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09-22-2021 - Case Study, Gear, Technology

Kill Or Be Killed – MMA Fighter Finds a Life of Service - Sony FX9 Delivers Efficiency and Quality

By: David Heuring

Mark Bone is a Toronto-based filmmaker who makes documentaries and commercials. He has shot for top clients like Mercedes, Nike and BMW, and his documentary projects have taken him to more than 35 countries.


His most recent project was made closer to home, in Canada. Kill Or Be Killed is a short film focused on MMA fighter Joel Paquette, whose career dedicated to mauling other human beings in the ring has come to an end due to a series of injuries. Having sculpted his body into a fearsome fighting machine, he’s now turning away from that life and transitioning toward saving the lives of others as a firefighter and a rescue worker.

The film, like much of Bone’s work, is verité and spontaneous. It shows Paquette working out and talking about the mindset required in his former field, and the reasons for his segue into a life helping people. Kill Or Be Killed is also part of Bone’s online presence, centered on a YouTube channel called The Art of the Documentary – A Complete Guide to Creating Compelling Documentary Films.


“With Joel being a firefighter and rescue worker, he only has two days off before he’s on duty,” says Bone. “We knew it was going to be mostly in real time, with only one or two slow motion shots. We wanted to show the dichotomy between the kinetic, violent energy of Joel’s training and his stillness as he’s reflecting on his transition. He’s giving up something he so desperately loves, which is the fighting. But he’s realizing that he can still find fulfillment, that his body can have a greater purpose. We found him in a really cool moment in his life, in the midst of that transition, and the contrast is fascinating.”


Bone and Michael Del Monte shot the film with Sony FX9 cameras. The eight hours of footage gathered over 48 hours was eventually edited down to 7 ½ minutes by Lewis Gordon. 

The run-and-gun ethos extended to the lens choices. Almost the entire film was done on two lenses – a Helios 44-2 58mm, which is a vintage Russian lens, and a Sigma 24mm. “The Helios, out of all the spiritual lenses I know of, has the most unique bokeh, with characteristic fall-off in the corners,” says Bone. “It’s really beautiful for shooting people out in natural environments, where the trees and textures in the background swirl with the bokeh, which is almost oval and anamorphic-like. It flares like crazy. I just find it to be such an interesting lens. If you know how to work it, you can create some really magic moments.”


During the production of Kill or Be Killed, which was sponsored by Blue Star Neutraceuticals, Bone’s team captured extensive behind-the-scenes footage, with an eye towards using the material on their YouTube channel The Art of the Documentary, which is comprised of more than 80 filmmaking lessons.

“I realized that when I graduated from film school, I knew how to use a camera, but I didn’t really know how to tell a story,” says Bone. “I looked at the YouTube space and found that there is a gap in the knowledge from the traditional film industry side. I’ve always loved teaching and I wanted to apply what I’ve learned in my own career path. I’m passionate about filmmaking, and I love bringing people along on that journey.”


Soon Bone found agencies and production companies were thanking him, and he says the endeavor has gotten him more work than any traditional career promotion.

“I find that many people are looking for a recipe for making something cinematic,” he says. “There are a lot of so-called experts out there spreading misinformation. Of course there’s so much more to it than how you set the camera and the depth of field. What does cinematic even mean? The question is, what is your story? Does your character have a desire, and are we following that? What’s in front of the camera, and how is it lit? Are you lighting based on how it works, or based on the waveform? Making a cinematic image is not necessarily technical. Cinema is meant to touch your soul. If your story isn’t giving a glimpse into someone’s soul, then it’s just an image. That’s what I preach on my YouTube channel.”


The Art of the Documentary – A Complete Guide to Creating Compelling Documentary Films can be found at this link -


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