All posts by thedrach

Three Weeks in May

Like basically everyone on the planet…

…Nickelback bugs me more than just a little bit. I mean, since “The State” all their songs essentially sound exactly the same. That being said, they have one song that has has truly inspired me; it’s more the lyrics than the melody (Duh?)…and said lyrics to the song “If Today was Your Last Day” are absolutely beautiful. Here’s an excerpt:

Against the grain should be a way of life. What’s worth the prize is often worth the fight…

For a few years now this has been my professional motto; and it really helped in this crazy Month of May where I had 3 consecutive shoots for 5150 straddling a conference for my day-job (Which was awesome – I have the best Boss ever) and a trip to head office.

The Silver State Race

This event was the 3rd best event I’ve ever gone to. Period. In case anyone was wondering…first is the Messina words cause I’m patriotic and I consider the Tessmann’s to be friends. Plus Italians are nuts about racing and that post win Mob was absolutely amazing. Second place…AXIALFEST. I can’t explain why it’s awesomeness is so awesomely awesome, but it’s awesome! Silver State II, as I have dubbed it, has now joined “The Drach” elite!

When word got out that R/C Tracks of Las Vegas, premiere facility hosting the World Championships as well as many other Events  was closing…I was gutted. One of the first things I thought was “What about the Silver State Race?” Enter Joey Christensen; famed Track builder and event Promoter to the rescue!

Joey had worked out a deal with the Southpoint Hotel & Casino to host Silver State indoors for the first time in that races history. Not only that, it was the first major indoor race on the west coast. The equestrian center made for the perfect venue; add to that the amenities that the casino had to offer and this was almost guaranteed to be a great race.

While there were a few things that could have been improved, like the Driver Stand (or lack of one), and the smoke coupled with an endless cloud of dust, this event went off smooth; without a single hitch actually. While there might have been a few “Driver Stand” shenanigans, there really wasn’t a lot of negative drama. After #WaldoGate this is exactly what the industry needed. A highly competitive race with an overwhelmingly positive vibe!

The track developed TONS of Character #bing and made for some absolutely intense racing. It started off with an epic Truggy final which saw Ty drive his XT8 harder than I’ve seen him drive a R/C vehicle ever. It was one of the most impressive things I’ve ever seen; it was almost as impressive as the rough track driving clinic that Jared Tebo put on. This was the perfect track for Jared and he won the Truggy event with what looked like relative ease. He wasn’t as fast as Ty, but he was nearly flawless over the course of the 45 minute Truggy Final.

Fortunately for Ty, he’s a quick study; he used the lessons learned in the Truggy main and applied what he saw Jared doing in the Truggy final. There was just one tiny obstacle…Ryan Maifield. Even though Maifield and Ty swapped the lead several times, Ryan led most of the race. Ty with much improved his consistency in the second half of the race pressured Ryan and took the lead for the final time on lap 68. Ryan would finish 2nd with Jared Tebo rounding out the Podium.

I’m absolutely stoked that I was there to capture the entire story of this inaugural indoor Silver State Race. Joey Christensen, you are the man! This was a Brilliant Event!!!

Look for “Come Drive With Us – Silver State II” to hit my YouTube Channel sometime in 2018 🙂

Service-Now Knowledge 18 Conference

When I tell some of my fans that I actually have a day-job outside of film production many of them are dumbfounded. But it’s true, I have an amazing job with an amazing company. I manage a software team for the Ledcor group of Companies. Between shoots, I attended the Knowledge 18 user group conference, it was awesome! The size of the conference blew me away; with over 18,000 attendees this was the biggest conference I’d ever gone to. My team learned a ton about this amazing platform and we’re excited about expanding our use of Service-Now.

 
JBRL Round #2 – Palm Desert RC Raceway

Immediately following Knowledge 18, I rented a C7 and zipped over to SoCal for another shoot.

JBRL is a series that runs 8 events in Southern California; and in so many ways, it’s exactly what the industry needs. To me it felt more like a club race that your typical SoCal event. The only pro drivers were my pal Adam Drake and Tekno RC’s Mason Eppley.

