Burbank, USA: August 2013 – For his current documentary film GOLD – Du kannst mehr als du denkst (Engl.: GOLD – You can do more than you think), Grimme award winner Michael Hammon and his film team follow three extraordinary athletes on their way to the 2012 Paralympics in London. With the easy operation of the fluid head by OConnor, a part of Vitec Videcom, a Vitec Group company, Hammon was able to completely focus on the people in front of the camera and capture thrilling images from the lives of three professional handicapped athletes.
The experienced cinematographer has no problem summarizing his work: “It was a fantastic project – one of the most important of my life. The great protagonists, their fates and the overcoming of their challenges have given me inspiration for years to come.” Blind Kenyan marathon runner Henry Wanyoike, paraplegic German swimmer Kirsten Bruhn, and Australian wheelchair racer Kurt Fearnley gave Hammon a look into their daily lives as athletes taking him to diverse film locations all over the world.
In the dusty heat of Kenya or in the rainy Australia, the cinematographer was always able to depend on his OConnor fluid head. “The fluid head was very dependable in every kind of weather,” Hammon explains. Hammon sees the advantages of OConnor camera support in the robust mechanics, the stepless and smooth pan-and-tilt function, and the intuitive operation. “The well-developed fluid damping and the sinusoidal counterbalance system are ideal for every lens focal length and every panning job,” he says. The selection of the right equipment helps Hammon to realize his personal motto: “On every filming day, I have to get at least one mind-blowing picture which is stunning in terms of content and visual effect!”
With the help of three Samsung G3 smartphones, the athletes contributed their own perspective to the documentary in the form of self-portraits. For fast scenes, Hammon further emphasized the ease of these pictures by using a Canon EOS C300 instead of the main ARRI Alexa camera. With the additional RED EPIC, he was able to produce slow-motion images of up to 300 pictures per second and, with its 800mm lens, even work from far-off camera positions. During the entire shoot, Hammon envisioned the moving life stories of the three handicapped athletes as examples of an open-minded society. Winning a metal at the Paralympics is not important – everyone can be GOLD.