(Valley Cottage, New York--October 3, 2012) Austin-based filmmaker Randall Dark is no stranger to the documentary world. He is known for choosing unusual and challenging subject matter, “where I need top quality equipment and support,” he says. “That’s why wherever I go, Sachtler goes with me.”
Dark and partner Jeff McAdams recently decided to launch their new company DARKmania Productions with a fun feature documentary called Seadrift vs. the Big Guy, about the annual Texas Water Safari dubbed “The World’s Toughest Canoe Race”. “It was a 260 mile water adventure that had to be completed in less than 100 hours,” Dark explains.
Dark decided that the story needed as many diverse formats as he could get his hands on. “I felt viewers would be fascinated by the use of cutting edge cameras, no matter what the form factor,” he explains. “So, I used everything from an iPhone to a GoPro, shooting underwater or with cameras that could fly, literally 14 different cameras. In the back of my mind, I knew the diversity of equipment would be a great teaching tool for students and young filmmakers.”
When Dark needed camera support, it was Sachtler all the way – both the Cine DSLR and the Video 25 II. “The Cine DSLR supported the JVC 4k camera when I needed to run and gun with the set up,” he explains. “Since the event was always moving down the river, I needed a sturdy tripod that could be moved quickly with minimal set up. The terrain was also uneven in many locations so, the quick leveling release was also really important.
“One of my shooters, Adrianne Parent, used the Cine DSLR with the Canon XL H1s,” he adds. “I wanted Adrianne to follow the canoes going down the river and I wanted smooth pans. This tripod was perfect for that use.”
When Dark was using the Sony HDCAM, it was with the Sachtler Video 25 II.
“I needed a very sturdy tripod, since this camera was used primarily for long compressed shots,” he explains. “I had a Canon lens on the Sony HDCAM and I was adding in the lens extender to get the hero shots of the canoes as they approached. The camera had to be on a solid platform. It worked perfectly.”
While there are several participants in this mega canoe race, Seadrift vs. the Big Guy makes co-producer Jeff McAdams the central figure. The thrust of the story is about believing in oneself, no matter what others tell you. McAdams who admits he “drinks a little and is a little overweight” set out to prove that even he could finish the race.
Later this year, Dark and McAdams will showcase the documentary at the Macao China Digital Cinema Festival, as well as enter it in the Ojai Film Festival in California and other festivals around the country. Dark also plans to use it as a teaching tool. Previews of the project can be seen at
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Sachtler, founded in 1958 by cameraman Wendelin Sachtler, is a worldwide market leader for professional camera support systems for cinematography and television production, its name a symbol of top quality and reliability for decades. With an extensive range of camera support systems as well as a finely modulated product line of reportage lighting, Sachtler is the highly qualified partner for broadcast and film applications. Since 2000 Sachtler has been offering the artemis modular camera stabilizer system. With its numerous workshops and training sessions, the Wendelin Sachtler Academy has become a top address worldwide for invaluable know-how and the exchange of information, creating the ideal international platform for creative talents. Along with other leading brands in the broadcast and professional videographer industry, Sachtler is part of Vitec Videocom, a Vitec Group company. For more information on Sachtler, visit http://www.sachtler.com
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