“The Navy SEAL Foundation is committed to presenting the most accurate depiction of SEALs and those we serve in all of our video productions. To that end, we trust Ironclad to produce authentic content for us. A big part of their ability to do that involves keeping up with the incredible tempo that these guys move while filming in some pretty dicey environments. We can’t thank SmallHD and Teradek enough for providing equipment that kept pace with both the crew and the “SEALs” on our recent shoot.” –Sara Berry, Director of Marketing and Communications, Navy SEAL Foundation.
Filming mobile, fast-paced tactical action can be both daunting and exciting, especially when you have to film the most elite special ops force in the world. To get those special kinds of shots worthy to represent the Navy SEALs, you need a special group of battle-hardened cinematographers. That’s where Director Jeremy Carey, and his Virginia-based production house Ironclad, comes in.
Commissioned by the Navy SEAL Foundation (a national nonprofit organization serving the Naval Special Warfare community and its families), Carey was tasked with acquiring video that the Foundation would use for all of 2018 campaigning. This included some intense action shots that required rapid maneuvering from one location to another, an explosion here and there, and lots of mobile cameras to capture it all perfectly.
“We specialize in commercial work for action sports, sportswear and tactical content that require a lot of movement in run-and-gun environments,” said Carey. “The Foundation wanted us to capture the battle-style B-roll of Navy SEALs in the field, and produce an authentic story with the integrity that the SEALs deserve.”
Tactical content is filmed from scene to scene in quick succession, meaning Carey’s setup had to be 100% mobile to keep up. From several mobile cameras to a roaming video village, nothing can be tethered as to reduce filming time on set. Here’s what they used:
- 1x RED Epic 6K
- 2x RED Scarlet-W 5K
- 3x Teradek Bolt 3000s (one on each camera)
- 3x 703 Bolts
- 2x Teradek Sidekick IIs on Inovativ cart
- 1x SmallHD 1703
- 1x MoVI Pro
- 1x EZ Rig
- 1x Handheld
Each RED camera had a Bolt 3000 unit connected via 3G-SDI, sending visually lossless, zero-delay video feeds to the 703 Bolt monitors in Carey’s hands and the Bolt receiver on the Inovativ video village (each Tx can be sent to up to 4 Rx).
With 2 mobile cameras at any time capturing the action as the SEALs run through the field, clear rooms, and set off explosions, Carey held up to 2x 703 Bolt monitors to view the feeds. He and his crew would follow as the set moved to the next spot.
The SmallHD 1703 on the Innovativ also acted as video village/camera cart. Cam A and B fed into the Sidekick IIs, which went directly to the SmallHD 1703 for monitoring.
A Good Change
Before the 703 Bolt, Carey was using a handheld director’s monitor rig comprising of a SmallHD 703 monitor with a Bolt receiver mounted behind. While similar in design, the biggest issue was cabling between the monitor and receiver, which would loosen throughout the day of shooting. Since the 703 Bolt is a fully-integrated unit, Carey had no worries on the cabling of the units.
“The old monitoring system had us checking for cabling between each take, which took a lot of time,” explained Carey. “When we’re working with famous Olympians, Navy SEALs or any fast-paced shoots, we have to be able to get in-and-out without holding up production. We expect a lot from our gear, and that’s why we trusted the 703 Bolt.”
Having the all-in-one monitor allowed Carey to see the shot from anywhere on set, letting him to freely maneuver and make adjustments accordingly. This saves precious time from having to check and realign gear in between takes. And when producing content for clients like the Navy SEAL Foundation, there's nothing more important than getting it done right.
“The grips on the 703 Bolt are incredibly solid, not to mention super lightweight too. I feel like the unit combined the endurance of SmallHD with the performance of Teradek into this super efficient system that’s perfect for our needs.”
“As a hands-on director, the last thing I want to do is fiddle with systems to make sure they’re connected properly and working. The 703 Bolt fixes that issue completely. I could monitor the action and have that peace of mind that it works flawlessly. It’s a must-have for my kit.”
Check out more of Ironclad Media Alliance’s awesome commercial productions here.