Earlier this year, Ken Corben, director of photography/producer for Los Angeles-based production company Digital 3D, departed with a crew of 10 from Ushuaia, Argentina. Headed for the Antarctic Peninsula aboard the 74-ft. sailboat, Pelagic Australis, Corben and the crew set out to shoot penguin colonies underwater, from the air and on land/ice with a shooting package that included a 3D Epic beam-splitter with Zeiss and Nikon primes supported by the 120EX fluid head from OConnor.
“We’d first used the 120EX, while beta testing the Quasar 3D rig and found the balance perfect for 3D,” said Corben. “So, when this project came along, we knew it would be the best fluid head for the job. It proved to be smooth and balanced, even with a heavy load in sub-freezing Antarctic conditions. We also appreciated the adjustable camera plate and the electronic balance readout for fast pre-sets. The system’s easy breakdown was great, especially when we had to hump gear to the top of a glacier.”
“We put the 120EX to the test,” Corben added. “At one point we mounted the 3D beamsplitter to the nose rail of the sailboat with a hi-hat and the 120EX. It made everyone nervous, but the result was great. The ‘tracking’ tilt reveal shots from the glacier’s reflection in the water to the glacier in 3D are spectacular. The 120EX also flew our 3D rig as we shot – everywhere we needed it, from the dolly to the hi-hat.”
The OConnor 120EX is the flagship of OConnor’s extended capacity range of fluid heads. This patented head features OConnor’s stepless counterbalance and ultra-smooth pan and tilt fluid drag, as well as EX technology for supporting heavier payloads. EX fluid heads can go far beyond their standard capacity by slowly limiting tilt range as the payload is increased.
The result of Corben’s Wild Antarctica 3D shoot will be a 20 to 40-minute digital 3D theatrical release for large format theaters later this year.