Freddie Wong, filmmaker, musician, VFX technician and competitive gamer, has created productions that draw millions of viewers on three popular YouTube channels. So, when he took his hit web series, Video Game High School, into its second season, he upped the ante. “We knew we were going to do a couple of ‘firsts’ for web projects,” Wong said. “As far as we can tell, we are the first web series to release TV length episodes as well as the first web series to shoot at 48 frames-per-second. Season 2 consists of six 30-minute long episodes.”
“When we started prep, we knew that we would be moving fast and have a lot of action,” he said. “We needed a camera package that would keep up. We chose a RED Epic and RED Scarlet as well as almost every camera out there – from GoPro Hero 3 to the BlackMagic Cinema camera. Our DP, Jon Salmon, introduced us to Sachtler’s Speed Lock CF, saying it would probably be the only tripod that I would ever like – and he was right. Pairing it with the Sachtler Video 20 head was a perfect match for our needs.”
Ready to support payloads up to 88 lbs (40 kg), The Speed Lock CF is a suitable companion for 100mm heads like the Sachtler Video 20. The operator may release the three easy-to-reach clamps and the Speed Lock CF is ready for action. Carbon fiber construction ensures minimal load free weight and increases stability and twist resistance.
“The Speed Lock is lightweight and durable but most importantly – the single point of manipulation to extend the two-stage legs means that it is FAST,” he said. “Small adjustments to height are no longer giant three-person affairs – a single operator can adjust the camera by themselves.”
Chunks of every episode of VGHS are dedicated to action sequences. “We pride ourselves in making our action cinematic, and in order to rise above cookie-cutter coverage, you have to be fast and efficient,” Wong said. “We shot our entire sequences in a single night or single day of shooting, and without the Speed Lock we couldn’t have made our days. The efficiency it affords really adds up; which translates to faster pace on set, which translates to more energy on screen from our actors, which translates to – in the end – a more vibrant final product.”
Wong and Salmon would often find themselves in situations where they swapped the heavier A-camera setup with the B-camera setup between sticks and handheld. “The Speed Lock and Video 20 combo was robust enough to handle either camera comfortably,” Wong said. “That let us move quickly; especially on a night when we had a single night to cover an incredibly complex drift racing sequence. We were able to hop back and forth depending on what camera needed to be covering what without having to lug around multiple tripods.”