I’m trying something a bit different for “Come Drive With Us – JBRL“; the plan is to go to 3 JBRL races and edit them together into a single episode. I would liked to have made the season opener at Thunder Alley, but family responsibilities and an ailing father prevented it.; round 2 will be the firs of the three events I cover. Held at Palm Desert RC Raceway, this was the first JBRL I’d ever been to and it was also the first race I’d been to with such a low pro driver count. I expected this to make the event a bit more low-key. This was not the case. There were some very big personalities there!

The track was cool, the racing was exciting, but I didn’t really find a good story to tell yet. Looking forward to the next JBRL race; I believe it will be July 14th at Dialed In RC Raceway!

Pro-Line’s “By the Fire”

Yesssss! We’re slowing things down again….well on the rocks at least. Enterprise gave me a pretty dialed upgrade…now they call me KOWALSKI.#DidNOTMeasureTreadDepth #Hemi #SmokeShowX4 #24MPG

I absolutely love covering Rock-Crawling events. It’s one of the fastest growing segments in all of Radio Control; and with each manufacturers are showing off new innovations. This event had Pro-Line Release their new “Predator” compound as well as Hobbywing released their new “AXE” completely waterproof sensored brushless system specifically designed for Rock Crawling.

The location was amazing and the rocks made for some very challenging course that took over 4 hours to complete. Rock crawling was only a small part of this event though. Here’s a few things my Video will cover:

  • Show ‘n’ Shine
  • Scale Crawl
  • Comp Crawl
  • Comp Scale Crawl
  • Dead Lift
  • Monster Truck Race
  • Scale City
  • Mud Run
  • Night Crawl

  

While this is a lot of content, the event was a bit too short to include it into the “Come Drive With Us” Series. This one will be a stand-alone video and we’re looking at releasing towards the beginning of July.


Now back to editing the 2017 Xiamen Worlds…it’s going to be something very very special.

RED vs SONY

Yes, I have RED envy.

I would love nothing more than be able to film on what is probably the  best camera platform in the world right now. It’s hard to ignore the impressive specs that the RED Cameras boast:

  • 8K RAW
  • 16.5 Stops of Dynamic Range
  • Amazing Slow Motion Capabilities (120 fps @ 4K | 96 fps @ 5K)
  • Virtually unbeatable image quality
  • Simple to use Menu Structure

But with prices starting at $29,000 USD for the Brain alone (upwards of $65,000 USD for a complete kit) it all but excludes the use of this platform for smaller production houses like my own. An item of note; this isn’t RED’s top of the line camera even!

Image result for youtube logo

Let’s talk about YouTube for a moment.

In it’s short 13 year history, YouTube has revolutionized how businesses market themselves. It has brought so much to the table I could go on and on about how crucial YouTube is to business today. 5150, like so many other production houses, has targeted this platform for their releases. Say it with me now…

12 megabits per second.

For cinematographers like me, this is pretty much the worst thing you can say to us. It’s basically a hand-cuff. You might as well make fun of the size of our lens or make fun of the fact that we’re probably wearing a utility belt full of camera gear at this very moment.

For consumers of YouTube content however, this statement means absolutely nothing other than the fact that YouTube videos will work on even the most dismal of internet connections. Even for 4K video, YouTube only increases their bit-rates to a laughable 25-30 Megabits per second.

But what exactly are Megabits Per Second, or Mbps for short? Mbps is essential the data-rate at which a video camera records footage. Essentially, the bigger this number is, the better the quality that the footage will be.

High-end Cameras like the RED lineup, have data-rates in the 500 Mbps and up (Way Up) for compressed footage. Any footage recorded in RAW can’t even be measured using Mbps; but needs a larger unit of measure…Gigabits! To give you a real-world example, a modern day Blu-Ray player presents your favorite movie around 50 Mbps. So this is the perfect segue for me to explain why I use a $15,000 SONY rig instead of a $65,000 RED setup; more on YouTube data-rates in a moment.

SONY FS7/FS700

Yes the RED is impressive. If someone gave me one to film with, I would do so merrily, but to be honest, there are things that I like about the SONY lineup a bit better. I’ve been using SONY Professional Cameras for 5 years now on both Run-and-Gun as well as Studio jobs. Here is why I have continued to use the FS lineup:

Price: Not to beat a dead horse too much, but for smaller production shops the FS5/FS7/FS700 fit very well into their budgets and tend to keep production costs down.

