Touch the Water

The independent film ‘Touch the Water’ was shot using a Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K digital film camera and edited with DaVinci Resolve Studio (Blackmagic Design).

Touch the Water champions the Native American community and along with its ongoing theatrical run, plans to tour more than 100 reservations across the United States and Canada.

The film tells the heartwarming story of when an intern at a senior center teams up with an elderly Native American woman to fulfill her lifelong dream to see the ocean again and this time touch the water. Touch the Water was written and directed by filmmaker Travis Holt Hamilton as part of his focus on telling and elevating Native American based stories.

Captured with a Pocket Cinema Camera 6K in Blackmagic RAW, Touch the Water was shot in the hot deserts of Arizona and the wet beaches of California. Hamilton explained, “We battled some extreme environments when shooting. The majority of the film was shot in Arizona in the summer, so heat was definitely an issue. When working with older cast in extreme temperatures, time is paramount. The camera’s versatility and usability allowed us to quickly get the shots we needed, and it never faltered, even when shooting through heat and wildfire smoke warnings in temperatures above 115 degrees Fahrenheit for days straight. Similarly, it performed great for our wet ocean shots. Whether there was sand, micro dust or moisture in the air, it kept going.”

With Hamilton serving as DP, producer and director, he selected the camera for its intuitiveness, citing how its easy to navigate OS helped him move quickly while wearing many hats. However, it was the camera’s image quality and latitude that made it indispensable for the film. “We were a small crew that was dealing with extreme lighting situations, from midday in the bright, unrelenting sun in the desert, to nighttime shoots that were minimally lit. The camera’s dual native ISO helped with lowlight situations, and since we were using a Blackmagic RAW workflow in DaVinci Resolve Studio for post, we were able to easily help any shots that we accidentally under or over exposed,” said Hamilton.

Touch the Water

Post production

For post production, Hamilton, alongside Colorist James Adam and Editor Thomas Manning, used DaVinci Resolve Studio, allowing them to work on the film simultaneously. “The real time collaboration in DaVinci Resolve allowed us to work in lockstep for the film, saving us time. We migrated the project into DaVinci Resolve about a third of the way through, and once I saw how seamlessly everything flowed together, I couldn’t believe we didn’t make the jump sooner,” said Hamilton.

“My inspiration for Touch the Water was wanting to tell a simple story that was emotionally and spiritually powerful, connecting with the human heart,” noted Hamilton, who has also adopted Blackmagic Design workflows for his other upcoming projects. His production company Holt Hamilton Films recently shot the documentary Break the Mold – The Zach Bates Story using the Pocket Cinema Camera 6K as the primary camera and a Blackmagic URSA Mini Pro 4.6K G2 digital film camera for interviews. With the film focused on autistic 19 year old Zach Bates’ goal of running a 100 mile ultramarathon before his 20th birthday, the Pocket Cinema Camera 6K’s compact design allowed the crew to be more run and gun while continuing to battle extreme weather conditions, this time shooting 6,400 feet up in the cold snow of Northern Arizona.

The team is now working on its next film, Finding Hozho which is a Native American story of forgiveness between an older man and his dying father. With the flashback heavy film having two distinct looks, one for present day and one set 40 years in the past, Hamilton noted that the workflow between the cameras and DaVinci Resolve Studio will be paramount in creating the two color stories.

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By • 23 Feb, 2024
• Section: Cine, Cinema / Production, Postpro