Cinematographer Christian Sebaldt, ASC, DP is using the Blackmagic PL-mount Cinema Cameras to shoot action, stunt and car scenes for CBS’ new Rush Hour TV show, a remake of the Rush Hour film franchise. The show follows an L.A. cop teamed up with a detective from Hong Kong.
Sebaldt, who has lensed such shows and films as CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and Resident Evil: Apocalypse, alternates with DP Marshall Adams, ASC on Rush Hour.
“We do a lot of up close action scenes – scenes with the actors moving, fighting, getting thrown around and jumping on and off moving vehicles. So we need a high quality camera that can get us dynamic shots, but that also is small and light enough to be rigged in cars or close to the actors,” Sebaldt said. “Every episode has fight sequences and stunts and the Blackmagic cameras are used in most of them.”
One of the recent scenes shot with the Blackmagic cameras was an intense car action scene taking place inside an L.A. parking garage. Multiple stuntmen, as well as the show’s lead actor, were thrown into an intense scene that included one of the heroes jumping onto the hood of a moving car with two villains working hard to shake him off.
“We built a mix of hand-held rigs and also mounted the cameras to multiple points on the outside of the cars,” explained Sebaldt. “The cameras were really right on top of the actors. Because they are so compact, but at the same time super high quality, we could get right up close to the action. This scene took about four hours to shoot and there’s no easy way we could have done this with bigger and heavier cameras. It would have been too hard to make them safe in the time we had.”
Beyond fight scenes, Sebaldt uses Blackmagic cameras regularly for in car shooting, as well as with any shots done in tight spaces where a larger camera cannot fit.
“The Blackmagic cameras give us amazing images, and our grips and rigging guys love that they can set them up anywhere without getting in the way of the acting,” he said. “Based on our initial camera tests and the use on the show, we now have the confidence to use the cameras wherever needed. Our colorist tells me the footage integrates easily with our main cameras.”