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Filming with the E-M1X

When Olympus asked me to shoot the campaign for the upcoming OM-D E-M1X camera, I couldn’t have been more excited.

My Olympus has been my trusted companion over the past years and even helped me develop my cinematic style. Even handheld, it is stable and produces cinematic images in extreme locations. Some of my work shot on Olympus cameras has been screened in cinemas all around the world.

Looking back just ten years, this kind of film making was a huge headache. Either I’d be carrying too much gear to remote locations that are difficult to get to, resulting in me not capturing the shot because it’s too big of a hassle to get the gear out or I would be working with less gear and the quality would suffer.

Olympus has found the perfect middle ground. So, when an updated version of the current tool of choice, the OM-D E-M1 Mark II, was around the corner and I was offered early access, of course I felt excited. And it didn’t disappoint. For one part of the campaign we picked a really tough destination: sandstorms, mud and fast-paced motorsports action, packed into a single, fully-loaded day of shooting in a place that took 48 hours of intense travel to get to. Welcome to the Moroccan Sahara desert.

This project was the perfect example of what a high quality, cinematic yet run-n-gun style shoot you can achieve with the right tools.

Had we been locked down with tripods, gimbals, stabilizers, cranes or dollies we would never have been this productive. The more gear you take, the more time you’ll spend setting it up and solving ‘gear problems’, and, ultimately, wasting time and missing shots. However, being able to just simply the OM-D E-M1X with a couple of M.Zuiko PRO lenses, I was able to capture the entire project in a single day. Alone. A few years ago this would have been something completely unimaginable.

For the OM-D E-M1X Olympus have developed their own LOG profile which increases the dynamic range and gives me a much flatter image to work with in post production.
For the interview part with action sports photographer Fernando Marmolejo we had the most challenging lighting situation: The harsh Moroccan sun was hitting the buildings and dunes in the background. I decided to place Fernando in the shade to avoid unflattering highlights on his face. This created a very high contrast scene. And yet, with the LOG profile and additional processing power of the OM-D E-M1X I was able to retain all the details in my scene. Again: previously unimaginable!

For some of the action Fernando was running flat out towards me through a sandstorm while I was pacing backwards to keep him in frame. With the vastly improved Continuous Auto Focus (C-AF) of the OM-D E-M1X, I didn’t have to worry. I was running backwards with the subject moving and the camera hand held, yet Fernando remained in focus and sharp at all times.

On a different occasion, we got absolutely covered in mud. Never even did I have to worry for a single second about the camera. Olympus’s robustness and exceptionally good weather sealing has been taken one step further with the OM-D E-M1X and, combined with M.Zuiko PRO lenses, this camera is an indestructible tank.

When it comes to filming an action sports photographer things really have to come together. Not only do you depend on the athlete nailing the timing and execution of the action on the right spot, my subject, Fernando, had to anticipate the entire shot and adapt accordingly. On top of that I was filming him in the process, managing my own composition, focus and camera movement in time with the action. Probably the most complex kind of shoot I’ve ever been tasked with.

The OM-D E-M1X just worked. It never got in the way or ruined a shot, allowing me to fully focus on getting the job done.

With the OM-D E-M1X, Olympus has really stepped up the game on all levels. While it feels familiar to what I’m used to with Olympus cameras, it manages to be completely revolutionary in ergonomics and handling. It was surprisingly easy to use, yet delivered results I never thought possible. Add the next-level stabilization, beautiful 4K image and weather-sealing and I couldn’t wish for a better documentary, run-n-gun style camera when it comes to filmmaking.

And I can’t wait to take this camera on extreme projects.

See my entire review of this camera: