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ARRI TRINITY "only option" for "Pon My Mind"

Director Meji Alabi and cinematographer Olan Collardy were commissioned to shoot a music video requiring complicated camera moves, in a confined space, with tight budgets, and only one day to shoot. They turned to Charlie Rizek and his ARRI TRINITY for help. 

Aug. 17, 2018

The project was a video for a UK musician, Maleek Berry, to illustrate his song "Pon My Mind." “The song itself has a quite hypnotic feel to it,” director Meji Alabi says, “so with DP Olan Collardy I decided to focus on interesting long takes for the video.”

They decided to shoot on an ALEXA Mini and anamorphic lenses. The location for their filming was a small flat in West London, which meant limited room to maneuver. “We wanted to let the camera really feel the spaces and rooms, and tie all of Maleek’s performances together,” says Meji,”and the TRINITY was really the only option that could give us what we were looking for.”

“The problem we had was getting a camera which could float through a tight space during long takes where we were tracking movements which were happening at differing heights,” Olan explains. “This would have posed a challenge for the traditional Steadicam going from low mode while tracking feet movement all the way to shoulder height. While a gimble provides us with the flexibility, the feeling you get from a gimbal is somewhat unnatural due to the bobbling vertical movement. The TRINITY was the perfect solution because it absorbs both rotational and vertical forces on the camera.” 

Which was where Charlie Rizek came in.

“Olan, the DP called me and said he’d like to use the TRINITY—‘we’re after a one-shot sequence’, he said… ‘You had me at one-shot!’ I told him. I always enjoy operating for Olan: I know what he wants, and I love his lighting setups. He offers freedom and space allowing the camera to move with minimum restrictions.”

“The TRINITY was love at first sight for me,” says Charlie. “Coming from a Steadicam background and being an early adopter of stabilized gimbal technology, TRINITY was the obvious choice. It offers the best of both worlds: the fluidity and organic motion of a Steadicam, combined with the precision and flexibility a stabilized gimbal can offer. It’s a force to be reckoned with.”

The "Pon My Mind" shoot posed some interesting specific challenges for Charlie. “We found ourselves packed into a little gorgeous flat in West London, full of character yet short on space. The art department worked extremely hard to dress the set and offer solutions from hiding and blocking light stands, cables, mirrors, reflections... all the challenges you'd expect from filming in a real location.” 

He believes the TRINITY was perfect for the shoot. “I can go higher, lower, faster, and offer endless frames and angles,” he says. “I can look around corners, simulate a dolly shoot regardless of what ground surface I’m walking on or obstacles I have to glide over. I have full control with a push of one button. That translates to more options and flexibility to the production.” 

“The TRINITY is a powerful piece of kit, revolutionary, versatile, reliable, quick, and efficient. It’s an incredible asset to have on set.”

And that’s something Olan Collardy fully agrees with. “The TRINITY really empowered me as a DP to make bold choices that helped enhance my visual storytelling. It’s also an incredible time saver, because it enabled me to capture the story from whatever viewpoint or perspective I wanted, without a setup cost per shot.”

And for director Meji Alabi, it’s all about creative choices. “Ultimately, the TRINITY is a fantastic tool and when in the right operator’s hands—Charlie Rizek, for example—it’s just out of this world. The amount of flexibility it gives you, and the multitudes of shots that you can dream up makes it my go to.”

You can see the video of "Pon My Mind" here.