This Is Us: A Film in Africa (Stage 1)



***The above video was shot by the children we are going to work with

By: Chris Collins

One day out of the blue I received a phone call from an old high school friend.  He had seen me in one of the videos Jared and I had shot for Cinema 5d, and he had questions about which camera to buy for a trip he was taking to Senegal, West Africa.  I couldn’t help but find myself intrigued, and so the story goes…

Jeremy Teicher went to Senegal to work on a short documentary about the daily life of Senegalese youth.  It is now up for a student Academy Award, and he and I are on to phase two of the project: a narrative feature film.  It follows a young female protagonist as she must decide between her family and her education.  She is essentially caught in the middle of new development as seen in education and old traditions as seen in her arranged marriage.  Our goal is to bring to light the issues of education and women’s rights in undeveloped areas.

While Jeremy and company are raising funds on the east coast, WOC is nailing down the logistics with regards to gear (and I’m pumping myself full of vaccines).  I’m going to be a one man band alongside the director, so I need to travel light.  We will almost always be rocking two cameras with Canon zoom lenses.  For interior shots at night I plan on rocking fast, wide Zeiss glass (I’ll have two focal lengths for every lens based on which camera I use). I am planning my camera package around what can fit in two carry-on pelican cases plus tripods.  As you can see, I am keeping in mind what we have to begin with, and I’m optimistic about potential sponsorships for what we don’t have.  Here is the list…

Canon 60D (Jeremy)

Canon 7D (Chris)

Canon 5DmkII (Rental)

6x Canon Chargers (2 Chris, 1 Jeremy, 3 Rental)

12 Canon Batteries (3 Chris, 1 Jeremy, 8 Rental)

Tokina 11-16 f2.8 (JA)

Canon 24-105 f4 (Rental)

Canon 70-200 f2.8 (Rental)

Zeiss 28 f2 (Zeiss Sponsorship)

Zeiss 35 f1.4 (Ziess Sponsorship)

Bogen 501 Tripod (JA)

Bogen 504 Tripod (JA)

2x Zacuto Z-Finder (Chris, JA)

Boompole w mic (Rental)

Beachtek (Rental)

Flex Fill (Chris)

4x LED Light Battery Powered (Ikan Sponsorship)

2x Airline Safe Pelican Cases

Now that the list is compiled, it’s time to track down some friends and ask for some favors.  Seems like that’s the best way to get things done these days!

Click here to see how it went!

The first step of my journey... being injected 7 times by some bitch at UCLA - Safety First!!

Jared Abrams is a cinematographer based in Hollywood, California. After many years as a professional camera assistant he switched over to still photography. About two years ago a new Canon camera changed the way the world sees both motion and still photography. He just happened to be in the right place at the right time.
  • adam j. richman

    Need a solid AC? Cover the flight and I’m there. 😉

  • Chris Collins

    It’s 5 weeks dude. If you’re really down I’ll hit the crack corner and start raising some dough!