It would appear that Zero Point Zero Production
does it all. A nearly decade-old television and digital content production company, the group also scouts, develops, markets, and distributes entertainment, producing television shows for Discovery
, Travel Channel
, History Channel
. Since its inception, the company has produced over 225 hours of television in 80 countries around the world, including the critically acclaimed shows, Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations
and Diary of a Foodie
. We sat down with ZPZ Director of Technology, Chris Faulkner, to talk about some of the company’s latest projects, the state of the industry and what we can look forward to from his team.
You recently posted a pretty phenomenal video in which you tested the slow-mo capabilities of one of your cameras using the Fujinon PL 19-90 Cabrio lensfor Parts Unknown with Anthony Bourdain. Tell us about the show and how the equipment performed.
Our DPs Mo Fallon, Todd Liebler, and Zach Zamboni just left for the very first episode of Parts Unknown
. They love our new camera rig and can't stop cooing over the 19-90mm Cabrio. It's a great balance of size, sharpness, weight and range. We're all impressed with this new lens.
What other projects are you working on right now?
We just finished shooting another episode of MeatEater
with Steve Rinella.
You moonlight as an instructor at the School of Visual Arts in NYC. Do you think teaching gives you a little bit of an edge in terms of keeping you “on your game” in the field?
My class at SVA is made up of first-year film students. I get a mix of newbies, film fans, and budding cinematographers, all of whom are just starting to find their voice in a visual medium. I'm a big proponent of learning by doing, so I have them out on the streets of New York City with Arriflex S-cameras by week three.
Is there one instance you can pinpoint that turned you on to production?
My first job was as sound mixer for an indie feature called Dog Years
. It was rough-hewn, shot almost entirely on weekends and was in production for more than 18 months. Whether we were clearing out rattlesnakes from location or crashing a junked car for sound effects, it was a great experience and done with a lot of heart. I kind of fell in love with the process.
What piece of equipment do you rarely/never go on a job without?
Our crews constantly find themselves in tight locations with dodgy power and little time to set up a scene. A string of carnival lights—the kind with Edison screw-base sockets along a length of zip cord—can save the day.
What is it that draws you to the type of production ZPZ specializes in?
I've always worked in independent and documentary production. The "ZPZ style" is always informed by doing the most with the least. Our crews are small, our gear is lightweight and portable, and we rarely go into the field with a sound person. I think it creates a sort of intimacy that you can't reproduce by adding more stuff. Also, Tony Bourdain is a badass.
What do you view as emerging trends in the industry today?
While everyone is chasing big sensors and the cinematic look, there's still a place for a medium-sized format that is lightweight and shoulder-friendly. Besides, there's so much beautiful Super16 glass available and it's currently underutilized.
What are the most significant changes in filming from when you started?
It's quite possible to create a stunning image with equipment that costs less than $10K. What used to be the bastion of only Hollywood can be had by virtually anyone with the hankering and peck to do it. There are more voices in the conversation and I think this drives everyone to work harder and create more beautiful images.
What is something you think people would be surprised to know about you?
I went to Marine Military Academy for high school. Oo-rah!
Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know?
Tune in to Parts Unknown
on CNN and MeatEater
on Sportsman Channel!
For more information on Fujifilm Optical Devices, go to www.Fujinon.com
, or follow us at www.Facebook.com/FujifilmOptical
Thom: Crosscreek Productions has a well-deserved repuation for shooting and producing high-quality features for major television networks, including ESPN, FOX Sports, The Speed Channel and The Spike Network. Crosscreek’s Voyager 8 support truck has covered many of those events, including the National Hot Rod Association drag racing on ESPN, currently in its 11th season, as well as major league baseball, college sports and live musical performances.
Recently, Crosscreek Productions added the Voyager 9 as a second, high-definition support truck to its fleet. Now, they can better service their clients, especially for sporting events and live musical performances.
With the Voyager 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 all featuring Fujinon lenses, it only made sense to include a Fujinon 88X and 101X lens combination in the newest truck, the Voyager 9.
Here’s Spruce McRee, National Sales Director at Crosscreek, to talk about how they have used Fujinon lenses.
Spruce: Looking back on our 25-year history, we’ve always purchased Fujinon lenses. They are extremely reliable, and only require minor maintenance to keep them working properly.
We’ve used a lot of different lenses in our production trucks over the years and have put them through their paces for reliability. One of the most challenging locations to use lenses is at The National Hot Rod Association’s drag racing events. This area is extremely contaminated by gas fumes, car exhaust and burning rubber. If the lenses can stand up to these conditions, they can stand up to anything.
Since the Fujinon lenses we’ve used are all securely weather proofed, our engineers only have to do routine cleaning and replace front element lens filters to protect the front glass. Then, they’re ready to go.
Thom: Spruce also mentioned that the Voyager 8 is using the 88X and 101X to provide ESPN with the best coverage of the drag races.
Crosscreek is using the 101X lens on a robotic camera at the very end of the track, just past the runout. The long focal length allows them to get shots of drivers coming right at the camera so viewers can almost see the drivers’ faces at well over a quarter mile.