Blackmagic Micro Cinema Cameras Capture Action Scenes for “Jason Bourne”

Pictured above: Matt Damon as Jason Bourne. Photo courtesy of Universal Pictures.

Blackmagic Design today announced that multiple Micro Cinema Cameras and Pocket Cinema Cameras were used by Second Unit DP Igor Meglic to capture action scenes for Universal Pictures’ “Jason Bourne.” A Blackmagic Video Assist monitor and recorder was also used to verify camera positioning during shooting.

Directed by Paul Greengrass (“The Bourne Supremacy,” “The Bourne Ultimatum”), the film is the next installment of the Bourne franchise, which follows lethal former CIA operative Jason Bourne as he is drawn out of the shadows. Matt Damon returns to the role of Jason Bourne and is joined by Alicia Vikander, Vincent Cassel, Tommy Lee Jones and Julia Stiles.

Having also worked on 2007’s “The Bourne Ultimatum,” Meglic was familiar with the requirements for capturing the thrilling chase scenes and heart-pounding action that the second unit was responsible for on the film.

“One of the most important things when shooting action scenes for any movie is to stay consistent with the established look of the movie, so once you transition to an action scene, there’s no difference to the eye, and it feels like the same scene and style,” explained Meglic. “On ‘Bourne,’ it was especially important because of the particular visceral documentary style of the film.”

Meglic continued, “We chose the Micro Cinema Cameras and Pocket Cinema Cameras because of the combination of size and performance they delivered, which in turn helped us match the look and style of the film. I haven’t found another camera that will deliver on those two things: being as light as they are while still delivering the image quality needed to blend in with the A cameras. I always try to extract as much as I can from a camera, so they are dealing with good footage in post, and the dynamic range on both cameras was very good.”

Meglic used five Micro Cinema Cameras to help capture the final car chase scene in the film, which took place on the Las Vegas strip. Mounted to the side of a S.W.A.T. truck, the Micro Cinema Cameras captured all the action as the truck plows through rows of cars on the strip.

“Cutting to these mounted shots really quickly gives your senses a jolt, and you see cars flying right by the cameras,” said Meglic. “In the same sequence, the car that Bourne is driving jumps onto the S.W.A.T. truck, and we put a Micro Cinema Camera on the ground right in front of the truck. We timed it so the camera captured Bourne’s car landing on the truck as the truck drives right over the camera. Our Key Grip Peter Chrimes had built a little cage for the camera, and even though all 8,000 lb. of truck ran over it, the camera survived.

“At one point, the S.W.A.T. truck crashes into a casino and drives inside,” he added. “We put Micro Cinema Cameras in between the slot machines where the truck hits. We got a great shot, and the cameras kept on recording.”

Several Pocket Cinema Cameras were also used during a chase scene in the Canary Islands. “We used three Pocket Cinema Cameras for a motorcycle and car chase scene, which required a very light camera that could be mounted onto the helmet and body of the stunt person on the motorcycle,” explained Meglic. “This was pretty serious stuff, and we had the guys going up and down stairs, over jumps and down very narrow alleys and streets. We used the footage for great POV shots.”

The Micro Cinema Cameras were also used to shoot the existing lighting environment on the Las Vegas strip. Set up as a four camera array system, all shutter and genlocked together with a single point trigger, the footage captured was then displayed on overhead panels while shooting the corresponding green screen plates with the actors. The Micro Cinema Cameras were positioned to shoot left, right, front and rear, creating a 360º shot of the area. Along with the plate cameras in the vehicles, all cameras recorded timecode so each exact frame of the plate shot would correspond to the lighting environment shot, creating a perfect match up.

A Blackmagic Design Video Assist was used to verify frame overlap and positioning of the cameras for each desired shot. All cameras were then transmitted via a quad splitter back to the command van to ensure camera rolling, frame accuracy and ability to watch the shot live.

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