Tested.com Braves the Elements with Blackmagic Cameras

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Tested.com is a web site dedicated to covering “anything that’s awesome” in science, nature, emerging technology and consumer technology. It’s also Adam Savage’s (MythBusters) home on the web. Savage and one of the site’s founders, Norman Chan, bring interesting stories, videos and podcasts to visitors every day. According to Joey Fameli, Tested’s director of photography and lead producer, the site is geared toward the maker community and encompasses all things in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) field.

The Tested team was invited by astronaut Chris Hadfield to shoot footage and document an expedition Hadfield took to the Arctic this summer with Quark Expeditions, a tour operator that offers adventure cruises to the Arctic and Antarctic regions. Hadfield crossed the Arctic Ocean with scientists, photographers, writers, musicians and videographers to capture, according to Quark, “a multimedia imprint of a rare time and space, seen through eyes who have never been exposed to it before.”

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Fameli and his team spent 18 days sailing through Greenland and the Canadian High Arctic aboard the Russian icebreaker ship Kapitan Khlebnikov. They brought Blackmagic Micro Cinema Cameras along to capture footage.

“The Micro Cinema Camera has a very small footprint with substantial battery life for the size, so it was perfect for capturing time lapse and locked-off shots of the ship and its surroundings as we sailed through the Arctic,” says Fameli. “I mounted a few around the ship, taped hand warmers to the batteries and let them roll. In return, I got great time lapses of helicopters taking off, the ship slowly breaking through the ice, life aboard the legendary Russian ship and endless ice-covered landscapes.”

According to Fameli, Tested doesn’t shoot with a big crew, and oftentimes they have no control over the shooting environment. “Unless we are in the studio, we are usually shooting outdoors,” he explains. “That’s where the Micro Cinema Camera’s dynamic range really comes into play.

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Hand warmer on a Blackmagic Micro Cinema Camera

“We’ve also been using the Pocket Cinema Cameras for a few years now for a lot of run and gun work, on rigs and handheld, and the same is true of them,” he adds. “When you travel as much as we do, you not only need portability, you need quality that will match with other broadcast cameras. I’ve never been a DSLR shooter, as I came up through ENG, but I don’t want H.264 footage. I want raw, ProRes, film dynamic range and color grading—all at an affordable price.”

Fameli also counts on numerous Blackmagic Design SDI to HDMI Mini Converters and DaVinci Resolve Studio color grading, editing and finishing software as part of his arsenal.   

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