CRANK: HIGH VOLTAGE Camera News – Collider Exclusive

     May 2, 2008

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I loved the first “Crank” movie and thought it was a fantastic ride from start to finish.

If you never had a chance to see it, the film starred Jason Statham as Chev Chelios – a hit man who right at the beginning of the film gets poisoned and only has an hour to live unless he keeps his adrenaline going. Unlike most movies which take a long time to get going, one of the reasons why “Crank” kicks so much ass is that it starts with action and the film never slows down. It’s like you feel what Chelios is going through by the way the camera moves and from the look of the movie.

Look, I could keep going on and on. Just rent or buy the film. You’ll see why so many had a great time with it.

Anyway, a few days ago production started on “Crank: High Voltage” (notice it’s not called Crank 2). Since I’d heard some wacky rumors about the cameras they were shooting with on the movie, I decided to go straight to the source and ask writer/directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor (also known as Neveldine/Taylor) about how they were shooting the movie and what was up with the bullet time rig they told me about a little over a month ago.

And I’ll admit…I couldn’t believe the answers.

It seems the guys are essentially using store bought HD cameras to film the movie. And when I say store bought, I don’t mean some high end store. I mean you could go to BestBuy or Circuit City and pick up the same cameras!

What I found out was they’re using the Canon XH-A1 (about $3,500) as well as the Canon HF10 (under $1,000 – picture on right) as the two primary cameras. It seems that in a lot of the action scenes they’re going to shoot with up to 12 cameras, and they’ll be able to cut to any of the images from any camera.

After our phone conversation was (I thought) over, Mark told me that they’ll also be putting cameras on the floor and in unusual places so the movie will have that crazy visual style that they’re famous for.

And since I’m sure you’d rather have them tell you about it…here’s what they said:

Collider: So you are shooting with 2 cameras that for the most part can be store bought.

Mark: Yes.

Collider: So what is the benefit for you guys shooting with these cameras? What was your inspiration for doing it?

Mark: I won’t have back problems because, you know, they’re very light. And they’re really inexpensive so it doesn’t hurt my pocketbook, but no really, we can put these cameras in places that people haven’t and we can put 10 of them in places where people haven’t. And one of the things it allows us to do is…we’re doing this moving bullet time camera rig where we take 8 HF-10’s and we put it on a light weight piece of speed rail and I can roller blade and skate around Jason Statham as he’s blasting down the street with a weapon and capture just rad images.

Brian: I mean, this is an ADD movie so we should have ADD cameras, so you know the idea of like moving the camera in outrageous ways and being able to destroy cameras without blinking an eye is more important to us than, you know, sort of having this filmic image.

Collider: So there’s an aesthetic motive behind…

Brian: Absolutely and also just because we’re using these cameras we have tricks and methods of shooting with them to make it look better than you would think for a camera like that. It doesn’t look like “Cloverfield”. It’s not supposed to look like home video. It’s going to look like a movie, but it’s going to look like a movie you’ve never seen before.

Collider: And is that something that you guys are like you’ve developed that in post…like you guys have had…?

Mark: It’s something actually we develop in camera. We’re shooting for the last 7 years. We love the fast digital shutter and lots of geeky things that you don’t care about, but like shooting with negative 3 gain and we do an in-camera look that is very aggressive and that scares everybody, but we filmed it out and we tested it and it works and it looks amazing on the screen. I remember Jason Statham said on day one, he said “wow, this looks like Crank 1 but better.” That’s what we’re shooting for.

Brian: We do almost everything in camera. We’ve never been a big fan of trying to make the look in post.

Collider: When you did “Game” you used the RED camera, you did different camera stuff, and now you’re on this with different cameras, is it…

Mark: We just want to move faster. We’re using these little cameras because, you know, red is a beautiful image. We love red cameras, we’re going to shoot with them again, but it’s like shooting a 35mm film and you need a ton of AC’s and it takes a lot of time for set up. With the cameras we’re using we literally can point and shoot and we have the same image quality that we had on “Crank 1”. You know full HD, 1920 x 1080 res—it’s great.

I cannot wait.

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