For alternative rock band Muse’s 2nd Law World Tour, cinematographer Matt Hayslett needed to choose his equipment carefully in order to keep up with fast-paced life on the road. The Grammy-winning group is currently touring North America. Some of Muse’s most recent hits include “Survival,” the theme song for the London Summer Games, and “Madness,” the theme song for TBS/TNT’s March Madness, for which the group broke the record for Billboard’s longest #1 alternative airplay song. For its latest endeavor, Muse selected Hayslett to film a documentary about life on tour. “The band really wanted to invite fans behind the scenes for the first time, at the height of their career,” Hayslett said. “Since I’d shot the trailer and video material for their album release, with the blessing of Warner Bros. Records, they brought me in to do just that.”
“For the world tour, I needed a tripod that could support a wide range of camera rigs and be able to keep up with our busy schedule,” he said. “The Sachtler Ace M fluid head and tripod fit the bill.”
In addition to capturing the behind-the-scenes footage, Hayslett shot the live visuals that the audience watches at the show. “There is nothing like seeing your videos on the big screen with an amazing performance and incredible lighting,” he said.
With multiple tasks, Hayslett became a one-man-band, carrying his own gear. This meant that both weight and size were a real issue. “One of the things that intrigued me about the Ace M was the fact that it was compact, lightweight and had a true fluid head,” he said. “It is the perfect size without losing the benefits of higher end tripods. I’m able to easily carry the tripod with the camera still attached from the stage into to the crowd, to backstage and onto the bus.”
“The true fluid head gives me perfect camera movement without the jerkiness of the traditional lower end tripods,” he added. “Because my camera setup changes constantly, from the Canon 5D, to the RED Epic, to the Sony F3 and the Canon C300, I needed a tripod that could support this wide range and weight. Every rig that I have used has worked with the Ace, without any loss of performance. The range of counterbalance and drag adjustments makes the Ace M a no-brainer for this project.”
Besides filming the band’s performances, there were also occasions when Hayslett went with the Muse musicians on personal excursions, like car racing and sightseeing. “Being compact, the Ace M made it easy to move from location to location without being slowed down by bulk,” he said.
Hayslett has worked as a DP on music videos, commercials, concert visuals and live shows. He is currently on tour through the United States with Muse. When Hayslett completes this feature film documentary, the band plans to enter it in various film festivals, and it will be available for broadcast early next year.