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Zak Bagans Produces New Film "Sympathy Said the Shark" Shot On Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Cameras

Fremont, CA - November 12, 2014 - Blackmagic Design today announced that Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Cameras were used to capture the first person point of view essential to the new suspense thriller film “Sympathy Said the Shark,” a new film executive produced by Zak Bagans, host and executive producer of the popular hit show “Ghost Adventures.”

Produced by LA production company Chicken Bear Productions, “Sympathy Said the Shark” is a dark thriller set around a love triangle that unravels over a single night, with all three of the main characters placed in deadly danger. The film aims to bring the audience right into the head of each character through point of view (POV) imagery. To capture this, Devin Lawrence, director of the film and long time editor on “Ghost Adventures,” and Mark Lafleur, director of photography and veteran of some of the biggest reality TV shows, including “Ace of Cakes” and “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo,” worked together to build POV rigs around Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Cameras.

“This movie is all about the characters’ perspectives as they go through extreme circumstances. To get that visually and to get into the heads of the characters, we needed a POV camera that didn’t impede on the actors’ abilities to tell the story, that captured high quality imagery and that could be easily graded so we could build specific feelings and emotions into each POV shot. The Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera fit perfectly,” said Bagans. 

With 75 percent of the movie shot from the lead characters’ point of views, Lawrence and Lafleur worked together to develop a new POV rig that would fit over each of the main characters’ heads and that gave a close up and personal view of what each character was going through. Shooting in ProRes HQ, Lawrence and Lafleur were able to easily take the footage acquired and move it to post production to add specific grades and color correction in DaVinci Resolve, and each character was given their own color scheme.

“The POV helmet rig was born out of necessity. My goal was to make the POV shots feel as real as possible, and Mark’s goal was to make them look as cinematic as possible. I wanted to be able to see the arms and legs and wounds of whomever’s POV we were in and allow the actors to interact directly so that their performances weren’t hindered,” said Lawrence.“When searching for the right camera, the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera absolutely nailed all of our three main factors: cost, weight and quality. The camera is lighter than any DSLR I know of, which is very important when mounting it to a helmet that someone wears while performing long five minute takes, and the image has a distinctly cinematic quality that makes it feel more like film,” continued Lawrence. “For our prototype POV rig, we bought a motorcycle helmet off the Internet, drilled a hole and then hung the camera from a single Israeli arm. That was enough to know that we were on to something. From there, Mark personally took the rig from toaster to Terminator by attaching all kinds of gadgets and stabilization gear.”

“We wanted to overlap and hear and see things differently with each character. And we wanted a cinematic look that had lots of latitude and had to have a realistic skin tone. To do all of this, we built a rig that included 15mm rods, a remote follow focus, an HD video transmitter, a Bartech remote follow focus, a Paralinx Arrow wireless transmitter and a power source. And the rig also had to be lightweight, balanced and durable enough to survive stunts. All built around a small camera that gave us the highest quality images,” said Lafleur. “The Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera gave us this as well as a huge amount of options for how we could build these rigs. We really pushed the latitude of each camera and got great results.”

“When the actors wore the rigs, you felt a visceral connection to what the characters were going through. The actors were acting with you, not just acting in front of a shaky rig held in front of them. We couldn’t have shot this with any other camera,” said Lawrence.

Press Photography
Product photos of Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera are available here. Story photos can be found here

About Blackmagic Design
Blackmagic Design creates the world’s highest quality video editing products, digital film cameras, color correctors, video converters, video monitoring, routers, live production switchers, disk recorders, waveform monitors and film restoration software for the feature film, post production and television broadcast industries. Blackmagic Design’s DeckLink capture cards launched a revolution in quality and affordability, while the company’s Emmy™ award winning DaVinci color correction products have dominated the television and film industry since 1984. Blackmagic Design continues ground breaking innovations including stereoscopic 3D and 4K workflows. Founded by world leading post production editors and engineers, Blackmagic Design has offices in the USA, United Kingdom, Japan, Singapore, and Australia. For more information, please check  

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New Magic Australia Pty Ltd is a recognised leader in the distribution and marketing of multimedia hardware and software, representing a carefully selected range of innovative, leading manufacturers and catering for both the professional and consumer markets. New Magic Australia established in 1993 is the Australian distributor of Blackmagic Design, Convergent Design, Hauppauge Computer Works Inc, Cubix, Matrox Video and Sony Creative Software products.