Low-Light: Their low-light performance is amazing; and because I do a lot of Run-and-gun documentary filming, this is a huge advantage. With my “Come Drive With Us” series, when I conduct a track-side interview I literally have 4 seconds to setup for my shot. In a corporate video or in a studio setting, I can literally have hours to frame, block & set the lighting for my shot. It’s in this frantic, often chaotic & hyper emotional setting where the SONY lineup really shines. It really comes down to simply putting your subject into the quadrant of the screen you want, checking exposure, remembering your interview questions and hitting RECORD!

One of the most difficult shoots I was on last year was a race held inside an Arena. The lighting was awful, and then add to that constant dust floating in the air. The end-result however, looks amazing:

Specs: In any 5150 produced movie or video I use two cameras from the SONY lineup. My “A-Camera” is the SONY FS7 and the “B-Camera” is the trusty FS700. Both have very impressive specs considering their price:

FS7

  • 4K RAW
  • 14 Stops of Dynamic Range
  • Slow Motion Capabilities (180 fps @ 2K RAW)

FS700

  • 4K RAW
  • 12 stops of Dynamic Range
  • Slow Motion Capabilities (240 fps @ 4K RAW (6 second burst) | 240 fps @2K RAW)

Both of these cameras also have high bit-rates on the image. I almost never shoot RAW and I tend to use formats that are in the 150-200 Mbps range.

This is where YouTube comes back into the conversation. The bit-rates that I record at are still well beyond the 12 Mbps that YouTube converts my video to once uploaded. Will the image quality of the RED footage look better than my SONY cameras even at these lower bit-rates? Yes; very likely. Will it be noticeable to your customers? Nope!

My Point in all of this, is don’t exclude production companies that don’t shoot with RED cameras. If they show up with an iPhone you know there just might be a problem, but in the end, high end cameras like the SONY FS Cameras, the Blackmagic Lineup or even a high quality DSLR will produce absolutely amazing looking content. This will help your company production quality and will put you a step ahead of your competitors.

Thanks for Reading! In the mean time, don’t forget to checkout one of my favorite docs shot on SONY equipment!

#5150Time #5150Productions

Come Drive With Us – Surf City

http://www.ProLineRacing.com & 5150 Media Productions are proud to present the latest installment of the “Come Drive With Us” Series: The 2017 Pro-Line Surf City Classic!

Many events, including SiKCross which we covered in the previous episode, are struggling to bring in racers. It’s refreshing to hear about a race over-selling in less than 3 minutes. 340 entries made it into the 2017 edition of the Surf City Classic held at the world famous OCRC.

Initially we tried to keep the “Reedyisms” out of this production. But with the huge banner of Mike Reedy himself, the Reedy Race Podium and the countless Reedy logos scattered about the entire facility; one thing became abundantly clear. You can’t tell a story at OCRC without making the Reedy race a central theme.

This wasn’t only limited to us, the vibe in the pits just screamed “Reedy Race”. Would this be an advantage for Ryan Cavalieri who absolutely OWNS the Reedy Race or would Ryan Maifield, who has dominated many events over the past few years come in and mop the floor with everyone? Could Dustin Evans duplicate some Reedy Magic? What about Ty Tessmann? Would he put on another driving clinic for the best in the US like he did at the ROAR Nats just two weeks prior to Surf City?

Mike Garrison again acts as Narrator to tell the story of this amazing race at the equally amazing OCRC facility. We hope you enjoy it!

Additional Footage:
LiveRC.com
RedRC.net
NeoBuggy.net
Steve Burgess

Music By:

Really Slow Motion
Composer: James Hook, Jack Sound, Teddy Fellows, Richard Buckley
Tracks: List Tracks Here

Visit them at:
Website: http://www.reallyslowmotion.com/
Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/reallyslowmotion

Leap Frog Studios
Composer: Leo Moracchioli
Tracks: California Dreamin’ (Metal Cover)

Visit Leo at:
http://frogleapstudios.com
https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/leo/id923604480

Pros & Cons – The Story of the Calgary Expo

The Calgary Expo serves as the back drop for a handful of people from different walks of life to live what they love.

