Gratis 7 review ikan equipment used “in the wild” on documentary “RISING FROM ASHES”

•December 30, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Sometimes your product sells itself. Sometimes people like to help, go beyond the expected and act from grace. That’s the way Gratis 7 Media group is. If you haven’t heard of them, I highly recommend you go educate yourself (here’s a link). Their latest film, RISING FROM ASHES, documents the struggles of creating a Rwandan national cycling team and the life of the local peoples–in a place which many’s freshest memories are of the genocide in 1994, between the Hutu and Tutsi ethnic groups. (For a refresher on the conflict , “Origins of Tutsi and Hutu

…What’s more, they even reviewed the ikan equipment they brought with them to Africa, covering their usage (and benefits) in rugged territories. This is the video they provided us (and we didn’t even ask!) Yes, these guys are epic.

http://www.vimeo.com/17856150

“I can’t thank you enough…We literally used [our equipment] every day. The lights were used for every BTS interview and we used the small LED quite a bit as accent lights in the field. It proved to be the perfect set up for this production. We would have never had time to set up hot lights with the pace we were running…Also the monitors worked out for a interesting purpose. I was able to watch the footage from the GoPro cameras on the monitor as the camera has no way of showing the footage. It was clutch for this. Also, the one thing I was not expecting was how much we used the backpacks. They were used everyday.”

Thank you, again, TC, Jeremy, and the rest of Gratis 7 for pursuing your own dreams. They are a benefit to us all! I hope to see this piece and more inspirational projects from Gratis 7 this year.

One more thing.

We here at ikan want to wish you a happy New Year!  And once more, congratulations to our Contest Winners! Again, if you havent had a chance to view the entries, go here, or view our previous post for the top three winners.

So  remember (because remembering is so much more a psychotic activity than forgetting), if you need help leveling the playing field in 2011, ikan is at your side!
–The ikan team

HDSLR Revolution Film Contest Winners!

•December 27, 2010 • 1 Comment

Congrats to all our winners, and a huge thanks to our celebrity judges and to every group that participated. We had a great turn out this year thanks to all of you!

1st Place: I (K) Can Be A Part Of The Revolution by Pablo F. Garvia

2nd Place: Pandora’s Legacy by James Tang

3rd Place: Lumiere Revolution by Lessa Millet

We will be in touch with the winners of the competition in the coming week, so be sure to check your emails! Thanks to all other groups who participated–we couldn’t have this competition without you!

To view all group entries, check out our Vimeo channel at

http://vimeo.com/channels/ikanhdslr

Enjoy the films and Happy Holidays!

- kerianne

(Part III/III) Rising From Ashes: A Feature Documentary

•December 20, 2010 • Leave a Comment

(Part IPart II) Part III of the series “RISING FROM ASHES: A FEATURE DOCUMENTARY

Last week on the ikan Blog, we began our interview with documentary filmmaker/Director, TC Johnstone, regarding his latest feature entitled: “Rising to Ashes”–a powerful, well-shot, beautiful, full-of-hope documentary which captures the struggle of Rwanda’s only competitive cycling team, as they grow from grassroots bicyclists to national heroes, determined to raise high and represent their culture for the world to share.

Let’s continue:

IK: How did you develop (or find, even) a team of filmmakers passionate and skilled enough to help you achieve your vision?

TC: This is a great question. When I started Gratis 7 a few years ago it was to help filmmakers that had the character and the talent to tell great stories. We started asking filmmakers how we could help with their projects.  People caught the vision of working together and it really took a life of it’s own. It soon became a family telling stories we could have never achieved on our own.

I find that many filmmakers are lonely. It’s very discouraging working by yourself. I always encourage young filmmakers to find a soulmate. Find someone you really enjoy being with in life and on set. I’m constantly talking with networks of filmmakers. I see caring for filmmakers and telling stories of purpose as my ministry.

IK: Who are the team members of Gratis 7?

TC: Gratis 7 is a business entity. It works more like a family then a corporation. Gratis 7 is a hub that provides structure for independent contractors with similar passion and common vision to create together.

IK: Your team recently stopped by our facility to pick up some essential equipment, right before your departure to Rwanda—how well were you able to predict what was necessary? Has your selection benefitted your team’s endeavours thus far?

TC: Before we left for Rwanda my producer, Greg Kwedar and Director of Photography, Jeremy Rogers, and I road tripped to Ikan and spent the day with their team. It was invaluable for us. We were able to ask endless questions on equipment.  The challenge for us was taking the right equipment to Rwanda. With the cost of bringing equipment overseas you have to be incredibly accurate. Ikan was an enormous help with this. For instance lighting, we needed portable lights that didn’t require heavy voltage. The team at Ikan helped us design a small portable LED lighting package that worked perfectly in the field. The Ikan lights were just the right package for the DSLR’s we were shooting. And, no heat! That’s the best when you’re moving fast. I’m a big believer in “take the necessities and rely on your creativity”. Ikan helped us create an amazing balance.

IK: What do you hope to achieve with “Rising From Ashes?”

