The Vampire 5k is a fiendishly clever fun-run that asks race participants to register as vampires, or “citizens” (humans), and then lets them loose on a 5 kilometer race course.
If that sounds a little insane to you– it *is* — but it’s also a RIDICULOUS amount of fun.
It will be a long time before I forget the image of thousands of lunatics in strange outfits, chasing their friends through the woods, trying to steal the markers on each other’s belts, like the world’s weirdest game of flag football. It was a sight of pure, howling, exuberant joy, and it cracks me up just thinking about it. I’m immensely happy that I got to be a part of it.
Trying to get film coverage of a 5 kilometer race course as a lone-wolf would have been flatly impossible, so in addition to my typical videography services, I was given the task of managing the film production, and all that entails; locating and hiring a crew, scouting the location, renting additional gear, and coordinating the team on the day of the event.
Easily, the smartest decision I made was to hire two astoundingly talented shooters to help me out — Tage Plantell, and Brent Murray. Tage provided absolutely gorgeous images and slow-motion footage from a Sony FS700 shooting at 260 frames-per-second, and Brent Murray left my jaw on the floor with the footage he shot from a remotely controlled, 8-bladed helicopter drone, with a camera on brushless gimbals. Seriously — how awesome is that? We got to shoot this thing with a freaking HELICOPTER!
Given that the race is held partially at night, we were presented with some unique challenges– not only trying to keep up with the runners, but also shooting in near-darkness. To cope with the extreme low-light situations, we employed a handful of full-frame DSLRs, and the fastest lenses in our bags. Trying to pull focus manually with shallow depth-of-field is difficult enough in daylight, so we really had our work cut out for us trying to do the same in the dark, while *running*. Not easy. This also meant that as an editor, I had to contend with all kinds of extra issues — bouncing cameras, rolling shutter “jell-o” , high-ISO noise, etc. I spent quite a few hours in post, stabilizing shaky footage, removing motion artifacts, and cleaning up the high-gain noise necessary for shooting in no-light.
I have to say, I’m ENORMOUSLY happy with how the film turned out. And I would be completely remiss if I didn’t effusively thank Brent and Tage again for all their hard work, as well as our crew of amazing camera production assistants, Tim Gates, Dusty Powell, Kris Farruggia, and Scott Murphy. There’s simply NO WAY I would have been able to accomplish this on my own, and it was a genuine godsend having them on-board. I cannot possibly sing their praises loudly enough.
Lastly, the opportunity to work again with race organizers Scott and Lauren Jones was pure GOLD. They’re easily two of my favorite clients of all-time. Their enthusiasm towards the events they put on is infectious and inspiring. It’s my sincere hope that my little contributions to their efforts help them to achieve great success, because they’re two people who utterly deserve it. I deeply admire the way they conduct themselves and their business, and I feel incredibly fortunate that our working relationship has continued. I hope they keep asking me to pitch in, because it’s honestly some of the funnest, most enjoyable work I’ve ever done.
Executive Producer | Cinematography | Post-Production | Editing | Motion-Design
Camera Operators: Tage Plantell, Kris Farruggia | Camera Assistants: Tim Gates, Dusty Powell, Scott Murphy | Aerial Cinematography: Brent Murray