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A few of the subjects that we offer:
Driving Plates (5-9 angles)             Washington DC Aerials                   New York Aerials
Tornadoes                                      Extreme Weather                            Families & Babies
Business Meetings                         Wild & Domestic Animals                Fitness
Los Angeles Aerials                       Ultra Slow Motion                            Boston Aerials
Firemen                                          Flowers                                           Tropical Beaches

Stock Footage Collage

Artbeats Royalty Free Stock Footage

Explosions                                      Monster Waves                              Asian Cities
Surfers                                           Establishments                               Netherlands
Nature                                            Skydiving                                        Space & Starfields
Timelapse                                      Effects                                            Night Aerials
London                                           San Francisco                                Military

Call or email us today and we’ll be happy to find you that perfect shot. Or, if you prefer, Artbeats makes it easy to search our entire library online, request free research, live chat, create clip bins, and learn new editing techniques. While you’re at it, register today and sign up for the eNewsletter for the latest on new releases, tutorials, demo reels and more.

CSC award recipient Pasha Patriki talks with Artbeats

Q: When did you begin shooting?

A: My career in film began in 1999 and since 2003 I have been professionally shooting stock footage.


Q: What is your favorite subject to shoot?

A: Actually, dramatic scenes with actors are my favorite.

Firemen walking on a street

FF-FH100-15 – Firemen walking on a street


Q: Which camera(s) do you prefer for shooting stock footage?

A: My camera of choice is Red Epic, for it’s versatility and quality.


Q: What’s your favorite clip that you currently have represented in the Artbeats FootageHub?

A: It’s unfair to ask a parent which one of his babies is his/her favorite. 🙂

Woman dancing on an urban rooftop

FF-FH101-07 – Woman dancing on an urban rooftop


Q: What advice can you give to shooters who are just getting started in the stock footage industry?

A: Shoot as much as you can, the best you can. Learn the rules. And then break them.


FF-FH101-29 – Fans at an outdoor concert


Q: What’s the best or worst thing that happened to you on a shoot?

A: Best – Having a world-known icon unexpectedly sign your release form.


FF-FH101-34 – DJ at a disco


Worst – dropping camera into radioactive pool of water.


FF-FH103-31 – Teacup and saucer fall in slow-motion


Q: What is the one thing you wished you’d been able to capture?

A: There is not ONE thing I wish I could capture. This is an ongoing list that transforms together with our world.


About Pasha Patriki:

Pasha Patriki

Pasha Patriki

Since he was 4 year old, Pasha was determined to become a filmmaker. Growing up in Moscow, Russia, he started learning the craft by playing with his grandfather’s Super9 camera. Already then Pasha was striving to create narrative pieces, not just home movies.

After moving to Toronto in 1996, he started working on various film sets as a lighting technician, simultaneously studying in the Film & Video production program at York University. Today – 15 years professionally in the business – Pasha’s work as Director of Photography has been recognized in Canada as well internationally

Almost every year music videos lensed by Pasha receive nominations at Much Music Video Awards. Pasha has shot videos for notable Canadian artists like Hedley, Billy Talent, Down With Webster, Carly Rae Jepsen, Mariana’s Trench, Finger Eleven, Anjulie, and many others.

In 2014 – second year in a row – Pasha is nominated for the Best Cinematography at the CSC awards. Last year it was two nominations – one of them landing as an award for Music Video category. Pasha Patriki is a full member of CSC (Canadian Society of Cinematographers) as well as an IATSE 667 Union member in the DOP category.

Review Pasha Patriki’s footage here.

Mark Adams discusses Rocketclips beginning

Artbeats’ customers and subscribers have evinced a lot of interest in learning more about our footage producers: e.g., how they started in the business, what challenges they met, what cameras are their favorites, what advice they would give when shooting stock footage, and so forth. What would be a better way to start off a series of producer interviews than to feature Mark Adams of Rocketclips?


Q: When did Rocketclips begin shooting?

A: I started as an assignment still photographer in 1978 and began shooting stock stills in 1984, by the mid-90’s shooting stock stills was my full-time living. I founded Rocketclips and picked up my first video camera in 1999, by 2001 the change-over to motion was complete.


Q: Your library is full of great shots of people doing various activities. What is your favorite setting for capturing this “lifestyle” footage?

