OConnor fluid heads provide steady images for Fox’s ‘Sons of Anarchy’

January 8, 2010

Veteran cinematographer Paul Maibaum is using OConnor fluid heads for production of the Fox Network television series, “Sons of Anarchy.”

Starting a new season of production, “Sons of Anarchy” is a drama about the lives and inner workings of a Hell’s Angels-type motorcycle club based in the fictitious town of Charming, somewhere in Central California. Each episode is shot in seven days.

Much of the desired look of the show features handheld shots. The OConnor 2575 fluid head is used to allow the camera to add some “float” to the shots. This means the operators create the feeling that the shot is handheld by gently panning and tilting the head in small increments in a random manner.

By adjusting the drag this way, it gives them the exact amount needed to duplicate the “edginess” that the show’s producers are looking for when the camera is in handheld operation.

During the past season, there were several episodes where much of the action followed the members of the motorcycle club as they traveled on their Harleys. Maibaum used a “camera bike,” a motorcycle with a steel platform much like a sidecar, where one or two cameras are mounted and operated in order to move with the cast on their motorcycles. The OConnor 2575 heads made an ideal platform to mount large Panavision Genesis cameras.

The tension and fluid drag of the OConnor heads can be set within a wide set of parameters. The head can be tipped just about straight down and, once the balance is properly set, it remains secure.

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