Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Filmmaker Profile: Ben Pender-Cudlip

Freelance filmmaker and documentary director Ben Pender-Cudlip of Unrendered Films talks about two documentary projects he's currently working on. He's been shooting these primarily with a Canon 60D.

Q: Can you tell us about the projects you are working on right now?
One of the projects I’ve been working on as the Director of Photography is a documentary on youth violence in inner-city Boston. [...] We want to tell the stories of the perpetrators and the survivors of youth violence

Q: Who’s making it?
The director’s name is Adam Mazo of Mazo Productions, and he’s a terrific director. I worked on one of his previous projects as a colorist and he said he was doing something else and I said I didn’t care what it was. I’d shoot it.

Q: And you’re shooting it with what?
I’m shooting it with the Canon 60D and a custom shoulder rig. I’m shooting observational long-form documentary on a DSLR.

Q: How far along is it?
It’s an observational documentary, and we’re squarely in production. We’ll know when it’s done. It’s one of those…

Q: What’s the biggest challenge you have shooting with a DSLR?
Technically some of the biggest challenges is; it’s not a video camera, it’s a DSLR, a still camera. Sound is a huge issue, I have to record sound to a Zoom audio recorder and sync it up later.

Q: Is this a one-man crew?
Yes. That’s probably the biggest challenge. There’s going to be a huge assistant editor role dealing with all the raw footage, which I’ve been dealing with as I go along. And hopefully Final Cut X will make some of that easier.

Q: You’re editing it as well?
Yeah. And I’ll be coloring as well, possibly.

Q: And you're working on another project?
I worked with another director who is fascinated by individuals who believed that the world was going to end on May 21st. We connected with a few of them and followed them around before the 21st. It was really surprising. We meet some great people and it wasn’t what we expected. So we’ll put the film together and then you’ll see.

Q: That was shot with the same gear?
Yeah, on the 60D.

Q: When do you think it will be done?
That one is more of a personal project, so I'm editing it whenever I don't have paying work.

Q: You also use GoPros?
Yeah. I have basically a James Bond case full of all my GoPro gear, I’ve got three GoPro HD HERO cameras with all the mounts. So rafting or kayaking I attach them to myself, my helmet; I’ve got custom mounts to put those on white water rafts for class 4, class 5 rapids. I lost one of these once in the river and it was completely unharmed when it came back to me. They’re terrific. I’ve strapped them to airplanes. Literally on the wing tip of an airplane I suction cupped a Go Pro. It was a Cessna.

They’re terrific cameras. They are very limited in what they can shoot; they have a fixed wide-angle lens, fixed focus, they only work in direct sunlight, or bright outside, but as crash cameras they’re awesome. They’re $300 a pop. They’re basically disposable.

Unrendered Films

Some Old Ford from Ben Pender-Cudlip on Vimeo.

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