior Producer at DJI.
“The shot was one continuous sequence featuring multiple cameras cutting back and forth by a live production team on site. Because the camera ops were constantly moving, we needed a way to bring the video back to the live production team wirelessly and reliably. That’s why we used the Teradek.”
Here’s DJI’s setup for Wanda’s short film production:
- 3x RED Weapon
- 1x ARRI Alexa Mini
- 4x Teradek Bolt 3000 transmitters
- 8x Teradek Bolt 3000 receivers
- 4x SmallHD monitors
- 4x DJI Ronin 2
- Ready Rig
- Motion Control Arm
Each camera was mounted to a Ronin 2 gimbal, which was then put on a Ready Rig, dolly, cablecam and Motion Control arm. The cameras all fed video to the Teradek Bolt 3000 transmitters (mounted on the gimbal too), which sent zero-delay video wirelessly to Bolt receivers in video village & the live production switcher.
From the switcher, the feed was cut live and projected to the big screen above. Check out the BTS video here:
Grand Opening Success
“Creating a live stunt for the big players of this huge event was a pretty significant ordeal. We only had one shot at doing this right, so there was zero room for errors in any part of the production. It was critical that our four 1st ACs got wireless video to their monitors every time, and that the live team also had the videos to switch between in real-time.”
DJI’s production ultimately represented everything that DJI and Wanda Group wanted to display about the studio’s capabilities as a future facility of film. As the company that now owns Legendary Entertainment and AMC Theatres, Wanda needed to have this publicity event go smoothly. And having zero-delay, wireless video was essential to that bottom line.
“Remember, this was all one continuous take moving through multiple sets. It would’ve been impossible to hardline any of the cameras. That’s why the Bolts were so important. They worked through multiple walls and long distance with zero issues. We knew we were getting the best, and we were proud of what we accomplished.”