Zack Charney Cohen has been working as a DIT on a series of national ads for an automobile manufacturer. Versions of these spots have included focus groups, elaborate false sets, hidden cameras, and multiple cameras hidden inside the cars themselves.
For sequences with cameras mounted inside the cars, Sony A7S and GoPro Hero Silver 3+ cameras were used to shoot in 1080p HD video. In the past, the signals from these cameras were fed to individual recorders to capture in Apple ProRes. For a recent shoot, Zack decided to use the Convergent Design Apollo to record four HD 1080p cameras in each car simultaneously.
“I already own an Odyssey7Q, so I added the Apollo Option to get Multi-Stream recording,” said Zack. “Before I purchased the option, we did a test drive with some cameras and the Apollo Option in demo mode. A few blocks around the rental house showed us that it would work.”
Two cars were each rigged with four GoPro cameras, HDMI-to-SDI converters and an Odyssey recorder running the Apollo Option in the trunk. Zack’s Odyssey7Q was used in one car and a second Odyssey7Q+ was provided by Keslow Camera in Los Angeles. A video transmitter in each car sent the Apollo’s Quad-Split view monitoring output showing all four camera feeds to follow vehicles.
One day we shot 66 hours of content! That was only possible because of Apollo.
“It was amazing,” noted Zack. “One day we shot 66 hours of content! That was only possible because of Apollo. We used to need to wire up multiple recorders, could only wirelessly transmit one camera view, had to worry about everything staying in sync together, and then had a massive job offloading all of the material. This time shooting two-hour long takes was no problem, and it was all to one card. All of the time was spent actually shooting, not setting up or dealing with the gear. Apollo did spectacular.”
Zack also noted that recording on the GoPros themselves was not an option. “Forget the limited record times or codec questions. It takes a long time to transfer GoPro files because of the transcode and we had a tight turnaround with multiple cameras. Recording in Apple ProRes was perfect. It was the only thing that allowed us to make our days and still get our turnaround time. I never want to shoot GoPro any other way.”
Zack used the Convergent Design Apple ProRes Transfer Tool to extract the multiple video tracks with matching file extensions and timecode. “The fact that the GoPros were all synced up was crucial to getting this done. Post could just drop them into a timeline and we were good to go.”
From starting preproduction to rolling on set was just 48 hours. Delivering almost 200 hours of material was completed just one week after production wrapped. Said Zack, “Apollo was quick to prep, worked great on set, allowed us to record an enormous amount of footage and deliver it all synced in a short time. Production enjoyed a massive reduction in the camera gear order and got more out of their shooting days.”