A: I’ve been working a lot with a set we built. We can dress it for business and medical. Sometimes it’s a living room or a bedroom. We’ve even turned it into a clothing store and a spa.

Family connecting to social media

RC-FH183-024. – African American family using cellphone and tablets


Q: What are some of the challenges you face with doing studio shoots vs on location?

A: I prefer to shoot indoors. It’s easier to control the environment. Being on location allows the talent to interact with the real world, things can feel more natural but the trade off is just what you would expect; weather, dirt, sand, less than interesting backgrounds, police. Among the biggest challenges we face wherever we shoot are the logistics of managing props and wardrobe. Also camera movement is a huge challenge, especially on a budget. After years as a still stock shooter, working with talent comes very naturally. It’s all the gear necessary for shooting motion that makes us crazy.

Happy friends laughing and dancing

RC-FH234-083 – Happy business colleagues dancing


Q: What’s your favorite clip that you currently have represented in the Artbeats FootageHub?

A: I don’t have favorite clips. I have favorite shoots. Those are the shoots when I’m at my best and I’ve got terrific talent. I bring it, they bring it and the footage looks great.

RC-FH232-134 - Young couple making faces

RC-FH232-134 – Young couple making faces


Q: What¹s the best or worst thing that happened to you on a shoot?

A: The best was shooting childbirth. The worst, getting arrested for shooting with out permits.

Man being arrested

RC-FH177-2009 – Man with handcuffs


Q: What is the one thing you wished you¹d been able to capture?

A: One time I splurged and rented a helicopter to shoot the Las Vegas strip at twilight. I didn’t have the money for a stabilized camera mount, so they took the doors off for me and I hung out hand held, totally useless footage. I envy Phil; he does wonderful aerials.

RC-FH097-001 -  Las Vegas Boulevard at night

RC-FH097-001 – Las Vegas Boulevard at night


Q: Which camera(s) do you prefer for shooting stock footage?

A: Right now I’m shooting with a Red Epic and I love it. Shooting raw is like a dream come true.


Q: What advice can you give to shooters who are just getting started in the stock footage industry?

A: Anyone being honest will tell you that shooting stock has taken a hit from lowering prices. It’s tough to make a living solely from stock. My advice? Anyone with the skill to use a tool, whether it’s a law book, a wrench or a camera can make a living with that tool, if they are talented, committed and passionate.

Young woman doing homework and talking on smart phone

RC-FH208-104 – Young woman on cellphone and studying.


About Rocketclips:

Mark Adams, Rocketclips

Mark Adams, Rocketclips

Rocketclips, Inc was founded by Mark Adams in 1999.
Mark is an experienced professional photographer and videographer who lives with his family in Long Beach, CA.
He graduated in 1978 from the commercial photography program at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California.
He began shooting stock stills in 1984 and migrated into motion with video in 1999.
Rocketclips always uses professional talent and specializes in lifestyle, business and nature imagery.

Encounter with a Tornado

eNews Headline Image June 2014wAuthor

I am not superstitious but I find it interesting that my first encounter with a tornado happened on Friday, June 13th near Devil’s Tower, Wyoming.

My storm chasing trip started June 9th when I flew to Minneapolis to meet up with partners, Skip Talbot, forecaster and professional chaser (, and Jennifer Brindley, also a chaser and professional photographer ( This was to be an amazing eight-day adventure where we would see no fewer than six tornados.

Jennifer Brindley and Skip Talbot in front of Devil’s Tower (the site of the Close Encounter’s close encounter)

Jennifer Brindley and Skip Talbot in front of Devil’s Tower (the site of the Close Encounter’s close encounter)

On this day, the storm we would chase was expected to initiate in the late afternoon, so we took some time to hike and take a sightseeing trip to Devil’s Tower. Sure enough, by 4pm, a large storm sprang to life just west of Hulett, Wyoming and the chase was on.

Tornados typically form under the updraft base of a supercell thunderstorm. This is typically seen as a cloud lowering on the southern portion of the storm. As the base begins to rotate, a “hook” shape often forms on radar. This is a radar image of the storm taken from my phone as we made our approach (Yes, there’s an app for that!).

Tornados form under the updraft base of a supercell thunderstorm. This is typically seen as a cloud lowering on the southern portion of the storm. As the base begins to rotate, a “hook” shape often forms on radar. This is a radar image of the storm taken from my phone as we made our approach (Yes, there’s an app for that!).

