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The movie industry has been blessed by hundreds of movies being released each year. From small productions to well-known studios, the selection gets more significant and more diverse, making the competition at the box office more challenging. Moviegoers can be a little indecisive on what they're going to watch. A new story, a different genre, or even a new look can make them interested in what your movie can offer.
There are a lot of things filmmakers do to improve their work nowadays. They innovate their practices in producing. They find new stories or retell the old ones. Modern technology has paved the way for them to do things that are non-existent in this world by having computer-generated graphics. Technology also enabled them to develop more advanced equipment that can be used in filming. One of which is the action camera. It has been popular in the field of sports. At the same time, it has shown the potential to be used in filmmaking, which contributed to creating the following films.
Red Tails (2012)
Red Tails follows the story of a group of black pilots during World War II. They were trained to become fighter pilots in the Army. Their journey to become one was not that easy, considering the discrimination and racism during those times. But despite that, they were able to overcome it and set records on their own. It was based on the story of the Tuskegee Airmen, who are the first African-Americans to fly with the US Air Force. Unfortunately, Red Tails did not do well at the box office. Still, it was named as one of the first films to utilize an action camera in the production.
The Martian (2015)
After a storm on planet Mars, the astronauts decided to go back, abandoning one of their crewmates they thought died during the disturbance. Mark Watney, which was played by Matt Damon, was left alone on Mars. While trying to survive, he documented himself doing everything possible to live longer. An action camera was used to record these scenes for real. It was not just a prop on set, but the footage was used on the movie's final cut. The film's most famous scenes were shot using these cameras, and it did not fail to deliver. Director Ridley Scott was amazed by how great these devices are. He mentioned that it added intensity, suspense, and intimacy to the film. It also helped him to tell the story from the point of view of Mark Watney. The Martian is one of the highest-grossing films of Fox in the year 2015.
Hardcore Henry (2015)
The director of Hardcore Henry, Ilya Naishuller, was a musician before becoming a writer and director. He lives in Russia, which is also the location of the film. He first shot a music video for his band, Biting Elbows, using an action camera. The footage became famous and caught the attention of a movie producer, which led to the full-length film production. It was shown at the Toronto International Film Festival and South By Southwest Film Festival.
Henry was revived by a woman who turned him into a half-human, half-robot. He doesn't remember anything about his past. A group of men then kidnapped the woman who claims to be his wife. It signals the start of a long bloody journey. Hardcore Henry is an action-packed film that was shot from a first-person point of view. It was the first of its kind. All of the scenes were recorded using an action camera. They used a special rig to mount the camera on their head within the eye level. The film doesn't cater to all types of audience. It involves too much violence that is not suitable for young moviegoers. Also, it can be overwhelming to watch a first-person perspective film. You may experience nausea after viewing.
Another film that was shot entirely using an action camera is Face2Face. It is an independent film released in 2016 and was an official selection to the 2017 Manhattan Film Festival. It also won the Brian Hendricks Award for Innovation in the 2016 Edmonton International Film Festival. It is about two childhood friends getting reunited after several years through video chats. As the film gets more in-depth, it reveals the problems that each of them is facing. Since the movie was told on video chats, they tried to mimic the webcam and phone camera with action cameras. The quality of it resembles each other, but the latter has a clearer picture of the scenes. They used velcros and foam cores to place the camera at the same angle as the laptop.
It is good to understand that using an action camera also has its pros and cons when it comes to movies. It can either make or break your film. The impact of it depends on the circumstances. The Martian brought an ambiance of loneliness, which was experienced by Mark Watney. For Hardcore Henry, it added intensity to the film. And for Face2Face, it provided the overall look of the film.
Great things don't always come out from oversized packages. Yet, big things do not fit small boxes. Having a small build doesn't mean that it is not good enough, but it has limitations. Maximize the potential of an action camera without compromising the quality. These films are only proof that an action cam is not just an accessory. It is also a device that can be used to tell a story. If you are intrigued by how these films look, you can watch them on Netflix and other streaming sites depending on your country's availability. It may give you ideas of how you will shoot for your next project.