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The Watchers is a science fiction story about a woman in a remote arctic wilderness working alongside her commander, a gruff old man as icy and hostile as their surroundings. Watching and waiting patiently for the planet-wide transformation program she’s working on, she begins to wonder if the huge personal sacrifice will overwhelm her. As the torch is passed down from her commander, she realizes he has also been watching over her.

John Brawley

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The Watchers is a short film about a young woman terraforming a planet working in an ice cold, hostile environment. When I was first approached about making the short film, I realized it was the perfect opportunity to use the Olympus micro four thirds system and OM-D E-M1 Mark III to help create a visually unique vision of another planet.
Shot at a visually stunning location Fortress Mountain in Alberta, Canada. We had a very small crew. Just myself, Warren, the director, who sometimes also operated a second camera, Chris Sachs the Writer/Producer and a local camera assistant.
The weatherproofing of the E-M1 Mark III is so good we didn’t have to really worry at all about operating the camera in heavy snow, subzero temperatures and high winds. The brilliant design of the ergonomics and high customization of the function buttons made it easy to operate the camera even wearing heavy duty gloves.
We had a couple of sequences shooting on the back of snowmobiles where the articulated screen and world class image stabilization on the camera meant we could easily get handheld shots that would be nearly impossible to achieve with other camera systems.
We chose not to have tripods or gimbals, every single shot is handheld. The ability to tune the Image stabilizer speed and sensitivity also helped us with getting very natural feeling hand shots.
Shooting in such a stark and white environment is a challenge for any camera, and I wanted to preserve as much highlight information as I could. Much of the film was recorded though the HDMI output to an external recorder using the OM-LOG400 profile, to preserve the maximum dynamic range for later grading.
I was very grateful for the unique combination of its small size, weatherproofing, face tracking autofocus, image stabilizing and glove friendly ergonomics. It made capturing great, compelling images in such difficult conditions effortless.

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