Normally, when chasing storms in the Plain States, we are in open country, but this storm was maturing in the hilly country of the Bear Lodge Mountains. Very few highways intersect this area but we found a spot on Highway 24 about 15 miles southeast of Hulett. Our vantage point gave us a view to the northwest where the storm had just become Severe-Warned. The track of the storm was eastward, so it would likely make a close pass to our north.

Here I am filming the storm as it approached from the northwest. Skip Talbot is standing next to me. Photo by Jennifer Brindley.

Here I am filming the storm as it approached from the northwest. Skip Talbot is standing next to me. Photo by Jennifer Brindley.

The sky became dark and ominous, and the storm, which was now officially Tornado-Warned, showed obvious rotation at its base. Wind started gusting around us, and as the updraft base came closer  it became hidden by the foreground hills to our north. Little did we know that a strong tornado was at the heart of this rotating cloud. Soon it became obvious that the storm was becoming increasingly violent. White clouds were whipping across the ridge to our north. We felt a blast of hot air, then heard an unearthly crackling roar, both being signs that a tornado is very close. Strong winds forced me to move my camera to the shelter of the van.

Jennifer Brindley catches me moving the camera out of the wind.

Jennifer Brindley catches me moving the camera out of the wind.


This clip shows the rotating cloud to our north at its closest point.

Rotating Cloud (720p version)

We continued to be battered by winds that were as strong as any I have felt in my life, winds at our back that were attempting to draw us toward the storm. We felt another blast of hot air. Skip assured us that we were perfectly safe in this location.

Can you see the dark funnel shape in the center of this contrast-enhanced image?

Can you see the dark funnel shape in the center of this contrast-enhanced image?

This composite image shows our location southeast of Hulett, and the radar signature of the tornado at its beginning and at its end, with the white line connecting the two showing a possible path.

This composite image shows our location southeast of Hulett, and the radar signature of the tornado at its beginning and at its end, with the white line connecting the two showing a possible path.

Soon the winds died down as the storm passed to our northeast. As we drove away, Skip commented that we didn’t see a tornado, we experienced it. That sums it up nicely.  It was later classified as a strong EF-2 with winds of up to 120mph and a track of 18 miles. Fortunately it passed over sparsely populated country so there was no loss of life and only one injury. It did destroy a mobile home, several outbuildings, and mowed down a significant number of large ponderosa pine trees.

Damage photos from the Crook County Tornado

Damage photos from the Crook County Tornado

Damage photos from the Crook County Tornado

Damage photos from the Crook County Tornado

Damage photos from the Crook County Tornado

Damage photos from the Crook County Tornado

Damage photos from the Crook County Tornado

Damage photos from the Crook County Tornado

This was to be the first tornado encounter in an amazing storm chasing trip and was an experience I will never forget. Over the next few months, we’ll be doing the post work on the footage shot on the Epic, and we’ll make it available as soon as possible. There is so much I want to share, plus more tornado stories will be coming in future Artbeats eNewsletters, so stay tuned!

Filming Driving Plates: We’ve finally arrived!

We are happy to officially announce that the first of our Driving Plates footage is available for download on

We’ve captured some of the most amazing footage, and there’s still much more to come. Watch our Driving Plates Demo Reel and see how valuable this footage is, and get a sneak peek at what’s coming soon.

Image Above: Shot at an upward angle, this skyline image is called a reflection plate, a vital ingredient to making a driving scene realistic. The reflection plate is placed as a semi-opaque layer on the windshield and hood of the car, accurately depicting a mirrored reflection of the scenery overhead. The reflection plate is available in both the 5-Angle and 9-Angle Driving Plates sets. A 5-Angle set also consists of four panoramic (wide) views shot from the front, back and sides of the car. A 9-Angle set is filmed in two passes down the same section of road. With this type of set, you’ll not only get the front, back, sides and reflection plate, but also the three-quarter left and right views from the front and back of the car.


Image Above: LA’s Fashion District is just one of the many locations we captured in our Southern California shoot. In fact, we shot all over Los Angeles, Pasadena, and Santa Monica during the day, evening and night to give you even more options. So you can put your characters on the same stretch of road at different times, depending on the storyline.

