Award-winning photographer and director Philip Edsel, represented by Curated Artists, was recently commissioned by Sony to create a motion piece that put their all-new RX0 camera to the test and the result is Parallax, a film that brings the camera’s technical elements and the character’s relationships into play.
The film was shot entirely on the new Sony RX0 camera to demonstrate its ultra-compact form factor. The director and concept creator of the film, Philip Edsel, shared with us his experience and behind the scenes stories while filming PARALAX.
Wonderful Machine and Production Paradise: You just finished working on the PARALLAX, Sony RX0 film. Tell us about it.
Philip Edsel: PARALLAX, A Sony RX0 film was shot in promotion of Sony’s newest ultra-compact camera, the RX0. I was asked by Sony to put this camera through it’s paces and create something unique that couldn’t be done with a normal video camera. It was shot handheld, on a gimbal, underwater, in tight corners and small spaces, even on a mobile Bullet Time rig. The result is Parallax, a reference to both the physical perspectives with which we used the camera and the frenetic relationship between two people.
Wonderful Machine and Production Paradise: How did you get involved with the project?
Philip Edsel: I am a member of the Sony Alpha Collective, Sony’s influencer ambassador program. They just recently released a new ultra-compact camera, the Sony RX0 (the size of a GoPro), and selected me as one of the few filmmakers to create a motion project that demonstrated the versatility and features of the new camera.
PARALLAX, a Sony RX0 Film
Concept & Direction – Philip Edsel rep. by Curated Artists
Director of Photography – Peter Longno
Producer & BTS – Moyo Oyelola
Choreography – Jacob Jonas
Talent – Nic Walton & Joy Isabella Brown of Jacob Jonas the Company
Song – “Into” by Aten Rays
Wonderful Machine and Production Paradise: What was the goal for the project?
Philip Edsel: The main goal of the project was to use the camera in a way that a typical camera could not be because of its size, really pushing the limits of traditional camera setups and angles. And for me, I wanted to create something really beautiful that you wouldn’t expect out of a camera the size of GoPro.
The Making of Parallax – BTS look at the Sony RX0 Film by Philip Edsel
Wonderful Machine and Production Paradise: What was involved in planning/preproduction?
Philip Edsel: There was a ton. First and foremost was just developing a concept that put this camera through its paces. I had the concept for Parallax for a few months, but honestly the portability of the camera really helped push the concept into something much stronger and more visually appealing. It opened doors to shots that I had not previously thought of like being squeezed into tight spaces or having it be handheld by the athletes. Then the challenge was finding athletes that could execute my vision. In this case, we were fortunate enough to work with Jacob Jonas The Company, with two athletes in particular who are crazy skilled in dance, tricking, and free running. Having a choreographer on set with Jacob was super helpful as well. And finally, the logistics of scouting locations that fit my concept of angles and geometry we thought would be tough, but was surprisingly easy in Los Angeles.
Wonderful Machine and Production Paradise: What was the shoot itself like?
Philip Edsel: There’s always a little bit of trust and risk involved when you are trying to explain your vision to talent that can’t see the final product, but thankfully they do these productions frequently and trusted my vision. We had two days to shoot the whole thing, and moving to four or five locations in Los Angeles traffic is generally a nightmare. Thankfully because of the size of the camera, our production was pretty light and our team was small! Just me, a producer, my DP, the choreographer and the talent!
It was also super fun working with athletes that could do crazy things like flip off walls and do aerials in small spaces. They never ceased to amaze me when I’d tentatively throw out a crazy idea for a scene where they’d flip like this or that and they’d respond super nonchalantly about it.
Wonderful Machine and Production Paradise: Did you face any challenges with this project? If so, how did you overcome them?
Philip Edsel: Apart from the usual challenges like time and shooting in public spaces, the production went surprisingly smoothly. We never drew a ton of attention with our small camera rigs and gear (except for the guy in a neon orange jacket flipping off walls).
The main challenge was working with a brand new camera that doesn’t have many accessories available for it yet. We had to rig up ND filters and mounts from other systems, find a remote that could shoot time lapse, etc. Also, keeping track of all the cameras and making sure they all had enough battery life was tough. We were shooting with 10 RX0s, one handheld, one on a gimbal, and then 8 lines up on a custom rig to shoot Bullet Time effects. The battery didn’t last very long and we had asked for extra batteries for each camera and didn’t receive any. So we had to rig up a mobile power pack to our main cameras. We made it work though!
Wonderful Machine and Production Paradise: What has the reaction to the film been so far?
Philip Edsel: Let’s hope people enjoy it! I wanted there to be a wow factor to the film, and I’m hoping we accomplished that.
Wonderful Machine and Production Paradise: What was your favorite part of the project?
Philip Edsel: My favorite part was location scouting. Environments and settings are a huge part of the inspiration process for me. When we found the right spots, I could envision the shots and it felt like everything was going to come together according to plan.
Wonderful Machine and Production Paradise: Any future plans for this project?
Philip Edsel: I’d love to submit it to some short film festivals! It’s my first major directorial debut so I’m excited to see where that takes me.