Editor's View: 'Act of Valor': Risk and Reward
Even if you didn't know anything about the making of Act of Valor, I think you'd like it—it has everything a viewer could want in an action-adventure movie: a nuclear submarine surfacing while Navy SEALs are dropped from helicopters onto its bridge; a remote African airstrip where villains meet to exchange money and weapons; and a pre-mission briefing where the senior officer starts with, "Look, these guys are total a**holes."
Once you know the story behind the film, I think you'll feel like I do: a little bit proprietary. I say that because it was created by "our" kind of people ... people who like to experiment with tools and technologies and see how far they can take them.
- Performing An Act of Valor: Managing DSLR Media with Military Precision, Jon Silberg, Digital Video magazine, March 2012
A fictionalized account of real-life U.S. Navy SEAL operations with active-duty SEALs, Act of Valor is a great representation of what "we" can do. It was shot almost entirely with Canon EOS 5D and 1D DSLRs (up to 12 cameras at a time), edited and managed with Avid Media Composer and Adobe Premiere Pro, and produced by a bunch of guys at Bandito Brothers who pretty much built each rung of the ladder just before stepping onto it.
The innovation and determination it took to capture and complete a film like this is, well, inspiring. For example, that submarine shot? "To shoot that scene, we were given GPS coordinates in the middle of the ocean," explains co-director Scott Waugh. "We had to coordinate our crew to meet the sub and shoot the entire sequence within a very limited window."
"The last thing those guys ever want to do is breach the surface," adds co-director Mike "Mouse" McCoy. "It gives away their position. The Navy told us they would breach for less than 45 minutes. We had to run it like a real mission out in the middle of the ocean. I was in full camouflage holding a camera with the guys on the boats. Scottie was in the helicopter above. Sure enough, here comes that thing on time and on target. That sub comes out of the water, and we ran those boats right up on the back of it, popped off and got it in one take."