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‘Black Nativity’ Stabilizes with OConnor 2575

Music and dance are a big part of the contemporary adaptation of Langston Hughes’ holiday musical drama Black Nativity. “Practically every dance or song number relied on instinct and the ability to whip pan, snap zoom or even grab the focus in the process of discovering the most dynamic shots,” says cinematographer Anastas Michos, ASC. “That’s where my favorite support—the OConnor 2575—was invaluable.”

Michos chose to shoot with the ARRI Alexa and Panavision Primo lenses. “Using a gear head would have been out of the question,” he says. “OConnor equipment has been with me through 10 years of operating major Hollywood productions, and another ten years of DP’ing over 20 features,” he says. “I can’t imagine shooting anything without an OConnor 100 [fluid head] and a 2575 in my camera package.”

One of the most dynamic challenges in this musical was to keep the camera moving during the dance numbers. “I usually set up two cameras, both on OConnors, on two perpendicular tracks,” he explains. “One had a 4:1 zoom and the other (mine) had the heavy 11:1 zoom. This allowed the director to intercut matching action from two different angles. The fast dolly moves combined with changes in focal length would have been impossible with a geared head. The OConnors fit the bill perfectly.”