Comics and Cosplay.

Howie Miller remembers how science fiction changed his life. Trevor Goupil, a Superman Cosplayer, take a trip to a historic film set. Watch Makeup Artist Amanda Tozser take Cosplayers like Niki Middleton to the next level. Listen to Mark Meer talk about why people come and host of other celebrities and fans discuss what’s so special about Canada’s most popular Entertainment Conventions. Raphael Sbarge​ tells us about his first convention experience and Garrett Wang​ reveals the bold move that the Calgary Expo pulled off to get put on the world stage!

If you didn’t make the Expo, get comfortable, make some pop-corn and want our movie…it’s the next best thing to actually being there!

Special Thanks go out to Raphael Sbarge, Garrett Wang, Jim Shooter, Howie Miller, Mark Meer, Trevor Goupil, Niki Middleton, Kenny Hotz, Spencer Rice,  Thaimu Turray, Kerra Drachenberg & Alex Kingcott!

Production Stills from the event

 

  
   

Come Drive With Us – SiKCross

Pro-Line Racing & 5150 Media Productions are proud to present to you the story of the 2017 SiKCross.

Triple-A Nitro Mains. Gate starts. Heads up racing. A Giant Sandbox….

These are just a few things that Levi Jackson has brought to the Pro-Line Test Track in the form of the race known simply as “SiKCross”.

While the attendance was low, two of the best R/C Drivers in the world showed up to put on a show for us. They were joined by Joe Bornhorst, Adam Drake, Tanner Denny, Cody King and for the first time to the “Come Drive With Us”…the charismatic Ronda Drake!

But what will these top racers think of the unique track features, the starts and the format of the race? You’ll have to checkout out this film to find out!

Once again, Mike Garrison is behind our all new Mic to help tell the story of this unique race. We hope you enjoy it!

 

2017 Calgary Comic Expo Trailer

We have released a trailer for our yet to be named Documentary on the 2017 Calgary Comic & Entertainment Expo!

5150 teamed up with Howie Miller, stand-up comic & actor, to tell the story of the Calgary Expo. With the help of Garrett Wang, Raphael Sbarge, Jim Shooter, Mark Meer, Trevor Goupil and many more we have captured a very unique take on the Calgary Expo.

We hope you enjoy this short teaser trailer for the Documentary that will be coming out later on this year.

Event Swap!

Due to the low pro-driver turnout we will not be shooting at “The Dual” this weekend. We will be swapping this event out for “SikCross” which has more of the top-level drivers confirmed as attending.

While we were all looking forward to capturing the uniqueness of “The Dual” all those involved in this project felt in the interest of storytelling that this event, while one of a kind, could not hold up to expectations.

We apologize for this “12th hour” cancellation and we look forward to seeing many of you @ SikCross in September! The rest of our schedule is locked in:

  • Pro-Line Surf City Classic (August 25-27)
  • SikCross (September 1-3)
  • Southern Nationals (September 17th)
  • IFMAR Wolds (November 6-12)

Photo Credit: Rugspin Graphix.

Come Drive With Us – PNB

Pro-Line Racing & 5150 Media Productions are proud to present to you the story of the 2017 Psycho Nitro Blast.

This season started out with so many changes; Maifield switching to Mugen; Tessmann to XRAY; so we decided to theme this season accordingly. Change is everywhere in this industry; even at the event level. In years past, DNC has been considered the largest Nitro Race in the world. That just might not be the case any longer.

This is the story of what could very well be considered the largest R/C race in the world, and unlike other large events…it is run in 3 days!

The talented Mike Garrison Narrates this episode of “Come Drive WIth Us” and we hope you enjoy it!

Special thanks to Mike Garrison, Adam Drake, Tanner Denney, Joe Bornhorst, Mark Santa Maria, Jerome Treignier, Eggroll, Rob Theissen & the Noise Therapy band, the Tessmann family, everyone at Pro-Line Racing and last but far from least, Dave Leikam.