Colt Seman, DP and Co-Founder of Culprit Creative
Airplane Mode: The Interview with Colt Seaman
Colt, we have seen some photos on Instagram about your new film Airplane Mode, it looks like you had a great time on the set. Can you tell us something about the story?
Airplane Mode is a film about a group of people flying to Australia for a social media convention. Koala Air is no normal airline and the craziness will ensue.
Where is Airplane Mode being shot?
Airplane Mode is being shot at RED Hollywood Studios and where we constructed a whole plane to be built on stage. RED Studios stages gave us the power to do whatever we wanted.
You chose the Cartoni Lambda 25 Nodal Head, a Maxima Head as well as a Master Head. Can you tell us a little about each head?
CARTONI allowed us to tell the story better. Being in such tight confined spaces, the Lambda 25 was small enough to let me reach the lens into places no other system could. Low dolly shots in-between the aisles were a challenge. The Lambda 25 made it all possible while moving around our plane set. The Maxima head was built to be a precise and smooth system. I have never felt a camera head to be that precise which let me move the picture image smoothly and graciously to where I wanted my lens to land. The Master was great when using lighter loads and I needed to be tucked away in a corner.
What is the aspect of Lambda 25 that you like most?
The Lambda 25 is a tool that has its place, no other system in the world works as easily and perfectly. Shots can be designed and shaped better because of the that system.
You were a big fan of the original Lambda, there are obviously a few differences. Besides size and weight, what makes the Lambda 25 stand out?
Lambda 25 not only being smaller and less weight, the feeling you get while moving the camera. The panning and tilting are quick, great for tracking and following fast moving objects.
The smaller Lambda heads are built for today’s ever-evolving cameras are better balanced and you as a DOP have a larger field of view in creating beautiful images.
And what about the Maxima? How is it to balance extreme long lenses?
I was on a commercial shooting Starbucks Worldwide campaign and we lived on the 24-290mm. being a large and heavy lens I needed the Maxima to really balance my camera out. You can make fast and precise camera moves in getting your shot.
How does the Maxima handle the short lens and lighter loads?
The Maxima in the lighter loads will perform incredibly well. There was no difference when filming. I was packed tightly into a corner for a stunt and camera was broken down to almost nothing with only a prime. The maxima could still whip perfectly for the stunt.
From an ergonomic point of view, how do you find the Maxima?
The Maxima was built for the DP and camera assistants in mind. Large handles to access the camera and make fast adjustments. Allowing you to do your job right and not have to worry about missing your mark. At the end of the day it’s about making great content and it gives you that ability to do so.
What is the difference between the Maxima and Master Heads?
It comes down to what you are shooting. The Master is great for location filming and Maxima fits as the perfect studio head. The Master supports up to 66 lbs, while the Maxima can take close to 90 lbs.
It looks like shooting a comedy can be quite entertaining. Tell us one thing that happened behind the scenes that you will remember?
Comedies are really fun to make and there is so much around you that is funny. We had a mechanical baby on set that crawled and looked something out of a scary movie. Hiding the doll behind individuals and turning it on would make anyone jump 10 feet in the air. I probably jumped 12 feet when it happened to me.
A Bit about Colt:
Colt Seman is on a creative roll. Not only did he cofound one of the hottest agencies in town that specializes in brand storytelling, but the agency was also named on Forbes magazine’s “30 Under 30” list, a tally of the brightest stars in 15 different fields under the age of 30. Together with partners David Dinezt and Dylan Trussel, Seman has worked with such clients as; Tesla, King, makers of the Candy Crush app, and Legendary Pictures, the makers of the Dark Knight Trilogy and Inception. Dinetz was previously director of production at Ignition Creative, where he helped spearhead the Tomb Raider video game campaign. Trussell has been Dinetz’s creative partner since college and has directed commercials for brands such as ESPN and Mattel. Then they met and teamed up with Colt Seman.
Seman, a Minnesota native, grew up a hard worker in the family business of private security and funeral homes. After he picked up a camera and started shooting still photos, he eventually decided to ditch the cadavers and move to LA to pursue his true passion, cinematography. Over the last two years Colt has worked with the prestigious Redbull Media House, and has received awards from Redbull for creating the two most viewed series on their YouTube channel — On Pace with Pastrana & Driving Dirty with Bryce Menzies. He has been the youngest person featured in several documentaries on cinematography, two of which won Emmys. Seman credits Vance Cruffell, gaffer, and Bruce Logan, ASC as mentors and teachers who have helped him learn the tricks of the trade that have given him the skills that set him apart from traditional shooters.
With a flair for shooting the impossible, Seman prides himself and Culprit Creative on their ability to create exception creative storytelling that match the innovative cinematic visual style that he achieves. He’s dedicated to capturing as much in the camera as possible relying little on post or VFX. Much of his work is high-speed and motion control so it’s essential that he use reliable equipment. “The Cartoni Maxima head is superb and insures that you will get that perfect 10 shot. I currently own a Cartoni Delta Rosso and I’m using the Maxima. I find the Cartoni products also are great for that cinematic look and feel I want to achieve. Other product are jittery and feel outdated like old technology and I find Cartoni reliable,” says Seman.
Learn More: www.culpritcreative.com