Behind the scenes: Shooting a documentary atop a moving train
In 2013 and 2014, filmmaker Miguel de Olaso (AKA Macgregor) and his crew spend many months traveling back and forth on the famed Mauritanian Railway—one of the longest and heaviest trains in the world, the so-called 'Backbone of the Sahara—to document the grueling journey endured by merchants who regularly travel atop this train to transport goods to people living in remote Saharan towns.
The result is a beautifully-executed 12-minute documentary titled The Mauritania Railway: Backbone of the Sahara, which follows the journey of Malick: a 27 year-old merchant who relies on the train for his livelihood, even as he risks death each time he climbs aboard.
The short doc was shot entirely on a Sony F35 that was modified to use a Nikon mount (for reasons you'll understand in a moment), and filming the documentary was a grueling process. We spoke with Macgregor shortly before the documentary was released last week, and he shared some details about the kit he used, the challenges he faced, and why he would never ever do this again.
The Mauritania Railway
My crew and I put ourselves in the shoes of one of these merchants (over a two year period) and filmed the journey they go through on a daily basis. The result is a cinematic and immersive glimpse into a way of life that exists nowhere else in the world.
I shot the entire documentary on a Sony F35, Not sure how much you know about this "old" digital cinema cameras. The F35 was the successor of the Panavision Genesis, which was a big, heavy beast. But after the arrival of the solid state recorders a few years ago, the F35 became pretty compact and lightweight given the image quality it provided. Still not a DSLR in terms of size, but comparable to an Alexa for a fraction of the cost and size.
Anyways, even though I owned a set of PL mount lenses, I didn't want to get them ruined in the desert sands of Mauritania so I decided to modify my Sony F35 with a custom built Nikon mount. That would let me travel lighter and use way cheaper glass than PL, but still capture a super high-quality image. We needed to travel with all our gear for more than a month and be able to move fast. Would a DSLR or Canon C300 had been a better choice? Possibly, but this project had to look amazing and I did not want to compromise on image quality. This had to look like a feature, shot on real locations and with real people.
Of course not all the lenses made it back home, but the camera did and it's still working to this day.
This was a passion project that we did for the fun of it. But shooting atop of this damn train was horrible, dusty, endless, painful... I wouldn't recommend it to anyone. It might all look very pretty with nice music, etc. but oh man, after three trips I said I'm not doing this again. Of course, we did end up going back and shooting more footage... #filmmakerlife
Check out the full short doc at the top to see the final product, and then scroll through the behind the scenes photos above for a glimpse at what it takes to create this kind of documentary. And if you want to see more of Macgregor's work, be sure to pay his website a visit or give him a follow on Instagram.
|First, Let me check its expiry date. by rajeev22675|
from Best Photo of the Week
|Dairy Way by BodkinsBest|
from Best Astrophotography Landscape #4
Residents of a Paris street plagued by Instagrammers, selfie takers and music video crews are asking the city government for a weekend and evening ban to give them some peace.
The adapter plugs into the Osmo Pocket's USB Type-C port and features a 3.5mm TRS jack to plug in various external microphones.
Checkout allows Instagram users to select products for purchase and make payments directly in the app.
GauGAN as it's known, can create photorealistic images from basic drawings using the power of artificial intelligence.
The EOS RP is Canon's latest full-frame mirrorless camera, with diminutive dimensions and a diminutive price. Find out how it stacks up and get our thoughts in our early review.
Montana judge Dana L. Christensen has ruled the Republican National Committee did not infringe upon the copyright of photographer Erika Peterman after they took a photo from a Democratic candidate's Facebook page without permission and altered it to use in a derogatory promotional mailer.
Nikon has launched updates for three of its programs to address various bugs and glitches that could cause crashes and unwanted results.
LEE Filters has launched the LEE100, its next-generation filter holder that improves the design and looks in all the right places.
With the arrival of some much-needed sunshine and final production firmware for the Panasonic S1, we've been able to get outside and really start putting the camera through its paces.
Importing, culling and tagging photos is about to get a whole lot faster and look a whole lot better with the impending arrival of Photo Mechanic 6.
On its own, the FTZ adapter retails for $250 and when bundled it dropped the cost to just $150. Now, Nikon is offering it for free with all Z6, Z7 purchases in the United States.
Profoto said it spoke with Godox back at Photokina 2018 and continues to contact Godox in an effort to stop it from marketing its V1 light.
Product renders in Italian publication Notebook Italia show an unusual design that conceals all cameras with the help of a slider mechanism.
Canon says its new EF 400mm F2.8L IS III and EF 600mm F4L IS III lenses can suffer from an intermittent flickering when shooting video in M or Av modes with certain cameras.
Leica recently announced the Q2, a digital rangefinder with a fixed 28mm F1.7 lens. It's a heck of a lot of fun to shoot with, but is it right for you? Based on our time with the camera, and its specifications, we've examined how well-suited it is for common photography use-cases.
Now that our Panasonic Lumix S1R has final firmware, we couldn't wait to get out shooting with it - and we also tried the high-res mode, which combines files to get 187 megapixel images. Because sometimes, 47 megapixels just isn't enough.
In this article, travel and landscape photographer Mitch Green encourages us to spend more time in the the field.
the lens lacks any electronics whatsoever and is constructed entirely of glass and metal. Of course, that comes at the expense of weight — this thing weighs in at 1.1kg / 2.43lbs.
Drones can be useful tools in urban areas, where they're utilized for everything from news reporting to building inspections, but flying in these areas requires careful preparation. Here's what you need to know to do so safely.
Hasselblad has released a new cable release and USB double battery charger for its X1D medium format camera .
After a report published by NBC News, Flickr has taken heat for allegedly letting IBM 'scrape' photos for use in its facial recognition datasets. But the problem isn't what it seems on the surface.
Samyang has announced the impending arrival of the AF 85mm F1.4 FE lens for full-frame Sony cameras.
Some Photoshop shortcuts are simple and obvious. Others, not so much. Here are 15 shortcuts that are actually useful.
Twitter has redesigned its in-app camera for easier access from the timeline screen.
Independent cinema lens manufacturer SLR Magic has announced it will offer all of its existing MicroPrime range in the Fujifilm X mount and has even created a Fuji-specific 12mm lens.
We've updated our buying guides with three more cameras: the Canon EOS RP, Nikon Z6 and Olympus E-M1X.
CFexpress 2.0 cards will come in three different form factors, each of which will offer different maximum speeds.
Lensbaby has added a third tilt lens to its Optic Swap system, this time a 35mm lens, adding to the existing 50mm and 80mm options.
Sigma has released firmware updates for a number of its lenses as well as its EF-E adapter to address various errors and features with Canon, Nikon and Sony cameras.
We've added the Fujifilm X-T30 and Sony a6400 to our 'Best Cameras under $1000' buying guide. These two mirrorless models pack in a lot of features for just $900 body only.