Virginia’s Blue Ridge
The films done for Virginia’s Blue Ridge are the culmination of the efforts of many creative and talented professionals from a number of organizations and businesses. It’s rare that corporate films vetted by committee retain the original essence and vision drafted by the writers, directors, cinematographers, and designers, but these did. There’s always some give a and take and compromise when collaborating on projects like this one, which included a tourism bureau, two advertising agencies, a film production crew with members sourced locally and from North Carolina, one of the nation’s largest grocery retailers, a one of a kind custom bike builder, Roanoke’s smallest but most well known eatery, and a local treasure trove which spurred a nationally broadcast reality show.
Principal photography started April 3, 2014, with a 14 hour day in Roanoke, capturing scenes from local businesses unique to the area. Six more shoots over the next five weeks generated footage of the regions natural beauty and grandeur. For a behind the scenes look at production, check out the “VBR Production Stills” and The Making of “Blue Ridge Standard Time” film.
The VBR “Director’s Cut” is available at the campaign’s web site Blue Ridge Standard Time. The :30 TV spot is airing regionally throughout Piedmont and Tidewater Virginia and North Carolina. The campaign will run for sixteen weeks, eight in the Spring and eight in the Fall with a total of approximately 60,000,000 exposures.
“Blue Ridge Standard Time” In The News
Traditional and digital outlets have been covering the campaign for Virginia’s Blue Ridge for reasons ranging from economic development to technical and production workflow. Here are some sites to visit.
- WSLS Channel 10 – Roanoke Virginia NBC Affiliate
- The Roanoke Times
- Cinescopophilia.com – Cine Camera Gear News for Today’s Filmmakers!
- ProAV.it – Italian Professional Video Production
- Blackmagic Design – Official Company Discussion Forums
- Blackmagic Cinema Camera Users Group on Vimeo
“Blue Ridge Standard Time” Awards
“Blue Ridge Standard Time” – TV :30
Production and Post Production Notes
This project was filmed entirely on the Blackmagic Production Camera 4K in ProRes Film. The films were edited in FCP X and color grading done in DaVinci Resolve and FCP X. If you have 4K capability you can watch the 4K version of the Director’s Cut on YouTube as well as the TV :30 spot.
The choice of the Blackmagic for 4k digital film production turned out to be a great one. The body is relatively inexpensive in regards to the quality of image it puts out. Although it’s named a “Production” camera, it’s just as much a cinema camera as their “Cinema Camera”. The global shutter, S35 sized sensor (not to be confused with full frame), and 12 stops of dynamic range offer tools common to traditional film cameras, thus making the BMPC 4K a true “digital film” camera. The relative low cost of the camera allowed me to purchase other gear, such as the 12′ Cobra Crane II, used in production as well as hiring the necessary crew members.
We shot in just about every kind of condition. Spring in Southwestern Virginia yields a wide spectrum of temperatures from freezing to Summer like, and we experienced them all. The early morning lake shot was shot in near freezing conditions and the boys feet dipping into the water was shot that morning. The camera worked great.
During the mountain bike shoot I got too close to the stream the riders rode through and I and the camera got drenched. I dried it off, cleaned it up and kept shooting.
Although the Blackmagic Production Camera 4K is not known for its low light capabilities, it performed quite well in the campfire scenes and early morning sunrise shots, one of which is not used. The sunset scene over the Roanoke Valley in post yielded enough latitude that I actually forgot I was editing a dusk shot. I boosted the luminance to the point that I tricked myself into thinking it was a day time shot and had to readjust it to dusk. Low light cameras are great for documentary or ENG but if it’s dark outside, it’s ok to portray darkness. I had no problem with FPN in any of my night, dusk or sunrise shots.
The lens package was as follows:
- Rokinon Cine 24mm
- Rokinon Cine 16mm
- Rokinon Cine 85mm
- Nikon Nikkor S 50mm SLR
- .3 ND 4×4
- .6 ND 4×4
- .9 ND 4×4
- .6 IR ND 4×4
- .6 Graduated ND 4×4
The mountain vista shot was captured upon the peak of Sharp Top Mountain, one of the peaks at the Peaks of Otter near Bedford Virginia. It’s roughly 4,000 feet above sea level and although we took a shuttle bus up a road (built in 1934), the last 1,500′ trek to the summit was no easy task. In addition to the camera and lenses, we muled a 12′ Cobra Crane II jib and about 75 lbs. of sand bags for ballast up there. At one point in the BTS video you can see where we almost lost the camera and jib over the side of the mountain!