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BMPCC Goes To Ancient Egypt On Spike’s ‘Tut’ Miniseries

Blackmagic’s Pocket Camera has found itself in the midst of battle once again (it’s quite the little warrior in case you didn’t know). This time however it’s traded super heroes for ancient pharaohs, as it was the camera of choice for the action and stunt sequences in Spike’s ‘Tut’ miniseries starring Sir Ben Kingsley and Avan Jogia.

Utilized by DP Chris LaVasseur and Second Unit Director/DP Mark Vargo, ASC for numerous action and stunt shots, the BMPCC’s small size allowed the ‘Tut’ crew to get some fantastic shots they would have been unable to get otherwise. “For example”, explains LaVasseur, “we designed a scene where a chariot flips over during a battle. Because the Pocket Cinema Cameras have such a low profile, we were able to mount them on the chariot. The horses, who were attached to the chariot, were very sensitive to their surroundings, but the stunt coordinator approved the camera positions because the horses couldn’t see them.”


Some other examples of the creative ways LaVasseur and Vargo used the Pocket Camera include:

Mini Monopod Battle Of Death

“We put one of the cameras on a mini monopod and designed fight scenes where it was right next to the soldiers in battle,” said LaVasseur. “Von Ancken wanted the audience to be right smack in the middle of the action and feel what it was like to be on the battle field 3,000 years ago, so we placed the Pocket Cinema Cameras very close to the action to get the best angles possible.”

A Game of Leap Soldier

“In one particular shot, an Egyptian soldier actually jumped on top of me from a ledge during a fight while I was holding the camera. Mark designed very specific creative shots with the Pocket Cinema Cameras, such as attaching one to a bow and arrow and even to a soldier’s chest during a battle scene, to give the director unique coverage.”


The Pocket Cinema Camera… Spear??

“We rigged the Pocket Cinema Camera to a stunt guy’s chest, which was great for capturing intense sword and spear fighting, hand to hand combat and energetic and close quarters shots,” said Vargo. “We also mounted it on a spear and ran someone through with it, as well as mounted it on chariot several times, and when it flipped, the shots worked out well.”

Close Combat Camera

“This one stunt performer took the camera right into the center of the action, and he would go in close and mix it all up, which produced really fun cuts. Because you can run very fast handholding this camera, we captured some visually groundbreaking moments in our battle scenes,” said Vargo. “The point of all this was to add energy and a visceral quality to the shots, as well as expand the visual pallet, and the Pocket Cinema Cameras helped create these specific shots that weren’t possible before.”

"TUT" Day 39 Photo: Jan Thijs 2014

“Tut” airs starting July 19th and continues until the 21st. For more information visit

For more on Blackmagic’s Pocket Cinema Camera visit

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