TC: My biggest desire for the film is for the world to see Rwanda as a country truly rising from the ashes. In turn inspiring us all to consider the power of hope, forgiveness and reconciliation. It’s how we choose to embrace the life we are given. It’s a beautiful example of how we can choose to live our lives.

====================END of PART III====================

Thanks to all of you, Gratis 7, for such intense work and capturing of life!

We can’t wait to see the full piece! This blog will periodically release more information as soon as it is know, such as release date, etc. Otherwise, stay tuned in and check out TC’s news on his twitter and facebook.

Cheers!

For more information:

Gratis 7 Media Group and their latest film,

Rising From Ashes” (WebsiteTwitterFacebook).

You can also find TC at his websitetwitter, or facebook.

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(Part II/III) Rising From Ashes: A Feature Documentary

•December 13, 2010 • 1 Comment

This is Part II of III in our series “Rising from Ashes: A Feature Documentary.” Read Part I HERE for a recap of last week. I’ve reposted the trailer of RISING FROM ASHES here for your convenienceAlso included are some excellent photos TC has sent us from the shoot.


It all began when TC Johnstone and his group, Gratis 7 Media, stopped in a few days  before their final visit to Rwanda. During that time, I had the chance to learn more about their collective effort and the project they were hungry to complete: “Rising From Ashes.” Since, I’ve had the luck to be graced with their time and ask some more in-depth questions since their return from shooting in Rwanda.  I hope you enjoy.

Let’s begin.

IK: The Trailer for Rising From Ashes” (currently in production(UPDATE: post-production now) is intense and beautiful. What inspired you to begin this project—where did it all start?

TC: In 2005 I was invited to go to Rwanda with a couple of friends. We jumped on a plane and I spent the next 150 miles sitting backwards on a motorcycle, hanging out of helicopters and talking with my friends who were experiencing Rwanda from a very different perspective, the bicycle.  While in country, we met the “Rwandan Cycling Team”. It’s kind of funny to think back on that moment. I don’t think anyone would have considered them a real team.  It was a group of ambitious cyclists that were looking for a chance. Over dinner my buddy Dan said, “What if we were to give these guys a hand up?”. Five years later these same guys are literally changing a country. It’s amazing what can happen from one simple idea.

IK. Was it hard to secure financial backing for this project?

TC: Documentary is a hard genre for fundraising.  But, I’m convinced that a great story rises to the top. I tell people all the time “make a trailer”! Say it great in 90 seconds and you can get folks to consider funding for 90 minutes.  I have a good friend that once told me “money is easy to find” I’ve learned this is very true. I find that many filmmakers don’t take the time to develop their ideas into a business plan or ministry plan. I spend more time reading books on small business then filmmaking these days. Over the years I’ve found a group of successful business men that read over my ideas then blow holes in them! I’ve learned to enjoy this. I hated it at first. It’s really a stewardship issue for us at Gratis 7.  We’re been entrusted with using this money wisely within our productions and that’s a huge responsibility. Everyone on our team understands that, it’s part of our culture.

IK: Can you inform us of the current state of affairs in Rwanda? How has the country rebuilt since the genocides of 1994? What does daily life consist of for most? How much is presently at risk?

TC: To be honest, the first time I had ever heard of Rwanda was by watching the movie Hotel Rwanda in 2003. In 2005 on my first trip to Rwanda, I remember the wheels hitting the runway.  I didn’t know what to expect.  I’ve been all over Africa and Rwanda is like no other place on the continent. It’s the safest country in Africa. The place is breathtaking and the people are truly amazing. Our goal with “Rising From Ashes” is to help the world view Rwanda in 2010 not 1994.

IK: You have done much work as a filmmaker of faith—what inspiredyou to explore and share the gospel through film?

TC: In my 10 years as a filmmaker I have always been drawn to stories of redemption. There’s something about a changed life that sticks with me much longer then big explosions and green screens. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good action film but for me it’s stories of grace, hope and second chances that I think we all resonate with. It feels like our world is getting more and more callus. I hope my films will leave audiences feeling a sense of hope and purpose for their lives. For me, that’s found in Christianity. I think people who are living out their faith in a sacrificial way to help others is the true testimony of our faith. Whether we agree with them or not, people respect that a lot more then saying one thing and living another.”

====================END of PART II=====================

Thanks to TC and the whole crew for inspiring us so. I will be posting Part III/III of the “Rising From Ashes” Documentary Interview on next Monday.

Cheers!

For more information:

Gratis 7 Media Group and their latest film,

Rising From Ashes” (WebsiteTwitterFacebook)

You can find TC at his websitetwitter, or facebook.

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ikan’s Tip of the Week – 003

•December 8, 2010 • Leave a Comment

What? You say you didn’t know ikan made a sling bag? What’s that? You knew but didnt think you would find it useful?

It’s the IBG-SLING, otherwise known as the ikan Sling Bag (product page HERE).

If you have one, you may know it’s a pretty neat bag–tons of pockets, comfortable, lightweight and good form factor, water bottle pouch, enough real estate for your needed lenses…zippers…pen pockets…you get the idea.

