SHOTOVER: The Tripod in the Sky
By Brian Moghari, Wildlife Filmmaker and 2019 SHOTOVER Getaway Contest Winner
My first experience with SHOTOVER was about six years back at NAB. Aside from luring me in with some alcoholic beverages, they had their gear set up for NAB attendees to toy with. After hanging out for a bit and learning the functionality of their systems, I was mind blown by the potential possibilities of visuals that could be created and knew I wanted to one day implement this technology into my work.
My name is Brian Moghari and I'm a wildlife & conservation filmmaker with the goal to educate the public on the importance of our planet's natural spaces and the wildlife we share it with. This career path has taken me to the end of the world and back for global networks like National Geographic, with some of the best camera equipment on the market. In the current media landscape, returning home with a compelling story and stunning visuals is a must. As technology becomes more accessible to filmmakers, we're being flooded with endless tools to enable us to return to the edit bay with new dynamic shots that weren't possible ten years ago. Even with these advancements, many companies still make compromises with the gear they produce. I'm my opinion very few companies make the decision not to compromise on quality, and from my short time six years ago toying with SHOTOVER's gimbals, I could tell that compromising on quality was not an option for them which left me ridiculously intrigued.
Several years later, I was scrolling through Instagram at my home in Costa Rica and came across the "SHOTOVER Getaway Contests." The winners of the Contest got a trip to SHOTOVER headquarters in Queenstown, New Zealand, to use their M1 and G1 system in the air and on land. That was enough of a reason for me to submit. The submission features my best friend, Filipe DeAndrade, and my reasoning for moving to Costa Rica, which is to implement an environmental education curriculum into the country's public school. Shortly after submitting, we heard the news. We were going to New Zealand.
Watch the full submission in the link below.
When we arrived, we were greeted by Charlie Dowson-Park, SHOTOVER’s Worldwide Service and Support Manager. He showed us around town, and we did what boys do, went to the pub… The next morning we stopped by SHOTOVER's office to meet their employees. They clearly have a well-oiled group of engineers and managers who work together efficiently with a solid family atmosphere throughout. After a bunch of warm welcomes, Charlie introduced us to Gian, who gave us an overview of their G1 system. After becoming comfortable with the functionality, we then rigged it up to the back of a truck and drove around Queenstown. Within minutes of using it, we were amazed not only by the overall precision the system has while driving off-road but also by its ease of use. For such a sophisticated filming tool, it didn't require much effort to operate. Once everything is mounted securely and wired up, the user is entirely free to focus on getting the shot they imagined.
The next day the CEO of SHOTOVER, Brad Hurndell, set up a holiday party for the team in the foothills of Queenstown. This next part may sound a little odd, but at the holiday party, the company split up into groups and played a good ol' fashion game of Bow & Arrows-Dodgeball? It was a first for me… I may have been hit in the face once or twice, but I'd like to think I had a few nice shots in there. After we re-energized ourselves at the pub. Kiwi's love their pubs. The following day it was back to business. We rigged up the M1 system to a helicopter and took it to the sky. This was my first time in a helicopter and the vibration was beyond noticeable, but when I viewed the monitor, it looked like I was operating a tripod in the sky. To be honest, for the first 20 minutes of the flight, my jaw had dropped to the floor from New Zealand's beautiful landscapes. There were glaciers, waterfalls and snow-capped mountains as far as the eye could see. As Filipe would say, "it looked like mother nature's birth canal." Once I snapped back to reality and was seeing the images the M1 was capturing, it was beyond evident that not a single aspect of this system was compromised. It's one of the few pieces of film equipment I've used that truly allows filmmakers to have the utmost trust in the gear they're operating and gives creatives quite literally every ounce of their imagination and creativity into capturing what's in front of the lens. Overall I was beyond stoked to use SHOTOVER's systems and meeting the people that help create them made it that much better. Thanks again for the good time!