The story of a matte box, and the evolution of 2 companies...

When we first started Yonder Blue Films after an eight year stint on a national TV show, our plans were that we would be a full service production company, that also developed original content, and provided low-altitude aerial services on the side.  That was over 5 years ago. Upon startup, we quickly became known as a provider for low-altitude aerials using a Freefly Cinestar we built.  And back then you had to build a drone, but that’s a different story for another time.  Aerials became 90% of our business, and it took us around the U.S. and to countries abroad.  We’ve worked on some really fun projects, and met some great people along the way.

Our award winning aerial reel from 5 years ago...

One product that was announced along this journey was one that provided us with exactly what we were looking for: a matte box that was light enough to fly professional filters.  This product was the Misfit Atom, from Bright Tangerine, a company that has also evolved, but we’ll get to that.  This is just a sampling of the many times the Misfit Atom has shown up on our Instagram account.

As soon as the Misfit Atom was announced we pre-ordered one. At the time, we didn’t know much about Bright Tangerine, but we’ve come to know them as a company that builds top quality products that they continue to update and release great accessories for, accessories purchased through our local Bright Tangerine dealer Innocinema.  Along with great products, they also offer great customer service - not that we’ve really needed to contact customer service much at all because despite being an incredibly lightweight matte box, the Misfit Atom is built really well.  Built better that many products in our industry, it was built to last longer than many cameras, and ours has been on several, as we’ve changed cameras a few times over the years - more recently using the Ursa Mini Pro and the C200.
We’ve been fortunate to have success with aerial cinematography and photography.  Most recently we’ve shot a stunt for a TV show and shot a 2 page photo for an ad in Delta Sky Magazine.  It’s been a fun journey, working with movie stars, and we even accomplished a long time dream of getting a nice mention and a few photos in American Cinematographer.  Our Misfit Atom helped us make the shots look great along the way.

In recent years, we’ve made an active push to go after more full service clients and convert previous “aerial only” clients to full service clients and it has worked! We wanted the opportunity to help clients by taking their ideas and turning them into successful videos - videos that tell a story.  Because at heart, we’re storytellers.  So now we’re not just telling part of the story, we’re telling the whole story, from the ground to the sky.  Going forward, we plan to continue serving our current clients and new ones too, and we’re having a blast doing so. We also are working our way into original content again too.  We’ve grown and we’ve evolved. (Below is a quick two day shoot we produced for our friends at The Public Lands Project.)

Bright Tangerine has grown and evolved too.  They came into the industry with new ideas for matte boxes that better served the end user.  They’re innovative, customer focused, and in a short time they’ve become the company that sets the standard in matte boxes.  They’ve also successfully dived into other markets with products like their super strong Titan Arm and extremely precise Revolvr follow focus. Check out some of their fine products pictured here and give them a follow on Instagram.  They certainly aren’t resting on their laurels!

And we aren’t resting on our laurels either.  We’ve kept our Misfit Atom matte box very busy. In the beginning it was mostly in the air, but these days it’s mostly on the ground - though we still love to fly!  On a recent week long shoot that we were directing in Spartanburg, South Carolina, we had the good fortune to work with some friends in the industry - Will Stewart and Marc Pagliuca. We met Will through a group started by Lydia and Shane Hurlbut, ASC - Shane’s Inner Circle.  Will and Marc are some talented guys, and they were a great help on our production last week.  Will was the Gaffer and Marc assisted him (Will normally works as a DP, but was gracious to collaborate with us on this project).  They brought some awesome lighting tools to the production and were just a ton of fun to work with.

Mid-week, Will mentioned that he was in the market for a new matte box. He asked us if we liked our Bright Tangerine Misfit Atom, and we gave him an emphatic, “Absolutely!” We then extolled on the many virtues of this fine matte box that despite rigorous use, still looked and performed like new.  Will was sold, and he asked us if we would be interested in selling ours to him. At first we thought, “No way, the Misfit Atom is a prized part of our camera kit.” It’s tagged in many of our Instagram photos just because we like it so much!  But Will is a persuasive dude, and over time, during location changes and meal breaks, he got us thinking… Maybe it was time for a slightly different matte box. After all, Bob Wheeler, a long time collaborator, has his own Misfit Atom too that’s already on most of our shoots.  And our camera assistant on this project, James Persinger, agreed that it would be nice to have an additional matte box from Bright Tangerine. As we wrapped on Friday, Will made us an offer we couldn’t refuse, and he walked away from the shoot with a Misfit Atom. 

Now we’re in the market for another matte box, and as we look at the options, we’re excited about the possibilities.  We’re strongly considering the original Misfit, as it shares a lot in common with its younger sibling, the Misfit Atom.  But it also has several features that could come in very handy while remaining very lightweight.  We take the time to get the shot right, but our productions can move fast in the field, so having a versatile matte box that remains lightweight is important to us.  Click on this Instagram link to comment and weigh in on which Bright Tangerine matte box should be next for Yonder Blue Films. Happy filming!

Note: We didn't receive any compensation from the companies, people, and organizations mentioned above for this post - we just like them! Though if any of them want to send us free products, we won't complain.  And if Lumix, Olympus, or Fujifilm want to send us a stills camera for better behind-the-scenes photos, that would be great!