October 23rd, 2020

Octane Symphony is an epic joyride from the mind of Director Jonny Mass. The piece moves from an orchestral concert hall to the gritty streets of Los Angeles, following rider Tom McComas as he rips through the night on a Ducati Streetfighter. The project was filmed on DSMC2 RED GEMINI and RED KOMODO. Jonny had the following to say about the project:

"When I was developing my recent project “Octane Symphony” I really wanted to create something that didn’t exist within the commercial world of filmmaking but rather something you’d only see in a cinema. Something with action so exhilarating and refined that you’d think you were watching a trailer to the next John Wick movie.

That being said, it would’ve been easy to just focus on making the project action packed and cool but that’s where so many commercials, short films, and movies fall short. What makes an action movie exciting is when there is an engaging story to follow along to- even if it’s a simple one. If there is no story there is no context and when there is no context the action falls flat. Society as a whole is losing their attention spans rapidly due to apps like TikTok, Instagram, and Twitter where we all just scroll past things at warp speeds. I’ve got a second to grab your attention before I lose you.

Understanding that I wanted this to be something so much more than just an action sequence, I wanted to first focus on creating an incredible short story that would be a quick read but capture your attention with a hook right from the beginning of the spot. That’s where the line “What do you think of when you think of a Symphony?” came from. To open on a question, I’m immediately grabbing your attention. I then visually back that question with real musicians in an actual concert hall enforcing this new reality for you to explore. Once I’ve got your attention I now lead you into a misdirect, break the fourth wall with the conductor, and then introduce our menacing rider, Tom Mccomas, firing up his Ducati Streetfighter V4. Now that you’re completely invested, we get to dive head first into the action and it feels that much more rewarding!

Working with RED Digital was imperative to the success of two key aspects to this project. First aspect being low light which is where the GEMINI really stepped up to the plate. The GEMINI sensor is extremely sensitive to light and it helped us maintain clean shadows specifically within the tunnel sequence. The pairing of this camera with Hawk V Lite lenses was purely magical and created a really unique look for the project with wicked horizontal lens flares in true JJ Abrams’ fashion.

The second aspect being the drone shot. I knew from the very beginning stages of development that we were going to need a small cinema camera that could produce incredible images but still maintain the lightness of a small mirrorless camera. That’s where the KOMODO stepped in. The drone shot in particular was something I’d been dreaming about for a while now, but it was never the right time due to the weight limitations on the FPV drones. When the KOMODO was announced a light went off in my head and I knew it was the right moment in time to achieve what I wanted practically. Which in my opinion, finding practical ways to shoot things is the absolute best option. I am not a big fan of leaning on VFX to recreate scenes like this. There is something about the way our rider, Tom Mccomas, transfers the weight of the bike back and forth through the tunnel that you could never recreate in post-production.

Just because the KOMODO is smaller and lighter doesn’t mean the DSMC2 GEMINI’s form factor isn’t incredible as well because it is. You’d think we’d use the KOMODO for all the rigging on the bike, but we didn’t... we used the GEMINI. The mounted shots weren’t an afterthought- they were key moments in the story. Although I love using the arm car it has its story limitations just like any tool and I had this idea of being fixed to the bike as it weaved through traffic feeling the horizon shift back and forth giving you a true sensation of speed and danger.

The RED ecosystem is something to behold and worked extremely well for us on this project. Both the DSMC2 GEMINI and the KOMODO produce stellar images that cut flawlessly with one another and have quickly become some of my favorite options currently on the market today."

Director / Writer: Jonny Mass

DP: Camilo Monsalve

EPs: Kyle Bullington and Jonny Mass

Production: Aether Films

Line Producer: Kyle Bullington

Producers: Davis DiLillo and Andrew Mackenzie

Drone Pilot: Alex Vanover

Editor: Edward Khoma

Post House: Cabin Editing Company

Colorist: Jacob McKee

VFX: Triglass Productions

Additional Editors: Patrick Evans, Brendan Arnett