Image Above: Driving plates aren’t just for city dwellers. We braved the scorching desert heat so your actors can stay cool and comfortable in their “car”.

Image Above: Taking a break to move the cameras on this beautiful stretch of wooded highway. We’ve captured all different types of terrain during our travels through Oregon and California, as well as industrial areas, bridges, marinas and residential neighborhoods. Most can double as locations in your area.

Image Above: The Pacific Coast Highway makes the perfect backdrop for your drive along the coast. This footage, which is coming soon to our website, is featured in both northbound and southbound sets. So whether your characters are coming or going, the ocean will always be on the correct side!

Image Above: Whether your story calls for a leisurely Sunday drive through the mountains, a weekend camping trip in the woods, or the impending arrival at a haunted cabin, the Redwood Highway is a spectacular setting. This was one of our favorite locations to film.

You can purchase individual angles or an entire set of driving plates. Everything featured on our website is available for immediate download. Be sure to check back often for more driving plates sets.

What Driving Plates locations would be helpful for your productions?


Filming Driving Plates: Before the Cameras Roll

Artbeats is getting a new perspective on shooting POV footage. 

Artbeats is committed to bringing our customers footage that is difficult to shoot, and has high production value. Over the years we’ve received numerous requests for “driving plates”. We also recently spoke with the production staffs of several well-known network television studios and the consensus was the same; they need driving plates and they need them now!

So what are driving plates? A driving plate is the moving scenery seen through the windows of a vehicle when the actors of a television show or film are “driving” somewhere.

As we began researching driving plates footage, we discovered that very few companies sell footage that is shot simultaneously from every window of a car. In fact, those that do provide driving plates use only one or two cameras, making multiple passes down the road. Later, each view must be matched up by the production company and made to look as if shot during one single driving sequence. This can be a very difficult process because each pass will have different action, whether it’s traffic, pedestrians, or the location of the sun. Now that our research was done, we set out to tackle driving plates in true Artbeats fashion!

View from the inside of the car traveling down the interstate with the cameras rolling. 

Diane & Annette ready the Scarlet & Epic cameras on the custom mounting system for a drive through the streets of Portland, Oregon.

We started out by testing different cars, mounting systems and cameras. We needed a smooth ride, a car that rode lower to the ground to allow for realistic height when the cameras were mounted, a mounting system that wouldn’t jeopardize our stabilization, and low-profile cameras that offer a high enough resolution for editors to select and crop to fit a particular scene.

The round metal plate, attached to the rail system, allows the camera to be rotated at different angles without having to be detached each time.

Scarlets attached to the back of the car to shoot the three-quarter angles.

After months of testing, we settled on a 1996 Cadillac DeVille and had our own specially designed mounting system built. We chose an older car specifically for its heavier body, which had to be drilled through to attach the mounts. A monitor rail was built into the dash, and a heavy-duty specialty inverter was included to handle the extra electricity needed to run the five cameras, laptops, monitors, and switches. The electrical system also had to be totally waterproof, with cables and wires running through the body of the car and under the seats, rather than externally.

The control center for the cameras.

Phil uses the touch screen monitors to adjust camera settings from inside the car.

We also chose RED’s Epic and Scarlet cameras. Both are high quality, low-profile, and very light-weight. An entire 9-angle set of driving plates can be filmed in only two passes down the road, which greatly reduces the time needed for matching up the views in post production. The Epic and Scarlet also provide the wider resolution needed for those situations when a second pass isn’t possible.

Stay tuned as we take you along on our journey of shooting driving plates. You never know, you just might see the Artbeats camera car on the street in your city!

Artbeats Volunteers at Camp Millennium: Filming A Summer Camp for Kids Dealing with Cancer

By Diane Barrows, Artbeats Executive Assistant to Phil Bates

Artbeats has been privileged to be a part of a great industry for over 23 years. We’ve made a commitment to giving back to the community, not only through monetary donations, but also in sharing our time and resources. For the past few years, we’ve had the opportunity to volunteer as the official film crew for Camp Millennium.

Camp Millennium is a camp for kids who are dealing with cancer in some way. The camp runs a full week and there is no cost to the camper, as it is entirely funded by donations. I’ve been privileged to join Artbeats president, Phil Bates, in capturing footage and creating a DVD that replays the fun the kids experience during their week-long escape.

