On the Fly with DoPchoice China Ball and Pancake
Gilles depends on the Flyer with the China Ball for his Steadicam moves while operating. “The China Ball is my go-to for walk and talk when the light moves along with the camera. It takes just a few minutes for he and his gaffer pace out their route together to synchronize light and movement regardless what twists and turns the script demands. “You want the light to move but not light everything—so you have to control the illumination.” So if I am running, the China Ball stays on because it’s more forgiving. If you put it to the side of a woman’s face it wraps the light beautifully.” But when a move is more exacting, he goes with the Pancake, which he explains “is more controlled, its as precise as you can be.”
When DP-ing, his high-octane technique consists of a run-through to perfect his set- ups as he maps his way through a shot—using the Flyer and China Ball or Pancake. “As a Steadicam operator I use it because it can travel, but when I work as cinematographer I use in every scene to setup with the gaffers. Typically I come in with a pancake and skinny black flags. I will handhold them and decide about the light coming in. Once I see the light I want, we plant another fixture on a stand and shape the light with the skirts to become a fast practical fill. Then we move to the next spot.
“My China Ball on a stick is the professionally engineered solution that saves time on every job.”