Cinematographer Chris Ortenburger is no stranger to racing. It was, after all, the reason he began shooting in the first place. “I am a former racer myself who once had dreams of making it to the top levels of motorsport as a driver,” he said. “I knew having video of myself as a driver that looked professional would give me a marketing advantage, so that naturally meant learning the vocabulary and characteristics to better ask for the footage I needed.”
It wasn’t long after that when other drivers began asking him to shoot them in action as well. With that, a new career was born.
From his beginnings as a driver looking for good footage of himself, Ortenburger has evolved to the big leagues of racing, automotive and action sports, and now with his company Flying Lap Media, he works with clients such as GT World Challenge America, Fanatec, BMW North America, CrowdStrike Racing and International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) to name a few. He recently shot footage at the Rolex 24 At Daytona and is headed off to the season opener for the NTT IndyCar Series in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Ortenburger discovered Blackmagic Design cameras early on. “My first Blackmagic camera was the Pocket Cinema Camera 4K. I was instantly smitten with the concept of the Blackmagic RAW format. Being able to adjust things in post on a digital file felt like a cheat code in a video game,” he explained. “The small form factor and the price point were very inviting and made it a no brainer to try. It was the gateway into the entire Blackmagic ecosystem and of course included a copy of Resolve.”
Now using the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K Pro digital film camera as his main camera, Ortenburger appreciates its size and flexibility. “My latest weapon of choice is the Pocket 6K Pro. The bigger flip out screen and handheld form factor makes the Pocket 6K Pro a versatile tool to capture multiple forms of content in a single shot. Love or hate vertical video, it’s seemingly here to stay, and it’s quite easy to film footage horizontally, then immediately rotate the camera to get some vertical as well. When you add in the native Blackmagic RAW format and built in neutral density filters, you have a true workhorse that’s perfect for any run and gun shooter creating a myriad of content,” he added.
Related COW News
Always looking for new options, Ortenburger recently tested the Blackmagic URSA Mini Pro 12K digital film camera and fell in love all over again, noting, “It’s really a powerful camera that’s under appreciated for the price point. Of course, just for kicks, I had to test the full resolution12K footage (12,288 x 6,480). It blew me away. It almost feels unfathomable that an image that big would be within reach at a price that’s comparable to lower resolution cameras in that market. The URSA Mini Pro 12K is also one of the few cameras that offers 240 frames per second frame rate. Slowing down cars that can move in excess of 180 miles per hour is a valuable storytelling tool.”
Along with Blackmagic Design cameras, Ortenburger migrated to DaVinci Resolve Studio editing, grading, visual effects (VFX) and audio post production software as well, using it not only for color correction but all aspects of post production. “Resolve was always an application that I knew existed but shied away from learning,” he explained. “Finally, after a different editing application continued to crash at the worst times, I vowed to take the plunge and learn it. I always assumed Resolve was just a color grading tool that also moonlighted in editing. But come to find out, Resolve is also an insanely capable non linear editor and and its audio and motion graphics tools are incredibly powerful as well. I’ve never looked back and use Resolve daily for a complete end to end solution.”
What’s most critical for Ortenburger’s kit, in addition to high quality, is portability, and he concluded, “My workflow means traveling with my equipment, and I always carry it on the airplane. That forces me to be selective in what I bring to any given shoot. I would never say gear doesn’t matter, but for me it’s simply an amplifier to the general thought or vision you are bringing to life. The real power and value in something even as simple as the Pocket 4K are hard to comprehend. The combination of hardware and software have democratized storytelling and put very robust tools in the hands of every content creator. My two cents worth of advice would be to use them honestly, wisely and with heartfelt passion. The rest will sort itself out naturally.”
Enjoying the news? Sign up for the Creative COW Newsletter!
Sign up for the Creative COW newsletter and get weekly updates on industry news, forum highlights, jobs, inspirational tutorials, tips, burning questions, and more! Receive bulletins from the largest, longest-running community dedicated to supporting professionals working in film, video, and audio.
Enter your email address, and your first and last name below!