At the beginning of this shoot, we accepted the realization that we could not control the place, time of day, lighting, or action taking place. We would not be able to say, “Take two” to much of anything except the kids’ personal introductions, and we would not have time to fiddle with camera settings, lenses or such. So, our first obvious choice was about equipment. We chose a Sony EX-1s, a lightweight tripod, and a FigRig to make hand-held acceptably stable. We took a reflector, a zillion cards,  batteries, and a drive on which to copy the precious footage.

Camp M is currently held in the mountains directly above the beautiful Umpqua River in Southern Oregon. A windy dirt road makes its way up to large terraces where a gym, pool, playground, and eventually cabins and cafeteria are nestled among giant fir trees – beautiful surroundings that make for exhausting shooting as you rush up and down hills so as not to miss any activities going on at each location. The 95+ kids participate in swimming, archery, horseback riding, a ropes course and giant zip line, judo, recreation games, art, skits, a day of water games, a dance, campfires and fun meals, and a whole day is devoted to a marathon field trip that includes a trip to the movies, McDonalds, a day of Olympic style games, bowling and pizza. The shooting day begins (after prep, that is) at 8:00 am and ends whenever the last activity for the older kids winds up, usually around 10:30 or 11:00 pm.

The trick was to change our mindset from shooting stock video to capturing not only participation in the events, but the anticipation, struggle, joy, trepidation, fun, frivolity, and precious, tender moments that flow out of a week centered on these kids’ camping experience. Being alert at every moment for the little scenarios going on makes you aware that there is a camaraderie among kids with a common problem. They encourage each other to get on a horse or swim across the pool, shout for joy when a timid jumper finally lowers himself off the platform to zip down the hill, and stop dancing to sit with their friend who needs a treatment. They routinely visit the nurses’ station for meds, sometimes with their counselors who are previous campers themselves. They hug, sing, and cry with empathy over the death of friends, relatives, or fellow campers; are enthusiastic, silly, and appreciative. They make kind and appropriate fun of their cool counselors who are always “on stage” and model a looking-for-the good attitude. And, imagine this: they act like, well, kids.

It’s these moments that you can’t “do over,” so whether it’s magic hour lighting or pouring down rain, these snippets in time must be captured for DVD posterity. Our first year at camp, the staff told us numerous stories of campers who have to spend time in the hospital, often in lengthy stays, and how they watch their Camp M DVDs over and over, reliving a time when they just had fun with their friends. The DVD serves not only as a chronicle of the year’s activities, but a reminder of a week of escape. That knowledge fuels our dedication to retelling the camping story – to give them something to remember, relive, and look forward to.

This year, we brought our RED Epic camera along, as well. We limited its use for all the reasons we stated, and daily rain further limited the plan because we just didn’t want to deal with keeping it safe and dry. But a savvy camper/budding film student spotted it, recognized what it was and drooled heavily, encouraging Phil to take advantage of a couple of fun opportunities to bring it out for some slow-motion trickery. One day a downpour brought rain overflowing the cabin gutters, and several older kids volunteered to let the streams of water hit their faces. He also caught a walloping belly-flop by a counselor who created an enormous splash in the pool, and brought the camera out again during the games for events like parachute launching and sack races (races in slow-motion? That’s an oxymoron.) Another day a young animal-lover begged Phil to film her “snail circus,” and recognizing this important gift from a child, he dutifully set up a camera and filmed her lovely snails, up close and personal, much to her delight. But the coups de gras was the short introduction to the Epic camera and some on-hands experience for that budding student, a moment he’ll never forget. And neither will Phil.

What Artbeats hopes to give the campers of Camp Millennium is a fun-filled, tender, hilarious DVD shot and edited by a professional cinematographer who adjusted his focus for a week and who truly cares about a bunch of campers he may never see again in this life.

Somehow the many adults who generously donate their time, effort, energy, and money to a worthy cause create a week of joyous escape for those to whom life has been unfair. What does Artbeats get from our donation? A new lens through which to appreciate the world, and you can’t put a dollar figure on that.

Learn more about Camp Millennium.

Car on Fire: Filming the unexpected

Recently the Artbeats crew was filming establishments on the Las Vegas Strip when something totally unexpected happened. The result was some incredible footage that isn’t like anything we have in our library.

