The Seventh Movement | Inside their recent project for ESPN

Thom McCallum and Vincent Guglielmina are the creative force behind The Seventh Movement, a production company based in San Francisco known for its stunning time-lapse photography and cinematic storytelling. Their videos have been staff picked on Vimeo 7 times, and they travel the world filming high profile projects for ESPN and NBC, only to name a few. We had the pleasure of catching up with them and getting the details on one of their recent projects for ESPN, D.J. Hayden – Dream and Miracle, which featured our Legacy 4K glass element lens flares.

“… you know that you have 8 days to nail this story, make it magical, and put it on TV. But how that process unfolded was bigger than any of us anticipated.”

Tell us a little about the focus of your work. What are you most passionate about?

Our work focus is split between telling engaging, cinematic stories and capturing a sense of place through time-lapse. Those are two areas that we are really solid at and where most of our jobs have placed us.

There’s more to telling engaging stories than meets the eye. Our biggest goal is to take these traditional ENG style shoots and flip the whole idea on its head. Really thinking about how we light it, what kind of feel our shots will produce in the edit, how to structure the story, how we use tools like shallow DOF, sliders/Steadicams/jibs, how we let moments breathe. Just even the idea… we think ahead and plan out how each sequence is going to look in post, how it impacts the story, and how we can shoot smarter.

Capturing a sense of place is a broad subject, but this boils down to time-lapse. That’s where we got our start in the business and its one of the reasons people hire us. We have different tools like the Dynamic Perception Stage One Dolly and the Kessler Crane CineDrive System to help push the motion controlled aspect of these shots. We even co-developed a tool called the Lil-Mule that executes 360-degree shots for time-lapse and real-time.

What was it like jumping into this project?

Talk about walking into the unknown. You know who the subject is, you know where you’re going and what you’ll shoot on, and you know that you have 8 days to nail this story, make it magical, and put it on TV. But how that process unfolded was bigger than any of us anticipated.

“I broke down into tears out of pure exhaustion and fatigue.”

Your turnaround time was impressive. What did your collaboration with the writers at ESPN look like, and how did the story come together in the editing room?

Talk about pressure. Most of our nights were filled with capturing cards and sorting through material. Shooting for 12-14 hours a day wears you down. There were 4 different things we needed to do before we started cutting. And not to mention, each one fed into the other. We were essentially journalists. So step 1 would be to get interviews. Teammates, coaches, friends, athletes, parents, bystanders, doctors, nurses, even the crew that drove the ambulance. You sit through 14 different interviews waiting for these little bites of gold.

As we put the interviews together, our producer would start logging word for word and highlighting the best lines. Then we’d go after file footage. Gathering old footage of DJ, practice footage ( including the accident ), news reports, online articles, old games, old photos, rehab footage. We didn’t know what we were going to really use since the script had not been written, but as long as it was in a proper bin, we knew we had a shot at working pieces of it in there.

Then we had to go shoot the specialty sequences. Practice field, locker rooms, ambulance, hospital, the gym. Some of that was with DJ, some of it wasn’t. We even got the actual emergency room he was in, with the actual doctors who saved his life. We shot more of DJ’s rehabilitation at a local gym. We shot his meeting the medics who saved his life. We shot some night running material. We shot a practice sequence with him and his buddies.

While all this was happening, Tom Rinaldi and Sharon Matthews were writing the script. Most of the interviews had been done by Day 5 and we were just waiting for the draft to happen. That was the last part of our shoot. The draft. The unknown. We didn’t know when the call would come in. We didn’t know who would call, if anyone. If he was to be drafted, it would have had to have been the first night to give us enough time to start cutting the story together. If he would have been drafted day 2, we would have had only 36 hours until the story aired.

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“… you know that you have 8 days to nail this story, make it magical, and put it on TV. But how that process unfolded was bigger than any of us anticipated.”

 So many variables, but at the end of the day we stuck to DJ like glue and got his entire evening documented. We were there when he got the mystery call from the Jets. We were there when he broke down. We were there when the Raiders called him. We were there when everyone went ape shit after he got picked! We even ruined the NFL live shot (they were not happy with me, Thom.)

We shot late into the night on the first draft night and started the edit as soon as we walked into the hotel room. It was clear higher powers were at work. We were revitalized with energy. The car sequence we shot earlier was perfect to tease the open and work back from the beginning. It felt like the entire structure was clear.

Then we hopped into music and laying the whole piece down. Where would the hospital stuff work in, what about the running sequence? How could we make the ambulance sequence really dramatic? So we started running down a rough draft while Sharon and Tom kept hashing out the script. We started pulling soundbites and laying it all in. So after 12 hours of this, it turned out to be a 25-minute piece.

That’s when the magic happened. The final script was done and Tom Rinaldi tracked it all. We went through and started chopping out the stuff we didn’t need. We went through some script rewrites to match the drama and the tension. Another 12 hours went by and we were getting closer to picture lock. We came up with some really cool sequences, but some of them were too much. We got caught in a storm in Houston and the power went out. We shifted the whole operation to our audio sweetening facility in Houston. Another 12 hours flew by and we finally had picture lock.

We went in to start finishing the piece. Sweetening audio, coloring, making small shot changes, adding titles. 6 hours to air. We started the 10 gig upload. We had two versions: The colored and the raw version. The raw version made it and the colored one failed about halfway through. We barely made Sunday morning SportsCenter. Rinaldi called and told us that out of everything he’s ever worked on, this was in his top 3. I broke down into tears out of pure exhaustion and fatigue.

All was well. SportsCenter loved it. DJ and his mom loved it. The producers were raving about it. Everyone was crying. All was well on the midwest front. The colored version finally made it there 10 hours later after we tweaked it some more and hit the re-upload button. By this time it was 60 hours straight. Time to sleep.

“Lens Distortions just adds the icing on the cake. It’s that extra hint of awesome that every project benefits from… LD overlays just made every shot that much sweeter. ”

Why did you decide to use Lens Distortions in this project?

Lens Distortions just adds the icing on the cake. It’s that extra hint of awesome that every project benefits from. Our’s felt like a perfect fit. Sometimes when shooting from the hip, you only have time to do so much in camera. LD overlays just made every shot that much sweeter. And it felt like the camera moves we did, matched certain sections perfectly.

You guys edited this project in only 2 days. Did you find yourselves using the Lens Distortion templates more versus simply using the ProRes files set to “screen”? What did your workflow look like?

The biggest thing about LD was that ProRes files existed. We did 4 different adjustments to each of them to make them ready for the final output. Hue/Saturation, Curves, Set to “Screen”, Rotate/Transform. Simple and easy. Really just banged through all of them quick. It was tough having to go back afterward and get rid of some sections to just let it breathe without the effects. But it was needed. It was the last step after sharpening each shot and the process was quick, easy, and fun! It’s wild how many shots it worked on.

See more work from The Seventh Movement at

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