Casino Royale Parkour Chase

June 10, 2013 in Data Runner, Media, Parkour, Television and Movies

It occurred to me after my last entry that I couldn’t post any more Parkour videos without first posting the kick-ass Parkour chase from Casino Royale. This sequence features the great Sébastien Foucan, one of the founders of Parkour (of course, people have been doing Parkour since people have been around, but Foucan was one of the originators of modern Parkour as a structured form).

If you haven’t seen this clip, you’re in for a treat. Watching Sébastien Foucan trace is like watching Michael Jordan play basketball or Serena Williams play tennis. It truly is a thing of beauty.

Let’s even make a little game of it. How many of Jack’s moves from DATA RUNNER can you spot in this sequence?

The Turn in Hemlock Grove

May 22, 2013 in Media, Television and Movies

If you have Netflix, be sure to check out the Netflix original series Hemlock Grove. It’s being helmed by Eli Roth, so you can expect a fair amount of gore in this series that involves gypsy curses, human experimentation, mutilated corpses, a gentle giant named “Shelley”, and of course, one or more werewolves.

The scene in Episode 2 where we see Peter transform into a wolf for the first time (called “the turn” in the show) is spectacularly done. It’s the best werewolf transformation scene since the John Landis classic “An American Werewolf in London”.

Hemlock Grove "Turn"

“The Turn” in Hemlock Grove

How to Shoot the Parkour in Data Runner

May 19, 2013 in Data Runner, Filmmaking, Parkour, Television and Movies

When most authors start thinking about movie versions of their books, they go straight to casting. I’m a little different. I happen to love the craft of filmmaking, and for that reason I’ve thought often about how to shoot the parkour in Data Runner, and this has led to an interesting dilemma of form vs. function.

The conventional wisdom would be to shoot all the parkour action with a handheld (i.e. shaky cam). The idea here is to put the audience in the shoes of a runner, giving them the visceral experience of running on the heels of Jack, Dexter, and Red Tail. You see this kind of camerawork a lot in television and feature films.

Here’s my issue with that. I’m of the opinion that handhelds are used way too often and unsparingly. Occasionally, a constantly shaking camera can be immersive (Bourne Ultimatum), but most of the time it gets annoyingly distracting (Hunger Games). Nevertheless, handhelds do give you a tightness and intimacy that is often lost when you have to mount the camera to a large gimbal. Steadicams do deliver a smoothness and fluidity that handhelds can’t, but generally have to sacrifice maneuverability in order to get it. So it becomes a question of form vs. function.

Enter the MoVI M10 by Freefly Systems. When I saw this video, and the quality of footage the filmmakers were able to capture with this 3-axis gimbal, I knew that this was the perfect rig to capture the action of the book. This mount allows fast-paced shots to be composed in-camera, preserving the intimacy of a handheld while simultaneously delivering a fluid motion that can showcase all the beauty and elegance of parkour. Watching this video, it isn’t hard to mentally replace the content of each camera movement with material from the book. It isn’t just a perfect melding of form and function, it is the perfect rig to shoot the parkour action of Data Runner.

Check it out, and please comment to let the rest of us know what you think…