When planning a shoot, you always have certain expectations of the footage you’d like to capture. Just as in our daily lives, you can’t always control your environment and what’s happening around you, especially when shooting “on location”. Sometimes things come up that, while unfortunate to some, become an amazing opportunity for filming. As a shooter, you must be willing to expect the unexpected, and adapt to new situations. You just never know what’s around the next bend!

Please note that no one was injured in this incident, and the driver was able to safely exit the vehicle. Artbeats sends our deepest condolences to the owner of the vehicle for their loss.

This footage will be for sale on in the coming months.

Artbeats shoots RED EPIC Aerials over Washington, DC

By Phil Bates, Artbeats President & Founder

Artbeats Washington, DC aerials. View the demo reel here.

After months of work from Artbeats staff, outside consultants and our pilot, the Transportation Security Administration granted us a waiver to spend two days shooting aerials over Washington, DC. The monumental red tape included getting clearance from the military, Secret Service, FBI and TSA. With that work behind us, we still had to get permits, as well as clearance from the tower at Reagan International Airport. Because of their busy weekdays, they asked us to push our daytime flights to Saturday.

Even with the waiver, we were not allowed to fly over the mall or shoot the White House. We were required to have a police officer accompany us in the helicopter during the flight and pre-screen us on the ground. At our airport, two Army Intelligence Officers waited for us to land so they could look over every shot, make sure there were no security violations, and delete any problem clips on the spot. Because of this we did quick cuts while shooting, so anything cut would be short.

Our equipment included the Pictorvision eclipse gyrostabilized gimbal mounted on a TwinStar helicopter. The camera was a RED Epic-X with an Optimo 24-290 lens. We shot at 30fps, 5K 2:1 with a Redcode setting of 8:1 and 6:1 for the nighttime shots. Our media was 256GB SSD cards, which gave us around 60 minutes of shoot time. The lens gave a small amount of vignette at all the way wide. No big deal, an easy crop.

Our first flight started on Friday near sunset from our small airport outside the “Freeze”, a term for the round shaped 7 mile wide restricted area over DC. Along with the pilot, camera operator, and director (me), having a police officer on board plus the weight of the camera gimbal meant a very limited amount of fuel thus only an hour in the air over the capital.

On our route over the Potomac into the “Freeze” we could easily see the Langley CIA building on our right in full view tempting us. Originally we wanted to shoot it, but our DC consultant warned us not even to ask. In contrast to the 1500ft altitude minimum requirements when flying over buildings over NYC, our route into DC along the river limited us to 200ft max above the ground. This is because flights arriving at Reagan are approaching just above our heads. All arriving planes had to keep us in sight at all times. In fact, any airline pilot not able to see us must abort the landing and turn around for another approach. The TSA were also watching our every move, making sure we stayed away from the restricted airspace over the Mall, White House and VP’s home.

Normally, I like to shoot from low altitudes, but this proved to be a problem near the Pentagon where the geometric shape of the building is lost at that level. We needed to fly west away from the arrival lanes in order to get permission to get higher for a better view.

The Capitol building and Washington Monument were the two landmarks that drew the eye and the camera. It was hard to pan away from those amazing structures. The best shots were shooting lengthwise down the Mall from east to west or from the other side west to east. Doing a slow camera dolly move north to south (or vice versa) with the Monument and Dome lining up gave us the best framing. The 12x lens gave us the reach we needed. Along the river we saw missile batteries on a rooftop. The police officer on board said we could shoot it but risk it being deleted. We stayed away. Our shot list also included universities, the Watergate, Arlington, stadiums, other monuments and hospitals. It took us 4 different flights to shoot daytime, night time, and dusk versions.

Back on the ground the Army officers carefully viewed the clips in RedCine. They were very savvy and comfortable using the program by themselves. Since there was no time to download we read the clips directly from the card. Only a few clips were deleted from the first three flights, but eight clips were in violation on our last mission. Of these we were able to save four by trimming the R3D in and out points. All in all, we lost very little to these deletions, since we shot a lot of redundant footage. The officers who were very friendly never told us what they were looking for, just zoomed in now and then to seemingly random areas. They were amazed at the detail we were capturing at 5K, which in this case worked against us! After one officer finished looking at the last clip, he asked us: “How in the world did you get clearance to fly in P56? That’s a huge amount of red tape.” Yes it was. 🙂

I am also very thankful to our crew and Artbeats staff who made this shoot possible.