So what?

SO, if you’ve only been using this bag to carry camera equipment, you’re missing out–on the “Field Mixing Sound Sling.”

Being part of a small set or crew, where the DP is the camera op (and potentially the sound as well, depending on your setup), I need this bag to be out of my way but in my reach. I can clip my Lav Microphone Receivers (ew100G3’s) to numerous places, accessible, on the outside of the bag, while I run XLR cables into my Zoom H4n inside. What’s even better: My two channel mixer fits in here, too, so I can really get down and dirty without that cumbersome hassle (and if you have the equipment, why not?)

Simply because of the size and form factor of the bag, along with its attachable real estate and padded interior, this bag becomes an ideal field mixing bag–for anyone needing to multitask on set.

I’ve included some pictures for you to see what I mean:

Rising From Ashes: A Feature Documentary Part I/III

•December 7, 2010 • 2 Comments

Documentaries are capable of bringing masses of people an intimate connection to some one person or event or place. They are an integral tool for us as filmmakers—they give voice to culture outside ourselves, as audience members, sharing this world. And they can be compelling.

Gratis 7, as per their website, believe “out of our relatioships…great ideas are developed and produced” and rightly so, with the inception of their newest film, “Rising from Ashes,” a story of Rwandan Cyclists fighting all odds to speak the voice of their country–and country’s own struggle to rebuild their image after years of genocide. You can read more here: Gratis 7: Projects.

Trailer for RISING FROM ASHES:

After speaking with them, I had the chance to set up a separate interview with the leader of the group, TC Johnstone, and ask some poignant questions regarding: his experiences shooting the film, and what breathed life into the project. I will be posting the first part of the interview here, on Monday, for your education enjoyment.

But for now, let me leave you with some photos from the shoot and the trailer for the film, and some notes on his equipment usage:

NOTE: Gratis 7 left for Rwanda equipped with VX7‘s, Multi K‘s, our ID500 Lighting Kit,  ID400, and ikan’s Traveler Bag.

“I can’t thank you enough…We literally used [our equipment] every day. The lights were used for every BTS interview and we used the small LED quite a bit as accent lights in the field. It proved to be the perfect set up for this production. We would have never had time to set up hot lights with the pace we were running. “

“Also the Monitors worked out for a interesting purpose. I was able to watch the footage from the Gopro cameras on the monitor as the camera has no way of showing the footage. It was clutch for this. Also, the one thing I was not expecting was how much we used the backpacks. They were used everyday.”

 

That’s awesome. I’m glad we could be of such aid to you guys!

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For more information:

Gratis 7 Media Group and their latest film,

Rising From Ashes” (Website, Twitter, Facebook)

You can find TC at his website, twitter, or facebook.

PRESS RELEASE: Introducing the VH7 HD Monitor–the resolution you need at the price you want!

•December 1, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Now you kan!

For those in need of a high quality, cost effective entry level high definition monitor, ikan proudly introduces the VH7. The ikan line of HD monitors is all about connections and the VH7 is no exception. Equipped with an HDMI, VGA, and 2 COMPOSITE INPUTS, ikan’s VH7 will exceed the expectations of even the most demanding users.  This 7 inch monitor boasts a sparkling resolution of 1024×600 with both 16:9 and 4:3 aspect ratios, and can be powered with the provided AC107 DV battery plate for use with your of choice of Sony, Canon, or Panasonic style batteries. The new VH7, a complete out-of-the-box self powered HDSLR field monitoring solution… from ikan.

ikan vh7 7" HDSLR monitor

ikan VH7 - with fully equipped Canon EOS 5D Mark II

Built With You in Mind.

For those in need of a single HDMI monitor solution the VH7 is for you! Now you can run an HDMI, VGA or COMPOSITE without the clutter of additional connections that you don’t need. One simple connection provides a brilliant screen resolution giving you a clear and accurate image representation. And where does the cost of those unneeded connections go? In your pocket! The VH7 is one of the most affordable 7 inch HD monitors on the market giving you the ability to stretch your production budget even farther.

 

BP2T Battery Plate

The VH7 Has You Covered.

The days of purchasing a separate battery plate for your monitor are over. In addition to the included AC adapter, the VH7 comes complete with our popular BP2T adapter plate! Whether you are shooting with a Canon, Panasonic or Sony DV camera, ikan has you covered. Simply specify which battery plate you would like (Your choice of either the Sony L, Sony BP-U, Canon 900, or Panasonic D54 series batteries) ,and you will receive a complete, self-powered HDSLR field monitor with the quality and reliability you have come to expect from ikan.

 

ikan VH7 - 7" HDMI LCD Monitor - the rear view

VH7 Key Features:

  • 1024×600 Screen Resolution
  • HDMI Input
  • VGA Input
  • 2 Composite Inputs
  • Included BP2T Battery Plate (specify Canon, Panasonic, or Sony battery)

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For Additional Information, please contact:
Brian Upchurch

713.272.8822  ext. 105
brian@ikancorp.com

For images, pricing and more information, click here.

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