The Tillmann brothers have built an outstanding reputation for outdoor extreme adventure films set in stunning locations around the world. Together they create truly memorable productions for sports brands featuring their signature style, a combination of action, lifestyle, and nature.
Shooting on the rugged mountain-biking trails on the island of La Palma for Scott Sports’ ‘Chasing Trail’ series. DP Toni Tillmann took advantage of flowtech100’s light weight, fast and easy setup and serious stability for heavier payloads to create the versatility he needed for dynamic shots and unusual camera angles, critical requirements for this series.
At Tillmann Brothers Entertainment – Andi, executive producer and director, Toni, director of photography, and Michi, post producer – are committed to capturing quintessential and transient moments in the natural world. With a client list including Red Bull Media House, Scott Sports, BMW, Adidas and major sports film producer Teton Gravity Research, the brothers relish film projects that take them far off the beaten track.
The Tillmanns’ connection to Scott Sports goes far beyond the business relationship. As outfitter and supporter of the Tillmanns’ mountain bike team, InFocus, the bicycle manufacturer has worked closely with the brothers since 2010 – including a collaboration to produce the “Chasing Trail” promotional web series.
The location for one episode in the series was La Palma, the ‘island of the never ending spring’ home to some of the world’s oldest rainforests, jungles, palm-fringed beaches and stunning volcanoes – a place that filmmaker dreams are made of and the ideal place to put flowtech100 through its paces.
Finding a unique angle
“On these kinds of remote productions, we rely on a small and effective crew, and equipment must be lightweight and durable without compromising quality. This is especially important in our approach with ‘Chasing Trail,’ which features an innovative and progressive mix of action, lifestyle, and nature,” Toni says. “To achieve new and interesting angles, we are always looking for leading-edge tools to complement our equipment pool. That’s why the new flowtech100 was so valuable on this shoot.”
Heading out to the Canary Islands, the crew loaded up the flowtech100 with an Arri Alexa Mini mounted on a Sachtler Cine 7+7 fluid head and equipped with an assortment of fast prime lenses, 200Wh batteries, wireless lens control, and monitoring. “We are always driven to deliver the best cinematography we can possibly create, and that means no compromise on the camera setup,” Toni comments. “Even this 10kg+ payload felt perfectly at home on the flowtech100 and the precise and reliable Sachtler fluid head.”
With two support ranges, the versatile Cine 7+7 head is perfect for fast moving film crews like the Tillmanns. Compact camera setups are supported from 2-15kg and the boost button seamlessly switches the payload support to 9-22kg. Seven steps of independent horizontal and vertical drag control mean steady smooth movement is assured.
“The flowtech tripod is a no brainer for any kind of shoot. Whether we set it up in a lake or on the side of a sand dune, it can handle any type of terrain,” Toni says. “A little rinse will easily remove any dirt or sand from the carbon-fibre components, but the flexibility for any kind of camera angle is what really sets the flowtech100 apart from the competition.”
Trying to get a level shot while standing on the side of a steep mountain face is a good example. The legs of the tripod adjacent to the mountain must be retracted and angled almost horizontally, while the downhill leg needs to be fully extended. Toni explains, “We’re able to achieve this type of configuration because we can remove the mid-level spreader, which also allows us to go super-low for ground-level shots. Even with these types of shots and a heavier payload, flowtech100 provides perfect torsional stability for precise long-lens pans – and I don’t have to bring along a high hat or a beanbag.”