The Road to Ra: Observations on Haiku production

At this time I should be well underway with Solar Odyssey but as the boat is not yet ready, I find myself shooting “the road to Ra” or how it all came together after the deadline!


While our first cameraman – Todd Mahoney (and if you need a Boston-based cameraman I recommend Todd highly) – was comfortable with the rails and full rig on the FS100, permanent crew cameraman Beth Corwin finds the rig a little too big. It also proves a little oversize in that configuration for use in the cabin. With the body brace it’s better for her, but we both prefer to use the NEX 7!

Todd and the fully rigged FS100

The main reason the NEX 7 gets the nod is because it is small, flexible and non-intrusive. We’ve shot in stores where it’s not been obvious at all we’re shooting video! We also find it doesn’t ‘alert’ talent too much so we can get a more natural response.

That said, the pictures from both are great. Downside to the FS100 is its “boot time”. Downsides for the NEX 7 and FS100 is the time they take from end of shot to ready to shoot again – 3-4 seconds, which can seem like forever. The NEX 7 that we had first has a tendency to overheat, even immediately after startup. According to “the Internet” this is not uncommon but may be helped by upgrading to Class 10 cards (now done) instead of the Class 4 we purchased in Burbank.


As expected logging manually is killing me! It’s taking almost as long to log, or longer if I check for audio content that’s worth noting, than shooting time. This confirms my belief that we’d need to change that for this to work. Note also that I’m doing all jobs currently – logging, editing, directing – on top of the EP role, rather than having a crew of three to handle this, so it’s not exactly as planned.

Today I start using our on-location/set logging app. Hopefully that will get me a long way to the result without the time lag. Now, of course, it would be wonderful if that Dictation function in Mountain Lion was developer accessible (i.e. a public API) and able to work from a recording, not just a live voice. Then I’d be pushing to have transcription added to our app. This is still to be determined as Mountain Lion is not released, and any developer notes are still under NDA.


The plan was to use radio mic’s onboard and a lapel/Zoom H1 combo off boat. This is then synchronized by sound. This has proved to work well. Final Cut Pro X does a great job of synchronizing the audio from both sources into a synchronized clip. I’ve also been using Multiclips when there is one long audio piece and multiple shorter video shots that align with it, instead of making individual synchronized clips. My thinking is still evolving. But certainly being able to synchronize double system audio/video on audio makes life much easier.