If you aren’t already familiar with the work of Curt Morgan and his adventure-seeking production house Brain Farm, now’s probably a good time to check out their showreel above. Having worked on a host of breathtaking cinematic projects including That’s It, That’s All and Art of Flight, Brain Farm has made a name for itself crafting unique and never-before-possible cinematic experiences in remote locations and under extreme conditions – the kind of projects a team needs a specially developed custom rig to shoot. For the past year and a half, Morgan has been working closely with the makers of the Cineflex cameras, an advanced set of 35mm digital cameras that are capable of capturing high image quality with the highest level of stability in even the most rugged conditions. They’ve been using the cameras on helicopters, boats, trucks and any other kind of vehicle they can get their hands on, but recently, Brain Farm teamed up with Snaproll Media and Schiebel to get some help drones equipped with the cineflex. You know what that means? Even more extreme, unimaginable shots. The Creators Project recently caught up Curt Morgan to talk about his endeavors – read an extract from the chat below, and be sure to check out the entire interview here.
The Creators Project: Tell me a little bit more of this drone camera situation that you guys went to Vienna for.
Curt Morgan: So let me tell you in a different order. So you know we are super into stabilized cinematography and finding ways to change the game in the cinematography market. That’s something we are adamant about, always finding a way to kind of outdo ourselves. So we got the Cineflex camera system from General Dynamics — the Cineflex v14 HD. It’s really cool but for what I was doing, it worked really well but wasn’t really built for me, it was more built for news. So I went to them about a year ago and I was like, “Can we work together to create the new system?” It took a little while, but eventually they came back and said, “We want a filmmaker involved in this, let’s do this. What do you wanna do?”
I basically worked with them for the last year and a half and we went through every single thing that was wrong with the current system—or, not wrong, but could be better—and changed up the camera to an ARRI ALEXA, which is a more cinematic digital super 35mm camera that shoots 120 frames per second. It’s super easy to produce, it’s a new computer system with a Canon layout on it that is fully wireless. Its all kind of geeky but it’s going to completely change the game as far as images are concerned, so we developed the system and launched it yesterday.
And so with the drone, we partnered with this company called Snaproll and they have a bunch of these smaller Heli systems that can fly and see red and all these other things. They had a relationship with a company called Schiebel in Austria and Schiebel was like, “We wanted to do this for so long, we want to integrate Cineflex. We’ve been talking about it for years,” and it was done.
Essentially, we worked with them for months to integrate the Cineflex into their system. We spent tons and tons of time on the phone coming up with different ways to make it work. All of our engineers put their heads together and figured out how to integrate Cineflex. We spent a week over there, we were figuring out how to build [the camera] into it, control it wirelessly, integrate the wireless controls into their current system and then transmit that back down to the ground. It was a big challenge and you’re flying 130lbs on an 8-foot unmanned aircraft—it’s not like it isn’t a big thing to pull off or anything—but it worked and it was trippy. That’s the meat of the story.