Shooter’s Diary: Lights, EPIC, Action in San Francisco!

By Annette Gaillard, Artbeats DP

As we mentioned in a previous post, Artbeats recently acquired a new RED EPIC camera. We spent a few days doing testing on the Oregon coast, filming lifestyles at a local Coffee House and shooting aerials on the East Coast. Now it was time for me to take it on the road just in time for the holidays.

Over the years we’ve received a lot of requests for holiday related footage. Being from a rural area on the west coast, I wanted to capture the magic of the holiday lights and decorations in the city. For this, I chose the beautiful and eclectic city of San Francisco. Blue skies, a little haze in the air, but otherwise ideal conditions for filming, and a great opportunity for me to work with the EPIC. Before leaving I decided to upgrade the build on our camera, so we finally have playback available on the camera. We’d also recently received our side handle, but had not had the chance to test it.

Looking over the city from the top of Lombard Street.

Over the past three years, I have gotten very used to filming on the RED ONE and am not a big fan of change, however, the EPIC made the transition relatively painless. Many of the menus are very similar to the RED ONE, just more accessible via the touchscreen LCD. I did find myself accidentally hitting buttons on the optional side handle, which caused minor confusion a few times. The playback option worked flawlessly and so did the camera, which was a big relief. As with any software upgrade, you never know if a new glitch will show up while you’re out in the field.

Shooting in San Francisco is not without its challenges. In some cases, parking simply isn’t an option. For these instances, I’d hop out, grab the gear, and have my assistant circle the block, sometimes multiple times, until I had completed the shots I needed. Having a smaller camera like the EPIC, as well as a small tripod to trek around the hills of San Francisco was definitely a benefit. After navigating the streets, I wished that I had told the film office that I needed traffic control, as the best vantage point was often in the middle of the street. The San Francisco Film Office was extremely helpful in the planning of this shoot. Even though we were a very, very small crew, a permit was needed since our end product is for commercial use. My contact was able to provide me with information on areas I was not allowed to film, for various reasons, and also suggested many alternative sites. Unfortunately, they did not know about several of the private events that had been booked, which blocked some of the best holiday locations for the days that I was there. It had been quite some time since I’d been to San Francisco, and I had forgotten about the grid network cable for the trolley cars. If you’re into realistic shots of a city, the cables are no big deal. However, if you want a clear view of things, good luck!

This is part of the 17,000 lights outlining the buildings in the Embarcadero Center.

There is so much to film in San Francisco, and I wasn’t able to get nearly everything I wanted, but in the end this shoot was definitely a success. We captured some spectacular holiday footage, a large number of establishment shots of the city and some unexpected environmental content. You’ll find this footage soon in our royalty-free stock footage library.

Looking back, I have to say that my overall experience with the EPIC was a success. At this point I feel that the only real drawback to the camera are the Redvolt batteries. You get approximately 30 minutes recording time and they take 90 minutes to charge. The chargers available at this time only hold one battery. Depending on how many batteries you have, you are up a lot during the night to get batteries charged for the next day. I personally can’t wait for the RED quad charger to come out. I found that using a mixture of the Redvolts and the Red Bricks was the best way to make it through the day and for charging to be manageable at night.

I learned quite a few things about San Francisco, and will definitely change how I plan to do things on my next film shoot there. Most importantly, I would budget more days. There is so much ground to cover, and so many great places to film. When choosing a hotel in San Francisco I would recommend that you make sure it has parking available and ask what vehicles it can accommodate. The hotel we stayed at for this excursion did have parking available. Unfortunately it was fitted to accommodate sub-compact cars, rather than the SUV we use to haul our gear. It was definitely a challenge, and one morning I was forced to request that other cars be moved.

My parting suggestions to all the other stock shooters: even though it is very important to have a shot list, don’t tie yourself to it. Keep your eyes peeled because there are so many opportunities that pop up. Even though these unexpected shots may derail your plan, they can be completely worth it. Go for the things that take more time to shoot, that are harder to get. Lastly, releases, releases, releases…the shot maybe fantastic, but if it needs a release and you don’t get one, it could be worthless.

View of the financial district at night.