So a couple of months back we completed our 3rd and final video for an up and coming boxer, fighting out of Mississauga. It has been a crazy busy summer over here at Films First, hence why the lack of regular blog posts, but that is about to change as winter is upon us, opening up a little more free time to blog about some of our projects.

Michael Brandon (the featured boxer) approached me looking for a series of videos showing off some of his training and personality, including the fight night itself. After some organizing we ended up only needing 2 shooting days: 1 for training and 1 for fight night. Here’s the breakdown of each day below.

Let’s start with the training shoot. We met up at HUF gym in Mississauga where Michael does his training. We starting off with a Q and A session, and what better place to do it than in the boxing ring itself. We talked about how he got started in boxing and what motivates him as well as a few other topics to help him get his story and personality across. We then moved about to the different workout stations and got Michael doing his thing while we done ours. One of the highlights/ challenges was getting to use my drone inside of the gym without hitting it off the ceiling. You can see my nervous face while operating the drone in the picture below. This was a tricky feat as I had to get super close to the ceiling in order to be high enough to get Michael hitting the mitts with his trainer in the frame. Drones can also act a little weird indoor, especially around metal objects, but I really wanted the shot, so I put the drone at risk for the shot. It was worth it 🙂

Another opportunity to use the drone was when Michael went for a jog in the evening. We planned it so he would be jogging during the ‘Golden Hour’ so the lighting would be just right to get some cinematic looking shots. And what better location for a jogging drone shot that over a bride. I was so happy with the location which also happened to be walking distance from my house.

We also made use of a fun little camera that I originally bought for personal projects due to it’s size and portability – the Sony RX100 IV. We found this useful for super slow motion shots and we used it to film the sweat dropping off of Micheal in the opening shot of the first teaser video below. We speak about this camera in more detail on our previous blog post – SLOW MOTION TALK – SONY A7SII, 120FPS + TWIXTOR

The second shoot day was fight night and the location was the Masonic Temple in Toronto. Some of the key shots going into fight night would be the walk out and lots of slow motion shots of the fight itself. For the walk out I needed to use my gimbal (Came-tv mini 3) paired with the A7S ii and Zeiss Loxia 35mm F2. I like this combination as it is small, lightweight and has amazing low light capabilities. It was a 4 round fight so my strategy was to shoot the first two rounds with my gimbal at 60FPS and get as much variety as that set up allowed. And the for the latter two rounds I wanted to get some tighter shots at an even higher frame rate (120FPS) to really accentuate the action. Also I had to shoot handheld for these rounds as the tight shooting location meant I wouldn’t be able to use my monopod. I had to make myself as small as possible so I didn’t block the people trying to enjoy the fight. Shooting at a higher frame rate really helped smooth out most of the camera shake associated with handheld shooting. Another bonus was that I was able to get away with using my 24-70mm lens and still get some pretty tight shots thanks to the 2.2 crop factor when shooting 120FPS on the A7S ii. This effectively meant I was shooting with a 52.8 – 154mm lens without having the size/bulk of my 70 – 200mm lens. Shooting handheld with a 70 – 200mm is not a good idea due to the shear size of weight of that combo.

Besides the action inside of the ring I couldn’t forget the reactions of the onlookers also, especially when you have some of the biggest names in boxing in attendance – Lennox Lewis and co. So i had to keep crowd reactions in the back of my mind at all times and find out what groups of onlookers displayed the most animated reactions.

Hope you enjoy the videos and feel free to reach out to me or leave a comment if you have any questions about the shoot or gear used.

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