Fujifilm Optical Division Blog
Jackson, Wyoming turnkey production house, Brain Farm, was recently featured recounting their adventures in 5K and 6K shooting. We talked to CEO and Director/DP Curt Morgan about how they’ve evolved over the years, the role their location plays in their work, and new material we can look forward to from them.

Brain Farm has become known for aerial shooting, with a particular emphasis on athletes. Was that an immediate specialty, or more of an evolution?

I would say it was more of an evolution. When we started Brain Farm we were hanging out of the door of the heli, hoping to come home with some cool shots. One day I had the opportunity to work with the Wescam and shoot some stable 35mm film shots, and when the footage came back from telecine, there was no going back. Then came the Cineflex, which was groundbreaking at the time and gave us the ability to shoot digitally using the Sony 1500 and the extremely long and sharp Fujinon 42x lens. It was a major turning point for us. As of late, we have been using the Shotover, which has a sixth axis so we can look straight down, along with a host of other amazing features. Technology is always evolving and we try our best to stay ahead of the curve. As far as the athletes are concerned, we built the company around action sports, as that was where we all came from and what we were passionate about, so it was a natural progression and is still the foundation of our company.

James Buchmann interviewing Luis de Los Reyes with the 19-90mm Cabrio. Photo credit: Daniel "Buddy" Bleckley Photographer.

Does your location in Jackson, Wyoming play a big role in the type of work you do?

I have traveled all over the world, and when I finally came to Jackson Hole for a snowboard shoot about 15 years ago, I was hooked. I thought it was the most beautiful place on the planet (and still do) so I ended up moving from New York and planted my flag in the Hole. Jackson has a spirit of adventure and has some of the best snowboarding terrain on the planet, so it makes perfect sense for a company that does so much work in the mountains to be located there. I would have thought that we would have moved to LA by now, but something keeps us here. Maybe it’s the clean air and light traffic? :)

James Buchmann filming a lifestyle shot of Jordan Maxham with the 19-90mm Cabrio. Photo credit: Daniel "Buddy" Bleckley Photographer.

We’d love to hear an example or two of how the Fujinon PL 19-90 Cabrio lens has come in handy.

When we upgraded the whole company to RED cameras and had to shoot all PL lenses, we had to find a lens that was light enough to pack but could be versatile across a multitude of shooting scenarios and cover the larger sensors. There really isn’t another lens out there that’s a fit for what we are doing so the Fujinon PL 19-90 Cabrio was an obvious choice. It has become a staple in our field kits. The images that they produce are outstandingly sharp and the colorimetry is on point. It’s hard to hone in on just one or two times the lens has come in handy, when it comes in handy every day of shooting we do. It’s a killer!

Do you see a big difference in your approach to aerial shooting with athletes as opposed to, say, wildlife?

Shooting athletes is almost exactly the same as shooting animals except you can kind of direct an athlete. The biggest difference is the budget. To really capture animal behavior from the air takes a lot more heli time, as you are never really sure of what they are going to do and when. To me, there is no feeling more rewarding than nailing the perfect aerial animal shot; it just takes patience.

Action shot of Tiago Lemos with the 19-90mm Cabrio. Photo credit: Daniel "Buddy" Bleckley Photographer.

Are there any upcoming projects you’re working on that we should be on the lookout for?

We have scaled up quite a bit over the last year and are now producing over five films. We have a follow-up to The Art of Flight, a surf film following John John Florence, a skate film with Paul Rodriguez, a film about a man running across Mongolia, and we are now in post-production on a large, blue chip, two-part natural history series. We will keep everyone posted on Brain Farm social media (@Brainfarm) and website as to the release dates for our new projects. They are all looking great and we are stoked to show them to the world soon!

Fun interview with Paul Rodriguez and James Buchmann with the Fujinon PL 19-90 Cabrio lens. Photo credit: Daniel "Buddy" Bleckley Photographer.

Any parting words of wisdom for aspiring cinematographers interested in the space you’re in?

You can never stop learning. Take a class, read a book, get schooled, don’t be afraid to ask questions and make mistakes. I started out with a 16mm camera, a backpack and few rolls of film and had almost no idea what I was doing. I just loved it. It doesn’t take much to be creative. You just need to get out there and do it. Enjoy!

Want to know more about Brain Farm? You can connect with Curt and his team on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Posted: 11/18/2014 12:00:57 PM by Thom Calabro | with 0 comments


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