DEFINITION - April 2020 - Web


We managed to strip down the Monstro to just a bit bigger than a DSLR for fight scenes

allowed to shoot there for one day, so one day for all the exteriors and one for the green screen shots inside on the stage.” Overcoming this was “the most impossible task I’d ever been asked to do”. “I came up with the idea that the only way to do this was if major parts of this chase sequence were choreographed as one. So, you don’t go for specific set-ups (and shoot only these set-ups), you have to go through and throw an armada of cameras into the sequence, which we ended up doing. “We had three Red Monstros, a russian arm, another tracking vehicle, drones, cameras rigged to the car and motorcycle all at the same time, six or seven cameras working at the same time. My camera operators had their specific part of the boards and the shots they were supposed to get and once they were through, they just freestyled through the sequence with additional footage of the chase.” He points out: “Because all the cameras were in each other’s shots, they had to be painted out, but the priority was to get the scene done. That was also day one of the movie with a brand-new crew and they all looked at the shot list and the schedule and couldn’t believe that this had to happen. But we got through it and made those 100 set-ups, as it turned out. We had more shots than we had actually boarded and they had a lot of fun putting that sequence together. It was a brilliant start. After that day, we felt that we could do anything.” Ciupek is justifiably proud of his achievement with Guns Akimbo . He concludes: “Every action scene in the movie has its own style and design. We never went generic, as we always wanted every sequence to have its own flavour.”

this camera, so I could do all this other type of work. Although I did use the Panasonic GH5S camera for some body rigs where the Monstro would have been too big or heavy.” CHASE SEQUENCE Unfortunately, on the first day of shooting a three-day chase sequence, Auckland’s local government reduced production access to one day in the city’s downtown area. Ciupek recalls: “We blocked the whole downtown area of Auckland for this chase scene. Nix is chasing Daniel’s character Miles through the streets. She’s on a motorbike, chasing and shooting, while he’s trying to handle a car, but he has the guns bolted to his hands! At the end of it, she just drives up the car, pushing the wheel of her bike into his face through the smashed windscreen. “When you read a scene like this, you’re thinking how you’re going to shoot it. Originally, we thought we would need three days of main unit and two days of second unit to shoot the sequence and those 80 boarded shots. Unfortunately, we were only

coming to us every day. All the editing wipes were planned in; on the shooting day, we were so well prepared, we shot the whole scene in six hours. The scene had 15 wipe points, with the camera going really crazy, flying through space. There’s one scene where we have all the camera set-ups: handheld, Steadicam with the Omega and spinning the camera and gimbals.” For some set-ups, the stunt team needed their own camera operator, as Ciupek wanted some shots to be very close to Nix. However, the camera also had to be moved quickly out of the way, “otherwise it would’ve got punched”. He explains: “It could only be done by someone who is part of the fight choreography team: we got really close to the faces as the action was happening. For them, we managed to strip down the Red Monstro to just a bit bigger than a DSLR – it was a bit hard for the super-fast gimbal shots. That was great for me, as it meant the camera was the same for the stunt work as for the rest of the movie. It was one of the reasons I wanted


26 DEF I N I T ION | APR I L 2020

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