Locked in a room with a Tiger!

I just did a commercial shoot in Phoenix for some great clients, Gwen and Jack at Third House.  The interesting part about it was that we were shooting with a live Tiger, which was both frightening and amazing at the same time.  My DIT Brandon Dolson and I made a road trip out of it and brought along an Epic camera package with us.

The first shoot day, we strapped the camera on a hi-hat in the back of a pickup truck and shot motorcyclists driving down a road.  We used an Optimo 24-290mm zoom because we needed a whole bunch of shots and wanted to capture them all quickly at sunset, so the zoom was essential, especially because it’s difficult to keep the motorcycle in the exact same distance. Of course, it’s a beast of a lens and weighs a ton.

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The next day we shot in a motorcycle museum with the Tiger and her handlers.  She was an older Tiger and has probably worked on more films than I have, so I gave her as much respect as possible.  I was surprised how close we were allowed to be with her but the trainer only allowed essential people to be in the room with them, so it was just me and the director and sometimes Brandon.  We even had a remote follow focus so Brandon didn’t have to be right by the camera.

Here’s a quick video clip we shot with my Canon 7D behind the scenes:

Another useful piece of equipment on this shoot was the Dana Dolly, which is basically a Mitchell plate with skateboard wheels on it that can run on two pieces of speed rail.  It was very light and quick to move around and set up.  Because it was so fast, we could do several slider-style shots without having to take the Tiger out of the room.

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About Graham Futerfas

I'm a professional Cinematographer working in Los Angeles.
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