With extensive backgrounds in shooting action — from automobile chases to high-intensity athletic motion — Edward Khoma and I together founded Abandon Visuals, a full production house specializing in the creation of unique TV, film and commercial content. It’s our mission to evolve with, create for and adapt to today’s rapidly changing world. At the heart of Abandon Visuals’ storytelling projects lies a commitment to progressive cinematography and a belief in the most advanced camera and lens technologies on the market. Our services cover pre-production through post-production, and we use all the tools at our disposal — from RED HELIUM 8K cameras to Freefly Systems drones.
When we started the company two years ago, our goal was to abandon the traditional approach to content creation and focus instead on achieving true cinematic quality in every project we tackle. We have an extremely talented team bolstered by a robust arsenal of tools, which enables us to capture the essence of every client campaign and turn “impossible” visual concepts into reality.
Two of our most recent projects are the “Fire and Ice” and “The Unde rdog” campaigns, for Lamborghini and RED Digital Cinema, respectively.
“Fire and Ice” tells the story of a wise old man reading a folktale about fire, ice and a beast to his grandson. But what makes it special is how his grandson interprets the story, leading viewers on an action-packed adventure through the snowy mountain roads of Tahoe. As the boy plays with his toy car, the visuals cut back and forth to real life: a Lamborghini Huracán racing through the snow.
“The Underdog” was created for the release of RED Digital Cinema’s HELIUM 8K camera. It’s the story of an unnamed fighter and his quest to become the champion of an underground fight club. The film’s timeline from pre-production to delivery was just one week, making it one of our most challenging projects to date.
Our goal with both projects was to tell stories that spoke to the viewer’s inner child. We wanted to get people excited about the stories we were telling, fully immersing them in the visuals, sound design, color grading and music, all of which were critical in bringing our vision to life.
With this in mind, we’re always on the lookout for the latest technology; we’re not afraid to invest in innovation if it will help us tell better stories. From that perspective, some of the most essential tools we use are Sigma lenses. We currently have a set of the Sigma Art series lenses and a set of the new Sigma Cine zoom lenses. We heard rave reviews about the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens a couple years ago, and once we tested it out, it was a done deal. We purchased that lens and every Sigma Art lens released thereafter. We are absolutely stunned by how sharp the lenses are and by the beauty of the colors they produce. The new Sigma Cine lineup is no different in that regard. Both sets are simply amazing, and we’ve used them on 99 percent of our shoots thus far.
We use both sets of lenses pretty equally, as they fulfill different needs. Take, for example, the 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art Lens and the 18-35mm T2 Cine Zoom High-Speed Lens. These lenses have similar, if not identical, optics, allowing for 100-percent consistency across videos shot with either of the two. Some shoots call for a smaller, lightweight lens, whereas others require a lens with gears for a follow focus. When we’re flying a drone with a RED HELIUM 8K camera, we have the option for FoolControl, which allows us to control the camera wirelessly from an iPhone. We are able to pull focus, change the aperture and make more image-perfecting adjustments, so having a small lens with electronic motors is critical.
When we are working with a camera operator who is using a focus puller, it’s essential that we have gears on the focus ring to be able to pull precise focus; in these instances, the Cine lens is essential. The Sigma 18-35mm T2 Cine Zoom is hands-down the most versatile and beautiful lens that we’ve ever used. It is five prime lenses in one, with a T-stop of 2.0 — what more is there to say about it? We’re in love with this lens.
Sigma lenses are also highly effective when it comes to establishing a specific look for an upcoming project, particularly for shoots in which we need to achieve a very natural, clean image. Having the ability to capture a near-perfect image straight from the camera allows us to mold it in post-production into whatever suits the project best.
We’re seriously blown away by the image quality of the Sigma Cine lenses. The sharpness of these lenses is off the charts, rivaling that of the most expensive cinema lenses on the market. When capturing 8K content, we need lenses that are compatible with that resolution, and these lenses fill that need.
The bottom line is that these lenses allow us to create exactly what we envision in our heads. Everything about them, from the build quality to the image quality, is just so dialed in. When you hold these lenses in your hands, you can tell there were no shortcuts taken; they were crafted with care and it shows. We’re eager to continue using them to create beautiful content.
2017 is proving to be a great year for Abandon Visuals, with big goals and even bigger expectations on us. We continue developing original content as well as servicing projects for our clients, and we can’t wait to see what other Sigma lenses will be added to our toolkit.