Between capturing stills on the set of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back and working on films including American Werewolf in London and Braveheart, director, producer, and special/still photographer Richard Blanshard has over 20 years of experience in the industry collaborating with some of the greats.
Now, with The Man Who Knew Infinity, Blanshard worked alongside director of photography Larry Smith to get footage for an exclusive behind-the-scenes video for the film’s DVD release.
Set during the arduous times of World War I, The Man Who Knew Infinity unravels the story behind a poverty-stricken and self-taught Indian mathematician – played by Dev Patel – who ultimately becomes a pioneer in the field of mathematics with the help of Cambridge mathematician G.H. Hardy, played by Jeremy Irons
While the film itself was shot on an OConnor 2575, Blanshard paired the 1030D head with his RED Dragon for great versatility on set. “Sensitivity is the thing, and I was really impressed by how accurately you can shoot with OConnor. You can actually adjust it to the sensitivity of movement that you want, and the 1030D gave me everything I wanted from shooting fast moves to slow pans. I love that about it,” mentioned Blanshard.
For filmmakers that need flexibility, OConnor’s 1030D makes it easier to transition from larger to smaller payloads. Supporting a payload up to 30 lbs. (13.6 kg) at a 6” (15cm) center of gravity and a +/-90° tilt range, the 1030D gave Blanshard ultra-smooth panning with an enhanced tilt fluid drag that specifically accommodates digital cinematography shooting.
“For The Man who Knew Infinity, there were a lot of documents and manuscripts, so precision is important to capture all that detail and using the 1030D gave me the ability to be really accurate in the movements that I wanted to get for the film’s atmosphere,” said Blanshard. “I was able to make the moves smooth and slow – almost like motion control but using the friction of the head to give me that nice feel. I’d normally try to do that with a geared head because it has wheels and you can actually change the tensions and everything, but the 1030D head was just remarkable in giving me those very subtle moves.”
With a single-hand squeeze, Blanshard could unlock the Action Brakes for pan and tilt as well as benefit from a counterbalance that goes down to zero – perfect for those lighter weight digital cameras, including the RED Dragon. For balancing front-heavy setups, he could use the 1030D’s new sideload platform to quickly mount the camera and get an extended range of movement.
“In our industry, we know that OConnor is the industry standard. There were three cameras for The Man who Knew Infinity and we were all on OConnor and that says everything. It delivers what you want – plain and simple. Whatever you want to achieve, OConnor enables you to do it. You just can’t beat that amount of flexibility.”