Part Three: Nollywood, Nigeria
After a lunch where most of us opt to eat just rice, Eke takes us to a Nollywood set. Never heard of Nollywood? I hadn’t either but Nigerian Hollywood, is the 2nd largest film industry in the world, after India. These guys crank out several films a month and I can’t wait to see how they pull it off.
On this set , they have rented a hotel room for a bedroom scene, which we learn is typical in Nollywood. The set is too small for the ladybug, but I pull out the 360fly and stand-by as Aaron rolls on the 5D for the traditional documentary. We encounter the inherent dilemma of shooting VR on small sets: we can’t shoot HD and 360 at the same time. In larger areas, Aaron can be filming in spots that are hidden from my 360 cameras. On this set, the HD crew is always in the 360 shot. So I strike the fly and wait outside the set.
Killing time, I put together a mobile rig using just the Brahma and the 360fly. Using the camera tripod, I thread the 360fly into the top of the tripod. After jerry-rigging the Ladybug to try to fit a lightstand, this feels secure and sturdy. Then I use a GoPro rig to clip the Brahma to the side of the tripod. It’s so friggin easy compared to the Ladybug, I’m thrilled and start taking selfies with it. Our Nollywood star wants in and soon enough we’re all taking selfies with the rig and posting it on Instagram. This dude has 250,000+ followers! Anyone who assumes Africa can’t afford computers and smartphones is completely missing the mark. I’m not saying that everyone can – but there is a substantial user-base here that has clearly been missed.
I have Eke check on the set to see if Aaron is done and I can come in and set-up my 360fly/Brahma contraption. Finally, I place my new rig in the middle of the Nollywood set, roll the camera and sound, and leave the room. The camera is rolling for 15 minutes and I have zero idea of what kind of footage I got.
When we’re ready to leave, I realize that we’ve completely invaded this set and haven’t really explained what we’re doing. Ricoh Theta to the rescue. We gather the entire cast, crew, and directors, and take a 360 picture with the Theta. The sound guy seems to have a crush on Jenn and cozies up to her for the shot. Must be a sound thing. Then I pass my iPhone around the room with the spherical image loaded, and let them everyone scroll through the images. The incredulous looks on their faces is priceless. Dan decides we’re going to do the “Ricoh reveal” at every location.
After a quick meal and a glass of wine with Eke and Bond, I leave the casual outdoor dining area and jump back on the van to watch footage from the Ladybug3. It wasn’t converting at 3fps, it was capturing at 3fps. If this is the case, the footage is completely unusable. I’m immediately on an international call to Point Grey to figure out what’s going on. Chris, our point of contact says we need to talk to support. Support says I need to email my problems to their support team.
Back at the hotel, I watch the footage from the 360fly on the Nollywood set on the Mac. There is directionable, followable action in clear sequences. The director calls action, the actors perform, the crew move the camera on the dolly to get the shot. It is dynamic interesting, and has inherent storytelling happening inside the scene. This is a great 360 shot.
I then try to store the footage on the Mac that is Bootcamped to PC and the computer won’t recognize the camera. I hypothesize since I first connected it to a Mac, it calibrated it to Mac. I check the other 360fly, which I had watched on the PC – yep, it won’t dock on the Mac. So now we have one Mac 360fly and one PC 360fly. We can roll with that. The 4Tb drive, once plugged back into the PC won’t read the content from the Mac. And now the Mac won’t read the drive either. Damn these systems. I plug in everything to charge and make sure the lights are turned off at the source rather than at the main light so we don’t disconnect the power again. I send an email to Point Grey and crash.
My alarm clock is set to one hour before everyone else in the hopes that I’ll have a response from Point Grey in the morning that I can do something about.