Frame.io Camera to Cloud: Narrative Filmmaking with Cameron Carr

Director Cameron Carr utilizes Fujifilm’s new integration with Frame.io Camera to Cloud (C2C) on his latest project, Harlem Fragments

Effective collaboration is at the heart of a great production. At least that’s the opinion of New York-based director and creative producer Cameron Carr. In order to work together effectively, you need a team that’s positive, relaxed and level-headed. It’s this belief that forms the foundation of his directing style.

“My grandpa used to call me ‘cool breeze’, because I’m steady and on an even keel,” smiles Cameron. “That’s crucial on set, because it all starts with the director. If you want to assemble the dream team, they have to want to show up and be excited about the work. But if you have someone in a director role who’s a little more angsty, that can quickly permeate through.”

Ensuring a relaxed environment on a busy set can be challenging, so finding ways to streamline processes and remove obstacles is extremely important to Cameron.

His most recent project, Harlem Fragments, was a case in point. With a complex narrative, tight schedule, and cramped set, being able to utilize Fujifilm’s new integration with Frame.io Camera to Cloud (C2C) was a real advantage.

“It’s relentlessly ambitious, which also aligns with my personality,” chuckles Cameron. “We developed this project in under two months, so it was probably the fastest production I’ve worked on.”

Cameron worked with director of photography Nona Catusanu-Popp, using FUJIFILM X-H2S equipped with FT-XH File Transmitter. With an active internet connection, this combination enabled the team to automatically upload proxy files directly from the camera to their Frame.io account.

They were then able to create and share a secure link to the Frame.io project folder, allowing the entire production and post-production team to view, annotate, and download the footage immediately – regardless of location. All they needed was a device with access to the internet. Find out more about C2C connections here.

“I’ve been on so many sets where there’s this unknown period of time between production and post-production, when all the footage is being unloaded and organized ready for the editors. I’m always thinking about ways to help expedite that process,” says Cameron.

“With C2C, the second you make the footage, it pops up on a screen and you can review it in an easily digestible way. Having that on a film set was eye-opening,” he reveals.

A More Organized Production

Harlem Fragments is an autobiographical story of the breakdown of a black family in Harlem, New York, following the 2008 financial crisis. The story is told via a series of flashbacks through the eyes of a young boy, as he revisits the family home shortly after his parents’ divorce.

“It’s loosely based on what happened to my family at the time,” says Cameron. “I used that as a framing reference point and condensed our ten-year divorce journey into fragments, so the film operates as a kind of family scrapbook.”

The nature of the story meant recording many seemingly unrelated ‘fragments’ of footage that included reality, memory, and climactic moments. These all needed to be identified and edited together with separately produced animations to create a single narrative. Such a complex production could easily become confusing for even the most experienced editor.

“The vision is all up here,” explains Cameron, tapping his head, “so I must make sure my editor understands that vision, especially when working with a film that’s jumping around, manipulating time and space in these flashbacks.

“With C2C, we could clearly identify what footage was captured on A cam and what footage was captured on B cam, all ordered chronologically. It wasn’t just a raining waterfall of footage, it was organized.”

Such accurate organization made it easy for Cameron’s editor and animator to collaborate in real time, dramatically streamlining the process.

“While my editor was working on his assembly cut, my animator was working on the animated segments that stitch in at key moments. This meant he could see how the live action flowed into his moments and out of them. It made everyone so much more in sync,” recalls Cameron.

The process was so efficient that Cameron’s editor was able to provide the beginnings of a first assembly by the time they had finished on set.

“It’s surreal, to be able to see 90 seconds of your film at wrap – that capability was astonishing,” Cameron enthuses.

Convenient On-Set Monitoring

Harlem Fragments was created on location inside the actual home Cameron lived in when he experienced the ordeal that inspired the film.

This undoubtedly added essential poignancy to the story, but working with a large crew in a confined space also led to logistical challenges.

“We were creating a bunch of quite distinctive pieces of footage, including wide angle, dolly, and Steadicam, and quite often Nona and I couldn’t view our individual monitors,” explains Cameron. “Being able to huddle together and view the takes side by side immediately on Frame.io helped keep us on the same page.

“That process in itself is a new level of operating. Now it’s possible for your whole crew to instantly access and review footage; the old way of working doesn’t compare or compete. After experiencing C2C, there’s no going back.”

Commercial Applications for Camera to Cloud

With a background as a creative producer in the advertising industry, Cameron drew comparisons between this project and commercial brand projects he had worked on – both for the fast turnaround and the way it was filmed.

“We popped out our different sessions in takes that were one minute 30 seconds or less, so being able to move that fast, with a device that can track all those different takes so quickly, felt like we were moving at light speed.

“For this reason, C2C could be heavily adapted into commercial advertising, because you have to move on a similarly tight schedule. Enabling your editor to prepare in such a modular way is a great advantage.”

This was reinforced by Frame.io’s user-friendly interface, which ensured a hassle-free process and allowed Cameron to focus on the job at hand.

“It was a seamless integration. Once we were grooving and moving from the first shot up, we saw these uploads appear in real time.

“Being able to review everything in such an organized and curated fashion – and seeing this technology move mountains while on set – was incredible.”

Advancing the Filmmaking Industry

Cameron concludes by highlighting just how versatile C2C is, with a broad range of applications across the industry.

“I constantly think about how the industry can continue advancing and evolving. And this is the perfect case study to show the capabilities you can deploy.

“Whether you’re working on a film, music video, or commercial shoot, so many people rely on getting dailies at the end of each session, to then operate on a fast-paced schedule and pivot into different locations.

“With C2C, not only do you have this accessible instantly, but from any location with an internet connection. That is such a powerful tool!”

Frame.io Camera to Cloud integration is now available for FUJIFILM X-H2 and X-H2S via firmware update. Click here to learn more about the integration and sign up for updates.

Behind the Scenes Footage